Impressions of St Pauli

15:44 Paul Robinson 0 Comments

March 31, 10am, Cafe Meinke, Paul Roosenstrasse,

I decided have a wander through the area I'm staying and find myself some breakfast. One downside about couch surfing is that you are going to have to be pretty lucky to get some breakfast at the place you're staying. Secondly, this being mainland Europe, most cafes don't even open for breakfast until 11am, so I managed to have a fairly thorough wander.

The Reeperbahn is a very distinctive place. My flat is directly above a nightclub and in the neighbours garden there is a home-made covered stage and seating area, which could easily sit 40 people. You leave the building onto Hanz-Albertz Platz; in the evening to have to run the prostitute gauntlet but during the morning the street life is composed of delivery men and people walking their dogs. The main street of the Reeprbahn is filled with sex shows, casinos, gun shops and body-building shops. However the streets are full of tress and their are playground full of children on most street corners. Around the periphery you'll find punk record stores, punk bars and punk clothes shops.

As you head north the Reeperbahn becomes St Pauli. The streets become narrower and the buildings close in. Parked cars, cyclists, delivery trucks, trees and pedestrians all compete for space. The unremarkable architecture is broken up with graffiti, stencilling and bright paint-jobs. Second hand stores, nameless bars, one room offices, florists and grocers line the St Pauli streets. The local population is comprised of of punks, indie scenesters, families, pensioners and shop keepers, and feels quite diverse. The area doesn't feel exclusive or unwelcoming.

I eventually found an open cafe in which to eat breakfast and write this. There's lot's of wood panelling and dark green features. And of course, there's lots of outside seating where patrons can sit, soak in the atmosphere and chat with the neighbours.

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