Matt Potter ... writing, and then some

quirky stories, amusing and true ... or not


Below are some delicious quotes from the second section of my travel memoir Hamburgers and Berliners and other courses in between (Červená Barva Press, August 2015).

Find more quotes from the first half of the book by going to a taste of 'Hamburgers' - click here 

You can order Hamburgers and Berliners direct from the publisher at The Lost Bookshelf by clicking here, or from Small Press Distribution by clicking here.



I even watched another guest take a pot from the table where the fresh pots stand (near the door), whereupon before she could even lift the pot again to pour her cup after sitting down, a waitress swooped down, poured the coffee for her, and asked for her room number. Yes, I thought, taking a pot for myself would not be the done thing.

from Berlin wieder


Asparagus, I guess, is that kind of food: not that substantial but still worth having. Eat it slow–ly. 

from Spargel Zeit


So May Day is a public holiday here, I realised, spying a café that was open with two men outside drinking beer. (It was late ... 10.15am.) 

from Mai Tag


And while I always tell ESL students they should just forge ahead and damn the mistakes if they make them (as it is all about communicating and not so much about being 100% correct with the language) I don’t always practice what I preach.

from Alles bitte, aber ohne Salz


What often happens with these sort of neighbourhoods (and this is worldwide, not just Berlin) is the gays see its potential early and move in, pretty it up, make it a happening thing ... and then the non-gay yuppies move in ... And up go the prices. 

from Mütter sind Königinnen in Prenzluer Berg und die andere Königinnen mögen nicht es! 


But what also made me smile was that I knew what the words actually said as well as what they referred to.

from Ich habe nichts gegen München


Die Frau at the Information Desk tells me (after I tell her what I want) that I should take a number and wait. So I take a number and wait. I am no 170 and number 151 has just flashed on the LCD screen.

from Ich habe meine neue Adresse in Berlin registieren und dann habe ich eine orange Baseballkappe gekauft


And the other night we had lightning again (yes, Berlin sits in a kind of bowl and often has thunder and lightning at night) and the chandelier kept flickering on. Then it stayed on. Then it flickered off and stayed off. I am hoping it is just the sticky tape keeping it off and not the Berlin weather gods. 

from Ich habe ein Kronleuchter in meinem Schlafzimmer. 


And this changes things, because I am already in the system. I can see my details – once she types in my full name and date of birth, which she gets from my passport (in my bag, as always) – on her computer screen. I chuckle. It seems so strange to me to be in a German computer system, even now, when I must be in so many.

from Ich habe meine neue Adresse in Berlin registieren und dann habe ich eine orange Baseballkappe gekauft


The only really interesting thing to happen all afternoon was a couple having sex. They were older and, weirdly, straight: a man and a woman, together! In the gay area! 

from Im Nacktbadpark


It wasn’t ’til I came to Germany that I ever thought of potato salad as something you can eat in winter. To me it is always associated with summer and barbecues and beetroot juice sloshing around white paper plates mixing with the tomato sauce and making the plates live up to their reputation for disposability. But here potato salad is as constant as “rauchen und Bier”.

from Ist Kartoffelsalat der Nationalsalat?


I thought it was just another twist on the black coffee issue, where I ask for black coffee and someone gives me black coffee with milk on the side in a little stainless steel jug. 

from Ich dachte, Sie sagten, “Mit Sahne”


I was trying on a pair of jeans when a woman shop assistant asked me, “Mögen Sie Frauen oder Männer?” Berliners have a reputation for being more open and honest than other (at least, northern) Germans so perhaps she was just being “Berlinerin”.

from Mögen Sie Frauen oder Männer


A quick glance at the name and the decor of the restaurant did not reveal if ‘Spargel’ was some sort of dish native to the restaurant’s theme or ethnicity, so I guessed that it was something in season.

from Spargel Zeit


So on Monday I found another long brown hair in the underwear I was wearing ... surely it didn’t get to Berlin via Hamburg and Australia? I can only surmise that it belonged to the wife of the couple who own the flat I am staying in. She is Venezuelan and has gorgeous long Latina locks.

from Alles bitte, aber ohne Salz


But I have been bad-mouthing Hamburg and Hamburgers to Berliners (Berliners love this) so maybe Hamburg is waiting to exact revenge.

from Mai Tag


But it was a celebration, in a way, of the many. There were all shapes and sizes, and a bit of looking around and comparing, but actually not that much.

from Im Nacktbadpark


I did see something different: a skillet for making your own pancakes! A sign asked guests to only use it for pancakes. I guess someone intrepid had used it for frying cheese or toasting bread perhaps!

from Berlin wieder 


It is a wonder I am not suffering whiplash. I pass countless prams and pushers and find it really hard not to peer at what’s inside. And smile.

from Mütter sind Königinnen in Prenzluer Berg und die andere Königinnen mögen nicht es!


Newcomers to Berlin have expressed surprise or annoyance at the different numbering systems from district to district. I guess it just contributed to the general chaos that is Berlin ... and which many people celebrate.

from Meine Straße heißt Rostockerstraße


“Fuck him!” I wanted to say. But didn’t. I just laughed and thought that of all the great, bright t-shirts I could have worn, I chose one of the dullest because of this control freak guy.

from Ich dachte, Sie sagten, “Mit Sahne” 


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