I have been in Berlin for a few months now and feel as if I have been living here for at least a year or two. My current job as a photographer and city reviewer has made me move all over the city, visit places unknown to both locals and foreigners and discover the good, the bad and the beautiful of Berlin. So far, I have taken so many photos and have been to so many places that life feels as if it were passing by at 200k an hour.
Living is the former GDR is a constant trip to the past and the best of it is the sheer amount of desolated buildings and structures all waiting to be discovered… screaming to be seen and explored. A few weeks back, I found myself having to take photos of the Spreepark, a place somewhat known for Berliners as a mythical desolated theme park with a story of its own. The Spreepark at Plänterwald is meant to be an abandoned amusement park with an amazing story behind it; apparently the owner was caught up smuggling drugs from Latin America back into Berlin and is now in prison, leaving the entire thing back in the wild. Very hollywoodesque...
On its days of glory, the KulturPark Plänterwald, as it was formally dubbed, received up to 1,5 million visitors. It was after the wall came down however, that the park saw its decline as most of its visitors –all from east Berlin- presumably had more amusing sights to visit. Now, the entire park lies left into oblivion, neglected completely from all sorts of urban change or development. I knew little to nothing about the place and found out about its magical history only after having walked along its rusty fences and deserted huts.
When I read that I had to go and photograph it, I decided to go, wander abouts and discover the place with no expectations. Also, the weather had its days of glory as temperatures rose for about 2,5 days and my hormones could no let me stay in, so I popped out to enjoy and indulge myself with a few hours of sunshine. I must say, the park itself looked rather depressing and the only thing that stood out was the 45 metre high Reisenrad –ferris wheel-. A humongous wheel with bright colours which was still going and moving causing me to freak out a bit since I was the only human being in the area –me and one or two joggers- and I definitely didn’t see anyone either in the park or trying to control the wheel. The entire scene certainly seemed from a –horror- movie, with rusty animals and green vegetation eating and taking over what was left of some wrecked dinosaurs. And indeed, it appears as if nature is taking over the space as the park is left to rot among the foliage of the Plänterwald. Finally, the cherry on the top: the scene doesn’t get any welcoming as on the fence hangs a big fuming sign declaring that ‘Betreten verboten!!’ or 'Entrance Forbidden' read in angry German.
Even though the place looked more depressing than not, I nevertheless want to go back to the Spreepark and give it a second chance with more greens surrounding it. Besides, I must confess that the walk to the park was an absolute delight from which a few good shots came about. It is a magical place that seems to have taken a life of its own, just like most other abandoned and verboten sites that make Berlin such an attractive and sometimes chilling city to discover.