Last week visitBerlin launched a new app, Going Local Berlin, full of hundreds of tips to help tourists and locals get the most out of the city.
“The new app offers personal tips from Berlin insiders”, says Burkhard Kieker, CEO of visitBerlin. “Our goal is to provide new ideas for the increasing number of repeat visitors when exploring the city. The digital guide will help visitors and Berliners alike to experience the city from whole new perspectives.”
Menu items on the home screen allow users to choose between ‘Boroughs’, ‘Orientation’ and ‘Map’ to find the tips most relevant to their current position or requirements.
Places in each borough are categorised as ‘Must See’, Hidden Places’, Food & Drinks’ or ‘Berlin Tourist Info’. All the relevant details such as addresses and opening times are included for each entry to make visiting as simple as possible, as you can see in the above entry for the Soviet War Memorial in Schönholzer Heide.
Going Local Berlin is available for iOS and Android free of charge in both German and English. Once you have downloaded the app you will need to download a data packet of approximately 125 MB but it’s then available to use offline.
More details about Going Local Berlin and links to the iOS and Android downloads for the app are available on the visitBerlin website.
According to the Chutnify website ‘the owner, Aparna Aurora inspired by her Indian heritage and travels decided to open her South Indian street food dream in Prenzlauer Berg.’ And I for one am pleased as punch that she chose Berlin for her restaurant.
It’s no great secret and something that I’ve mentioned before that Berlin is sadly lacking in the quality Indian food department. You can imagine my excitement then when I heard good things about Chutnify shortly after it opened in October last year. Unfortunately for me though, I had just moved out of my apartment in the area and it has taken me far longer than it should have to actually visit.
My first impressions were good: the welcome was warm and friendly; the décor colourful and simple but at the same time clearly carefully put together, an obvious advantage of the owner’s background in fashion.
I’ve been dreaming about the Dosas here and having studied the menu online had carefully selected the Tandoori Chicken for my debut meal, so I was a little disappointed to discover that the lunch menu is a slightly abridged version of the full menu displayed on the website and my dream dish wasn’t available.
I plumped instead for the Goan Pork Dosa and all thoughts of disappointment were banished when it arrived. The Dosa, a crepe made with rice batter and lentils and a staple of South Indian cuisine, was light and fluffy, the pork tender and bursting with flavour. The accompaniments offered a variety of complementary flavours, my favourite of which was the spicy Tamarind chutney, which brought a touch of chilli heat to the meal.
Having cleaned my plate I only wished I had the appetite left to try the Thali but that will have to wait for another time. I’ll also have to go one evening so I can try the Masala Wurst, Chutnify’s take on the Currywurst.
I’ve already been back with Steffi when we shared the Tandoori Chicken Dosa and the Keema Mattar Rice Bowl and both lived up to the standard set by the Goan Pork Dosa.
Many return visits are still needed.
The owner’s eye for design and attention to detail was again to the fore when my bill arrived in a plastic auto rickshaw taxi.
During my lunchtime visit a touching scene played out in front of me involving a simple and heart-warming act of kindness on the part of the owner so I can only hope that in this case good things happen to good people and Chutnify is a roaring success. Given that it serves flavoursome and well-spiced Indian food, something that Berlin has been crying out for it is hard to doubt that that will be the case.
Since I first saw a Wolf Beard stencil from Danish artist Don John, I’ve been hoping to see more of his street art in Berlin so I was particularly excited to hear he had been in town painting a huge mural for the One Wall Project from Urban Nation Berlin.
With One Wall, Urban Nation Berlin is bringing five different artists to the city each year to paint a mural. The aim is to bring diversity to Berlin’s neighbourhoods and help cement the city’s position as a recognised art destination.
Don John painted his image of a flock of exotic-looking birds flying out of a hoodie’s hood on the side of a building in Mehringplatz back in June of last year.
Shepard Fairey painted the wall opposite a short time later.
