Journey to the Centre of Myself

Journey to the Centre of Myself by Andie M. Long Read Free Book Online

Book: Journey to the Centre of Myself by Andie M. Long Read Free Book Online
Authors: Andie M. Long
hotel. I carry on walking down Friedrichstrasse, passing a shopping complex full of designer wear. There’s a display of expensive classic and sports cars in the window, as if it’s natural to call in from the street and buy a Porsche. After a few minutes, I come to the most astonishing chocolate shop.
    Set in a six-story building based on Charlottenstrasse, the windows are filled with miniature replicas of all the sights in Berlin. I walk in and stare at the Brandenburg gate. The aroma from the shop is intense, but the richness for me comes from the sight of so much chocolate. Down one entire wall is a glass covered counter that houses two hundred different handcrafted pralines in multiple flavours, and forty chocolate tortes. I study the tortes with the attention of a quality control expert. I stare at one, in particular, it’s like a sculpture. An oval chocolate shape sits in front of a triangle of chocolate with a rectangular piece placed through holes in the shapes. The whole structure sits atop a cylinder of the silkiest dark chocolate. The description reads ‘Crunchy Nougat on light and dark sponge cake with an Amarena cherry and wafer-thin Amacado Plantagen Schokolade.’ I have to have one. At six euros, I declare it a bargain for such a piece of art and within a minute it’s wrapped and mine. A quick scan of a leaflet about the history of the shop reveals it’s the world’s largest chocolate house. I’ll call back for more chocolate before I leave Berlin, but for now, I take my torte and leave.
    On the pavement, I see the sign for the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market. There are several other people strolling in that direction, so I follow them, noting the route I’m taking as I walk. The market is bustling. Entrance fee paid I step inside. It’s so busy there can’t be a millimetre between people. I’m nervous, both for myself and for the safe keeping of my torte as I’m bashed around. Shall I leave? I stand on my tiptoes and see little-domed shops selling, amongst other things, cheese sandwiches, a type of pizza, wood carvings and embroidery. A couple of stalls have Christmas decorations, but I pass these by. I decide to stay, interested in the different food and drink stalls. I pass a stall serving Gluewein, a mead-like drink. You can buy it and return the glass for a partial refund, or keep it. It has the name and year of the market and would be a fabulous souvenir. I purchase one and stand by an open fire, grateful for the warmth and both fascinated and almost hypnotised by the flame.
    As I stand, something feels off, a little uncomfortable, and then I realise that I’m happy. This is something so alien and forbidden I expect it to be followed by a seismic shift back to darkness. I decide to risk it for once, allowing myself to embrace the pleasure and enjoy this amazing new place. What looks like a youth dance troupe comes onto a small stage and performs a Christmas-themed ballet dance. They are all dressed as little elves. It’s been a long time since I allowed myself to look at children, but I feel free here, and I’m mesmerised. I can’t stop smiling at the little stumbles, the mini-professionals, and the ones who try to catch their parents’ eyes with a proud gesture from both sides.
    My stomach growls and I know I need to have a decent meal. On my way to the market, I spotted a cabin type structure with basic wooden tables, striped tablecloths and with a menu of only three meals. I go inside and they seat me at a small table in the main stream of traffic in and out of the restaurant, where I realise I’ll be prone to being jostled around again. However, it’s cosy and warm inside and has a great atmosphere. People are huddled and chatting. I order a coke and the duck.
    They bring no extra glass, so I pour my coke into a wine glass on the table and take a drink. The bubbles hit the back of my nose. I can’t see any bathrooms, so, mindful of the fact I’ve just had a Gluwein, I vow to

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