New-In-Berlin #7: Mauerpark
If I am new to a particular city, I start looking for the famous and well-kwown places first, and while doing so, I strive to stumble over the lesser known, more interesting locations. After a while I recognize a lot of places, but I don't really know the connections between them nor do I understand how to simply and safely get from one place to the next.
Only by walking or cycling around, I slowly understand how to get from A to B in a reproducible manner, and much later how to use the shortest possible way between A and B.
On a day in July, I was out to explore Prenzlauer Berg, which is, among Kreuzberg, Mitte and Friedrichshain, one of the fancier and more popular neighbourhoods in Berlin. It's in each and every tourist guide. After some pointless surfing on the wrong side of Prenzlauer Allee, and after spending a considerable amount of time on a cemetery that only had a single exit, I finally made it to the water tower in the heart of Prenzlauer Berg. I saw Rykestraße and Kollwitzplatz and all the must-sees nearby.
What I didn't recognize at all was how close I was to Bernauer Straße, and to my own surpirse I suddenly found myself at the entrance of the Mauerpark. As Bernauer Straße contains one of the longest remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall, I had been here before (in tourist mode), but I didn't know the connection to Prenzlauer Berg and hadn't visited Mauerpark in particular before.
Mauerpark, which literally translates to "Wall Park" is a public park and green space in Prenzlauer Berg that is located on maybe half a mile of the former wall and death strip between East and West Berlin.
It is located next to the Max-Schmeling-Halle and to the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn sports arena. It's a sprayer's paradise, and its elevations offer nice views over the city.
Car traffic is not permitted and it's a fantastic place for all kinds of leisure activities.
Now that I know the connection between the two, it's much easier to get along. Exploring a city is like doing a jigsaw puzzle. In the beginning, it's really hard, and with every solved piece it's getting easier and easier.