The Berlin Bunch: After Dark

ctr-berlin-bunch-cover2Berlin’s nightlife is an ever-changing beast, with countless ways to experience and enjoy it. As such some sort of comprehensive list of places just isn’t feasible. You can have as chilled or as crazy a night as you wish – it does have it all. Just wandering the streets at night taking in the sights and sounds with a road beer is an awesome adventure in itself, you are never too far from a corner shop, a staple in Berlin nightlife. Look out for the signs Spätkauf or Stube indicating little shops to hook you up with a cold pilsner, a bottle opener available right at the cashier counter. The transport network’s 24 hour service on the weekend enables you to keep it moving if you want to bar hop or club hop.

Revaler Straße provides partying opportunities – hip-hop, reggae, techno, etc. can be found from one bar to the next. You can walk into one of these crazy places and find deep house music, then come back to the same spot the following night and they have sixties themed swing music from a live band. The spontaneity and randomness of it all will put a smile on your face. If you’ve got the techno craze, then the notoriously strict Berghain may have to be visited, or you can hit up the more lenient Watergate.

Alternatively, if feeling super adventurous, there is KitKat club, a place glittering with nudity, absurdity and awesome techno music.

There is a traditional German beer hall in Alexander Platz if a stein of beer takes your fancy, quite a funny venue when packed on the weekend, although you may find a bunch of English people getting smashed for their mate’s stag do which hardly gives you an authentic Berlin experience. Unsurprisingly, central areas tend to be a tourist trap: a bar called AM to PM is the worst example of this – rip off watery beers, tacky music, depressed staff and drunk tourists – please God no!

A lot of locals will cite Kreuzberg as the area with the best nightlife. It’s not quite as easy as just heading there and finding places as it’s a vast neighbourhood with tucked away streets, but the area near Görlitzer Park, while somewhat sketchy, has a sprawl of heaving bars. It’s where the “cool kids” hang out, so be prepared for some in your face pretension and backwards hats and neck beards. Nevertheless, there are some sweet spots to be found here.

It’s impossible to give a comprehensive guide but hopefully this is a start.

CTR Berlin by William Barber

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The Berlin Buch: A Vegetarian in Berlin

cover-berlin-bunch-citytravelreview-curso1People usually presuppose that Berlin (or anywhere in Germany, really) caters to everyone but the veggies, the vegans or the like. Yeah, this is not true. For the non-carnivorous traveler, food is still what’s for dinner. Sure, currywurst and bratwurst joints line the streets, but even these places have at least one vegetarian option. Try the vegetarian currywurst – it’s delicious.

Once upon a time, a young, vegetarian woman was going to Berlin but feared that her “balanced” meals would consist of pommes frites “fries” and beer. Although pommes frites are surprisingly tasty with ketchup and mayonnaise, better food can be found. Look for the word vegetarische, and life will be a pretty thing.

If the desire for a vegetarian/vegan restaurant is still weighing heavily on the mind, never fear. Berlin has so many options for the average veg, and all you have to do is look. Heck, you may even just stumble upon a place! The city is full of surprises.

For the best tofu-burger you’ve ever had in your life, head to Burgermeister. If you love pho, head to Viêt Phô’ for the vegefied version. Maybe you like burritos, and if that’s the case, head to Burrito Baby. If you want Turkish, Mexican, Spanish or Italian food, you will find something. Don’t miss out on the döner culture and try out Vöner, where vegan döners are the specialty. Seriously, I’m telling you that Berliners understand the veg-life, and you won’t have to starve. That’s pretty nice, right?

So, next time you have an ounce of fear that you will have to denounce your vegetarianism/veganism in order to eat in Berlin, let it go because you have nothing to worry about. You can still enjoy German food without having to crack.

CTR Berlin, Laura Hendricksen

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Love it on a Budget: Street Art

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Since the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961, it became one of the world’s largest canvases for street art and graffiti. The artists of West Berlin covered their side of the wall head to toe in paintings, murals and tags whereas the East side stayed completely blank, imitating the disparity between both sides. When the wall came down, Berliners preserved a section of the wall, creating the famous East Side Gallery. However, now graffiti and street art is no longer exclusive to the wall and can be found on nearly every street.

There are many different artists to look out for, through their distinctive styles and repetitive motifs. For example, you will notice the tag ‘1Up’ scattered around Berlin, the tag of an international collective that stands for ‘one united power’. There is estimated to be over 70 of these tags dotted in Berlin, and once you start noticing them you’ll find that you can’t go a day without seeing one!
The same applies for ‘Mr 6’ and his tag of a painted 6. Mr 6 is more old school: he is an older man that rides around on his bike with merely a pot of paint and a paintbrush, painting 6s in various locations. Another common sight is Sober and his dancing girls. Unlike Mr 6 and 1Up, Sober does not work in paint but rather in print due to the decreased fine if he is caught in the act. He photographs dancing girls in one of Berlin’s many techno hotspots and blows up the picture, ready to plaster walls and buildings. What makes his work especially unique is that he throws confetti over his dancing girls, making it easy to spot a fresh Sober piece.

