Alternative Culture with Berliners

Traveling solo is the least lonely way to travel. With each new city come new faces, new friends, and new adventures. In Budapest I met Cassy and Mitch form Australia. Then, I ran into them in Prague. In both cities, we had a wonderful time and decided to meet up in Berlin. Around 4am we met a group of Berliners and decided to all take our photo in a photoautomat – an outdoor photo booth popular throughout Berlin.

Six people in a small photoautomat, especially when one person is approaching 7ft tall, proved impossible. Instead, we opted for a photo with the photoautomat.

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At 4am, you never expect plans to actually happen (or even be remembered) but partly out of politeness I invited everyone to meet at Burgermeister at 1pm the following day.

Burgermeister is one of Berlin’s finest dining experiences…located in a converted public restroom under the U-Bahn. It is a favorite among locals that I found my previous visit to Berlin. I thought it would be an easy meeting location since it is right underneath the U Schlesisches Tor U-Bahn stop..and frankly, it is delicious.

I arrived the following day honestly anticipating having lunch alone. To my surprise, the entire crew from the night before arrived! The tallest boy showed up with a professional camera, a huge bag that he would not disclose what was inside, and a very elaborate plan to show us around Berlin.

First stop was an abandoned warehouse in Kruezberg. The warehouse is part of a neighborhood entirely void of gentrification and inhabited by the anarchist punk community in Berlin, commonly known as the “archo-punks”. Neighborhoods like this one are at the heart of Berlin, yet not mentioned in any travel books. I’ve spotted the “archo-punk” type around Berlin but I had no idea of the sheer number of people who identify with this counter culture group. Frankly, I always though “punk” was just a fashion statement. In Berlin, “punk” is a way of life.

With dark eye makeup, colored hair, piercings, leather and studded clothing, drugs, loud music, gnarly gazes and overall griminess – the “archo-punk” community was everything I expected it to be. It felt unnatural to be in their neighborhood, yet slightly bizarre to realize that I was in a neighborhood. This was a community of people, doing life together, living by their own rules. As an outsider looking in, they did not live by my standards. Yet, as they peered at me, I did not live by their standards. I was an outsider in their world, and they intentionally chose to be outsiders from the mainstream world.

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The top of the beautifully derelict building – a spectacular view of Berlin!

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We finally found out what was in the huge bag Toby carried around all day…

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BAGPIPES. HE PLAYED THE BAGPIPES FOR US. These are stories that can only happen on the road.

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In one gaze I looked at the Fernsehturm in the Alexanderplatz and this anarchist community:

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Our Berlin friends also took us to a lake, to Curry 36 – the best currywurst in Berlin, and to have drinks by the Berlin Wall. A big thanks to our transatlantic friends for spending a day showing us around – the locals know best!

Posted on by Reagan J Payne in Part II, Uncategorized

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