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.
It's a space for artists and creative heads to experiment - that's how art and communication network Platoon understands its art gallery at the Prenzlauer Berg. Because the discussion on the location of the European headquarters in Berlin have taken a while (Platoon has already been founded there in 2000) they simply took 34 cargo containers that since 2012 provide a space for art projects, workshops and events. There are artists spraying graffiti while a DJ puts on some tunes or artists are working in a container during their residency. You can shop vintage pieces at The Wardrobe every first Saturday in a month. Or you can hang at the Worklounge to exchange ideas and develop new concepts. The modular art construct in the containers is planned for two years and provides 4,500 square metres. Platoon Cultural Development - that's how the organisation calls itself - has found its origin in 2009 in Seoul. Ever since the global network has been expanding.
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.
STAY in Berlin:
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.
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
Alexanderplatz? It's right next door! Whether you actually visit it, or spend all your time in the hotel, will show itself in good time. That's because it's not everyday that you live in such sophistication. This designer hotel was projected by the British designers Jestico & Whiles and has a lot to offer besides great rooms. For example, there's four restaurants and a comprehensive wellness area.For a designer hotel, Andel's is quite large. There's 500 rooms, a generous lobby and and an elegant parlour. And despite its size, there's a homely atmosphere here, unlike the anonymous flair of some of the large hotel chains. The true definition of swish is displayed here, through avantgard design matched with a calming minimalism, whisked with a handful of colour. And you absolutely have to visit the Sky Bar - the view of the city is simply stunning. One night in a double room can be yours from 98 euros.
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 Corner East
Welcome to the Vatican. No, it's not about the frumpy or the religous, and the people here are definitely not from yesterday. The bearers of possibly the hippest corner of the city are Josef Voelk and Emmanuel Bayser count as the popes of the Berlin fashion and design scene. While one writes for Vogue, the other does Katie Holmes' outfitting. When one is giving fashion tips to GQ, the other takes Tom Cruise on a shopping tour.The store is abundant with big, elegant labels such as Balenciaga, Lanvin, Stella McCartney and Marc Jacobs. Take the advice given in the store and you will be miles ahead when it comes to fashion, as both men know exactly what tomorrow will bring. One tip: Brace yourself, as you will find it all here - cosmetics, books, furniture and accessories.
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.
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.