One of the coolest things possible to do in Berlin also happens to be one of the simplest. And it’s completely free. Outdoors tables for ping pong are everywhere in this city. You can even play by streetlight.
The Germans are mad keen on the game and one of their most famous sporting exports is Timo Boll, a former World Champion who’s almost as famous in China as David Beckham. Have a look at this ping pong themed website which claims Germany as ‘ping pong country’. It’s like a porn site for ping pong fetishists. Not only that, there’s a popular bar in Berlin called Dr Pong, where the sport doubles as a drinking game.
The beauty of table tennis is that anyone can play it. Even girls. Panda had never seen a ping pong ball in her life before arriving in Berlin. Yet within a few months of serious tischtennis-ing she was managing to beat players that even she would admit are far more stylish/ technically competent/ athletic/ big-headed and experienced than her. Well, she basically got lucky. In my defense, Panda was formerly an Olympic contender in a very closely related field of sporting endeavour (swimming) so you should take that into account when wondering how on earth your bearish hero managed to lose to her. Six times.
These days we call it table tennis or ping pong, but did you know that the game originated in the Victorian dining room and was originally called ‘wiff waff’? Here’s London’s mayor, the hilarious buffoon Boris Johnson, reclaiming ping pong from the Chinese the night the Beijing Olympics ended and explaining the genesis of wiff waff, a quintessentially English invention: Wiff waff wideo
Get stuck into some wiff waff if you’re in Berlin. It’s loads of fun and good for the ticker. And pray you don’t run into Panda.