As well as these small, light-hearted paintings or posters, much of Berlin’s street art is grounded in politics and is often directed at the growing problem of gentrification. Large parts of Berlin are being bought out by large co-operations, such as Media Spree, thus upping the prices of rent and forcing out Berliners. In response, look out for the ‘FUCK YOU MEDIA SPREE’ tag scattered around the city. Another example of street art acting in response to this co-operate takeover is the large face next to the East Side Gallery. This was done by an artist named Villes, who uses dynamite to create the facial features. It is impressive and large, a piece that would normally be applauded in the street art community. However, it was soon discovered that is was not the work of an independent artist but rather an advert for Levi jeans. As this went against the grain in terms of street art morals, graffiti artists replied with a mural of an angry mob next to the advert.
By not actually defacing it, this response encapsulates the artists’ passive rebellion against gentrification through the medium of art.

A must-see if you’re interested in Street Art is Hackescher Markt. Situated in the over-developed Stadt Mitte, Hackescher Markt is an expressive oasis for street artists. It is an area with free art studios and the walls are plastered from head to toe in different types of street art. Look out for the famous painting of Anne Frank. What’s more there are a few beer gardens, shops and galleries, making it an interesting and easy place to spend a relaxing afternoon.

CTR Berlin, Hannah Turner

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The Bigger Picture

ctr-curso-reisejournalismus-2016-auslandspraktikumNo matter how big a team you put together, even if you have a plethora of words or an unlimited amount of time; if you’re posed with the challenge of reviewing a city it’s a fairly mammoth task. How on earth do you summarise its entire geographic, historic and cultural information all into, in this particular case, one e-Book? Quite simply, the answer is you cannot. Therefore, we set out with a slightly different intention. We want to provide you with ‘The Bigger Picture’. Rather than just listing the magnitude of events and activities available, our goal has been to convince you as to what makes Berlin so uniquely special to visit. Thus, we’ve hunted down and presented the perfect blend of attractions and places to visit that replicates our experience of this incredibly diverse city.

It’s near impossible to even begin describing Berlin without mentioning its history. Although long-spanning, the amount that has occurred here in just the past century alone is vast and incomparable to nearly any other place in the world. Modern-day Berlin is surrounded by its past, largely because in most instances, it occurred not so long ago. In our Brief History section, we’ve provided a timeline of historical events and information which will help you gain a full and comprehensive understanding of our recommended sites, allowing you to appreciate their relevance and purpose in the city’s current culture. For those of you whose time in Berlin is fairly limited, we’ve created a Survival Guide which includes an item named: ‘24 hours in Berlin’. Spanning from 09:00 until 09:00 the hypothetical following day, we’ve crammed in as much as humanly possible so that even if you’re short on time, you’ll see a large proportion of what the city has to offer and already be desperate to return for more.
We’ve also included some essential information to make your time here run as smoothly as possible; we want you to be focused on absorbing the palpably thriving atmosphere rather than on the comparably smaller details. For instance, there are some key German phrases, details on Berlin’s Accessibility provisions and longer features on Public Transport and Accommodation, so that it’s far easier for you to decide where you want to stay and the best way to navigate to all our must-see locations! Once our feature has helped you get to grips with the city’s transport network, look out for station and route details on each of our reviews.

This is then followed by a little context. We state the district in which all these attractions fall, but in relation to Berlin as a whole, what does that actually mean? We want you to start to get the feel of what a particular event or landmark will be, just from noting the area in which it’s located. Henceforth, there are brief profiles of all the city’s key districts, with some background information about their beginnings and development, as well as a general sense of their atmosphere and culture.

Okay so by this point, we think you’re ready to start exploring. As much as possible, we’ve attempted to strike a balance between the past and the present; the historic and the cultural, the mainstream and the alternative. Our intention, again, is to provide you with a guide that truly reflects the Berlin you will be visiting. It’s not necessary to stick to the beaten track and simply see the Brandenburg Gate, the Berliner Dom and Museum Island. At the same time, you shouldn’t reject these entirely and remain solely within Berlin’s underground scene, hunting graffiti and chasing shadows in Kreuzberg by night. Although seemingly opposing sides and ideals of the city, they in fact coexist and help each other thrive: the past highlights the liberalism of the present and the modern culture has only developed because of the historic events that fuelled drastic change. Instead of merely scraping the surface, we think we’ve provided enough variety for you to sink your teeth right into the centre of Berlin, which is a molten mix of sight-seeing, clubbing and everything and anything in-between.

In addition, there’s also a section on some potential trips to undertake that are only a short distance away and, in regards to painting ‘The Bigger Picture’, we really feel they add to the landscape of Berlin and its role in the sociocultural development of Germany as a whole.

