The beach bars
Berlin might not have an ocean, but it DOES have a river. And along that river are a handful of beach bars, complete with sand, hammocks, and recliners – perfect for chilling out with a cold bevvie for an hour or so in the middle of the day. Ingenious.
Overall, I found Germany to to be surprisingly environmentally conscious. Everything gets separated out for recycling, and almost all the bottles are made out of glass. Apparently they’re very conscious about PET plastic here. Drinking outdoors (e.g. at one of these rocking beach bars)? You’re probably going to get charged 2 euros as a deposit, which you get refunded when you return your bottle to the bar/counter.
(Related: I can’t remember the last time I saw a sipper bottle on this continent. Even the water bottles/sports drinks all come in flat screw top lids, which is so very different from home.)
According to T, I have a talent for finding us accommodation in the “ghetto”. We stayed in the east for a few days, not far from East Side Gallery, where graffiti is rampant and the streets are, well, gritty. Whatever. The street art here is unreal. As for the remains of the Berlin Wall, they weren’t as physically tall as I expected, but the murals were every bit as vibrant and emotional as I could have imagined.
Over the Oberbaum bridge, you might spot a freaky pink man creeping up the side of a building – but look closer, and you’ll see he’s made up of countless small skeletons. Or, a little further along, a man in handcuffs, which upon a second look, are actually golden watches. Now that’s dark.
As our awesome Hospitality Club host in Berlin explained, a lot of apartment-dwellers (like him and his girlfriend) rent gardens so they can create a little oasis for themselves. There are little garden communities all over, where tenants can landscape their patch, build little houses, and get away from the hustle and bustle. For all that, though, there are plenty of regulations. You have to dedicate a certain amount of your land to growing fruit/vegetables, and you can’t live in your little house on a permanent basis. It’s strictly a part-time kind of thing.
This COMPLETELY blew my mind; gardens and backyards are something we definitely take for granted in New Zealand. /shameface