Glamorous personalities have all experienced it: The moment the mob gathers around, thrilled to have found a victim who dares to be different. Like a crowd of grey pigeons staring down at the colorful bird of paradise. Laughing, in the absurd belief that they are better because they are many. Lots of grey against a spark of glamour. Too narrow to see, it is this spark that makes all the difference. It is what makes you special and them so very simple. Too blank to understand that it is you who is the winner and them who lost so long ago. They lost themselves in the thirst to please each other. One grey pleases another grey. Now they like each other, but the fewest like themselves. It is hard to know who you are when you put on a uniform.
One of my favorite things about living in Berlin is the ridiculous amount of kooky events available at any given time. In the last month I’ve attended a Kundalini Active Meditation (where you literally “shake” your body whilst standing for a solid 15 minutes in a room full of strangers), danced from music from all over the world (Karnival de Kulturen) while ending at a open air rave in the middle of one of my favorite parks (Hasenheide), and attended an immersive art/dance performance/therapy session by the Mexican American artist Jazmin Medrano.
Because I’ve lived in Berlin for three years now, nothing really shocks me anymore. Once I went to the infamous Berghain club alone and was approached by a normal enough looking man wearing only tennis shoes and a leather harness on his chest. “I can massage your feet if you want,” he offered. “No thanks, I don’t feel like taking off my shoes,” I replied truthfully.
photos: Alicia Kassebohm
The following guest-article is brought to us by our favorite Berlin-based Yoga teacher and founder of Your Space Michaela Aue who is making the iHeartBerlin team sweat like animals and giggle like kids in all of her classes.
Berlin is Yoga heaven but Berlin men can be a Yoga hell. But before I go into this in detail let me tell you just a bit about me. I am yoga teacher living and working in Berlin for many years now. My best friend would probably describe me as a white-wearing creative chaos of some sort. For most of my adult life I have been consumed with the search of the ‘Mind-Body-Connection’. Sounds so cheesy, but it is so true. Some might call it ‘the moment of bliss’ while others call it ‘being in your center’. The balance between body and mind is probably something we can all agree on for now.
photo: Deutsch for Dich
Earlier this month marked my third year anniversary of living in Berlin. Though I have a permanent WG in Schillerkiez (the best Kiez in Berlin), a handsome German boyfriend with no interest in polyamory (the holy grail!), and a close-knit group of hilarious friends, I still don’t feel like a true Berliner.
Why? Because I don’t speak German.
I can read and understand most things, but every time I try to say something other than “Tschüs!” I freeze.
When I was visiting family in the USA a few months ago, I was amazed at my charisma. I was cracking jokes with the Waffle House waitresses, articulately asking for directions to the nearest Target and politely inquiring where the Kombucha section was in Whole Foods. I couldn’t believe how confident and shiny I was, not just around my family and friends, but out in the real world. Who was this girl? In Berlin, I shrink inside of myself every time I have to speak German with anyone. Upon returning and feeling my shiny-self dull more and more, I decided that learning German was no longer some frivolous thing expats like me talk about doing, it’s something that I needed to do order to let my true self shine.
Lycra, lights, DJs, sweat and slings. This could be another night at Berghain, but instead we find ourselves at the Velodrom at the 107th Six Day Berlin race– the world’s oldest six-day bike race- thanks to the kind invitation of GASAG who is one of the sponsors of the event. Do you want to experience it as well? We have tickets for you to win!
Berlin is a city of bikers. We use bikes to get around town and to work more so than most people in other large cities. And, most of us have a close relationship with bikes. They can be a fashion accessory. They get you where you need to go. And, they are generally more reliable than the last person you talked to on Tinder (just don’t park it near Kotti, otherwise it will also disappear).
photos: Felix Russell-Saw
Sometimes I wonder if our generation is more obsessed with fairy tales than previous ones. Faced with a reality of the gig-economy, serial dating and an all too uncertain future, who can really blame us? And honestly, nothing prepares you for life in Berlin quite like a steady diet of stories about abandonment, witches and cute animals. The revelation that fairy tales are not real (for better or worse) is one of the milder let-downs of adult life. As grown-ups, we just have to conjure up our own magic. The good thing about this is that we can be whoever we want to be. Siding with the witch, especially if she is beautiful and satisfyingly revengeful might be the best choice in the end.
I have met a lot of people in Berlin and despite an excellent memory I surely don’t remember all of them. Few people became part of my personal lore and some just vanished. And there is one that managed to do both: I call him Hansel.
illustrations: Berk Karaoglu
I came across an article offering “Unique Ways to Meet Quality People”. Since dating apps have become a haunt for the visually unfortunate and dull over the last years I was keen to find other options to acquire a “quality” mate. Please humor me when I say that I’m not quite sure how to spot a “quality person” in the wild and the guide offers little advice on that matter. But I wasn’t going to be stopped by such a minor obstacle. I followed the instructions step by step (or as close as personally possible). Here is what happened…
photo: Urte Kaunas
There are so many stories written about Berlin: a city of inspiration, creativity, lost and found spirit, art and music, crazy dance floor love fairytales and never ending discoveries. In the end, every story reflects its personal angle and puts a different color pallet to fill the page. Berlin is made of many different routes – so let’s ride.
Getting into the streets by a city bike, having a cup of beautiful coffee on the way, observing the people in the streets, having spontaneous chats and exploring the local cafes and restaurants sounds like a perfect idyll of a day in Berlin.
For our brand new guide we got together with the charming Edoardo, head barista of Refinery High End Coffee in Mitte and Kreuzberg, and teamed up with Creme Cycles and the bikecitizens app to create a bike tour that unites the spirits of Berlin, delicious coffee and beautiful bikes.
Our tour starts in the most beloved and diverse districts of Berlin: “Kreuzberg is purely bizarre: you never know what to expect from the people, it’s ever changing and there is always something odd to discover,” says Edo before we start our tour…
photo: Camilla Bundgaard.
Perhaps one of the main thoughts when thinking about Berlin, at least for young people that is, are its popular nightclubs, music venues, events, clubs and techno parties. In fact, Berlin has been gaining a reputation of this wild and sleepless city where the party never ends. However, Berlin is much more than just an endless rave – not to mention that it was the capital of Nazi Germany and it was also infamously divided during the Cold War – and its historical landmarks are a crucial part of what makes Berlin such an interesting city. So, although we usually try not to write about mainstream tourist sights, through the big urban icons listed in this piece you will get to understand a little bit of the history behind them.
illustrations: Nicola Napoli
As far as I can tell, there is no greater threat to a child’s physical health than Berlin’s playgrounds. Don’t be fooled by their cute themes, like Underwater World (Kreuzberg), Dragonland (Friedrichshain), and Indiana Jones (Kurfürstendamm). Strewn about these playgrounds are sharp nuts and bolts, rough rope bridges, and slides of heat-inducting aluminum. But do Berliners seem to mind? Not one bit.
I’m convinced that Berlin’s playgrounds teach impressionable young Berliners to associate good times with the rusted nails, exposed wiring, and holes in the dirt. That’s why the most popular nightclubs among adult Berliners resemble decrepit playgrounds. Berliners have become masters of recreating the Lord of the Flies landscapes of their youths.
What’s interesting, however, is that this reenactment of childhood playtime doesn’t stop at shoddy construction. Here are a few other similarities I’ve noticed between playground and club fun.