Edinburgh, a City of Time Itself

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Edinburgh is a city with layers of history. Stories upon stories walk these cobblestone lanes and hide like ghosts within the shadow of medieval closes. This is a city where kings rose and fell, where heroes fought for freedom and where shameful men were nailed to the Mercat Cross. This is a city of good times, of hard times, of Time itself.

Right from the beginning, these were lands born in fire; Castle Rock, at the city’s core, is volcanic in origin. It is on this strategic hilltop that the city’s tale began. Edinburgh Castle itself, with its many previous iterations, has borne the brunt of Scotland’s volatile medieval era; it played a key part in the Scottish wars for independence throughout the 13th and 14th centuries.

During the 16th century, the events of history continued to shape Edinburgh not only as a city, but as the capital of a kingdom. Fuelled on by Protestant Reformers like John Knox, the tragedy of Mary, Queen of Scots, would play out here. With the coming of the 18th century, Edinburgh found itself in the midst of the Scottish Enlightenment. Dozens of monuments found around the city today celebrate illustrious men like David Hume, Adam Smith and Dugald Stewart, tributes to Edinburgh’s maverick thinkers.

The draining of the Nor Loch paved the way for Edinburgh’s famed New Town in the mid-18th century. As the united kingdoms of Scotland and England entered the Georgian period, so too did Edinburgh’s architecture, with Charlotte Square and Calton Hill becoming emblematic of the new era.

Edinburgh today is very much a product of its long, complicated and sometimes difficult history. Every building, every statue and every bustling square holds deep ties to the past; the legacies of war, Reformation and Enlightenment are very much still felt here. And as you walk these streets, you just might feel it too.

Team Citytravelreview/Curso, by Tiger Shen, Edinburgh April 2019

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Edinburgh: More than just Haggis, Especially at Night

more-than-just-haggis-citytravelreview-coverEdinburgh’s hidden nightlife happens in the narrow streets and low-lying wynds of the city. You just need to start walking and look out for such places; even though they can be difficult to find, they do exist. The revellers circulate in clubs and pubs and underground bars which are often intricately laid out and can feel like labyrinths.

When darkness comes, you can follow the curiously-clothed and sometimes drunk groups of people doing stag and hen nights. Close to the Old Town, you quickly reach the quarter between Niddry Street, North Bridge, Royal Mile and Victoria Street. In this area you will find a lot of partying options. Especially around Niddry Street, the gaps conceal gothic bars, motto clubs and pubs with scanty light. The Hive on the same street is considered the Edinburgh’s most popular club, though that means it’s more mainstream.

If you’re not into that, look into the smaller venues ones that are around because they might be more entertaining. They all have their own special setting and music style, with numerous floors and open basements. There are also some clubs with mixed music like the Espionage in Victoria Street. With a karaoke bar on the top and five floors downstairs, the club is an establishment for versatile music.

You will see queues on every corner in that quarter, so it’s advisable to check out the smaller side streets as well. From a cabaret to an open-air bar, everything’s on offer. Get out on the street and explore the life under street lights for yourself.

Team Citytravelreview/Curso, by Lisa M. Jordan, Edinburgh April 2019

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Citytravelreview 2019

Wir präsentieren unsere neuen Projekte in der Universität von Nottingham. Dank an die Uni sowie an die Studierenden für die Neugier und die Begeisterung.

Team Citytravelreview/Curso

Edinburgh April 2017

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Fun, new friends, history, whisky, castles, pubs, tours, live music, fantastic views – oh my! Where completely strangers become friends with a glass of whiskey in hand – this is CTR in Edinburgh.

Not even the Scottish weather pranks could hide the unique charm of Edinburgh – rustic bookshops, mystic closes and lovely shops make the citys beauty! Exploring the beautiful city in great company – Edinburgh, you’ve stolen my heart!

This once in a lifetime experience helped me fall in love with the beautiful city of Edinburgh while making new friends along the way. There is a distinctive feeling you have while walking through Edinburgh: It’s the mixture of living, breathing history and the culturally open mindset of the people today that is different from any other city in Europe.

It’s not hard to fall in love with Edinburgh. The unique atmosphere in the pubs, the vitality everywhere, the beautiful landscapes and all the great people you are surrounded by made me feel like home!

What a positive experience: getting to know a beautiful city together with amazing people! I came, saw, and fell in love with this city and its warm citizen. Can´t wait to see you again, Edinburgh!

To fell in love with a foreign city in a few days and discover it with a group of other girls, who became real friends, was an exciting experience, which I don’t regret.

Team CTR/Curso, Edinburgh April 2017

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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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