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CSD Berlin: More than meets the eye

CSD Berlin: More than meets the eye

 

As one of the great’s of gay city life, Berlin’s own cultural and political past tends to be overlooked by our community during pride, as droves of LGBTI celebrators from across the country and Europe descend on the east German city for a weekend of antics and debauchery.

While this is all well and good, and as only the most flaming of homosexuals we obviously got stuck in (pardon the pun) ourselves, we came to Berlin with an agenda to taste the air of culture and explore the ruins of days gone past – something not difficult to seek out even amongst the hipster bars and super clubs that span the streets surrounding the remaining traces of the Berlin wall, a 1.3km long international memorial of freedom known as the East Side Gallery.

So without further a do, we dared to defy gravity and tactfully spread our time evenly between drunken pride antics and hangover free culture, embracing all there is to offer – here are just a few things we discovered:

East Side Gallery

A visit to Berlin isn’t complete, and is actually offensive, without walking the 1.3km stretch of the Berlin Wall remains, now a gallery of around 105 paintings (some have been lost to erosion, vandalism and development) that depict a time of change and painted in 1990.

The truth of Berlin’s culture is here for all to see and must be appreciated and taken in – it’s also a great opportunity to capture some golden Instagrams.

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Museum Island

Surrounded by the River Spree in the central Mitte district of the city, Museum Island plays host to a complex of five internationally significant museums and is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Well worth a stroll around on a beautiful summer’s day, or if you’re visiting during June (Berlin’s wettest of washout months), it’s a great retreat.

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Mauerpark

Get off the beaten path with this pocket of Berlin-realness.

The people of Berlin flock to this park during the Summer months (Sundays only) to enjoy entertainment, flea markets, outdoor boozing and general bathing in Berlin’s hipster vibe atmosphere.

Be sure to check out the stone coliseum for some improv comedy and stage shows!

Photo: Andre Stoeriko
Photo: Andre Stoeriko

Neueheimat

Set against the backdrop of a disused railway station on the eastern outskirts of the city, Neueheimat has transformed a forgotten suburb into an urban space fit for off the cusp gigs, street food markets and pop-up bars.

Stumbling over the bronze, vine entwined, iron train tracks into dark warehouses of techno music and pockets of hipster beer drinkers are both locals and visitors alike, so rest assured you’ll feel at home (and away) here.

We got a real sense of what a summer night in Berlin is all about; steam-punk surroundings toned down with hipster garage vibes, maybe?

To check out the what’s going on during your stay, click here.

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And finally

It was inevitable. Of course we’re going to tell you about the gay stuff, silly!

During the CSD pride events the majority of crowds flock to the Nollendorfplatz area of the city (you may well have been here in a drunken blur the night before) to watch the parade as it makes it’s way along a long stretch of straight road – perfect for that cheeky drive by (oddly romantic) kiss from float to street with a stranger, having eye-tongued each other from a distance.

The parade comes to and end at the famous Brandenburger Tor, where the party continues around Germany’s most iconic landmark with a live main stage and street party.

In the evening, there’s a plethora of opportunities in terms of clubs and bars including the notoriously known Berghain, which is a religion onto its own.

If you don’t fancy taking on the unpredictable mission of Berghain’s infamous queues and security, especially during pride, options include bar-crawling (a favorite is the pink fluff-lined hipster hideout Roses Bar) or taking on Arena Berlin – an abandoned warehouse-come-beach-come-pool party on the banks of (and in) the River Spree.

DISTRICT Pride took on the official Berlin pride after-party duties at Arena in 2015 and looks to be a strong fixture in coming years.

Spend your last dayTaking it all in with that last minute ditch attempt at catching eyes with your dream epitome of man (and he is out there!) at Berlin’s abandoned Templehof Airport, now a city park – beware/excited, the boys like a good graze!

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We flew to Berlin via Amsterdam from London Heathrow with KLM as part of the #mygaypride campaign with Two Bad Tourists.

Flights with KLM start at £132 with 6 flights per day and can be booked here.

We also travelled with KLM to Barcelona during the same weekend as Berlin Pride, also as part of the #mygaypride campaign, click here to see the article

KLM were great hosts for the campaign, providing upgraded flights and meals of the upmost standard and even arranged a ‘pride-clash’ of journalists at Amsterdam Schiphol airport on their travels home, a welcome surprise for Liam and Dan pictured below!

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was founded in 1919 and is the oldest airline still operating under its original name. After merging with Air France in May 2004, they are a major player in the air transport industry operating the leading long-haul network on departure from Europe.

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