Europe Summer 2016 – Berlin Day 1

This post is written by Katie about her only full day in Berlin on the way to Hamburg (and then Copenhagen).

I woke at 6:30am to bright light shining in from the gap between the blackout curtains (since they would not completely cover the windows).  I went back to sleep and slept fitfully until 9am.

After waking and getting ready, I went to ALDI to get 0.65€ of milk and bread for breakfast.  I ate this breakfast in the hostel’s outdoor bar area (which was not open in the morning) and then took the S-bahn to Alexanderplatz for an 11am Alternative Free walking tour.  I bought a 7€ day pass for the metro, which ended up being a good investment (although I was not ticket-checked at all today).

An example of gridded art (not stencil art) on a firewall, as well as some unsuccessful fire extinguisher graffiti in the bottom left.

I arrived shortly after 11am, just as the tour was starting.  There were two guides that broke the group in half.  I ended up with Ben from New Zealand who was a local artist who had been living in Berlin for 8 years.

A garden that existed essentially between East and West Berlin while the Berlin Wall existed.  The Turkish man who created the garden still lives here today!

YAAM beach across the Spree

Ben walked us around the mitte area before we took the U-bahn to Kreuzberg.  We saw lots of graffiti and poster artwork in mitte.  In Kreuzberg we saw more graffiti but also learned about squatter houses, art houses, community gardens, drama between alternative Berlin and politicians, and so much more.  It was a very informative tour.  We ended the tour at YAAM, which includes a long-standing beach bar that has been forced to move twice due to development.

East Side Gallery

After finishing the 3 hour tour, I found that I was near the East Side Gallery.  Due to its proximity, I decided to take a stroll along the wall.  I found that the touts were much tamer than in 2013, and I actually enjoyed the walk.  On the back side of the wall, there was an informative, heart-breaking temporary exhibit on injuries sustained in the Syrian War (and how these injuries are being treated and how they affect these people’s lives).  It was really moving.

Unexpectedly, I returned to my bed having been turned and my personal belongings I had left on it strewn aside.  Not confidence inspiring.

I returned to Generator Prenzlauer Berg for a break.  At the hostel, I was surprised to see that all of the sheets had been removed from my bed! 

It’s a big park with two runways as well as surrounding paths.

Once I remade my bed I headed to Bradenberg Gate for a short visit.  After getting a quick glance of Bradenberg Gate, I continued onward to Berlin Tempelhof Airport.  Tempelhof ceased operation in 2008 and is now a beloved local park.

Lots of people running, walking, and biking on the runways!

Beloved indeed.  The park was really active when I visited in the late afternoon.  It seemed that many locals had decided to visit the park after work.  There were soccer, rugby, and basketball games ongoing.  Many people were running, roller-blading, and biking along the taxiways and runways.  Lots of people were picnicking and hanging out.  In addition to all the people watching, I was also thrilled to be able to walk around the airports runways and taxiways!

How many times do you get to stand in the middle of a runway!

I left Tempelhof as the sun was setting and headed back to the hostel.  After working a bit, I headed to bed.

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