Berlin’s Tiergarten

This post is unusual in that it concerns a city hike. I have attended the Berlin Film Festival every year since 2013, partly for professional reasons and partly as it’s the only time of year when I finally get to see films on the big screen. Moreover, I have a soft spot for Berlin, a capital city that is a lot less stressful than most, with its green spaces, lakes, wide sidewalks, great cafés, bars and restaurants, friendly people and, for me, its terrific swimming pools.

Berlin is a sprawling city and totally flat (apart from a couple of hills formed by rubble after World War II), which makes for very easy walking. During the festival, I usually walk between 15 and 20 km a day between the festival ticket office, the day’s swimming pool, a hearty Berlin breakfast and bars or restaurants for dinner. Public transport in the city is excellent but I tend to use it only when I’m in a hurry or when it’s raining heavily.

As the festival takes place in mid-February, the weather is chilly but often with clear blue skies. One of my pleasures is seeing a movie at the terrific Zoo Palast cinema (with its reclining seats) and then walking back across the Tiergarten park to Postdamer Platz (a hideous mass of tower blocks and shopping malls, but the heart of the festival organization). The walk is about 5 km in all, taking in the lakes, meadows and wooded sections of the park. A very pleasant way to spend an hour between screenings.

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