The Berlin rooftop beach
Out of about a dozen Berlin buffets and food courts located on the beaches about a half of them is located directly by Szprewa. The rest of them is scattered around the city – like the Beachmitte. It’s several hundred meters of ground along the survived piece of the Berlin wall.
Generally speaking, who needs a river, when it’s actually the sand that really counts. Usually all you need is two tippers, a few sunbeds, hammocks, comfortable chaise lounges, metal beds, straw umbrellas and palms in flower pots. Eventually you could take wooden palettes for sitting, setting a drink or dancing. You’ll also need a wooden bar and colorful spotlights. You can also hammer in two stakes and hang a net (or 94 stakes and 47 nets, just like in in Beachmitte, the biggest beach volleyball club in Berlin) and the distance from the water doesn’t really matter. Deck 5, which advertises itself as the highest-located beach in Berlin, is located at the parking on the roof of a department store. Lunas Strandgarten managed to squeeze its beach between the viaduct and the supermarket storage room.
On the other hand – a river is always a river. At Funkpark, by the former broadcasting station of an eastern-German radio, it’s hard to believe that long ago something could forbidden here. If there is anyone, or anything that still remembers the times of NRD, it’s probably just the tractor and the ramshackle trailer of a cooler car, which are falling apart by the entrance. Far away from the centre there’s the postindustrial neighborhood, but, when you look from the beach, there’s nothing but trees and water. In the distance you can see boats and tourist ships, and when you look near, you can spot ducks paddling by the river’s edge. On Sundays, early in the morning the DJ starts playing music and in the afternoon there are plenty people already. By the shore the anchors the Partyboot – a huge ship dedicated for big parties. At the western part of the city the river is the same, but the sand is already a bit better.
“The Beach at the Box” is a brand new beach by a fancy disco club, not far from the giant Mercedes selling room and the Tiergarten park. The staff is wearing company t-shirts, the atmosphere is perfect for a comfortable conversation and Ibiza memories, and the prices are frivolous in the summer vacation style. The most crowded beaches and clubs upon Szprewa can be found in central Berlin. But there’s a battle for the river taking place. On the former border grounds along the river a new district called Mediaspree is to be created. The office buildings of media companies, hotels and apartments might soon be built in the place of alternate locals. It looks like Szprewa might change its appearance once again.
If we would connect all the channels and rivers floating through Berlin, the water would stream through approximately 200 kilometers (not including the lakes surrounding the city). No wonder why its huge amount can awake various vacation fantasies. Especially if Szprewa is a perfect place for anything – fishing, riding a row-boat, and living in a barge, which has transformed into a house. The only thing you can’t do is diving, although some people still have a few idyllic memories. The history of organized outdoor entertainment dates back to 1803, to the times of George Adolph Welper – a court doctor and a hygiene propagator. By that time at Szprewa’s riverbank the first Badeschiff was opened. Badeschiff is a swimming ship, modeled after the Paris ship built in 1761. It looked like a neoclassic building, inside there were cabins in four classes, and each cabin had a hole and the direct access to the river. Meanwhile, the first open-air swimming places were built by the Prussian army, which began to prepare the soldier to surviving in water in order to modernize the ranks. Thanks to the new trends from Paris and the modern drill, the baths began to get common, before the lake became unsuitable for them. Over the years, among the harbors, ports, workshops and factories there were 30 urban bath houses upon Szprewa and it wasn’t until 1925 that they were all shut down due to extreme pollution.