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The magical mini-gardens of Tempelhofer Feld

by James Glazebrook

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Should you not have a garden, but yearn for one, you can rent a small square of land called a Kleingarten (small garden). Here you can cultivate a garden and sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labours by resting in a little hut.

- Liv Hambrett, What I Know About Germans

The Kleingarten is a very German phenomenon, something like the “Pimp My Ride” versions of the allotments we have back in the UK, with sheds that more closely resemble small houses, featuring permanent grilling facilities, paddling pools and all manner of mod cons. And where better to find the most quintessentially Berlin Kleingärten than at Tempelhofer Feld?

Found sandwiched between the grilling area and dog run at the easterly end of the city’s biggest open space are a cluster of mini-gardens, overgrown with wild flowers and decorated in true random “only in Berlin” style. To find out more about the Gemeinschaftsgarten Allmende-Kontor, visit their Facebook community page (natürlich, auf Deutsch). For now, enjoy these pretty pictures!

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Grunewaldsee

by James Glazebrook

Grunewaldsee boat in lake

Our recipe for a perfect Berlin summer day:

1. Take 1 dog. We recommend a Bully, but any dog will do.

2. Add 1 blazing hot Berlin summer day.

3. Stew in a airtight S7 train. Time may vary, but our lump of dog took 50 minutes to cook through.

4. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes (or as long as it takes to walk from Grunewald to the “dog beach” at Grunewaldsee Hundestrand).

5. Arrange your other ingredients on a picnic blanket. We recommend wine (white or rosé), bite-sized chunks of fruit and veg and assorted dips.

6. Sprinkle your dogmeat with water to keep from drying out.

7. Mix well with other dogs.

8. Enjoy. Guten Appetit!

Grunewaldsee reflection of trees

Grunewaldsee path walkway

Grunewaldsee dog walking along lake

Grunewaldsee Olive walking along lake

Grunewaldsee dogs swimming in lake

Grunewaldsee dog sitting in front of lake

Grunewaldsee pug sitting on tree

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Pfaueninsel

by James Glazebrook

Pfaueninsel Island Peacocks Walking

Pfaueninsel on Wannsee is an idyllic retreat from the hustle and bustle (and broken bottles) of Ringbahn-bound Berlin. At the end of the S7, a short bus ride and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ferry trip transport visitors to a lush little island covered in flowers and stalked by brightly-feathered patrols of peacocks. This designated UNESCO World Heritage Site was originally created as a testament to Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm II’s favoured mistress, and it seems the romance of the place is infectious – even my parents were caught holding hands as they strolled under a leafy canopy! As ever, Slow Travel Berlin have painstakingly record the history of Pfaueninsel, which means we can leave you with our impressions of the place – i.e. the pretty pictures!

Pfaueninsel Island Peacock Walking

Pfaueninsel Island Peacock Feather Closeup

Pfaueninsel Island Peacock

Pfaueninsel Island Couple Walking

Pfaueninsel Island Flowers Closeup

Pfaueninsel Island Wansee Boat

Pfaueninsel Island Schloss Closeup

Pfaueninsel Island Schloss

Photos by Zoë Noble Photography

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Olympus OM-D: Photography Playground 2014

by James Glazebrook

Olympus Photography Playground Visitor

The Olympus OM-D: Photography Playground is back! Compared to last year’s edition (see our review here), the new Playground is less edgy and more family-friendly, which is either good or bad news, depending on whether you have or hate kids. The exceptions are three exhibitions in stark monochrome that use light, sound and material to fantastic effect – whether by creating an HR Giger-esque organic/industrial sculpture, or a sonic strobe-scape with as much impact as Amon Tobin’s 3D live show.

My personal highlight was local artist Clemens Behr’s fragile, fractured installation, pieced together with the materials of the Opernwerkstätten site – a thoughtful work of impressive scale. We totally recommend a (free!) visit, at a time when the place is less likely to be crowded, when you can spend all the time you like immersed in disorientating, photogenic installations. Click here to get all the details.

[Edit: if you want to borrow a free Olympus camera, don't forget to take your passport and Anmeldebestätigung!]

Olympus Photography Playground Hanging Webs

Olympus Photography Playground Webs

Olympus Photography Playground Visitor Taking Photo

Olympus Photography Playground Lens Flare Exhibition

Olympus Photography Playground Light Beams and People

Olympus Photography Playground Light Beams

Olympus Photography Playground Exhibition

Olympus Photography Playground Zoë Noble Portrait Selfie

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Winter Wonderland

by Zoë Noble

As well as concealing countless drug dealers, Hasenheide Park contains many other hidden gems, such as… whatever this is. We suppose that, when temperatures reach positive Celsius, this turns into a fountain, but beyond that, your guess is as good as ours. What is clear though is that, during winter, it takes on an otherworldly aspect which makes for wonderful photos. Enjoy.

