This is our final blog post from on our time in Berlin (for now at least). And man oh man, we LOVE it here. Berlin has been a crazy huge culture shock for us in so many ways, but we’ve enjoyed every part of it.
There have been moments that have made us WTF!? but that’s all part of the fun. We’ve seen probably too much human faeces for our liking, and some seriously questionable tattoos. However, it is a city we have fallen in love with. So much liberation, inhibition, creativity, barely any pretence, everything is crazy efficiency yet somehow also chilled.
The food scene is unbelievable, artwork is everywhere, and the fashion – unfknbelievable.
We have wondered through the high streets of Berlin, marvelled at the Cartier and Prada, drooled over the Bentley showroom and got completely lost and felt hopelessly broke in KaDeWe. We have walked countless times through the boutique shopping district in Hackescher and drank coffee beside Balenciaga. It has been seriously cool.
Bread & Butter Festival was such a highlight from our time in Berlin. It is a festival that combines music, shopping, food, cocktails and fashion.
The arena hosts pop up stores from local and international designers, showcasing new product. There was Tommy Hilfiger showcasing their new collar with Gigi Hadid (she was there), Vans hosting a pimp your vans craft store, adidas store 3D printing your custom kicks in 30 minutes and a tonne of other completely awesome pop ups.
The arena is built along part of the River Spree, which runs through Berlin. Outside the arena was a purpose built ‘beach’ with cocktail bars and a music stage. Floating in the middle of the spree, connected by a pontoon, is a sunken barge that has been converted into a floating swimming pool. Here was drank a few, watched the sun go down and listened to phat beats by Noah Slee. New Zealand born genius, living in Berlin.
Across from the Arena was another warehouse, this was the runway for all of the fashion shows scheduled during the festival. We snagged a seat and watched the launch of the new Hugo Boss collection, and later TopMan. They were spectacular, and so much fun. There were break dance performances in the Hugo show and for 30 glorious minutes we felt slightly more fashionable/ important than two unemployed backpackers.
Throughout the whole festival were new demonstrations of the future of shopping and fashion. We designed custom clothing on iPads using algorithms based on our preferences and personality, we saw garbage from the ocean spun into high tech yarn for sneakers, went sneaker shopping in augment reality and saw people using VR to be front row in fashion shows. It was THE BEST TIME EVER.
Our last adventure day in Berlin was journeying to Teufelsberg aka Devils Mountain. It is a site of abandoned spy towers, used by the allies during the war that have been left to deteriorate. They are now more like a run down artist residence of sorts. The towers are set atop of the second highest mountain in Berlin. The mountain itself was formed from more than 50 million cubic metres of rubble from bombed out buildings. The rubble was collected and packed into trucks by hand, largely by women, now recognised as the ‘Rubble Women’ for their efforts. *Puts my 2kg hand weights to SHAME.
Until only recently, Tuefelsberg was in a state of abandon, too unsafe to visit and slowly destroyed by theft and vandals. In 2010 it was taken over/ squatted in, by local artists interested in preserving the space and its unique atmosphere. It is now one of the largest street art galleries in Berlin. Most pieces ephemeral, constantly changing and evolving.
To get to Tuefelsberg we had to take a train out of the city, and walk up the mountain through the Greunwald Forest. We spent hours walking through the towers and spheres. The abandon, location and its history create a spooky and surreal feeling. We have never experienced a place like this before.
The artwork is confronting, but also incredible. It is a strangely beautiful place. To get to the sphere on the top tower you have to walk up the ‘black stairs’. This stairwell is pitch black (phone torch 100% necessary). This is the only sphere that isn’t missing any panels. Its only light source is a door way and a small porthole at the top. The shape and size of the room made any sound in here crazy, from the shutter of a camera to a whistle, the echo was over 9 seconds long. Spooky AF!
*A truckload of photographs from around this space – coming soon.
Our time in Berlin has been a learning curve. It took us a long time to relax into this new life, and embrace a slower pace. We have learnt to embrace the unknown, kicked our comfort zones to the curb, always keep your options open, and that being ‘busy’ is not always a good thing.
We are happy to see our stress levels lifted, and will remain to have tremendous gratitude for how lucky we are to be doing what we are doing. (Which right now is sun baking by a pool in Santorini #sorrynotsorry)
We are taking the next fews days to chill, catch up on mountains of photo editing, and to mentally and physically prepare for our crazy group holiday. Next post will be coming to you again shorty, all about our time in Santorini. With guest contributions by the Heelans and (soon to be legit) Munnsbanks. *Taking votes that they legally both take this name.
Auf Wiedersehen Berlin! ωραίο να σας γνωρίσουμε Σαντορίνη! And see you soon Camels!