I’d recommend keeping up to date with Urban Nation Berlin via their website, Facebook page or Instagram account for news about future walls, exhibitions and projects. Who knows, maybe they can persuade Don John to come back to Berlin and bless us with some more first class street art.
I’ve got a thing for maps so it’s lucky for me that there are plenty of people out there finding lots of interesting ways to map Berlin and present data like the city’s squatted buildings, most popular photo locations and where to get craft beer. If you’re also a bit of a map geek, you should probably check out more posts on andBerlin with the Maps tag.
Berlin Besetzt (Occupied Berlin) Map of Squats
The Berlin Besetzt website is a great resource for facts, figures and maps about squatting in Berlin. A wonderful interactive map of squats can be adjusted by way of a slider to show the buildings occupied in any year since 1970.
Eric Fischer’s Berlin Photo Geotags Map
Eric Fischer has used Open Street Maps and the geotags added to photos on Flickr and Picasa to create a map showing the density of photographs taken in Berlin. On this map blue indicates photos taken by locals, red by tourists and yellow could be either.
There are lots more ‘Locals and Tourists’ maps from Eric Fischer on Flickr from cities across the world.
Berlin Craft Beer Locations Map
Berlin Craft Beer has a map of microbreweries, bars and shops where you can get your hands on some quality craft beers, including their ‘must visit’ recommendations.
Given its turbulent history and key role in the politics of twentieth century Europe it’s no surprise that when you say ‘Berlin’ to most people, they will think of the German capital. However, there are more than 100 Berlins around the world. Telling a day in the life of six of those Berlins, Worldwide Berlin is a documentary from Berlin Producers, made with the support of mbb, in cooperation with RBB and Deutsche Welle.
The documentary starts in Berlin, Germany at 6am as Uwe cleans the streets around Brandenburger Tor. From there we travel to Berlin, Russia, a small village on the Kazakhstan border; a small fishing village named Berlinhafen (Berlin Harbour) in Papua New Guinea; Berlin, El Salvador, where we witness the preparations for a beauty contest; an Amish community in Berlin, Ohio, USA; Centro Berlin in Bolivia with its population of 10 supplemented by 1,000 llamas; and the village of Berlin in Guinea, which some believe was named in memory of a night of passion in the German capital.
Repeatedly crossing borders and time zones we experience a snapshot of life in each of these Berlins over the course of 24 hours.
Worldwide Berlin focuses on a few characters in each of the seven Berlins featured, showing aspects of their daily lives that illustrate the differences between their cultures and surroundings but also at times the similarities in their routines and experiences.
You have to wonder how the Club Mate drinkers of Berlin, Germany would enjoy the Mate tea from which it is derived, drunk in Centro Berlin in Bolivia, or indeed how the inhabitants of any of these other Berlins would react to some of the sights nobody bats an eyelid at in the Hauptstadt.
Worldwide Berlin – Part 1
Worldwide Berlin – Part 2
The documentary, Worldwide Berlin, is just one part of an interactive multimedia project aimed at bringing together the people of all the Berlins around the globe. To share your Berlin experiences and connect with other Berliners worldwide go to the Worldwide Berlin website, like the Facebook page and follow on Twitter.
It’s time for another selection of sweet street art from Berlin. The artist’s names link to previous appearances on andBerlin if you want to see more of their work.
Artistic talent is one thing but clever placement like this Wild Leo Girl paste-up by Raïa can take things to another level.
Urben’s cartoonish characters are a regular fixture on the streets of Berlin. See more from the artist on his Facebook page.
Born in Miami and raised in Spain, AXEL VOID (Alejandro Hugo Dorda Mevs) was based in Berlin for some time before returning to his native Miami. He describes the incredible story behind this Hitler Youth piece at YAAM on his website:
A few years ago my computer broke down. I went to a repair shop in Berlin and met this older man that ran the place himself. There were other people and he must have seen that I didn’t have much money so with my poor German and his poor English he sat me down and explained how to fix the computer myself. I spent the afternoon with him, and among other things he told me his story. He was the son of one of the Nazi generals, and was raised in the Hitlerjugend (Hitler’s Youth). He explained how natural his training seemed, but by the time he grew up and had to take part in the war, he couldn’t do it. They ended up kicking him out of the force and he left the country. He only came back to germany after the war was finished. He never charged me anything, this wall is dedicated to him.
