Amazing Street Art and Rock, Paper, Scissors!

Berlin Travel Blog

 › entry 61 of 98 › view all entries

Alternative Berlin has got to be one of the coolest tours I've ever been on! After meeting a retired guy from Mexico, Jose, who had out his map as well and tagged along with me, we were off to see the artsy/subculture side of the city. We stopped at several squats that artists have taken over, the most impressive being the first one called Techle. While the main building/gallery/studio smells like piss, the graffitti on the walls really impressed and inspired me. I took loads of photos and am thinking of making it the theme for whatever room I move into in the Fall.

We learned the difference between tagging, 'pieces,' street art, etc., which I thought was fascinating. For example, tagging is just when someone take a spray can and scribbles out their name or name of their crew, and bombing is when you do this, but do it all over a particular area.

Inside techle grounds (sorry, don't know how to spell it)
There's one guy referred to as '6' who will spend several hours painting the number six all over buildings in various sizes. There are said to be over 250,000 6's painted all around Berlin, which is fairly impressive. Each artist has their own style and signiture, and this guy is finished with an area, takes the lid off his paint bucket, paints a smiley face on it, and lodges it somewhere hard to reach and take down.

Another really interesting, but fairly sick, artist is one who paints this girl who finds various ways of killing her cat, such as ripping its head off and holding the animal on two different hands. I asked our guide, Leo, what happens to people if they are caught in the middle of making graffiti, and he tells us that technically it's two years in prison, but in reality they are just slapped with a fine and made to do come sort of community service, usually cleaning up the city in some way.

The infamous girl killing her cat :(
Every year, Berlin spends roughly 50 million Euros on cleaning up this graffitt, only to have someone come the next day and make art of this fresh 'clean canvas,' so personally I see this whole clean-up effort as pretty futile and a big waste of money and time.

One of my favorite parts of the tour was seeing the East Berlin Gallery, which is made up of several hundred artists from around the world who were invited to paint of part of the Berlin Wall that's still standing. Lots of the topics of the art focus on peace and breaking down barriers, which I thought was pretty cool. At the very end of the tour we went over a bridge that had two neon signs on them, which at night light up into a neverending game of rock, paper, scissors, showing the friendly rivalry between the neighborhoods on either side of the bridge.

Jose, my Mexican friend, in front of a mural in the East Berlin Gallery
Once a year there is a giant food fight between these two communities, the winner usually being determined by the police. After a nice pizza dinner with Jose, who is also a Christian and was fabulous to talk to, I headed to St. Christopher's to check into my room.

On a mission to make friends to hang out with tonight, I headed down to the pretty impressive bar downstairs, quickly meeting four Aussie guys-one with a striking resemblance to a cave man, and another who looks a bit like Johnny Depp. We made good use of the Happy Hour specials, including lots of Jager shots and Carlsberg beer, then headed out to a bar/restaurant called "White Trash," which is apparently a pretty cool spot to hang out at on weekends. We had fun people watching, which resulted in Brian having me start conversations with several guys, including one awkward middle-aged man in a tracksuit, one in a top-hat who dressed smartly but we suspected (and were right) of having several tattoos and being a bit more hardcore than he looks, and two guys we deemed as heading out to pick up girls and being disappointed that this place was very sparsely populated with them.

Crazy couch!
Everyone turned out to be pretty nice, and the whole ordeal was fairly amusing.

I had been planning on heading to Poland tomorrow, but the guys all insisted that I stay another day and hang out with them, which didn't take too much convincing as one of them lives out here with his German girlfriend and claims to know some pretty cool spots like the Ramone's Museum and Iggy Pop's house. So far, Berlin is definitely up there as far as my list of cool cities!

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Inside techle grounds (sorry, don…
Inside techle grounds (sorry, don…
The infamous girl killing her cat …
The infamous girl killing her cat…
Jose, my Mexican friend, in front …
Jose, my Mexican friend, in front…
Crazy couch!
Crazy couch!
Not only do these artists work wit…
Not only do these artists work wi…
Inside the art squat flyer after f…
Inside the art squat flyer after …
:)
:)
Sooo many little artsy bars and ca…
Sooo many little artsy bars and c…
Shhhhh...
Shhhhh...
One of the most famous...
One of the most famous...
Berlin Hostels review
This hostel has an amazing bar and hangout area downstairs that's perfect to meet people in. While, unless you go to the apartment part of it,the rest… read entire review
Berlin
photo by: CFD