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go for a run – explore Berlin

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

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today i will introduce you to some of my friend’s favourite running tracks. there are countless beautiful routes. since Berlin is quite flat, both cycling and running are rather a pleasure than pain.

 

 

 

 

 

1) the easy – if you just want to do some laps
just 1 km north of the hostel is a  running track for doing laps. take a right from the hostel and you will see the stadium on your right at mauerpark.

 

2) the big lap – the airport run
how about a 7km lap? since tempelhof airport shut down a couple of years ago it became a big recreation spot for berliners. among runners you will see kite surfers, skaters and urban gardeners.there is a 7km lap and a shorter one for cheaters. the best thing – no cars  to be seen
take the U2 to stadtmitte and change there to U8 – get off at platz der luftbrücke

 

3) the friendly neighborhood bunker run
a few steps away from our hostel is a splendid park: volkspark friedrichshain (people’s park freidrichshain). due to its running track’s great  bone friendly surface (no asphalt but dirt) it is very popular. for those of you who want some extra sweat – take a turn onto the hilly thing in the middle. it is not only a great exercise but a history lesson. you are standing on a former anti aircraft bunker. extra perk: cafe schönbrunn
1km east of the hostel – ask at reception for detailed directions

 

4) the canal run
if you enjoy water, beer gardens, thriving neighborhoods and history, this is the route for you.
start at U hallesches tor and take a left eastwards along landwehrkanal. take another left at the canal’s forking – once you hit a massive alley (puschkinallee) take a right. this way takes you to leafy treptower park. in the heart of the park you will find the russian memorial. running back along the river brings you to the next s bahn stop.

 

5) the classic – tierpark
yes of course, there are also some nudies in the park. however, there is much more to explore. this massive park in the heart of berlin connects the historic centre in east berlin and the city west. the park is situated roughly 4 km from our hostel, alternatively you can take the U2 to potsdamer platz -the same line takes you back from zoo station.

 

enjoy!
…and we have plenty of plasters for your blisters at the reception


record store day

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

don’t miss out, the record store day starts in 1 dVinylay and 7hrs. (just in case you read this blog right NOW)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

here are some of my favs:

1) VoPo Records, Danziger Str. (Punk/Garage/Rock/Alternativ)
2) Wowsville Records, Ohlauer / X-Berg (Garage/Punk/Blues/Soul)
3) Bis aufs Messer, Friedrichshain, (Indie/Hardcore/Punk/World)
4)Freak Out Records, Prenzlauer Al. (Rock/Indie/Soul)
5)Record Store (Mitte / Przlbrg) Schönhauser Al. (Rock/Garage/Soul)
5)Static Shoc (Punk/Hardcore) Kreuzkölln
6) Gallactic Supermarket, Petersburger (F-Hain) (alles vor 1990, + Repress)
7) OYE, Oderbergerstrasse (soul, hip, hop, global grooves)
8) hardwax, Paul Linke Ufer (techno)

 

 

rendom fact. the biggest vinyl reseller in the world is urban outfitters.

pants


Where is ze bunker?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Unless you are capable of time travel you will never see Hitler’s Bunker. The Red Army destroyed it in 1947. An information board on the original location at Gertrud-Kolmar-Straße corner In den Ministergärten gives you the best impression of the size and its history.
However, there are still some WWII fortresses left to admire. Since Berlin is built on a swamp most bunkers are Hochbunkers, meaning overhead hoppers. This makes them not only spectacular but also better photo opportunities.
Here are some of my favs.



1)   Reichsbahnbunker Friedrichstraße

(C) Wikipedia

(C) Wikipedia


Built in 1943. After the war it was used as a prison by the notorious NKDW, later as storage for textiles and tropical fruits from Cuba. Between 1992 and 1995 this was the HQ of Berlin’s gabber scene.
2003 the Boros Collection (contemporary art collection) moved in and made it open to public. Highly recommended! Book well in advance http://www.sammlung-boros.de/besuch/info.html





2)    Hochbunker Pallasstrasse

(C) Wikipedia

(C) Wikipedia


What a beauty. This hulk was only finished on the 1980 and is still used as a bunker nowadays.This one, as most, was built by forced labour from occupied countries. US army tried to bring this bunker down with plenty of dynamite after the end of the war, however they did not succeed. 1977 this ghastly building was accompanied with another beast – 10 story concrete prefab on stills. A must see for urbanism junkies.













