Fancy a beer on your way home? Go to a Späti. Having a party and running out of crisps and booze? Go to a Späti. Perfect summer night, don’t feel like going to a club or bar? Have some drinks at your local Späti. Spätis are the beating heart of late nights and weekends in Berlin. There are more than a 1,000 of them, they’re on almost every street (more about that later) and open 24/7 (more about that later). And, believe it or not: they were invented in the GDR.
Car enthusiasts and techies love motorised vehicles from bygone eras, including the former socialist East Germany – and so they should! After all, the GDR produced a few coveted collectors’ items. The Trabant is probably the one brand from this period that everybody remembers. But it was by no means the only one to grace East German highways and byways. Other models, such as EMW and Wartburg, have long since disappeared from view and memory. High time, we think, to celebrate them in a blog post.
Image courtesy of Editions Atlas
Ah, summer in Berlin. If I needed one reason (as if I didn’t have enough reasons already) to stay for longer than a year, it would be because I wouldn’t want to miss the Berlin summer. Last year was almost magical: drinking beer on the city’s beaches, having barbecue after barbecue in Volkspark Friedrichshain, dancing until the sun was high up in the sky again and most of all: a sheer endless amount of sunshine. Coming from Holland, I wasn’t used to that. But there was also the heat, which rose to 40 degrees Celsius in August. To prepare for it, I took some cooling-down suggestions from the GDR. Here’s how Central Berlin kept it cool 50 years ago – and still does.
Summer in Berlin. Image courtesy of Daphne Damiaans.
Simply driving along Karl-Marx-Allee and Strausberger Platz offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the unique character of this part of Berlin. Viewing the 2.4km long architectural monument from above is a truly breath-taking experience. As a long-time resident of one of the Strausberger Platz tower, I am used to guests to my apartment paying less attention to me than to the view from my window, which takes in the TV Tower, seemingly close enough to touch, and the prefab buildings with the last two billboards advertising cars built in the Balkans. If it wasn’t for the contemporary cars rushing along the boulevard, you might be forgiven for thinking that time had stopped and the Fall of the Wall had never happened.
Image courtesy of kriskbx – photocase.de