The world is bigger than we could ever possibly imagine, and it’s scary to think we will never even scratch the surface in this lifetime. Even if we do travel to the same places, we see the world through different eyes, creating a unique experience. As I dive head first into travel, I am inspired by each of your adventures and am starting Sonderlust Secrets as a series showcasing this. Interested in being featured?
Hey everyone! I’m Sara and I blog over at A Different Piece of Sky. I’m a Canadian girl currently living in the land of pretzel and beer — Germany, that is! I work as an au pair (essentially a live-in nanny) for a local family and I travel around Europe as much as I possibly can. I blog about my daily life as an au pair, the struggles of expat life, and my (mis)adventures around the continent.Since Shane and I share a love (obsession may be a better word) of street art, today I’m here to showcase some of the street art I discovered while visiting Berlin over Christmas. I love searching for street art around Europe and lucky for me, Berlin is quite literally covered in it! It seems that everywhere you turn there’s another interesting piece just waiting to be discovered (and photographed, if you’re like me!). Berlin has by far been my favourite destination in Europe for street art so I’m very excited to share with you a glimpse of what I saw.Given that it was my first visit to Berlin, one of the things I knew I had to do was visit the monuments related to the Berlin Wall, especially East Side Gallery, a 1.3km stretch of the wall that has been left standing and turned into an open-air art exhibit. I’ve always found Berlin’s history fascinating, particularly the division of the city after the war, so seeing the Berlin Wall in person was quite the experience. I loved checking out all the artwork, though I have to admit it was disappointing seeing the amount of graffiti covering many of the pieces.
Another activity I knew I wanted to take part in was the Alternative Berlin Tour, which is a free (tip-based) tour that provides a glimpse into several subcultures of the city. Prior to visiting the city, I had heard and read a lot about Berlin’s unique vibe, and I knew I wanted to really experience and learn about the alternative side of the city for myself. A ton of street art, graffiti, and local spots were showcased throughout the three hour tour. It’s safe to say I was in heaven. Our guide was a young Berliner who grew up in the Kreuzberg neighbourhood of the city, which is one of the most alternative areas of town, and which happened to be our first stop of the tour. She began by telling us about the most prominent young graffiti/street art groups in Kreuzberg and pointed out some of their work. We were also informed that one particular group’s hobby is jumping on top of and riding the trains that go through the neighbourhood. Additionally, to tag buildings without getting caught, they often suspend themselves with a rope in the middle of the night. Crazy. Throughout the tour, she showed us some interesting bits of street art and shared information about pieces that we wouldn’t have learned about otherwise. For example, in the picture above, the black sprays of paint next to the spaceman were made using a fire extinguisher. It was this particular artist’s first time using the method and he was unable to control the contents, which are under extreme pressure. So, the piece ended up being a waste.I also really enjoyed learning about the story behind the pieces found on the building above. The two larger works were commissioned (i.e., legal) street art. The one on the right of the drunk-looking robot/animal was done by two artists who had an entire weekend in the city to paint something on the wall. Rather than spend their time painting, however, they partied most of the weekend away. As a result, in the last few hours on Sunday they painted their own type of cautionary tale, if you will, of what Berlin’s nightlife can do to you.The piece at the top that says, “Love art hate cops” was not commissioned but rather illegally done by a local group. We learned that this type of area for street art is called a “heaven spot,” because usually the artists hang over the edge to paint it, with friends holding onto their ankles. Should they fall, they would go straight to heaven. The last stop of the tour was an old bombed out train depot in Friedrichshain, conveniently located in the same area we were staying in. This allowed us to stay after the tour ended and explore quite a bit. The space has been transformed by the community and now holds a large indoor skate park, several restaurants and clubs, and an indoor rock-climbing studio. There was street art EVERYWHERE. Of course, I attempted to take photos of all of it. I was shamelessly obsessed. And on that note, I’ll end the post with some photos from this area. Do you enjoy seeking out street art on your travels? What is your favourite city for street art?
Sara is a Canadian traveller who is in the midst of a quarter-life crisis. She has an unrelenting desire to see the world and is currently living and working near Koblenz, Germany. Lover of travelling, coffee, donuts, Harry Potter, and running. Follow her journey via her blog, Instagram, and Facebook.