3)    Flakturm Humboldhain (above-ground, anti-aircraft gun blockhouse towers)

(C) Wikipedia

(C) Wikipedia


Climbing on top of the remains of this flak tower gives you a breathtaking view of north Berlin. You can also arrange a visit to the adjoined cold war bunker complex with the guides of berliner-unterwelten.de who are more than happy to introduce you to the horrors of everyday war life. http://berliner-unterwelten.de/home.1.1.html


Berlin with kids

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

3393829490_f4c731d162_qYou might be travelling with kids, or you wake up one morning and feel like Tom Hanks in Big.
For both occasions Berlin boast tons of possibilities to indulge in childhood mode.
Animals:
Don’t we all love those funny furry things on 4 legs? Berlin has 2 Zoos to chose from, one in the east, one in the west. For all who prefer colour over fur – go to the aquarium.  Of course we do have 2of those. There is one in the west and have a guess where the other one is. I recommend going with the west zoo and aquarium since they are adjoined and can be both visited easily at once.
Toys:
When I first went to Lego land I was 25 and I didn’t’ regret it at all. So colourful! So many shapes! So ouch!  I once read the lego brick is the most painful object you can step on so be careful. For those who do not like to interact with this world I recommend to go to the Computerspielemuseum. They have a fantastic collection of over 22 000 computer games and 300 consoles, including the original PONG
Art:
Your kid will probably love the Mitmachmuseum (join in museum) an ambitious combination of exhibitions, mazes, print shop, soap factory and jumping stand. If you are more of a spectator, go to Potsdam and take a tour in Babelsberg film studio. Vocano? Check, explosions? Check. Burning cars? Check
Museums:
2 museums suitable for both, old and young, are the technical museum (look, it’s a plane) and the natural science museum (dinosaurs galore). A good idea might be also Madame Tussauds located Unter den Linden. There you’ll find some 2 statues with world-renowned haircuts: A. Hitler and J. Bieber


let’s… get naked

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

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we need to face (i said look in the face!) the fact  – those kinky Germans get naked all the time.

at the beach: naked
in the club: naked
in every cafe in prenzlauer berg you will spot at least one  breast: naked
sauna: naked

german kinkiness is even discussed on yahoo answers.
so, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. the number one place to see some bare skinis a sauna or a hamam . the latter is unfortunately single sex only so half the fun for some of us.

my top 5 choices for saunas in berlin are:
1) Gewölbe sauna
no frills, just good cleansing heat. a local sauna for local people. cheap, clean and instead of a quenching kale juice people drink beer  in between sessions.
Fröbelstraße 17
10405 Berlin
gewölbe-sauna.de
staring level: zero

2) Saunabad
a local sauna for good looking locals. popular among expats, so if you left your hometown because you were sick of everyone, there is a good chance to bump into sb you dislike. beautiful courtyard to cool off and reasonably priced.
Rykestrasse 10  |  10405 Berlin
saunabad-berlin.de
staring level: hello neighbour

3) Olivin
bit zen: outdoor bamboo garden – bit acid:indoor „wow, look at those colors“.
a rather small and atmospheric sauna for those looking for solitude and relaxation.
Schönhauser Allee 177 · 10119 Berlin
olivin-berlin.com
staring level: too enlightend to care
4) Liquidrom
more a spa than a sauna, incl. a thermal bath and a underwater music floating „damn i wish i was stoned“ pool
the sauna itself is top notch. if you ever wanted a honey facial or a classic infusion this is your place.
Möckernstrasse. 10
10963 Berlin
liquidrom-berlin.de
staring level: look at me damn you! look at me

5) Vabali Sauna
ever wanted to go to india, thailand and the other place where all rich people go? all at once?  check out this gem. it’s more like an ample village with a lot of space to ream and relax.
Seydlitzstr. 6
10557 Berlin
vabali.de
staring level: hello you

relax.there is no chance of meeting me in any of the above mentioned since i had 2 bags of chips while writing this.
enjoy!


