Berlin Journals

BERLIN

A February 2003 trip to Berlin by trixie000

The Sony Center Photo, Berlin, Germany More Photos
Quote: A five-day stint in Berlin, a city aflame with art, music, and a vibrant youth culture.

BERLIN

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

The Sony Center Photo, Berlin, Germany
Quote:
-- The U-bahn and S-bahn--wow--quiet, fast, efficient, clean, easy . . . the public transit system that should be the envy of all other cities. -- The nightlife--the kids are very, very cool, the music was very, very hardcore, and the bars were what NYC’s bars wish they could be. -- The flea market running down Strasse des 17 Juni on a Saturday morning--jam-packed with everything from candelabra to comics. -- Restaurant Abendmahl--a vegetarian stalwart in Berlin with the most creatively named dishes I’ve ever seen ("Scandal in Bethlehem" was my favorite). (See Mr. Wonka's Berlin journal for this write-up.) -- Museumsinsel--the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Berliner Dom, the Al...Read More

Bratwurst Stand

Restaurant

Quote:
Tucked in between a falafel booth and a pizza café, this brat stand is not to be missed if you’re a carnivore. Actually, perhaps any bratwurst stand in Berlin would be fantastic compared to what I’m used to in the States, but these guys were über-friendly, the brats über-cheap, and the varieties of meat über-tasty. Unfortunately, I have no idea what it was that I tried. I did have three separate varieties of brat, though, and each was delicious. One was long and grayish, with a C-curvature that didn’t stop the stand guy from putting it into a mini-hamburger bun, so that it stuck out about 3 inches on each side. It was mild and pork-like and, although I felt a little obscene with it on the street...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 25, 2003

Bratwurst Stand
Outside of Zoo Station
Berlin, Germany

Issan

Restaurant

Quote:
Located just off Pariser Platz and the Brandenburg Gate on Unter den Linden, Issan looked interesting enough from the outside to return that night for a meal. Besides two German girls, we were the only people there (it was a bit later on a Sunday night). There definitely seemed to be a tropical motif--straw mats, palm trees, colored candles and . . . who knew? . . . a thatched sushi bar. Our waiter was quite friendly--he was great help when I thought I broke the cigarette machine in the back alcove--and was very patient with our English. The food is mostly Thai, but there is a full sushi bar as well. The menu selection is huge: sushi; tons of noodle and rice dishes; shrimp; chicken and beef dish...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 26, 2003

Issan
Unter den Linden 78
Berlin, Germany
(030) 224 88 147

Z

Attraction

Z Photo, Berlin, Germany
Quote:
Located just a bit down the street from Bergwerk on Bergstrasse, this dark, relaxed bar had some low-key trip-hop spinning and plenty of open spots to sit and drink. It’s got a red velvet/black lacquer feel to it--the tables are red and sparkly; there are low, swinging red lights; projected prints on the wall; and the people (many of whom were couples) were artsy, but not overly trendy. We sat up on the cushioned bar stools and had what the bartender recommended--"Staropramen Prager Bier" (from Prague)--which turned out to be a large, dark, bottled beer for a mere 2 euros! A similar place in NYC could easily charge $8 for half the beer. The bartender was a cute little German girl who was ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 27, 2003

Z
Bergstrasse (U8 Rosenthaler Platz)
Berlin, Germany

Trödel- und Kunstmarkt Straße des 17. Juni

Attraction | "Strasse des 17 Juni Flea Market"

Trödel- und Kunstmarkt Straße des 17. Juni Photo, Berlin, Germany
Quote:
As we were headed east on the S-bahn, we glimpsed what appeared to be an enormous flea market--tents and crowds of people stretched down a broad avenue and into the Tiergarten. We hopped off the train at the next stop, jumped on a train going back to the previous stop, and alighted on Strasse des 17 Juni. The market was bustling with an eclectic mix of families and children, teenagers, twenty-somethings, and septuagenarians. It runs down Strasse des 17 Juni until the arch at the beginning of the Tiergarten, and consists of two alleys--we walked up one and back down the other. The market has a wide assortment of goods, from candelabra to German comics, vintage clothing to porcelain. Not to mentio...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 26, 2003

Trödel- und Kunstmarkt Straße des 17. Juni
Straße des 17. Juni / Salzufer
Berlin, Germany 10623
+49 30 26 55 00 96

