Our favourite city in Europe (probably in the entire world) is… Berlin! So when VisitBerlin invites us over for a Pride press trip we – obviously – say yes. Berlin Pride has one of the biggest Prides in Europe. It’s my third time in this fantastic city but it’s the first time to celebrate Pride here. We are extra excited to be in Berlin for Pride. When we arrive in Berlin it immediately feels like coming home, which is weird since we never lived here. But there is something about this city!
Pink Pillow Collection
For three nights we stay at Henri Hotel, one of the hotels from the Pink Pillow Berlin Collection. The Pink Pillow Collection is a collection of hotels that believe all guests should be treated equally. And that’s something we love. Don’t we all want to stay in a hotel where we feel welcome and at home? Especially the ‘home’ feeling is important for us while travelling for a long time. Boutique hotel Henri is perfect for this, as the ‘home-feeling’ is an integral part of the hotel’s vision. I mean, you gotta love a hotel that serves free drinks from the fridge + coffee machine and traditional afternoon snacks, right?
CSD on the Spree
Upon arriving there’s not much time to rest, as the weekend is full of exciting things! Before we join the Berlin Canal Parade, aka CSD auf der Spree, there’s a picnic where we meet the other journalists and influencers from the press trip. It’s a perfect moment to get to know each other, especially the lovely guys from Couple of Men (whom we wanted to meet for a while now). It’s amazing to meet people who do what we do but also refreshing to meet people who work as ‘traditional’ journalists. Always great to learn from and connect with others!
The canal parade differs from the one in Amsterdam in many ways. For example, it isn’t the highlight of Pride Week (that’s Christopher Street Day, a.k.a. CSD) and there aren’t many spectators watching from the quay. It’s quite the experience though, as it’s all about the party on the boat itself and it’s definitely a highlight for us. The night gets even better when we bump into Lito from Sense8 (real name: Miguel Ángel Silvestre).
Berlin Gaybourhood Tour
Of course, the trip isn’t just about partying, we also get to know a bit more of Berlin when we do a guided walking tour. HenrikTidefjärd tells us about the gay scene from Mitte to Pankow, informs us about former secret nightclubs and explains about the Berlin ‘attitude’ of “I am what I am, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it”. The tour ends with a perfect lunch at Kanaan, a hip Isreali-Palestinian restaurant. The restaurant embodies the power of connection and mixture. The staff is gay, hetero, refugee, Isreali, Palestinian and much more. The recipes are a combination of multiple families, proving (again) that the best comes from a mix of things! It’s all vegetarian and the dishes centre is hummus, which we LOVE. You gotta love their t-shirts too: “Ich bin Hummussexual”.
What do we like so much about Berlin? The vibes! We’ve never been to Berlin during winter but in the summer the vibes in the city are so festive. The people are great, we love all the photobooths, there are so many photogenic places and nothing is crazy or weird in Berlin, which we love. You can truly be yourself.
Christopher Street Day – CSD
Time for the highlight of Pride Berlin: Christopher Street Day! Since 1979, CSD has been held every year in Berlin. Like NYC Pride, CSD is very much a march, a protest parade with a festive look. People still demonstrate for equal rights and equal treatment for LGBTI people. We’ve come far, but a lot still needs to be done. Of course, we walk in the parade as well, as colourful as possible. Lia, Maartje’s friend whom she met in 2015 in NYC through Couchsurfing, helps us dress up. Naturally, we bring our favourite cape and lots of glitters.
For more Pride: read about Amsterdam Pride in our next travel journal!
We must say, the day is super sweaty but awesome. We walk from Kurfürstendamm to the Brandenburger Tor. At the Siegessäule we decide to just sit down and watch all the wonderful dressed up people passing by. What we love about the parade is that everybody can participate in the walk. There are no fences and therefore no separation between spectators and protestors.
It takes ages before all the trucks pass by and sadly we arrive at the after party too late, the police are evacuating the entire area because of bad weather. No after party for us at the Brandenburger Tor, instead we go to the nightclub SchwuZ. A famous gay club in Neukölln. We don’t visit gay clubs like this often, but we have the best time! It’s the perfect end of a fantastic Berlin trip.
Hope to see you again soon Berlin!