The mission was clear — bust a move to Berlin, indulge in wild adventures, create amazing stories, relay the juicy nuggets of goodness and insight right on back through the Carryology grapevine.
Three iron birds, 8 Hollywood movies, 5 shady plane meals and 31 hours after taking wing, I touched down to Berlin’s Tegel airport, with HK not far behind, en route via Dubai on a separate flight. Reclaiming my loot without fuss and lugging my new carry quiver – you all recommended – through the big glass doors.
Thanks to the dedicated insights and advice from you and the entire Carryology tribe, never have I had the pleasure of packing such a spruce collection of carry gear (a stark contrast to overseas jaunts of the past lugging a knackered 25-kilo pack across the far nooks and crannies of the earth).
And now the great unveil…
A sleek, cherry red flight case to house my vintage 1952 Conn 10M ‘Ladyface’ Tenor Saxophone – tough, resilient, crafted in classic French style, the BAM is musician’s eye candy, one of the most visually stimulating and slimline cases on the market (perfect for getting right through customs and onto that plane).
A truly revolutionary piece of carry glory, the MONO M80 is one of the most ingenious guitar cases ever constructed. Weaved of durable, lightweight materials, with a unique Velcro-hold headstock suspension design for cutting-edge shock absorption, the M80 will provide the perfect shield for my Martin acoustic touring axe.
Whipping Post create some of the most handsome leather carry goods on earth – we prodded them about whether or not they’d be keen to throw in one of their classic military duffles for a Berlin getaround. Not only did WP come to the table, they designed and constructed a custom-made, one-off Berlin Muse leather travel bag, for all my European frolics and jaunts.
With a Canon 5D SLR and purse of fine lenses my partner, HK, will be documenting our yearlong ride every step of the way with a selection of primo visuals. ONA were kind enough to provide this sexy, discreet leather camera bag for the ultimate in photographic carry style.
A black Crumpler Vis-à-Vis, my primary go-to luggage trunk for long-haul transits – sox, jox, suits ‘n boots, cords, creams, books ‘n all. This bag is the epitome of travel style; dark and sexy, this thing is like staring into a black mirror (blacker than a Spinal Tap LP).
Constructed from the finest vegetable-tanned leather, Bellroy’s Travel Wallet will provide the perfect all-in-one dosh, plastic ‘n chit travel companion, fit for my well-worn Australian passport (complete with mullet mug shot), Euro cash money, plastic, keys, bits and tricks – everything on the go, neatly compressed and laid down inside this slimline Bellroy design.
Creams, scents, potions and lotions, talisman and trinkets – all my toiletries partying together in this smooth waxed-denim Dopp; Tanner make incredible goods, and I was lucky enough to have scored this fine housing hold for all my beautification rituals.
Archival Ranger Rucksack (currently on route to the party)
The good team at Archival have dispatched one of their finest for me to cycle and strut around Berlin’s cobblestoned strasses, canals and gardens.
I lumped into a beige Mercedes cab, whose driver had the stereo fixed to the ‘Funkhaus’ station, and we grooved into the wide boulevards of the early Berlin morning, south to Kreuzberg, the former West German neighbourhood where I’d managed to lock down a sweet 4th storey apartment on a corner block.
We sped past rusted train hubs and decrepit factories tattooed with tags and graffiti, and with the car window rolled down the dankness of the canals imbued my nostrils, and an ‘Old Europe’ musty smell gave me giddy ‘traveller’s euphoria’, that spine-tingly drug-like feeling of being immersed in surroundings so foreign from those at home.
1) Looking out from within @ Berlin’s multileveled Hauptbahnhof train terminal, a short walk from the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate. 2) Wandering through Kreuzberg, looking for pizza, the sun glazed over the building rows.
Kreuzberg proved to be the right place to set up shop – the streets lined with overgrowth, cordoned by rusty curved girders; tall cedars and fallen seed pods on BMW windows and the cobblebrick streets below.
Cafes and bars straddled the corners of every ‘Kiez’ tenement block and many in between, bars that seemed never to close, candlelit at night, where the streets simmered with deco lamplight and the aroma of cigarettes. But storey apartment on a corner block. We sped past rusted train hubs before everybody heads out; on balmy eves in Kreuzberg they all commune together on lawns and banks by the canals and rivers, sipping longnecks of beer cheaper priced than water, indulging in plentiful leisure, listening to music, watching a sun that refuses to come down.
1) Bought this heavy-set East German fixie for 50 Euro. Dead tire the next morning. Spent the whole next day trying to replace it, and now I feel like a man. This red paint-chipped devil rides like a moose on wheels – awkward, slow ’til you get going, potentially out of control at all times. I call him chip and he gets me around. 2) While a lot of old kiez blocks and tenements remain throughout Kreuzberg, tightly packed housing is a common sight throughout this neighbourhood.
On my night walks through the street-art laden walls of Kreuzberg’s kiez blocks, I felt the multilayered history of this city – the dormant spectre of its dark past, and its unavoidable sense of dynamic renewal. Getting over the jetlag that first week, HK and I enjoyed nights in, made delicious food in our cosy kitchen, took pictures, drank wine and danced to Tina Turner.
Rains came down over our new home at Lausitzer Strasse, Berlin, as we heard the revellers bellowing in foreign tongues on the strasses below, and we cosily drifted off into our warm, new candlelit European life.
Mission: Berlin was underway, with adventures yet to come…
– Berlin Muse & HK