Berlin Day 6 – A walk, a wall and Køpi

The Berlin Wall

I woke up at 1:30 today and realized I was supposed to meet Meli and Andres at 2 at Scharni. The plan was to visit abandoned buildings and a punk collective trailer park community for my photographic interests. That plan didn’t work out, Meli and Andres had to cancel last minute.

Instead I decided to venture out alone. I hopped a train to Alexanderplatz and then wandered around from there. I decided to go take some pictures of the Berlin wall and just kinda explored my way around. I walked around a big portion of Berlin using mostly the setting sun to guide me in my direction. Eventually I found “Checkpoint Charlie” the gate area from East to West Berlin run by US military. From there I walked along the wall.

Some time after that I decided to head back. I started hopping on random U-Bahn trains (subways) until I found a direction towards the Alexanderplatz from where I knew how to get “home.” On the way I stumbled into the museum district and a number of small parks eventually finding a gorgous fountain surrounded by grass where I decided to sit and relax. This was probably the most ideal way to end my stay. It was a beautiful sunny day, almost no humidity and not too hot.

When I finally made my return to 78 Mouse and Aki insisted that I needed to go out with them for a little bit. Mouse prepared a delicious dinner at Fischladen and from there they took me to Køpi.

Køpi is arguably the largest, most famous “punk” house in Europe, if not the world. It’s technically a squat but evicting it’s residents would be impossible. The place is built like a fort and surrounded by several other, smaller communities of the same type. It literally houses an army of punks and German leftists (not all of which are anarchist btw.) To clear out Køpi would literally require a military assault and I’m not sure it would be successfull. However the place isn’t harming anyone so there is no rational to remove it either as doing so would attract international press attention.

The place is amazing, the community that has been created here is astonishing. There was a punk/hardcore show going on in one part of the house. They had at least 4 different bars, a movie theater and way more. Mouse tells me they have in house plumbers, carpenters, electricians and more. It’s not a collective like 78 but everyone there has a role in life outside of the place and they contribute their skills towards making their home a better place.

We only stayed at Køpi a little while but I’m glad I got to go, the next time I head to Berlin I’m going to work to develop relationships there to allow me to photograph it, as it truely is something amazing that needs to be documented, but due to it’s legal status most would not have been comfortable with me doing so.

Unfortunately when we returned I still had to pack, and I had no time remaining to sleep. After packing up I head to the Airport and made my way to Paris for the next 26 hours…

More soon. For now: here are the day 6 photographs.

Berlin Day 5

Aki and friend.

Internet is down at 78 again. Although we can pick up an unsecured wireless in the big kitchen on the 2nd floor. Not sure when i’ll be able to post this.

Last night was interesting, we went to Fischladen and found the street to be swarming with Politzei. There were full riot vans filled with cops waiting for a reason to jump out. No one was quite sure as to why this was going on but as you can imagine it made things a bit tense. The cops came to the door of the bar on more than one occaision and then backed away. It’s like they were anticipating something that the community didn’t know was going to happen. Either way it ended peacefull with the cops eventually leaving as mysteriously as they had arrived.

Many members of the collective are hard at work here in the house. On Mouse’s floor alone they are installing a large kitchen and a bathroom. They both look to be the nicest in the house, I’m sad I won’t be here to see them. Downstairs they are building a bar into the front of the building. Mouse took us through it the other night, it looks to have a lot of potential as well. I’m not quite sure how or if this will compete with Fischladen which is just down the street. Mouse insists their community is large enough to sustain both.

Despite what I may have said in yesterday’s post regarding technology, this movement is strong and far from in danger of dying out anytime soon. They have built a place for themselves both figuratively and literally through hard work and dedication. There is definitely something there to be respected and admired.

Mouse is tending bar at Fischladen, we spent the afternoon lounging around there. He has mixed up Chocolate Martini’s for people with Hershey’s syrup that Aki brought back from the states for him. Apparently you can’t find that here at all.

Going to a cookout tonight at another house. Should be interesting. Tomorrow is my last day in Berlin and it looks like I have have picked up a last minute photo job as well. More details on that if it happens. That’s all for now.

oh yeah… pictures.