Spending the Summer in Berlin

It’s not news that I’ve been flirting with the city of Berlin for several years now. I visited the city for the first time back in 2007, a trip tacked on to the end of my yearly trip to Copenhagen for reboot, to allow me to see the Plazes operation close-up. Among other things, that visit netted me some work with Plazes, and that work took me back to Berlin the following January for PlazeCamp.

Two years later I was back in the city with Oliver for our spring vacation and much father-and-son merriment, and this February I seized the opportunity to return yet again, this time for the Cognitive Cities conference (a conference organized in part by Igor, who I first met in the lobby of the CAB INN City hotel in Copenhagen during reboot, proving that life is indeed a Möbius strip).

Suffice to say the every visit to Berlin I uncover another layer of interestingness, meet another group of great people, find another great place for coffee, and generally fall for the place a little harder.

When I came back from Berlin this spring, my brother Johnny suggested, over coffee one morning, that Catherine and Oliver and I should just pick up and go to Berlin for the summer; little did he know that he idle suggestion proved the catalyst for exactly that.

Choosing to leave Prince Edward Island for the summer is, on many levels, completely absurd. It’s not hard to argue that the only time of the year that PEI is actually habitable by humans is from June through October, especially coming off the end of the winter-of-snow-ice-and-perpetual-illness.

We love summer on the Island. But you can’t spend the summer in two places at once, and so after 17 summers spent here, we’re going to take one summer off and beta test both living in Europe and living in a big city.

Catherine and I both have the benefit of being able to work anywhere (although Catherine’s artistic endeavours do make it harder to take all her gear – looms, sewing machines, easels, anvils – with her, so she has to be more improvisational). And Oliver, after years of intensive training-through-travel, is quite happy to pick up and leave home for his summer vacation. We’ve worked hard to forge this flexible life framework, and so this summer’s the time to take it out for a ride.

We land in Berlin on July 12 and are renting the same Kreuzberg apartment I stayed at in February through until August 18. I’m hot-desking at Betahaus to avoid the ergonomic hell of trying to work from the dining room table (and to afford the possibility of a work social life), have been in touch with the folks at Druckwerkstatt about using their letterpress for part of the summer, and Catherine is busy ferreting out all the radical craft laboratories in Berlin to try and carve out a space for herself (if you happen to run an anarchist weaving coop in Berlin, please get in touch!).

No summertime trip to Europe would be complete without a swoop up to Malmö, Sweden, so from August 19 to 26 we’re pickup up and relocating the operation, affording us an opportunity to spend some time with Olle and Luisa and Morgan and Jonas and, I hope, with Henriette and others on the Danish side. Morgan had made promise of crayfish, and Luisa of a craftmaking workshop in the countryside.

We’re back on the Island for the tail-end of summer; a week later Oliver starts school again, leaving us a week to cram in all the beach-going, seafood-eating activities we’d otherwise have several months for.


Matthew's picture
Matthew on May 28, 2011 - 19:11 Permalink

how exciting!! viel spaß.

Peter Marquis-Kyle's picture
Peter Marquis-Kyle on May 29, 2011 - 08:35 Permalink

You can spend the summer in two places at once, in a way, if just one of those places is in the southern hemisphere…

Chuck's picture
Chuck on May 31, 2011 - 17:35 Permalink

Excellent news, Peter. Enjoy the summer. We may be doing something similar next year, only in rural France. As always, I’ll read your travel notes with great interest.