SIGHTS in Berlin:
Regarding architecture, not everything ran smoothly in Berlin after the fall of the wall. The new government quarters in Berlin is however a sterling example of successful modern architectur. Located right in the middle of Berlin, on the Spree river, the government quarter is so lightly crafted that it is somehow sleek yet elaborate. The undisputed tourist highlight is the Parliament House, with its famous dome, for which Sir Norman Foster is responsible. But you won't like what you're about to read: Waiting in line is worth it, and if you come early enough you might only have to wait for less than two hourse. But believe us, there is no better place to view this magnificient city than the viewing platform at the top of the dome.And for those who don't have time for parliament house can simply take a walk along the river as there are stairs behind the building that lead to the chancellor's garden. So take a break at 'Bundespressestrand', a beach bar on the river bank or in the Spreebogen park. Be warned: All the places on water get snapped up very early.
Those who dare visit the creepy bunker. Built in 1943, it amasses five floors and offers a somewhat macabre mix of goodies. On one floor you will find yourself in the depths of a windowless crypt and in the other a showcase of creepy tales from the crypt.So start with a glass of Waldmeisterbrause at the bar and then take a trip through middle-age medicine and quackery, where amputations take place as the puppets hydraulically jolt and scream. And then it continues into the room of many eyes and an eerie labyrinth. When you you enter one of the only normal rooms in the house, we advise you to be on the lookout. This place is a creepy old-fashioned house of thrills designed for adults with humour and kids without fear.
Off we go to the Grunewald and to its highest point at 115 metres: the Teufelsberg (devil's mountain), an elevation that was made from WWII debris and attracts walkers, mountain bikers and kite-flyers to the fresh open air in summer and cross-country skiers in the winter. The view is great, covering the area surrounding Berlin and it's city skyline. And this is very reason why this place was once a spy post. During the cold war, the Americans and the British used to position their listening devices here. Every now and again curious ones stumble into the dilapidated facility, even though it is prohibited and officiall cordoned-off.It looks like the building permission expired here, as a considerable apartment and hotel complex was once in the works, along with David Lynch's aspirations for a university and meditation centre. Thankfully nothing became of these plans and the Teufelsberg remains wild mountain territory, apart from the local vineyard. Those who are searching for a green space to recharge their batteries should definitely do it here. A small tip: don't forget to bring your swimming gear, as you will pass by the Teufel lake on the way up the mountain. But if you do forget them, don't worry, as the naturist community also has a good presence.
EAT in Berlin:
If the Royal Grill is a bit too suave for you, then this is the best alternative barbeque location Berlin has to offer. It's not so dazzling, but rather relaxed, a legend in it's own right and it boasts an idyllic garden. In the middle of Kreuzberg, in the middle of Viktoriapark and right in the middle of the field there is space for over 100 guests spread over two floors.One quick view of the massive grill and there's no doubt that there is enough meat to go around for everyone. On a clear summer evening, it's advisable to grab a spot at around 4pm. That way you will have some space to yourself, at least for an hour or so.The clientele here show two different faces; laid-back and dynamic. From the Kreuzberg original, business men to students, anyone could be your neighbour at a table. So order a 'Berliner Weisse' beer, along with some sausage, meat and potatoes. As you will see, there's everything here for a great evening in Berlin.
When was that again? Nobody knows for sure. But at one point in Berlin, there came the day when Austrian cuisine became the in-thing. Austrians with friends in Germany would post off cheese-sausages and Manner waffle biscuits to their poor friends, relieiving the pain until the next Wiener Schnitzel.So save your trip to the post office and send those wistful ones to the Alpenstück. Everything here is freshly prepared using only the freshest ingredients. Bonus. Another bonus is the menu, which is full of delicacies from southern Germany and Austria, such as; Spätzle, Schnitzel and Apfelstrudel. The true heart of the mountains. What more could you want?A shot of Obstler liquor perhaps? Then take a pick from 40 of the best around!As another bonus, the restaurant is beautifully furnished. Personal touches such as the shindle covered walls really add to the traditional touch. However, you can leave your lederhosen at home.
If you're set on Berliner cuisine, then you should reserve a table at Engler's Unikat. A hodge-podge of antiques, souvenirs, photos and trinkets await you. The entire place appears rustic, inviting and somehow private. This impression only grows once the food is under your nose and you are almost sure that your Berliner Mama invited you to the table.And somehow she did. Mother Engler is the mother of all hungry city-dwellers and is a master of traditional German fare. She makes the best meat patties and beef roullade in the entire city. Those who make it past the Sauerbraten must try out one of the home-made cakes on offer. You see, the Germans really know how to bake.And just as typical as the great food on offer is the service. Here you will engage in chit-chat with real Berliners. The Berliners are known for their quick wit!
