Berlin Forever – a very personal review of the European Instameet in Berlin
It was a wonderful coincidence that I had already booked my plane tickets to Berlin, when I have learned about the European Instameet #EverchangingBerlin from 13th to 15th June 2014. Although I usually tend to avoid social network events, this time two things close to my heart came together; Berlin and Instagram. So I couldn’t imagine not being a participant and I registered immediately.
As an ex-Berliner I am following the “big” and well-known Berlin Instagramers for a long time. I was looking forward to the opportunity to meet these people in person, of whose view of the world and especially Berlin I highly appreciated. As I have also heard from other Instagramers later during the Instameet, we were all pretty excited when the time of the first meeting approached.
On Friday evening, on the way to the first group meeting in the old carpet factory in Treptow, I was a bit nervous since I knew absolutely no one personally! Yet even in the long queue for registration everyone was very nice and friendly, as if we were, if I may put it like this, something like classmates.
The first question of course was always where the Instagramer came. My answer (Istanbul) raised obviously a bit more interest than most of the other cities in Europe. Quite a lot Instagramers were in Istanbul recently or would like to travel there soon. Unfortunately the most popular Instagramers from Istanbul were missing at #EverchangingBerlin and so I, a humble Instagramer with thousand something followers, was the only one from this city.
I thought that I would leave the opening party early and meet my friends who wanted to watch the World Cup match between Spain and Netherlands. But it was already the next day as I left the old carpet factory and in fact with the company of some of my new Instagram friends!
I found it particularly impressive that more than 200 people from all over Europe, who are mostly not known to each other in real life, have traveled to Berlin for the weekend just to meet the people behind Instagram feeds, to participate at the Photo Walks, to exchange ideas with them and simply to spend time together. Of course there were Instagramers among them who have been friends long before or have met already in previous Instameets. Having said that I have not felt like an outsider not even for a minute. So a big thanks to the organizers of #EverchangingBerlin and its participants!
Saturday was fully planned. There were totally 10 Photo Walks with different themes: Street Photography, Architecture, Urban Landscape, Urban Exploration, Portrait, Minimal, Food, Public Transport, Fashion and Reclaim the City. Each group consist about 20 participants and everyone had the opportunity to choose two different themes, one for the morning and one for the afternoon.
So at 10 o’clock in the morning, the respective groups gathered at various meeting points in the city for the first three-hour Photo Walk. My first Photo Walk had the theme of Architecture and this was guided by Ralph aka @logopaede, Sebastian aka @le_blanc and Jan aka @kickin. We started at the New National Gallery, built by Miles von Rohe and then passed by the Cultural Forum (Kulturforum) to the Berlin Philharmonic (Berliner Philharmonie). From there, the trail took us to Potsdamer Platz, Sony Center, Otto Bock Science Center and the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe. Passing by the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag the tour took us then through the government quarter at Spree river to Paul Löbe and Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-House. The last part of the walk took us by the Chancellor’s Office to the House of World Cultures (Haus der Kulturen der Welt), which was one of the highlights of our Photo Walk. Probably no one has expected the rain. Although we have lost some time for looking for a shelter because of the rain, this of course could not stop the motivated Instagramers taking photos all the time! It is really amazing how many different photos were shot of the same buildings. My personal favorites included the Berlin Philharmonic, or as I call it the “Beehive building” because of its gold-yellow brass façade. All of these photos can be found under the hashtag #ecb_architecture on Instagram.
As you would expect during the one-hour break between the Photo Walks, the almost died batteries of the smartphones were charged, the first photos were uploaded and some snacks were eaten to gain energy for the rest of the day.
My second Photo Walk in the afternoon had the theme “Urban Landscape” and was guided by Thomas aka @melbondo and Stephan aka @ryanm. This walk started in my all-time favorite district of Berlin, in Prenzlauer Berg. We first climbed to the tower of Zionskirche (this requires also a short review!) and the view over Berlin was just amazing! After climbing the tower we had to make a short coffee break, in order not to get completely wet as it started to rain again. On the way to Mauerpark through Kastanienallee and one of the most beautiful streets of Berlin, Oderbergerstraße, we have unfortunately lost a few Instagramers to the rain, because it poured again and again. But we, the “survivors” were then rewarded with sunshine and excellent photos of reflections in the puddles by the end of our walk. Finally when the sun shined again, we made a group photo in Schwedter Stieg. This took long since we insisted on having every participant on the photo and finally we did overcome all techical difficulties! Our eventful walk then ended at the Coal Mine (Kohlenquelle) through Kopenhagener Straße. There we had the opportunity to take the beloved railway shots and even with cottonlike clouds.
The so-called rain breaks gave us also the opportunity to socialize intensively as a group. Our friendly guides have really done everything to make us enjoy the walk despite the rain. I am especially inspired by this walk since it was a challenge for me with the constantly changing light. The photos of this walk can be found at under the hashtag #ecb_landscape on Instagram.
On Saturday evening we met again for a barbecue at City Hostel in Alexanderplatz and the evening ended late after midnight on the banks of the river Spree, facing Pergamon Museum.
The last day of the Instameets #EverchangingBerlin then began with a Sunday brunch at the former airport, Tempelhof which was rescued by the people of Berlin through a referendum against the building of expensive flats and which is so typical of Berlin. At the brunch everyone was indeed tired and exhausted, but of course we still had enough energy to jump up for the mandatory group photo. I am so glad that I was a part of #EverchangingBerlin and my only regret is not to get know of more Instagramers.
Well now #EverchangingBerlin is over, I have on my Instagram fees so-called latergrams, with beautiful memories of Berlin, new friends bonded with the wish that we will meet again soon.