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Whatchamacallit 81: Bear eating from the strawberry tree

Bear eating from a strawberry tree

The above bear, which is eating from a strawberry tree, usually stumps friends.

The drawing is on my wall of foreign locals, just above and to the left of Amsterdam, my first Whatchamacallit, back in March.

When I ask people to guess where the drawing comes from, most people’s first instinct is Berlin – since the symbol of Berlin is a bear – but the Berliner Bär does not eat from a strawberry tree.

This represents Madrid – and I bought it from a street artist. It is ballpoint pen on paper – at least that’s what I believe it to be. The frame is cheap – from Ikea or the like, with a piece of blue paper to act as a faux matte. The price, I do not remember, but surely less than 10€.

I like the drawing because it reminds me of Madrid and the (hot) time I spent there. What sticks out most, for me, is my arrival in Madrid: it was July, I’d flown from Frankfurt to Madrid on LAN (what a fifth freedom route!), which was an evening flight getting to Madrid after (my) bedtime.

Back then I talked about the weather:

I arrived at my hotel at 11 in the evening, grabbed a quick shower, and headed out for a walk. I emerged out onto a crowded Grand Via and spotted a bus-stop which informed me that it was a comfortable 32°C—roughly 90°F. The coldest I ever saw it was 26° (81°F) at 8a.

Visiting Madrid in July was a mistake: While I had a lovely time, I was also fried.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

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