People often ask me what I keep finding to do during my repeated trips to Berlin. In fact I have the opposite problem: I always find I could have used another day or two (or would have liked to just stay forever). The list of things to see and do keeps getting longer.
My first trip in 2014 had two main purposes: A WordPress course for beginners organised by Artconnect (in order to learn to do this :-)), and a detour to Cologne for the two annual art fairs.
But first an InterNations dinner at Korean restaurant Yamyam, recommended by a Korean friend living in Berlin:
Another highlight was the exhibition “Evidence” with works by Ai Weiwei – the largest ever exhibition of his works outside China – in Martin-Gropius-Bau, (unfortunately, it was not allowed to take photos) followed by dinner at Chinese restaurant Peking Ente on the corner of Wilhelmsstrasse and Vossstrasse, near the famous GDR-era Max Lingner mural:
I ventured a little bit off the beaten tourist track and went to Treptower Park via Puschkinallee, to see the Soviet War Memorial. It is located in Treptower Park and can be entered from both Puschkinallee and Am Treptower Park (which is JUST off most maps of Berlin).
Here is a bonus tip for a visit to the Soviet Memorial. You will not find any cafés or restaurants in either of the above mentioned streets (and not inside the park either), and since I am always, at boringly regular intervals, looking for a pitstop (and a toilet) I was happy to find one exception: An Italian restaurant across the street from the Am Treptower Park entrance, Al Colosseo. Open every day from 11.00. I just had a (very nice) salad, but everything else looked good and it was fairly well visited for a Wednesday noon.
Walking back to Kreuzberg and my WP course in Neukölln along the Landwehrkanal, I came across another good pitstop, with a nice terrace: Café/Restaurant Kalle Klein on Lohmühlenplatz:
My next trip, less than two weeks later, focused on the Gallery Weekend 2014 (on the occasion of which I had organised three gallery walks on InterNations, and good food (two dinners organised on InterNations. And then I finally managed to attend a guided tour in Tierpark Friedrichsfelde, conducted by Christian Heidt. (Who says you can’t make new friends on Facebook? :-)). The theme was “animals in the service of man” (of course, since it took place on Labour Day).
But I arrived the day before and started by visiting three galleries with opening receptions already on 30 April: Nolan Judin, with a great show by Adrian Ghenie (photos), Loock, with a show by Anton Henning, and Aurel Scheibler with a show by Philip Guston. As usual in Berlin, it turned out there were several other galleries to visit along the way, which we had not been aware of from the start.
By the way, I also had to spend some time that day getting a new SIM card, since my Danish one had for some reason been deactivated, so I now have a German phone number which I think I will continue to use whenever I am here. Send me a message if you ever need it. Dinner that day was in the Indian restaurant by the river – Shezan, just across from my hotel – Derag Grosser Kurfürst.
The day after, I first made my way to Tierpark Friedrichsfelde, which is Europe’s largest ‘landscape zoo’. Not quite as centrally located as the zoo near Zoologischer Bahnhof, but still just a short U-Bahn ride from Alexanderplatz to U-Bahn Tierpark.
I joined a guided tour conducted by a kind, competent and knowledgable acquaintance, Christian Heidt. It being 1 May, the theme was ‘animals in the service of man’.
On the way back, I stopped at Straussenberg Platz for a coffee. This is on the legendary Karl-Marx-Allee, worth visiting for a stroll.
Some impressions from the walk back to the hotel:
In the evening I met up with two friends from InterNations to spoil ourselves with an evening at Michelin-star restaurant ‘5 – Cinco by Paco Pérez.
I cannot recommend this restaurant highly enough. First of all, I started out as one of those slightly difficult customers who was not sure how many people to book for, and also, one of us had some dietary constraints, so there was a lot of e-mailing back and forth, all dealt with by Julia, who was one of the most patient people I have ever had the pleasure of corresponding with. When the evening came around, that spirit continued. The menu for the person with dietary constraints was really well thought through, also in relation to the Experience menus the other two of us had, which consisted of a steady stream of delicacies of varying (mostly very intense) flavours, textures, temperatures …… The accompanying wine menu was perfect and the service accommodating, friendly and impeccable all the way through. If you are ever in Berlin and wanting to really indulge, then you should definitely take this restaurant into consideration:
The next day, a gallery walk in Kreuzberg. In addition to Künstlerhaus Bethanien, we visited the following galleries: Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Galerie Barbara Weiss, Chert, Kwadrat, Galerie Rolando Anselmi, and Klemm’s.
…. and went staight on to a farewell party:
The next day another gallery walk, this time in the Auguststr./Linienstr. area. Among the exhibition places and many – MANY – galleries visited were: ‘I Amsterdam you Berlin’, Galerie Pavlova, Galerie Martin Mertens, Rasche Ripken, 3 Punts Galerie, and four personal favourites: Neugerriemschneider, Kuckei + Kuckei, Galerie Eigen + Art, and Galerie Deschler.
Some of us ended up in Princess Cheesecake in Tucholskystrasse:
Walking back to the hotel, and then out to dinner …..
…. in Long March Canteen. Great dim sum and dumplings, but a little bit too noisy to my taste, and the air was very bad as well.
The next day the fourth and last InterNations gallery walk. We started in the Galerienhaus Lindenstrasse with about 11 galleries, and then went on to the galleries in the Charlottenstrasse/Markgrafenstrasse area: Galerie Barbara Thumm, Buchmann Galerie, Galerie Heinz-Martin Weigand, Galerie Thomas Schulte, Galerie Alexander Ochs, and Carlier Gebauer. And finally on to the galleries in Rudi-Dutschke-Strasse 26, among them Galerie Crone, and Galerie Isabelle Czarnowska.
There was also time to wonder who drew the line along which the Berlin wall was built:
And true to form, some of us ended up having a meal together, again in Shezan.