After a day or two of rest we head in for another day in Berlin. This time a recommended Sunday flea market and ‘hidden’ art market are our target destinations. Berlin has a lovely vibe on a Sunday with plenty of excuses to kick back, relax and people watch. There are one or two cafes along the river with wide open plan frontages leading into grassy areas with a scattering of deck chairs left out for anyone who fancies a sit down with a coffee and the paper. We even witness some romantic latin dancing, not by professionals but just a mixed crowd of cafe goers who are thoroughly lost in the moment.
The art market is a pleasant surprise. Its actually a vibrant selling space for local young as well as more established professional artists to test the market for their work. Experimental work is on display including some large round mirrors in frames made from welded oil drums ( quite tempted) some photos with computer manipulated imagery ( not keen) and some textural mixed media works which I’m really excited by. I chat to one of the artists who makes boxes. They are very special boxes. Each has an original figurative ( mostly full figures in an abstract setting as well as portrait heads )oil painting which has been painted, not in a twee, decorative manner but with gusto and expressive strokes as though it was a full sized canvas. Its proper accomplished painting ( I looked very closely) and the result is something quite precious, a functional keepsake and legitimate miniature artwork .
We spend a while there and then move on to the flea market munching on yet another currywurst ( this is definitely my last!) as we go. This market is fascinating, lots of genuine memorabilia from former East Berlin as well as eccentric wares and very collectable items. Roddy and I have a rummage with poor Miko in tow on the promise of a walk through the Tiergarten at the end of the day. We don’t have the space to take home many treasures but I cannot leave without buying some beautiful vintage glass paperweights with miniature images of old Berlin and other eastern cities. I’ve had a thing for these and snow storms since I was a little girl they’re like perfect little worlds lost in time that I want to go and visit for a few hours each day!
Berlin is truly a city where anything seems possible. We stumble across a strange looking shop front with the words twinkind written in a plain font. It’s intriguing. The three of us cross the road to press our noses against the glass ( they’re closed now) and realise they are in the business of portraiture but not as we know it. Their strapline is ‘Duplicating realities’. The idea is basically this, you make an appointment as you would for a portrait and go in for a sitting….. except its a ‘scanning’. They then create a miniature 3D printed sculpture of you- an ornament of sorts.
On day three we only have a limited amount of time so we take the van into the city and visit the East Side Gallery – a 1.3km stretch of remaining Berlin Wall featuring murals painted by artists from all over the world with the common theme of a more hopeful future that embraces freedom – here, here!
My impression of Berlin is that of a civilised, intelligent and culturally aware city that doesn’t try to hide it’s past. It is open and honest about what it has been and what it can become so its past, present and possible future sit side by side within an intriguing network of incredibly moving architecture and memorials, social gathering spaces, exciting entrepreneurial businesses and an uncompromising art scene. It’s a favourite and we’ll definitely be visiting again.
Have you discovered any hidden corners of Berlin that we missed or that you’d recommend? If so I’d love to hear about them before our next trip!