Neue Nationalgalerie

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Neue Nationalgalerie Photo, Berlin, Germany
Quote:
We walked from our hotel towards Potsdamer Platz, excited for our first stop in Berlin, the Neue Nationalgalerie. After taking photos of the exterior and writing down pertinent location info, I took a closer look at the door . . . and discovered that it was closed for three weeks! Ah, foiled! (No, we didn’t call in advance as we had been advised to do when dealing with still-in-the process-of-unification museums.) We made our way to the Gemäldegalerie instead, though, so it wasn’t a huge disappointment. I would like to have seen their collection of 20th-century international paintings, however--it’s supposed to have a very strong assortment of German Expressionists and Surrealists (such as Beckma...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 26, 2003

Neue Nationalgalerie
Potsdamer Straße 50
Berlin, Germany 10785
+49 30 266 2651

Getranke Riese (Abholmarkt) Photo, Berlin, Germany
Quote:
Just two doors up from the Berlin Mark Hotel, Getranke Riese offers a huge range of very reasonably priced wines, beers, and liquors. I stopped several times in the evening on my way back to the hotel, and was astonished (and delighted) at their extensive selection. Their German wines were ridiculously cheap, especially in comparison with New York prices, and they had racks of obscure European beers that we don’t see in the States at all. On one occasion, I asked if the lady working there could perhaps open the Riesling (5 euros) that I had just bought. She hardly spoke any English, and unfortunately I speak no German, but after enacting a "I’m uncorking this bottle of wine" charade, she understoo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 26, 2003

Getranke Riese (Abholmarkt)
Meinekestrasse 20
Berlin, Germany

Staatsoper unter den Linden Photo, Berlin, Germany
Quote:
Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go to a performance at the Staatsoper--I just walked past the stately facade and stepped inside the lobby for some information. Here’s what I found: Founded by Frederick the Great in 1742 as Prussia’s Royal Court Opera, the Staatsoper has a longer and grander history than its main competitor, the Deutsche Oper (the respective conductors, Barenboim and Thielemann, are reputably Germany’s best Wagner directors). Although the building was destroyed twice in WWII, it has been rebuilt and replicates the original 18th-century opera. Currently, debates are raging about the Staatsoper, the Deutsche Oper, and the Komische Oper. There is talk that Berlin cann...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 26, 2003

Staatsoper unter den Linden
Unter den Linden 7
Berlin, Germany 10117
+49 30 20 35 40

Friedrichstraße

Attraction | "Shopping on Friedrichstrasse"

Friedrichstraße Photo, Berlin, Germany
Quote:
After walking down Charlottenstrasse, past the Four Seasons and myriad chic restaurants, I looped back up towards the Friedrichstrasse S-Bahn on Friedrichstrasse. I was pleasantly surprised to find a bustling, upscale shopping street. It was quite nice slowly making my way up the street on a Friday afternoon, as it was just getting dark and stores were beginning to light up. There are two H&M’s, multiple shoe stores, an Audi showroom complete with gasping Germans peering in from the sidewalk, a shopping mall, and lots of funky German clothing stores. The Galleries Lafayette, while not as large as the behemoth in Paris, has an impressive modern version of that famous Parisian Art Nouvea...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 26, 2003

Friedrichstraße
Friedrichstraße
Berlin, Germany 10117/10969

Delicious Doughnuts

Attraction | "Delicious Donuts"

Delicious Doughnuts Photo, Berlin, Germany
Quote:
We headed to Delicious Donuts after Bergwerk and Z--so perhaps we were a bit more receptive to its charm than we were the first two bars--but this was my favorite spot the night we went out. Somehow, bars in Berlin can be funky and very cool, with very, very cool people, and still resist that annoying holier-than-thou attitude and over-the-top trendiness that bars fall prey to in the States. Delicious Donuts is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Located on a corner, you step through curtains into red lighting and shabby-chic decor. There’s a long bar, a few tables up front, a small dance floor, and a circle of overstuffed couches in the back. We got a couple vodka cranberries (5 euros each), wh...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 25, 2003

Delicious Doughnuts
Rosenthaler Straße 9
Berlin, Germany 10119
+49 30 28 09 92 74 1

Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin Photo, Berlin, Germany
Quote:
The Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin is housed in a significantly less dramatic building than its sister museums in New York or Bilbao, but it still holds a prominent place on the Unter den Linden in Mitte. The museum is a joint venture between the Deutsche Bank and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. The idea, basically, was for a cultural heavyweight to join forces with business-savvy financial backing, to create a museum that would commission young, internationally renowned artists to create new works for the exhibition space. It doesn’t have the best reputation amongst its sister museums, but the Guggenheim has managed to appear as a blip on Berlin’s contemporary-art radar screen. In the past, s...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on March 25, 2003

Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin
Unter den Linden 13-15
Berlin, Germany 10117
+49 30 20 20 93 0

Checkpoint Charlie Museum

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Checkpoint Charlie Museum Photo, Berlin, Germany
Quote:
This tiny museum, right next to the actual Checkpoint Charlie on Friedrichstrasse, is crammed with information, photos, and stories of escapes (or near-escapes) from East to West Berlin. While a bit disorganized, cramped, and packed with tourists, it’s still an essential stop for those interested in the Berlin Wall or the Cold War. Upon entering, one is confronted with staggering statistics: WWII left 55 million people dead--6 million of whom were Jews; 21 million Russians (12 % of the population); 7 million Germans (10 % of the population), 6 million Poles (14%); 2 million Slavs (13%); plus 20 million of mixed ethnicity. This war-ravaged society was the stark breeding ground for the Cold War. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 31, 2003

Checkpoint Charlie Museum
Friedrichstrasse 43
Berlin, Germany 10969
+49 30 25 37 25 0

Brandenburg Gate

Attraction

Brandenburg Gate Photo, Berlin, Germany
Quote:
I'm not going to do another write-up of the Brandenburn Gate, but here are some pictures on a gorgeous, sunny day. Pariser Platz was packed and lively with street musicians and strolling Berliners. Through the gate is the Reichstag and its vast park.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 28, 2003

Brandenburg Gate
Pariser Platz
Berlin, Germany

Bauhaus Archiv - Museum fur Getaltung

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Bauhaus-Archiv Photo, Berlin, Germany
Quote:
Klingelhoferstrasse 13-14 Tel: 030/254-0020 Hours: 10am to 5pm Mon., Wed.-Sun. Admision: 4 euros; 2 euros reduced Library open M-F 10am-5pm As soon as one crosses the Landwehrkanal (Landwehr Canal), Walter Gropius’s white, geometric museum pops into view. Gropius was the founder of the Bauhaus school, and his building now houses the Bauhaus Archive - Museum of Design. As you approach the entrance, which is between two wings of an elegant building, you pass several multi-colored poles--the best description I can think is of that of a modern totem pole, all candy-striped and shiny. The museum houses a permanent collection and also first-rate exhibitions. The Bauha...Read More

Schloss Charlottenburg

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Schloss Charlottenburg Photo, Berlin, Germany
Quote:
Situated in a quiet area in Charlottenburg, Schloss Charlottenburg is a congenial place to go on a weekend morning or afternoon. The nearest metro stop is the U2 or U12 to Sophie-Charlotte-Platz--from there, you can hike up Schlossestrasse to the palace (a good kilometer or so). The quiet streets surrounding the castle are lined with trees, small cafés and restaurants, and have an entirely different feel from other sections of Berlin. You can’t miss the palace, which crowns the broad avenue with a mint dome and sparkling gilded fences. The Schloss is divided into several different areas: the Altes Schloss (Old Palace) is the original sector, built by Friedrich III in 1695 as a summer home f...Read More

Gemäldegalerie

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

A Rembrandt Photo, Berlin, Germany
Quote:
Matthaikirchplatz 8 Tel: 030/266 2951 S1, S2, S25, S26, U2 Potsdamer Platz 10am to 6pm Friday through Wednesday; 10am to 8pm Thursday 3 euros; 1.50 euros reduced (no credit cards) Located in the same complex as the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Applied Arts Museum), the Gemäldegalerie (Painting Gallery) houses one of the finest collections of early European art in the world. Entrance is quite cheap--3 euros--especially considering the quality and breadth of the museum. Upon entering the hushed, beautifully-lit gallery, one notices immediately the wide skylights at the top of each room, teak-like polished floors, and high walls which alternate between sage, rose, and s...Read More

Alte Nationalgalerie

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Alte Nationalgalerie Photo, Berlin, Germany
Quote:
After three years of restoration, the Old National Gallery has reopened its marble stairs, showcasing one of the best collections of 19th-century art in Germany. There are more than 440 paintings and 80 sculptures, which span from the early 1800s to the early Modernists. German artists are emphasized, but many nationalities and movements are also represented. Once in Museumsinsel, one crosses a lovely portico-enclosed courtyard before entering a vast white marble hall, complete with arches, red carpet, and rich, beautifully framed portraits. The same impeccable lighting is apparent here as was at the Gemäldegalerie, and the walls are of muted blues, rusts, and moss greens. Upon climbing the marb...Read More