Omar
im Volkspark Rehberge
Foto Rehberge Omar3

Hi, I'm Omar and 40 years old. I'm currently in Berlin's Volkspark Rehberge. Like the other people around me, I’m here enjoying the nature. We have beautiful weather today, so I thought I’d go for a walk.

A while back ago, I was at one of Berlin’s many lakes: Plötzensee. It was a beautiful day like today. I was strolling around the lake when I suddenly came across a group of people that caught me by surprise – a group of naked people! I’m not German, so it was a culture shock for me. I didn’t know how to deal with all this.

I told my teacher about my shocking occurrence. She said it’s normal to see naked people at the lakes in Germany, but it’s certainly not normal for me. Don’t get me wrong. I'm an open-minded person when it comes to culture. I know that I'm a guest here, and public nudity is just something I have to accept. I also think it's totally fine how the Germans are. Everyone is free to do what they want, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is new for me.

It’s often said that one’s right to freedom ends where the other person’s freedom begins. In this particular situation, I was posed with a question regarding freedom. Do I have the freedom to be at the lake without having to see naked people? Or do they have the freedom to be naked regardless of what people think? In the end, I realized I have to accept the situation, regardless of my feelings.

But I noticed my feelings about public nudity change depending on who’s naked. Sometimes families and siblings go naked to the lake in Germany. This dynamic wouldn’t be comfortable for the people in my country. On the other hand, being naked with your wife or girlfriend is normal, even where I’m from. But with my mother or sister?! I just couldn’t.

All in all, I think people should be able to do what they want. To each his own. Everyone is raised differently. However, to be considerate of those who don’t want to see public nudity, I think a warning sign would be appropriate. PEOPLE BATHE NAKED HERE. Then everyone could decide if they want to pass the sign or turn around. Then no one would be surprised by it. It’d be a matter of choice.

Robert
im Volkspark Rehberge
Foto Rehberge Robert4

Hi, I'm Robert, and I work as a painter. I'm sitting in the park and observing my surroundings. I'm thankful for this park. There's another level of stillness here. Much different than the one I find on my balcony. This is why we build parks, I think – to form a space that refuels us.

Sometimes I get a bit annoyed by the other visitors in the park. The youth often bring their Bluetooth speakers with them and crank up the bass. They’ll come right where you're sitting and blast their heavy bass music for hours. It really gets on my nerves.

Even the park defends itself sometimes. I witnessed this not too long ago. I was sitting under my favorite tree and reading. I wasn't even playing music, just sitting there in peace. All of the sudden, bits of wood start raining down on me. I look up and saw a woodpecker hacking a hole into the tree. He was carving a cave for himself. By no means did he care about me sitting below him. He just kept pecking away, producing more and more trash and throwing it on top of me. No able to escape, I got up and left. I'm not saying he did it on purpose, but he sure didn’t show any signs of compassion as I stood up to find another tree to read under.

Sebastian
im Volkspark Rehberge
Volkspark Rehberge Sebastian8

Hi, I'm Sebastian. I'm 29 years old, and I live in Wedding, one of Berlin's many districts. The park Volkspark Rehberge is close to where I live – that’s why I like coming here. I have a short story connected to this park that I’d like to tell you. It happened a few years ago.

I had a date here. It started with us hanging out late into night, and it felt like the night would never end. We spontaneously decided to have an early morning picknick here in the park, so we grabbed a basket and a blanket and came here around 6 or 7 in the morning – right at the crack of dawn.

We found a nice spot on the grass and made it comfortable. We sat down, and everything was going well, until we realized our blanket was placed directly on top of a small pile of dog poo. This, as you can imagine, turned our flowery atmosphere a bit sour, but these things happen when you sit on blanket flattening dog poo beneath you.

Anyway, despite our misfortune, we made the best out of the situation. We were in the park for hours and even into the afternoon. We ended up kissing for the first time there, and a four-year relationship stemmed out of this picknick in the park story. Even though it was a wonderful date, I still think that dog owners could be so kind and bring their dog's droppings to the waste bin.