You don’t see Arab grocery stores around here like we did in Milan. However, the number of Middle Eastern restaurants and fast food places in this part of Berlin would be enough to make any Italian conservative’s head spin. In Boxhagenerplatz, the square in which we’re temporary ensconced, there are no less than four falafel places, and one doner shop.
The difference, between Friedrichshain and Piazzale Loreto, is an absence of Arabs. The pedestrians are largely European, speaking any number of languages. Though I have heard a higher incidence of Israeli-accented Hebrew, the emphasis is on German and English. One has to go next door, to Kreuzberg, to approximate the oriental vibe of our former home.
Being able to discover a Levantine continuum, this far into eastern Europe, and live within it, definitely has its advantages.