I’m down in the hip area of Friedrichshain at Der Kegel, what was once an overground WWII bunker and since turned socialist hub. I’m ten feet in the air, clinging to the colourful rocks with no harness and there’s only the soft, bouncy floor beneath me. What a way to try out bouldering for the first time. If you don’t know, bouldering is similar to rock climbing except there’s no ropes or harnesses which makes the whole experience scarier but a lot more fun. You’re unlikely to exceed 20ft for safety reasons, which is how bouldering differs from free climbing, another form of rock climbing. Interested? Then Der Kegel is the hippest of it’s kind and the only choice if you want to experience the history combined with the modern day coolness of Berlin.
Der Kegel is a colourful space for sporty types to hang out, sip some freshly squeezed juice and spot their friends in the outdoor bouldering area. If you’re a newbie, rent some shoes and see how high you can get in the indoor room first. Don’t worry about making a fool out of yourself because everyone is doing their own thing in true, Berlin style. If you’re a pro, why not try to climb the 18ft cone tower? It’s the highest of it’s kind in Berlin and one of the best deals if you love bouldering on a budget.Picture taken from Slowtravelberlin.com
The cone tower is actually the overground bunker, hidden in plane sight. Although today it is splashed with colourful rocks, it was once a concrete cylinder designed to hold 400 people. Though not the prettiest structure, this style of bunker was popular during the Nazi regime as it was quick and cheap to construct.When you’re done bouldering and admiring the modern-day usage of the old WWII bunker, take your time wandering around the unusual area of RAW Tempel, a creative space for workshops, studios and hubs inside Berlin’s metropolises. It started in 1999 as a socialist community to create communication between the different cultures in the area. Today, it’s a great place to chill out after a bouldering session with an ice-cold refreshment. There’s nightclubs, a beer garden, art galleries, street food fairs and a swimming pool all located in the same space, and all of them covered from floor to ceiling in graffiti.