Berlin, at least as you know it today, is a rather young city.
It was only created in 1920, when several surrounding towns, villages and rural estates were incorporated into Greater Berlin, which became 13 times the size of the original Berlin (although still tiny by other standards).
Because of this, many districts of Berlin maintain a unique – sometimes even rural – character. Last summer, I explored Köpenick, Berlin’s easternmost district, for a day. Instead of explaining a lot, I guess I should just show you some photos, and you will get a better idea of what I am talking about.
With all the life taking place near or in the water, it almost felt like Venice.
That factory on the other side of the river is a brewery, of course. I mean, what else?
Köpenick even kept its own railway, which is connected to the German, European and global railway system at Wuhlheide station.
The train leads through an enormous forest, with restaurants, concert areas, playgrounds and yet more water. Here, you also find the stadium of FC Union Berlin, the football club, which has been playing in the first-division Bundesliga since 2019 and qualified for the UEFA Cup (or whatever they call that now) for the first time last year.
I guess there was a match that day, because I saw thousands of people in red UNION jerseys, as well as thousands of people in blue POLIZEI jerseys – the rival team, apparently. The blue team seemed a bit more aggressive, blocking all the roads and the tramway, but in the end, Union won 3-1.
Anyway, I really liked Köpenick.
And now, as luck would have it, I secured a house- and cat-sitting job in, you guessed it, Köpenick! In Müggelheim, to be precise, which is the easternmost part of the easternmost district of Berlin. And even more rural. In 1920, it was by far the smallest municipality to become part of Berlin. My hosts already warned me to look out for wild boar and foxes, whenever I open the door.
So, from next week, I will be in Berlin for two months. I just hope it will be as sunny and warm as it was on my last visit to Köpenick. And, if you are in the area, please say hello!