Discover More, Berlin in Berlin
We sent Thomas out with a DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Berlin to get his perspective on what it means to use a travel guide in his local area.
I live in one of the most exciting, interesting and multifaceted metropolitan cities in the world. There are currently 3.52 million people living in Berlin, making it the largest city in Germany.
Place you live: Berlin
Can you sum up the people of Berlin in a paragraph? One thing I love most about living in Berlin are the people. It’s such an open minded and creative city. Nobody cares about who you are and where you come from, nobody judges you.
What was the experience like looking through a travel guide for your own local area? First it was kind of strange because I was born and raised in Berlin and always thought that I knew my city very well. After spending some time reading the guidebook, I was able to experience my neighborhood from a different perspective and even found some interesting places that I’ve been passing by almost every day but never really noticed.
How did the guidebook influence the photos you went out to take of your area? Actually I picked some places from the book and kept revisiting them until I got a nice shot. Tried to have a mix between the touristy hotspots and some secret local spots. Most of the shots were taken in my favorite districts which are Mitte and Kreuzberg. Even though it feels like I’ve been photographing these places a million times before, I had a wonderful time rediscovering them with the guidebook.
Tell us about the photos you shot for this project? It was quite an interesting experience for me to take part in this project. Since I’m a street photographer I usually look for interesting people and special moments in daily life. Shooting for this project made me change my perspective and the way I take photos. Usually when I shoot I don’t really have a given route, I just go out and see where it may take me. This time I wanted to photograph some of the most interesting places that Berlin has to offer and show them in a happy and colorful way. Since every district here is like its own little city I wanted to showcase this diversity in my pictures.
Describe a perfect day in Berlin? For me a perfect day in Berlin starts with a coffee and some breakfast in one of the many wonderful cafes that we have here. If I had to choose an area it would be around Savignyplatz in the Charlottenburg district. It’s one of my favorite areas when it comes to eating. Lots of small cafes and restaurants surrounded by some beautiful old architecture. If it’s a sunny day I’d immediately go out shooting after breakfast. I have two favorite areas for taking photos which are the districts Kreuzberg and Mitte. One advantage of living in Berlin is the enormous range of leisure activities the city offers. One third of the city consists of parks, forest and gardens, and for the less than outdoorsy types, there are about 170 museums to visit. Some of these are located on the “Museum Island” which is one of the most beautiful places in the city. And again it’s all about the food on a perfect day. Due to the city’s international flair, the cuisine varies immensely. If you consider relocating to Berlin, you’ll be able to find anything from burritos to kebab to sushi to traditional Currywurst. So you see, it never gets boring when you’re in Berlin and there is so much to do and see on a perfect day.
What do you love about Berlin? I love Berlin for so many reasons but mainly because of the contrast of old and new that we have here. Sometimes walking the streets of Berlin feels like a tour through modern history. It is now possible to see representatives of many different historic periods in a short time within the city centre, from a few surviving medieval buildings near Alexanderplatz, to the ultra modern glass and steel structures at Potsdamer Platz. Because of its tumultuous history, Berlin remains a city with many distinctive neighborhoods.
What do you dislike? Well, there is not much. The only thing could be the weather. Winter can be really freezing here and I wish we had some more light and less rain.
What would be surprising about Berlin to an outsider? I think that the most surprising fact for everybody who visits Berlin is how green the city is. Anyone taking a walk on a warm summer evening through the forest in Grunewald, strolling through the gardens of Charlottenburg Palace, or petting potbelly pigs on the grounds of Domäne Dahlem may well forget that this is a city of over 3 million.
What was your impression of the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide? It was the very first travel guidebook about Berlin that I’ve read and in the beginning I wasn’t sure if I really needed it. Being a local I was sure that there was nothing about this city that I didn’t know or haven’t seen. Even though I knew most of these places, I really enjoyed seeing them from a new and fresh point of view. I really like the way Berlin is portrayed in the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide. Apart from all the famous places you can also find some hidden gems that usually only locals know about. It was a wonderful experience to get to know the city where I live a little better.
We have teamed up with our friends at DK Eyewitness Travel to bring you a VERY exciting giveaway. 20 DK Eyewitness Travel Guides and two big Global Yodel prints are up for grabs! Who wants them? Follow the instructions in the widget below.