Tuesday, 19 May 2015

"Du bist verrückt mein Kind, du mußt nach Berlin." (Part One)

"The greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine."
(David Bowie on 1970s Berlin)

Some readers may remember that I was rather enthusiastic about Berlin after my visit there last year - and made a promise to return.  Well, this weekend I did return, as the German Fetish Ball weekend was once again being held in the fabulous city.

Yes, since my last visit I've been keeping an eye on the happenings of the fetish scene in Berlin and saving some pennies, so when the 2015 Fetish Ball weekend was announced I was ready to book my flights, hotel and tickets for the main event.

For the last week or so, however, I'd been keeping a nervous eye open on the weather in Berlin.  Last year it was scorching and beautiful - but that was June.  It seems May is rather more unsettled than summer.  Luckily, by Wednesday morning the rain had at least cleared, but it was never going to be as hot as last year.  I was packed and ready by early Wednesday morning, and my paranoia about losing hold-luggage meant that my main suitcase was relatively light with toiletries, clothes and shoes, and my hand luggage was full of my two new latex outfits and snacks.  The first change for this year was that I was going with a bigger group of friends, and after being collected from Manchester just after lunch we were in good time and the first passengers to check-in for our late afternoon flight from Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

We had plenty of time to wander the duty-free shops and find somewhere acceptable to eat.  After a leisurely meal I wandered off with one of the girls in the group to find some snacks for the flight ahead.  We were debating the pros and cons of various sweets and chocolate when she stopped the conversation and listened.  "Did that just say 'Last Call for Berlin?' she asked.  "No," I replied, "we've got loads of time."  She wandered off to find crisps and the tannoy broke through the airport muzak again - "Last Call for easyJet flight to Berlin!"  I think I may have whimpered just a little at that point, and it was a mad high-heeled dash with heavy hand-luggage across to the departure gate - cleverly situated at the furthest end of the airport.  Sadly, and I must apologise, we may have held the flight up just a minute or two whilst we boarded and settled.

Thankfully, the flight was a little more on time and professional, and it was a promising, glowing sunset as we arrived at Berlin Schoenfeld.

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Berlin

Last year there was a near disaster at the airport railway station - this year we were met at the airport by friends who were running a stall at the Fetish Fair, and as they knew the transport system it was a much less stressful journey to our hotel near Ostbahnof.

Thursday dawned with heavy cloud though, and as a few of us were going exploring I decided to wrap up - that meant skin-tight jeans and high heeled boots, of course!

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Berlin

It was a slow stroll towards the centre of Berlin, taking a small detour to walk along the bank of the River Spree.  Along the way we passed a stunning statue in a beautiful old square that I presumed as St. George fighting the mythical dragon.

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Berlin

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Berlin

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Berlin

Looking around the statue, I spied a lovely street and wandered down it.  It led to the wonderful Nikolaikirchplatz, circled around the lovely old church.

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Nikolaikirchplatz Berlin

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort -Niklolaikirch, Berlin

It was an amazing small part of old Berlin that I hadn't seen on my last trip, and was beautifully serene and breath-taking.  We strolled back to the Spree and continued the walk, passing by the grand Berliner Dom that I remembered from last year, and Wilfried Fitzenreiter's sculptures of Germanic ladies preparing to bathe in the cool waters of the Spree.

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Berlin Dom, Berlin

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - sculptures, Berlin

As we reached Hackescher Markt there were a few grumbles about getting a decent breakfast (the Ibis hotel where we were all staying isn't great in that respect), so we found the inviting and lovely Restauration 1840, who provided us all with the best breakfasts in Berlin.  Superb.  For just €10 I received a plate full of Hash Browns, mushrooms, tomatoes, kidney beans in a proper tomato-based sauce.

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Restauration 1840, Berlin

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Restauration 1840, Berlin

If you are ever in the city and looking for a breakfast that will keep you going until evening, I can thoroughly recommend this place.  It was a rather more heavy group that wandered out of the restaurant to continue the exploration of Berlin.

The intention was to have a look around the boutique Mitte area of Berlin, before wandering on.  I found a lovely little alley that led to the independent Central Kino (cinema).  I don't know why, but the rather decadent graffiti of Berlin really appeals to me.  I know it's certainly not to everyones taste, but I love it.

