Berlin – Hip, Hipper, The Hippest City In Europe?
After being off line for what seemed like a lifetime (actually we’re talking about a month or so) due to work, I decided it was time to get out of this place for a while. But then again, time is limited and Christmas is coming up. So I caught up with a couple of friends all over Europe and Berlin became my desired destination for a long weekend trip. It’s simply been far too long since I was here last and after all, I never got the full-on hip Berlin experience yet. So I was ready to see for myself if Berlin really deserves the title “Hippest City in Europe”.
… And Then Came “Xaver”.
Nothing seemed to stop us from exploring Berlin and its top sights … except wind storm “Xaver”; streets have been blocked, flights & trains cancelled and winds of up to 225km/h lashed across North-Germany. In Berlin, this meant snow-storm to the max! Looking out of our hotel room window in the morning was like a nightmare come true. But, the clock was ticking, so even the “Big Room” at the Soho House Berlin couldn’t keep us from staying in.
East Side Gallery – hip, but definitely too cold to get the full on experience.
A little cold, wind or snow never kept us from exploring, after all we’re Austrians! So we were off to explore hip Berlin. Starting point was the East Side Gallery along the Berlin Wall.
Berlin Mitte & Kreuzberg – Hipper.
We’re getting there; Kreuzberg was a bit disappointing to be honest. Maybe because we went there at the wrong time of the day – during the day. My friend Aurelia told me that this part of Berlin becomes famous after dark. For my kind of taste, Kreuzberg was rundown and dirty with weird looking peeps. I’m Viennese so maybe I’m just too conservative for this kind of hippness?! Possibly. Still, we found two lovely cafés is which we spent a fair amount of time (not only because of the lovely weather outside). Berlin-Mitte on the contrary was a super spot. Lovely shops, cute cafés, endless dwelling along the streets.
Urban Spree – The Hippest.
“Sunken at the forefront of the RAW maze-like compound, Urban Spree is a graffiti-laden brick and concrete self-proclaimed “(re)creative space”—but don’t let that put you off. Pretentious parentheses in the description aside, if you walk on by you’re missing out. Upstairs, an artist’s laboratory and workshop rings with buzz-words of Berlin’s urbanization: engage, interact, collaborate, fuck off Media Spree etc. With the multifaceted city itself as an inspirational source, the program of events is fittingly schizophrenic. Previous times have seen the space give a temporary home to a Flohmarkt, a short film festival, Berlin fashion week, even a Korean food night, plus all the usuals – so keep your eyes on their schedule as there’s no telling what’ll come next.”
We were lucky to come at the right time. The “Voodoo X-Mas Market” was the right place to find cool and extraordinary presents. I didn’t find any presents but treated myself to two super sweet ponchos. Urban Spree is a pretty hip place with exactly those hip kind of people I missed in other parts of Berlin.
So, is Berlin as hip as everyone thinks?
Well, in my opinion, Berlin has done a great job promoting itself as the hippest city in Europe. But is it really the hippest? I personally don’t think so (please don’t hate me my Berlin friends). I really enjoyed the days in the German capital and had great experiences with brilliant photo opportunities, but I missed the flair & charm that other European cities offer. Maybe I’m spoiled with Vienna on this, but I think if you want more than just partying (which I have to admit is pretty darn awesome!), Berlin is just as ordinary as any other city. And then again, I’ll be back in summer, when I’m not affected by minus degrees and layers of cloths, to give it another go.
What do you think?