Programme for the InterNations visit to Dokumenta 14, Kassel, June 2017

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Work in progress since there are not yet any details of what will be exhibited where. I will, however, try to  place the largest and/or seemingly most interesting venues on Saturday and Sunday since most people (I assume) are arriving on Friday evening.

Note that as from the morning of Thursday 22 June, all communications in the group about where and when to meet for drinks and meals will be done via Whatsapp.

The “skeleton” looks like this:

Thursday 22 June

19.00 Joint dinner for those who are already in Kassel

Friday 23 June

10.00 Art visit

13.00 Lunch

14.30 Art visit

A meeting for coffee/drinks can be organised in the late afternoon

19.00 Dinner

Saturday 24 June

10.00 Art visit

13.00 Lunch

14.30 Art visit

A meeting for coffee/drinks can be organised in the late afternoon

19.00 Dinner

Sunday 25 June

10.00 Art visit

13.00 Lunch



The legendary Tempelhof Airport

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Photos from a guided tour of what Norman Forster called “the mother of all modern airports”.

“First Friday of Every Month”

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Information added 6 May 2017: “First Friday ……” is (temporarily?) suspended. The concept is not working. This is Berlin. Too many other things get in the way :-).


Neueste Nachrichten zuerst/Latest news first.

Der nächste “First Friday ….” ist  Freitag 2. Juni/The next “First Friday ….. is Friday 2 June.

Die Rezepte aus dem ersten “First Friday ….” (3. Februar) sind hier/The recipes from the first “First Friday ….” (3 February) are here:




Please scroll down for the English version. First, here is a really bad German version:


Ich versuche ein Experiment: “Erster Freitag jeden Monats”.

Ich genieße, von Zeit zu Zeit zu kochen, und Freunde und Bekannte um ein hausgemachtes Essen einzuladen. Allerdings bin ich von der Formalität und den Beschränkungen von „Sit-down-Dinners“ müde, und es ist mein Eindruck, dass es sowieso nicht so ein großes “Berlin-Ding” ist (besonders Bescheid geben ob man kommt odernicht, und das pünktliche Auftauchen scheinen hier fast unmöglich.

Deshalb sind die von meinen hart arbeitenden Freunden und die wenigen mit-Rentner(innen), die ich kenne, und die Lust haben vorbeizukommen um was zu Essen und Wein trinken, leichte Schwätzchen und ernste Gespräche führen, ihre Füße hochlegen und sogar fernsehen, wenn das so ist, wie sie sich fühlen (besonders wenn jemand herausfinden kann, wie es funktioniert ….) hier jeden ersten Freitag des Monats willkommen, ohne mir vorher im Voraus mitzuteilen, ob sie kommen.

Habe ich schon erwähnt, dass es ein Experiment ist und dass Informalität entscheidend ist? Falls es plötzlich nichts mehr zu essen gibt, werden wir einfach Pizza oder Sushi oder was auch immer bestellen. Sollte jemand Lust haben, Essen/Getränke mitzubringen, ist das natürlich auch OK aber keine Voraussetzung.

Wenn du über eventuelle Änderungen informiert werden möchtest, dann bitte deine E-Mail-Adresse mitteilen, wenn ich sie noch nicht habe. Alternativ kannst du auch der Facebook-Gruppe “First Friday of Every Month” anschließen, aber das ist nur in Englisch.

Das erste Mal ist Freitag 3. Februar, ab 18.00 Uhr, aber bereits im März wird es Freitag 10. März.


PS: Wenn du Bier und oder viel Coca Cola oder Fanta oder was auch immer trinkst, muss ich dich für 3. Februar beten, es selbst mitzubringen. Wegen neuliche Graue Star Operationen darf ich bis Ende Februar nichts lüften.


Hopefully, the English version is better J:


I am trying out an experiment: “First Friday of Every Month”.

I enjoy cooking from time to time, and to invite friends and acquaintances around for a home-cooked meal. However, I am tired of the formality and restrictions of sit-down dinners, and it is my impression that those are not such a great “Berlin thing” anyway (especially the part about turning up fairly punctually …. not to mention the whole R.S.V.P. thing).

Therefore, those of my hard-working friends, and the few fellow retirees I know, who feel like coming round for some food and wine, idle chats and serious conversations, putting their feet up and even watching TV if that is what they feel like doing (especially if somebody can figure out how to make it work ….) are welcome here every first Friday of the month without having to tell me in advance whether they are coming.

Did I mention it is an experiment and that informality is key? If we run out of food, we just have to order pizza or sushi or whatever. Should anyone feel like bringing food/drinks that is of course also OK but not a requirement.

If you would like to be kept informed of any changes that may arise, please let me have your e-mail address if I do not have it already. Alternatively, please join the Facebook group called “First Friday of Every Month”.

The first time will be Friday 3 February, as from 18.00 hrs, but note that there is a change already in March where the date is Friday 10 March.

PS: If you drink beer and/or coke or fanta or whatever, I need to ask you to bring it yourself for 3 February. Due to recent cataract surgery I am not supposed to lift anything heavier than a glass of redwine till the end of February.

Support group for new Berliners with refugee background

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I am starting to host regular meetings for women with refugee background for exchange of experience and advice, for stress counselling, for networking and empowering, for getting together and organising mutual help and support, understanding letters from authorities, accompaniment to medical appointments, going for walks, visiting exhibitions – the wishes and needs of the members of the group will set the agenda. I will provide the space and the coffee, and sometimes a cake or lunch, for the meetings which will take place in my home in Kreuzberg/Mitte (within walking distance from Spittelmarkt and Kochstraße U-Bahn stations as well as bus M29 and 248 (the latter stops almost at the door), and for a large part be conducted in English. Spoken English is therefore a big advantage but not an absolute requirement.

