Christmas: the time of year, when buying, consuming and eating reaches the frequency of breathing; all this accompanied by an often neglected essence of religion in the background. It is the time of year, when you look back at the last twelve months of your life thinking how many of last year’s resolutions you failed to achieve and set a new array of brand new unrealistic goals. On a more positive note, Christmas is the time of year, when you are surrounded by your loved ones exchanging gifts and appreciating having them in your life. If you are still contemplating what to get them this year, check out the following suggestions of presents, that are all made in Berlin and neatly curated by the awesome of berlin platform for stylish local design products that make excellent gifts and Berlin souvenirs.
photos: Sascha Kohlmann / CC
There are these times – especially when adulthood seems to be overwhelming and I am supposed to pretend to be an adult among others who are trying to fake it until they make it -, when I reminisce the old days, when I was a child unaware of the grown-up world and its tedious complexity; when my deepest frustration would revolve around my aversion to the lunch my dad had prepared for me that day and my biggest joy would be Santa’s advent with his presents. I am inclined to believe that it is a universal tendency to look back at the past with nostalgia and think how beautiful it all was back then. This kind of nostalgia is the feeling that takes over when I see Sascha Kohlmann’s pictures of old gumball machines. I automatically have to think of my mom bringing me home after kindergarten and me stopping her on the way to ask her if I could have a gumball, which back then meant the world to me. What memories do gumball machines bring up to you?
Another stressful week comes to an end, another weekend awaits us to discover new places around the city that will make us forget our hangover from the day before and start, thus, our day with irresistible food porn. Here is the third edition of our district breakfast guide, which explores Friedrichshain this week. Once again, feel free to let us know about your favorite breakfast places located in this area of Berlin.
If modern politics were a telenovela, it would definitely have lots of avid fans, but also sworn detractors, who would wish to live just to see its cancellation. Yet, all of them would agree that the plot is not by far predictable or uneventful. Indeed, what is happening in the last few years in our privileged microcosmos called the West, is both scary and thrilling in the same way a traumatizing horror film would keep you at the edge of your seat or make you want to protect yourself behind your pop-corn. As fascism – or rather far-right conservatism to put it mildly – emerges steadily in countries that used to stand out for their respect and love towards life and its thrilling diversity, a gloomy pessimistic futures seems to lie ahead.
The most hurtful repercussions of this phenomenon seem to be three. Starting with divisiveness, we are all unconsciously grouped into squads based on our beliefs on social and political matters. We prefer standing exclusively next to the like-minded ones and right opposite the ones we disagree with. We constantly, proudly and fervently claim that there are way more differences than similarities among us. We have no love to give, only rants in support of our beloved “ideology”. This is exactly where the second consequence of the current affairs arises: powerful hatred and the urge to scream at everyone that might provoke us. To top that, fear lurks around the corner and renders us inactive and unable to cause any change that goes beyond the social media.
Learning a new language might prove difficult, especially when this language is German; pronunciation, declension, past tenses to mention but a few. Granted, every language has its own difficulties and challenges. However, the most difficult part in learning a language is not coming in terms with the basic rules of grammar, syntax or vocabulary, but maintaining regular contact with it beyond the few hours one spends in a classroom weekly.
The traditional teaching method would expect the student to improve his language skills by discussing rather mundane and/or out of touch topics and doing grammar exercises off a textbook. While that can prove efficient to a certain extent -annoying as it is, learning a new language avoiding grammar is impossible- it does not bring one’s language skills to the next level. By “next level”, I refer to the level, where the student is not exclusively dependent on a traditional course and a teacher, but they integrate them organically as one of their many tools in their attempt to elevate their language level.
In order to bring our German language guides to the next level as well, we spoke with someone who is an expert on the topic. Sela is the founder of the language school Sprachsalon in Neukölln and has had her fair share of experience with learning and teaching languages. We sat down with her and discussed some advice on how to fine-tune your German skills.
For the fans of American Horror Story this makes a great setting for the unraveling of gruesome and spooky plotlines. The ferris wheel used to be part of the Spreepark, a theme park in Treptow Köpenick that opened in 1969 as Kulturpark Plänterwald. Unfortunately, a lack of ample parking space and a rise in the price of the ticket led to the closing of the park on the onset of the current century. What followed was an unbelievable series of stories about the park and its owner that far exceeds the notoriousness of most other abandoned places in Berlin. The following spectacular drone video made by a Swedish drone flyer and urban explorer showcases the park, as it is now; abandoned and forgotten with the ferris wheel moving slowly in the wind as if ghosts keep it company to make it forget its eternal loneliness.
Have you ever wished you could travel back in time and experience different eras in history, that have always fascinated you and you have been constantly watching films or reading books about? Well, this tour will definitely satisfy your wishful thinking. Whereas the usual tours consist of a guide narrating stories about the place you are visiting, a collaboration between When in Berlin Tours and Time Rift Tours offer you the opportunity to experience Berlin and the division of the city through the Berlin Wall with the help of virtual reality tour in an impressive 360° stereoscope experience. History comes at the forefront, as it does not remain in the constraints of memory, but unravels in front of your eyes at an unprecedented pace. We have a little video for you that gives you an impression of the tour and how it works.
Whatever your opinion on the murals at Art Park Tegel might be, I bet their sight will not leave you indifferent, which is actually the true purpose of art; the ability to convey feelings through opening the door to fruitful dialogue, to peaceful exchange of opinions, to communication.
It should come as no surprise that this is happening in Berlin. Imagine you are lucky enough to walk out of your place in the morning and bump into this delightful event. Musicians on the staircase of the building you live in and seems soulless during these cold winter days, singing and playing music just like that. StairsBerlin is a project created by Guilherme Valverde that takes a multi-faceted approach to this little talked about side of the city creating urban art like posters, photos as well as music performances and making, thus, something really special out of something that we otherwise would not even pay attention to.
Continuing our saga on wonderful places to have breakfast in Berlin, it is Prenzlauer Berg’s turn to lure you into making a whole date out of the first meal of the day. Wherever you are, lean back on your chair, try to isolate any noises or responsibilities waiting for you and indulge in taking a look at this week’s choices.