Samstag, 23. August 2008

Danke - Thank you!

We had a wonderful time. Because we had wonderful guests. Thank you so, so much for that. Please do send us pictures and stories ... and we will put up all the great pictures with Larissa's card in our living room when we return from Croatia in two weeks time!

Mittwoch, 13. August 2008

Bring a raincoat!

The verdict on Saturday is still out, but if weather forecasts mean anything we have to be prepared to bike in the rain on Friday. So, if you plan to go biking, do bring a raincoat! The weather on Saturday is, for the moment, forecast to be quite cool (a high of 19 degrees C), so don't assume you will just need flip flops, please! We are looking forward to the fun anyway!

Samstag, 9. August 2008

Locations, locations ...

Just in case you can't find them on the map, here are links to all locations we want to share with you:
Kiki Blofeld (Thursday night), Freischwimmer (Saturday noon), Oekowerk (Saturday 6pm), our flat (Sunday noon). For those of you who have Google Earth, you can also find our roof terrace there. Look out for the pink chairs ;-).

How to find the Saturday ceremony ...

The ceremony on Saturday will take place at another hidden gem. So don't be surprised if you have to pass through Berlin's oldest petrol station (Aral) to get there. Here is a map (click on it to enlarge it):

Donnerstag, 7. August 2008

Visions of the future?

We are not even married yet, but projections of our future together are already flooding in. Here are two we received from good friends (or people we used to think of as such ... ;-) ). Which vision, we wonder, do you think is more likely?

Montag, 4. August 2008

Biking the Wall ...

"Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes in the buildings and the somber stones and pillars near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity. People of the world - look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one." - That's what Obama said when we 'met' him in Berlin a few days back. And it is true: Berlin remains special. The divided history of this city still boggles the mind. The U8, our local subway, for example, was one of the U-Bahn lines that went from West to West Berlin - via a bunch of closed "ghost stations" in East Berlin. Difficult to imagine now, especially for those of us who use it every day. - Sadly, Berlin has destroyed most of the outward signs of the divided history that makes Berlin unique. Western triumphalism, crass commercialism (much of the Wall was sold to rich Americans) and, of course, plans by developers were some of the things our city 'leaders' deemed more important than making the former Wall into a long, well preserved historic space for rememberence. In many places, you can only tell that you are walking on the former "death strip" because all the offices and housing is new (and expensive). Despite the best efforts of many idiotic Berlin politicians, though, the former Wall strip does remain unique - and it can be wonderfully explored by bike! For that, much thanks must go the Michael Cramer (now a Green MEP). He fought for - and then wrote an excellent guide to - the Wall cycle path. (There is also a pan-European one!). We will explore a very small part of this trail on the 15th of August. If you have told us you need a bike - or if you bring your own - show up at 11.45am at Pedalkraft, Skalitzer Str. 69, 10997 Berlin-Kreuzberg. We will head across the Oberbaumbruecke and along the East Side Gallery (Muehlenstr.). Then we will cut across the East (up on Lichtenberger Str. to the 'Stalinallee', up Muenzstr. and Brunnenstr) to the Bernauer Strasse Wall Memorial (the best of the lot in town. Forget Checkpoint Charlie!). We will have lunch on the way (probably a Falafel or something). It might be a good idea to bring some water (or whatever you like) with you for the ride! From the Bernauer Str., we will follow the wall back to Kreuzberg (via Gartenstr., Liesenstr., Boyenstr., then along the Berlin-Spandauer canal and the Alexanderufer and Schiffbauerdamm, along the Reichstag and the Holocaust Memorial to Potsdamer Platz. From there, via Stresemann-, Niederkirchner-, Zimmer- and Kommandantenstr. back to the Engelbecken and the Bethaniendamm (around the corner from where the No Cold Feet party will have ended just a few hours before ...). This trip will be our special wedding "Look at Berlin". No doubt, our running commentary will not be as rhetorically brilliant as one of Obama's speeches. But you will get to know some of our Berlin ....

Mittwoch, 23. Juli 2008

Hard choices: the evening location

We have found choosing the right evening party location hard, very hard. Partly because Berlin has so many great places to offer. And partly because we wanted a bit of an oxymoron: an urban location without neighbours, so that we do not have to worry about noise .... So, in the end, we are celebrating in a Berlin icon that isn't built up: the Grunewald. And our only neighbours will be midnight swimmers at the Teufelsee and the odd fox or two. The Oekowerk is truly idyllic. And there is much to explore for those of you who are bringing your kids! Which is why, when you get off the bus, there will be a bit of time to explore the place and just hang out. Something that you may want to keep in mind when choosing shoes ... . To give you a taste of what awaits you, here are some pictures we took on a recent visit. It will all look even better with all of you there, of course ;-). You can also see what the place looks like when there is a party on here. (The last picture above is the room where the kids will be having their fun ...).

