Freitag, 27. Juni 2014

Discovering Kreuzberg

I am very unhappy for not exploring enough other parts of Berlin outside my own borough, but I feel less guilty during the summer, when I have the best opportunities to spend more time outdoors, checking new streets, shops and restaurants. Although I am not a complete foreigner in Kreuzberg, I always felt that I need more intimate knowledge about this part of the city. The last time I've toured it completely was more than a year ago so I went recently for some fresh new impressions. 
The journey started at Suedstern U-Bahn station. From there, we randomly took the Koerterstrasse, that welcomed me with too many foodie temptations. The first delicious stop took place at Beumer Lutum, a small coffee with many bio drinks and pastries, that can be consumed in an ambiance created of black-and-white pictures typical from the 1970s. When the weather is beautiful, most restaurants and bars offer the possibility of spending time outdoors.
The entire street has besides a small eating parlour every 2 blocks also small shops and workshops, selling or producing books (Ludwig Wille Buchhandlung), home-made furniture or children toys. The concentration of bikes is impressive, and so is the big number of shops or repair workshops for bikes. 
In one of the 'hofs' around, after going near a guitar studio and Greta and Louis fashion atelier, we arrive at the famous Sputnik Kino, following the lipstick traces, at the five floor. Sputnik, an indie movie theater, is considered the highest of its kind in Berlin due to its location. As it opens shortly before the start of the movie, we were not too lucky for having a look inside. 
Back to Suedstern metro station, we go direction Bluecherstrasse, with so many icecream small shops that we are about to think about moving temporarily to Kreuzberg, at least till will be able to taste more of them. 
The overall architecture of Kreuzberg is relatively simple when not not boring, with industrial block houses looking all the same. Thanks to the creative graffiti, the buildings are becoming more personal and special.
The alternative culture of Kreuzberg is also reflected into the style of the shops, especially when it comes to clothes. As parties, including out in the street, are part of the local traditions, many shops are offering the perfect outfit for an unexpected invitation to a party. 
 At, on Zossenerstrasse, there are colourful clothes for forever young hippies.
After so much walking and even more stops at the various shops, a snack at Kuruyemiș, eventually together with a home-made lemonade are a good idea.
But one of the biggest foodie stop in Kreuzberg is the elegant Markthalle, where you can shop for French and Spanish delicacies. 
Not too impressed about the fruits, or by other products, that I can find easily in other parts of the city as well, eventually at lower prices, I brought home a little plastic bag with a German-made za'atar, a special Middle Eastern spice that I don't find easily in Europe. After testing it in a couple of dishes, I may say that it was not a bad investment. 
Kreuzberg is also home to two unusual bookstores, on the other side of the Markthalle. One, the Otherland, is dedicated exclusively to the fans of science fiction. The English section is very rich and maybe I will be back one of the next days to buy some serious books for the incoming travels.
The other one is Krimi-Bookstore, Hammett, whose name was probably inspired by the author of detective novels and subject of a movie with the same name produced by Francis Ford Coppola and directed by Wim Wenders. Another famous bookstore in Kreuzberg is Another country Berlin, where literary events are regularly hosted.  
Walking the famous Bergmannstrasse, we feel the need to enter in almost every shop, and the offer is very rich, from food to huts, or swimming suits or eccentric clothes.
The feeling of the summer holidays is in the air, but most probably, simply moving in the area for the summer, would give me enough things to do. At you can buy your surfing frame, but also some colourful clothes for the summer. 
There is also a very creative Perlenmarkt shop, where one can buy various colourful pieces and create own jewellery. Some of the ready-made models are made out of precious African woods.
 And there is also another interesting Indian shop, with hand made small purses, among other colourful things. 
In a yard, we enter another universe, made up of disparate pieces of furniture, arranged in such a tempting way to convince you that you don't necessarily need an expert for your interior design, but only to follow your own inspiration. 
In another yard, there is Good morning, Vietnam, where I can't have enough of the dishes I want to try. A culinary curiosity noticed by the lady serving our table too, who kept asking me if all the meals ordered are only for me. (Foodie review coming up very soon!)
At the end of the Bergmannstrasse, I remember the good times of our first months in Berlin, where I'd booked a whole afternoon at the Keramik Selber on Mehringdamm for decorating my own ceramics.
I say 'good bye' to Kreuzberg, but I know that especially after the latest mini-trip, I will not stay for too long away from it. 

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