Everyone always remembers their firsts right? Well, my first was in Berlin, well, my first urban exploring adventure that is…
The first step was a bit of a little dipping of my toe in the water – I hit up an abandoned amusement park that was hosting an alternative Christmas Market – but this was pretty easy to find and more a party than a proper expore. So with my appetite whetted I wanted more and my thoughts turned to Teufelsberg. However, like the market, there was no fences to be climbed or security to run away from – you simply had to pay an entrance fee to gain access to its wonders.
Teufelsberg is a hill home to a former top-secret spy facility and was used as a US Listening Station in the Cold War. Yep – East Germany, the US heard EVERYTHING every hidden call, they heard it all… Anyway, it was originally built to host a Nazi military training school, then it got into American hands after the war and continued to operate until the fall of East Germany and the Berlin Wall. After that the station was closed and the equipment all taken away. What information exactly was collected will be made public in 2020 – so get your gossip then, and hear what your grandma was really up to…
Nowadays it’s not about the history, it’s more an alternative urban street art space that now been made public and will cost you €8 to get in. You can walk around the abandoned complex, enjoy the ever changing graffiti adorning everything, but you’ll really just want to check out the view over the Grünewald from atop the listening tower – it’s pretty mind-blowing and otherworldly.
You can go on one of the many alternative guided tours and learn a bit about the history of the place, but if you are a true explorer and adventurer you might want to go on your own – but remember that you’ll have to pay the entrance fee – unless you of course choose to go after hours!
It has come to my attention that it’s July. Like, when did that happen? It’s been three months since I did my last ‘Things I’ve Been Doing While Abandoning This Blog’ so here are all the amazing things I’ve seen and done in the past three months.
Italy: La Spezia – Vernazza – Corniglia – Monterosso al Mare – Riomaggiore – Florence – Pisa: for some village hopping and to catch up with my friends
Austria: Innsbruck and surrounding villages: just to escape for a few days.
The hiking and going offline-ish in Innsbruck was my favourite trip. Hiking is not something I regularly do or am even made for but being in the mountains makes me so happy.
I’ve never had the urge to visit Italy’s major tourist sites. Rome, nope, Lake Como is where you retire/go to die and Sicily is a hassle to get to. Even the Olsen Twins, Lizzie McGuire and all the history in the world hasn’t yet persauded me. So when Cinque Terre came to me via Pinterest and Instagram I took a mental note and a few years later my friends and me booked a last minute trip and we we 4/5 villages and crammed all the Italian food we could find into our mouths.
The Air Bnb in La Spezia was idyllic. A garden house next to a mansion on top of a hill – very Ryan’s poolhouse from the OC, but without the pool. We arrived later in the evening and as the bus wasn’t running we decided to walk up, but not before we grabbed pizzas. The climb turned out to be around 180 stairs + 10 minute walk down the road, so you can image the circular bits of cooked dough were very welcome.
On the last full day in Innsbruck I did a little hike that started in a small village and took you on a scenic walk back down to the city. Walking through the little village, seeing farm animals and crops growing very much reminded me of home in Bosnia. Which always makes me slaps a smile upon my face.
For a lot of people Rome is the symbol to Italy but for me it has always been the Leaning Tower of Pisa and I was so happy that it didn’t disappoint. Watching the people for posing inspiration, taking a cheesy photo and sitting down at the McDonalds (if you still watch The Simpsons this is actually a bucketlist moment).
In London I didn’t sit that still and next to the usual social gatherings I escaped a room at Lock’d, hid from the dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park and visited some great, and some not so great, exhibitions. But my favourite bit was walking around the deserted South Norwood Country Park on a Sunday morning. Not for the place itself necessarily, but for the peace I found there, it was an out of London experience, if you’d like.
How about having pasta and/or gelato every day in Italy. And then taking back as much pecorino cheese and pasta would fit in my suitcase so I could continue the holiday at home?
The Imagine Moscow exhibition at the Design Museum was a missed chance and a complete rip-off for the price. I don’t mind paying for a well-curated exhibition, but £10 for a poorly-curated one was a crime. The main museum is free, but with random stuff cramped in a little space without a real goal or context. It’s a shame as it’s a really interesting space with a bit of history behind it too.
What have you been up to?