Mar282013

Street scenery in Berlin

Being in a foreign city generally means I walk for miles and miles. A nice hotel room and bed is great for the night hours. During the day I want to see how people live in the place I am visiting.

This post is a photo essay showing street scenery in Berlin. Some of these places are tourist sites and some places are neighborhoods where few tourists are to be found.

Berlin is a city of 3.5 million divided into 12 districts or ‘Kiez’ which is neighborhood. The Visit Berlin website is a good place for researching the different districts of Berlin.

Most of my time was spent in central Berlin Mitte District. For the ITB Berlin conference I crossed the city on the U-Bahn to Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf on the west side of Berlin. The Olympic Stadium and Charlottenburg Palace are in this area. I only saw the Berlin Messe Convention Center during my trips to  westside Berlin. Flying over this area reveals numerous parks and lakes just west of the city. During my six days in Berlin I passed through maybe six of the 12 districts of Berlin.

Frederichshain-Kreuzberg Kiez.

This district contains the Berlin Wall East Side Gallery murals on the north side of the Spree River and lively neighborhoods on the south side.

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Inside YAMM small pub near East Side gallery.

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Wall murals across Spree River from East Side Gallery.

Frederichshain-Kreuzberg kiez is the most densely populated neighborhood in Berlin with 12,400 people per square kilometer. This a party area for Berlin with many clubs staying open until dawn.

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Bierbike is definitely a first time sighting for me. Work off the calories while you drink. The next day I saw a bierbike tour happening after 4 inches of snow had fallen. That had to be a tough ride.

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Murals on buildings and fences on the south side of Spree River were cleaner images than most of Berlin Wall East Side Gallery murals.

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Berliners have Saturday mail delivery.

Neukölln Kiez

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This apartment building is similar to the type of apartments my family lived in during our three years at U.S. Army bases near Stuttgart and Mainz, Germany in the 1970s.

I lived in Germany for one year, Halloween to Halloween in 4th and 5th grades. I arrived in Mainz, Germany on my 14th birthday and lived about ten miles from Mainz for 21 months. My father was not allowed to visit Berlin as a U.S. Army serviceman.

My father took me and my younger sister to Volksmarsch events (Peoples march)  about 25 to 30 weekends a year. These were outdoor hikes through the German countryside of 10km, 20km and sometimes 30km. Marked trails, checkpoints for stamping your hiking card and beer/soda food stops every few kilometers made for a comfortable day out with primarily German people. At the end of the hike there was a unique commemorative medal for successful completion of the walk.

That is the Germany I remember from my youth and loved.

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Playground in the kiez. There were men playing ping pong and drinking beer on permanent tables adjacent to the kids play area. A mixed-use space.

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This garden community in Neukölln was founded in 1896.

This area of Berlin is primarily an immigrant working class neighborhood. I only skirted the northern end of the district.

To the west of the Neukölln district is Templehof-Schöneberg. The former Berlin Airport closed in 2008. This is the part of the city where David Bowie lived and is known for its LGBT community events. Europe’s largest lesbian and gay city festival happens at the Nollendorfplatz on June 15 with about 450,000 people expected.

There are free concerts in Berlin like the free Rocktreff Mariendorf – Rock Festival June 14-16.

Berlin Mitte

Central Berlin is a heavily touristed area with most of the major name brand hotels around Potsdamer Platz and Alexanderplatz.

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Hotel Rooms seen from the street – Berlin Mitte.

The Reichstag allows free admission for visitors. This is Germany’s Parliament building.

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In 2000 I just walked up and entered.

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Now visitors need to fill out an online security check and receive a ticket for a specific time. I booked a ticket and then missed my time slot.

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Brandenburger Tor is Berlin’s iconic gate. The gate originally built in 1788-1791 was restored 2000-2002.

Humboldt University, Arcata, California is where I earned my public school teaching credential in 1991.

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The original Humboldt Universitaet is in Berlin.

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Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) and TV Tower at Alexanderplatz.

This is Berlin Mitte.

VisitBerlin.com has an English language guidebook Going Local Berlin’s 12 Districts available for about 2 euros. Berlin Museum Passes, Visitor Welcome Card discount passes, maps and souvenirs are available through the site.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. I was there about 10 years ago and I remember the drabness of the concrete being completely offset by the dayglo colors that the streetwalkers wore. One or two were even dressed like Star Trek aliens. Odd.

  2. Update: 3/30/13

    Deleted these sentences from this post:

    “The Baader-Meinhof/Red Army Faction targeted US military bases as an imperialist occupation of Germany. My U.S. high school in Wiesbaden was frequently evacuated for bomb threats; something like 25 or more times in 1974-75.”

    Reflecting on these words the past couple days I think the high school probably was only evacuated about 10 times during the spring 1975. It was enough that the school tried to continue classes on the track field when evacuations occurred. The times I skipped school to walk around the city of Wiesbaden during the day was probably 25 times that school year.

    It is not that we were having terrorist threats from the Red Army Faction or militant groups. There were few details released to students. It might have been students from the high school calling in bomb threats.

    Actual terrorist attacks in Germany during that time made threats at the school credible threats leading to frequent interruptions of the school day.

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