Donnerstag, 17. Juli 2008

How to get to the (No) Cold Feet Party ...

Click on the image below to enlarge it. And find one of Berlin's (many) hidden gems on the 14th August! We can't wait - and hope that places like the Kiki Blofeld will survive now that we and our neighbours have said NO to the latest investor's dream for Berlin: Mediaspree ...

So, where is your card?

Here is another impression of where our (or rather: Larissa's) card has ended up around the world. This picture was taken in Bedford, UK. Not sure about the significance of the "Men are like floor tiles" slogan in the upper right corner. Daniel just hopes that Kathrin likes floor tiles (though he knows she prefers Dielen). Ah well ... P.S. Do let us know, if you haven't yet, whether you are coming and whether you need a bike for Friday the 15th!

Dienstag, 10. Juni 2008

Fair rings

Mining is a dirty business. No question about it. You need to move about 20 tonnes of earth to create enough gold for a wedding ring. Often cyanide is involved in the mining. And the people on whose land the mining takes places do not benefit. All too often, they have their soils poisoned, instead (auf Deutsch gibts hier einen interessanten Bericht von unserem Freund Marc Engelhardt aus Ghana). So, shopping for wedding rings troubled us. We want one (well, two), of course. We want beautiful ones, too. But we do not want to, quite literally, have blood on our hands. - We want to look at our hand to be reminded of the fun wedding (and of being committed to caring for each other even when we can't get up the stairs anymore ...). But we do not want to look at our hands and think of destruction. - Easy, we thought. We will just google "fair gold" or "fair wedding rings". We did ... - and were shocked at how little we could find. For all the talk of there being a consumer trend towards ethical consumerism - dirty gold few seem to want to address. We did find one neat place for silver rings, silverchilli, but were advised strongly against silver by some friends. Finally, we located the Atelier Dosch - as far as we could make out, the only place in Germany, that works with fair trade gold (and supports FIAN). So, while we haven't sorted many details for August, our wedding rings are ready. Beautiful. And fair. Thank you, Petra Hoch-Dosch.

Donnerstag, 29. Mai 2008

Ohne Worte

Dank an das Berliner Fenster fuer diesen netten Cartoon. Bei uns wird das Spiel aber anders gehen. Versprochen.

Dienstag, 20. Mai 2008

(No) Cold Feet

A million thanks to Xavier for this beautiful card. See you there! Here are some pictures of this special place (taken in winter; summer is even more amazing, of course):

Mittwoch, 7. Mai 2008

Front page material ...

Ok, not our wedding. Not on Hello - or any other rag. But at least the Freischwimmer - our chosen location for saying "yes, yes" - has star potential. It is on the cover of zitty - our chosen biweekly local Berlin magazine. If you happen to read German, find out here why it is the most beautiful place to be. Even without us, that is ;-)

Montag, 28. April 2008

Not quite a Waltz ...

As the day draws nearer, Daniel is getting more nervous about his commitment. Not to get married, mind you. But to dance Salsa in August ... - Truth be told, though, he probably couldn't pull off this wedding dance, either. (Thanks to Sylla for sending it our way!). Enjoy!

Montag, 31. März 2008

Wed and fly ...

Finding the right location for a wedding is not easy, I have learned. But why, oh Lord, would anyone get married at Schipol airport? Yet, people must - as this picture and the business that it advertises testifies. - I was amused that I noticed the ad at all (I am sure even six months ago I would not have). My flight was late, I was in a rush. But with a wedding on my mind, I could not but notice .... - I pity all sad souls who wed and fly. At our wedding, to the contrary, the person or group that travels furthest to it by rail, will receive a special "Wedding Environmental Award". That said, there is one airline themed location, that we are still waiting to hear back from and that is pretty cool. Have a look here.

Mittwoch, 12. März 2008

The 'W' word

Hannah - our 'best woman', in more than one senses - warned us. She told us: "You have to mention the word "wedding". Otherwise people will get confused. They will think it's just a party". We dismissed her fears - and we were wrong! Very wrong. Many of our English-speaking invitees (the German text is a little more explicit ...) sent us messages such as: "It looks like a wedding card, but is it????". Others announced: "I am not able to come to your party because I am having tea with my neighbour's dog" (ok, we made that one up). They looked puzzled when we seemed disappointed and questioned their priorities. Luckily, they changed their mind immediately when the truth was revealed and we mentioned the 'w' word. Good thing, too! Not only did that ensure more wonderful guests. More importantly, it proved our theory right: People will go out of their way to attend weddings. They will, however 'progressive', not do the same for a "commitment party" (or something similar). We suspected this. In fact, we had observed this as empirical fact over the years (including in ourselves). This analysis, to tell the truth, is one of the reasons we are tying the knot (and, yes, this does make it rather ironic that we did not include the "wedding selling point" in our invitation ...). Point is: We want all of you to meet. To share a special celebration with us. For this to happen, for better or worse, it appears that one has to get married. So, we will. And the number of people willing to come VERY far has already proven us right - and touched us. So - keep those confirmations coming please. Yes, we are getting married. And, yes, you MUST, therefore ;-), come!

