On Friday I went on a 4-hour walking tour of Berlin run by Insider Tours. It was the "Berlin Today" tour which covers some of the popular districts in Berlin. I had been on other historical and Berlin Wall tours from this tour company, last year, when I was here for a month.
We met at Hackescher Markt Station and there were two Germans, four Americans, one French and one Irish (myself) on the tour. Our tour guide, Barnaby was a 6’8” Englishman who’d lived in Berlin for 10 years and he took us on a trail through a number of neighbourhoods, starting with the courtyards of Mitte. Some off these courtyards have been meticulously maintained by Berlin city and some have been ‘decorated’ in organic graffiti and murals by locals some of whom were originally squatters in adjoining abandoned buildings. Nowadays these buildings are being refurbished, but some still maintain crumbling facades despite the surrounding gentrification.
We walked and occasionally took trams, through trendy Prenzlauer Berg and into the “Kulturbraueri”, culture brewery, an old brewery complex of buildings which is now an arts and cultural area. Then we walked through the Friedrichshain area and on to the East Side Galley (a mile of Berlin Wall murals), then over the iconic Oberbaum bridge into Kreuzberg, originally the area where all the Turkish immigrants lived but now a much more mixed area, but it still maintains that Turkish influence including a huge Turkish market along the Landwehr canal.