Places with books: an old telephone cell in Berlin

Last week I went to the Dutch embassy in Berlin to get my passport renewed. On the drive there, a couple hundred meters before arriving at our destination, I spotted a telephone cell, lined with books. Obviously, I had to go back there after renewing my passport. It’s between the river Spree and the Kupfergraben, a canal. Besides all the work that’s being done on the streets, it’s quite a lovely part of Berlin. The telephone cell was right next to Novotel Berlin Mitte, on the B1 (Bundesstraße 1). It looked absolutely lovely, so you’ll understand that I had to take a picture and have a look inside. By the time I got there, I had to wait… someone else had just gone in. And there’s just not enough space for more than one person in these things.

It’s not too far away from the Alexanderplatz and the Fernsehturm. So, if you’re ever in Berlin and need something to read, or perhaps want to drop off a book. This is at least one place you could visit.

Of course I had to pick up a book. I’d never heard of this one before, but the premise sounded very intriguing. Hopefully it’s a good one, because it’s huge (800+ pages). If not, you’ll all remember how I finally managed to DNF books, so I’m sure I’ll be fine.

Ps. I don’t really go looking for any of these, but I’m always very excited to see them and like to have a look around. Perhaps I’ll find my next favorite book there!

Glanerbrug Boekenbeurs 2017

Just like last year, the last weekend of January meant that there was going to be a second hand book fair in Glanerbrug (Enschede, the Netherlands). I’ve been there for the past couple of years and wrote about it last year as well. I explained that all of the money they raise goes to several different charities. If you’d like to read that, you can find it here.

This year, I ended up buying 10 different books (one for the boyfriend), for a total of 20 Euros. Not bad, right? Unfortunately, I was too absorbed in my book-buying, that I forgot to take any pictures at the book fair. Oops.

One cool new thing was, that when we bought the books, we all received a reusable linen bag. Love it!


6066864Now, let’s check out the books I bought. Some of them I’ve read before, some of them I’ve
just heard good things about. All of them are going to be read one day!

  1. Tirza by Arnon Grunberg
  2. The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov
  3. Second Foundation by Issaac Asimov
  4. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  6. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller4588
  7. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
  8. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  9. Camera Obscura by Hildebrand
  10. Hitler’s Kinder by Guido Knopp

Reading Lasses (Wigtown, Scotland)

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The Reading Lasses in Wigtown Scotland isn’t just a bookstore. It’s also a cafe where you can get something to eat or drink, while sitting down to read, or standing to browse through all the bookshelves all around you.

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They don’t only have the prettiest plant pots in front of their windows, the cutest old-fashioned tea-cups, but also a room completely dedicated to women’s literature. All the books in the room have been written by female authors and some amazing books can be found in there. In the same room, there was a whole shelf with lesbian fiction.

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The food is very nice and the service is great, so if you need something to eat while book shopping in Wigtown, I can definitely recommend this place.

Weirdly enough, the book I picked up here was by a male author: Perfect People by Peter James. Hopefully I can give you a review for that pretty soon, because the synopsis sounds amazing!

The Book Shop (Wigtown, Scotland)

As The Book Shop in Wigtown proclaims to be the biggest second hand book shop in Scotland, I couldn’t not go there. It really is a ginormous book shop, even if it doesn’t look it as you first step foot into it.

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20160705_121647The store has been divided into many, many rooms, nooks and crannies that you can go in to find that perfect book. I’ve added some pictures to show you what it was like. What I don’t have a picture of though, is the shed in the back, where you go for books about gardening and animals. It’s perfect!

What I did find unfortunate however, is the height of the shelves. They’re so, terribly high! I couldn’t even read what the titles of the books were on the top shelves, let alone reach for them. There are ladders all around the store, but it’s a hassle setting them up. So, I wasn’t about to figure out what was on the top shelves.

There is another shelve with just antique books. They look gorgeous, and for obvious reasons are expensive.

I loved the bed they set up in the shop, where you could lay down and read if you got tired. I’m not sure if anyone ever did. But I did go up there, just to check out what it was like. On top of that, there were some very comfortable seats with a type writer and a fireplace. What gets better than that?
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20160705_121250What I was a little disappointed by, was the small amount of fiction books they sell. Sure, it’s still a massive amount. However, compared to the total amount of books you can find in this store, it’s only a fraction. I’d say less than ten percent, if I’d had to guess. Of course, there are plenty of other books to look at, but I’ve got to admit I’m not much for reading about sports, different countries, poetry, fishing, gardening, photography, history, or any of those.

Bookshop (in Largs, Scotland)

On the 3rd of July, our first full day in Scotland we did a couple of things in the area. One of the towns in this area is called Largs. It’s in itself not a very special town, and pretty much like all the other towns around here. It does however have an amazing charity bookshop.

