“Oh my God, how was it?” is the phrase put to me most often today. I have just arrived home from a quick ten-day trip to Europa, to celebrate the momentous occasion of my Opa’s 85th birthday in Austria. My father hails from a small (ish), rural (ish) town called Dornbirn in the East of Austria. From the balcony of my grandparents’ home we look over the Swiss mountains and the Bodensee, which separates Germany from Austria.
2009 was a really great year for me.
I had gone through major first love heartbreak the year before and spent a lot of time moping around, locked in my room with masses of junk food and endless, mindless hours of series (back in the good ol’ days when Stellenbosch University still had a global sharing network).
Then 2009 rolled around, I started off the year as a fresh 20 year old with the world at my feet.
And one of the great things I did that year was to go on THE EPIC EUROTRIP with my very good (great) friend Jade and her brother Sam.
Going through all the photos now, I think I might do a couple of blogposts on them. The memories are too good and the stories are too fantastic.
But I’ll do that next week.
For now, one of the things we did. In fact, one of the first things we did, was to go out partying in Berlin. We landed up at a place called Kunsthaus Tacheles (Arthouse Tacheles).
This remains the most fascinating place I have ever experienced. I have told so many people about it and I was genuinely upset to discover that authorities closed it down towards the end of last year. (Read about it here)
The thing about Tacheles, it was a mixture of a club. coffee house, late night food stop and (as the name suggests) art space.
The other thing about Tacheles, everyone operating out of it was technically squatting.
Tacheles was a derelict department store, bearing the legacy damage from bombs. The inside of the building centered around a long, winding flight of stairs. The walls were covered, every square inch, in graffiti and murdered teddy bears hung down on string from the ceiling.
Everything about it was crazy and surreal and totally illegal.
We were taking photos when an armed man came around the corner and very harshly (and not in either English or German) informed us we couldn’t take photos. We’re pretty sure there were drug deals going down, the reaction was too intense.
One floor up we found artists and designers peddling their (truly beautiful) wares, but the man with the gun had freaked us out so we go out of there pretty quick.
Men with guns are always scary but at 1 am in a place like that? Hells no, baby.
Downstairs there was a sandpit outside with chairs and a man selling baguettes and bretzels. Through another door on the side was a club called Zapata, though I don’t remember us spending much time in there.
We had made some friends along the way, the boys you see in the pictures. They were British and about Sam’s age (slightly younger than Jade and I). Really nice guys.
We met some truly awesome people on this trip.
I don’t remember their names but the blonde boy is labelled Baxter in my Facebook album, so that might be it.
Honestly, best three weeks of my life. I had the MOST amazing time. I saw and experienced so much, and I did it with some of the best people I know.
I have so many stories I could fill a book.
Watch out for some more posts to come in the next few weeks, I’m taking a long trip down memory lane!
When the travel bug bites, it bites hard. My feet are itching and my passport is dancing.
[Disclaimer: All these pictures are my own. For more photos of the building and what it was like inside, click here (thanks Google!).]