überlin

Prora: The Nazi’s Unfinished Holiday Resort

by James Glazebrook

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When we recently vacationed on the German island of Rügen, there was place we made sure to visit first: Prora. Earmarked by the Nazis as a holiday destination for some 20,000 worn-out workers, construction on the eight buildings of the “Colossus of Prora” was halted by World War Two, since which the huge complex has been used as a military base by the Soviets and East Germans, and later a youth hostel and, seemingly, a squat with its own nightclub.

We rocked up on what turned out to be an unseasonably beautiful September day, both wearing head-to-toe black and Dr. Martens, looking to our fellow holidaymakers like wannabe stormtroopers, or maybe just hipster-goths on vacation. Piling our winter coats on the sand, we rushed into the crystal clear sea with Olive, before climbing through the ruined walls and marvelling at the sheer scale and ambition of Hitler’s answer to Butlins. Construction work confirmed what we’d read about the buildings being redeveloped as vacation apartments, so we’d advise you to visit Prora while it remains one of Germany’s great abandoned relics. 

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Resting at Rügen

by James Glazebrook

Sunset in Rügen

We may not be too sentimental about our home on the northeastern shores of England, but we certainly miss the sea. Sure, Berlin has beautiful lakes, but they don’t quite fulfill our longing to feel the coastal winds whip against our faces, taste the salt in the air and gaze out towards the horizon where blue meets blue. That’s why we chose to spend our short summer break on Germany’s largest island, Rügen, which sits on the Baltic Sea (Ostsee), a mere three hours’ drive from Berlin.

For our first Oliday (holiday with Olive), we pointed our rental car due north and headed towards Trent. Here we arrived at our beautiful Airbnb with an ocean view and its very own sauna!  The location was stunning, with wild flowers dotted all around and the sea only a minutes walk away. On an evening we would sit in the garden with a glass of wine, watching sunset close in and the flashing beacon of Hiddensee lighthouse and feel a million miles away from Berlin.

Having set up camp, we started planning a week of wholesome outdoor activities, including visits to the white cliffs of Jasmund National Park, the tiny towns of Sassnitz and Sellin, and the Nazi’s half-built vacation resort of Prora. Check out the first of our holiday snaps, and stay tuned for more adventures of überlin on Rügen!

Trent Airbnb home

Bedroom with Olive on the bed
Olive relaxing in the sun
Wild Flowers in Rügen


Thistles in Rügen
Olive relaxing in the sun

 

Filterhouse

by James Glazebrook

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The owners of Filterhouse have their priorities in order. By day, they serve an impressive selection of filter coffees, and by night, a full menu of gin and tonics. Replacing the reliable Café Matilda, Filterhouse is ramping up the hipsterfication of our beloved Graefekiez with cold brew and cold drip (where did summer go?) and paleo options which taste as good as real Homo sapien food. We can recommend the pancakes with blueberries, coconut, syrup and mint, the (non-paleo) roast chicken with lime and spinach pesto in coffee-encrusted bread, and the coffee… Oh, the coffee! I tried a Gichathaini from Kenya, which was like a rhubarb-y kick up my arse – and I can’t wait to try the rest of the extensive selection. If you like coffee and/or food, check out Filterhouse. If you don’t, get out now!

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Bite Club

by James Glazebrook

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It’s frankly bonkers that we’ve not been to Bite Club before now. The regular street food festival combines some of our favourite things: yummy food, booze, DJs spinning disco and the company of friends and their dogs (B.Y.O.Bully), all enjoyed al fresco, on a beautiful Berlin summer evening. We headed to the Kreuzberg edition, situated among the shipping containers of Hoppetosse by Badeschiff, to sink our teeth into Bunsmobile‘s next level three-hour-braised bacon burger and Heisser Hobel‘s Käsespätzle – the most mac n’ cheesy we’ve ever had! For drinks, we sampled the best of the Singleton Whisky Bar, including the Boss Hog, a blend of Tailfire single malt, Grand Marnier, sea salted caramel, bitters and… more bacon! Topped off with an ice cream sandwich from Zwei Dicke Bären, we took one more glance at the stunning view down the Spree, before stumbling home to sleep the sleep of the contented. Make sure you don’t miss the next Bite Club!

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Thai Park

by James Glazebrook

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You know how you’re always complaining about the lack of real spicy Asian food in Berlin? And how you won’t venture past Schöneberg on the U-Bahn because West Berlin? Well these two things are not unrelated – and the fact is that you can spend a lovely day out and eat some of the best food you’ve had since moving here, by filling your face at Thai Park.

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You’re looking for the middle of the field at the centre of Preußenpark, situated on the U7, just behind the fleamarket at Fehrbelliner Platz (here’s a map). There you’ll find a cluster of colourful umbrellas, under which the local Thai community are frying up their freshest, finest, most affordable national dishes. Grab a Som Tam salad or something far less heathy, order yourself a caipirinha from the cocktails and shisha stall (multikulti, na?), and find yourself a patch of grass. Then sit back and watch the hustle and bustle of one of our new favourite spots in Berlin.

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Kaizoku Feast Club

by James Glazebrook

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It’s been a while since we’ve been to good supper club, and this was very good supper club indeed. Kaizoku Feast Club is run by the people behind the Japanese Curry pop-up of the same name, a couple of expats who are determined to bring authentic Asian flavours to Berlin. For their first feast, they invited us to sample a selection of hard-to-find dishes based on Szechuan cuisine, all washed down with local microbrew.

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The epic tasting menu was designed to showcase the full range of this particular Chinese cooking tradition, and did it with aplomb. We had pork, beef, even ginger poached chicken presented in triplicate, each time with a different delicious sauce (for the completists, those were classic red oil, fish fragrant and Szechuanese pepper and sesame dressings), and everything was gorgeous, from the roasted red peanuts that whet our appetites to the rice dumplings in sweet honey soup that closed the door on our stomachs.

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Kaizoku Feast Club lives up to its name, so anyone who wants to dig into healthy portions of Asian awesomeness should like this Facebook page for sweet, sweet updates.

Pieoneers bring scotch eggs to überlin!

by James Glazebrook

Berlin Pieoneers scotch eggs and chutney

Just as the quickest route to our heart is through our stomach, the surest way to gain access to the überlin coworking space is by toting bags full of delicious food. A couple of weeks after Silo brought their coffee beans and expertise to us, Pieoneers followed carrying meaty treats aplenty. On the menu were one of their delicious savoury pies and two kinds of Scotch eggs, an English delicacy that is perfect for lining the stomach for a serious night of drinking down the pub.

One of these baked, breaded beauties amounted to nothing less than the perfect hangover cure – recreating a Bloody Mary, with a tomato and basil salsa that replaces the egg’s yolk, all bound together with Worcestershire Sauce and, yep, vodka! The other variety, and the accompanying pie, both lined with black pudding, left us totally satiated, bellies full and homesickness abated.

Berlin Pieoneers Bloody Mary scotch eggs

Berlin Pieoneers pies

To sample a taste of (our) home, go to pieoneers.de and place an online order(!) for pies, Scotch eggs (also available in veggie-friendly Falafel flavour), homemade chutneys and other specialities. Long live Pieoneers!