Backpacking in the News

Link to article: Residents of Berlin’s hippest district lash out  at backpacker influx

Dunno if I'd want these hipsters eating watermelon off my doorstep, either.

Dunno if I'd want these hipsters eating watermelon near my doorstep, either.

A recent report by The Independent‘s Tony Paterson reveals how residents of the Kreuzberg district of Berlin are fed up with the scores of young, budget backpackers invading their neighbourhood.

“The culprits are mostly young British, Scandinavian and Italian tourists coming to the city via easyJet and other budget airlines for mini-break holidays,” he writes. “They are accused of rowdy all-night partying, and offensive drunken behaviour such as leaving trails of broken bottles and vomit in their wake.”

Sounds pretty standard to me.

Also standard: Guidebooks leading them to the promised land. “At night they flock to (Kreuzberg’s) trendy all-night bars, which are advertised in guide books as a ‘must for party animals,'” adds Paterson.

As if it weren’t bad enough, these traveling degenerates have allegedly been playing loud techno music until the early hours of the morning. Oh my.

Official tourism statistics indicate the number of visitors to Berlin has risen dramatically in recent years due to increased flight traffic via easyJet and Ryanair.

In the end, it seems to be a classic case of old hipsters complaining about young hipsters trespassing on their turf. Boo-hoo. Burkard Kieker, director of Berlin’s tourist marketing agency, effectively told residents to suck it up. “Berlin is becoming a world city again,” he said. “We have to get used to that.”

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2 Responses to “Backpacking in the News”

  1. AK says:

    A gentleman friend of mine lived long term in Berlin several
    different times.

    He said it was understood that one was not to make noise
    after 10 PM, and that included not using one’s diswasher or
    washing machine.

    Rule of thumb for any traveler, young or old:

    Persons who live in your travel spot need a
    good night’s sleep. They cannot sleep in as you can,
    because they have to get to work next day,
    take care of their own children.

    And take care of travelers like yourselves.

    And thus be better able to help you and your fellow travelers.

    Keep someone awake all night, leave broken
    glass and vomitus (or worse) on their property
    and that person might be your very cab driver or waiter the next morning.

    Or the police officer or physician who deals with you
    later on.

  2. AK says:

    PS

    The upper article will sound harsh. But I live in a world
    famous tourist district in a city in the US.

    This neighborhood is a destination for those who like
    to backpack, and has a party scene, day and night,
    indoors and outdoors.

    In other words — The Haight Ashbury District in San Francisco

    Except for food at the two markets, the Haight Ashbury
    is not cheap.

    You will share those outdoor areas with many homeless nomads.

    Dont flash your money or electronics. Keep your backpack
    between your feet.

    Have fun but be aware. In the Haight, many look
    like backpackers but are quite troubled. Within their
    ranks are others who can be quite dangerous.

    Some safety advice for backpack travelers:

    * Please do not sleep in Golden Gate Park or Buena Vista
    Park. I met a wonderful, stylish woman from Australia who
    cheerily revealed she was sleeping in GGP and then left
    before I could warn her of the hazards.

    * Racoons. One park camper told me he woke and saw a racoon
    dragging his 40 pound backpack into the bushes. The animal
    did not want to let it go. Racoons are strong and fierce. You
    would need to visit an emergency room or ATB if mauled by
    one.

    *Skunks. These are in the park and in the USA, skunks carry
    rabies. Am not joking. At the very least, you could be sprayed,
    which will ruin your kit.

    Finally, many people live in Golden Gate Park long term.
    Many are nice. The remainder can be so dangerous that the
    overall risk is not worth it.

    One person familiar with the street scene told me that some
    who sleep in Golden Gate Park are ex convicts and worse.

    Please splash out on funds and rent a room in San Francisco.

    Sleeping in parks is not worth the risk if you can afford to do
    otherwise.

    In the USA, if you are in an automobile with strangers, who
    unbeknownst to you, are engaged in illegal activity (eg
    carrying a quantity of drugs over the legal limit), the police
    can stop that car with all of you in it, and can
    without a warrant search the car.

    Even if you knew nothing, you risk being arrested and charged.
    A lot of drugs dealing is done in the Haight Ashbury and you
    do not want to get entangled in a Situation.

    Note: Getting through to the British consulate by telephone
    is difficult to do in San Francisco

    By contrast, citizens of Switzerland can be proud of their
    nation. The Swiss consulate in San Francisco is staffed
    by gracious persons who answer the telephone in person
    during business hours. And visiting the Swiss consulate is a
    pleasure.

    P.S. Never take your eye off of your backpack, not in the Haight
    Ashbury. I have empty discarded backpacks and other luggage
    in my walks through the neighborhood.

    Take your pack and your electronics into the loo, bog or bathroom
    if you must.

    Final note:
    The Haight Ashbury has some amazing vintage clothing
    shops. Amoeba Records is world renowned and worth
    a visit. The Haight Ashbury Free Clinic still exists, busy as
    ever.

    But for the the rest, the HA has been turned into a mere
    shopping area with the 1960s as its theme.

    Visit, by all means. Look around. But be aware that
    the Haight does its business based on the memory of
    the hippies. The few real hippies left in the area
    were the ones fortunate enough to have purchased
    some housing when they could afford to do it.

    “Hippies” no longer exist in the Haight Ashbury, because it has
    become gentrified and strip malled.

    The actual hippies tried to create self sufficient
    communities. They did not wear dirty black clothes
    with spikes, nor did they wear Nepali made pathwork
    clothing purchased off rack. They made their own
    patchwork.

    The hippies wore colorful clothing, often with the
    American Far West and India or Morocco as the theme.
    They never wore dredlocks, and did not carry hula hoops.

    The Sixties hippies did not wear tattoos or piercings.

    The genuine hippies tended to be sad and wistful. They didnt
    display arrogance. Many knew how to sew and made or
    modified clothing themselves. If hippies had dogs, the
    dogs tended to be Alsatian/Collie/hybrids.

    The real hippies did NOT go about with pit bulls and skateboards.

    If you go to some of the vintage clothing shops, you can
    see and purchase real clothes worn by those hippies from the
    1960s and 1970s.

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