On the third Sunday of Advent the road led us to the Central Train Station of Berlin, which was our starting point for another photography meeting. The Meininger Hotels have asked us to organize an Instameet on their behalf; despite the gloomy weather forecast, the event was sold out almost a week in advance. Over forty people arrived shortly past one o’clock in the square in front of the Meininger Hotel Central Station and we were happy to greet old friends and get to know the new members of the Berlin Instagram scene.
When everybody was there, Moritz gave a short welcoming speech, in which he introduced us to the concept of Meininger Hotels, a chain that currently owns hotels in 11 cities around Europe. He also announced that a competition is taking place and everybody using the hashtag #MeiningerMomentBLN until the 22nd of December will be eligible for participation –the best photo will win accommodation for two nights for two people! Straight afterwards, Jan asked each one of the participants to draw a chocolate from a bag. The chocolates were wrapped in two different colors: half of them came with a green wrapper, the other half with a blue one. This was the way that the two groups of our walk were formed: the Blue group and the Green one. The two groups would split soon at that very point and they would follow different itineraries through the city, only to meet again -approximately after two hours- in another hotel of the Meininger chain, on the other side of Berlin.
Before the two groups started wandering around the city, all the participants visited the roof terrace of the Meininger Hotel Central Station. On thehe roof terrace one can enjoy the magnificent views of the city: overlooking the Government District. One can observe the skyline of Berlin, the whole Spreebogen Project and see buildings like the Parliament, the Potsdamer Platz and the TV Tower. Despite the lack of sun, several shots were taken on the roof terrace and everybody seemed fascinated by the endless view of the city. Before leaving the roof terrace, Jan and Moritz shot a couple of group shots of all the people attending the event. We were then ready to explore Berlin!
The Blue Group, guided by Jan, started its walk from the Government District of Berlin, where modern architecture coexists in harmony with open space. A lot of photos were taken at the PricewaterhouseCoopers building, where the impressive colonnades gave inspiration for several shots and the participants experimented also with a horse’s head mask to create bizarre impressions of the urban landscape. The Blue Group crossed then the Calatrava Bridge and stopped for a while at the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus: the so-called “Washing Machine”. This building is an all-time favorite of the Berlin photographers, due to its huge oval window. These three spots attracted the attention of the Blue group and everyone tried to produce photos from different angles. The group walked then across the river and found its way to the Friedrichstadt Palast, one of the most iconic theaters of Berlin. Due to the heavy rain, the group members stepped into a tram towards the Meininger Hotel Alexanderplatz in the Schönhauser Allee, which was the final meeting point with the other Group.
Meanwhile, the members of the Green Group, guided by Moritz, took the train for a stop and disembarked at Friedrichstraße. After a short walk, the group crossed the Weidendammer Bridge and shot several photos next to the river, a spot where the TV Tower seems to emerge directly from the water. The walk continued through the Tucholskystrasse, where the impressive Fernsprechamt Nord building left the entire group speechless: built in red brick and occupying a whole city block, it is a magnificent example of 1920’s architecture. After photo-shooting there for a while, the road led the Green Group further on up the road, in the corner with Auguststrasse. No one could ignore a certain vibe in that corner and the Green group stopped there for more than fifteen minutes: the members were magnetized by the style of the passersby, from the blurry windows of the cafés as well as from an old Citroën DS. The vintage car, with its classic green color, turned to an instant highlight, and everybody wanted to shoot a photo of it! Afterwards, the group walked past the Clärchens Ballhaus and continued its way towards the Meininger Hotel Alexanderplatz.
The Green group arrived first at the Meininger Hotel Alexanderplatz and about ten minutes later the Blue group followed. After a productive day in terms of photography, we were really happy to chill out at the cozy bar of the hotel. The friendly personnel offered us Glühwein, traditional cakes and biscuits and we couldn’t think of a better place to work on our photos while talking to one another. Although some of us have already uploaded a couple of photos, some Instagrammers took the chance to photo-shoot inside the hotel -and the bar of the Meininger Hotel Alexanderplatz gave plenty of inspiration for portraits.
It was shortly before six that the event came to an end. With just a few days left for Christmas, we hugged each other and wished all the best for the New Year. Then, both the Blue and the Green group left the Hotel silently and everybody searched for their way back home. The light rain made our clothes wet but we were more than happy for a wonderful day among Instagrammers and thankful to the Meininger Hotels for their hospitality.
*Thank you Meininger Hotels for their support in producing the article
George Pavlopoulos was born in Athens, Greece in 1980. He is the author of three novels: 300 Kelvin in the Afternoon, (Alexandria Publications, 2007), Steam, (Kedros, 2011) and The Limit and the Wave (Potamos, 2014). Extended excerpts from his first two novels were featured in New York based online translation venue, InTranslation. His second novel Steam is in the permanent collection of Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia libraries. He was a guest of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair. He currently lives in Berlin.