Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I live in Berlin for two years now. Actually it is my place of birth, but I don’t remember anything. One day before the wall came down my parents and I flew from East Berlin to the West via Czech Republic (bad timing, I know!). At that time I was only a few months old.
A small village near Leipzig is where I grew up then. So everything I knew about Berlin was from my parents stories: They had a small apartment in a dirty building in the back in Berlin Mitte, my Mum drove me in a buggy through the „Weinbergspark“, and so on…
When I was 14 I visited Berlin with a friend, we slept in a hostel and went shopping every day. That was so exciting for us! Later I decided to study German Literature und Cultural Studies at the Humboldt University. And I am still happy with my decision!
Which prejudices about Berlin are true? Which ones are not?
Prejudices? Are there any prejudices in the world about Berlin? Please tell me! Well, in Germany and Berlin everyone is complaining about the constructions that are always going on in the capital. And this is true! They needed 4 years to finish a 3 station metro line between the main station and the Reichstag/Bundestag. Since the destruction of parts of the city in World War II there are many free spaces.
No matter the costs building companies bring up big modern blocks of offices and shops everywhere in Mitte and along the river Spree. And the biggest hole in Berlin will be closed too. Now that the Palast der Republik, which was the cultural centre of the GDR, is pulled down, they will start to rebuild the castle of Berlin in 2010. Before it was demolished by GDR government in 1950 it used to stand in this area, vis-à-vis the Berliner Dom.
What is the most popular neighborhood to live in Berlin at this moment?
Besides the “traditional cool” ones like Prenzlauer Berg and Kreuzberg the most popular at this moment is maybe Friedrichshain. This is a typical alternative area with small cafés, restaurants and shops. Whether you are looking for curious accessories, souvenirs or clothes from Berliner designers you will find it here. Especially the Simon-Dach-Straße, which is the central street in this area, domiciles different kinds of restaurants like Asian snackbars, Italian restaurants or cafés.
On Sundays these places are full of people having brunch. After that they stroll on the flea market on Boxhagener Platz where vintage fashion, accessories as well as new art and clothes are sold. But you definitely should also have a look in the smaller streets around because they are hiding other interesting locations like shops with second hand stuff, decoration, clothes and so on…
Can you describe a perfect day in your city?
To have a perfect day in Berlin is not very difficult. Mostly every quarter has places that I like and that others probably also like. In the morning I would have a Cafe Latte in the cozy Café Solvey (check out the Café Solvey article) in Mitte, which does not only has great homemade cakes but also sweet tiny bibelot for children to play with and fancy foods to buy for the older ones.
After that I would visit a gallery like the Helmut Newton Museum (check out the Helmut Newton Museum article) in Charlottenburg or the c/o Berlin (check out the c/o Gallery article) in Mitte where they have currently a great exhibition of Nan Goldin’s slideshows.
For lunch I would go to the Café Sankt Oberholz at Rosenthaler Platz (check out the Café Sankt Oberholz article) – They make such a great Spaghetti Bolognese! In the afternoon I would relax at the lake Weißer See (check out the Weißer See article ) north to Prenzlauer Berg. The beach bar is open the whole year and offers very hot chocolates.
A big Canadian Pizza is definitely worth it to go to Kreuzberg. At Ron Telesky’s (check out Ron Telesky’s article) you get strange but well-tasting toppings on your pizza plus they have Dr. Pepper Coke! If I want to let the evening end very relaxed I would go to Zosch (check out the Zosch article), where finest New Orleans Jazz is played live on two or three nights per week.
If I decide to party I often drop in Kaffee Burger (check out the Kaffee Burger article) where the Berlin Russendisko (Russian disco with Balkan Beats) was born and still excites the audience.
Is there something else you want to share?
Sometimes I wish to have the eyes of a tourist again. Being in Berlin (or in another city) for the first time is a unique experience. You have time to see what you want, to stroll in the streets, to go wherever you want. You have no necessity, no time plans.
That’s why I wanted to be a Spotter. And that’s why I created my own blog www.Lotterliebe.de to have an impulse to keep the eyes open wherever I am. I write about the special things that happen to me, that I see and that I like. So I am forced to stay interested and open to new things. And that makes me appreciating living in a city like Berlin. You will never stop telling stories.
Read all of Sarah’s Berlin tips here
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