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Tuesday 18 Aug
Berlin, Germany

Reminiscence

Rather guiltily, the most interesting feature of my visit to Berlin ended up being various forms of nostalgia for the Middle East. I thought I had left antiquity behind, but I discovered that the Pergamon Museum is basically a series of large-scale reconstructions of ancient cities, which is just really cool. Then there is a museum of Islamic civilisation which again made me regret not going to Iran.

I also discovered Kreuzberg, an interesting and rather Turkish neighbourhood of Berlin. This led to a different type of naughty nostalgia. The strangest moment was when I somehow spotted a spelling mistake on a Turkish sign. I spent the next half an hour figuring out what the word in question means and how it was possible that I knew it.

Later, I saw the words foul and fatteh written in the window of a Lebanese restaurant and was inordinately excited. They didn't have them. So I ordered some felafel or something and wondered why they gave me a basket with one piece of bread in it. There was a good reason: it was horrible. I didn't even eat the whole piece of bread. Once again this demonstrates that some things just aren't the same anywhere else in the world.

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