A day out to Teufelsberg

Sundays are always the perfect opportunity to get out and do something a bit different. The shops aren’t open and everywhere is a little quieter than usual so it’s the best time to visit somewhere new or go and explore.

This past week has been a bit of a challenge for me so a friend of mine suggested we get out of  the tourist trap and head off on a day out. I didn’t feel like I necessarily needed to get out of the city center but as soon as I did I was so glad. We met on the Ringbahn and after some heavy navigation of the Ersatz Verkehr- another honorable mention to BVG- we made it to Grünewald. The crisp leaves on the ground, autumn colours and silent forest made us seem 1000 miles away from Berlin and it was perfect. I think the odd Sunday detox is really important, there’s nothing like getting outside to gain some perspective.

We got off the Sbahn and started the walk through the forest to the site of the former listening station during the Cold War. It took us a while to get there but we didn’t really care, we didn’t have a map in front of us and it was nice to just go with our nose.

When we reached the top of the man-made hill we had no view of Berlin due to the weather but what we could see was an endless horizon of autumnal toned trees. I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere and it was so comforting.

The place itself is incredible. The history of the site is astounding, I encourage anyone to read up about the former NS construction site of a university faculty for military technology and then American listening station. After the war, rubble from destroyed Berlin was brought to the site and it piled up to become the highest point in West Berlin,  trees were planted in 1972 to make the hill seem more attractive and several attractions were built there such as a ski slope, ski jump and toboggan run. Moreover from the ’50s the artificial hill was made into a listening station for intercepting, listening to and jamming radio signals from the Eastern Bloc.  Being in one place where so much has taken place historically through different periods, is something i’ve been trying to digest in Berlin over the last few months but Teufelsberg felt different. I’ve never been anywhere like it.

I was disappointed that the weather wasn’t so good on the day we went, I thought the sky would wash out the setting and that it would be a real shame we couldn’t see a view from the top. But I was so wrong, the mistiness and white backdrop made the whole place feel a lot more moody and intriguing whilst the autumn colours provided the perfect contrast and made the place take on a whole new life of it’s own.

Because of my current uni project being focused on street art in Berlin, I knew of Teufelsberg and it’s reputation in relation to urban art but I had no idea how extensive it was. It was an incredible surprise that every turn we took there was endless new things to take your breath away.

We even went back to some areas of the site more than once and saw completely new things that we had missed the first time. It truly was the epitome of inspiration. Without the art, the site would have still been very impressive but would have been completely different. In my opinion, most of the murals can only be described as art and not graffiti.

The pictures speak for themselves so i’ll shut up now but going to Teufelsberg has always been on my list of things to do since I got here, over 4 months ago now and it was amazing. I am so grateful for someone pulling me out of Berlin and doing the trip with me. A day trip to Teufelsberg is one of the best things i’ve done here and I would recommend going to anyone who’s thinking about it.

Bis bald.x

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