Berliner Unterwelten

Für den Fall, dass es regnerisch oder auch zu heiß ist, gibt es in Berlin etwas höchst Interessantes zu besichtigen: die Berliner Unterwelten. Nein, gemeint ist nicht die Kanalisation, sondern es geht um unterirdische Bauwerke in der Stadt. Organisator ist der gemeinnützige eingetragene Verein Berliner Unterwelten, eine Gesellschaft zur Erforschung und Dokumentation unterirdischer Bauten. Den Verein gibt es seit 1997, und er erforscht, dokumentiert und erhält unterirdische Anlagen in Berlin und geht auch der Frage nach, wie sich Ende des 12. Jahrhunderts aus zwei kleinen Kaufmannssiedlungen die größte deutsche Metropole entwickeln konnte. Dem Verein ist es ein Herzensanliegen, geschichtsträchtige Bauwerke zu erhalten und der Öffentlichkeit zugänglich zu machen. Continue reading

See the sights of Berlin from a riverboat!

Special offer for the participants of the XX FIT World Congress

Dive into the past, present and future of Berlin while enjoying a ride on a riverboat! Take in the most famous sights and beautiful views of this fascinating city as you travel on the River Spree, Berlin’s oldest transport route.

The tour will be in German and English. See below for times and dates:

Sunday 3 August 2014, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.:
2-hour city tour, € 17
Sights on the route: Berlin cathedral, TV Tower, Red Town Hall, Nikolai Quarter, Museum Island, theatre district, government quarter / former border between East and West Berlin, Chancellery, Bellevue Palace, Bar 25 (part of Berlin’s famous subculture), Media Spree area, East Side Gallery, O2 World, and the most beautiful bridge in Berlin

If you are interested, please contact your tour guide and tell us how many people you want to register. We will also need your billing address. We’ll then send you an invoice with bank details for transferring the fee, and the address and location of the dock at the Historic Harbour Berlin on Märkisches Ufer. Please note that we can only reserve your place on the tour once we have received your payment.

Please contact Mareike Steinig:

Text: Mareike Steinig
Photo: Historischer Hafen Berlin

Films about Berlin

A bad photo of some posters for films that don't feature in this blog post

Berlin is a bit of a film buff, as cities go. Studio Babelsberg, just a short train ride away, has been responsible for masses of German films, from the likes of Metropolis in 1927 to Grand Budapest Hotel today. The city has also starred in all manner of productions, mostly as itself but sometimes as a body double for Russia. Then there’s the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale). It’s held in February and pretty much everyone here goes nuts for it. In fact, it’s not unusual for people to turn up at the ticket desks at 4 a.m. with sleeping bags and flasks of tea. Berlin can get down to -20°C in winter, so they’re either super dedicated or just plain crackers.

With all that in mind, it seemed like a good idea to post a list of films linked to Berlin that will help you prepare a bit for August. I’ll keep my descriptions short, so hit IMDB etc. if you want more details. Or just watch the films! Continue reading

Sankt-Michael-Kirche / St. Michael’s Church

The church at Engelbecken

Like the pocket of a winter jacket after a long summer, Berlin is full of surprises. For example, there’s a bar near me that has an unassuming cupboard standing in one corner. You’d think it was just part of the hip retro furniture, but pull open the door and… well, wow. The floor has been cut away and some rickety wooden steps lead down to a basement full of threadbare armchairs, usually a DJ and even some room to dance. It’s kind of an urban Narnia for those of legal drinking age. I’ve yet to see a lion down there, though. Or James McAvoy in his Mr Tumnus getup. Continue reading

Cafe am Engelbecken

A wintry Engelbecken

View across Engelbecken

A moving day in Berlin is a rite of passage, and like any rite of passage, everyone (of a certain age) does it pretty much the same way. You hire a van with a blue sea lion on the side, get all your willing friends together, and then spend the day trying to organise everyone into some kind of chain up the stairwell and playing Tetris with your boxes and yucca plants in the back of the van. When everything is finally in the new place, you all sit around drinking beer and eating hunks of Turkish bread with budget cheese, ham, and paprika crisps. After a while, people start drifting off home. If anyone sticks around, you’ll usually end up in a bar or café, soothing your aching limbs with cake and/or more beer until you all start to doze off at about 7 p.m.

In my case, we ended up at the Café am Engelbecken. I had no idea the place existed, but it’s just around the corner from my (now not-so) new home. Engelbecken is the name of a small man-made lake that sits on what used to be the Luisenstadt canal. The canal was at the heart of decorative gardens designed by Peter Joseph Lenné around 1850. It later became stagnant, and work on filling it in began in the 1920s. The lake was kept as an ornamental feature, and now the former route of the canal is a green space that sits on the border between Kreuzberg and Mitte. Continue reading