Here’s an interview we did recently for both German TV channel ZDFinfo and the web series 140 Sekunden (140 Seconds). We’re pretty mortified by our shifty eyes, the sound of our voices and the weird solitary “….yeah” that James says right at the end of the segment, but we’re still glad we did it! Check it if you want to learn a little bit more about us, our thoughts on gentrification and the Give Something Back to Berlin project, and – more importantly – SEE RARE FOOTAGE OF OLIVE. And, for the Germans, here it is auf Deutsch - just scroll through the guy in the orange shirt and the Nazis.
The Loxx Miniature Railway version of Berlin is probably the city’s best-kept secret, or at least it was until our photos ended up on the front page of The Guardian website. Small world(!) – on our second visit to the mini-Berlin on top of Alexa mall, we ran into Dave from the blog Andberlin – who also named Loxx as one of his highlights of the year. This is the perfect place to go on a rainy winter’s day.
To celebrate Zoë’s birthday we went to Stockholm and Copenhagen and while we were there, visited the most beautiful and inspiring place we’ve ever been. Looking back at our post about the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, I feel like my words fail to live up to Zo’s stunning photos, and even those can’t capture the breathtaking beauty of the museum and its coastal environment. We thoroughly enjoyed our short time in Scandinavia, but the Louisiana was the hands-down highlight.
The first of our articles to appear on The Guardian, 5 Apps Berlin Really Needs, was a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the buzzy, bubbly startup capital of Europe. Our iProtest app concept gamified civil disobedience, while Angry Berliners turned German bureaucracy into an addictive platform game. Our Buskamatic app aside, March was a great month for music – Modeselektor released the iconic video for their “Berlin” anthem, and we discovered Big Stu’s comedy rap tributes to Hühnerhaus and Kottbusser Tor.
Our personal highlight of the year has to be getting our hands on this little ball of cute. In fact, Olive is probably many readers’ main reason for visiting the blog – we might be better off training her to work a camera and a laptop and leaving her to it! The unofficial überlin mascot, Big Ö is recognised way more frequently than we are, and has turned up in the unlikeliest of places – including an Instagram tutorial video and a conversation with a Bully-obsessed stranger at my cousin’s wedding (“you own Olive the dog?!!!”). Apart from welcoming our fuzzy daughter to the fold, we also ate the meal of the year (with matched cocktails!) at Rollin Restaurant.
If our May pick was a movie it would be the überlin prequel, Escape from Newcastle. While our home toon stands for everything we hate (or is that the other way around?), we still have a soft spot for the football-loving Stella-downing lads and lasses we grew up with – something we hope came across in our “origin story”, From Geordie Shore to Germany. Back in Berlin, visiting friends introduced us to the Ramones Museum, the only such institute devoted to the Detroit proto-punks in the whole world, the personal collection of a Berliner who must be their greatest fan.
It might seem obvious, but our What I Know about Germans post is like David Hasslehoff’s “Looking For Freedom”: ubiquitous, infectious, and every German loves it . Credit for our “greatest hit” actually goes to writer Liv Hambrett, for her keen observations about her adopted countrymen, and illustrator Mischief Champion who’s busy bringing them to life for WIKAG – the book! Photo op of the month (year?) had to be Berlin Gay Pride 2012 – so many queers! So many colours!
It seems like a long time since Zoë spent a boiling Berlin Fashion Week maximising her time in the air-conditioned tent, and occasionally popping outside to photograph slebs like Fashionbloggerin Miggy. Lucky for us, she braved the heat long enough to get these impressions of Berlin Fashion Week SS13.
While Peaches was never exactly a reason for moving to Berlin, we’ve never been able to think about the city without picturing her merkin. Since we arrived, we’ve been lucky enough to see her twice: “doing herself” live on stage and orchestrating a protest/video shoot in support of Pussy Riot. We weren’t the only starstruck fans following this freak parade into Mauerpark, and it was impressive to see Ms Nisker whipping up a storm to publicise an important – and still ongoing – cause. Less colourful, but no less eye-opening, was guest blogger Russell Dornan’s look behind the closed doors of Berlin’s Natural History Museum.
You Know You’re a Berliner When… you pose for a photo pretending the TV Tower is your penis, which then becomes a lightning rod for critics of hipsters, expats and archisexts (I made this one up). Having regular “Berlinergasms” was just one of 11 sure-fire signs that you’ve become a Berliner, along with dancing in a U-Bahn station and witnessing at least one daily act of crazy. Zoë saw more craziness at London Fashion Week SS13 – here is just a taste.
October was a month of light and dark. The gloomy nights provided the perfect backdrop for the Festival of Lights and (we think) our animated GIFs were the perfect demonstration of the event’s kaleidoscopic displays. Far less joyful was Berlin Crawling: 10 Halloween Horror Films, a list of creepshows shot here in the Haupstadt, ranging from the slick (the neo-Giallo short Yellow) to the just plain sick (corpse love story Nekromantik).
We’re so glad Phia agreed to be the first subject in our series of Berlin portraits. We’d heard the Australian singer/songwriter/thumb-pianist at an intimate concert in a fellow musician’s house, and loved her stories and songs about her granddad, a Berliner, and what it meant to live in his hometown. We spent a beautiful, crisp day discovering her Berlin, and sharing our love for the creative, open city we now call home. Oh, and we celebrated two years of überlin/living in Berlin!
As we entered our third winter in Berlin, we thought we should share the survival skills we’ve picked up with expats who’ve recently arrived from warmer climes. With the help of Josh Bauman’s awesome caricatures of us (and Olive!), our more-or-less practical tips about How to Survive a Berlin Winter helped to restore calm among the panicky sun-botherers freaking out at the first sight of snow. I wonder if anyone’s quit their job or grown a beard on our advice? And giving away €250 of Berlin-themed swag was a great way to end another awesome year of überlin.
Join us in 2013 for more Berlin love and LOLs. Happy New Year!
Even if you aren’t a dog lover, you’ll find much to enjoy in Bullys Bakery: a great flat white (the yardstick I use to measure the standard of a place’s coffee), beautiful cakes and delicious Flammkuchen. A German speciality, these sauceless pizzas are an überlin fave, and the ones we ate at Bullys, especially the chorizo, egg, goat’s cheese and rocket, the best we’ve ever had. So if you ever find yourself on Weserstrasse, pop in for a coffee and cake, and say “wüf” to Kurt for us!
Not content with having two lovely cats here in Berlin, we decided to keep things interesting and throw a new puppy into the mix! Maybe we’re mental, but after moving to another country, where we didn’t know anyone or even speak the language, we thought that looking after a puppy would be <ahem> a walk in the park. We didn’t count on the sleepless nights and constant playing, walking and training that make this pretty much a full time job. But when we look into those big bug eyes our hearts melt, and it’s all worth it.
This wasn’t an easy decision (especially with two cats!) and we only found Olive after six months of searching for a breeder who cared as much about their animals as we did. We first found Chien Royal, whose photos alone are worth checking out even if you don’t feel you can commit to the real thing. Unfortunately they didn’t have any pups left so they recommended Martina at Kleine Franzosen, whose dam had just had a litter. We waited ten weeks until Olive was ready to leave her mum, but thankfully Martina kept me up to speed daily with how she was getting on and posted lots of photos on her Facebook page so I didn’t miss out on her growing up. I really can’t thank her enough for all her help and advice – she’s clearly committed to breeding happy, healthy bullies, and making sure they go to the right homes.
Olive is now settling in really well (she can “sit” already!) and the cats even are adjusting to their new sister . If you fancy keeping up to date with Olive’s adventures, then you can check out her very own Tumblr here.