Where can I start. Berlin, I love you.
I am very fortunate to have Stephanie to guide me around, and she’s also letting me stay with her and her boyfriend Antonio in their beautiful apartment on the top floor of a building in Neukölln, on Sonnenallee.
Here we are on the roof of her apartment at sunset.
Steph took me for a casual walk around Kreuzberg, and as we sipped Aperol Spritz on the sidewalk of an effortless cool bar, about 20 police cars arrived, with 50 armed policemen in full combat gear! Then a peaceful protest went past us. Something about Turkish politics.
I love the feeling here, that there is possibility for change, and people are standing up for what they believe in! Not conforming to societal norms. At least not in Kreuzberg and Neukölln. The area is multicultural and gritty, and people are just getting on with their lives. Old people, young people, having a go at small businesses, cafes, bars, fish shops, delicatessens…selling beer all hours!
It also feels very free here. You can ride a bike without a helmet, on the street, and drink beer and smoke where you like too. Not that I’m doing either..
Here is a Club Mate: a beverage popular and unique to Berlin. Antonio actually owns the exclusive rights to distribute this beverage in Italy!
Everything old is new again. Stephanie tells me that the big topic in Berlin is gentrification. Here I am trying to take a photo at Klunkerkranich which is the top of a carpark – now a lovely bar with an excellent view.
It was 35 degrees, so too hot for any serious sightseeing. So Steph and Antonio set me up with a fixed gear vintage bike and took me riding around their neighborhood. First stop was a flea market where Steph’s uncle sells second hand books. There was an impromptu birthday gathering and we shared some cake!
The feeling of riding a bike in a European city like Berlin on a nice day is something I wish I could bottle. Pure bliss and happy freedom!
We rode to the previous Nazi airport: Tempelhof, which is now unchanged and used as a recreational field. I love that it is not overly gentrified, with no development. There are even planes still sitting around, while locals play ball sports, skate, ride bicycles and have picnics.
Here we are at the Kreuzberg pool. The girls informed me that the area can be prone to fights, so we joked about using our martial arts skills like Charlie’s Angels.
Here is Steph and I riding on the previous runway of Tempelhof airport.
Converse are the only shoes I’ve worn in Berlin. Another thing I love about it here. No pressure to be glamorous. Sneakers go everywhere!
Steph and I at a lovely little Norwegian cafe, having a cheesecake and lemonade after a long tour at Tempelhof.
With love, from Josephine xxx