This is going to be a bit of a love story. And a story of kindred spirits meeting. On the 3rd day of my Promenade Days project in Berlin, I met up with Natalie. She had contacted me after my post on social media in which I explained what the project was all about, and we decided we’d meet up near the Airbnb I was staying in. She had an idea for a first shooting spot, on the parking deck of a small shopping mall, so that’s where we’d meet.
I had all the time of the world so I was there a bit early, and sat down to take in the scenery, observe people as I do, and enjoy the splendid weather. It wasn’t long until I spotted her. But heck, she was hard to miss. A polka-dot blouse, a red beret, cool glasses. She’d dressed for the occasion!
The shooting idea on the parking deck wasn’t as fancy as we’d hoped. We’d hoped for a nice background of Berlin buildings. Which is probably there, in winter, when the trees have no leaves. As we were there in mid-summer, we almost saw nothing but trees. So that was a bit of a bust, but we managed to get our first shots of the day.
I was actually in Berlin for a WordPress convention (WordCamp Europe 2019) which was held at the Estrel Hotel and Congress Center. WordCamps are great gatherings of like-minded WordPress enthusiasts, and the Europe edition is big. So that was something to look forward to. So, on my meeting with Natalie, which was a couple of days before the start of this conference, I was in for a big surprise. The second location she took me was the Estrel! Splendid!
The Estrel is a huge building at the edge of Neukölln, which is famous for its 30.000 Square meters of event space, many many events a year, and the Stars in Concert series. Going there with Natalie was great to give me a feel of the place. We had a good cup of coffee and shot some more photos in and around the Estrel.
After the Estrel, Natalie showed me a part of Berlin I’d never heard of before; Berlin-Rixdorf. It’s amazing how, in the midst of this great metropole, you can find a part that seems like something you’d find in the countryside. Small, farm-like houses, loads of green, small streets and alleys, it was like traveling back in time. Which, in a way was true, because Berlin-Rixdorf is where Natalie grew up.
A blast from the past
After Rixdorf, we made another trip into Natalie’s past. She took me to a courtyard where, in a distant past, her parents had had one of the first fitness studios in Berlin. And of course, next to her home in Rixdorf, this is where she grew up. Between bodybuilders, fit people, and the likes. I was told even some celebrities used to train there! For Natalie, this was a very personal trip down memory lane, as she had not been there anymore since forever. The fitness studio doesn’t exist anymore. We shot some beautiful photos and went on our way again.
This journey through Berlin didn’t stop there! We took the subway to another part, walked and photographed some more and ended on the Breitscheidplatz, which looks heavily fortified. It’s the square that was attacked by a truck driver during a “Weihnachtsmarkt”. We sat down there and had a drink or two and literally got lost in conversation. Man, did we have a lot to talk about for two strangers who had never met before.
Love for Berlin
So, what about that love story, you ask? Well, it’s about Natalie’s love for her city, and I can understand why! I’ve fallen in love with Berlin in these few days I had the chance to stay there, and if there were any big city I’d want to move to, it’d be Berlin. And for the kindred spirits thing, yes, we met as total strangers, but Natalie and I parted ways, late in the evening, with a new friend in our hearts and lives.
Thank you, Natalie, for the great day, looking forward to seeing you again!
If you want me to visit you in your town, city, village or whatever, please let me know! I’m up for taking this project further!