Tag Archives: Travel

Five Elephant – Sublimely Good New York Cheesecake in Berlin

The sign at Five Elephant Berlin

When Steffi and Bine told me that they had driven from Charlottenburg to Prenzlauer Berg just to get the New York Cheesecake at The Bird it got me wondering where you get the best New York Cheesecake in Berlin.  I started to draw up a list and the first place to go on it was Five Elephant.

On Reichenberger Strasse in Kreuzberg, in their own words:

Five Elephant is a specialty coffee micro roastery, bakery and cafe in Berlin, Germany. Passionate about quality, our goal is to source the best coffees in the world in a way that is both socially and environmentally responsible.

You can read more about Five Elephant’s approach to sourcing and brewing their coffee on their website and Facebook page.

All this is lost on me because I’m not a coffee drinker so it’s lucky that Steffi had come along, tempted by the prospect of excellent Cheesecake, and sampled a Cappuccino (very good).  I have to admit that it looked great but coffee is just not for me.

Cappuccino at Five Elephant Berlin

And the Cheesecake? It was as good as it looks, if not better.

New York Cheesecake at Five Elephant Berlin

The top was rich and creamy and light and the biscuit base sweet and crunchy – so crunchy in fact that I somehow managed to get some in my pocket.

As well as the stellar desserts and great coffee, Five Elephant is in a great spot.  It’s just a short walk from the Landwehrkanal and what is arguably the most instagrammed view in Berlin – equally stunning in snow and sun.

The Landwehrkanal from Hobrechtbrücke on a snowy Berlin day

The Landwehrkanal from Hobrechtbrücke on a sunny Berlin day

For me, the New York Cheesecake at Five Elephant in Berlin is as close as a dessert can come to Heaven so it’s going to take some beating but I’m still going to continue my quest for Berlin’s best New York Cheesecake.

Jüdisches Museum Berlin (Jewish Museum Berlin)

The Collegienhaus - the Old Building of the Jewish Museum Berlin

Like Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart (Museum of Contemporary Art), I visited the Jüdisches Museum Berlin (Jewish Museum Berlin) with my first Museum Pass in 2010 and was determined to go back during my Berlin Museum Marathon in February this year.

The Zinc facade of the Libeskind Building of the Jewish Museum Berlin

The Museum is housed in a combination of the Collegienhaus (Old Building), the former Superior Court of Justice for the Kurmark Brandenburg, and the striking and more instantly recognisable zinc façade of the Libeskind Building.

The new building, opened in 2001, is accessible only through a staircase from the Old Building, which it zig-zags away from and the walls are cut through by the irregular shapes of the windows and a series of voids.

A view out of an opening in The Libeskind Building of the Jewish Museum Berlin

A cross shaped opening in The Libeskind Building of the Jewish Museum Berlin

In  2000 Daniel Libeskind said that the museum voids refer to:

that which can never be exhibited when it comes to Jewish Berlin history: Humanity reduced to ashes.

The installation Shalekhet (Fallen Leaves) by Israeli artist Menashe Kadishnman consists of more than 10,000 iron faces, representing the innocent victims of war and violence, that cover the floor of the Memory Void.

Shalekhet (Fallen Leaves) by Israeli artist Menashe Kadishnman in the Memory Void of the Jewish Museum Berlin

The Axis of the Holocaust leads to a heavy door that opens into another of the building’s voids, The Holocaust Tower.  As with all of the voids the walls are bare concrete and the tower is neither air conditioned nor heated.  Natural light enters through a space at the top of the tower.  The combination of these environmental factors creates a peaceful, if slightly disconcerting, atmosphere.

Inside The Holocaust Tower at the end of the Axis of the Holocaust at the Jewish Museum Berlin

At the end of the Axis of Emigration, is the Garden of Exile, a series of 49 concrete stelae, taller than those of the Memorial To The Murdered Jews of Europe, but similarly arranged in a regular pattern on sloping ground.  Here, the stelae are filled with earth and trees grow from them.  The same disorienting effect results.

The Garden of Exile at the end of The Axis of Emigration at the Jewish Museum Berlin

The Axis of Continuity leads to a staircase and the exhibition space above, where the permanent exhibits present two millennia of German Jewish History.

