“My first long term experience of exchanging which was a delight thanks to Markus and Marit who were very helpful from the beginning till the end. I have to absolutely recommend the wonderful flat and charming hosts!”
Markus's reviewsAs a host (1)
Where is it?
The flat is situated in the Kreuzberg/ Neukölln area, surrounded by the culture Berlin's famous for - art, nightlife, boutiques, Döner Kebap, and international crowd. Together with Northern Neukölln this area constitutes 'Kreuzkölln', the current 'it' place in Berlin (which is why a lot of people who lives here for decades have to leave once they want to move into a bigger flat - they can't afford it any more).
The flat is also located close or in convenient distance to the main tourist sights - Berliner Mauer, Brandenburger Tor, Checkpoint Charly, TV-Tower, Alexanderplatz, Museums, etc.
This eastern corner of Kreuzberg used to be a dead end because it was very close to 'the wall' and East Germany. Nobody wanted to live here. Now it is experiencing an amazing resurgence, complete with a new shop per week, exploding rental fees, galleries, designers, shops etc., internet startups, shared office spaces, 'anti gentrification' graffiti and neighborhood organizations, organic food parlors, political action groups, Utopia-agencies, Eco-activists and urban gardeners, exchange students, international Boheme and artists, theaters, stunned Turkish families and a lot of film crews trying to catch the feel for their new movie. On various days during the week, there also are four or five markets, some of which specializing in Turkish foodstuffs and textiles, others in designer everything, others in handmade everything, others in organic foodstuffs, others in a lot of stuff you don't need.
But it is also a very relaxed, settled and laid back place, with all the understatement and authenticity that we love Berlin for.
Just across the street, there is a large square with cafés etc. and a large, vibrant park (it's not a particularly nice park but it's famous for its peculiar mix of people, beauty and craziness). There also is a large public swimming pool situated on one side of the square.
There is a supermarket, a couple of smaller shops and a large supermarket for organic foodstuffs nearby, which is where we prefer to shop. There also are about a million cafes, restaurants nearby, an increasing amount of galleries, design stores and shared office spaces.
There also is a canal nearby, in which I wouldn't swim in, but it's nice to stroll along and sit on its sides. The river Spree is in walking distance. Prinzessinengärten is another nice place to hang out, it's hoping to be some kind of urban gardening utopia.
Generally there is a lot of stuff that has 'Kinder-' in its name. A lot of people have children here and a lot of shops, cafes and other services cater to them. Much of it is organized by parents or enthusiasts, aided by state or private money.
There are many daycare facilities, one German-French institution just opposite our house. Some take children between 1-6 years of age. There are many schools around, as well.
In the park, there is what's called a 'Kinderbauernhof' - there are two massive pigs, ducks, sheep, rabbits, chicken, donkeys, etc., a playground is also part of it.
Across the road, there is what's called a 'Kinderzirkus', a circus made by children for children. It looks like fun.
Playgrounds are plentiful, too, and some are so cool you wish you were a kid yourself.
***Getting around Berlin:
We have two bikes which you could use. The flat is also well connected to the public transport system, with a bus stop right in front of the house (and buses are modern & do take baby buggies). We also have a car, a tiny Ford Fiesta, with a Maxi Cosy baby seat.
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