Berlin was many things for me but without a doubt the most exciting six hours were spent with undoubtedly the best tour guide I’ve ever had – the fabulous Henrik Tidefjärd and because he was so cool, I also was able to take part in his awesomeness for a day. Here are a few highlights from our lifestyle-driven tour.
Hanging out in Kreuzberg
Starting off in the punk-heavy neighborhood of Kreuzberg, the first thing I noticed was a massive amount of huge television cable dishes outside nearly every apartment building. I discovered that this is because there is a large Turkish community residing here and this is the only way they can access their local stations. Moving on, I learned the real reason behind why there are numerous open spaces scattered throughout Berlin. If nobody knows who owns a plot of land, nothing is built there since the rightful owner could show up at any time to reclaim his ancestor’s property.
Hitting the Berlin Make-Believe Beach
While still trying to wrap my head around the different street art and wall paintings we were passing, my feet eventually stopped right outside a beach. Yes, there is a beach in Berlin and it is amazing. Stopping here for a drink I chatted with Henrik about all the reasons why he moved from Sweden to his home of many years now, Berlin. As I gazed upon the view from the top of the “beach”, I could hardly find any reason to dispute his decision. There is such a carefree and even playful spirit about Berlin that is hard to resist falling under its alluring spell.
Going inside Berliner Art Studios
Midway into my love affair with Berlin, I was able to take a peek inside on of the many art studios in operation throughout the city. As a freelance writer myself, my choice to live in New York City can sometimes be confusing to people, myself included. Yet, Berlin is one of the most affordable cities to live in especially for writers, artists and other creative types. My mind started weaving a thread of possibilities as I envisioned packing my life up and moving to Berlin for cheaper rent, fewer people and wide open spaces. I believe that one day this idea will become reality.
Feeling like a Rockstar in my New Shades
According my my wrist watch, my tour was supposed to end at 6pm so I assumed our 5:45pm visit to the East Side Gallery was our ending point. But no, I was wrong yet again. Henrik swooped me into a cab and we were whizzing by the remaining wall paintings of the former Berlin wall and on our way to an undisclosed location. The next two hours involved an in-depth visit to the ic! berlin offices, cocktails on their rooftop and a pair of their very own Berlin-made sunglasses. Their concept involves no screws at all, including the case and I actually assembled a pair together. Here’s the before and after:
Cocktails with a Sunset Backdrop
As the sun slowly set over the city, my fabulous day in Berlin was nearing an end. The only silver lining was that I had four more days to explore Berlin. In fact, on my last full day in Berlin I realized that I hadn’t really seen a single monument because I was spending all my time in the indie neighborhoods of Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Neukölln. At one point I was stopped by a local who was lost and in need of directions and surprisingly, I was able to do so. When it was finally time to pack up and leave, I felt a strong inkling that I’d be back sooner rather than later.