Even when it rains a lot, Berliners aren't about to let that spoil their summer fun. They don't need the sun to enjoy the season, says DW's Gero Schliess.
"What would you think about me writing a Berlin 24/7 column about the mosquito plague?" I asked a friend of mine. "Sure, if we have one," he replied with uncertainty.
"Yeah, everyone is talking about it," I defended my suggestion, reminding him that he had recently been bitten 10 times in one sitting.
It's summer break in Berlin. The Berliners have ditched town, but the mosquitos haven't. Why should they leave? They have it pretty good here in the German capital. That's obvious from the headlines of Berlin's newspapers:
"Summer is under water"
"No sign of rain letting up"
"Storms set to return"
Ok, so summer quit its job. But Berliners aren't just going to accept its resignation without a fight. When it comes to summer fun, they're not to be messed with - even if they have to do without constant sunshine.
Berliners take advantage of every break in the rain to emerge from their dark, generally balcony-free apartments and storm the parks, holding a portable BBQ in one hand, meat to grill in the other, and an umbrella somewhere in between.
Long nights on the canal
Another favorite pastime is chilling along one of the city's many canals. The Admiral Bridge on the Landwehr Canal in the Kreuzberg district is particularly popular, where tourists and Berliners gather peacefully side-by-side.
Beer bottles in hand, it's easy to while away the time with friends until late in the evening - to the chagrin of the sleepless local residents. They are known to call the police from time to time, which is very unusual for the neighborhood known for its left-wing revolutionary fervor.
Those who get kicked off the canal or the streets for being too loud can only flee to a Biergarten - as long as it's not raining.
Berlin is basically just one big Biergarten. The most beautiful spot is the Prater in the Prenzlauer Berg district. Berlin's oldest Biergarten, it's lined with big chestnut trees and is well known - as are the unfortunately noisy bachelor parties that are regularly held there.
The beer flows in the summer
Berlin turns into beer city during the summer months. The local "Berliner Weisse" - made with a drop of sweet woodruff or raspberry syrup - is not actually the most popular brew here.
Small breweries have sprung up all over the city and feature their beverages at Berlin Beer Week, which has been going on this past week. Forget chuggable mass-produced brewers - the event is a place to savor unique creations.
The restaurant Herz & Niere (literally, Heart & Kidney) even offers a food pairing dinner where award-winning beer sommelier Frank Lucas pours the beers that are most suited to each dish. He recommends, for example, the Baltic Ale with the rustic chicken leg, or a beer called Seahorse with the fried fish skins.
But if you prefer to wash your food down with other fine swills, don't worry - the next wine festival is just around the corner.
The dangers of an outdoor concert
Before you get the wrong impression, summer in Berlin isn't only about food. It's also about festivals and parties. Earlier this month, the annual Christopher Street Day parade took place amid pouring rain.
The same fate awaited the Berlin Philharmonic's recent concert at the outdoor venue Waldbühne, which is my favorite place to be in the summer. Even before the first note was played, the heavens opened up and it felt for a moment like the world was about to come to an end.
Against the threateningly black sky, the funeral march from Richard Wagner's "Götterdämmerung" wasn't exactly uplifting. Just a few unwelcome guests were buzzing around our heads, readying to plunge their noses into our skin and suck our blood.