Friday, August 27, 2010

Sports in the city

I already wrote about the pleasures of urban adrenalin sports and their number seems to grow with the size of the city. Since I moved to Berlin my sport life has blossomed. Not only I became even worse jogging addict and cycling maniac enthusiast (the latter is inevitable once you get on that bike), I also have the opportunity to do exciting city sports. Such as:

U-bahn surfing: survive the drive with a subway without holding on to anything (or anyone) and surf those waves of underground acceleration mixed with unpredictable movements of disorientated tourists. For details see picture above.

Spot the controller: is a common city sport suitable also for beginners. You don't need much, in fact you don't even need to buy a ticket. While enjoying all privileges of public transport, you will feel the adrenalin with each new stop, while wondering if there is a controller among passengers. You're right - they're not wearing uniforms.

Catch the red light: is a sport popular among car drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. True Berliners can't be bothered with insignificance of stopping at red light. Red is good. Red is sexy. Follow the red. Except when it's the color of cycling track and you're walking on it. Then you should run for your life. Which brings us to the most popular of all city sports.

Dodge the cyclist: Yes, we are insane. Not only will we drive on cycling tracks, we will also drive on pavements, roads, streets and pretty much everything on our way.  After all those road hurdles we need to cycle it out. Be scared. Be very scared.

Cycle hurdling: Coming somewhere easy and on time is boring. Therefore we need obstacles such as:
  • parked cars (upgrade: with opening doors), 
  • delivery trucks unloading their stuff, 
  • confused tourists, checking the maps, 
  • coffee tables/chairs, 
  • slow cyclists that drive in the middle of the track with the speed of injured chicken. 
You name it, we got it. Plain cycling is so 20th century, so bring it on!

Jump to the sound of sirens: I am pretty sure there is a limitation on how loud the ambulance sirens can be and I'm convinced that the ones in Berlin are well above any limit. So jump, as it will surprise you when you will at least expect it. Possibly when your mouth is full of coffee.

As you can see, life in the big city is never boring. Possibly life-threatening, but boring definitely not. Are there any other interesting city sports I've missed so far? Please, do enlighten me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shopping in Berlin

Most of my friends who come to visit aks me where can they buy something "typical Berlin". And they don't mean endless lnumber of Ampelmann products or I love Berlin T- shirts. So if you had different kinda shopping in mind, you might wanna pop into one of these stores:

Kleidungschmuck (Skalitzer Str. 82): is a sweet little shop with clothes, made by young designers. Of course the clothes are a bit more expensive than in H&M, but at least you'll be sure that they're not powered by delicate children handfcrafts. You'll find mixture of clothes from street chic to elegant sporty stuff. The shop is also a bike rental.

Dazu shop is selling designer "ich" bags that resemble Freitag bags (very popular in BLN). They cost from 30 to 100 EUR and are creatively decorated, sometimes also with recycled materials e.g. bike tires. Definitely something that says Berlin.

Zozoville (Mainzer Str. 12) is like a candyshop for fans of bizzarre contemporary art. You can buy beautiful artwork of artists Johan Potma and Mateo. Of course if you're like me, i.e. far from being ritch, you will get your friends one of the posters, not the paintings. They are beautifully obscure.

Freakout (Grünberger Str. 63) is a cute shop with everything from clothes to vintage bags, kitchy souvenir and funky glasses. If you're looking for small and not too expensive gifts, that's your store. It's packed with things that scream Berlin without actually spelling it.

Zierstiche (Gabriel-Max Str. 14) is selling lovely little monsters in different shapes. You'll also find some clothes for children, jewlery, toys, pois, bags buttons and thingies you put on your eyes to sleep during the day (Sleepgoggles?). All things are hand made and incredibly cute.

There is also a fair number of cool shops in Boxhagener Str. and Kopernikussstrasse. In case you're not really sure what you want and how much you wanna spend, go to one of the Berlin fleamarkets on Sunday e.g. one at Boxhagener Platz, the big one in Mauerpark or the occasional one in Neukölln. That should fix any shopping spree.

 Read more about where to in Berlin:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tears in a cup

Finnish indie band Cats on fire are not completely different from all other good indie bands. They are addictively melancholic but that's also not something new. They are however incredibly adorable.
So far they've released 3 albums and I managed to get my hands only on the first one: "The Province complains". According to Wiki:
"The mood in their lyrics extends from melancholie to self irony."
When I asked Ville to sign my CD, he slightly blushed. I find that incredibly cute but then again, I always had a soft spot for the shy guys...

