Oh the magic of Berlin.. I returned this time with my camera and took a stroll around the freezing (but still bustling) quarter of Revaler straße 99. For those of you who know and love Berlin, you'll know it well. This area feels like a love letter to the honest, raw and thriving creative culture the city cultivates.. the perfect way to spend valentine.
It's a sensorial hit on every level; the smell of fresh pretzels and coffee waft across your path; graffiti characters and colours seem to resurface from under years of peeling paper and paint; the hum of crowds moving through the bric-o-brac stalls contend with the odd busker singing through the crisp cold air.. The place is also a total tardis. I couldn't count the amount of times I found myself walking through yet another 'secret garden' style arch or doorway, to be greeted by a climbing wall, a skate park, or another beautiful little vegan cafe. The fact that all this exists in a space which doesn't feel the need to direct you, or coax you, or sign post your visual field, is dizzyingly hypnotic. I love London, I truly do, but it lost this magic a long time ago; there's a definite ebb and pull through London's streets, and even it's supposed artier neighbourhoods lack the space and cultural freedom to rise up so organically.
Dotted around the city are numerous old fashioned Photobooth machines- allowing tourists to take those obligatory fun-time memory shots inside tiny little boxes. Ironically, though I had my big-bad-boy camera with me, Adam and I still had to take one. These days, we have so many uber-smart camera devices and ways to share the images instantly, there's something delightfully analogue about waiting for the pictures; the wurr of the machine whilst it prints, the smell of the fresh ink, even just holding a photo in your hand again.. Though it might be a cliche tourist thing to do in Berlin, I love it. It's a sort of romantic that matches the city's retro arty identity, so far escaping the sticky grasp of commercialisation and corporate hold. There are no queues of hipsters waiting in a record shop on Brick Lane, just run-down curtained structures left to quietly sit into the background of the city scape. Like so much in the city, they feel undiscovered before you.
These are just a few pics from our rambles around Revaler straße 99. Berlin is the by far one the best cities in Europe for the creative mind.. Stop saying you want to go.. and just go.