It’s been a while already since I’ve visited Berlin. I’d been there once before in the distant past, and it was good to be back! I was actually there for a WordCamp, a conference about WordPress and everything related. I had planned my first leg of my Promenade Days project around this and added a couple of days around the conference to meet up with people and take photos. First stop, Berlin-Kreuzberg!
I already knew Julia from a very dear friend of mine, Melanie (who’s also a great photographer), in Bochum. We’d already spoken before about me visiting her in Munich, so I was happy that she reacted to my call. But, big surprise, it wasn’t Munich anymore, she’d moved to Berlin in the meantime. A perfect opportunity to make good on that visit and plan a couple of hours with her.
We met up in her neighborhood, Berlin-Kreuzberg, which is a very culture-rich part of Berlin. During the cold war era, Kreuzberg was one of the poorest parts of Berlin, but after the Berlin Wall fell, it has become more gentrified. It’s known for it’s diverse cultural life and alternative lifestyles.
You can eat a great variety of food (including plant based food, which I love) there, drink a good cup of coffee, visit art in an old brutalist church, and loads, loads more. I’d been to Kreuzberg once before, about 20 years ago, and like back then, I felt right at home. I
Cool thing was, we didn’t stay in Kreuzberg for long, as Julia had a surprise in store for me. She and her boyfriend took me to an underground garage, where she showed me her 1974 Opel Rekord. Damn, that car is as old as me! And what a beauty she still is! So we hopped into the car, and started driving through Berlin, and chatting about life, work, moving, old friends and much more.
But, Julia had something more for me in store.
She took me to an old workshop where she and some friends spend their time, working on their oldtimers. Wow! That, of course is a dream for a photographer like me. There were old cars and vans all over the place, and they were working on a classic American car. I knew these cars were big. But how big these cars are dawned on me when I saw the exhaust lying on the floor. Quite unbelievable! We spent quite a while shooting there, and I shot some portraits of Julia as well as of these great surroundings.
We stayed there for a while, and I had enough to see, to shoot, and to talk. The great thing is, I shot an intimate moment between Julia and her boyfriend there. By now they’re married, and they used one of my photos from that day as the photo for their invitation card! I still don’t know which photo it is, as Julia has promised to send one over for my archive, but that can’t spoil the fun for me. I’m honored to have been there, even if only on paper invites!
Back to Berlin-Kreuzberg
After we’d spent a while at the workshop, it was time for us to drive back. We parked the Opel back in it’s garage, and went on our way to get something to eat. We walked through the colorful streets until we came up to an Asian restaurant which should be a good one. And yes, it was a good one indeed. We ate our delicious dinner, talked some more, drank some beers, and talked some more. What a great way to end a cool and surprising day! This is why I started this journey.
Thank you Julia for being a part of my Promenade Days Project!