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The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “estrel hotel”

Trilogy of Sonennallee. Part 3 and maybe final. The most wonderful Graffiti and Graffiti Art in Our universe.


Sonennallee is not the universal holiday destination of choice.Despite the label of Berlin it is more Croydon than it is London. the saving grace of this suburb of Berlin lies in its graffiti and graffiti art. Graffiti can be vulgar, damaging and criminal, but at the same time educating, amusing and visually improving on an otherwise unpleasant environment. Graffiti art sets out to do a lot more, sometimes achieving that aim and sometimes exceeding. Sonennallee has all these components and the graffiti and graffiti art deserve a place, the final place maybe in this trilogy. This is a photographic memory of what I saw.

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Trilogy of Sonnenallee. Part 2. Just When I Thought Sonnenallee could not get worse….


My little reading flock of this blog would have read my salient words and viewed my photos last night on exactly why Sonnenallee is not a first choice holiday destination despite its label of “Berlin” and in fact one of the large conference centres in Berlin. If Stieg Larsson can write a trilogy then maybe I can try a trilogy of posts from Sonnenallee.

https://arcticterntalk.org/2016/04/12/sonnenallee-district-of-berlin-a-very-contradictory-area/

If you have nothing seriously important to do, like deal with death/marriage/criminal justice system or are detained under the Mental Health Act, then maybe go read that post first before continuing.

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I had held some degree of excitement over visiting Berlin, but Sonnenallee is to Berlin what Tooting and Croydon are to London. Today I find things are worse than I had imagined. Immediately outside and within maybe 100 metres of the Estrel Hotel entrance lies the splendour that is a recycling plant complete with odours to match.

FullSizeRenderA little further brings one to a huge very industrial site that seemed to be making piles of sand and other aggregates. The road is dirty, dusty and has the usual affliction round here of vandalism style graffiti.FullSizeRender-12

With one notable exception. And that is the curious thing about graffiti here, it is a complete admixture of some of the nicest graffiti I have seen anywhere in the world and some of the least pleasant graffiti, looking like it was painted by a hooligan undertaking a degree course in how to obtain an ASBO ( Antisocial Behaviour Order,  a UK thing we do, where we send those who commit antisocial acts somewhere else to commit more, rather than lock them up. Don’t ask me to explain). A block had been painted on two sides with quotations from the literature including Oscar Wilde. So I can now truly say I have read Oscar Wilde, but have no idea what he is saying as it was written in I presume German.

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Decorating the road further were some huge industrial cranes and to complete the package there was evidence of a homeless tent camp on the top of essentially a pile of rubbish near the river. In this era how can we as humans allow people to live in this environment? In the frankly excellent Estrel Hotel maybe 300 metres away people spend £30 on a bottle of wine which could be more than my tent dwellers spend in a month. Not reasonable, not ethical and not right. 

This rapidly became a far more unpleasant area than I had presumed yesterday. Some halfway decent graffiti art on the side of the bridge next to Tent City was the only redeeming feature.

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Daring to venture a few hundred yards in the opposite direction  there were some nice smelling trees in blossom that gave the air a pleasant smell, and a single track railway line on which a tree had fallen and was blocking the line.

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Big leaves on the line

 

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Tree blocking railway line in Sonnenallee

 

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Estrel Hotel Stands Guard Like A Jurassic Monster Over Sonnenallee

So my three highlights of Sonnenallee are in order:

  1. The amazing graffiti art that pervades some of the roadsIMG_2916
  2. The superb Doner Kebab from Doner Haus ( the only German I know) IMG_2923
  3. LeavingFullSizeRender-5

 

Trilogy of Sonnenallee. Part 1 . Sonnenallee District of Berlin. A Very Contradictory Area


When one thinks of Berlin, immediately  one visualises the Checkpoint Charlie or Brandenburg Gate, or even a plethora of beer gardens. That however is only one small part of Berlin.

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Sonnenallee is a suburb of Berlin, around 25 minutes by car from Berlin Tegel airport. In the middle of what looks like a derelict building site is the Estrel Hotel and Conference centre. This is a great looking building and indeed a nice hotel. But why build it here? The area is rundown and during the day dubious looking characters are in conference in the streets drinking and smoking various substances. In all aspects this is a downtown suburb, there are cheap looking bars and the occasional Cafe.

IMG_2910The shops that try to bring colour to the area are the discount supermarkets Netto and Lidl. Other shops sell such a curious admixture of things that it is not easy to fathom exactly their main purpose. FullSizeRender-8Next to the hotel is seemingly a derelict dockyard of some kind and the roads look like they have perpetual roadworks.

IMG_2897IMG_2896 In short this is a dubious kind of area and at night alcoholics sit on the streets shouting their rants, that only they can interpret and seemingly asking for money, to go and buy even more cheap alcohol. So a curious contradiction to have a nice hotel in really a very dubious area.

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More people seem to smoke here than in some other EU cities such as London with many people line the outside of the bars smoking. Graffiti is all over the place and again a real contradiction. There is some excellent graffiti on the front of buildings and structures and next food to this artistic work is the more vile damaging graffiti with paint strewn over doors and fences.

 

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