Tuesday, 16 June 2009

this past weekend in berlin


Several rivers run through the city so there are many beautiful canals. We walk and walk and walk around all the time so I can't remember where this was.


If you look at a map of Berlin, there are huge areas marked in green indicating the copious amount of city parks, far more than I have ever seen in all the cities I have been to. In the suburb of west Berlin where I nanny, there are something like 126 kids playgrounds to choose from -some featuring goats! Others are made especially for very young children, or have a water theme, and there are some outdoor exercising areas with manual treadmills, exercise bikes, and elliptical running machines so that the general public can exercise communally and outdoors. Forget the gym baby!

The photo above shows an overgrown park in a Turkish area not far from the Berlin wall. Parents chat on the balconies of their apartments so they can keep an eye on their children playing below.


Something old, something new. This the main tourist drag by the German History Museum where many visitors buy expensive tickets for guided bus tours. Little do they know that the city bus routes through the same area for a quarter of the price. Luke tried to get a picture of this gorgeous building but couldn't seem to get one without masses of people or buses. Oh well, its very fitting this way.


An abandoned squat that luke happened upon. Gloriously decorated, no?


Squatting has a long political history in Berlin. People occupy abandoned, decaying buildings that have been empty for years and left to rot by the original owner often because the building no longer has enough capital value. The squatters make improvements, pay all the bills, keep it up in running, and often open the newly renovated space to the public as a bar, music house, artist space, shop etc. However, if the tides turn and the area goes up in value again, the original owners often want to space back and thus squatters can be forced to vacate.

As you can imagine, the fall of the communism and the reunification of Germany had a big effect on what buildings where abandoned, what land/areas where desirable, and what is desirable and high in value now. It's pretty complicated and I am just starting to get my head around it. Squatters rights are a big deal here, and the various groups of squatters have unified to ensure more political power. Many of the people we know are very pro squatter.


Anyway, here we are enjoying the cold 'summer' weather. My job has gone from super full time to 3 days a week so I hope to post more often with probably less information overload (though being brief is not my strong suit).

xokimberlee

10 comments:

melissa said...

wow, gorgeous berlin pics. i am actually feeling rather jealous of your german adventure. so i will live through this blog vicariously!
when we visited the city with the kids, we found it was so child-friendly. lots of parks like you say, and friendly people and quite a relaxed atmosphere.
oh, and how gorgeous do you both look in that picture?!

Bronwyn Lloyd said...

No need to worry about brevity - it's so great to see so many pics of what you're experiencing over there. It looks amazing!

Look Left Karen said...

Fabulous shots!...keep you eyes and ears peeled for my sister Paula Booker (cause Berlin is really teeny right!) who moved to Berlin a couple of weeks before you...
Hope your finding it all wonderful.

Iris said...

I love a bit of squatting trivia, having been one myself once (shhh!). Pro-squatter, bike-friendly, goat-playground-filled Berlin sounds like my kinda city..

hanna said...

Loving seeing your photos,what and adventure.

Sally Anne said...

Great times for you both. I am enjoying your Berlin diary immensely and am imagining myself there walking around that beautiful city. Thankyou for the lovely pics.

ruby in the dust said...

what a beautiful, interesting place...

victoria said...

Love love love the park photo - I think it's the combination of nature/city, and just the vibe. The goat park sounds like a delight.

Paula Booker said...

Ha ha!
nice to meet you at Dane's performance in Moabit last Friday Kimberley. Look forward to meeting up again for the discussions auf Deutch we mentioned. It cracked me up to see that my sister Karen Booker (look left karen) a fellow craftwerker, has commented on here saying you might bump into her sister Paula...but 'maybe not since Berlin is not so teeny tiny'.
Well obviously it is a small world afterall!
ciao, Paula

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