STAY in Berlin:
T his hotel is no mere lodging - it is a true synthesis of the arts. And it's no wonder, as the major-domo of the house, Lars Stroschen, is a musician who wanted to collect the money he needed to build a new recording studio. The rooms were seen as being so trendy and became so treasured that Stroschen bought a guest house and concepted a few new rooms. Propeller Island is probably the most creative hotel in the city. It's super-hip and ultra-cool.So pick your favourite room. Perhaps the 'Symbol-Room', which is full of white squares which host miniatures of just about every symbol known to man. The 'Mirror Room' is, you guessed it, completely mirrored and is absolutely nothing for paranoid types as it is basically a walk-through kaleidoscope. The stylish 'Grave' is for those with morbid tastes: you can sleep in a coffin or find a cosy spot in the lurking labyrinth below. A bit twisted is the upside-Down Room, where the furniture is hanging from the ceiling, below your feet, of course! Luckily, it's a four-bed room, as three of them are on the wrong plane... One night in a double can be had from ? 94
You don't want to book a hotel room? Then 'No Hotel' is the right one for you. The only thing this place has in common with a conventional hotel is the fact that guests from all around the world pay for a night in a room. Otherwise, it is as if your Berliner friend has left you the keys to her flat because she is out of town.Hopefully not literally! This hotel is found on the 21st floor of an original industrialised apartment block built in 1967. The times where people were trying to flee such apartments is long gone. Amongst student circles, it is now the in-thing to move into such buildings. Here you've got the chance to find out whatever the effects of the DDR and its architectural produce are. The rich remnants of the DDR to young trendsetters have discovered the appeal of the 'plattenbau' and maybe you will too! What will help you find it? Your Berliner friend has great taste and has outfitted rooms with design classics of the period. A must see for all DDR nostalgics.
Usually, only members and plus ones may enter this private member club in Berlin Mitte. Unless you book a hotel room. The sizes of the 40 rooms range from 24 to 118 square metres - the largest ones even have their own dining and seating areas as well as free standing bath tubs. Those of you who don't want to spend the night rummaging through the vinyl collection should explore the rest of the house. There's a lot to discover: for example the bar at the swimming pool on the rooftop terrace, or the club bar with adjoined house kitchen - the former office of GDR president Wilhelm Pieck - which now serves as a restaurant and bar. Or the spa and the gym. Or maybe the plushy cinema that screens movies in 3D, HD and 35 millimetre. Sensational: the cheapest rooms for this exclusive establishment cost around 100 euro.
SHOPPING in Berlin:
We can imagine that Mr. Wolfgang Joop doesn't need to watch his hard-earned pennies anymore. Nonetheless, the fashion tzar has brought another label to the market. Lazing about doesn't come into question for the master of fashion: in the blink of an eye the master has whipped another cencept out of his non-existent top-hat.'Wunderkind' is the name of the latest label to come from Joop, which has allowed the designer to design himself anew. The creations are new and feminine, mostly straight, rarely frisky and somehow unbeatable.The new collection is also quite expensive and so maybe there's a bit more sense and pleasure to be had in searching through the vintage Joop collections. It's the sort of stuff that true fashion-victims wouldn't be seen dead wearing, but perfect for those that appreciate classic fashion, even if it's a few seasons old. The ambience here is almost as noble as the flagship store on the Markgrafenstrasse, where the latest collections are to be found.
The name may be somewhat misleading. Eisdieler (ice-cream dealer) hints towards the presence of ice-cream, and lots of it. But the search for creamy respite will have to be taken elsewhere... Whether it's urban sassy or sassy casual doesn't matter. Its gotta be cool and be suited to late trip down to the local nightclub. As the four in-house designers can't be expected to create everything, every now and again other artists are invited to add their two cents. For example Jim Avignon designed a pair of shoes for Eisdieler not so long ago. Of course it's not cheap to fit yourself out with the sassiest labels in the city. Cult comes at a price. A branded t-shirt costs upwards from ? 25.
The scene shoemakers are on the job right here: There's 60 sq metres of just about everything that would like to wrap themselves around the feet of coolest trendsetters of the world. And the latest designer handbags to boot! Need a few names? Latitude Femme, Dico und Abro. WASTE from Barcelona and Veja from France. The last two aforementioned labels don't just design for the eye's pleasure, but also for a good cause: both colelctions are made from Fair Trade raw products and recycled materials. There's also a wide range of labels from Scandinavia, Italy, Spain and Portugal. The motto demands that the shoes and brands should remain unknown, well, at least to the masses.The decor of the concept store is quite minimalistic. Each shoe has it's own lit mini-display window. Shoe fetichists agree that man's best friend should be treated so. And the customers are also treated well: the store assistants lend great advice and test fittings are done on an oversized leather couch. Even if there's stacks of shoe boxes around you the staff still remain friendly, as they know exacly how it is to be in love with not just one, but all of them.