I promised I’d write again once my daughter made it to Berlin! She My daughter made it to Berlin this week. This trip has been years in the dreaming. Besides that, this is her first time in Europe and she’s studied French and German languages since she was little. So to say this is thrilling? is an understatement of grand proportions.
It’s really a new mindspace to go to sleep at night and get up eight hours later (give or take, mostly take) realizing my daughter has spent the better part of her day already and it’s now 4 pm for her. So today I knew upon getting up that she would be making a decision on a change of hostel. But y now the decision had been made. I wrote to her on Whatsapp, “What’s been happening today?” And got a long paragraph back from her.
I posted before with photos of the first hostel she stayed at. A great looking place and she had a nice time there. But today her 4-night, all-women room reservation ran out. Turns out, she went to the 2nd hostel she’d booked, and the room was stifling, so she cancelled, having no idea if she’d find something else.
Well, she “randomly came across this very interesting punky activisty one called the Rainbow Factory.” For some reason a lot of the hostels in Berlin have the word Factory in them, but this one is aptly named since it gave her a ray of hope at a dark moment! She wrote, “It’s weird that I found it when I was feeling out of options.” She described it as “down to earth,” which these photos show. And there’s a tram right down the street, a canal close by, some cobbled streets.
Curious, I looked up the hostel. It came into being, apparently, in 1981 in the West Berlin “Squatters-for-Redeveloping” movement. Right down my daughter’s alley. “A varied ‘Alternative Culture’ developed within the district of Kreuzberg,” their website explains, but also mentions that many of “these” structures have vanished, meaning, I assume, others built during the movement.
They focus on: neighborhood projects uniting all age groups; support for self-help; culture and media “from below”; connection between living, working and free time; co-operation for the handicapped, and democratic decision making structures. Cool! Hope that all stays strong! The site talks about different legal frames. Something about Kindergarten. I’ll need my daughter’s translation of the German. They hold bicycle and “carpenting” workshops as well as cultural activities. Something about a canteen and bakery, though Piper hasn’t told me about that. The cafe is run by an independently working “Wirtschaftsverein” – co-op? Worker owned? Not sure!
She loves some of the details. I’m sure I’ll get more upon the morn.