BEAUTY FROM ABROAD: THE NOT SO OBVIOUS GUIDE TO BERLIN
MORNING BEAUTY’S DEPUTY EDITOR, YÉSSICA KLEIN, SHARES HER FAVOURITE PLACES TO EAT, DRINK AND BUY IN HER MOTHER’S HOMELAND, BERLIN
There is a reason everyone you know is moving to Berlin – and it is not only about economic motives. I’m not talking about seeing the Berlin wall, buying souvenirs of the Ampelmann or taking pictures by the Holocaust Memorial either.
Germany’s most international city is the current hub of creativity, welcoming all sorts of artists and chosen birthplace of cool start-ups. It is not all about the affordable rents and the ease one gets away with using the tube without a ticket: Berlin, despite being a capital with all its benefits, still gives you a slow pace of living and a small city vibe, not to mention the undying source of inspiration. It is a city that you can fall in love with and stay that way.
So take it easy, avoid Frierichstraße (the Oxford Circus like, high fashion street – hoards of tourists included) and follow these tips instead:
Die Feinbäckerei: the countless stalls of curry wurst scattered around the streets may be tempting, but for a good taste of classic German food, try the Feinbäckerei instead. Meats are an easy choice: if you want to be surprised, try the maultaschen (€ 7,90 – € 8,90). The pasta dish, very similar to the Italian ravioli, is served in a delicious blue cheese sauce – even better in a winter night. As for dessert, order the knödel (€ 4,20): traditional potato dumplings served with vanilla sauce.
Vorberstraße 2 (U7 Kleitspark)
Five Elephant Coffee & Cake: how many times you went to a coffee shop that sources and roasts its own coffee? And I don’t mean big chains, of course – that is not the Berlin style. Hidden by the canal in Görlitzer Park, the Five Elephant Coffee & Cake visits every one of its suppliers, based in Brazil, Ethiopia and Kenya, and guarantees they have good social and environmental friendly conditions. The perfect way to start the day: guilt free cup of expresso and homemade banana bread.
Address: Reichenbergerstraße 101
Eis Manufaktur: established in Berlin in 2004, the Eis Manufaktur quickly spread across the city and luckily its delicious ice creams are now available in every main neighbourhood. If you see one, make sure to stop – no matter the weather! Pistachio, mango, Madagascar’s vanilla and salted caramel are only a few options – and every flavour is homemade, leaving out industrial pastes or mysterious fats. Lactose intolerants and vegans are also welcome at the ice cream parlour, and I can assure the taste is just as wonderful.
Address: Auguststraße 63
Clärchens Ballhaus: your dancing night out just became more fun. The Clärchens Ballhaus, opened more than one hundred years ago and officially a Berlin’s cultural monument, offers a feeling of time travelling and lots of fun. On Sundays, get a drink and enjoy a trip through music history, starting at the 20s and going all the way to brit pop, or try a quiet lunch during the weekdays. Either way, I doubt you won’t post pictures of the beautiful decorations on Instagram (the golden mirrors will make any selfie forgivable).
Address: Augustraße 24
Ratzeputz: located in Berlin’s most bohemian street, Wesserstraße, the Ratzeputz it’s probably the place where your night out will start. The reason? A distilled root ginger drink the bar is named after – containing no less than 58% alcohol and drank by shots. It’s a place for gathering friends and staying indoors – it is allowed to smoke there – drinking and laughing non-stop.
Address: Wesserstraße 182 (U7 Hermannplatz)
Tempelhofer Feld: unfortunately, many guides leave this beautiful park out of their pages, including the more famous Tiergarten or Mauerpark instead. But on summer days, it’s to Tempelhof the cool Berliners go: to barbecue or picnic with friends, bike and skateboard around, use the communal orchard or simply watch one of the most beautiful sunsets ever. And it has a cool story too: it’s an old airport, deactivated in 2008 and transformed into a park in 2010, so you can still see the flight guidance numbers on the pavement and old control towers.
Address: U6 Tempelhof
Original Unverpackt: it’s part of the German culture to be super environmental friendly. It is easy to notice it – lots of bikers instead of drivers, lack of plastic bottles offering and benefits for recycling. The Original Unverpackt follows the trend: it is a package free supermarket, where you can buy your groceries using your own containers. Everything organic and fair traded, of course. Even if shopping it’s not on your list, it’s definitely worth a try – just to see how it’s possible to reduce trash.
Address: Wiener Straße 16
Weleda: you will never find a German that’s not obsessed with Weleda. The homeopathic brand has gained cult following abroad over the years, but it’s always worth to see it in its original country. They offer everything from soaps to medicine, but if in doubt on what to try, give the famous Skin Food a try, or the natural Ratanhia toothpaste.
i+M: fair trade, organic and vegan, the Berliner cosmetic brand seems to conceive the city’s every wish (they even have a line homaging Berlin, named after it). With colourful and minimalistic packaging, it’s hard to resist their products – not that you have to. When picking one, special attention to the hair line: ditch the harmful sodium laureth sulphate for their plant made, chemical free shampoos.
Alva: natural make-up with anti-aging effect? It is possible, thanks to Alva. Created in 1988, the brand has a wide range of products, including eye shadows, lipsticks and foundations – not to mention the amazing skincare products. Everything not tested on animals, of course.