Taste some of their good stuff, yeah:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Miss U-bahn

An excellent idea, creative minds and love for fashion resulted in Miss U-bahn contest, one of those slightly crazy but typical Berlin events. The concept was that designers capture the spirit of their designated U-bahn station in their creations and compete for the title of Miss U-bahn.

Besides creative ideas we also found out interesting historical details about actual U-bahn stations. I have to say that all the contestants showed lots of talent and sense of humour.
     Miss Alexanderplatz:
    Miss Rosenthaler Platz:
    Miss Merhingdamm:
    Miss Schlesisches Tor:
    Miss Kottbusser Tor:
    Miss Warschauerstrasse:
    Miss Potsdamer Platz:
    Miss Zoologische Garten:
    Miss Potsdamerplatz became the new Miss U-bahn 2010. I have to say Miss Warschauerstrasse won my heart by answering the final round with: "Can I at least get a fucking beer if I answer?" Also Miss Rosenthaler Platz was extremely good in the talent round with her ghost performance (during the Berlin Wall times this station was not functioning and was kinda ghost station). Maybe they have more chances next year?
    P.S. Thank u JinX for the tip about the event.

    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    Radio Dept. - Swedish indie with a style

    I like discovering new band by checking upcoming concerts and listening to the songs on youtube. In this way I discovered Local Natives, a band that quickly became one of my new favorites.

    So last week I Radio Dept. came on my indie radars. They are an indie band from Sweden (Lundt), that exists for 15 years. So far they've released 3 albums and I have to say, I really like the music they play. Not only they sound extremely well, their songs are also political.

    The concert was like a balsam for every indie fan. Soft indie electro was extending from chillout to dancy rhythms. By a coincidence my friend and me met a part of the band after the concert.  Interesting coversatoins about music, politics and life pretty much convinced me they really have something important to say.

    In case you wanna hear - I recorded this video at the concert.

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    Sidewalk Philosophy

    Sometimes it seems that people on the sidewalks are behaving unlogical and are often on your way.

    I finally figured out how it works :)

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    Cool places in Berlin

    The Berlin U-Bahn train type A3L92Image via Wikipedia
    It took me a while to find out about alternative places in Berlin and even longer to discover really cool places, outside the tourist gridlines. So here they are - make a good use of them when you visit Berlin.

    Squats: Almost in every part of the city there is also a squat. The most popular events are of course parties and VoKu (Volks Küche), a meal prepaired by volunteers that is usually quite cheap (2 or 3 Eur). Sometimes they also have international VoKu (e.g. traditional Norwegian food), vegan Voku etc. If you're into alternative and/or activist stuff, you'll feel right at home there. You will find most of the squats happening on the website Stressfaktor.

    Chén Chè Teahouse is one of most recently discovered places, described as an oasis in the middle of the city. It really is, as this Vietnam Teahouse is hidden in the courtyard and beautifully decorated with plants. It feels like entering a secret garden. Is you are a tea person it's a must. They also have meals and delicious sweets. It's so nice that I even forgave them for telling me that dumplings were vegetarian. Anything that had a heartbeat can't be vegetarian, including fish and crabs.

    Schwarze Kanal is a community of artists activists, living in trailers. It used to be situated by the river Spree (hence the name) and was moved this summer to it's current location near Treptower park. Occasionally they organise festivals and activities but mostly, live together and work on their projects. It's one the Berlin secrets that are not so easy to discover.

    Krumme Lanke is a lake, just a but outside the city, the last station of underground line U3. Unlike Wansee or lakes around it, it's less turistic so it's possible to enjoy a nice swim or a picnic without feeling like you're on a festival.

    Even after almost a year Sadhu is and remains my favorite restaurant. It is a Pakistani restaurant with delicious food and friendly staff that occasionally gives you something nice to drink on the house. Unlike other similar restaurant on that street, Sadhu is almost always full.

    White trash is probably a dream of every rock fan - it's a fast food place with indie punk rock/rock music and concerts. Burgers are so big they come in two parts, served with fries. Additional plus: all burgers are available in veggie version and it tastes amazingly well. Also the menu is extremely amusing. Check for yourself.

    Of course this are only some of the cool places I'd reccomend, be continued.
    P.S. Those of you, who prefer your burgers with meat - I heard that the best burgers in Berlin are @ Burgermeister.

    More about Berlin:
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