Prenzlauer Berg is not exactly known to be hoarding underground secrets. The “scene”, however broad and unspecific that term may be, has long moved towards other districts. Many families and a dominating upper middle class atmosphere shape the characteristics of Prenzlauer Berg nowadays. The children’s toy stores, plenty of cozy coffee shops and ice cream parlors and slight leftovers of graffiti protesting gentrification are only some of the reasons why I usually don’t cross the border over to the former East of Berlin.
So when Tobias of Sonderweg Berlin asked us to join one of his tours through Prenzlauer Berg I was a bit sceptic. What could you show around in Prenzlauer Berg? Especially to people who know their spots in Berlin and definitely prefer those? But the open-minded people that we are — ahem — we decided to give it a shot. As always it turns out that seeing a city, or even just a small part of it, from the eyes of someone who’s intensely researched it is enlightening and interesting.
Tobias didn’t go out of his way to show us the greatest spots that we didn’t know about yet. Instead he focused on telling us how the district developed and which influences mattered over time. We talked a lot about the distinct architecture and geographical situation as well as the socio-political issues of the past two hundred years.
In roughly two hours we learned a lot. From the former water tower to the Jewish Synagogue we also saw many interesting buildings and historical spots (which, I admit, we’d never seen before), all without being too overloaded by facts. To really grasp which “underground secrets” a city can hold you should always listen to someone with as much fascination and dedication to the matter as Tobias. For a short while, he made us go back in time to see everything getting build up from scratch.
If you’re interested in taking a tour with Sonderweg Berlin don’t hesitate to jump right over and book one right now. Keep in mind that you should understand some German (you can ask for an English tour, they’ll be offering tours in French soon, too) at best. Sonderweg will take you not only through Prenzlauer Berg but also through the Hansaviertel (which we can highly recommend if you don’t want to hustle yourself through the neighborhood begging for entrance like we did) and the “other” part of Kreuzberg, so called Kreuzberg 61, around Mehringdamm and Bergmannkiez.