SIGHTS in Berlin:
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.
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.
Even if your ablity to absorb history is already exhausted, you should still go to the Jewish Museum. This museum is one of the most excellent examples of creative and innovative museum architecture in the world - Daniel Liebeskind took an exploding Star of David as the design template. Interest for the tragic story of the Berlin Jews only grows as you take a walk through this unique memorial.The museum is not only an archive for the past, but also a center for German-Jewish culture. Here you are invited to try and grapple the history of the Jews piece-by-piece. Outside the museum, visitors are arsked to think about members of the Jewish community murdered in war. Those who are attentive will notice the so called stumbling blocks (Stolpersteine), which are memorial plaques scattered throughout the entire city. Even more imposing is the memorial for the murdered Jews by Peter Eismann: 2,711 short columns at places nearby Potsdamer Platz, to remind us of the six million victims.
STAY in Berlin:
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.
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
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.
EAT in Berlin:
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.