SIGHTS in Berlin:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When a hotel opens its doors between the record label Universal and the music channel MTV, then it should please people from the music industry. The New Yorker Karim Rashid, the fanciest popstar from the design scene was signed on to provide for the right vibe in the four stars plus design hotel. His funky world of forms welcomes the guest already at the front desk. There's a lot of pink, gaudily coated lifts and graphic works that wriggle through the rooms along the walls and floors up to the pink bedclothes. In the 304 rooms and suites, you find organically shaped partitions with integrated flat screens and indirect lighting. If you want to play music, go to one of the in-house recording studios or use the room service and order a guitar. P.S.: Not only people from the music industry are excited!
The Arte Luise is a design hotel, and a comfortable one at that. The classical building, built in 1825, inspired its two (at the time) young ownrs to model a hotel of the Chelsea, which was always a favourite dig for artists and literati. And there's high expectations here, as the rooms are designed by creative minds of varying origins; such as Cologne, New York and the Berlin College of Arts. Rooms hold their decor for a maximum of three years before being stripped-out and totally redesigned. But be warned, for the purposes of pondering it could be a tad too loud in some of the rooms. So for those who don't work like Bukowski, then ask for one of the calmer rooms - there's a few of them. One night in a double room can be had from ? 79