We’ve been trying to make a habit of spending more time on the water, especially on the few days when it actually feels like summer in Berlin. When we walked over the high footbridge from Treptower Park onto Insel der Jugend, it was a warm Sunday and there were people everywhere, including on the water.
This is one of those Berlin spots that has the best of everything—it is an island in the middle of a busy park, so it’s easy to access by S-bahn or bike, but it is also surprisingly quiet and very green.
The island is small and has two parts—a park and a Biergarten. There are many spots in the park along the water’s edge and a field in the middle. Or you can go the Biergarten route at Insel Berlin, which has the grill going and beach chairs and tables right on the water. And they’ve got a fleet of boats to rent. That’s next.
Insel der Jugend, Treptower Park
Photos by Anthony
Lettering by Rebecca
Treptower Park is a bit out of the way from Field Office HQ, but our good friend and self professed русские-o-phile Micheal was in town recently so we decided to visit to the Soviet memorial there. It seemed like a suitable adventure, and we are always up for an adventure!
Now for a quick history lesson. The memorial was built in as a tribute to the Red Army that fought in the Battle of Berlin. Between 70-80,000 Russian soldiers died to capture the city for Russia ahead of advancing Western forces at the end WWII.
The architecture of the park is decidedly Soviet, with massive promenades, towering red granite sculptures of flags flanking the entrance to the memorial and quotes from Stalin all over the place.
It was all very serious and rightfully so, but I think my favorite part was the kids rolling down the hill under the statue of the soldier.
Soviet Memorial/Sowjetische Ehrenmal – Treptower Park
We had a friend in town over the weekend who has a special affinity for Soviet war memorials. The resulting theme for the weekend’s outings? Soviet war memorials.
I attended Sundays’s excursion to the Volkspark Schönholzer Heide, where we found the park’s war memorial locked up tight due to renovations. That was okay, though, because what we found instead was a heavily wooded park with the occasional wildflower field and that was exactly what I needed.
Like all of my favorite German parks, Schönholzer Heide has a restaurant, Kleingartens, and a combination of official and unofficial walking paths. The unofficial ones meander off through fields and into the underbrush. One path brought us through some trees to a Netto (grocery store) in the middle of an empty parking lot (it was Sunday, after all) in the middle of the woods. Very surreal. Where are the photos of that, you ask? Good question. Kicking myself.
Located just a few S-bahn stops north the city.
Volkspark Schönholzer Heide
Photos by Anthony
Berlin’s parks are truly used as backyards, especially by its residents who have no balconies—us included. On nice evenings or weekend afternoons we go to the little park by our flat, but sometimes I crave bigger, lusher spaces. The Tiergarten, Berlin’s largest park (250 acres), has streams, ponds, and meadows—as well as Biergartens and a Zoo.
If you want to picnic in the Tiergarten but you don’t have a bicycle (or if you are carrying a super excited french bulldog, badminton gear, and more food than you could ever eat) you can take the S-Bahn to the Bellevue station. From there it’s a short walk to the Englischer Garten, which is where we set up camp with Ashley and Andreas in a field with a view of the Siegessäule.
Entertainment was provided by Miss Hazel, whose little mind kept exploding from over stimulation—dogs! open spaces! soft greet grass! badminton rackets! babies! food on the ground all over a pretty blanket! By the end of the day, she was crashed and burned in the grass and so cute that my mind exploded.
Englischer Garten, Tiergarten