Paintings on display as part of the permanent exhibition at the Jewish Museum Berlin

Silver on display as part of the permanent exhibition at the Jewish Museum Berlin

Yellow fabric with Jewish Stars by Geitel & Co at Jewish Museum Berlin

Inevitably some of the most notable and heartbreaking exhibits are holocaust related.  The museum has the following explanation of the yellow star:

Beginning in September 1941, all Jews were required to wear a yellow star: “Jews six years of age and older are prohibited from appearing in public without a Jewish star…It is to be worn visibly on the left side of the breast, firmly sewn to the clothing.”

The stars were manufactured by the Berlin flag maker Geitel & Co.  Great lengths of cloth were stored on the premises of the Gestapo-controlled “National Union of Jews in Germany”.  For a processing fee of 10 pfennig, the Jews had to purchase the yellow star and sew it to their clothing.

For more information about the Jüdisches Museum Berlin (Jewish Museum Berlin), including opening hours and prices see their website.

Stolpersteine 204: Remembering The Eisenstädt Family – Gunter Demnig at work

Stolpersteine Berlin 204: In memory of Kurt Eisenstädt, Käte Eisenstädt and Berl Eisenstädt (Erkelenzdamm 9)

On 28 March I ticked a very important item off my to do list when I saw Gunter Demnig at work laying Stolpersteine in Berlin.  Three Stolpersteine were placed outside Erkelenzdamm 9 in Kreuzberg in memory of Kurt Eisenstädt, Käte Eisenstädt and Berl Eisenstädt.

I got to witness these Stolpersteine being laid because one of the stones, the one for Berl Eisenstädt, was sponsored by NotMs Parker of the wonderful Kreuzberg’d blog.

It was clear to the small group gathered at Erkelenzdamm 9 just how much the laying of these memorials to the Eisenstädt family meant to NotMs Parker.

Gunter Demnig holding a Stolperstein outside Erkelenzdamm 9 in Berlin Kreuzberg

She told us that she had come across Berl Eisenstädt’s name in a list of Jews transported to Auschwitz, where he was murdered shortly after his second birthday.  The proximity of his age to that of her own sons at the time had touched her deeply.  Knowing of Gunter Demnig’s Stolpersteine initiative she was determined that others should know the fate of this little boy.

As explained on Kreuzberg’d in the post Stolperstein For The Little Berlin Eisenstädt, what she was not aware of at the time was that Berl’s parents’ fate had been discovered by two other people, who had also requested Stolpersteine.

Gunter Demnig digging a hole to lay Stolpersteine in memory of the Eisenstädt family outside Erkelenzdamm 9 in Berlin Kreuzberg

Gunter Demnig enlarging a hole to lay Stolpersteine in memory of the Eisenstädt family outside Erkelenzdamm 9 in Berlin Kreuzberg

Gunter Demnig laying Stolpersteine in memory of the Eisenstädt family outside Erkelenzdamm 9 in Berlin Kreuzberg

Gunter Demnig sweeps a newly laid group of Stolpersteine in memory of the Eisenstädt family outside Erkelenzdamm 9 in Berlin Kreuzberg

You can see more about the Stolpersteine at Erkelenzdamm 9 on Kreuzberg’d.

If you’re wondering what Stolpersteine are and would like to know more about the project check out my first Stolpersteine post.

Bowie and Beyond: A Music Fan’s Guide to Berlin (BBC Radio 6 Music)

Brandenburger Tor - Brandenburg Gate at Night

Danny Robins’s programme for BBC Radio 6 Music’s Easter Weekend celebration of David Bowie is called Bowie and Beyond: A Music Fan’s Guide to Berlin but he goes all the way back to the Weimar era in his quest to understand why Berlin has made such a significant contribution to music.

This is about more than music though.  In this one hour radio documentary Robins also looks at the social and economic factors that shaped the city’s history.

Travelling to Berlin, through interviews with artists and producers, he tries to find out if Berlin attracts a certain kind of musician or if the city affects the music that those who are drawn to it create.

The usual suspects get airtime – David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode and U2 – but there is also an attempt to see beyond these artists to the contribution of seminal German bands like Die Toten Hosen and new artists such as Prinz Pi and Berlin-based Canadian, Peaches.

Click here to listen: Bowie and Beyond: A Music Fan’s Guide to Berlin

Stolpersteine 198 – 203

Stolpersteine Berlin 203e: In memory of Berthold Goldschmidt (Reichenberger Strasse 181)

I have updated my Stolpersteine Gallery with photos of the Stolpersteine I saw in Berlin over the last week (with the exception of one very special group of stones that I will post about soon).

