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.
A pinch of Russia somehow belongs to a trip to Berlin. For those that haven't visited the Russian disco at Café Burger or don't have a Vladimir Kaminer novel in their backpack have their last chance at experiencing the Russian style here at Gorki Park! Everything is approached with the Russian couldn't-care-less attitude here. The service team is everything but nimble, yet they are friendly and Russian! The music is Russian, as well as the food and the beer. This is reason enough for students and artists to dub this place their second home, be it either for a látte, a beer or a vodka to finish off the week. There are twelve different Vodka sorts on offer here, but a sampling of all is only recommendable for the hardened types. There's a Russian trick to vodka drinking: Always a bit to eat with every shot, at best a vinegar gherkin! Only by following this strict rule will your head remain somewhat clear and you will therefore have a chance at making it to breakfast the next morning. The breakfast here is legendary, particularly the brunch offered on weekends.
It wasn't all that long ago when the word 'cupcake' was a totally foreign word in this city. That however changed promptly when Carrie bit into her first cupcake at SATC. Whatever Carrie does is stylish, and many others want to follow suit, especially in Europe!That's how the small and tender cake made its worldwide debut. And it was very well accepted, thanks to the healthy demand. This is easily seen at the Cupcake bakery in Berlin, where the cupcake craze is in full swing. The marvellously colourful bonnets that the little cakes carry come in a glorious array of colours are made either with flavoured butter or cream cheese - according to your desired calorie intake.
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.
The Tacheles is an old boy in all things alternative art, and has become something of a landmark in the Berlin alternative scene. Although you have to be careful throwing around the term 'art' here, and although the best times here are already long gone, the liveliness of this place still shines. But it wasn't always the case - the ruines were once used by the Nazis. It wasn't until 1990 that the hedonists come to play and celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall in the form of a pulsing art centre. Tenderly renovated, rebuilt and repaired? Wrong! The Tacheles is still proudly in ruins! Try and find a complete window pane - good luck!Even more interesting is having a beer at the bar. Conversations with former circus artists, DDR refugees and other special people are not out of the question! Or take a walk through the rear gardens, as that's where you can view the current exhibition. So is it off to the cinema afterwards? Or to one of the concerts? The stone at the Tacheles is not as hot as it once was, but it is still at a comfortable Berlin temperature.
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.
STAY in Berlin:
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.
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
An intergalactic hotel in the middle of Berlin's Friedrichshain. Sound funny? Well it is! And according to the hotel's owners, it is also a favourite hideout for Austrian yodellers, Swedish models, British rockstars , Japanese business men, German race-car drivers and American dudes. SO you don't belong to the aforementioned categories? Shame, then the Michelberger Hotel is without a doubt worth the light speed trip, as it is one of the hippest addresses in town!There are 119 beds in the former factory, which are all hot and a few screws loose. What does that mean? Every room is a bit different, completely relaxed and very trashily furnished. The lobby is at times the coolest club in the city and the smorgasbord is open to all guest at any time of night and day and the reception is an entire space-shuttle of charming crew members. Those who fancy unusual hotels should prep their engines, start the countdown and blast into Michelberger hotel. Double rooms are available from ? 70 a night.
SHOPPING in Berlin:
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.
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 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.