Should I take a skateboard to: Berlin?
The fourth and final installment in this series of reads by Brad Melin (@bradmelin) on whether you should take a skateboard when you next visit these European cities.
I'm not even going to make you wait 'til you reach the end of the article. Fuck yes! You should definitely take a skateboard to Berlin!
Why? It's something of a skate Mecca. If it's not, then it should be. There is shit to skate everywhere you look – quality public skate parks, insane paid-for ones, and even a little bit of downhill, although the Berlin downhill scene has some work to do.
Apart from that, Berlin (particularly the eastern part) is a very cool place to be right now. There are heaps of artists, musicians, and other smart people all doing their best to make it as purely cool as possible. Couple that with that classic German way of doing everything properly and you've got a city worth living in. And the best part: it's just about as cheap a city as you'll find in the Eurozone.
Downhill: 7/10.Although this rating is a bit unfair since there's only one noteworthy hill in Berlin. It's called Teufelsberg, and it's a man-made hill, built from World War 2 rubble. It's the go-to place to skate downhill in a very flat city. There's a left hairpin of sorts, smooth tar, and that's about that. Also, if you're using public transport, be prepared for a 20-minute hike through the forests surrounding the place. If you're lucky, you'll hike right through one of the gnarliest gnarpaths I've ever laid eyes on.
As far as I could tell, nobody's skated the damn thing. It looks like it's covered in more than a few years' worth of decomposing leaves and soil, but could easily host an event if some wire brooms came into play. Kinda sad about this, because I don't think it'll ever happen – I don't know if there's a big enough downhill scene in Berlin to make this a reality.
Street: 10/10.I've never been in a city where there's so much available for free public use. Even Cape Town, with its mountains, beaches and forests, doesn't hold a candle to how much fun you can have in Berlin for free, or at the very least, on the cheap. This absolutely goes for skating, too – every second public park in the city has got a well-maintained ramp or some obstacles to skate over. You can't walk more than a few blocks in the evening without seeing some skaters sessioning a bench and laying it down better than you could ever hope to. The city is alive with skate potential.
Then of course, is the Nike SB Shelter. I'll let you do your own research, but it's a pretty badass park, complete with a massive mega ramp.
Overall score: 9/10.Ya, I rounded up. It's worth it. Pack your bags and take any sort of skateboard you've got to Berlin right now. You won't regret it.
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