“Are you prepared to climb a tree if the dogs start chasing us?” Kostas asked me while we could hear the sounds of dogs barking in the background! I knew he could climb any tree, but me? I can hardly climb 2 steps at a time! So, I started mentally preparing for the worst case scenario: A bunch of aggressive watchdogs running after us with their drooling tongues hanging from their hungry mouths and us having to find the closest tree and climb as high as we can! And then hold on to it for as long as we can, until they give up and go!
Before you enter Spreepark you hear all possible horror movie scenarios: there’s watchdogs patrolling, there’s security guards inside, there’s police guarding it etc. So, when you decide to enter it, you don’t know which one of these scenarios to expect, hoping that at least not all of them are true at the same time! But we did. And my natural overoptimism doesn’t prove very helpful in such cases!
But, what is Spreepark?
Spreepark was opened in 1969 as Kulturpark Plänterwald in East Berlin and served as an entertainment park. After the reunification of Germany, it was renamed Spreepark. During an effort to “westernise” it, a few things changed and, as a result, a debt developed. Long story short, the ticket fee went up, the parking spaces were not enough, the park became less and less popular and eventually closed down in 2001.
What’s more interesting about the story is that the amusement park operator, a man named Norbert Witte, fled to Peru, shortly after the bankruptcy. He took with him his family, some coworkers and 6 of the park’s rides!!! He was planning to open a new park in Lima, which didn’t really work. The couple ended up getting a divorce and upon returning to Germany, Witte was arrested because he was trying to smuggle drugs from Peru (inside one of the rides), hoping to finance the repair of the rides and the park. If you want to know more about this interesting story, click here!
So, we got inside and the first thing we saw was a (ridiculous looking) tiger head shaped tunnel for a train ride, which looked like this:
I climbed the rails and walked along them, but didn’t dare walk inside the dark tunnel!
I did climb up to the train platform, which looked like this:
A few minutes later, a couple came up where we were and it turned out they had just walked in like us, which relieved me in the beginning. Until they said they had seen the patrolling dogs! Oops! That’s not what I wanted to hear right after I had entered the place!
We started walking around and then we saw what at first sight looked like a dinosaur cemetery! Weird! I didn’t even go closer!
So, we carried on to the prettiest looking attraction, the English Village, which was one of the 1990s additions.
As we were walking away, we could feel the human presence! This time it wasn’t another visitor, but someone related to the place itself, as there was even a car by one of the trailers. Who was it? The owner? Security guards? The person who feeds the dogs? Little time, many scenarios and even less courage, so we left as quickly as we could!
This time we went closer to the Ferris Wheel. The disused one. The one that hasn’t been used since the park closed down. Ok, maybe just this one time when this 90 year old lady decided to ride it and ended up stuck at the top!!! 😀
So, I was saying that the we went closer to the abandoned Ferris Wheel. Which wasn’t giving you the impression of being very abandoned, as you could see and even hear it moving!!! Had we become victims of a tourist trap? Was someone trying to scare us until we leave? Were we being made fun of? Or was it just nature playing weird games?
And as if the slow sound of the ferris wheel wasn’t scary or creepy enough, this is where the sound of the barking dogs started! As well as my looking out for a stable tree! As well as for the skills to climb one, if any! 😀
This was one of those extremely rare moments that I lost (most of) my interest to take any more photos! Having said that though, I did find it soon afterwards! 🙂
We even came across the booth where the wheel is operated from and there still seemed to be electricity, but I didn’t dare touch any of the switches!
Continuing with our roaming inside the abandoned funfair, we saw some of the rooms, which once housed different games or facilities. It’s fascinating to see how run down they are and mentally compare them to how lively they once may have been!
And just before the end, we saw the spectacular Grand Canyon ride! Ok! The train platform may have not been as impressive, especially in its current condition!
But walking along the rails was fantastic!
The fact that the waters were frozen added a unique sense of abandonment that I loved! And the photo opportunities were plenty! It’s such a photogenic spot!
By this time we had started feeling very familiar with the place and got so excited with taking photos that we, momentarily, forgot about dogs, guards, ghosts and everyone else! The only thing reminding of the dogs and our silent runaway plans (and tree climbing!) was the moment that Kostas decided to jump over the big gap between the walking track and the trail of the ride! And it was further than it looks on the photo and a lot riskier, as there was nothing stable to hold on to! But he made it, stood on its slippery surface and his reward was a beautiful photo that I took of him!
By this point we had covered most of the park and we had already spent a couple of hours inside. We didn’t really want to leave, but our other friend, Eva, had been waiting for us outside. She had chosen to stay outside (Boo!). And we did well, as someone had been trying to trigger her sexual interest (if you know what I mean!) and not in a very elegant way! 😀
Visiting an abandoned theme park has always been on my to do list. And Spreepark won’t be the only one. I’m happy I did it and it undoubtedly was the highlight of my time in Berlin! Would I do it again? Definitely! Would you?