Berlin: Tempelhof Airport is Great in The Summer
Tempelhofer Feld is in Tempelhof, a district in the south of Berlin, which is directly below Kreuzberg and to the right of Schöneberg. As a current resident of Tempelhof, I have gone through liking it and disliking my Kiez (neighbourhood) but also thinking very fondly of it at the same time.
Tempelhofer Flughafen is, in fact, an old airport which closed in 2007. It’s quite fascinating to imagine an innercity airport. I also discovered my father flew there from Munich in 2003. Madness.
It is even considered as abandoned despite the police currently leasing some of the offices. The old Nazi-era buildings appear overly oppressive if you’re walking past them (the idea was to make you feel small). You can do a tour to visit the retro inside of the airport, which sounds like a good alternative to a classic museum.
Tempelhofer Feld: more than an abandoned field
The city decided to give the field to its citizens in 2010 and make it as a park open to the public. If you ask me, this is one of the greatest gifts ever.
Most people will have heard of Tempelhofer Feld and will think of people on rollerskates, in hareem pants running around looking for kindle to add to their fire or as somewhere where the refugees used to hang out. They are not wrong, there.
This is what attracts Berliners to Tempelhof: the fact that it is so culturally diverse but also because there is plenty to do out in the fresh air. Frische Luft is a entitled luxury we have all come to crave. Especially in summer.
Berlin in the summer, as supposed to Berlin in spring, is quite simply a playground for most of us in our twenties. When I first moved to Berlin, I did not know many people and also intensely looking for jobs that time. I joined Meetup.com (not a dating site!) and one time had a sketching session, another time I looked for jobs whilst a friend studied next to me – all in Tempelhofer Feld – and 15 Mexicans turned up with banjoes. Perfectly normal.
This is why we love Tempelhofer Feld in the summer:
For the open spaces
As I mentioned before, this is a great place to stretch out and either read a book, sunbathe, do some yoga. Like Boxhagnerplatz in the summertime, Tempelhofer Feld offers a similar space to relax, sit in a circle with a group of friends, play cards, drink ‘Sterni’ (good heavens) or throw a ball around and people-watch.
‘Sterni’ is short for Sternburg, which is a beer you really do not need to try.
In 2015, Lullapalooza Festival was held in Tempelhofer Feld. It’s being held elsewhere this year, I imagine it does get quite loud for residents. Others obviously had similar ideas and Berlin Circus Festivalis taking place this August/September over a few days.
Tempelhofer Feld is 2.73 square km and is larger than Monaco itself. This is quite remarkable if you think about the amount of land Berliners are being geschenkt. Let’s hope this continues and they do not start building a too many new-builds.
For the exercise-fanatics
Along the runway you are spoilt for choice (like with Berlin’s transport system) with possibilities to get some exercise or practise your favourite sport: either jogging, running, cycling, rollerblading, skate-boarding, sedge ways (if you’re into that), bootcamps or pootling around on your unicycle whilst wearing a top-hat.
I often get requests to go jogging with a friend around this field, although I sometimes get overwhelmed by the sheer task of trecking across the run way in the heat next to someone significantly fitter who does not include gin and tonic as one of their five-a-day.
I’ve also, interestingly, seen people here with kites and a skateboard which is called Kitelandboarding in German.
In 2016 I spent a few days cycling around the city with my super-chill mother, who was happy to hop on a bike around the city and sit drinking beer on some pallets in Tempelhofer Feld. Chill-level here is through the roof.
For the BBQs
Do not get misled and think you can BBQ anywhere across the 2.73 square km. Remember, this is still Germany despite the English spoken everywhere.
Also found a really cute concept called picnic Berlin where you can order food and pick it up at a certain point. Makes a lot of sense, especially if you’re need food and don’t fancy the long walk to the other side to find a späti.
For the community spirit
There are often community projects here such a meet ups or those looking to discuss things (Stammtisch), especially in summer. I have also thought about doing speaking sessions here with a tandem partner because it is reasonably quiet and also relaxing. I found many Facebook events here including yoga, meditation, personal development and political meet ups, volunteer work, etc. Really good stuff.
For the people who go there
As for the Mexicans turning up and serenading us, this really showed me how multi-culti Berlin is and how you can easily make friends. If you come here on a Sunday on a bike just look a the people: they are all in a good mood. If you’re sat having a BBQ you’re bound to be offered a drink or asked if you have any long cigarette papers or if you can throw their ball back. It’s a great place to break the ice with someone new or meet to clear your heads a little amongst nature.