Less than one year after I visited the glamorous Hotel Adlon, I am back. It is the early beginning of May but the weather didn’t change too much, wearing the same unfashionable grey tones. At 14.55, I’m in the iconic lobby of the hotel, looking to find out where the famous Swinging Sundays are taking place. I don’t want to be late, but it’s not possible to get lost and with the prompt advice, I entered the gates right in time. As I was getting closer to the hall, I saw more and more very elegant people heading in the same direction. For me, it’s the only time when I see such a big concentration of very well dressed people in Berlin. All going to the same place with me.
But let’s keep the questions for later. At exactly 15.00, the Metropolitan Orchestra starts the first song: Cielito Lindo. Instantly, the ring is getting crowded.
I can’t take my eyes off the ring, that mesmerized that I hardly remember that I should eventually go to my reserved place at one of the table placed strategically at the margins. Everyone seems to have years of dancing experience and the following cha cha cha dancing goes perfectly well. And it will go like this from a dancing style to another, either it is a Viennese Waltz, a rumba, a Turkish rhythm, tango, or rock’n’roll.
Finally I made it to my table making my way through elegant waiters carrying huge bottles of the best champagne, where the afternoon tea treats are waiting for me. There is a diverse yet simple selection of small sandwiches, followed by delicious rhubarb cakes at the next level, with the last level of delicacy: macarons and fine chocolate cakes with whipped cream. Not in the mood for delicate champagne, but for a special teapot of fine green tea, brought to me very fast.
But people aren’t here for munching, but for dancing. Again and again, I am trying to get out of my mind the wave of thoughts of regrets for not taking any dancing class earlier in life. Although my gentle neighbours, one arrived especially from Vienna for this special event, the last till October, encourage me to accept the invitation of the professional dancers inviting from time to time the lonely ladies to dance, I prefer to keep observing the ring from outside. I am told that there is a special German school of dance whose principles are mixing high end technicality and mobility. High efficiency, as usual, so maybe it will work for me too, one day?
Even I’m not on the ring, I still can enjoy the afternoon ambiance though. No worries, no problems, catch the glittering eye of the moment! The live music of the band, plus the voices of singer Annika Lund and entertainer Rainer Sommer, are bringing back the spirit of what people use to describe as the ‘crazy 1920s’. The first part of the repertoire is very much in line with the Marlene Dietrich checklist, as well as most of the dresses and hair styles.
During the short 30 minutes breaks, some couples keep dancing getting fit for the new session. Each new song brings the public closer to our musical times. Till the end of the swinging afternoon, we have Gypsy Kings, Tom Jones’ Sex Bomb or the classical New York, New York. The musicians are changing costumes as well, and the tables stay empty and the cakes untouched. To be honest, I never saw so many different generations united not only by lifestyle, but especially by the same passion for good dancing.
I don’t know how three hours are gone, but they are gone fast. The elegant entertainer Ingo Raabe, carrying a delicate small dog with glittering leach, announces the end of the party, with an invitation to return October 4, this time in a new location. I have the whole summer to train my clumsy dance steps. I am offered a second chance, it seems. A new challenge on the bucket list right now…
For more images from Adlon, have a look at my dedicated Pinterest board covering previous visits: http://www.pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/adlon-kempinski/
For mode details of the afternoon tea project, check this: http://www.pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/afternoon-tea/
I tried to catch the lively ambiance in two YouTube videos on my channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Ilanaontheroad
Disclaimer: I was offered the invitation to review the swinging afternoon Sunday tea by Adlon Berlin, but the opinions are, as usual, my own.