TRAVEL NOTES::DAY 11 | RETURN TO GRAFFITI JUNGLE

saffi graffiti firetruck

Wandering aimlessly can be adventurous at times. Other times you simply want to get to your destination. When you know how to get to where you are going, you are able to spend more time enjoying the moment instead of trying to find your way. Today we returned to Kreuzberg - to the graffiti jungle.

Our walking time from Görlitzer Bahnhof to Five Elephant was 13 minutes. This was at a casual pace as we stopped along the way to take a few photographs. There are many interesting photographs one can make in Berlin in general, but particularly in such a colourful place as Kreuzberg.

Before our adventure, we came across a bear on Wilmersdorfer Strasse. Saffron was excited about the bear and told me to take a photograph so her siblings could see it too. There was an exhibition of some kind and the bear was apparently part of it. Another man was off to the bear's right hand side with a Canon telephoto zoom lens photographing the bear. I believe he was also part of the exhibition.

berlin bear at dm corner

We boarded the U2 in the direction of Pankow and switched trains at Wittenbergplatz. We walked outside the station and walked over to the post office and around the station. I wondered if we should go back to KaDeWe then decided to continue on our journey to Five Elephant.

at wittenbergplatz

At Wittenbergplatz, we boarded the U1 towards Warschauer Strasse and exited at the Görlitzer Bahnhof stop. Descending the stairs we came upon a crowd of youth which would make one want to turn around and get back on the train. As we found out later that day, a group of police officers were gathered around the questionable youth.

We walked across the street on Wiener Strasse until we came upon a fire station. On the wall of the station was a most beautiful mural of a fire truck which made for an interesting photograph with my daughter. She claimed her brother would like to see the fire truck.

Sometimes first impressions or preconceived notions of something can prove to be incorrect - as in the case of graffiti. What fascinates me most about the graffiti I came across is the colour combination and the thought put into the design. If you open your mind to a new way of thinking, anything can be seen in a positive light.

feuerwehr kreuzberg

We continued down Wiener Strasse until we reached Glogauer Street. Before we turned right on Glogauer Street, we noticed a man on a ladder trying, in vain, to vanquish the graffiti on a wall of a building. Before I photographed the man on the ladder, I set my daughter in his line of sight to make a photograph of her.

saffron by graffiti scrubber

Putting my covert efforts aside, we walked by and I simply snapped a photograph of the man before he had a chance to turn around. On our way back from Five Elephant, there was another man on the ladder still trying to wash away the art.

graffiti cleaner

There are many things along the way and in life we come across but to which we rarely pay any attention. A pole on a wall along Glogauer Street had a piece of paper taped to it with the handwritten words "Bitte Keine Fahrräder anschlißen. Danke". Translated it means "Please do not connect (fasten) bikes. Thank you". I glanced at the sign and continued walking. Then I turned around and took out my camera as I thought it would make for an interesting photograph.

keine fahrräder

As soon as we reached Reichenberger Strasse, we turned left and saw the round sign of Five Elephant. I shook my head as I remembered our first excursion to this coffeehouse a few days ago and how it took us an hour to get here.

five elephant diptych

We noticed all the tables in the front were occupied so we placed our order and waited in the back room by the kitchen until someone vacated a table up front. Luckily this happened before our order arrived.

Saffron had her mind set on the same dark and white chocolate chip cookie as last time - along with a glass of milk. I ordered a cappuccino and a slice of cheesecake. We sat there for a while and enjoyed our treats. The weather was gloomier today and cooler so few people sat outside.

After my cappuccino, I ordered a cortado. I waited for a while but did not mind as I enjoyed sitting in the coffeehouse. At some point I realised my order must have been forgotten so I got up to inquire about it. The barista acknowledged the order was overlooked and set about to make it. I smiled when I saw the chocolate and vanilla elephant cookies that accompanied my cortado. Saffron insisted I take a photograph of it for my son as he loves elephants.

cortado with elephant cookies

After the cortado, we decided to make our way back to the U-Bahn station. Earlier, I had noticed a large mirror along with cupboard doors tossed onto the sidewalk. On the way back, I saw a lot of fun could be had with this mirror. Making a photograph of me with my daughter in front of the mirror was the closest I got to a photograph of us besides the silly photos we took at the first flat with the point-and-shoot camera.

saffron mama mirror diptych

After playing with different compositions of mirror photographs, I decided we would continue on our way. On the wall across where the mirror had been set by the bicycle path I noticed beautiful red, black, white, and blue colours with gold in the background. I composed a photograph and looked back at the mirror. It was beckoning me to return.

kreuzberg graffiti jungle

People walking by had an inquisitive look on their faces. Little did they realise I was capturing them passing by.

mirror play diptych
lady in the mirror
saffron leaning into mirror

My most favourite mirror photograph was of my daughter looking into the mirror as a lady, who appeared to be looking for someone, walked by Saffron in the background.

saffron and lady in mirror

After fun with the mirror, we continued to the U-Bahn station where we noticed several police vans and police officers at the station and across the street. A group of three officers ran across the street towards a building. My daughter and I continued across the street where at the bottom of the stairs the same questionable youth were now surrounded by police officers.

police vans at kreuzberg

We waited the three minutes on the platform as the train arrived. Once on the train, we sat acrosss a lady who later turned out to cause us to miss our stop and go to the end station of Uhlandstrasse. She looked to be in her 30s and perhaps Polish. She wore a brown fur-like coat and had a large blue plastic bag on her lap.

At one of the stops, two young men boarded the train. One guy sat next to the lady whilst the other guy sat directly across from her with a camera strapped around his neck, the lens cap off, and his finger on the shutter button.

The guy was trying to be surreptitious with his wanting to photograph the lady but she caught on. It was quite comical to watch her hold the plastic bag up to the top of her head whilst texting behind the bag. The lady continued to hold up the blue bag as she exited at the Kurfürstenstrasse station.

I wondered if the lady was famous or simply paranoid, but it made me smile as it was silly and funny at the same time. An older lady boarded the train and sat in the spot across from the guy with the camera. The lady did not seem to mind the camera being pointed at her.

In the adventure of the bag lady, I forgot to take notice of our station. I planned for us to exit at Wittenbergplatz so we could change to the U2. Instead we found ourselves at the end station of Uhlandstrasse. Our return to the graffiti jungle of Kreuzberg proved to be quite an unexpected and interesting adventure.

jungle sign kreuzberg