The abandoned airport down the street


I’m moving flats next month and saying goodbye to Tempelhofer Feld, my favourite space in the neighbourhood. But before I pack up my books and lug them across town, I’d like to tell you a bit about the history of what was once the world’s largest building. The 1.2 km long complex was built by the Nazis to be the most advanced airport the world had ever seen, but war cut short their plans and they...

The Heavy Load-Bearing Body Down the Street


I’m moving flats soon, after four years, leaving this neighbourhood behind for another pre-war altbau in a different part of the city. Imminent departure has prompted me to poke around some of those minor historic sites I’ve passed so often but never gotten around to exploring. One of the largest is just down the block. I biked past that strange concrete mass so many times over the past four...

The skies are strangely empty


It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon in Berlin, but it doesn’t feel like spring is in the air. The biergarten are shuttered. The parks are roped off. And many of the ice cream parlours are closed. With nothing else to do but work, I decided to stretch my desk bound legs with a 20km bike ride towards the outskirts of town. My target was a section of open ground near Lichterfelde Süd, where the Berlin...

The hamsters are loose in Berlin


It’s not surprising that the culture which gave us specific words for a brilliant idea you get while drinking but end up regretting later (Schnapsidee — I get a lot of these), and for the perverse sense of satisfaction at taking joy in someone else’s pain (Schadenfreude) should also have a term for hoarding. The Germans call panic buying Der Hamsterkäufe (‘hamster buying’). When I think about it...

Berlin life in the time of COVID-19


I’m not a disease expert by any stretch — though I have been sick in several third world shitholes. But it feels like anyone with any sort of public platform is expected to take a position on the COVID-19 pandemic. It certainly had a paralyzing impact on travel. In short: take it seriously. Expect it to last anywhere from several months to most of this year. And start preparing yourself for...

Adrift in Europe’s Capital of Cool


A group of four shirtless guys sat on the grass, smoking pot and rolling a soccer ball in slow listless circles. Across the clearing, a man in a leather costume, with a mask and a long graceful tail, was pulling a two-wheeled cart. The lingerie-clad driver smacked him with the reigns and urged him to trot faster. At first, I took a small group of people sitting together on the ground to be a...

Adrift in Berlin


The latest issue of Outpost hit newsstands across Canada a few weeks ago. This time in my Adrift on the Continent column, I’m taking you to Berlin. Well, I suppose I should say “bringing you to Berlin”, since I live here. But you won’t find any of the usual stuff in this story. No Berlin Wall or Brandenburg Gate, and definitely no tedious tales of yet another all night excursion to a techno club...

Just Another Berlin Sunday


Sunday afternoon in the Tiergarten. A group of four shirtless guys sit on the grass, smoking pot and rolling a soccer ball in listless circles. Across the clearing, a man in a leather costume, with a mask and a long graceful tail, is pulling a two-wheeled cart. The lingerie-clad woman in the cart smacks him with the reigns and urges him to trot faster. At first, I took a small group of people...

How Potsdam Shaped the Cold War World


I haven’t written a new blog in ages. Working on a book has kept me close to home this past year. But I took an afternoon away from my desk last week to check out an exhibit on the painter Max Beckmann at Potsdam’s Barberini museum. I was interested in Beckmann because of his influence on Die Brücke, that group of German Expressionist painters whose bold lines and strange colours remind me of...

Happy Berlin Anniversary to Me


Today marks a small anniversary in my world. It was exactly one year ago — January 8th — that I moved to Berlin and started a new life-after-Malta. Life in Malta was barely tolerable at the best of times, and at the beginning of 2017 it was spiralling down into an increasingly ugly mess of political and societal corruption. I sensed that violence wouldn’t be far off, and I didn’t want to be there...

Ryan Murdock

Author of Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America. Host of Personal Landscapes podcast. Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Canada's Outpost magazine. Columnist at The Shift. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.


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