Saturday, 18 September 2010

Saturday Night in East Berlin (Kreuzberg)

I have been walking around Kreuzberg late this evening to take in the atmosphere and see what's going on. I found a theatre group doing some kind of outdoor tour with headphones at Mehringplatz, 10969 Berlin. I kept walking around until I stumbled across checkpoint charlie and then I started prowling for a coffee shop. I headed to a place called Jazz-Cafe Junctionbar. The atmosphere in here is really nice so I am just chilling here having a couple of coffees. It is open until late (it opens at 17:00 and closes at 02:00). I could really do with finding somewhere like this in London.
Also I had a chat with some guys from C-Base (a hackspace in Berlin) on IRC and I arranged a meeting for Monday at noon. I am looking forward to going over and having a look around to see what they get up to.
Just going to enjoy my second coffee and then maybe head back home for an early start tomorrow. More exploring to do!
Just been doing some research about the area, it seems that Kreuzberg has one of the youngest populations of all European city boroughs. Statistically, its population has been swapped completely twice in the last two decades. It really shows and it has a really young, fresh, arty vibe about it. I wanted to find out why. Wikipedia tells me that after World War II, Kreuzberg's housing rents were regulated by law which made investments unattractive. As a result, housing was of low quality, but cheap, which made the borough a prime target for immigrants coming to Germany (and Berlin). So in the late 1960s, increasing numbers of students, artists, and immigrants began moving to Kreuzberg. From the cafe in which I am sitting at the moment it really shows. The cafe is alive with conversation and people laughing and drinking and I have scarcely seen a person over 30 in the last few hours.