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Jazz in the Park

This weekend we had gorgeous weather in Berlin. Spring has sprung here, but it is still chilly some days, so when the sun is shining, I like to take advantage of it. It just so happens that my colleague invited me to join her for a jazz festival in the park near her house, and I jumped on the offer! Just the thought of a small jazz festival conjoured up memories of the many Elkhart Jazz Festivals I've attended throughout my life. My home town of Elkhart, Indiana sure knows how to put on a world-renowned Jazz Fest!

On the way to my colleague’s house in Pankow, I had to switch trains at the Alexanderplatz sbahnhof, so I was able to pop into a small shop and buy a couple of individual sized bottles of champagne for us to enjoy while listening to jazz music in the park. This particular park, called Bürgerpark in Pankow is everything one imagines when picturing a classic European garden. Flower beds arranged symmetrically, allees of trees, statuary, and a columned stage area in the rose garden all make up a dream-like setting. On this particular day, there happened to be a festival in the park, with food vendors along with booths selling handmade & vintage goods. I went straight for the book stand and found a lovely vintage coffee table book about Berlin. I can’t wait to display it at my home in the States.

When the music started, we found our place on the grass close to the stage and uncorked our champagne! Instead of the classic jazz I was expecting, the band played tunes that were rather Latin inspired. But it was quite enjoyable and there were many young children dancing in the sunlight while adults swayed to the music. We decided, after awhile, to get a bratwurst and a crepe mit kase (cheese filled crepe).

After walking back to Toma’s flat, which happens to occupy the highest floor in a repurposed brewery, we proceeded to prepare for a little aperitif. Her friend’s daughter was in town from the USA and was going to drop by for a glass of champagne and a few nibbles. We sat out in the sun, enjoying our view and lots of interesting conversation until it got too chilly.

None of us having solid plans for the rest of the evening, we decided to attend a party Toma had heard about. Of course she’d only met the host one time and had no idea who would be there, but we went out on a limb and hopped on the U-bahn to head for Friedrichstrasse. The party ended up being a blast, full of expats from all over. I even ran into a woman I’d met a few weeks ago at a barbecue my friends hosted here in Berlin. What a small world! But that’s Berlin for you. You never know what each night will hold in this city full of contradictions.

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