After my return from Prague, I found one of my favourite activities in Berlin: karaoke. Now I should probably point out that this is simply an observing activity and not one of involvement, at least not for me anyway.
Sunday afternoons see crowds of locals and tourists alike flocking to Mauer Park where the activity takes place at an outside theatre. Upon arrival, a festival-like scene unfolds; there are performers, musicians and henna artists. There was a man in nothing but boxers and a horse’s head playing a guitar, guys playing basketball and a flea market with plenty of goodies and food stalls.
The highlight was easily the karaoke itself. People gathered far in advance of the 3/3.30pm start in order to get a seat and those that came too late were content to gather around and peer over the crowd for a view.
The event itself is like watching the X-Factor auditions. There are some that are just there for fun and there are some that are actually really good. They are all worth watching.
After leaving the music we ventured into the flea market in search of food. We decided now was the time to try the Berlin delicacy of currywurst: sausage with curry sauce. Whatever you may think of that combination, I can assure you that I have been craving it ever since.
After the karaoke, my next activity was Museum Island. As I have already said, I have visited the Pergamon and so after that I spent a couple of afternoons visiting the rest: the Bode Museum, the Altes Nationalgalerie, the Altes Museum and the Neues Museum.
All are worth seeing if you are interested in art and antiquities but the Neues Museum was easily the best. It was huge and took us hours and that was with the top floor being closed. It houses predominantly relics from Ancient Egypt, with its crown jewel being the bust of Queen Nefertiti. Originally, it was housed in the Pergamon, where I saw her a few years ago, but upon completion of the Neues, she was moved. The museum is worth seeing just for her. Another personal highlight was the texts from Ancient Greece of the literature which I had been studying for the past five years.
Keeping within the cultural theme, a visit to the East Side Gallery was now in order. I had no idea what to expect and it was a surprise to find the gallery was a stretch of the Berlin Wall, completely covered in murals.
On one side is street art and on the other is a photo exhibition of other conflicts and walls around the world. I ended up seeing it a few times and, in the space of a week, there were noticeably more comments and writings left on the wall.
At the far end of it, we stumbled across Yaams- a Jamaican inspired beach bar. The smell of jerk chicken surrounded us as we headed to the bar for an afternoon beer in the sun. The atmosphere was chilled, with people lazing on the sand, in the hammocks and playing volleyball. The combination of the wall and the bar made for a perfect afternoon.
This was also the week of my first, very overdue, clubbing experience in Berlin.
We arrived at Kater Holzig a bit before midnight, which turned out to be ridiculously early in Berliner terms. The club appeared to be set in an abandoned block of flats, covered in graffiti. Unfortunately, most of the inside complex seemed to be closed off- perhaps because it was a Thursday- meaning that we could not run around as much as planned.
The outside area was actually lovely, with sofas and lights, and there was also a photobooth, where drunken photostrips could be taken. Ours was pretty awful as the machine caught us by surprise but it now sits proudly on my noticeboard nonetheless.
Sadly we did not stay long as the club felt a bit empty. The main dance floor was filled with people dancing to the techno beat but we prefer a cheesy pop/indie combo- preferably including Grease and One Direction- such a thing is hard to find in Berlin, but stay tuned because we tracked it down in the end.
It was definitely a fun experience and when we left at around 1.30am, there was a queue of people waiting to be admitted. Here we learnt an important lesson: when clubbing in Berlin, go later and go at a weekend.