City Travel Review: 24 Hours in Berlin
Klunkerkranich is a secret bar tucked away at the top of a commonplace shopping centre on Karl-Marxstraße, where you can take in the panoramic view of the city’s skyline.
If you take the lift to the 5th floor of the Neukölln Arcaden and make a beeline across the car park, you’ll see a trail of festival-inspired banners wind up a ramp to the bar’s entrance.
Klunkerkranich is best at sunset, when the natural light casts the city gold. The terrace’s different wooden levels buzz with the chatter of those enjoying after-work drinks and the thrum of upbeat music. The bar is kitted out with oversized lampshades, quirky mismatched furniture, and a wire three-eyed Cheshire cat.
After 4pm, Klunkerkranich charges an entrance fee of €3. However, your stamp allows your return. As night falls, the music pumps louder and you can enjoy a cold Weißbeer (€3.50) or glass of wine (a small is €2), whilst dancing to some light dance music. If you fancy saving a few coppers, you can bring your own booze, kick back and enjoy the breath-taking view from seats just before the entrance.
Klunkerkranich, Neukölln Arcaden, Karl-Marx-Straße 66, 12043 Berlin • U Rathaus Neukölln • Mon-Sat 10:00-01:30, Sun 12:00-01:30 • € • http://www.klunkerkranich.de/
Smokey. Gaudy. Raunchy. Roses is a flamboyant and fabulous bar-cum-disco in Kreuzberg. With pink fluffy walls, pulsating fairy lights and illustrations of a doleful Mother Mary on a garish flashing jukebox, the blasphemous décor gives the bar a fabulously kooky twist.
Roses is both cheap and welcoming. It is cash only, and beer is €3.50 whilst wine is a modest €3. This bar doesn't have a strict door policy, so you can look forward to wearing whatever the hell you like and having a great night with your whole gang, without fear of rejection.
Both locals and tourists favour this beloved drinking establishment alike, and so it can get pretty packed. Since there’s limited seating you’ll most likely be standing cheek-by-jowl with strangers, which is a sure way to make new friends. It’s open every day and is great for a casual drink, or as a first stop before moving onto other wateringholes in the area. But as per, please abide by the ‘no photo’ rule.
Roses Bar, Oranienstraße 187, 10999 Berlin • U Kotbusser Tor • Mon-Sat 21:30-06:00, Sun 21:30-00:30 • € • https://www.facebook.com/TheRosesBerlin/
Soviet Memorial Park
Passing through Treptower Park’s engraved archway into the Soviet Memorial Park feels like stepping into a realm where time stands still. The park is stark and eerily quiet, and its vastness makes it feel eternally empty. As one of Germany’s largest Soviet War Memorials, it is thoroughly daunting and impressive.
The memorial was designed by Soviet artist Yakov Belopolsky and was built in 1946-1948 to commemorate 5,000 of the 80,000 Red Army soldiers that were killed in Berlin during World War 2. At the distant end of the park stands a 12 metre-tall statue of a Soviet soldier. He is poised over a broken swastika and has a babe in one arm and a sword in the other. The lone soldier is a representation of a sergeant called Nikolai Masalov, who risked his life to rescue a young girl from a tirade of bullets.
The 16 sarcophagi that line the boulevard leading up to the sergeant stands for the 16 Soviet Republics. Each is etched with a military scene and Russian and German translations of Joseph Stalin’s quotes. This epic site is for anyone with an inkling of interest in history or architecture.
Puschkinallee, 12435 Berlin • U Treptower Park • Mon-Sun, 24 hours • Free •
Tempelhofer Feld Airport
You can’t get much more Berlin than Tempelhofer Feld. The decommissioned airport has a dark history and is equipped with abandoned buildings, nearby hipster cafes and Instagram-worthy vistas.
The airport was built in the 1920s and was used as a military station during WW2. It was closed in 2008 and only two years later, the government returned it to the people as a public space.
Tempelhofer is a success story of people power. When the decision was put to the city as to whether the airport should be sold off for construction space, Berliners won with a ‘no’ vote by an avalanche of 65%. Now, it serves as a social watering hole for dog-walkers, kite-boarders and joggers to enjoy the open air on two parallel runways.
For the past year, the main building has been used as an emergency home for 1,200 refugees. This isn’t something you would notice as a visitor, but do take the time to do some research into the issue.
Rollerblades and vintage bikes can be rented from nearby ‘Tempel-on’ for an amicable €5. As it’s exposed, be sure to bring plenty of water and sun cream in the summer and to wrap up warm in the colder months.
Tempelhofer Feld, 12101 Berlin • U Boddinstraße • Mon-Sun 06:00-20:30 • Free •
Shakespeare & Sons
Walking along Warschauerstraβe, this oh-so-hipster ‘books and bagels’ store will immediately lure you in. The benches are forever filled with trendy 20-somethings sipping on fresh ginger tea, and chowing down on homemade squidgy cookies, and the inside is lined with an assortment of fairly pricey, extremely artsy English books, which are handpicked by the husband and wife that run the shop.
But most importantly, it’s the bagels that win the show. These boiled and baked goodies are fresh from the oven, and come in around 10 different flavours, from honey oat to onion, with a combination of yummy fillings. A popular choice is the Rosemary and Sea Salt bagel with avocado and fresh tomatoes, and is also at the cheaper end of the menu, at only €3.50 if you take it away. For the sweeter toothed fiend, the ‘Sticky Goat’ made with goats cheese and honey at €3.80, is certainly worth a try.
The staff are friendly and English-speaking, the Wi-Fi works and whilst it’s not the cheapest place around, Shakespeare & Sons is the perfect pit stop to have a browse and to rest your weary feet after a long day of sightseeing.
Shakespeare and Sons, Warschauer Str. 74, 10243 Berlin • S Frankfurter Tor • Mon-Sat 09:00-20:00, Sun 10:00-20:0 • €€ • http://www.shakesbooks.de/
Book Burning at Bebelplatz
At first glance, you may miss the Book Burning Memorial in Bebelplatz. Located just off the magnificent boulevard ‘Unter den Linden’, this memorial is usually marked by a gaggle of camera-wielding tourists who are standing face down, clicking their lenses furiously at their feet. But please, don’t be fooled by its lacklustre appearance.
The memorial is a glass peephole looking directly into an underground room lined with empty bookcases. The art installation by Israeli artist Micha Ullman is aptly named ‘Library’ and was inaugurated in March 1995.
‘Library’ commemorates the 20,000 books that were burned in Bebelplatz on May 10, 1943. Texts that were deemed a threat to the Nazi regime, such as works by Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud, were destroyed in the exact same spot the memorial now stands.
The contrast of the modest installation against the ornate ‘old European’ Humboldt Universität that surrounds it evokes a haunting and disjointed feeling when you think on the toxic behaviour that took place here.
As a free site that is mere feet from other historic hotspots (see p.5 for Hedwig’s Church review), it’s well worth a visit, and a moment to pause and reflect.
Unter den Linden, 10117 Berlin• U Hausvogteiplatz • Mon-Sun • Free •