Alternative Berlin

It is the second day of the trip in Berlin made our entire rest of the trip better. Every perspective of my view to Berlin changed on this day, after we join the Alternative Tour of Berlin. If you are EVER planning on going to Berlin, please please PUHLEESE do not miss this tour. We are never the tour group type, but this tour is so different from your ordinary tour group experience. The Alternative Tour of Berlin shows you the different side of the city. The underground, sub culture of Berlin. There are some crazy things I saw along with truly amazing stories, which you will probably never find out walking by yourself in the city of Berlin. The tour is “FREE,” but which also means that you will tip whatever amount you think the tour would worth after its over. Most of the guides are artists themselves, and being a tour guide is not only the side job to make enough money to survive or realize there artistic pursue but also to spread Berlin sub culture to the rest of the world. This was truly one of our most exciting experience in Berlin, and where my true appreciation of the talented, creative, and daring mind of the Berliners begins.

A very big part of the tour is on the graffiti work/ street art of Berlin. Within the 3 hours tour we were running around the city with the guide to look for the best or most well known work of street art in Berlin. A brief background of different artists were introduced along with explanation on the technique that were use on a certain piece. Most of the graffiti you see on the street of Berlin is illegal. However, this is one of the fewer ones that were legal in the city.

Now, let’s see some illegal ones. On the side of this beautiful piece of architecture, formerly a hospital, now an art institute and exhibition space known as the Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, were some glorious art pieces done by famous artists in the graffiti world.

I was told that these two pieces were done by the same artist, whose works are often an animal alive on one side and dead the other. In this case, on the right side of the wall, is the skeleton of the the rabbit you side on the other side of the facade. However, it was believed that the skeleton piece was an unfinished piece because some parts or the drawing was a lot more detail and elaborated than the others. May be he had to run in the middle of the creation for not getting caught.

We were then brought to this very interesting preserved space Rosenthaler Straße, located in the middle of a some what gentrified district of Hackescher Markt. Designer shops and modern architectures are everywhere to be seen here, but in this little nook right next to a vintage looking cinema cafe, there is an entrance to the only untouched courtyard with loads of graffiti work. In this courtyard houses the strangest combinations of museums, including some of the famous members during WWII and the most bizarre robot-dancing-to-techno-music “museum.” I don’t even know if I should call it museum because it almost look like a robot lab to me. But yea, it was beyond shocking and bizarre. At the top of the building was a funky book store / art gallery.

This court yard is loaded with graffiti work on every inch of reachable walls from many different artists. Some are very famous ones but I can’t really name them because I never knew much about graffiti. But some of you might still recognize the style of the work seen in books or magazines.

Going up the stairs to the books store is as amazing. The entire stair well were layered by graffiti. I have never seen anteing like this anywhere in my life.  And apparently this is not that unusual in the Berlin. But to me is unbelievable!

This robot monster you see here in the picture is part of the techno-music-dancing-robots I mentioned previously. After the tour, we came back here on our own to visit the robot lab. The second image was the entrance to the robot lab right next to the frog-bat iron robot. We had NO IDEA what we were up for before going down those squeaky metal staircase. If you want some out of ordinary, extreme and bizarre berlin experience, this IS the place to go.

The last and the coolest places we were taken to was the TACHELES. If you don’t know what TACHELES is about, you should really google about it. This is a place too cool to not know about. I was incredible ashamed on myself for not knowing this building before the guide told me all the amazing stories about it. The TACHELES is basically a giant house for the artistic community, or an artist squad. This group of artists have live, work, play, eat in the TACHELES for many years, with no materialistic desire, their only pursuit of happiness is to create art work and sell, or share with the public. However, the TACHELES is recently going under a tremendous threat. The bank wants the building back and hope to auction it out for money. Apparently the first step is to that is to clear our the building.  The TACHELES group has been fighting against the securities and polices to insist their rights to stay. There are a lot more stories to this building. Do search about it if you are interested! You will not regret it. This is a site call “I support  TACHELES You might want to check it out.

Aside from the tour, we were able to seek for other alternative fun.  While looking for some buildings that I meant to visit around Potsdamer Platz, we were hit by this interesting open market right when we got out of the train station. A lot of vintage finds for market lovers!

One side of the markets were venders grilling sausage and pouring beer. This is where I got my first little taste of Currywurst.

A little outside of the crowd of the market were an installations of some remains of the Berlin wall. I don’t know if it was temporary or it has always been there, but it was interesting to see along with displays of info on the wall and its history.

At here you can also get all your visa stamps for 2.5 Euro from the original check point custom to before the Berlin wall was down.

Thank you for joining my alternative tour of Berlin! Hopes it inspired you!

  1. Britta said:

    Great pictures! and currywurst in THE BEST thing ever, absolutely delicious! The have a “gum wall” in Seattle as well, but I think its time I go check out the one in Berlin! Looks like you had a great time!

    • Yes the trip was great! and we had currywurst every single day!

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