These Stolpersteine were dedicated to: Heinrich Thieslauk (Warschauer Strasse 60); Robert Becker, Jenny Becker, Erna Becker and Erich Becker (Warschauer Strasse 61); Hans Litten and Martha Litten (Grünberger Strasse 43-45); Wilhelm Selke (Ritterstrasse 109); Willi Otto Büttner (Reichenberger Strasse 184); Morduch Raichlin, Erich Lustig, Frida Raichlin, Ida Lustig, Arthur Itzig, Gertrud Itzig, Amalie Itzig, Gerd Itzig, Cäcilie Lazarus, Tana Stern and Berthold Goldschmidt (Reichenberger Strasse 181).

My first post about Stolpersteine explains the background to these memorials to the victims of National Socialism created by artist Gunter Demnig.

Teufelsberg – The Art Gallery On The Devil’s Mountain

The domes of the former NSA Listening Station loom over the art at Teufelsberg Berlin

When I first visited Teufelsberg in August 2010 there was plenty of graffiti about and the odd bit of Street Art but thanks to the aborted Berlin Artbase 2012 event the former NSA Listening Station is a veritable Street Art Gallery.

The climb up the Teufelsberg (Devil’s Mountain) in the Grunewald is worth it for the views and the opportunity to walk around the former NSA facility alone (find out more about my latest visit here) but the quality of the Street Art is an added bonus.

PAOD

PAOD may be familiar to Berlin Street Art fans for the piece painted with Hannes Höhlig on Utrechter Strasse for Wedding Walls.

Cat - Street Art by PAOD at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

The Rainbowarlord

Teufelbergfrieden - Street Art by The Rainbowarlord at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

SAM Crew

SAM Crew is a Berlin Street Art collective comprising John Reaktor, Hazard Hope, Duke Cuke, Billo and Fogeljunge.

SAM Crew featured in my post re:MMX – Art Exhibition in Berlin.

Stretching - Street Art by SAM Crew (painted for Artbase 2012) at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

JBAK

JBAK is a collaboration between James Bullough and Addison Karl.  Like SAM Crew, their work featured in my re:MMX – Art Exhibition in Berlin post.

Morning - Street Art by JBAK (painted for Artbase 2012) at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

Old Man - Street Art by JBAK (painted for Artbase 2012) at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

Mein Lieber Prost

The smiley faces and Prostie character of PROST or Mein Lieber Prost have featured a number of times here and will be familiar to anyone who has walked the streets of Berlin.

PROST - Street Art by Mein Lieber Prost at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

ALANIZ

It is difficult to do justice to this huge mural by ALANIZ that covers the whole of one wall of the main building.

Fight To The Death - Street Art by ALANIZ (painted for Artbase 2012) at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

Detail from Fight To The Death - Street Art by ALANIZ (painted for Artbase 2012) at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

Detail from Fight To The Death - Street Art by ALANIZ (painted for Artbase 2012) at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

ALIAS

There were a number of pieces by ALIAS and as I have seen before with his work on the streets of Berlin some had been attacked. The features of his ‘Body Body Head’ paste up had been painted out and the scrawl across this ‘Headless’ piece suggests animosity that the spot had been reserved for ALIAS.

Headless - Street Art by ALIAS (painted for Artbase 2012) at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

Cheeky Boy - Street Art by ALIAS (painted for Artbase 2012) at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

KEN

Thanks to James of JBAK for commenting to let me know that this piece is by KEN (aka Plotterroboter or Plotbot).  Ironically, there were other pieces by KEN at Teufelsberg that I had kept back for a post just about his art.

KEN’s art was the highlight of the Stattmarkt Christmas Art Market at Stattbad Wedding for me and also featured in my post about the abandoned laundry and dyeing factory of Rewatex.
Ambush

Woman in Sunglasses - Street Art by KEN (aka Plotterroboter or Plotbot) at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin


Ambush

Thanks to Ambush for getting in touch to let me know that this Bending Berlin Baby piece based on the character Bender from Futurama is his work.  You can see more of what he’s up to on his website.

Bending Berlin Baby (Bender from Futurama) - Street Art by Ambush at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

Unknown Artists

If anyone knows the artists for any of these pieces please let me know in the comments so that I can give the proper credit.

