Picnicking Between the Runways

Marta Misiulaityte
April 29, 2013

This week, I wanted to write about a park that’s quickly becoming one of my favorite places in Berlin.

I live in Schöneberg, which is a pretty diverse neighborhood south west of central Berlin (Mitte). While it isn’t exactly one of the trendy “it” districts, it’s a lively place with lots of thriving shops, parks, and bars frequented by locals. People of varying backgrounds reside here, and the many Indian restaurants, Turkish fast food places, and Asian supermarkets definitely give this neighborhood an exciting multicultural vibe.

Although I love living in Schöneberg, my favorite place in Berlin is 10 minutes east of this district, in Tempelhof. If you look at a map of the city, one’s eye is immediately drawn to the vast, seemingly empty space just 5 kilometers south of the Brandenburg gate. This is the site of the former iconic airport Tempelhof, first built in 1926 and then expanded by the Nazis during the preparations for war. It became world famous during the Berlin airlift in 1948/49 when the Allies were flying in millions of tonnes of food and supplies to Tempelhof every day to provide for West Berliners. It was closed in 2008 in anticipation of the opening of Berlin’s new airport south of the city.

Two years later, it was turned into a park.

It’s the most unusual, exciting kind of park I’ve ever seen. It consists of one large field dissect by former runways. On warm days, it turns into one big open-air fitness center, with people jogging, biking, kiting, skateboarding, rollerblading, and tossing the frisbee everywhere you look. The park also has a corner designated for grilling, and an area where a community garden is being developed. As if that weren’t impressive enough, a protected habitat of rare birds sits right in the middle of the field.

Today when I biked to Tempelhof for a picnic, I looked around at the Berliners around me and thought, “you have no idea how lucky you are.” But then I remembered – I have no idea how lucky I am either! I am so thankful for the opportunity to be here and to enjoy such amazing places like Tempelhof, even if only for a semester.


Here are a couple photos I took last week:

More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs

Marta Misiulaityte

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Marta is a Sociology and German double major at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, but has a hard time staying within the boundaries of these two disciplines just the way she cannot stay in any one place for a long time. The thirst for knowledge and adventures is her biggest drive; over the course of her college career she has taken classes ranging from film studies to psychology, and she just spent a semester studying Arabic in Jordan. Originally from Lithuania, Marta has been fortunate enough to call many places her home. When she is not devouring books, she coordinates and leads campus tours, serves as a proctor in a first-year student dorm, works at the Admissions office as well as helping out at the Registrar&rsquo;s office at Bowdoin. In her free time, she can be found either taking photographs or swing dancing. She can&rsquo;t wait to check out the Berlin lindy hop scene!</span></p>

2013 Spring
Home University:
Bowdoin College
German Language
Explore Blogs