I’m getting ready to head east in a couple days. I’ve accumulated some “stuff”. It’s time to assess the necessities and part with some stuff.
A few months back I left my friends (Martina & Maja) place in Croatia to go for what I thought could be a few days in Budapest. We decided to go last minute, so in a bit of a boozy haze I threw a few things in small backpack and we left around 1am. The next day the girls headed home. I decided to stay in the EU for a while because my visa technically wasn’t even valid yet. I ended up traveling (Hungary, Poland, Germany & back to Hungary) with that little backpack that mostly contained camera gear and a newly acquired skateboard for the next 3 and a bit months.
Returning to my bigger pack after a few months was like Christmas to a child! I had new (old) stuff again. Malaria meds & more hats basically.
It was after this, I really realized you don’t need much stuff. You just wash more laundry.
Today I will sort the pack out and cut some shit out.
I’m speaking to the employee about prints. There is an older lady beside me. She looks at me and tells me I’m not speaking my native tongue. Here is our dialog.
Me: No, I am.
Old Lady: No your not.
Me: Yes, really.
OL: You sound German.
Me: Well I’m Canadian.
OL: No… you are not.
Me: Ok, fine. Look at my passport here.
OL: (SHE LOOKS AWAY!)
Me: (Did this just happen?)
So much has happened… New experiences, exploring, skating, art, films, history, life lessons. More amazing people. Laughs, conversations. some stories. Berlin was truly amazing. I like this city so much I could live there. I felt inspired just walking down the street. This city is full of art. Art everywhere. Please go at some point in your life if you can. Check out Tacheles an art squat space. Wow. I would love to work in there. The place is covered in paint from ceiling to floor with all styles. It’s an artist collective where people squat and make art. Big fan. I got some great vibes as I walked around Berlin even with all the rainy weather. This doesn’t even begin to touch the art scene interns of what’s for the looking pleasure. You’ve got everything. Museums, The East Side gallery. Heaps of street art with some really big names in the game. A lot of everything really… Please go if you can.
While in Berlin I ate Currywurst like it was my job. Pretty much everyday. Cheap and good breakfast, lunch & or dinner. I miss the Wurst.
I checked some underground bunkers where people would rush for safety or in some cases sleep during air raids of WW2. Sitting in these places makes you realize how different life was for some people in some places. To relive just a fraction of nothing of what some people have experienced blows my fucking mind. Things are different now. I feel fortunate for a lot in my life after visiting things like this. I think you should too. Be grateful for what you have and don’t have.
Tried out my first Couch Surfing experience in Berlin, went well. I had a great host named Nora. A couple brief funny sarcastic emails on CS and this girl told me I could stay as long as I wanted in her flat. Hilarious how a complete stranger can say this to me. Mind blown, people are amazing. After seven hours on a train I arrive in Berlin. So I sort out some metro’s and directions with some locals, make my way to Pauls Boutique in Prenzlauer Berg to pick up some keys from a guy called Paul who’s name isn’t actually Paul. Get the keys skate/find my way to Nora’s and let my self into her place. It’s an interesting feeling letting yourself into a complete strangers house, let me tell you. Once inside I put but stuff down and wandered the walls of the flat, looking at some artwork & photos. Of which I presumed some of these photos had my host in them who I was about to meet (Whoa!?). Her flat was exceptionally nice with some real character. After a few minutes I sit down to write and sort photos for an hour, I hear the keys enter the door lock over my quiet music. Nora greats me with a smile, hug and kiss on the cheek… Hey, I’m the stranger who’s been in your house for an hour. Nice to meet you! She then made me dinner and we chatted over some wine. She told me about the city, things to do & see. Some dudes to skate with. Some basic German words. Whoa, Couchsurfing experience number one, success! Check it out if your thinking of doing some traveling, it’s better than hostel life in most ways.
A few days later, I met another guy at Nora’s who was staying via CouchSurfing too. Daniel from Australia an artist with some interesting concepts and work. I spent a couple weeks at Nora’s and then stayed on the couch with Daniel & his mate Setu for a few days. Both great dudes, I was grateful to spend some time staying with them in thier cozy rented flat. I spent Christmas Eve having a quiet night in getting some rest while the guys went to a dinner. Christmas day Daniel was having some guests arriving so I left and grabbed a hostel on Christmas day had a quick chat with a couple people at the hostel and retired to my empty 10 bedroom dorm (sweet-rest) for some more relaxing. I’m getting up early to see some more sights and sounds of Berlin.
While I was in Berlin, my friend from home Justine told me I should chill with her friend named Neill who’s from Toronto and living in Berlin. He skated & shoots photos she told me. Makes perfect sense when I heard the news, so we met up a few days later. Neill’s a good dude, we had some good shooting/skating/chilling/chatting sessions with him & his lovely girlfriend Anna. A few days later Neill introduced me to his friend Marton a super friendly Leipzig local living in Berlin for quite a few years. Marton along with Neill shoot beautiful photographs, I’ll link homies blog’s soon. My Tuque’s off to you & your work fella’s. Good recipe for chilling with these lads. Next I would meet another local Jeffrey, through Marton. Jeffrey had bags of tricks on th’ old skateboard. The four of us had some great sessions at ICC. One local ripper joined us on our second sesh and destroyed everything. The best part.. ICC is an amazing winter skate spot for the Berliners and the passing through of others like myself. All these guys were rad. I really find it amazing how much of a common bond skateboarding is all around the world. It can put you all on the same page. Surprising how much I can find in common with another skaters life values after a chat, alot of the time it runs deeper than skating.
Skateboarding shaped my life in so many ways and I’m grateful for this passion I developed as a kid. I could rant about skating for days but I’ll keep on topic here. From all the sessions I’ve had with random kids on the side walk with a borrowed board, to the dudes Lenny & Ryan who asked to borrow Neill’s & my board one night in Berlin while we were skating outside a small fair going on not to far from Alexander Platz station. We had a shared deck session on the smooth sidewalk. Nice guys as well. We ended up chilling for the evening after the hour and a half sidewalk session. After we had a smoke and checked out the fair for a bit and had some good laughs. Some hilarious moments with these two. Later we got out of the cold and warmed up with some coffee and cake courtesy of Lenny, Thanks man.
A couple days later I meet Dave from the Dude’s Factory, met him in the shop while drooling over a small gallery of original McBess pieces (“Google that shit!”). Ended up having some good chats over a few beers & smokes at the Dude’s Factory. Cheers guys. Might do a collaboration project with Dave at some point in the future. Amazing how easy it is to meet good people sometimes.
These are all just a few of the good people I’ve met while I was in Berlin. Thanks to you guys and everyone else I met for the good times. I love Berlin.
Photo’s to follow in the near future.