Berlin is just so cool. You know how a hipster is someone who is trying to be cool, but trying to make it seem like they don’t care how cool they are? I feel like Berlin is the original hip. Like, Berliners are what hipsters are fashioned from and aspire to. The city just keeps getting cooler and cooler the more things I discover. Here’s one of those cool things:
In the middle of Grünewald Forest, is a man-made hill called Teufelsberg, created from rubble and debris moved from Berlin after World War II. The Americans used the Radomes -weatherproof enclosures that protects a radar antenna – atop the hill as listening stations during the Cold War. When the Berlin wall fell, the equipment was removed, but the Radomes and buildings remained. It’s now what I believe is a squatter’s paradise, and is open to the public! Michael and I decided that today we would do what we do best: hike to the top of something and have a picnic.
After a quick grocery shop for the perfect picnic (sandwich ingredients, cherries, and a litre of wine) we took a train then a bus to the edge of Grunewald Forest, and began the 30 minute (according to Google Maps) walk to the top of the hill.
We were rudely greeted by swarms of mosquitoes. Swarms I tell you. Swarms!! Oh my gosh, they were everywhere. A cloud of mosquitoes followed us as we walked, so we ran. We ran through those woods as fast as we could, constantly swatting ourselves and each other when a mosquito would land. I laughed, I cried, I itched, I swatted, and I ran. The mosquitos had the time of their lives.
We ran all the way up the hill, passing other swatters like us running the other way. We finally arrived to an opening in a chain link fence. Still swatting at the ravenous mosquitoes, we met some men at the Teufelsberg “ticket booth.” We gave them our €8 each and signed in to the guest book. We continued to climb up the hill and the mosquitoes thinned. Thank goodness.
Ok, so this place is so cool. We walked towards the buildings and found graffiti and spray paint tags everywhere. We climbed the stairs up and up and up into the towers. The art surrounding us was beautiful. This is absolutely the kind of thing I’ll pay €8 to see. We reached the roof of the building, where we could see everything from Berlin city centre and the TV tower, to the rolling hills covered in wind turbines, majestically spinning on the horizon. Wow, it was quite the view.
We climbed up and up and up again, to the top of the tallest Radome. Here, we discovered more art, and some of the craziest echoes I’ve ever heard. If we stood next to the walls of the sphere and even just whispered, our own whispers came back to us three or four times from around the walls. We started whispering words like, “secrets,” and singing, in the creepiest tune we could create, “I’ll never tell”. Back down in the open air, we found a picnic table in the shade of one of the domes and enjoyed our perfect sandwiches and sipped our perfect wine.
After our picnic, it was time to leave. We finished our litre of wine (I know, we are rock stars), and were just drunk enough to feel brave enough to run back through the swarms of mosquitoes. We wandered around the complex a little more to make sure we didn’t miss any art, and then walked towards the entrance. We waved goodbye to the men at the “ticket booth” and then began our run down. And run we did. All the way to the train.