Black and White Girl - Street Art by Unknown Artist at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

Slogans by Unknown Artist at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

Einkauf - Street Art by Unknown Artist at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

Girl With Dandelion - Street Art by Unknown Artist (painted for Artbase 2012) at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin

Teufelsberg – A Return To The Devil’s Mountain

A dome on the roof and the view from the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg in Berlin

Berlin was cold but sunny yesterday and when a friend had the ‘crazy idea’ to walk up the Teufelsberg I didn’t take much persuading.

The Teufelsberg (Devil’s Mountain) is a hill in the Grunewald forest in Berlin and is most famous for the former NSA Listening Station that sits at its peak.

As we walked from Grunewald S-Bahnhof I recounted the story of my previous trip to Teufelsberg in August 2010.  Then, the Grunewald lived up to its name (Green Forest) but yesterday the predominant colour was white, the snow laying thick on the ground.

Having reached the top of the Teufelsberg we walked around the perimeter fence of the former NSA facility occasionally stopping to look up at the domes looming high above us.

A dome of the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg in Berlin seen through the perimeter fence

On the Western slope of the hill we came across a group of sledgers, skiers and snowboarders enjoying the snow on the Rodelberg (the best translation from Google is toboggan mountain).

When we reached the main gates of the former NSA Listening station a guide was preparing to take a group of visitors on a tour and on a whim we decided to join them.

For €7 (or a reduced price of €5 for students) our guide led us to the main building in the complex and up the highest tower.

The main change to the building since my last visit was the addition of lots of great Street Art (much of it created for the aborted Artbase 2012 event) – so much in fact that I will post about it separately.

Our first stop as we climbed the tower was the highest floor with a view over Berlin.

Looking down on buildings at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg in Berlin

Tattered sheeting and the Wannsee from the highest tower of the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg in Berlin

Olympiastadion (the Olympic Stadium) and a factory from the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg in Berlin

Then it was up to the top dome, with its incredible acoustics, where we were treated to an impromptu performance from a singer who was there when we arrived.

Our guide (off camera in the video) then took up the baton and gave his own performance.

As we descended we stopped on the roof of the main building for more photo opportunities and as luck would have it we had timed it perfectly to see some wonderful colours in the sky as the sun began to set.

A dome on the roof and the view from the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg in Berlin

A dome and the setting sun on the roof of the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg in Berlin

Pink sky and a dome on the roof of the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg in Berlin

And then it was time to leave.

The main dome tower at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg in Berlin

An outbuilding and dome at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg in Berlin

A dome tower at sunset at the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg in Berlin

I think that €7 is a small price to pay for the wonderful views over Berlin and the opportunity to walk around the former NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg but the adrenaline rush of sneaking through the fence on my previous visit was sadly missing.

Stolpersteine 195 – 197

Stolpersteine Berlin 195: In memory of Cacilie Nadel (Admiralstrasse 23)

I have updated my Stolpersteine Gallery to include photos of the Stolpersteine I have seen in Berlin in the last couple of weeks.

The Stolpersteine I saw were memorials to: Cacilie Nadel (Admiralstrasse 23); Elsbeth Piltz (Kottbusser Damm 5); Arthur Rosenow, Jenny Bukofzer and Isidor Bukofzer (Graefestrasse 3).

My first post about Stolpersteine gives more background about these memorials to the victims of National Socialism created by artist Gunter Demnig.

Berlin Skyline – The View From the Parkdeck of Neukölln Arcaden

Berlin Skyline - The view from the Parkdeck of the Neukölln Arcaden

Having spent the afternoon in Neukölln the other week having a burger at Berlin Burger International and checking out the abandoned Children’s Hospital, I decided to make the most of ‘Golden Hour’ (the hour before sunset) and returned to the Parkdeck of the Neukölln Arcaden for a great free view of the Berlin skyline.

I first came to check out the Berlin skyline at night with Digital Cosmonaut back in October and have been meaning to return to the roof of the parking garage of this Neukölln shopping centre for some daylight shots since.

Berlin Skyline - The view from the Parkdeck of the Neukölln Arcaden

Berlin Skyline - The view from the Parkdeck of the Neukölln Arcaden

Berlin Skyline - The view from the Parkdeck of the Neukölln Arcaden

The Parkdeck of the Neukölln Arcaden is a great place to watch the sunset over Berlin and I will be back again in the summer with a couple of beers for a repeat performance.