Imagine a place where anything goes.
At Mauerpark on Sundays there are so many mad events happening simultaneously that the unusual becomes rather blasé. We saw break-dancers, a man in a monkey mask playing techno (well it is Berlin), and people spray painting on the walls. Even around 11am, there appeared to be a lot of people who were, shall we say, not quite with it, as they put their all into dancing with the beat. It’s hard to say if these people are part of the act or not.
The market itself is suffering from gentrification, though there are a few bargains still to be found if you look hard enough. Levi’s and windbreaker jackets are sold, like in any UK vintage shop, for barely less then their original price. Some stalls offer clothing for a euro, though it will most likely be H&M rather then retro gems. The bourgeois may like to feel they’re getting a bargain, but there are many other flea markets in this city with lower prices and better items. If you haven’t yet had your fill of Trump jokes, you can find them plastered on bags, posters, postcards etc. There’s also furniture, a graveyard of glasses that look scarily tangled and piles of old vinyls. All of little use to the average traveller.
The food stalls are arguably the best part of the market. I had Thai Satay the first time, the second Italian street food Panzerotto and the third Polish Pierogies, all really cheap and so delicious. There are also ice cream stands with dark chocolate and salted caramel sorbets, Vietnamese pancakes and vegan Gyros.
The Bear Pit Karaoke is the real reason thousands flock here every weekend, and indeed why we went! The name comes from the fact there’s a circular ‘stage’ with amphitheater style seating cut high into the hill. The first week it wasn’t on because the man who runs it had gone on holiday, so do check the facebook page!
When it is running though, the famous Joe Hatchiban arrives on his custom bike at 3pm with speakers, Macbook, sound guy and a rainbow parasol. It took mere seconds for the first participant to bound onto the stage and warble his way through Whitney’s ‘How will I know’, which was a very entertaining parody. The singers ranged from good to terrible, the most excruciating being the two very drunk girls who were past the ability to sing. For an afternoon out in a city where very little is open on a Sunday, it’s pretty unbeatable. You can also buy a very fluorescent cocktail from one of the men wandering through the crowd, or the far safer looking beer.
So if you’ve ever wanted a thousands strong crowd akin to an X-Factor audition but with no judges, it’s the perfect place to sing!
Have you ever been here? Would you have the courage to sing?