In order to take a weekend off from bustling Berlin, we decided to allow ourselves a calm holiday at the Baltic Sea. We hoped to find some rest in a small hamlet on the island of Usedom, but little did I know that I would also find the staid and sedate model of a typical German village: our lovely retreat turned out to be the stage of a peculiar play.
After 300 demonstrators gathered at Eastside Gallery earlier today to disturb the demolition of parts of the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall, the building contractor and police decided to delay further construction. One piece of wall was removed, protestors are afraid that demolition will be continued later today or at night.
Like most European cities, Berlin has a historical center. And I don't mean that newish stuff around Unter den Linden, I'm talking about the medieval village of today's Nikolaiviertel. I am sure that any tourist can tell more about it than most Berliners, but how many people know about the quiet and shady atmosphere that sets after nightfall?
Berlin is suffocated by a grey, dark and rainy winter. Yesterday, I noticed a vague gleaming behind the raindrop covered bus window: Could that be the long awaited sun? Well, it wasn't the miracle I hoped for but the iridescent white tarp that covered a construction site so big, its sheen was bright enough to bring some light into that grey and rainy day.
I always perceived the stretch of land between Ostbahnhof and Warschauer Straße always as a no-man's-land. The part that is located south of the S-Bahn tracks – mostly because the East Side Gallery is more a tourist spot than a place of daily life – is as alien to me as as the northern part, that is dominated by warehouses, hardware and central markets. If it wasn't for Berghain I might have never noticed the strange isolation of this small inner-city island that was built at the historical site of the former Wriezener Bahnhof and its tracks. Always wondering what might be stored in there, it takes a couple of minutes to pass these depots of innumerable miles of shelving. I still remember this late summer weekend in 2010 quite well, when we left the club at dawn, climbed up to the roof of one of the warehouses and sat there to enjoy the first warm shafts of sunlight. We stayed for quite some time and were not bothered by anyone, let alone the owners or the police, simply because there wasn't a soul in sight.
In case you've missed it: Yesterday's dense fog didn't leave any doubts that autumn has finally arrived. Upon coming home to Kreuzberg I was amazed about the city being densely covered with thick mist – enjoy for yourself how beautiful and eery the Oberbaumbrücke sat enthroned over the Spree yesterday.
The most astonishing places are often the most hidden ones. Isolated from their surrounding, one has to know about these spots, otherwise it's highly unlikely to suddenly stumble over them. That's certainly true for Dong Xuan Center – a place, that I always considered as as exotic as Berlin can be.
As a part of a major urban development plan, that dates back to the late 20th century, the typical courtyards of Berlin were once conceived to ensure heterogenous, thus vivid social compositions. Believe it or not. We strive to endeavour new specimens that leave us both surprised and excited.
What's so compelling about abandoned places? It's their history in an ever-changing urban environment, the beauty of decay and the oppressive notion of a place filled with stories untold, now forgotten. The former GDR's Ministry of Building's demolition site is certainly no exception.
The Jewish Cemetery Weißensee was recently put on a list of future applicants for the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The oldest tombs date back to 1880 and over the decades, many families buried their dead here – most in ordinary, but still dignified graves and quite a few in splendid family mausolea. We took a walk through Jewish history.
When recently Elisa and I went to Kassel, we took this opportunity obviously only because of documenta – but I'll spare with you any remarks, pictures or even critique. However, after I was quickly bored and tired by the masses, I gained interest in other details that documenta and Kassel yielded.
It's Berlin Art Week: the big fairs abc and Preview, the multitude of institutional partners and the heaps of exhibitions open all over the city. But I was particularly happy to spare some time to pay a pop-up exhibition a visit, that found an unusual spot: a former women's prison, that is abandoned for some thirty years now.