SIGHTS in Berlin:
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.
Bright, airy, friendly and white: that's how you would characterise most art museums and galleries. The collection Boros in Berlin however has decided against such an exhibition space and instead moved into a premise with a moving past. A building which does not dodge behind art but tells a story of its own. The former bomb shelter was erected by the National Socialists during the second World War, later occupied by the Red Army and transformed into a war prison. From the 1950s onwards it was used as storage for textiles and tropical fruit, and at the beginning of the 1990s a hardcore techno club moved in. In 2003 the art collector Christian Boros from Wuppertal bought the building and refurbished it into a gallery under strict conditions. Now you can see - after preliminary registration - works by artists such as Ai Weiwei, Cosima von Bonin, Olafur Eliasson, Thomas Ruff and Wolfgang Tillmans, with the exceedingly interesting premises on top.
Please don't touch? You won't hear this sentence in the DDR Museum. There aren't any national treasures stored in showcases, but rather exhibits that are there for you to touch so that you can experience history for yourself. The interactive museum is a lot of fun, but it also calls for visitors to consider how life really was in DDR times. It wasn't just sunny trips in Trabi wagons and plattenbau apartment blocks, but also surveillance, fear and chocolate substitutes. So that you understand how it went, take a seat in the living room of a plattenbau apartment, but watch what you say as someone will be listening. The musuem answers the call of the DDR-nostalgia boom that Berlin has experienced in the last couple of years. The collaboration of historians has however pushed the nostalgics to the side, as this museum provides an objective and true version of the story. The exhibition pieces come from all areas of life; the home, work, recreation, holidays, fashion and culture and are nothing more as the left-overs from old DDR households. But today the kitchen cupboards are anything but private here in one of the most innovative museums in the world.
EAT in Berlin:
What do you think about those crazy chefs who throw the conventions of consistency overboard and suddenly serve chocolate air and soup-dust? Not sure? Then you should absolutely drop in at Margaux and breathe in a serving of Iced Berlin Air or nibble on Mineralwater jelly. Our conclusion - more fascinating as absurd! The aromas explode, your tastebuds will be taken by surprise and the gourmet heart will dance for joy. Of course the Margaux undoubtably belongs to the five top restaurants in Berlin. However, it 's astonishing that you don't feel like an underdressed pile of misery hiding behind a miniscule portion. At the Margaux, you are able to enjoy a perfect meal in a comfortable atmosphere. And it is all thanks to the owner and head chef Stephan Hentschel, who principally uses only the freshest ingredients, extravagant wild herbs and Himalaya sauces.
Korean food has a unique reception among Europeans. Those who aren't familiar with it don't care about it. It's associated with well-known sushi and glutamate wok dishes. Those whoever, who have had the pleasure of experiencing Korean specialties cooked with love usually develop a life-long affair with the most interesting cuisine in the world.The princess of Korean cuisine is found int he middle of Berlin, in what used to be a pizza restaurant. The design of the restaurant is more urban, more industrial and a bit more stylish than others in Berlin.The tables and the benches are massive, there's corrugated iron sheeting painted in red. The Berliner chic style screams out, which could just as well be found in London. But it's the kitchen and its sumptuous produce that really shine here. The Kimchi on offer is absolutely perfect, and you can't say that about many Korean restaurants. Korean BBQ sounds like a modern dish, but it's actually a classic and is definetely worth a go. High-grade beef is prepared right on your table. Add sesame leaves, Banchan, stuffed cabbage rolls and your tastebuds have a whole new world to discover.
Are you one of those die-hard soup fans who cannot pry themselves away from a bowl of the hot stuff, even on a 30 degree day? No? Then after a visit to Susuru you might be showing up to the recruitment office of this exclusive club.Susuru is Japanese for slurping, which although is not the most welcome tone at the dinner table in Europe, is seen as a compulsory excercise in Japan. If you appreciate your soup, then it is customary to show this by slurping. There's soup with noodles, with seeweed, shrimps, spices, with mini pastries - yes, with pretty much anything that is fresh and fits into a soup pot. A real highlight is the Ebi Kimchi Udon with crispy fried shrimp.Those who can't find the savour in a bowl of flavour should nibble their way through the starters menu. Even at a table of soup-freaks, anyone should be able to find a place. The decor is bright and friendly, the epitome of modern Asian design. Service comes around round tables and round benches, or you can opt for the high bar stools at the counter. Japan goes Berlin Mitte.
