(Re)visiting Berlin

(Re)visiting Berlin

I first visited Berlin in summer 2015. My memories from this trip are quite typical… except for one note: visiting Marzahn. Once a quiet village on the outskirts of the city, this neighborhood became for the GDR a showcase of urban housing during the 1970s. It was a door to something different. 

Finally coming back in Berlin more than two years later, I can notice the importance of this first visit: being able to lose my “tourist” status. No museum nor monument visit planned. I feel closer from the Berliners, able to discover the city again, with no ties. At the cusp of 2018, it is a brand new city I am walking through.

J’ai visité Berlin pour la première fois pendant l’été 2015. Mes souvenirs de ce voyage s’apparentent à ceux de vacances classiques… à une note prêt : la visite de Marzahn. Autrefois un petit village en périphérie de la ville, ce quartier est devenu pour la RDA un modèle de l’aménagement urbain pendant les années 1970. C’était une porte vers quelque chose de different.

En revenant enfin à Berlin plus de deux ans plus tard, je me rends compte de l’importance de cette première visite : être capable de me détacher de mon statut de «touriste». Aucun musée ni monument au programme. Je me sens plus proche des berlinois, capable de redécouvrir la ville sans contrainte. A l’orée de cette année 2018, c’est une toute nouvelle ville que je découvre.

Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof. Half-way of the 8 hours’ train trip from Paris to Berlin.

Along the cemetery. A walk in Kreuzberg, the very first morning of 2018.

The Berlin Wall Memorial, on Bernauer Straße. An open air historic exhibition had been constructed along 1.4 kilometers of the former border strip, where the Wall was built in August 1961.

Tourists having a peep behind the last preserved ground part of the Wall as it was set up in the late 1980s.

The massive brick and glass building near Humboldthain Park first was a railway material factory. Bought by the state after its closure, it now houses a part of the Technical University of Berlin.

On top of the Humboldthain Flak Tower, one of the three flak towers of Berlin, constructed to defend the German capital from air attacks during WW2.

Fur coat near the Brandenburg Gate, where one of the biggest New Year’s Eve party of Berlin will be held two days later.

One of the many “Plattenbauten”. A typical view in the former eastern part of the city, although this type of construction was widely used in West Germany too.

Reading at night, in the busiest part of Berlin.

North of Tempelhofer Feld, a small road between a cemetery, a park and various sports installations. One of the many places of Berlin where you would never guess being in one of the largest European cities.

“My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love”. First created in 1990 and widely inspired by a photograph of R. Bossu, the fraternal embrace between L. Brezhnev and E. Honecker remains one of the most popular painting of the Berlin Wall.

Being a main recreation area in summer, the Tempelhofer Feld is still open for sportsmen braving the cold and wet weather in winter.

The children’s farm of Görlitzer park, Kreuzberg. This park is on the other hand known for being a dealers’ spot.

The Plattenbauten used to be highly desirable housing. Between animated districts of Friedrichshain and Mitte, you can walk for at least 30 minutes among them.

First an important terminal for the Nazi government during the 1930s due to air traffic increase, Tempelhof Airport became mostly known for being West Berlin’s airlift terminal throughout the Cold War years.

Tower blocks, one of the Berlin’s landmarks, pictured on the last night of 2017.