Berlin | Lunch & Shopping in the West

A few weeks ago, I spent several days in Berlin (my first trip back since November) and had such a fantastic time – I love the Hauptstadt so much!  When I lived there, my life was very much centered around the eastern part of the city.  Since I was staying at a friends’ place in Schöneberg this time around, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore the former West Berlin.

Mexican food and shopping were at the top of my list and I was thrilled that Kate of Sole Satisfaction was game to join me for both!

Delicious taco carnitas from Santa Maria in Kreuzberg

After drooling over her Top Five Mexican Restaurants in Berlin post, we decided on Santa Maria‘s in Kreuzberg for lunch.  I ordered the  taco carnitas (yum), guacamole and chips, and a hibiscus mint margarita.  Even though I had gotten a late start to my morning and had slurped down a coffee on the U-bahn ride over, margaritas at noon are marvelous on a sunny day!

& Other Stories

A short train ride away was & Other Stories on Ku’damm (there’s also one in Mitte), easily my favorite new store!  Modern, Scandinavian-inspired clothes, shoes, accessories, and beauty products.  I could have spent hours wandering around (ok, maybe I did).

Uniqlo

A Uniqlo opened up in Soho while I was still living in New York, but I never really got the chance to check it out before I moved to Germany.  No worries — there’s now one in Berlin!  In contrast to & Other Stories, Uniqlo is all about the basics (not to mention the crazy staircases that make me dizzy).

Bikini Berlin

Bikini Berlin

Nearby is the newly opened Bikini Berlin, which brands itself as a “concept mall” located right next to the Zoologischer Garten.  The building itself opened in 1957, but now Bikini Berlin features temporary pop-up stores and a fantastic rooftop terrace.  Big plus point: you can watch the monkeys at the zoo next door while you take a break for a coffee on the terrace!

Zoologischer Garten

Altogether, a fabulous afternoon!  For more on my visit, check out my photo album here, as well as my visit to the David Bowie exhibition.

What’s your favorite part of Berlin?  Do you love the east or the west the most?

Bremen | Viertel Facades

Ever since I moved to Bremen’s beloved Viertel last fall, I’ve been plotting to wander the neighborhood with my camera to capture some of the beautiful houses (kind of like I did in Berlin).  Every single day I admire these gorgeous old homes and their absolutely amazing gardens!  Finally last Saturday, everything fell into place — blue skies, warm temperatures, and some free time on my hands…

Bremen Houses

Bremen Houses

Bremen Houses

Bremen Houses

Bremen Houses

Bremen Houses

Bremen Houses

Bremen Houses

Bremen Houses

Bremen Houses

Bremen Houses

Because Bremen architecture is on a smaller scale than in other cities, there’s a definite charm that’s hard to beat.  While I find the traditional neutral whites and grays quite lovely, I am never one to resist bold color either.  Hello green and pink and yellow!

What do the buildings in your neighborhood look like?  

InstaFriday | Purple Haze

Wow, what a week!  Like most people in Germany, I’m still reeling from the semi-finals World Cup game on Tuesday.  No one expected anything like it and I don’t think we’ll see another game like that for a long, long time.  Everywhere I went on Wednesday, it was pretty much the only thing people were talking about on the street, in the shops, in the tram, and at work.  No matter what happens at the finals on Sunday night — no doubt a World Cup win would be *so* sweet — Germany will always remember that night when everyone’s jaws dropped to the floor and they rubbed their eyes with disbelief.

But the week has also been great for other reasons too.  I was on fire at work and finished a whole lot of projects that have been looming over me.  And I’ve been playing with my new toy — the iPad mini.  I’m still discovering everything it can do, so I’d love to hear suggestions!

Pearl Jam Wuhlheide
Pearl Jam performing at Wuhlheide in Berlin. Via Instagram.
Purple House
A little purple house in the Viertel, Bremen. Via Instagram.
Purple Street Art
It’s all about perspective. Via Instagram.
The Concordia
The Concordia. Via Instagram.

My photos this week were inspired by the color//colour photo project.  Happy weekend to everyone!

Berlin | David Bowie Exhibition

David Bowie Exhibition
The Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin

Last week I spent a few days in Berlin as birthday present to myself.  Aside from seeing friends, the David Bowie Exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau was at the top of my wish list.  I’ve been on a total Bowie kick for the last couple of years, and since he has such a strong connection to Berlin – living for three years in Schöneberg in the late 70′s  and recording three albums there —  I did not want to miss the exhibition!

And I definitely was not disappointed.  Unsurprisingly, it’s a complete multimedia experience.  You can take a close look at Bowie’s handwritten lyrics, costumes, and paintings while listening to the audio guide that automatically plays songs and interviews that correspond to your specific location in the exhibit.

It was fascinating to see how completely Bowie integrated his love for painting and theater into his music.  I walked away with a real sense of how he progressed as an artist over the decades –  as well as the extent of his influence on music, fashion, and culture.

David Bowie Suit
David Bowie in brown suit (featured in the exhibit).
David Bowie Heroes
The Heroes album
David Bowie
David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust (costume in exhibit). Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita.

If you’re anywhere near Berlin between now and August 10th, I highly recommend taking some time to visit the exhibition.  If not, you may still be in luck!  Here are the next stops on the tour:

  • 20 September 2014 to January 2015: Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
  • 2 March to 31 May 2015: Philharmonie de Paris/Cité de la Musique, Paris
  • 15 December 2015 to 15 March 2016: Groninger Museum, the Netherlands

Tips for your visit

Since the exhibition is popular and the lines are long, purchasing an online ticket (€14 + €1.20 booking fee) for a specific time window is absolutely the way to go.  I didn’t have to wait in line for even a second before being let in.  That being said, the online timed tickets sold out a couple of days in advance — so plan accordingly!  Or if you’re flexible, check out ebay Kleinanzeigen for spare tickets for sale, (which is what I did).

Another thing to keep in mind is that the exhibition is totally packed on the weekend, so if you can manage to visit during the week, you’ll probably have a much more relaxed experience.

Martin-Gropius-Bau - Niederkirchnerstraße 7 – U-bahn or S-bahn Potsdamer Platz

Are you a Bowie fan?  What’s your favorite album?  

Traveling. Running. Photographing. Living.