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

 

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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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

Lindt Second Hand Berlin

by Zoë Noble

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Gnomes

I love that in Berlin there are still so many hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. You can be walking down a quiet street and pass something so unique, unusual or just downright weird that you wonder why people like us haven’t written about it yet? Well I’m about to do my job and blog the shit out of an awesome little store I happened upon recently, called Lindt Second Hand Berlin.

A little disclosure – I normally find vintage shopping pretty frustrating, with most things either overpriced or falling apart (Mauerpark springs to mind!). While I tend to steer well clear, on this occasion I was out with a friend who was on a mission to find a vintage dress for a wedding. So I have Hannah to thank for this little find!

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Hannah Graves

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Clothing Store
Lindt Second Hand Berlin Details

Right away, I was taken aback by the attention to detail that the shopkeeper has obviously taken with the decor. There are some really wonderful details like a huge cake stand full of garden gnomes, a handmade parrot hanging from the ceiling and a child’s rocking horse nestling in between the dresses.

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Rocking Horse

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Parrot

The owner clearly loves what she does and does it really well – presenting a selection of 50s, 60s and 70s dresses that had me watering at the mouth. Every item that I picked up seemed to have been chosen for some reason – its beautiful detailing, unique print or flattering cut.

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Clothing

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Puppets

And here’s where it gets really interesting: Lindt’s prices are REALLY REASONABLE (capitals absolutely necessary). OK, so this isn’t the place for Colours “pay-by-the-weight” bargains… But if you’re looking for great quality, carefully selected vintage pieces that won’t hurt the bank balance too much then I really recommend you check out Lindt Second Hand Berlin. P.S For all you blokes out there they do mens stuff as well!

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Russian Dolls

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