I was introduced to Rüdesheimer Platz a couple of years ago and stayed in love ever since. Tucked between Heidelberger Platz and Steglitz, it is rarely a touristic attraction, unless for those living here for longer than a couple of years. Therefore, when in 2015, an article in the NYTimes included Rüdesheimer Platz among 12 Europe's most beautiful streets, I was surprised that such a discrete location might attract such a big international interest.
This time, I am ready to reveal some of the secrets of this Berlin jewel too. As someone coming to this place quite often to visit friends, I am trying to be less of a local and more of an explorer. After all, when you are trying to see the usual place through fresh eyes there might be new angles revealed.
I start my journey from the U-Bahn station Rüdesheimer Platz, whose style mixes street art with classical mosaiques.
You don't need too many directions to make your way around, you just need to start exploring. In one hour you may say that you've seen everything at least twice, but the charm of this place is to stop and think when you will be back again.
It is a small world created around little places - if you want to find a big supermarket you need to walk around 20 minutes, and there are no drugstore chains around or any mass production shops either. After a couple of visits, I already made acquintance with the lady from the bio store and the one from the farmacy and those selling their products at the Tuesday and Friday food market from Eberbacher straße.
Compared to other places from the West Berlin I know, Rüdesheimer Platz has some special architecture features. It starts with the name of the place, inspired by a famous wine region in Hesse. When it was created, at the beginning of the last century, the style of the buildings tried to replicate those specific to this part of Germany.
Most of the constructions were built having in mind the principles of English landscape architecture, therefore, the entry to the 3-storey buildings is made through a path in the middle of the green carpet of a slope. The conically manicured trees placed on the sides look like the incorruptible guardians of the place.
As Rüdesheimer is a famous German wine destination, the symbols associated with it can be easily seen in the balcony decorations. More than in other parts of Berlin, you will have here more concentration of wine stores, many of them inviting you to have a tasting before being sure which purchase best suits your palate.
The best meeting point for wine lovers is, between May and beginning of September, the great park where the monumental statue of Siegfried is surrounded by the representation of Father Rhein and the Wine Queen. On the top of the terrasse, during the summer time, you can have a view over the colourful flowers arrangement in the park, while sipping your Rhein-wine. Especially during the weekend, people are coming here to sit on the grass and have a picnic, while the kids are enjoying the wonders of the playground nearby.
Those enamorated with vintage Berlin, will find in the corner a famous pissoir, one of the ten men-only that used to be in 1895 in Goslauer Platz. In the last years, they were given a new life - and added a women section too, by Wall AG, one of them being brought to Rüdesheimer Platz as well.
The slow life in Rüdesheimer Platz requires a lot of sweet sacrifices, that I willingly like to assume every time I am here. Very often once you are out from the metro station, you are wrapped in the smell of freshly made bakery, either from the BIO Company store or from Confiserie Emilia nearby.
In the summer, it is hard to resist the temptation of spending time outdoors sipping a glass of wine or some delicious home-made cake. Most places are children friendly, one of my favorite being Lotte am Platz, where I can't have enough of their Belgian waffles and generous healthy breakfasts. After you are done with the playground games, spending some refreshing time with your children here is recommended, also because they have a pretty big kid's corner. The neighbouring small shops selling homemade souvenirs or unique children toys and items are an obligatory visits when I am there during the week.
Coffee Lounge R3 which also has a small kid's corner is another favorite of mine, especially for its home-made cookies and elaborated coffees. When I want to eat something 'serious', I usually stop at the welcoming Trattoria Vale un Peccato for some very good Italian pasta or pizza, and obviously some good glass of red wine.
If you want more than entice your gustative senses, you can visit the newly - two years ago - open Bookstore Mertiny&Sohn which has a special selection of books and a small reading lounge too and where literary events are hosted regularly. Another favorite of mine is the Jewellery store - Goldschmiede, opposite the metro station, where you can buy unique pieces of jewellery or repay your oldest ones, enjoying an excellent reliable service.
In the middle of this concrete jungle - architecture-wise, the additions from the 1960s are not so good looking as those from the beginning of the last century, but the increase number of population requested some sacrifices in terms of taste, there is a little garden colony which is struggling to survive the pressure of creating more space for the real estate requests.
When I am leaving again Rüdesheimer Platz, I know that soon will want to be back, not necessarily for searching something new, but just for enjoying the comfort of feeling like a local. Becoming familiar with such parts of the city is what makes me feel at home in Berlin and kept me from leaving this city for adventures in far away places. Every time I am here, I don't forget to raise my glass of Rhein wine for celebrating my grateful love for my home.