Former Breweries of Berlin

A city of three and a half million can get through a lot of beer … especially when that city happens to be Berlin. Admittedly the beers of Berlin are nothing to write home about. When people from other countries rhapsodise about the great German beers they are, for the most part, talking about beer from Bavaria. Weihenstephaner, Augustiner, Schneider Weisse, Ayingerbrau: all from the South. Continue reading

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Opticians in Berlin

When walking through a city, people will tend to see what they need to see. For someone who is hungry, a street may appear to be full of restaurants or supermarkets. Someone in need of a watch battery or a haircut will be able to pick the jeweller or the salon out from the chaos of a busy thoroughfare. Continue reading

Stations of the East

Berlin has been striving toward a unified public transit experience for more than a quarter-century now, but it’s not quite there yet; just ask anyone trying to get from Kreuzberg to Prenzlauer Berg using fewer than three trains. The Berlin Wall may be long gone – indeed it has now been down for longer than it was up – but the subtle divisions between East and West persist in the city’s transportation networks. Continue reading

Ice Cream in Berlin

It is the first week of February, the heart of winter in Berlin. The constant grey of January has cleared, but the temperatures have dipped below freezing; plumes of bright smoke rise from the buildings and coats have grown noticeably bulkier. It will be at least another month before the first promises of spring appear in the margins of the city. What better time to indulge in some harmless reminiscence about the carefree days of summer. Continue reading

In Memoriam Musik Bading

At some point during the night on New Year’s Eve, a group of vandals forced their way into Musik Bading and set off some fireworks which turned quickly into a real fire. The apartments above the shop were evacuated and the fire department contained the blaze before it could spread to the rest of the building. But the shop itself was gutted and its stock destroyed. After ninety-nine years in business, a few moments of malicious pyromania brought a sudden and decisive end to a much loved neighbourhood institution. Continue reading