After purchasing the Lomography City Guide Berlin on a whim, I suddenly found myself in love with the little world painted inside; and since I've had a hankering to go travelling for quite some time now, I got myself a passport, convinced my friend Sarah that she wanted to come with me, and made my little whimsical dream become a reality! This is part 1 of our Berlin adventures!
DAY 1: We landed in Germany armed with our City Guide (complete with colour-coded post-it notes) and a selection of film cameras – a Diana Mini, Nikon FG-20, and Nikon F65 for me and a vintage Minolta for Sarah. Our first order of business was using the S-Bahn to get to our hostel. Amazingly, we managed without any mishap and we dropped off our luggage at Ostel, the GDR Design Hostel (#050 in the City Guide). Despite the fact we’ve had no sleep, we were excited to go off and explore a brand new city!
We took a walk up Karl Marx Allee (#037) where the architecture was simply awe-inspiring. Make sure you see Kino International (#113) too, which is the ultimate retro cinema! After a bit, we ended up in Alexanderplatz where we had coffee and a chance to soak up the atmosphere. People were bungee-jumping off the top of the Park Inn Hotel, and punks were holding an anti-fascism rally. It was touristy and a bit non-descript, but definitely a place to visit. Wandering back the way we’d come, we saw Humana Secondhand (#053), which appears to have moved since the Berlin Guide was written. You can’t miss it though if you wander up Karl Marx Allee towards Alexanderplatz. The price of the items were good; it’s the kind of place where you’d need to set aside a good amount of time to have a really good rummage.
Afterwards, we explored Friedrichshain by foot and walked what must have been miles, taking everything in. Berlin had a very friendly and vibrant atmosphere to it, and there always seems to be something to catch your attention, whether it be interesting architecture, street art, or a beautiful Berlin native! We took a break from our walk to take in the view at Modersohn Bridge (#102), which really is stunning whatever time of day you happen to be wandering past it. We tried to find Sandsation (#087) but it appears to have moved to another location as in its place was a beach bar complete with deckchairs, DJs, a disco ball, a swimming pool, and copious amounts of sand. Luckily, it was a great place to go to and just chill out with a beer by the river. And then at night, it becomes the perfect place to get to know new people and relax in the hazy night heat. This place was definitely what we needed after our first day of exploration! After that, we headed back to the hotel to check in properly and shower before Round 2.
Ostel is a great place to stay in; the staff are very friendly and they speak excellent English. As for the hostel’s vintage décor, the attention to detail is fabulous. We had the room that contained lockers, two bunk beds, a table with matching chairs – it was simple but very clean and comfortable. The rooms were decorated in a similar GDR design but the bathrooms were very modern and they came with awesome power showers! The bedrooms were shared with other people but we all had respect for each other. The hostel also had a little beach area where you can chill out with a drink or play beach volleyball.
Later that night, we decided to explore Warschauer Strasse. When we arrived, we couldn’t believe the amount of beautiful men hanging about! Definitely a place to come if tall, bearded men are your thing! We then went on to Skatehalle (#110) for a few drinks. You can reach this place through a maze of stunning derelict buildings covered in graffiti. Skatehalle itself has a great atmosphere and you can watch the skaters and the climbers as you drink. Whilst sitting in this cool little place, Sarah and I decided that we’d both fallen head over heels for this quirky city.
Stay tuned for the next part of this 7-part series!