Tag Archives: Berlin

Franzosenbad – A swimming pool in a bad way

Broken Glass and Diving Board at Franzosenbad Berlin - an abandoned swimming pool

The water was drained from the pool at the Franzosenbad years ago and now it’s littered with parts of the ceiling, lockers and some of the discarded wooden panels that at one point kept the abandoned swimming pool in the north of Berlin secure.

The Franzosenbad is in the former Cité Foch, built in the French sector of Berlin from 1953 to house the French allied soldiers and their families, which is also home to an abandoned shopping centre.

Entree Eingang at Franzosenbad Berlin - an abandoned swimming pool Reception Area at Franzosenbad Berlin - an abandoned swimming pool Foyer at Franzosenbad Berlin - an abandoned swimming pool Diving Board at Franzosenbad Berlin - an abandoned swimming pool 3 at Franzosenbad Berlin - an abandoned swimming pool Pool and Steps at Franzosenbad Berlin - an abandoned swimming pool

Built in 1972, the Franzosenbad has a 6-lane 25-metre pool with two diving boards and a separate teaching pool.

When the French allies withdrew from Berlin in 1994 the pool was handed over in working order to the Berlin Senate who granted the right of use to the district of Reinickendorf.

It subsequently came under the control of the Berliner Bäder-Betriebe in 1996 and closed its doors in July 2002 due to the prohibitively high costs of necessary repairs.

Destruction at Franzosenbad Berlin - an abandoned swimming pool Changing Room at Franzosenbad Berlin - an abandoned swimming pool Locker 228 at Franzosenbad Berlin - an abandoned swimming pool Locker Room at Franzosenbad Berlin - an abandoned swimming pool

The owner of a local diving business had negotiated a price and had grand plans to re-open the pool in 2005, capitalising on the potential of the lawn area around the building for sunbathing.

Like the nearby Einkauszentrum, the Franzosenbad has obviously become a playground for the local youths and graffiti artists and many of the glass panels around the building have been smashed.

Dive In at Franzosenbad Berlin - an abandoned swimming pool Doors and Windows at Franzosenbad Berlin - an abandoned swimming pool ortie Ausgang Sign at Franzosenbad Berlin - an abandoned swimming pool Outside Franzosenbad Berlin - an abandoned swimming pool

Despite the obvious damage it is clear that someone cares about the Franzosenbad, so the swimming pool has long been neglected but may not be totally abandoned – the basement rooms are very well secured and the wooden panels are regularly checked and repaired.

Fin DAC – Magnificent 7

Still from Fin DAC - Magnificent 7 by Trevor Whelan

Photo: Still from Fin DAC – Magnificent 7 by Trevor Whelan

Watch street artist Fin DAC at work on his huge Magnificent 7 mural, a series of 7 beautiful portraits, at The Point Village, Dublin during an art residency at The Gibson Hotel, filmed and directed by Trevor Whelan for Dragon Armoury Creative.

Fin DAC has been one of my favourite street artists since I saw him painting at Stroke Urban Art Fair and he was back in Berlin over the last few days working at Teufelsberg for Berlin Rising.

Fin DAC – Magnificent 7

MJ’s Foodshop – My Favourite Berlin Club

Close Up Roast Turkey Club Sandwich at MJs Foodshop Berlin

As a Brit I am naturally fond of a sandwich and finding one in Berlin is not an easy task but that’s where MJ’s Foodshop comes in, not only is the Roasted Turkey Club sandwich delicious, it’s a thing of beauty and massive to boot.

Roast Turkey Club Sandwich at MJs Foodshop Berlin MJs Foodshop Berlin Logo Mac and Cheese at MJs Foodshop Berlin

Juicy turkey is backed up by bacon (and as we all know, everything is better with bacon), lettuce, tomato, eggs and mayo and comes served in toasted homemade bread.

And as I wrote earlier it’s massive but more importantly it tastes so good.

My advice is to order Mac and Cheese as a side – it’s creamy and cheesy and therefore a perfect accompaniment to the club sandwich.