If you are interested in joining, then please join this Facebook group:

At the moment, there are more non-refugee members in the group (for want of a better term I currently call them resource persons) ready to help if and when needed, than there are women with refugee background. This could mean that the interest is not there, but from what I hear, this is hard to believe. Therefore, if you do not want to register in the facebook group, please e-mail me a line or two about yourself and I will include you in a separate e-mail or whatsapp mailing list.

Convertible roast leg of lamb

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NOTE: you need to start the day before you want to serve it.

The meat becomes very tender when marinaded and cooked this way.

If there are leftovers, blend the marinade and juices assembled in the pan, dice the meat and add , to make a lamb curry. When reheated the meat becomes even more tender.

A 3-3.5 kg leg of lamb (in Berlin easiest found in Turkish supermarkets or butchers).

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 heaped tblsp coriander seeds

1 heaped tsp black pepper corns

Seeds from 6 cardamom pods

3 cinnamon sticks (Ceylon or Sri Lanka – NOT cassia)

3 dl yoghurt

8-10 garlic cloves

8-10 cm fresh ginger

150 g ground almonds

Juice of 1 lemon

Chili – any way, shape or form, whatever you have in the house, and to taste

2 tsp salt


The day before you want to serve the dish, cut deep slashes in the meat on all sides.

Grind the spices. Blitz the ginger and garlic in a small food processor with a bit of water.

Mix all ingredients together and rub all over the meat and into every cut and cranny. Put in a solid plastic bag suitable for storing food, or a snugly fitting bowl and cover. Refrigerate over night.

Preheat oven to 180 Celcius. Place lamb in a deep baking tray. Add about 1.5 dl water to the bottom of the pan. Bake for 2.5 to 3 hours.

Homemade body cream

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This is less oily than a lot of other homemade creams and lotions:

One quarter cup grated beeswax

One quarter cup carrier oil (I prefer argan, sweet almond, apricot, avocado or jojoba)

One quarter cup shea butter

One half cup coconut oil

One cup distilled water

1 tsp vitamin E oil

10 drops Frankinsense oil

10 drops Cedarwood oil

Heat carrier oil and beeswax in a bowl placed over a pot of gently boiling water till the beeswax has just melted. Add shea butter and moments later coconut oil and melt. Remove from heat.

When cooled some, but still soft, whisk while adding the distilled water little by little. Keep whisking till light and fluffy. This can take a while.

Add essential oils and stir in.

Keep in small, clean jars and refrigerate what will not be used within 2-3 weeks.

Homemade facial serum for problem areas

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Mix the following and use on trouble areas (eyes, mouth, neck, …..)

5 drops Frankincense eo

5 drops Myrrh eo

5 drops Lavender eo

1-2 drops Rose eo

2 drops Helichrysum or Geranium eo

5 ml argan oil (other good carrier oils are almond, jojoba and rosehip.

Südwestkirchhof Stahnsdorf

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Impressions from a guided walk on Südwestkirchhof Stahnsdorf

(Click photos to expand and for slideshow)

Madrid February 2017 – gallery walks and art fairs

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Day 1 (arrival)

I wish I had known BEFORE I did the research and completed the two gallery walks outlined below that there is actually a website which maps out the contemporary art galleries in Madrid. It did not come up in a google search, and either the art group in InterNations Madrid did not know about it, or they decided it should remain a well-kept secret. Anyway, for next time (for example the gallery weekend in September, which unfortunately coincides with the Berlin Art Week), here it is, and the Facebook group is here.

My relatively short art walk on day 1 started in La Casa Encendida, Ronda Valencia 2, and continued to C/ Doctor Fourquet with six galleries in the numbers as follows: 5 – Joaquín García, 8 – Sin Fin, 9 – Juan Risso, 12 – Bacelos, 17 – Espacio Minimo, and 35 – Alegria. However, be aware that they have very limited, and very erratic opening hours. Heaven forbid that they attract visitors by coordinating their opening hours like galleries in the rest of the world logically do. Also, the numbering seems to be a complete mess. The walk ended in CaixaForum – a must visit, especially for the architecture.

Note to self: Many tapas restaurants in C/del Leon.

(Click photos to expand and for slideshow)

Day 2

This is (more or less) the map of my gallery walk on day 2. There were more galleries to visit along the way, for example Gallery Antonio Suner, but for some reason, google maps cannot cope with more than ten destinations in one map.

Day 3

Impressions from a long walk:

And later visited a new international fair for contemporary art: Urvanity. Not the biggest fair I have ever visited.

Day 4:

ARCO International Fair for Contemporary Art

On the way there:

Impressions from the fair which, with close to 200 galleries in two large halls, must be one of the biggest contemporary art fairs in the world:

(Note to self: Next time, set aside more than three hours, and do not plan on going to the opera in the evening).

Followed by a snack on Plaza del Oriente before going to the opera.

Day 5

First, a visit to JustMad Emerging Art Fair:

Followed by Drawing Room:

The Berlin-based gallery Collectiva had a stand there (the last two photos above).

Some more walking:

And finally, a visit to the botanical gardens:

On my final day in Madrid I walked south to the river. Through the whole city, both sides of the river are now a recreational area with walking and biking paths, playgrounds etc.









Loving Berlin: On the waterfront 2016

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Stress counselling. Proofreading. Photography. Cooking.