Berlin is the kind of city where even a seemingly mundane walk to the local supermarket can turn out to be an emotional experience.
It had been 27 years since I was last in Berlin and was here to attend the travel industry trade show ITB. I was staying in an apartment in the ultra-trendy Berlin suburb of Kreuzberg (trendy in a studenty, grungy sort of way, rather than chic or glamorous) and had popped to the Lidl for a pint of milk.
There is something rather delightful about packing to spend the weekend in a hotel just four miles from your home.
It yields all the excitement and anticipation of a trip away without any of the angst and despair caused by realising you have to drive across London in the rush hour and then get snarled up on the Hammersmith flyover.
And the journey home! Many a relaxing weekend away has been ruined by roadworks on the M1, a lane closure on the A3, the sheer awfulness of driving through Wandsworth on a Sunday evening.
So to do away with all that unnecessary travelling seems to me to be utterly sensible.
Some would not agree. I recently had lunch with a tour operator who maintained that half the fun of a holiday is the fact you have to travel to get there, thus giving you a sense of achievement and new territories gained when you arrived at your destination.
Well – I did it. An entire January’s-worth of alcoholic abstinence.
And yes, it was a VERY long month.
But the surprising discovery for me is not only that I have far greater reserves of willpower than anyone, including myself, suspected, but that I actually like drinking – just because I like the taste.
I like the taste of it and the smell of it and I love the excitement and pleasure I feel when I find myself drinking a particularly lovely pint of ale or a fabulously tasty glass of wine.