The Sunday dilemma

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015
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a place where dreams come true: a späty (C) Daniel Gregors

So you wake up in the morning and realise you have nothing to eat. Or lack some other important personal items, like clean undies .
Thing is, all shops are closed on Sunday in Germany so what are you going to do? Well, you could stay in bed and wait.
On Chorinerstr. corner Fehrbellinerstr iIs a späty which is always open. They have basics but be aware, they are more expensive than normal grocery stores. If you are not satisfied with their range, here is a list with shops open all year round:
Supermarket:
Kaisers at main train station 8am – 10pm
Edeka at Friedrichsstrasse S-bahns station 0am – 10pm
Rewe and Lidl at Ostbahnhof ( next to eastside gallery) 7am – midnight
Pharmacy:
Apotheke im Hauptbahnhof ( main train station) open 24/7
Apotheke at Alexanderplatz:  1pm-6pm
Apotheke at Friedrichstrasse: 9am – 8pm
There are also emergency pharmacies, please ask us at the reception. We are happy to find one for you
Drug store:
Rossmann at main train station : 8am -10pm
Rossmann at Alexanderplatz: 8am -10pm
Souvenirs
there are 2 flea markets in walking distance from the eastseven hostel. Alternatively you can find some official ones at Alexanderplatz station . (open 08amUhr -8pm)

Oh, 2 things you don’t need to worry about: booze and fags. These essentials are available everywhere all year round.


So, what is left of the GDR?

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Nowadays you will probably not be able to distinguish between the 2 halves. Guests always ask us if we are located in the East. Well, we surely are. Look at our name. EastSeven.
But it is a good question indeed. Most obvious signs disappeared and are not easy to read by people who haven’t lived in the GDR themselves.
I have collected some of the spots you shouldn’t miss out if you want to get an eastern point of view.

Fotothek_df_n-06_0000089
1)    Abandoned embassies
We have 2 of everything in Berlin. 2 zoos, 2 football clubs. Makes sense for a once divided city. All countries had embassies in the west and the east. Most left their eastern ones after reunification. And by left I mean vanished, disappeared. Still today, 25 years after the wall came down you can enter vacant buildings formerly used by ambassadors and find some official papers. Go to northern Pankow (Tschaikowskistrasse) and see for yourself. Old empty socialist concrete beauties.

2)    Monuments
You want some Lenin but can’t be bothered travelling to mother Russia? No worries, we have some stunning Monument ourselves. The purpose of socialist monuments was to prove that communism was superior over capitalism. You don’t believe me?  Go to Ernst Thälman Park and have a vodka on the base of this bronze sculpture. Such a pity they don’t build these anymore.
3)    Karl Marx Allee
Alright. So you have all these shiny tanks and missiles you want to show off with. You need to it with style because your fellow dictators have some awesome taks themselves.  Why don’t build yourself a nice little road for all the parades? Something to stress your love for Russia.
This street once called Stalinallee is a perfect replica of Russian architecture. It is gigantic like a spaceship, somewhere between picturesque and awe.
4)    Water from wall
Don’t laugh; living in a concrete block was the dream. The alternative was living with your parent or in an old prewar house with coal heating and outside loo. You had to wait for years before getting keys to an own concrete prefab apartment. Take the M6 tram from Alexanderplatz to the eastern suburbs. Experience the dream yourself.

5)    No such agency
Not really. Everybody knew of the Stasi, the infamous secret service. And on the other side, haha, they knew everything about you, too.  Check out the Stasi museum at Ruschestrasse 103 in Lichtenberg to get an insightful feeling for this organisation


Struth! the germs got me

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

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some weird homespun remedies Germans really use.
i shit you not – they actually work

 

 

