Let’s Go Wandering

By Stephen Ewashkiw | September 22, 2013

Today Jane and I planned to have some ‘me’ time. When we spend almost every minute of every day together, recognising the need for some time alone is important. Actually forcing some personal time into our lives makes a huge difference, and I recommend it in any relationship, whether you are on a trip like ours, or living your daily 9 to 5 life.

Because they can, our days in Berlin pretty much start around noon, after lazy mornings of coffee, breakfast, and blog writing. Today was no different, and just after the bells of noon we headed out on our own into Berlin.

Jane wanted to do some shopping so she headed off to find some good cycling shops.

I wanted to wander down some streets I had yet to wander down.


I didn’t stray too far from Jesse’s, or from the Berlin I am beginning to know a little, but I did find lots I hadn’t seen yet. Berlin has quite a bit of park space, and water running through it, which has surprised me. Most photos of the city tend to focus on the main tourist attractions, including the imposing old buildings that survived the war, and the modern constructions that have filled the void left by wartime air raids.

I began by walking along the canal into the Kotbusser Tor area, and then wandered through neighbourhoods filled with people going about their daily lives, delivering mail, walking the dog, drinking coffee, and having meetings.

Canals form a major part of Berlin's cityscape.

Canals form a major part of Berlin’s cityscape.

I found an old factory building which clearly used to be much bigger, but where bombs once took down sections, 60s apartments sprang up in the empty space. The original section has been redesigned internally to house cool design agencies, Red Bull, and a cafe where they pulled very strong espressos.

Strong espressos in a renewed space.

Strong espressos in a renewed space.

An interesting feature if Berlin’s streets is the ubiquitous orange garbage bin. These bins are on most street corners, have a special place for cigarette butts (which means the streets aren’t littered with butts), and currently have witty sayings on them. Here is a small selection:

berlin garbage can

Give gum?

Jane’s note: Despite there being a plethora of clever rubbish bins in town, Berlin is not the cleanest of cities.

I walked back through Volkspark Hasenheide, which houses a small zoo (being anti-zoo I didn’t go visit it), and has numerous pathways, grassy areas, and open spaces. It is a large park linking the neighbourhoods of Neukölln and Kreuzberg and was the perfect place to lose myself in my thoughts.

Volkspark Hasenheide, Berlin.

Volkspark Hasenheide, Berlin.

The greatest thing about being able to spend a few weeks in one place is the possibility to get to know the city a little.

I love being on the back streets, seeing where people live, not just where the tourists gather. I love following people through gates and into courtyards that open to reveal the hidden gems of a city.

No shortage of murals in this part of Germany.

No shortage of murals in this part of Germany.

And I love having the luxury to make time for the kind of inner city adventure that most locals rarely experience.

When was the last time you got out and explored your own five acres?  

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