Berlin, a Kingdom of Pastries

9 11 2007

Culinarily speaking, Berlin is a city of great diversity and almost endless possibilities – with dining choices ranging all the way from American junk to the oriental delicacies. There is, of course, the huge selection of street foods, including all varieties of wursts and sausages, pizzas, soups, Turkish döner, and all kinds of sandwiches with everything that has cholesterol in it. But above everything stand the pastries.

Berlin Pastries-cookies Berlin Pastries - cakes

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KaDeWe, a Temple of Abundance

7 11 2007

This famous and humongous department store, Kaufhaus Des Westens (KaDeWe in short), is a major attraction, almost a legend, especially its sixth floor, the food department, which is a temple for the “abundance society” of late capitalism in the Western world.

Variety of Coffee and Tea Sweets to go with the coffee…

Fancy some soup? Or maybe a piece of meat?

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Shopping in Berlin: Ku'damm

5 11 2007

Ku’damm is the nickname given to the Kurfürstendamm, the long boulevard sometimes considered as Berlin’s “Champs-Elysées” or “5th Avenue”. The boulevard stretches for 3.5 km, from the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, through the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf borough to Halensee.

The boulevard takes its name from the former Electors (Kurfüsten) of the Roman Empire. During the separation of the city to East and West, it became the main commercial street in West Berlin.

A street fire show near ruined church, The long night of Shopping

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Berlin Must Sees: Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

3 11 2007

The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is a protestant church, located at the Breitscheidplatz, one end of the famous Kurfürstendamm boulevard, in the center of former West Berlin. The church was damaged in the war, and left in ruins as a monument to peace and reconciliation.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

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Berlin – City of Lights

1 11 2007

Paris may be usually known as the city of lights, and it is true that most cities look more impressive when night falls, but this year we got a special treat, and came to Berlin during the third annual Festival of Lights.

         Festival of Lights.

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Hello from Berlin…

25 10 2007

You probably noticed we did not update the blog for a few days now. Well, due to lousy planning and a flood of irrelevant events from the uninteresting realm of everyday life, we have flown off to our yearly vacation, in Berlin, natürlich, without preparing enough posts in advance. But I cannot leave you with nothing for this whole period, can I… So here are a few teasers for our new crop, which should last till the next visit…. (yes, we’re kind of killing ourselves for the Cause…)

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The Lives of Others

22 10 2007

The Oscar winning film “The Lives of Others” from 2006 (“Das Leben der Anderen” in German) is another film about the days of the former German Democratic Republic, very different in ambience from the film Goodbye Lenin!.

The Lives of Others.

Click on the picture to buy the DVD.

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Goodbye Lenin!

20 10 2007

The film Goodbye Lenin!, from 2003, was the most prominent example of Ostalgie to the world outside Germany. The film is basically about a son who, for his mother’s health, tries to create a make-believe world, in which the Wall didn’t come done and the GDR didn’t disappear from the face of the earth.

Goodbye Lenin!

Click on the picture to buy the DVD.

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Ampelmann, the East German traffic light man

18 10 2007

My personal favorite Ostalgie item, as I mentioned before, is the Ampelmann, the man in the traffic lights of East Germany (“Ampel” is “traffic-light” in German).

Ampelmann.

My first encounter with the Ampelmann was actually in a traffic-light. I immediately liked that cute darling. And then I found out about his oh so naïve and sweet history, but also about its outrageous commercialization. I mean, I really wanted an Ampelmann bag, but not at these prices. So I settled for a woolen hat and shirt, and a little green man for my key chain. I also got a small book elaborating on the history of the man, the brand and the various products.

Ampelmann bags Ampelmann ice cubes

The Ampelmann was created by the traffic psychologist (what a weird profession, I’d say) Karl Peglau, in 1961. The rationale was to combat the danger of road accidents by using appealing symbols, since “road users react more quickly to appealing symbols” (well, maybe. I don’t believe it would have worked here). Read the rest of this entry »




Ostalgie in Berlin

16 10 2007

The official Berlin tourism site offers a program for East Berlin nostalgia tours, which you can find here. They claim that “The recent history in Berlin has many aspects and different ways of handling. On one hand there is the difficult historical discussion, on the other hand is the (n)ostalgic mood… Our tour shows both sides”.

Another option is taking the “Trabi-safari” tour, which costs between 25 to 35 euros, depending on the number of participants. Information about the “Trabi-safari” can be found in their website.

A Trabant.

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