Thrills and Chills: Trespassing in Berlin

(photo: Spudnik)

There’s an innate rush many people experience from going somewhere forbidden. Maybe it’s the display of autonomy that gives us a feeling of freedom, or perhaps it’s the curiosity of what the repercussions could be. Whatever it is, it’s what drives us forward even when the sign warns, “KEEP OUT.”

In Berlin, finding places to procure the trespassing rush is about as easy as finding other drugs, and it’s taking more than fences, fines, and fake security guards to stop the growing popularity of sneaking into the city’s many abandoned areas. Blogs such as Berlin Du Bist Wunderbar (in German) and Abandoned Berlin have spread the trend into the blogosphere, and they detail everything from the not-so-appealing sights of dirt and destruction to the nitty-gritty on how to get into the most fascinating, creepy, and sometimes dangerous places without getting caught.

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Spreepark is just one of Berlin’s many thrilling abandoned areas. (photo: Spudnik)

I referred to Abandoned Berlin (which made the list of Berlin’s best blogs on greatest-berlin.de) to sneak into the remains of the former East German amusement park, Spreepark, which is hidden behind the forest along the river Spree. After climbing the fence and trekking through some trees, a friend and I began to see the eerie remnants of roller-coasters and a giant Riesenrad (Ferris wheel).  When we heard the creaking of steel as the wind gave the Ferris wheel a push, my more squeamish friend (I swear it was her, not me), decided she was not too keen on going further into the park. I, being the fearless adventure-seeker I am, had to see what else lied ahead. We followed the roller-coaster tracks which lead right through a mossy pond, and both of us knew it was picture time. What we didn’t know, was that a security guard was waiting on the other side of that pond, and as soon as we finished Instagraming the magic moment, the voice of a rather annoyed man called out, in English, “Hey! No trespassing! I call police! 150 euro!” Standing on wet tracks in the middle of a pond, we felt a little helpless. But, as I had read on Abandoned Berlin, the “security guard” at Spreepark was no law officer, and I hoped to God he’d just kick us out at most.

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Myself, seconds before the run-in with “Security”

When he took us through the park to the tall white fence and told us to “just climb over that,” I figured this guy wasn’t the most legitimate authority, but already having had a good time there and having nothing on us but a fifth of gin, we weren’t in the mood to try to haggle with him. Outside the fence, we saw another group of young people who had suffered the same fate, but we all laughed and were glad we made it out unscathed.

So, while some people go to Görlitzer Park with 10 euros, some papers, and a dream, others get their kicks from Berlin’s rich history and the ruins of times gone by. Be sure to check out Abandoned Berlin’s first-hand accounts of exploring everything from the 1936 Olympic Village to the US/UK spy tower (Teufelsberg, below) to the old Iraqi Embassy. And if you plan on visiting one of these places, don’t miss the info on the danger and difficulty of each location, as well as the appropriate drink mixes you’ll need for the adventure.

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