interfilm berlin (festival, citywide). we've had the good luck to stumble on several film festivals while on foreign adventures: montreal's festival du nouveau cinéma, the reykjavík international film festival, and, for 2016, berlin's 32nd annual short film festival. we did our damndest to catch the sci-fi program (which was heavy on extraplanetary disasters and draconian population control, as one would expect) and the horror program (held on our final night in town), but cooler heads than mine prevailed; starting a late-night film extravaganza hours before catching a flight to milan and a flight to new york probably wasn't the soundest plan, even if it was the best plan. german audiences don't seem to be as forward as american festival audiences i've known, and the largely questionless q&a sessions after a few of the films were kind of painful (particularly the one where the woman whose empty beer i knocked over as i tried to sneak out to the bathroom turned out to be the writer-director of the short we'd just seen), but the works themselves were marvelous, and the venues (or what i could tell of them from their websites) were gorgeous. we'll be back.

michelberger hotel (hotel, friedrichshain). the michelberger did not let us check in at 7 am, or 8 am, or any of the other hours before 3 pm, which hurt, given that our train from leipzig deposited us at the station just after dawn. that said, we were motivated to burn an hour and a half or so walking along the remains of the berlin wall, which was just across the river, and i was awake for hotel breakfast (which was staggeringly good; here's to you, german hipster breakfast) for the first time in years. my sister and brother-in-law raved about the michelberger after staying there a few years ago as part of a eurotrip for a small-town polish wedding at which people woke up the next day with sausages tucked into their clothes (we need to befriend art-school people who seem like they might get married), and they were right; it was cheap as hell (something like 90 euros a night), the room was large (i feared i'd mangle myself on the ladder up to the spacious sleeping loft, but it wasn't nearly as dangerous as it looked), we were right across the (very wide) street from the warschauer straße s-bahn station (a girl on the train-style commuter with binoculars could have watched me apply ultraprecise german salve to my bowie-tribute tattoo each morning when we threw open the drapes), and we were within walking distance of kreuzberg's greatest hits. they made their own schnapps and canned their own coconut water. they played the big lebowski in the hall at all hours of the day and night (to be fair, half of berlin did that). they let us sneak rosé and a bottle opener upstairs when we were too tired to mingle in the hotel bar. stay at the michelberger, especially if you were thinking of an airbnb instead (most short-term airbnbs in berlin are now super-illegal, thanks to last may's zweckentfremdungsverbot).

monkey bar (bar, tiergarten). can one really say one has been to berlin if one hasn't been to a tiki bar overlooking the zoo? don't answer that. we ventured up to monkey bar to investigate monkey 47, a black-forest-produced gin based on a recipe scribbled down decades and decades ago by a homesick brit who named his hooch after his favorite primate. parts of that story are likely apocryphal, but the cocktail piece in which i mentioned the booze and the bar were very real, so we queued at an elevator bank for like half an hour and were carried into the sky to sip tiki drinks and rub elbows with tiergarten's prettiest (and some tourists). the mango maniac slushy, a seasonal special, was one of the best tropical drinks i've had in the last couple of years. if you can manage to make it to monkey bar's terrace in time to watch the sun set over the elephant enclosure at the zoo, you'll probably feel like a master of the universe.

neues ufer (bar, schöneberg). "do you follow american football at all?" robert, the impossibly young fellow behind the bar at david bowie's old local, asked. "i was asked to go play for the ducks of oregon, or for alabama." (he decided to join the german military instead, and will be leaving the bar in a few months.) if you catch them in repose, the folks at neues ufer don't listen to all that much david bowie; they hear hours and hours of him when tourists come through after visiting his apartment down the block, and his face has been on every wall since his death in january. i believe we listened to michelle branch as we chatted with regulars about donald trump and i shifted on my seat and tried not to harass my new tattoo. i think robert would have gone to oregon rather than to alabama, but it sounds like he ended up in the right place anyway. a stately woman with a perfect rooster wished us well as we folded ourselves back into the rain: "have a nice life!"

*part I is here.

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