In the biography on his Facebook Page, Puberroner states, “no, I’m not an artist. I’m just a guy, who loves art.”
If anyone has any details about the artist of this piece painted at Platoon Kunsthalle for Urban Clash please let me know in the comments.
As the venue for Street Food Thursday, Markthalle Neun is well and truly established as a must-visit for Berlin foodies but thanks to Sironi, the Italian bakery occupying a glass cube in the market hall, there’s no need to write off the rest of the week.
All the bread, pizzas and pastries are prepared on the premises and thanks to all that glass you can watch Alfredo Sironi, who opened his bakery in August 2013, and his team preparing and baking the Italian specialities on offer.
My personal highlight here is the Maritozzo, a sweet bread with raisins and candied orange peel from Rome, which reminds me in flavour of a Chelsea Bun – a perfect dessert treat at 1,50€.
To find out a bit more about Alfredo Sironi’s journey from Lake Como to Berlin and to see the bakers at work check out this short video from iGNANT.
iGNANT Places: Sironi – Il Pane Di Milano Bakery
Sironi is open 6 days a week and also during the monthly Breakfast Market on the third Sunday of the month.
Based solely on the strength of the Maritozzo here, Sironi would be my Berlin bakery tip. Backed up as it is by a delicious selection of sweet and savoury snacks, it’s a no-brainer – and if all that hasn’t persuaded you to give it a go, it is Sironi that supplies the soft bread rolls for the other star of the Markhalle Neun, Big Stuff Smoked BBQ.
Recognising the intolerance of Hitler’s regime for same-sex couples and the violence gay men and women suffered during the Nazis’ reign, the Memorial to the Homosexuals Persecuted Under the National Socialist Regime, designed by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, is a monument and art installation on the edge of the Tiergarten in Berlin.
The resolution of the German Bundestag from 12 December 2003 regarding the creation of the monument states:
The Federal Republic of Germany shall erect a memorial in Berlin to the homosexuals persecuted under the National Socialist regime.
With this memorial, the Federal Republic of Germany intends
– to honour the victims of persecution and murder,
– to keep alive the memory of this injustice, and
– to create a lasting symbol of opposition to enmity, intolerance and the exclusion of gay men and lesbians.
Echoing the style and construction of its well-known counterpart, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, found just across the road, the monument is formed of a large concrete block. A window in the monument gives access to a screen showing a video on loop. When it was unveiled on 27 May 2008 the video installation was an endless kiss between two men. This has video has since been replaced with a series of clips showing both gay men and gay women embracing following protests from the lesbian community.
Situated as it is in Berlin’s largest public park, the Memorial to the Homosexuals Persecuted Under the National Socialist Regime is accessible 24 hours a day all year round.
Grüne Woche (International Green Week) is a massive food, agriculture and horticulture exhibition held for the 80th time in 2015 at Messe Berlin.
I went for the first time on Saturday and was amazed by the huge selection of different food and drink from all around the world on offer.
My food highlight of the day was eating Poffertjes, a small pancake-like dessert from the Netherlands, served with butter and orange liqueur.
Naturally, I took advantage of the opportunity to sample some beers and managed to Untapp 10 new brews, the highlight of which was a Pale Ale from Liechtensteiner Brauhaus. For the real enthusiast there was also beer bread on sale.
Pigs, horses, cows, goats and alpacas were all on show in one hall.
My first Grüne Woche Berlin experience was overwhelmingly positive and I’m already looking forward to a return next year when I hope to have a little bit more time available to check out the German and International Beer Hall.