SHOPPING in Berlin:
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.
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.
STAY in Berlin:
Everyday is honey-sweet at this hotel. Wellness is guaranteed with every booking, whether you are just married or not even married at all! Although the Honigmond hotel doesn't appear that spectacular at first sight, it has won several awards for its relaxed, individually-styled rooms that have been tastefully fitted out with antiques. Dont let yourself be fooled by the unexceptional fassade, as a real comfort oasis is hidden beneath. Especially summer guests can enjoy this hotel's highlight: the garden, which will instantly whisk you away to a southern land. In earlier times, the area was used as a workshop for race-horse teams, however there are no signs of it's past to be felt. As a tip: when the hotel is fully booked, you can always kill some time in the hotel's restaurant, which is only 300m away and equally pretty.
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.
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.
EAT in Berlin:
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.
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.
If the Royal Grill is a bit too suave for you, then this is the best alternative barbeque location Berlin has to offer. It's not so dazzling, but rather relaxed, a legend in it's own right and it boasts an idyllic garden. In the middle of Kreuzberg, in the middle of Viktoriapark and right in the middle of the field there is space for over 100 guests spread over two floors.One quick view of the massive grill and there's no doubt that there is enough meat to go around for everyone. On a clear summer evening, it's advisable to grab a spot at around 4pm. That way you will have some space to yourself, at least for an hour or so.The clientele here show two different faces; laid-back and dynamic. From the Kreuzberg original, business men to students, anyone could be your neighbour at a table. So order a 'Berliner Weisse' beer, along with some sausage, meat and potatoes. As you will see, there's everything here for a great evening in Berlin.
SIGHTS in Berlin:
To avoid having to repeat ourselves, we will proclaim it loudly: Anything that belongs to the UNESCO cultural heritage list is always worth a visit. The Berlin Museuminsel has belonged to the clib since 1999, and for very good reason. The five museums that call the Spree island home constitute a very unique architectural ensemble, which portrays the development of meseum design and architecture over more than a hundred years.So take a stroll across the island and take in the peace and beauty that is there for everyone to enjoy. Your journey could even take you into one of the museums; das Alte (old) Museum, das Neue (new) Museum, das Nationalgalerie, das Bode-Museum and das Pergamon-Museum. Our recommendation: Visit the Pergamon museum, as it has earnt its name worldwide through its reconstruction of the most imposing architectural complexes.
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.