Philly Cheese Steak at MJs Foodshop Berlin Homemade Lemonade at MJs Foodshop Berlin Hand Cut Fries at MJs Foodshop Berlin

If for some reason the Roasted Turkey Club doesn’t appeal I can also recommend the Philly Cheese Steak and the fries.

The portions at MJ’s are so big that I’ve never managed to make it through the main course with enough room left for dessert but one day I’m determined to try the New York Cheesecake.

If you’re looking for a bit of comfort food in Berlin and you have either someone to share with or a large appetite MJ’s Foodshop is at Sonnenallee 34 – one thing to note, don’t go on Mondays when MJ’s is closed.

Sunday Documentary: Declassified – Rise and Fall of the Wall

Declassified - Rise and Fall of the Wall

Photo: Still from Declassified – Rise and Fall of the Wall

Shown on the History Channel to mark the 15th anniversary of the fall of the wall on 9 November 2004, Declassified: Rise and Fall of the Wall is a documentary peppered with facts gleaned from then recently declassified files about events.

The documentary starts with a famous quote* from Nikita Kruschev:

I consider Berlin to be the testicles of the West.  When I want the West to scream, I squeeze on Berlin.

* I have seen this more often written as, “Berlin is the testicle of the West.  When I want the West to scream, I squeeze on Berlin.”

It then follows events in the German capital from the division of Berlin between the allied powers following the end of the war in 1945 to the fall of the wall on the night of 9 November 1989.

The evolution of the wall was cleverly shown with the use of computer graphics, though more detailed and sophisticated animations have been made in the years since thanks to technological advances.

The programme mistakenly identifies Rudolf Urban as the first casualty of the Berlin Wall. Urban died in the Lazarus hospital on the 17 September 1961 having contracted pneumonia whilst being treated for the injuries he suffered jumping from his first floor apartment at Bernauer Strasse 1 on 19 August 1961.

Ida Siekmann is the first official casualty of the Berlin Wall.  She died on her way to the Lazarus hospital on 22 August 1961 as a result of the injuries she sustained jumping from the third floor window of her apartment at Bernauer Strasse 48.

Declassified – Rise and Fall of the Wall

A New Berlin App – Is There A Line At Berghain?

Is There A Line At Berghain? App

Photo: Screenshots from Is There A Line At Berghain?

There are some apps that you know that you will use every day and some that you need on your phone just in case – Is There A Line At Berghain?, a new app that tells you if there is a queue at Berlin’s iconic club definitely falls into the latter category.

Picture the scenario: you’re out for the night with friends, you’ve had a few drinks and now you’re in the mood to dance so you go to your favourite club only to find that there’s a huge queue and you have to wait an hour to get in – instant buzz killer, right?

Is There A Line At Berghain? is the solution to your problem if that night out is in Berlin and the club you’re heading for is Berghain.

The app (there’s also a website for those whose pre-club routine takes place at home) is driven by data crowd-sourced from users who cast their votes in the app so as developer Danuta Dramowicz points out “…it depends on people a) voting often and b) voting honestly (actually being there, not lying, etc).”

Also, “the status is based on an algorithm that updates itself only when a certain amount of people have voted YES or NO within a pre-determined time frame.”

The app has only been available for a couple of days but as it gains users it will therefore be more up-to-date and more accurate.

Is There A Line At Berghain? Background Images

Photo: Screenshots from Is There A Line At Berghain?

As well as answering the burning question about the queue, the background images for Is There A Line At Berghain?, sourced from Flickr that that change each time you load the app, will help get you in the mood for your clubbing experience.

// via iHeartBerlin //

Berlin, Berlin: Spring by Nehemias Colindres

Still from Berlin, Berlin Spring by Nehemias Colindres

Photo: Still from Berlin, Berlin: Spring by Nehemias Colindres

Berlin, Berlin: Spring is the second instalment in a 4-part series about Berlin that director Nehemias Colindres calls “a poetic visualization of a city’s manifesto” that started with Berlin, Berlin: Autumn.

The last few days in Berlin have been glorious and many have been declaring that ‘winter is over’ or ‘spring is sprung’ and whilst I’m all for a bit of optimism I’d also urge a little caution. Don’t pack away all your warm clothes just yet because winter might just have a little sting in the tail.

