Now you can go camping without the fear of ruining your favourite skinny jeans with grass stains or getting your latest vintage brogues muddy; thanks to ‘Urban Camping’.
The ‘Hüttenpalast‘ or ‘Hut Palace’ just outside the city centre in Berlin is offering a unique camping-style experience with the world’s first indoor caravan park. Located in an old vacuum cleaner factory, classic caravans have been refurbished to suit the prospective takeaway-coffee-carrying-hipster clientele.
The indoor camp site, their so-called ‘creative playground’, features communal areas to sit and swing outside your rented caravan or huts attempting to emulate ‘retro-happiness’ and give you a touch of ‘summer feeling’. All of which initially comes across as unique, stylish and modern. An idea that reads well and intrigues – until you ask yourself “Where’s the point to all this?!” It quickly becomes apparent that the project and business is little more than completely misdirected creativity. This project has been designed to appeal to the young and fully urbanised creative executive, exactly because it has nothing to do with actual camping or caravanning.
[Related: Europe’s Most Unusual Campsites]
It would not come as a surprise if the pseudo-camping holiday turned out to be a financial success and herald the start of a new trend; urban camping. Yet, is the whole point of camping not that you are outside, close to nature and able to enjoy a certain amount of mobility?! Furthermore, taking your tent or caravan out into the world provides you with something more than just a holiday. Research led by Dr. Kaye Richards at Liverpool John Moores University strongly suggests that it improves your physical and emotional health, social relations and general outlook on life. The statistics demonstrate that not only does camping make you happier and significantly de-stresses you, but can also bring about a fundamentally positive outlook on life: 77% of campers are satisfied with their quality of life, compared to 59% of non-campers.
This research intends to advocate the ‘access to camping for all’ and is backed by the likes of the adventurer Ben Fogle and environmentalist David Bellamy. On top of enriching body and soul, any form of camping comes with a sense of adventure; no matter whether you are taking your caravan to a camp site by the Devon Beacon, wild water rafting with a tent in the Amazon or taking a Swift Motorhome on an across country trip in the United States. There is a somehow deep-rooted, albeit now often clichéd, sense of freedom that accompanies this sense of adventure.
Presumably, for the guests of the Hut-Palace in Berlin having to locate their nearest coffee shop that will serve a decaf-double-espresso-skinny-late with a shot of hazelnut syrup and cinnamon sprinkles on their smart phones and then venturing out for a cosmopolitan breakfast is adventure enough. Having said that, the Hüttenpalast will keep any city-creative with sudden camping notions from bothering those who go camping for camping’s sake. Never say there’s not a silver lining in every cloud (as a real camper would very well know).
Best Time To Go
Visiting Berlin can be a treat at any time of the year. Especially the summer events present a vibrant, international flair and provide a good alternative to exploring the city. The free music festival Fete de la Musique 2013 in June or the Carnival of Cultures 2013 at the end of May are events to consider.
Visit Berlin, see the city, enjoy the multi-cultural flair and foods AND go clubbing in what is considered to be the best clubbing city in Europe. Consider timing your trip to coincide with the Berliner Clubnacht at the beginning of September, where a single ticket will give you entry to over 100 selected clubs over two nights.
Staying in a Huettenpalast caravan runs for about EUR 55-65, which includes breakfast and wifi (all the camping essentials).
For the more avid camper, Berlin can provide a perfect holiday location. With plenty of camp sites to choose from within the city (!) and surrounding area. Furthermore, for the more city-shy traveller Brandenburg offers some great opportunities for day trips of all kind. For ideas and further information check out the official Berlin tourist website and Brandenburg site.
Erik Esser is a freelance columnist, travel journalist and blogger who never forgets his towel, wherever he goes. Apart from suspecting the answer to most things may indeed be forty-two, he believes that knowing a place is meeting its people.