Wafts of cotton float on a light summer breeze accompanied by bubbles glistening in the sunlight. Mauer, which literally means ‘wall’, is a sprawling park that sepreates east and west Berlin. During my recent visit to this extremely artistic and lively city I stumbled upon these lush green lawns and the experience soon translated into quite an authentic one. Berlin is a melting pot of cultures. While strolling through the city one can notice how unique the architecture truly is, there are old brick buildings wedged into pastel hued and graffiti walls magically appear at every street corner. The city has a relaxed and slow-paced vibe with innumerable bakeries and cafes that serve up delicious German pastries. It is also interesting to see the diverse food options available, from Vietnamese to Mongolian food available at a stone’s throw.
Mauer park is an amalgamation of all this and more. On a bright and sunny day you find herds of families shelling in barbecue apparatus and picnic what-nots. The sheer massiveness of the park is quite liberating. As you enter, there are youngsters blowing up their speakers with catchy tunes whilst spray-painting walls with ingenuity. In a circle below the stairs is a crowd being entertained by a fire blower. As you cross the lawns you spot people making the most of the heat as they spread out on the lawns and drift away into an infertile slumber over a few beers.
The main attraction however is the flea market. I have been to flea markets in many cities over the world including Paris. They mostly consist of fake merchandise or you really have to scan through heaps of invaluable hand-me-downs to find something worthwhile but this was no ordinary flea market. Each stall demanded more than a casual glance. There was wonderfully carved silver jewelry, screen printed bags made in butter-like suede and authentically crafted leather knapsacks. Each stall had an innovative offering that promoted young designers creating out-of-the box products.
As you continue to make your way through this busy maze what awaits is even more exciting: there is beautiful antique furniture with porcelain door knobs, oversized vintage denim jackets and even old polaroid cameras that are truly lust worthy. In the centre of the buzz is a make-shift food court that serves mouthwatering Turkish grub as well as freshly made orange juice – a perfect meal to cure that shopping fatigue. My best purchase from this excursion was a set of gorgeous vintage broaches that have now found a place on my denim jacket.
So the next time you’re in Berlin and have a day to spare, head over to the Mauer Park flea market, the complete experience of great food, shopping and entertainment.
Written by Tanya Mehta