Berlin blew my mind.

As soon as I arrived in Berlin I felt at home. I hadn’t seen my German friends for two years and the first day catching up was just magical. The sun was hot, the ice coffee cold, the graffiti vivid, the chats amazing and I was in a dreamland.

Mitte is the north west centre of Berlin. It’s full of coffee shops, art galleries and inspiring graffiti everywhere. It is my favourite place in the city, probably because it’s like a German version of West London and Shoreditch mixed together – smart, but with an addictive edginess.

John Lenon as Hitler. Weird, but entrancing. I'm not sure he started out as Hitler...

My favourite cafe/restaurant in Mitte is Strandbad which means beach bathing (I think). It’s at the end of a cul de sac which backs onto a park. The salads and coffee are divine. But best of all, you can sit in deck chairs out the front. Everyone cycles in Berlin – hence the most of these pictures feature bikes. Though my friend got hers stolen on our first night. There is some crime in Berlin, but it feels so much safer than London.

The deck chairs sit just to the left of the picture, out the shot.

As we sat in the deck chairs, I looked up above the cafe and saw a pair of feet sunning themselves on a window sill…. So I drew them.

Spot the feet.

There is a big subversive element in Berlin society and consequently a lot of squats. For a Londoner it’s quite surprising to see these big houses in the city centre so blatantly taken over and clearly for quite a while. They do exist in London, I went to a wicked squat party in Elephant and Castle, but they’re not usually politically decorated. This squat is emblazoned with “Soldiers are murderers!”

A squat in Mitte.

I never expected Berlin to have so many parks. The coolest one has to be Tempelhof which is a disused airfield a few kilometres south of the city centre. Imagine cycling down a runway, kids playing next to an abandoned airport terminal and all that space to fly kites. Three years ago there were still planes taking off from it and last year it was opened to the public. A whole secret space locals were forbidden to venture onto, now open to all. It’s pretty weird and pretty amazing. The Independent wrote an article about it, click here. 

Once it flew planes, now it flies kites.

So keeping with the theme of parks, check this one out – Victoria Park. It’s in Kreuzberg, which is a very trendy part of Berlin just south of the centre. On the top of the hill sits a bright green monument which looks exactly like a giant has snapped off one of London’s Houses of Parliament turrets, painted it and stuck it in Berlin. Like a twig on top of a sandcastle or a cherry on a cupcake. Here’s a picture of some kids in the downstream. Please imagine the whole city of skyscrapers beyond the water – I was borrowing my friend’s SLR…

Downstream...

And upstream. Yes, wow. Spot the Houses of Parliament monument at the top.

Upstream.

Kreuzberg is a big Turkish area and so it has lots of beautiful cafes selling delicious Turkish delicacies, as well as cool shops including the most eclectic and fascinating postcard shop.

About to drink (even more) coffee in Kreuzberg. Taisa (right) and I were staying with our Lovely Liska (left).

The architecture is pretty nice too.

Eclectic Kreuzberg shop selling, among other things, hats and gloves.

Dotted all around the city are passport photo booths which print the coolest black and white nostalgia strips.

Coffee and nostalgia

What an amazing weekend! Thanks Liska and Taisa x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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