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25 Tourist Tricks to Rediscovering Berlin

by James and Zoe

Fucking tourists. Look at them – standing there in the bike lane, with a beer in each hand and a gormless grin on their face, oblivious to the bitter Berliners bearing down on them, piston legs powered by resentment and… is that… envy? They may be morons, but they seem so happy, like little children caught up in the wonderment of what is, for them, the biggest urban playground Europe has to offer.

Well, why should they have all the fun? After three years in the city, we figured we deserve a break from reality as much as any easyjetsetter. So we packed our tour guides into our “fanny packs” and set out to the city’s most obvious attractions, in order to pick up 25 tourist tricks to rediscovering Berlin.

1) Beer for breakfast. 

Beer for breakfast

2) Bratwurst for lunch.

3) Döner for dinner.

Döner for dinner

4) Speak only three words of German: “SPRECHEN. SIE. ENGLISCH?”

5) Rent the biggest bike imaginable…

Rent the biggest bike ever

6) …preferably, one powered by beer.

And make someone else pedal

7) Or go solo and rent a Segway! 

After all, no one wants to be seen with you on that thing.

8) Take the U-Bahn. 

One hour and three transfers later, you’ll have successfully made it across Unter den Linden. 

9) Get busted by BVG inspectors.

See how far you get with the line, “but I’m just a tourist…”

10) Get your photo taken with fake American soldiers…

Get your photo taken with fake American soldiers.

11) ..or THE PREDATOR?!!!

Or the Predator!!??

12) Spend all day in the Sony Center. 

There’s restaurants, a cinema AND DUNKIN’ DONUTS – why would you ever leave?
Spend all day in the Sony Center

13) Try to pay with a card. 

14) After resorting to withdrawing cash, treat your Euros like Monopoly money.

15) Start by tipping generously. 

Dead giveaway.

16) Drink a “beer” that looks like looks nuclear waste.  

17) Glühwein: Christmas in a cup.  

Drink Gluhwein

18) Queue.

For Burgermeister. For Berghain. For the bloody Reichstag.

19) Get knocked back from Berghain. Never understand why. 

20) Be disappointed by the Berlin Wall. 

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21) Marvel at street art as if it was the Sistine Chapel.

Like no one ever drew on a wall where you come from… 

Marvel at street art as if it was the Sistine Chapel.

22) Act like a tit and treat the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe like a jungle gym. 

 Treat the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe like a jungle gym

23) Follow the crowd. It’s going to Mauerpark.

24) Take this selfie.

Take this selfie

25) And finally… PHOTOAUTOMAT!

photautomat

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Former Iraqi Embassy to the GDR

by Guest Blogger

Words and images by Danilo Sierra.

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Abandoned in 1990, this diplomatic haunted house is a treasure chest of urban art and architecture. Official papers lie illuminated only with the visitors’ flashes and the scarce light that trespasses its cracks. In a residential area of Pankow which is said to be the home of major diplomats of the former East Germany, the abandoned Iraqi Embassy to the GDR is a delightful and spooky place to visit. Obviously, Abandoned Berlin has the embassy pretty well covered, and awesome photos can also be seen on Finding Berlin.

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Eisfabrik Berlin

by Guest Blogger

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Did you know that Berlin is full of abandoned buildings covered in awesome graffiti? No? Well in that case, you will be AMAZED by Eisfabrik Berlin, the colourful deserted ice factory sitting on the Spree. As ever, you should check out Abandoned Berlin for the facts, history and other such information – and visit the blog of photographer Danilo Sierra for more great snaps.

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Alpaca Farm, Das Schwarze Haus

by Zoë Noble

alpaca close up

This week I actually left the confines of my Berlin bubble to head north east to a teeny tiny town called Pinnow. The reason for the trip was a lifestyle shoot against the backdrop of a stunningly-designed Thomas Kröger building. Das Schwarze Haus is pretty much my dream home, with its black-stained wood, floor-to-ceiling glass walls and more angles than a dodecahedron. As if that wasn’t enough, I got to visit the neighbouring Alpaca farm and get within spitting distance (literally) of these insane-looking animals! Enjoy.

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(Photos by Zoë Noble Photography)

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Boxhagener Platz Flea Market

by Zoë Noble

We’re slowly working our way through Berlin’s wonderful flea markets but, boy, are there a lot! Recently, we visited Boxhagener Platz in Friedrichshain, which we’d heard great things about. Thankfully it didn’t disappoint, with its great mixture of old nick-nacks, vintage furniture, punk wares and some fucking scary dolls (see pics)! On a much smaller scale than, say, Mauerpark, a trip to Boxi is short, but very sweet – we did one lap, scoping out the best sellers, before stopping off at one of the cute cafes across the Platz to watch people barter (terribly). Check out some of the weird and wonderful things they could have picked up!

Photos by Zoë Noble Photography.

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