Summertime is fun-time: So, what are the world’s top urban joy spots? We’ve asked some of our most successful – and well-traveled – beach volleyball teams to reveal their favorites. This time around: Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik.
So, Kay and Jonathan – if anyone is an expert when it comes to city beaches, it has to be you. What’s your favorite city beach?
Kay: As a born and bred Berliner, mine is the Stralau peninsula in Berlin. It may not have any sand, but it’s a place where you can really get away from it all – and every time you go, it’s different. So, it’s relaxing and enchanting at the same time.
Jonathan: But that’s not to say we’re short of sand here in Berlin. Considering the many outdoor facilities, beach courts, beach halls, and swimming lakes, we probably have just as much sand as they do on the coast.
You’ve been to cities all over the world. Which of them best represents urban joy to you?
Kay: I guess people are always loyal to their own home town, yet it’s easy to forget just how much there is to do on your doorstep. During my travels, I have grown to love Paris, London, and New York, but it’s really incredible how Berlin is evolving. And thanks to its cultural mix, it has this amazing diversity.
Jonathan: To me, Rio de Janeiro exudes pure urban joy. When you’re sitting on the beach under a palm tree, drinking from an ice cold coconut and looking at the sea, that’s a pretty awesome combination. And when the carnival is going on, the whole experience really becomes unbeatable.
Which city is your personal favorite, all things considered?
Kay: Home is where the heart is: BERLIN!
Jonathan: My home town of Potsdam – it’s where I spent most of my life and I always love returning to it. With its many lakes, parks, and its charming old town, it’s always worth a trip!
As professional players, which city has the best beach volleyball courts?
Kay: Berlin, Berlin, Berlin – there are lots of big beach volleyball courts here like Beach61, Beach Zone, and South Beach. Whether it’s indoor or outdoor, no-one in the world has more courts than us. Berlin is beach volleyball!
Jonathan: We definitely have the most courts in Europe and the best ones, too.
You run a lot to keep in shape. Which city has the best jogging routes?
Kay: I love running along the water. When it comes to Germany, Hamburg, Kiel, and Düsseldorf have some really awesome routes.
Jonathan: I was very impressed by the extremely well-laid out, well-kept trails in the Baltic spa town of Zingst. You can run right along the sea, on the beach, across dunes, and through villages.
Which city really knows how to party?
Kay: New York – the city that never sleeps – and, once again, Berlin. We have amazing clubs for any taste and any crowd.
Jonathan: Yes, once more, Berlin takes the crown. Our capital is world-famous for its nightlife. No matter your taste, you will find the right location.
Which city comes tops for dining out?
Kay: I don’t think it’s cities so much as countries where the food is really special. Greece and Italy are always worth a trip.
Jonathan: I love Italian cooking – so I’ll say Rome. Home-made pasta with salmon and a creamy sauce; pizza with rocket, bresaola, and parmesan – fresh from the oven; and to finish off, some gelato and an espresso – heaven!
Which city has the best open-air movies?
Kay: To be honest, I only know the ones in Dresden or Berlin. The one on the banks of the Elbe River in Dresden is incredibly picturesque and romantic. And in Berlin, you can watch an open air movie beneath the stars almost anywhere. Whether it’s on top of a mul-ti-story parking lot or at a drive-in: There are so many choices.
Jonathan: I’ve only been to the one in Volkspark Friedrichshain in Berlin. It’s big, you’re surrounded by nature, and the crowd is really eclectic. It all makes for an unforgettable evening.
Which city has the best fans?
Kay: When it comes to beach volleyball, it’s Klagenfurt on Lake Woerthersee, no doubt. London has the best soccer crowds, Berlin the best ice hockey supporters. In basketball, pretty much any American club has a great buzz.
Jonathan: Yes, when the beach volleyball tournaments are on, the craziest fans are definitely in Klagenfurt. No other place has a buzz like that. People are in great spirits from dusk till dawn. The fans really give it their all, just like the players down on the courts.
Which cities remain on your bucket list?
Kay: My sporting career still hasn’t taken me to Sydney and Tokyo – I can’t wait to go there.
Jonathan: And I really have to make it to Venice.
Header image: Francesca Villani, via flickr