After five glorious years in Berlin, and a very intensive daily travel schedule, I wonder sometimes how I still have not seen all of the city. But probably, this is why I am still around, curious enough to go out of the warm comfort of my home on a rainy day for a discovery trip of the borough of Mitte. I arrived there on a Wednesday morning, when shops and small fast foods/imbiss where freshly opened, observing how the small streets were getting back to a very busy city life within minutes.
Situated between Tiergarten and Mitte, it has a mixed architecture with traditional red bricks buildings erected at the end of the 19th century and bold atypical constructions from the beginning of the 21st century. Many of them are listed as part of the UNESCO historical heritage.
Berlin has a special art to turn ugliness into creative spaces. Uferhalle is one of the most active cultural centers of the city, mostly focused on modern dance and choreography, but also hosting from time to time various exhibitions, as well as dance and meditation classes. At the first sight, it doesn't look as a very tempting place to enter unless you want to apply for a robot job in one of those factories presented in the movie Modern Times. Appearances are misleading...
On the streets, my camera is hungry for more photos of buildings. It seems that each of it has its own history and well hidden secrets.
Many of my historical questions are answered while visiting the local bourough museum, hosted in a former high school building. Besides an exhibition dedicated to the Jews deported to Minsk (Belarus), I visited a permanent exhibition dedicated to the daily life in the borough. Home interiors of workers and their family are reconstructed in the smallest details, opening the doors to the secret life behind the old buildings just spotted on the street.
During the Cold War, in this area was opened one of the first secret tunnels used by the East Germans to escape the 'communist paradise' to the West, many using the complicated network of bunkers already in place during WWII.
After the unification, the borough went through different administrative reorganisation being nowadays together with Kreuzberg, one of the most diverse ethnic areas in the city of Berlin, but much more affordable in terms of renting and daily shopping basket.
As I arrived without a clear plan, I follow the arrows direction Humboldhain bunkers, keeping my camera ready for new surprising pieces of architecture.
Soon, I arrive in a park, with muddy alleys after the fresh spring rains. Expect some dogs with their quiet owners and I guy running in a hurry from the top of the hill, was no one around. I walk slowly yet carefully trying to check if I am save enough to go further.
The bunker area is a sample of ugly architecture embellished by colourful graffiti from a corner to another. The mixture of dirt, quietness and ugliness is too much for the day, so I rather prefer to make a quick tour of the place.
On the other side, the unexpected beautiful Rose Gardens, closed at the time, looking as a labyrinth of well controlled creativity and, again, secret beauty. This is Berlin, and my trip to Wedding offered me another sample of local life and history.