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It’s not big, but there is an amazing selection. I found it difficult to pick just one book (while here I’m only allowed one book per bookshop). Eventually, I picked Kazumo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, which I’d heard good things about AND was on my wishlist. It’s a hardcover, in beautiful shape. It was probably only read once before being donated. It was only 90p. Yes, not even a full pound for a beautiful, good-as-new hardcover! Sure, not all the books in the shop were in perfect shape, but just about all of them were under a pound. I’ve seen a few shops since then, but never one with these great prices!

The fact that it was a quaint bookshop, where the shopkeepers still trust their clientele was also refreshing. When we came into the shop there were a couple of other people there. One of them bought a book and left, then the other left without buying anything (I believe), and then… the shopkeeper left. Just up and left! About five minutes later he returned with his lunch. Of course, I did take that opportunity to take a good picture of the inside of the bookshop.

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So, if you’re ever in the area, the west-coast of Scotland that is, and you find yourself in the town of Largs, take a quick peek into this lovely shop.

Bookish things I’d like to see in Scotland

With my Scotland trip right around the corner, I’ve made a list of bookish places I’d like to visit in Scotland. I’m not sure if I’ll have to time and funds to visit/do all of these, but they’re all on my bucket list. If not this time, perhaps some other time.

The first place I want to go is a town: Wigtown, also known as Scotland’s booktown.
According to the official website, there are currently 12 bookshops in Wigtown. I doubt I’ll be able to visit all of them, but there’s two I definitely want to check out: The Open Book and The Bookshop. Wigtown is also the home of some book festivals, so for a booklover it’s a must to check it out.

The Open Book isn’t just a bookshop. It’s also an accommodation that you can book for a couple of days. You won’t just be staying over a bookshop in that case, you’l be RUNNING it! I believe it’s booked solid for a while to come, so I won’t be staying there, but I really REALLY want to check it out.

Then, there’s The Bookshop, which defines itself as the biggest secondhand bookshop in Scotland. How could I pass that by? The real problem will be getting me OUT of the shop again. Maybe I should just move to Wigtown.


The stunning Jacobite routeNext up, the Harry Potter train and train ride. Yes, the train you see in the movies actually rides around Scotland and you can go on it! It’s not especially there for the fandom, but it sure works out nicely. Officially, it’s called the Jacobite Steam Train, though I feel it should just be changed to the Hogwarts Express.


Next, there’s another bookstore that claims to be Scotland’s biggest secondhand bookshop: Leakey’s Bookshop in Inverness. It’s in an old church and is absolutely gorgeous inside and out from the pictures I’ve seen. If I do manage to visit both, I’ll let you know which one is in fact the biggest bookshop.


Apart from these, I’d love to stroll through the streets of Glasgow and Edinburgh to discover some of the bookshops there for myself. I’ve heard there are plenty of good (second hand) bookstores there, so I should be able to enjoy myself.

I’ve decided that I will not be allowed to buy more than one book per bookshop. I’m however not sure how I’ll manage it. Even if I do, there are so many bookstores that I might still end up with the most ridiculous bookhaul ever. Hopefully though, I’ll be able to restrain myself. I’ll let you know once I’m back.

Do you have any tips for bookish (or non-bookish) places to visit in Scotland?

Weekend in Cologne (11/12-06-2016)

You could have already quickly read about my weekend in Cologne in my previous Sunday Post. However, there is a lot more I can tell you about it, so if you’re interested, keep on reading!

We’ve been to Cologne a couple of times now, mostly for the same race we went this time. We’ve stayed in different hotels, and I’ve got to say that this one is the best so far. There is amazing and beautiful art all around the hotel, from the bathrooms to the lobby. The breakfast is amazing! They serve a full English (which I absolutely hate), as well as different kinds of granola, yogurts, cereals, rolls, cheese, cold cuts, jams and so much more! The staff was very kind and let us stay in the room till 3pm, because Alex wanted to take a shower after finishing the race. This, without any extra added costs. Admittedly, this is also one of the more expensive hotels we stayed in, so yea, there’s that. Here are some pictures to get an impression.

 

When you walk around in the city, there is a lot to see. We saw several different street artists, but the one in the next picture was the most amazing. He had made his own instrument by gluing (I assume) together several different sizes of plastic pipes. The rhythms and sounds he managed to make were absolutely stunning! Even a tv-crew was there filming for a while.

Oddly enough, I didn’t see any bookstores in the city center. I probably unintentionally skipped part of the city. That seems to happen to me a lot.

Of course I also shot a picture of the Kölner Dom.

There seem to be quite a few vegan/vegetarian restaurants around Cologne. However, none were in the city center where we were when we got hungry, so instead we went with an old favorite: The Hardrock Cafe. Funnily enough someone always screws up our order. Happened again this time. Luckily they’re always quick to fix any problems and no harm was done, still almost a running joke now.

Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the bike race. I made a video at the start though. I didn’t even spot Alex during the race. I had to go back and watch the video on my laptop to find him! Luckily I did get him in the video, so at least that went ok. There are some pictures from before the race though.

What’s the last city you visited? Any recommendations in case I ever end up there?