SIGHTS in Berlin:
A Stoll Along the
It may not sound like it belongs to a typical holiday, but it is certainly an impressive experience. So take some time to stroll along the old Berlin Wall, well, what is left of it. So start at Checkpoint Charlie, a museum full of interesting exhibits illustrating the story of the wall, its fall and the innovative fugitives that escaped to the west. Armed with knowledge, take a walk along the wall and have a think of the events that once took palce here.The longest surviving stretch of the Berlin wall is found along the Mühlen Strasse and has been painted by more than 100 artists from around the world. Over 1300 metres in length, it serves as a great guidepost and the largest open air gallery in the world. The paintings on the wall are not grim, but rather brightly coloured and speak of the great enthusiasm artists met the opening of the wall with. Don't forget to bring your camera!
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.
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.
SHOPPING in Berlin:
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
STAY in Berlin:
So what's hidden behind the name Spätkauf (late-night shopping)? A small kiosk, that is open until late at night, and the people providing with essentials at late hours. Beer is, for example, one of those essentials. This Spätkauf however, has a special secret: There's beds on the top floor, which are surprisingly cheap. You can expect to pay ? 20 per person per night, but you should book early, as there are only two rooms available. The kitchen and bathroom are shared, but with few guests at any one time, it's hardly a problem. The owners are genuinely happy to receive guests and are inclined to offer a shared round of drinks. And as a little bonus, you will recieve the best insider tips for free. Kinders under six get to sleep for free. It's a great alternative for your wallet.
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 Dude Hotel
With 62 Alexander Schmidt-Vogel begins a second career - after his international success with his communication agency MediaCom. He transforms a historical building from 1822 in Berlin-Mitte into a 27-room hotel, designed to have thought-provoking effects on his guests. No room resembles another, and the styles are wildly garbled: Alexander Schmidt-Vogel glues, inspired by drafts from the Dusseldorf interior designer Uwe van Afferdeen, suitcases onto the walls and installs crystal chandeliers next to them, puts gym benches into the entrance area, Kartell furniture to Biedermeier tables and so-called maxi bottles with wine, water and champagne into the colourful minibars. The breakfast for hotel guests is served in Schmidt's Deli Deluxe. The restaurant in the souterrain, the Beef Club, offers large steaks from the American Angus cattle.