Today we have an interview with Bassma Fattal, Spotter for our Berlin cityblog
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a cultural smorgasbord of contradictions. I’m a 30 year old writer, singer, and all round dreamer, who recently gave up a decent but soul destroying job in management within the fashion industry in exchange for a more challenging but ultimately more personally rewarding life as a writer.
Travel and my nomadic nature have been with me since I was a little girl. I was born and grew up for awhile in the UK, Austria, the States and even a short stint in Saudi Arabia all before the age of 15. Subsequently residing in Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen all before I turned 30.
To complicate matters further, sprinkle my Syrian heritage on top of the whole shebang and the result is a culturally confused Bassma Fattal, who in all honesty wouldn’t have it any other way.
Additionally I love vintage fashion, tattoos, whiskey sours, cheeseburgers and jogging around Volkspark Friedrichshain just to gawk at all the hot boys working out.
Well Berlin is a city that has a palpable pulse and soul like no other city I’ve ever lived in before. It’s a city where the word curfew doesn’t exist. It’s a city of creatives, misfits and enfant terribles, where contradictory tastes, styles and scenes exist together in perfect symbiosis.
I wouldn’t know where to begin. Personally I always find the best way to get a feeling for the city is really simple – walk without a plan. Throw your map in the Spree and literally allow yourself to get lost. Sit in one of the thousands of cafes scattered around the city and people watch. Preferably pick a typical Berlin Eck cafe (corner cafe) or Kneipe (locals bar), which are grotty but authentic. In my humble opinion you really get an authentic feel for the city that way.
Don’t bother with the TV Tower at Alexanderplatz, it’s expensive, overrated and the restaurant is underwhelming. You can get an equally great view, if you go the Weekend Club on the 12th and 15th floor of an old soviet era apartment block directly opposite the tower. The view is great, the drinks are good and the people are prettier.
What do you know about Berlin what no tourist will know?
Berlin has the only Ramones Museum in the world.
Also once a year at the end of August, high heel lovers like myself can make their way to Berlin’s upscale shopping district – the Kurfürstendam. Here you can witness a 100-meter stiletto race. It’s an insane event where women race in their highest stilettos for 10,000-euro prize money for the winner. There are only two requirements:
Heels have to have to be at least 7 centimetres (2.75 inches) high and no more than 1.5 centimetres (0.6 inches) wide at the tip.
What is the most popular neighbourhood to live in Berlin at this moment?
That seems to vary every year, and it depends on your lifestyle I guess. Friedrichshain has in the last few years started to develop from a shabby chic student district to follow the fate of Prenzlauerberg a few years back and becoming more gentrified, with property development and prices rising.
With its affordable housing and influx of young creatives, musicians, designers and artists, the border between Kreuzberg and Neu Kölln has started to emerge as the next hyped up ‘it’ district, and is fondly referred to as Kreuz-Kölln.
Can you describe a perfect day in your city?
I would start out with breakfast at “Schwarz Sour” on the Kastanienalle (check the Kastanienalle article) and sit there with an omelette, a cup of coffee and good book while I people watch.
Then I would meet up with my girlfriends and we would make our way, bikini and picnic basket in tow, to Liepnitz See an hour north of Pankow. It’s a beautiful lake situated in the middle of a forest with gorgeous turquoise green water.
After that I would head to “White Trash” (check the White Trash article)for a White Trash burger, whiskey sour and listen to some good old live music and rock out till the early morning hours.
Read all of Bassma’s articles here.
Check out the other interviews with our Spotters