1) snuffles: inhalation of salt and chamomile
bring 2 liters water to boil, mix with chamomile ( you can use teabags) and 3 spoons of salt – inhale. helps fighting runny noses
2) sore throat: cold pack
put a wet cloth around your throat, then wrap it with a scarf over night. your body will pump as much blood as possible to the cold region, i.e. your throat. satisfaction guaranteed
3) sore throat: gargling
depends on whether you like it salty or not. I usually gargle a salt solution. alternatively you can bring 500 ml to boil , add  2 spoons of sage and let it simmer for 15 minutes. this tincture tastes better than salt and helps too.
4) cough: onion syrup
cut up an onion in half, sprinkle with sugar and leave covered for 1h. „enjoy“ the juices that appear on the surface. they will not only soothe your cough but are rich in vitamin C.
5) all purpose: beer cure
my fav – it either helps or not, but you  tried at least. beer cure is common on bavaria, but so are marian apparitions….
6) chicken broth
boy, these chicken need to run quickly during flu season. a chicken broth is ubiquitous in winter. it is literally the WD-40 of flu remedies

enough voodoo.
there is also a pharmacy just round the corner from the hostel. ask for aspirin complex if you want to be fit within minutes.


you can’t survive on doner kebabs

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

better than dönerwell, technically you can. however, if you are tired of lying to your mum what you had for dinner there are some great alternatives.
we have all been there, the question of all questions: food or beer. if you have just a nickel for food here are some suggestions how to save there. canteens are the answer. dirt cheap and apparently healthy. at least they don’t sell ketchup as salad.

there are some great canteens throughout berlin which are open to public, not just the staff.
let me begin with a strange one
police canteen in marzahn (märkische allele 174). renowned for its authentic east german food ( better than it sounds and quite filling)
you will spend less than 4€, guaranteed! it’s for police so don’t go there straight from the club

 

kiezkantine (Oderberger Straße 50,)
a stones thow from the hostel, open on weekdays between 12.00 to15.45. there you get  some great food prepared by people who have  mental issues but make it up by  great  cooking skills. veggie options available.

 

canteen at the volksbühne theather (Linienstraße 227)
accessible from the back of the massive building. food is nothing special but down-home and you will be able to spot some truly interesting people you would normall have to pay to see.

 

universal music canteen (Stralauer Allee 1, Friedrichshain)
pretty swanky – with some wannabees. the highlight is the deck on the river on the oposite side from  watergate.
the food is more international than in the other ones but slighty more expensive. i just checked this week’s menu, pretty delicious for max 7 euros.

 

isin japanese canteen (Mittelstraße 24 , mitte)
just  round the corner from branderburg gate in a bleak back-road you’ll find this fine, yet still affordable sushi restaurant. it’s not really a canteen, however it mostly caters for japanese staff from companies nearby

 

now you don’t have to lie to anybody anymore – you are welcome


ELI5: berlin public transport system

Thursday, November 27th, 2014
a different ay to use the U-bahn

also a way to use the U-bahn

there is much confusion about how to use our public transport. let me try to explain

tickets:
tickets are valid for 2 hours and must be validated (small box usually located next to the ticket machine). you can only go in one direction. for going back you need a new ticket, even if you still are within the 2 hours.
AB tickets cover all of the city. an ABC ticket is only needed if you want to leave town, i.e. if you want to go to schönefeld airport of potsdam
sort trip tickets are good for 3 stops on U & S and 6 on busses and trams
reduced tickets are for elderly, children or unemployed only.
best value is the day ticket – stamp it ONCE only. if you are staying longer than 5 days buy a week ticket – stamp that one also once only.

means of transportation:
no, there is no difference between U-bahn, S-bahn, busses or trams. tickets are valid for all of them. to companies run the network, the yellow one ( the good ) and the red one (the bad)
S&U usually rum at lest every 5 minutes, from 4am till midnight. N-busses run along underground lines when the underground has stopped.
M-lines: introduced a couple of years ago, confuse still most of the berliners. either trams or busses which operate 24/7 every 10 minutes. quite handy to get home.

what to do at night:
take the following lines to get home:
tram M10 – runs between friedrichshain and prenzlauer berg every 10 minutes. get off at eberswalderstrasse
bus N2 – night bus, operates almost the same route as the U2 every 30 minutes
tram M1 – runs from friedrichstrasse and mitte. get off at kastanienallee
bus N8 takes you from neukölln to hackescher markt, take the N2 from there

this journey planner is also pretty handy 

that’s all folks – if you have any further questions we are more than happy to help. come down to the reception