We Love Berlin: Part 3

Voner

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The doner kebab is a Turkish fast food that actually originated in Berlin with the Turkish immigrants. For those of our readers that don’t live in London or New York, you may have never heard of this. In short, it’s basically some kind of meat (lamb or chicken) pressed together and then rotated on a giant skewer and then slowly carved away into pitas throughout the day.
In Turkey, this was the only fast and cheap food, and of course we couldn’t eat it. But that all changed with VONER: Vegetarian Doner! This guy decided that vegetarians should get to eat this Turkish delicacy too. It’s seitan pressed on a skewer and although I have never had a doner, I have a suspicion it is a pretty accurate imitation.

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I love taking pictures of Kelly eating

I love taking pictures of Kelly eating

Cassiopeia
Cassiopeia is a former squat, which has been turned into an eccentric series of bars and cafes, with the coolest part of the whole complex being a rock climbing wall on an old water tower and an old train station turned into a skate park. A good place to sit with a beer, admiring the graffiti, wishing you were as fit as the people effortlessly scaling the water tower.

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Second hand bookstores
In our quest to find some Asian English language guide-books, we combed Berlin for used bookstores. We found two that were really awesome. One was in Frerichshain, called East of Eden, and the other in Kreuzberg, called Another country. Both were cozy, but in Another Country, the owner is wonderful. She hosts dinners and book nights in the book store and sells beer or wine for just one euro that you can enjoy while browsing her disorganized but packed shelves. She also uses her bookstore as a library so if you return a book you have already read that you bought from there originally, she will give you half your money back.

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The DDR museum

(The Deutsche Demokratische Republik, or as we know it the German Democratic Republic of EAST BERLIN)

Germany has such an interesting history with communism. We loved this interactive museum that lets you touch everything and even has a replica GDR-style house and clothing from that time period. They also have a Trabi (the communist car!) and you can get in and pretend to drive it.

Kelly in the Trabi!

Ellie in the Kitchen, as usual

Replica GDR Home

Replica GDR Home

There is a section of the museum devoted to fashion and one devoted to the lack of clothes. It seems nudism was rampant at the time. They even have a diorama of a what a day at the beach would look like for GDR  holidaymakers.

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Also on sale are old GDR candies and china in the giftshop, which we thought were pretty cool. This museum satisfies the kid in every adult and gives you a good understanding what life was like in East Germany from the music to the education to the restrictions to every day life. It’s not too expensive either so a good way to kill a hot summer afternoon.

Reichstag

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We also visited the Reichstag on this visit since we hadn’t gotten around to it last time. The Reichstag is the seat of German Parliament and the glass dome that you walk around on top gives amazing views and you can see into the Parliament which Germany thought was important because of all of the previous mishaps with their government. This way the politicians will know that the people are always watching, literally.

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Inside the dome

Inside the dome

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Looking down onto Parliment

Looking down onto Parliment

View from the Top

View from the Top


Madame Claude’s

A bar that has a special surprise when you go inside. The whole thing was built upside-down with all of the furniture on the roof. It’s such a unique bar and the concept was so well-thought out that even the subtle details such as light fixtures and even behind the bar works with the theme. They often have live music here and some nights they have music trivia events. It’s also one of those pay-what-you-wish kind of venues.

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Kelly couldn't stay still

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Maybe this helps...

Maybe this helps...

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The Jewish memorial
The Jewish Memorial is one of the most impressive and abstract memorials I have ever seen. A bunch of grey concrete blocks of varying heights, rising from small to large and making disorienting walls once in the middle of it all. An interactive memorial for the public that reminds you also makes you think the of the designers purpose and why this specific plan. I really like it though. I think it makes people stop, want to run around in it and feel the weight of being surrounded by something bigger than themselves.

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Gay memorial

Their has also been a memorial to the gays and lesbians who were killed in the Holocaust and it’s a gray box, like the other memorial, on the edge of Tiergarten that has a loop video of two men kissing and an inscription that basically explains how people should never judge others and should accept everyone for their differences to avoid something like the Holocaust happening again.

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The River Spree and Green Spaces

It’s so nice to have some nature in a big city, especially one that seems so gritty. In Berlin, there is a huge river that runs through it called the Spree, and a huge park called Tiergarten. Not to mention the tons of other parks and green spaces that are throughout the city. The cool thing is how Berliners still manage to make art part of their natural surrounding too.

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Molecule Man

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Boat Bars on the River
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Tiergarten

Badeschiff

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Ah, Badeschiff! My love! Badeschiff is a gigantic complex that includes bars, arenas for music and events but the best part being a swimming pool on the River Spree. Because the River is so polluted and no one can swim in it, a designer designed Badeschiff to be nearly level as the Spree to give the impression that you are swimming in a natural body of water. We went one fairly cold evening and decided to take the plunge during sunset while a fabulous band played on stage. The water is heated year round but in the winter they put a gigantic roof over it and turn it into an indoor space to relax.

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Kelly enjoying the icy water

Kelly enjoying the icy water

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There are hammocks, chairs and sand and loads of hip kids taking a dip while listening to music. This was seriously one of the coolest things we did and it only cost 2 euros to get in to listen to the bands and swim. I think it may be free when there is no live music playing.

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History

To go along with the reason above, I think we both find German history fascinating. From the Berlin Wall to the Holocaust, there are still remains of history throughout the city, including pieces of the wall.

yes, that is gum

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A constant reminder at how absurd the governments past decisions were. I like that they haven’t erased everything to make themselves look better but have left some things as they were so everyone can look retrospectively at the way things were and try their hardest to improve.


So that wraps up Berlin and we still left out so many reasons but you should probably just accept that it’s a city that needs to experienced and hopefully, on that note, we will get to experience it A LOT more at some point in time.

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