Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Berlin started in 1998

As a tribute to the 20-year-old free Berlin I've been browsing through my old photos from here. I first came here in the summer of 1998 to visit my sister, and fell in love at first sight.

I never really knew why I loved it here so much, the city really was quite ugly, it was no Rome or Paris, and everyone I knew hated the language. My Finnish colleagues still asked me two years ago, as I'd decided to do an exchange in Berlin, why would I choose to study fashion in Germany. Well, I guess they know it by now, as Berlin has become the new New York (according to an article in Spiegel) and even us Finns know it by now. I always thought it must be the people, that make the difference, and I still do.

Pics from 1998-2002, we'll see if you can recognise me. Rene couldn't.


So many things have changed... Loveparade has left Berlin. It used to be free and open for all. Just love, techno and street everywhere. No-one was worried about getting in or out. Ever since the World Cup 2006 all the events on Strasse des 17. Juni are closed by gates and so full of people it's impossible to get in.


Mitte used to be 'east' = poor, torn up, neglected by the DDR government, and not yet completely rebuilt after the war. Oranienburger strasse and Hackescher Markt were not touristy, instead there were underground clubs that weren't allowed to call themselves clubs, 'cos there was no toilet. Instead you had "a gallery" that had "members", who came to see a show and were served beer.

Those days Amrit was still a small chain with simple surroundings and paper menus, no huge buddha statues or neon lights like today.

My "member card" to the underground club Galerie Berlin Tokyo, which now serves as a toilet for the highly trendy and expensive restaurant Pan Asia.

Palast der Republik (on the background of the photo) was still up, ugly and toxic. It was a kind of symbol of the era, built on the site of the old Berlin Castle (which was torn down by Hitler, and now being rebuilt again). I find it sad that pretty castles deserve to rise up again, and poor ugly brown buildings get torn down (although being full of asbest probably gave it a nudge). I feel for the ugly toxic palace.


Some things have stayed pretty much the same. :)


S-Bahn-tickets used to be pink and cost 3.90 DM.


We mostly hung out in the west, 'cos my sister lived there. That was the place to be. Beautiful, well kept parks, buildings restored, coffee chains everywhere like in the Western world. For me as a teen-ager, it was wild enough.


Kreuzberg was wild back then.


Screwy bar (in Schöneberg) served the best frozen coctails, and the only cost 1 DM! (German mark used to be about 0,50 €.) I hear Screwy still exists, but I wonder if I'd still find it.


Ku'Damm (the highstreet of the west) was my favorite shopping street, but hey, I was sixteen, and little did I know. here's a pic from Ku'Damm with Anniina in the Christopher Street Day Parade, 2002.


And here's the pic where Rene went like "Are these some of your friends?" It's me and Reetta in 1999, after watching three 3D movies in a row in Imax. This is a good one to finish with!



Anonymous said...

Berlin is a love at first sight, sort of city! I love the old pictures of you, so beautiful still are my love!

Love L.

Anonymous said...

I sue you for telling that I am in that picture. oh my good!!thats not nice! Greez,Prinsessa

Jenna said...

Oh my God... :D ! <3

Oon vaan nyt niin mehuissani siitä että pääsen sinne katselemaan itse näitä kaikkia mestoja joista oon jo niin pitkään katsellut vaan kuvia... :)

avara maiju said...

L: I agree! i don't think i've mat anyone, who doesn't wanna move here after seeing the city for the first time. and thanks for the sweet words :)

Prinsessa: I absolutely love that last picture, and I have to say it's not the worst pic of us together at all... hahaha. see you in court! :)

Jenna: kiva että tykkäsit! jo on aikakin että tuut :D