Berlin has always been a kaleidoscope of cultures. People from all over the world come here to spend some time or start a new life. Each and every one of them brings a little piece of their home country with them, may it be a recipe, a local tradition, an idea, or a project they started there and continue here. All of these things enrich Berlin is creativity and diversity. It gives its inhabitants the feeling they are not just living in one city, but they are living in the entire world in one place.
In our series about foreign lifestyles in Berlin we have already introduced you to the contributions to our city that came from Turkish and from Polish people. For our third edition we are looking at a country that is much further away than that: It’s also known as Down Under!
For our Australian edition we are also introducing a novelty to our series: We teamed up with the beloved international hair care brand Aussie to give you the chance to not only experience the Australian lifestyle here in Berlin, but also to win a travel budget of 2500 EUR to fly all the way down under yourself and get a taste of the Aussie life! More about that after the jump.
I’m standing in front of the tallest, most powerful water fountain I have ever seen. Water shoots into the sky like some sort of glorious tower of refreshment. I’m in Geneva, Switzerland – Germany’s neighbor to the south – at the southwestern tip of Lake Geneva. This is practically France, but more expensive. Some Italian friends drive up from nearby Milan and Turin, pick me up and we drive along the northern side of this lake through Lausanne to a lovely little town on the lake’s eastern end. A historic week of music happens here every year: the Montreux Jazz Festival. Invited by Jeep, I had the chance to get out of Berlin for a bit and explore this beautiful hotspot for music. Follow the jump for more about this unique escape from Berlin.
photo: Neil H / CC
When I travel to foreign continents and get asked where I am from, my answer is often: “I am from Europe”. I never really thought about what this means until last week. It’s not that I don’t want to say that I am from Germany (because whoever asks is probably going to demand a more precise answer anyway and I will give it). It’s not a lack of national pride; it’s more a sense of international unity within my own continent. I am happy to be German, but I am proud to be from Europe. Being born and raised in an isolated country like the GDR, the sense of freedom after the reunification was amazing.
I grew into an adult benefiting from the bond that the European countries had formed with one another after being in conflict for centuries. For me this became the status quo. I could travel, study, live and work in all of the other countries without problems, which many of my class mates actually did, going to France or the UK after school. When many of the countries even started to share one currency it became even more united. Going to Madrid or to Rome over the weekend to visit friends or just have a good time, this no longer felt like taking a vacation in a foreign country. It felt like something else…
photo: Eylül Aslan
Berlin might be a disaster when it comes to airports but at least we have an overabundance of low-cost-airlines to choose from. And while hundreds of people come to Berlin to get their rocks off every weekend, I prefer to travel and, as some of you might remember my column on the terrible truth about the German man, I have reason enough.
photos: Alicia Kassebohm
Exploring new cities has always been a pleasure for us. We come back with a bag full of new inspiration, ideas and urban concepts that we might want to see also in our beloved hometown. Last week Alicia Kassebohm and I had the great pleasure to travel to Milan to visit the prominent Milan Design Week invited by the Belgium Design initiative: Belgium is Design. Like last year we visited The Salone del Mobile which is the biggest fair for contemporary design products and the Fuorisalone (outside Salone) the uncountable mass of side-events happening all around the city. In over 5 districts of Milan the complete neighborhood is transformed into a walkable showroom where young and upcoming designers and small manufactures present their products. This brings not only a lot of creativity to the neighborhoods but also involves the inhabitants in what is usually a very elitist topic: design. This kind of urban participation is something I really miss in all the fairs and big events happening in Berlin. So this would be something I could really imagine in a Berlin of the future. After the jump you find our favorite impressions sorted out by districts, a little art museum adventure we had and the best pieces from the exhibition of our partners from the Belgium Design Initiative.
photos: Keith Telfeyan
On the scenic Spree riverbank at Hauptbahnhof’s Washingtonplatz once set a pavilion by the tourism board of Mexico. The installation highlighted the many wonders of this country – its cuisine, its heritage and its natural beauty. The pavilion’s dome featured the latest in flashy, interactive technology – I wore an Occulus Rift VR headset for the first time.
Mexico is indeed an awesome travel destination. I visited in December – it was the perfect warm getaway from the Berlin cold. I went to the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea, home to Playa del Carmen and Tulum of the Riviera Maya.
We love to travel with a cultural agenda. Visiting Venice for the Art Biennale or Milan for Design Week was so inspiring and we love to look back at the photos we collected there. Art and design events are a wonderful bridge to get to know a new city and I always try to visit creative spaces, galleries or museums when I travel to a new city to get in contact with the creative local scene.
In the beginning of October I had the chance to discover a new town in my repertoire of creative hotspots: Liege. The third biggest city in Belgium (after Brussels which is known for politics and Antwerp which is known for fashion) is the so called “Latin” city of the country. They had a big wave of South European migration in the 60s that made the city quite connected with Italy. While visiting the Reciprocity Design Triennale I could almost physically feel this connection because I was always surrounded by Italians. This year’s edition had a main focus on design with a social impact. Bringing designers and citizens together in the process of public service innovation was one of the most focused topics in the exhibitions we saw. This was really inspiring for me as somebody who works with Berlin, because I love to learn more about how creative ideas can be a positive factor in the social development of a city.
What impressed me the most about the Reciprocity were the stunning locations they choose for their different exhibitions. From an old school theater with murals from the 20s, a church turned into a museum and a monumental swimming pool which is now a space for public events. Our friend and Blogfabrik colleague Eylül Aslan joined us for this trip. Discover her unique photographic impressions and some more insights and pictures from Liege after the jump.
When I first visited South Tyrol a few years ago I immediately fell in love with this beautiful and unique region in the North of Italy. I have been back now two more times to discover it more and each time made my affection for it even bigger.
It’s not just the picturesque look of the region with its luscious green valleys surrounded by a stunning panorama of mountains. It’s more than that. It’s the friendliness and openness of the people, the mix of modern and traditional culture, the food, the air – just everything seems like straight from a picture postcard.
To give you a bit of a better idea, what exactly fascinates me so much about it and why you need to visit there as well I put together a list of 7 reasons why South Tyrol is so awesome. Enjoy after the jump.
photos: Marlen Mueller & Thomas Adler
Who needs a little time out from everyday life to do… well, how about nothing? Having some time to breath, slow down and letting your thoughts wander? No Whatsapp, no Facebook, no deadlines, no worrying.
We all deserve a little Time-Out every now and then and now that it’s summer here in Berlin there’s no better way to do this than grabbing a blanket with your favorite person (and/or pet) and heading out into the wilderness with your tent and some home-made sandwiches. It doesn’t matter if you are a newbie or a pro, whether you stay a full week somewhere in the South of France or take a day hike to a park in Berlin. The important thing here is to unplug from the daily stress.
Take inspiration from Berlin-based photographers Marlen Mueller and Thomas Adler who document their camping ventures on their blog Urban Tenting. Read more about it after the jump.
I truly love Berlin! But sometimes you have to let go of what you love and venture off to somewhere far far away. When I do leave I tend to go to other big cities. This time though fate took me to what can only be described as the opposite of a city: Saint Lucia.
The tiny island in the Caribbean is by far the most remote spot I have ever visited on this planet and a great mind-clearing trip. Not only did I manage to cleanse my mind of all responsibilities at home, but I got my perspectives in order and returned with a new found passion for this gorgeous Berlin.
Head on after the jump to read all about my Saint Lucia Shenanigans…