Today is officially the first day of spring by the astronomical definition but Berlin has a habit of lulling everyone into a false sense of security.  After a cold and dark winter the first days of spring are such a release but winter is often lurking in the wings, waiting to be called on for an encore and one final bow, determined not to let spring have all the attention just yet.

That being said I’m sure that many of us feel the sense of rebirth that Nehemias Colindres evokes in Berlin, Berlin: Spring as the days start to get longer and indeed, ‘crisp air fills our faces with hope, a new sensation comes to life’…I say bring on Berlin, Berlin: Summer.

Berlin, Berlin: Spring

Mickael Jou – 365 Self-Portrait Project

Mickael Jou Gendarmenmarkt Berlin

Photo: Mickael Jou

Mickael Jou, a Taiwanese-French-American living in Berlin has combined his love of photography with his talent as a dancer to create a magical series of self-portraits for his 365 project.

The project started in Paris but having located to Berlin, Jou has used a number of its iconic tourist attractions as a backdrop, though that is not always the case.  I only wish I had been in my local Kaufland when he took this next photo ‘levitating’ with the aid of a shopping trolley.

Mickael Jou Kaufland Steglitz Berlin

Photo: Mickael Jou

Mickael Jou Flughafen Tempelhof Berlin

Photo: Mickael Jou

Mickael Jou Reichstag Berlin

Photo: Mickael Jou

Mickael Jou Brandenburger Tor Berlin

Photo: Mickael Jou

Mickael Jou Olympus Photography Playground Berlin

Photo: Mickael Jou

Mickael Jou Südkreuz Berlin

Photo: Mickael Jou

Mickael Jou U-Bahn Berlin

Photo: Mickael Jou

You can see more of his photos and find out how he got started on Slow Travel Berlin and follow Mickael Jou on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see more of his work as his 365 project continues.

// via Slow Travel Berlin //

Santa Maria Eastside – Mexican Food, Berlin Style

Table of Food at Santa Maria Eastside in Berlin

Last month I had the pleasure of going to a tasting at Santa Maria Eastside to celebrate the launch of their new menu, overhauled to make the most of their fully organic, all-German handmade tacos – a first for the Mexican food scene in Berlin.

The majority of European tortillas are mass-produced using instant corn flour imported from Mexico but the tortillas at Santa Maria Eastside are handmade in Berlin using fresh corn grown in Bavaria.

My partner in crime for the evening was Gilly and we arrived early and started the night with a beer.

Co-owner Jules (who is also one of the driving forces behind another andBerlin favourite Piri’s) explained the new menu concept and at his suggestion we elected to try a bit of everything (almost).

Pozole at Santa Maria Eastside Berlin Tortilla Chips and Sikil P'aak at Santa Maria Eastside Berlin

We started with a taster of the Pozole – a pork soup with white corn and Mexican chillies, served with radish, cabbage and a tostada – followed up by the Sikil P’aak – a dip of habanero, roasted tomato, roasted pumpkin seeds and coriander served with fresh tortilla chips.

Trio of Vegetarian Tacos at Santa Maria Eastside

I had explained to Jules at the outset that I was a little sceptical about eating the vegetarian dishes so the trio of vegetarian tacos – Papas con Rajas / Calaza / Rajas con Crema – that we had next were a revelation to a meat-obsessive like me.  Who knew that food without meat could be something to get excited about?

Tacos de Cochnita Pibil at Santa Maria Eastside Berlin

I’m not contemplating vegetarianism though so we finished off with the Tacos de Cochnita Pibil – pulled pork tacos with pickled red onion and habanero chillies and a tropical habanero salsa.  Pulled pork really is the ingredient of choice at the moment and is cropping up on menus everywhere.  The meat here was tender and the pickled onion created a nice contrast of textures and flavours that Gilly compared to Sauerbraten.

Margaritas at Santa Maria Eastside Berlin

Our appetites well and truly satisfied we washed everything down with a boozy Margarita.

I’m amazed to say it but one of the vegetarian tacos was my favourite dish of the evening – the Papas con Rajas, a mixture of roasted onions, chillies, peppers, corn, garlic and potatoes.  For confirmed meat eaters though, I would recommend the Barbacoa de Res Burrito that I’ve had on other visits.

