Barbecuing down the Spree

Probably the coolest mean of transport in Berlin: the grill-boot. Sitting around the table, drinking beer, cooking Frankfurters on the barbecue, while floating around on the river. During today’s run I could capture a close enough shot of the grill boat, so here you go dear readers:

Barbecuing down the Spree - grill-boot in Berlin

For the full experience, please imagine some minmal techno while viewing the picture.

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The Görlitzer Crater

One usual weekend program for Berlin is to sit around in Görlitzer Park, drink beers and have talks with friends while enjoying the Summer breeze. There is a huge crater somewhere in the middle where we used to settle – it is a nice spot covered with grass, but it’s quite a mystery as well: how did it get there? Was it really a bomb during the wars as other Berlin expats say?

Traces from the past: office building of the Görlitzer Bahnhof railway station

Because today it’s raining cats and dogs out there and we don’t have the option to go out anyway, I finally had the time to do my research on the topic. Who knows? Maybe I can end those rumors completely, or, if there was a bomb, I can tell when and where it actually went off.

Well, the story starts with Görlitzer Park being a railway station before.

Gleisplan from 1925 and Google Maps from 2012

The railway career of the now park and seasonal football stadium started in 1867, and lasted until 1951 – when all the trains going through West-Berlin from here were departing from Osktreuz instead. Although according to maps, the station was already demolished by 1954, it actually remained relatively undisturbed for ten more years, until the Wall has been built up and all the hopes for a reconstruction were gone. (More about the history on Wikipedia.)

The station in 1879, 1946, and people collecting wood in 1975, to use for heating their homes.
Images by © Landesbildstelle Berlin

Berliners are famous of reusing whatever they can – and traces of the railway station can still be found all over the park: some goods sheds and office buildings are used until this day, and there is a swimming bath built on the site of the former station. The old railway bridge offers a foot path to cross the Landwehrkanal and walk to Treptow.

I wanted to know about the crater though, and at this point it could have been a service pit as well as something made by the rumored bomb. The Wikipedia article mentioned the Görlitzer Tunnel that was opened to the public in 1910 – an underpass, connecting Oppelner Strasse and Liegnitzer Strasse. Suits well: it’s right where the crater is – was it maybe bombed?

The Görlitzer Tunnel in 1989 and the crater in 2012 (archive photo from the German WikiPedia)

The photo above shows the tunnel in 1989 in a rather good state, and according to the article the tunnel remained in use until the early 90s. When the area has been developed into the Görlitzer Park of today though, as soon as pedestrians had public access to the park, the tunnel became redundant – and later that decade it has been destroyed, creating the mysterious crater.

No bombs from the World War involved.

Sources of information used in this post, that were not directly linked (yet): 3D models of the station, Senate Department for Urban Development

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The importance of being idle

Achievements for this weekend: walking the distance of marathon, sleeping next to a dog, and signing up for a sailing course.

People partying on the top of a working street sweeper in Berlin, after “Karneval der Kulturen”

I can quite agree with those who follow a perfect daily routine to achieve their goals; I tried Pomodoro and GTD myself, and I believe that all sorts of works can be done faster and more efficient if you set up some rules and follow those. On the other hand: the goals to choose from is almost infinite, and in my field, creativity is rated at least as high as the amount of ticks in your todo list.

So training for that with having some days playing football in the park actually makes sense – let’s try to get payed for that.

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Berlin is famous of being kind to drug addicts: regardless of what you take it’s easy to get it, will be relatively cheep, and in case of an overdose the doctors know exactly how to get you back to life. For a long time I kept clean – but the city sucked me in, and I developed an addiction.


The Saturday market at Boxhagener Platz is a vibrant place to get fresh food of all sorts: vegetables, spices, meat can be found here as well as beautiful cakes and cottage cheese ice cream – and of course, since Germany has a seaside, fresh fish is all over the market. The goods are coming from the farmers themselves, and the shopping experience lacks the pharmacy feel you get in Bio Company shops. Another point why food markets are great.

For the hungry who looks for something different than thai takeaways or döner kebab, this place is the best to be in a Saturday luchtime. The smell of grilled meat and sausages are coming from the direction of the caravans, which is also the place where I discovered the object of my addiction: the smoked mackerel.

These fish dishes are coming with horse radish and algae salad, and you can choose between a filet sandwich and a whole fish. The price is between 3.5 and 5.5 euros (after 4pm its usual to get discounts). Regardless of the format, the taste is heaven, and we could have it every day – but since the food market is only once a week, we are safe. Until we find another sugarman.

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Since the winter is over and the warm weather started to kick in, Berlin is on the way to become an amazing place to live. It’s a great turn of events.

A few months ago when I moved here, my first experiences in the city were nothing what I had in mind before. I was walking in the -15 Celsius cold, among the soviet buildings of Karl Marx Allee on the completely empty and dark street, looking for a room to rent, and could not figure out how I could think that this city is a friendly, open and civilized place – or even, a place to live at.

But who is the stupid, moving to a north European city in January.


Since the end of February the days got longer, cycling started to actually feel good, and the discovery became better with every day. For the last few days the sun is out and there are no serious looking rainclouds on the sky – that, in Berlin, means: party.

Smoke is above all public parks, people are out with barbecues, and random open air gigs are being held: some bring dj sets and play fairly loud music, while everyone around starts to dance. Probably the world’s coolest but cheapest party: no entry fee, the beer is about one euro from the nearby spätis. A perfect match for the ‘arm aber sexy’ (poor but sexy) berliner.

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