Places in Berlin

Roasting Goat at the Airport

I smelled it before I saw it.

God, I smell bad. What poison was my body purging as I sweat out my last-night clubbing excesses.

My favourite place to take long runs is Tempelhof Airfield, the former city airport garrisoned by the US air-force during the Cold War. It is now a park (you can read about it in this blog post). It is 6km once around the massive airfield, and is still studded with vintage signage for yesteryear pilots. I was nearing the 5km mark when I almost careened into the goat skewered and roasting on a spit.

I am used to families, often Germans of Turkish background, grilling their meat in the open air. I was surprised, however, to see something as carnal as a whole animal roasting on the former runway at 10am on a Monday. It was conveniently located close enough to the dumpsters for me to wonder about hygiene, burning plastic and reek of garbage. But, no matter. The animal was almost cooked, its head shriveled, the articulation of its leg muscles, well, too fine and articulate for my speechless, gasping and hungover lack of endurance.

‘May I take a picture?’ I ask the two women, there to tend the fire, lounging in conversation on the lawn.

One looks up at sweaty me.

She wrinkles her nose.

Joseph Pearson

Joseph Pearson (1975) is writer and historian based in Berlin. Born in Canada, he was educated at Cambridge University, UK, where he received his doctorate in history in 2001. Since 2008, he has written The Needle, which has become one of Berlin's most popular blogs. His portrait of the German capital, Berlin, for Reaktion Press was published in 2017. His second book, My Grandfather's Knife, was published by HarperCollins and the History Press in 2022. He is also the essayist and blogger of the Schaubühne Theatre, one of Berlin's best known state-funded institutions. His writing has appeared widely in the press, literary and academic journals, and has been translated into Italian, German, French, and Arabic. Having taught at Columbia University in New York City, he lectures in Berlin at New York University Berlin (since 2012) and the Barenboim-Said Academy.

One thought on “Roasting Goat at the Airport

  • OMG I have never seen something like this……!!!
    On a Monday morning….at 10 am

Comments are closed.