SHOPPING in Berlin:
The Michalsky fashion show was once an essential part of the Berlin Fashion Week in Bebelplatz and the name is not to be forgotten. Admittedly, the Michalsky-StyleNite, booked as the highlight of the Berlin Fashion Week 2009, didn't quite go down as planned. Hilary Swank, Milla Jovovich, Matt Dillon and Wolfgang Joop snuck out to the Grill Royal restaurant quickly after a disappointing show.In our opinion, it couldn't have been the collection on show, apart from the fact that Michalsky has almost become too wearable for the big, wide catwalk. Since 2008, Michael Michalsky's latest collections have been paraded in his boutique store at Monbijouplatz. His labels MICHALSKY, M-67 Michalsky Jeans and MICHALSKY-Eyewear are being sold to fashion-conscious Berliners. The setup of the store reminds one of Paris and Haut Couture. On the other hand, the fashion on sale is rather casual, a bit sporty and almost fit for everyday life. Of course there is also something for the big appearance: gorgeous flowing evening dresses.
In former times the Tagesspiegel was based at this very place, by now Andreas Murkudis' new concept store has found its way into the big hall on Potsdamer Straße 81E. Andreas Murkudis who owned a concept store in a historic backyard on Münzstraße in Berlin Mitte eight years ago is a passionate collector ever since. Today he presents selected products and collections on 1,000 square metres, including brands like Balenciaga, Maison Martin Margiela, Dries van Noten and fashion designed by his brother Kostas Murkudis. Also available in the new store: his favourite chocolate by Erich Hamann which he has sold for more than 20 years. But the range of offer exceeds fashion and design: you can find perfume, cosmetics and even liquors. The store which is seven metres high was developed by the architects' office AAS Gonzalez/Haase.
Lozek + Stütz
Is your apartment shabby? It doesn't have to be. A step in the right direction would be a visit to the Lozek & Stütz showroom. The two revered interior designers don't just know what looks good, but also where it should be placed. They are the masters of design.They are both passionate out-fitters and fashion collectors, which met at - you guessed it - a house-warming party. Alexander Stütz is responsible for the unusual, eccentric solutions - which he learnt rather well during his days as Anne Maria Jagdfeld's assistant. And his partner, Claudia Lozek is responsible for matching colours to forms for that perfect look.The duo have a unique synergy, which results in the Prenzlauer Berg showroom being something quite special. How this could transfer to your apartment, is really up to you. Wall decorations, antiques, the strange and the beautiful, it's all here along with fabrics, furniture designs, one-offs and art pieces. The one thing you can forget after having Lozek and Stütz redesign your apartment is the house-warming party- it would be too much of a shame!
STAY in Berlin:
Lux doesn't just stand for luxury, but also the great amount of light, that fills the loft rooms. A bit of Zen, a bit more apartment than hotel and a lot of relaxation, which is really necessary after a lively day in the big smoke. This house is found in the middle of the Mitte, and that alone is naturally a big plus. Once you step out the door there are galleries everywhere you look, and the best opportunities to grab a bite or to go out are just a stone's throw away.Luxury and service are celebrated at the Lux 11, but it is done in such an understated way, that you won't be followed by those supposedly helpful service staff. Even if that was the case, it wouldn't matter much: just hop in the hotel slippers and bathrobe and retreat to your hideaway. The smallest rooms are only 30 square metres large, but the more beautiful ones even have their won balcony. Otherwise, the white minimalism reigns supreme, and it does that rather well. One night in a double room can be yours from ? 139
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
Artists, bohemians and the avant-gard painted the town red here in the wild 1920's and you there is still a certain wicked aura that surrounds the building. The small Café Sankt Oberholz is popular amongst locals and visitors from around the world. Those that sit around long enough to realise they don't want to go home can bunk in one of the apartments on the top floor. So what's here? Well first and foremost, comfort, style and an aftertaste of the 20's, which melts in your mouth. The hotel boasts high ceilings, impressive views, works of art on the walls and vintage furnishings that actually appear to be really modern. Four to six people can stay in an apartment and when your travelling group starts to get on your nerves, then get out on to the street, as you are right in the middle of Berlin. ? 220 will get you an apartment for four.