Bruges, Belgium – 14th-16th January 2018

My expectations of a city-trip to Bruges entirely revolved around quintessential Belgian stereotypes: fries, chocolate, and traditional medieval buildings. This is perhaps a little unfair to the miniature city in the west of Belgium – there was actually plenty more to it than that.

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Trefor, North Wales – 17th-19th March 2017

The tiny Welsh town of Trefor sits snug in the shadow of three huge hills on the North coast of the Llŷn Peninsula. I’d experienced rural Wales before, but not rural Wales like this. Driving into the village, it reminded us all of something out of a horror film – the lack of people, the grey cottages, the wind and rain. This was isolation on another level, and I felt about as far from London as it is possible to feel.

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Writing Berlin

Approximately 11am on the 2nd August 2015. I had just arrived at Berlin Schönefeld airport and was being talked to in broken English by a young Chinese man – my first direct point of contact to City Travel Review, the company I had arranged to come to Berlin for a month with. At one point he simply turned and asked me ‘Do you like Coldplay?’. I was not feeling very reassured.

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English Bookshops of Prenzlauer Berg

The wide boulevards of Prenzlauer Berg are unlikely to be places you find yourself wandering down on a whim, but this is precisely where bookshops Shakespeare & Sons, St. George’s English Bookshop, and Do you read me?! are to be found. Catch the underground from Alexanderplatz to Eberswalder Straße and you emerge in a beautiful neighborhood just north of Berlin city centre. First stop: Shakespeare & Sons on Raumerstraße. A wide boulevard filled with striking architecture and quaint independent retailers, there is so much to look at that if you’re not careful you might miss Shakespeare & Sons altogether. Signage on its humble entrance advertises it as a place where both bagels and books can be bought – a winning combination. Inside, antique wooden benches form a small café, surrounded by bookshelves. While primarily an English language bookshop, Shakespeare & Sons’ peculiarity is that it also contains a considerable French section. Well-worn vintage sofas and armchairs are strategically placed in each room, offering an inviting respite. If you can tear yourself away however, St. George’s isn’t far.

Take one of the shorter boulevards south and cross Danziger Straße. In this maze of imposing grandiose apartment buildings, St. George’s is nestled beside crowded restaurants to the western end of Wörther Straße. Although smaller than Shakespeare & Sons, it has a similarly vast range of fiction and non-fiction, including a comprehensive War section. Plush leather sofas are dotted around the interior, which all adds to the relaxing atmosphere. Have a rest before moving on to Do you read me?!, the final stop on this journey. Located on Auguststraße, it can be easily reached by tram if the walk is too daunting (it is a bit of a trek). Auguststraße contains a wonderfully diverse range of independent shops, and Do you read me?! fits in perfectly among the street’s other creative outlets. It specialises in international magazines, selling publications such as Another Man, The Escapist, and more obscure ones such as the Japanese men’s magazine Lightning. These are high quality magazines, so expect to be paying in excess of €10. However, you are unlikely to find a lot of these publications elsewhere, so treat yourself.

 

Shakespeare & Sons
Raumerstraße 36, 10437 Prenzlauer Berg
S-Bahn Eberswalder Straße
Second store at Warschauer Straße 74, 10243 Friedrichshain
U-Bahn Frankfurter Allee
Mon-Sat 09:00-20:00, Sun 10:00-20:00
http://www.shakesbooks.de/

St. George’s English Bookshop
Wörther Straße 27, 10405 Prenzlauer Berg
S-Bahn Prenzlauer Alllee, U-Bahn Senefelder Platz
Mon-Fri 11:00-20:00, Sat 11:00-19:00
http://www.saintgeorgesbookshop.com/

Do you read me?!
Auguststraße 28, 10117 Mitte
S-Bahn Oranienburger Straße
Mon-Sat 10:00-19:30
http://www.doyoureadme.de/