Worth noting are a few special offers on the menu – lunch specials, Taco Tuesday and Margarita Happy Hour.  From 19:00 to 21:00 on a Tuesday you could combine the last two and with 1€ Tacos and Margaritas for 4€ you could dine and drink like a king or queen without breaking the bank.

The quality of the food and a wide range of different Mexican flavours, including a tasty selection of vegetarian dishes, make Santa Maria Eastside in Berlin the perfect venue for a (small) party or an evening out with a group of friends.

The Bar at Santa Maria Eastside Berlin Barbacoa de Res Burrito at Santa Maria Eastside Berlin Quesadillas on the Grill at Santa Maria Eastside Berlin Santa Maria Eastside Berlin at Night

Birdhain – The Berlin Club All The Cool Birds Flock To

Birdhain - A birdhouse in the style of Berlin's most famous club, Berghain by Malte Jensen

Photo: Malte Jensen

Berlin-based communication designer Malte Jensen has created a birdhouse in the style of Berlin’s most iconic club, Berghain and he’s called it Birdhain.

He has got the architecture of the former power plant now home to the ‘world capital of techno’ or ‘Berlin’s most extreme sex club’ depending on which publications you read, down to a tee – it even lights up in a way that will be familiar to anyone who has been there.

Soon all the hipster birds of the world will be moving to Berlin or jumping on a ‘cheep flight’ with a ‘budgie airline’.  Presumably the birds of Berlin are currently arguing over who should be the doorman at Birdhain – my money’s on Swan Marquardt.

Birdhain - A birdhouse in the style of Berlin's most famous club, Berghain by Malte Jensen

Photo: Malte Jensen

Birdhain - A birdhouse in the style of Berlin's most famous club, Berghain by Malte Jensen

Photo: Malte Jensen

Birdhain - A birdhouse in the style of Berlin's most famous club, Berghain by Malte Jensen

Photo: Malte Jensen

Birdhain - A birdhouse in the style of Berlin's most famous club, Berghain by Malte Jensen

Photo: Malte Jensen

// via Malte Jensen //

Berlin Street Art Vol 17 – Various Artists

Here is another selection of some of the fantastic street art that Berlin is so famous for.  Clicking on an artist’s name will take you to more work from them on andBerlin.

El Bocho

I never tire of finding El Bocho pieces and the melancholy look on the face of this ‘Still Falling’ paste up from his Citizen series is well suited to its placement behind bars.

Still Falling - Street Art by El Bocho in Berlin No Cats - Street Art by El Bocho in Berlin

MIMI The ClowN

Guitar Clown - Street Art by MIMI the ClowN in Berlin

L.KUBA / KubalArt / Lukáš Kubala

Lukáš Kubala is a young artist from Slovakia – see more from him on his Facebook page and website.

Black and White - Street Art by L.KUBA (KubalArt-Lukas Kubala) in Berlin

Negative Vibes

One-eyed Girl - Street Art by Negative Vibes in Berlin

Sokar Uno

Sokar Uno is a graffiti artist, painter and illustrator born in Gotha but now based in Berlin.  I first saw his work at the Stroke Urban Art Fair.

Pinched Tongue - Street Art by Sokar Uno in Berlin

CAZ.L

Animals are a recurring theme in the art of Berlin street artist CAZ.L and this camel in a Hof on Rosethaler Strasse is an oldie but a goodie.

Camel - Street Art by CAZ.L in Berlin

LUSH

Graffiti writer LUSH left this piece on the side of Stattbad Wedding last summer when he stopped off in Berlin during a European tour with a mobile gallery in a box truck.

LUSH Graffiti in Berlin

See more outdoor work from the Australian graffiti artist and self-titled “Graffiti Asshole” on his website.

Otto Schade

Mad Clown - Street Art by Otto Schade in Berlin

Unknown Artists

I would really appreciate any help anyone can give me to identify the artists of the following works so I can give proper credit.

I'm In The Middle Of Nowhere - Street Art by Unknown Artist in Berlin We Want You To Enjoy Street Art - Street Art by Unknown Artist in Berlin Woman - Street Art by Unknown Artist in Berlin