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Central Kino, Berlin

As we wandered the little shopping streets of Mitte, however, it began to dawn on us that it was very, very quiet - considering it was now midday.  I telephoned a German friend that we'd be meeting later on at the fetish events.  Unbeknown to us, Thursday, it transpired, was a Bank Holiday in Germany and unlike the UK, everything apart from bars, cafes and restaurants was shut.  Nevertheless, it didn't ruin the lovely stroll through the peaceful city centre streets, and I thought of how rushed, ceaseless and tiring our UK Bank Holidays have become in comparison.  Everywhere you looked Berliners were relaxing in bars and cafes, meeting friends, walking with their families and enjoying their social time.

We walked all the way up the bohemian Kastanienallee through the Mitte district, enjoying the chilled-out feel of this part of the city.  Despite the cool weather, it was a great way to see and feel this special part of Berlin.

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Kastanienallee, Berlin

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Kastanienallee, Berlin

After reaching the end of Kastanienallee, we decided to head back towards the centre.  I had arranged to meet friends who had arrived in the city earlier that morning, and as they were staying not far from Checkpoint Charlie I volunteered The Newton Bar that I loved so much last year.

I arrived in plenty of time thanks to a rapid taxi-ride through the deserted roads and settled in to wait for them.  The remainder of the afternoon was spent relaxing and drinking with friends, including having my most expensive measure of whiskey ever.  Yes, €69 bought one serving of Ardbeg's Lord Of The Isles whisky.  I'm not one for taking photos of food and drink usually, but this wasn't a normal glass of whisky...

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Newton Bar, Berlin

It was pretty fantastic, with lots of flavours hitting the tongue at different times - but I preferred the Ardbeg Galileo that I had back in 2012 at The Torridon Hotel.

A taxi-ride took me back to the hotel, where I collapsed into bed early, knowing that Friday and Saturday were fast approaching.

Friday arrived, and although clouds were still blooming across the sky it wasn't with the same greyness and heaviness of Thursday - indeed, there was even a promise of a bit of sunshine.  That was good news, as it was a longer stroll to the first day of the Fetish fair than last year.

We decided to take a detour through Kreuzberg in order to find some food before going to the Fetish Fair.  We struggled to decide on a cafe, as so many of the group wanted different things, and eventually compromised on a small Turkish-style cafe on Skalitzer Strasse.  It certainly didn't look too imposing from the outside, and I can't even remember the name, but the food was divine.  Indeed, one of the group said it was the best coffee he'd ever had.  After refuelling, we headed off to the Berlin Glashaus, the venue for the 2015 Berlin Fetish Fair.

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Kreuzberg, Berlin

The weather had improved significantly by now and the sun was out, giving a lovely summery feel to this eastern part of the city (the Glashaus is actually in what would have been the Soviet sector behind the infamous Berlin Wall).  It was an interesting approach to the Glashaus, with some lovely buildings and unusual sights to behold.

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Treptow, Berlin

I wasn't looking for anything in particular at the Fair in truth, as I already had my special outfits ready for both Friday and Saturday nights, but it was still a good opportunity to view the wares from fetish designers.  I did spend a bit of money on a gorgeous little playsuit that comprised naughty little shorts with a sheer fabric top section that I can't wait to wear, but there wasn't really a lot else that I wanted.  I did see some fabulous boots from a company called Fernando, but limited space in my suitcase meant that I couldn't but anything as bulky as that.  I will no doubt be perusing their website and dreaming of a pair of sexy high-heeled thigh boots for the next few months...

Dexi Delite, Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Fetish Fair, Berlin

It was also a good opportunity to meet friends, and I was really pleased to meet the lovely German couple that I had so much fun with at the last Fetish Ball - we promised to meet later at the Kit Kat Club for the start of the weekend.

By mid afternoon it was time to stroll back to the hotel in order to get a bit of rest.  Friday night would see the weekend start with a bang at the Kit Kat Club, followed by the main event on Saturday night.

And all of that will be in Part Two!

Oh, and as for the title of this Blog?  It translates as "You are crazy, my child. You must go to Berlin," from the composer Franz Von Suppe in 1800 - some things never change, as Friday night and Saturday night did get just a little wild...

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