A morning commute may not seem a particularly inspiring journey. But the office where I work is close to my apartment, meaning I now walk to work each day. After crawling out of bed in the morning and again after long hours at a desk, I enjoy the chance to stretch my legs along the pavement.
I start down the five flights of stairs in my building and step outside onto quiet Schlegelstrasse. From there it's a short distance to Chaussestrasse, where I turn left and head toward Friedrichstrasse. Chaussestrasse and Friedrichstrasse are full of morning rush, delivery trucks and suit-clad bikers that remind me another busy day is beginning. Thai, Chinese and German restaurants are closed, but the bakeries are open, and if I am groggy I splurge on the unsatisfying German imitation of an iced coffee. At certain corners, whiffs of raw sewage remind me that Berlin is too broke to fix its pipes.
I turn west onto Rheinhardtsrasse for the final leg of my journey. There are more trucks, but the storm drains don't smell as putrid.
All along my route, just beyond the loud streets, life is more hushed. I pass the quiet cemetery where Brecht's bones sleep. Later, the commons in front of a Humboldt University cafeteria, hours before anyone has opted to lunch on the lawn. The gardens and leafy campus of the Charite medical school inspire me to find a greener, quieter route -- a hypotenuse to my typical right-angled commute.
But I never do. I wake up late or leave work in a rush, heading straight to the busier streets.