Montag, 10. März 2008

A community defined by a card ...

Over the last few days I, Daniel, was in Hamburg and London and Surrey. I was lucky enough to stay with friends (or failing that, in their flats). And I truly enjoyed seeing Larissa's card everywhere I went. There is now a global community out there that is defined by having our wedding card in their house. Somehow, that excites me; though, of course, brining all card-bearing members of the world community together in August excites me even more! Not all cards are as lucky as the one that went to Red, which had the privilege of being unpacked by beautiful Luna (see picture above). Feel free to send us more pictures. Where do you keep your card??

Montag, 25. Februar 2008

May Kafka be with us!

Ok, it's official now. The German state has taken our cash and will, in turn, send one of its officials to the Freischwimmer - one of our favourite Berlin locations ... - at 12.30pm on the 16th August 2008 and have us married. So far, so good. But getting here was not easy (and we are not talking of finding Mr or Mrs Right; that's a whole different story ...). We are talking of the surreal hours we spent at the Standesamt Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain. They would have made Kafka write at least another novel, we think. They left us baffled and mouths wide open. We faced incomprehension in a manner we had not experienced since High School Maths. Oh, and we had to jump a fence, literally. - Rushing from work to take advantage of the one time in the week when the Registry Office (Standesamt) opens in the afternoon, we first had to get a waiting number (see picture) and wait for over an hour in a drab room full of toys (what are they getting at???) - and other couples ... An old man marrying a young girl; a young Turkish couple, who were so much cooler than us; a guy who'd come straight from his corporate job and his blonde. People we would never meet, and never will again. People all united in trying to not be as unromantic as the room that we were sitting in. I (Daniel) was nervous; afraid we had forgotten something. A feeling that was strengthened when we finally were called by a 'pling' of a machine to 'station 4' in room 8a (why not 9?). Here was the most curiously inefficient creature Kafka has never written about. A lady that asked us all sorts of questions the sense of which we could only guess at - and looked at us disapprovingly if we confessed our puzzlement. Staring at Kathrin's PhD certificate she informed us that "you have gained the title" (as in the PhD) but you have not achieved the "academic grade" (akademischer Grad). A few days later, we still don't get it, so if you do, please enlighten us. And don't be surprised if plain Kathrin is getting married on the 16th of August. We gave up arguing after being informed in several ways we did not understand that the Standesamt is a different kind of "Personenstandsbehoerde" than the Meldeamt and that whatever is written in one's passport is not at all relevant when it comes to the special business of tying the knot .... The only thing we did understand was that this woman was only there to tell us that really we must go and speak with the woman next door. The lady next door will do the "schreiben" (writing) - but she can't read, somehow, so we had to come back to the first lady for her to read everything the other one had written out to us again. Whatever. - The 'typing lady' was friendly, though. And all went well - until we had to state our "profession". Daniel stuck with the truth: "Greenpeace activist". But he was swiftly informed that "mentioning Greenpeace in the ceremony would constitute advertising". Of course! What a clever way to fundraise (and Daniel does feel bad for not thinking of it): "Hey darling, Greenpeace needs some money. Shall we get married?" ... - Anyway, talking of money, after two hours we finally got a chance to pay loads of it. But only because we told the first lady what everything costs. She had tried to calculate it on a post it note and got a little lost. Ah well. - With much relief and some pride at having completed the task in the first sitting (most couples we know had to come back several times to hand over the correct paper work ...) we left the building with a spring in our step. Only to realize that we were actually locked in between the building's door and the gate. It being after 7, no janitor could be found. No bells were answered. We were trapped. Hoping that this sense of imprisoment is not somehow symbolic of the married journey we plan to embark upon, we did what we had to do. We jumped the fence - and smiled. Somewhere in the Kreuzberg night, we think we heard Kafka laughing ....

Donnerstag, 17. Januar 2008

Kathrin and Daniel, 16. August 2008

Liebe Leute,

wir trauen uns - aber nur wenn ihr mit uns feiert!
Und zwar am 16. August 2008 in Berlin! Details folgen - zusagen aber bitte schon jetzt.
Wir freuen uns auf Euch!

Dear friends,
come and celebrate (with) us. Book now to be in Berlin on the 16th August 2008 at the latest. Details will follow - but please be so kind to confirm now.
We can‘t wait to welcome you to Berlin.

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Kathrin & Daniel

We thank Larissa Bertonasco for the design of our card - have a look at