Then finally, you’ll briefly get to meet us! Who we are, a little about our lives and our ‘Most Berlin Moment’: the located fragment of time when we felt we had finally become one with the city. Essentially, our aspiration was to provide you with the true image of Berlin. One that’s not fragmented or divided (as it once was) but as a whole, albeit slightly stitched together and disjointed, picture. It is not a realist piece. It is utterly surreal and unconventional. It marries together styles, morals, cultures and ideologies that should not co-exist and function competently. And yet they do and it really does work. Oh so well.

Berlin is a living piece of experimental art. Its aim and purpose is often confused and misunderstood but what it’s trying to do, and what we hope to assist you to see, is that it is trying to paint an all together much bigger picture.

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Everything and nothing, up and down, sunny and rainy, traditional and modern, eerie and romantic

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Where to start? There is no dot, no ending, no fixed definition of Scotland’s capital. There should be ellipsis points creating association spaces to be able to recognize the city’s unique diversity.
As a city of paradoxes, one won’t be surprised that Edinburgh was the birth place of Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The notorious author called it: “Half a capital and half a country town, the whole city leads a double existence; it has long trances of the one and flashes of the other; […] it is half alive and half a monumental marble.”
The same conflicting nature seems to reflect almost every aspect of urban life, be it the historical, the cultural or the atmospheric ones. Its moderate size does not restrict its cosmopolitan flair. A rough and strong appearance meets elegant and romantic elements that hold bittersweet memories of bygone days. Just like the tradition meets the spirit of the time, both are unified by the open-hearted, welcoming people of Edinburgh.

There are ellipsis points creating association spaces which show the city’s endlessness. With this in mind our guidebook is not supposed to describe Edinburgh as a fixed, absolute and inflexible construct. This booklet shall rather be an assistance supporting you to find your own definition of Edinburgh. Make your personal experiences within the city’s walls.  And if our collaborative work helps you doing so, the super-individual goal of the CTR program will be accomplished.
Edinburgh has never been fully explored. And it never will be.

EDINBURGH – City of contrasts
Team Spring 2016

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My Berlin

ctr-cover-my-berlin1As a city with such historical significance, Berliners don’t shy away from the past. Memorials and monuments commemorating different facets of German history dot the Berlin landscape, providing a place to remember and reflect.
Sights

History and art fans beware: you will have your work cut out for you in Berlin. With over 150 museums and approximately 300 galleries (that we know of), you will struggle to fit everything in a holiday timetable. From open-air contemporary art galleries to historical museums, there is truly something for every taste.
Museums & Art Galleries

Berlin has a very urban feel when walking among the streets that are full of character. Whether it is looking at monuments, going to markets, or having a bite to eat, there are various possibilitiesto explore.
Streets & Tours

From street food and beach bars, to third wave coffee shops and vegan eateries Berlin offers a vast assortment of bars, restaurants and cafes that will leave travellers satisfied. Throughout the city, streets are littered with outdoor tables and delicious aromas that will lure you in. As a cultural hotspot, Berlin’s food and drink balances quality with affordability.
Eating & Drinking

Throughout Berlin there are areas of calm where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Whether it’s a peaceful lake in the suburbs or a park right in the middle of the city, there are endless places to choose from. In addition to this, you can find many activities to do whilst exploring outside in this fascinating city.
Outdoors

Whether you want to enjoy a day out or spend the night on the town, Berlin has something for you. From outdoor Karaoke, to jazz nights, to some of the most famous clubs in Europe, you’ll be hard pressed to find something that doesn’t interest you. Go out there and have fun, we sure did.
Entertainment

Team CTR Berlin
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Up Close: Edinburgh Farmers Market

cover-edinburgh-up-closeEdinburgh Farmers’ market, located at Castle Terrace, offers fresh food from local farmers. As one out of ten best British markets it is worth a visit – not only because of the tasty samples at every of the thirty stalls, but especially because of its high quality organic food.
The smell of handmade sausages and bacon will make you feel hungry right at the beginning. Additionally you have several types of cheese, fresh ish, lobster and dairy products, such as cheese- cake -cream. You can also buy Scottish tablet for 2£, tartes illed with haggis, or fresh made bread from a German bakery. Also hot drinks and soups are available as well as healthy smoothies, or sweets from “the Chocolate Tree” and self-made pastries. You can always have a break, sit down and enjoy the stunning view on Edinburgh castle or inform yourself about the local farmers at the information stall. If the weather is good you may be lucky to savour some musicians too. Opening at 9am, Farmers market is a great opportunity to have an unforgettable, fresh, organic and especially local breakfast, surrounded by habitants shopping. As a tip: Saturdays you will also ind about twenty stalls at Grassmarket until 5pm.
A Traveller’s Guidebook through the Lanes of Old Reekie

Team CTR Edinburgh
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