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Thanks to our mates at ocelot, not just another bookstore we have a new selection of books for you to explore in the Fabisch Library at the Circus Hotel. Not only have Maria and Frithjof helped us make our picks, but we have made some our own and you can read about why we have chosen the books that we have. First up for Circus staff picks are Hotel Manager Katrin, who chose ‘Why we took the car’ by Wolfgang Herrndorf, and the Communications team Lisa and Paul, who chose ‘All the Lights’ by Clemens Meyer and ‘The Berlin Wall’ by Frederick Taylor respectively. Keep an eye out on the Fabisch Library during the upcoming renovations, as we will be extending our choices and adding more staff picks for you to try, and thanks again to our friends at ocelot for helping us with our selection.

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About ocelot, not just another bookstore…

You can find ocelot on Brunnenstraße 181, only a few meters away from The Circus. What makes ocelot so special is not only the café, where you can hang out with your friends and family after an exciting tour through the city or read your new book right away, but the fact that it’s a place full of people who love literature. And who won’t hesitate to help you with even the most desperate calls for help – “I’m looking for this book with the blue cover, it shows a dog on the beach”. It is a short walk from the hotel, so why not go check it out?

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Olympic-Stadium

How long has it been…four, five weeks, since that glorious night in Rio when the German National Team were crowned Champions of the World? It seems like only yesterday, and – unbelievably – the new season is already upon us, as local heroes Hertha BSC welcome their Bundesliga rivals Werder Bremen to the Olympic Stadium for the opening game this coming Saturday.

Not only are the Germans World Champions, but we also have one of the most popular leagues in the world… and the Bundesliga has become legendary for its model of fan-ownership of clubs, a great atmosphere, proper beer in the stadiums, and decent ticket prices. As always, here at the Circus we give our guests the opportunity to sample the matchday experience at its best, as we have tickets for every home game of Hertha BSC. Tickets cost a barely believable €15, and include public transport both to and from the Olympic Stadium. An incredible deal.

And at the same time, whatever happens on the pitch, it is worth making the journey just to see the stadium itself. Built for the 1936 Olympics, when Jesse Owens won four gold medals in a games hijacked by the Nazis for propaganda purposes, it was completely renovated in time to host the 2006 World Cup, when Zinedine Zidane (literally) bowed out in his own unique way.

As for what you can expect on the pitch, Hertha BSC have been something of a yo-yo club in recent years, taking turns to play in the top flight and the second tier. But last year they kept their place in the Bundesliga, and with the opportunity to play two seasons in a row with the elite, they will be hoping that this new found stability will give them the chance to kick on from their 11th place finish last season, one place ahead of the team they are playing on Saturday, Werder Bremen.

Tickets are limited, so if you wanna go the match, get on down to reception!

Hertha BSC vs Werder Bremen
Saturday 23 April
Kick-Off: 15.30
Tickets: €15 – available from reception (and include public transport)

(Image: © visitBerlin | Scholvien)

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This is (some of) us at the opening of UVR Connected in the Hotel building on the corner of Rosenthaler Platz. Those of you who have been keeping an eye on the blog will have seen the announcement of the opening a few months ago, and after a lot of work clearing the space and getting it ship-shape, the big event took place last week. Here’s what we said about our new neighbours back then:

“Alongside carefully chosen brands, UVR Connected stores also sell their own collection, much of which is produced in the countryside north of Berlin in a region known as the Uckermark. Using fabrics from Italy and France, UVR Connected creates clothing that is timeless, classic and, in their own words, “grown up”. We think it is great that we will have on the square another local company, committed to production in Germany and Europe, and we are looking forward to welcoming our new neighbours to the square.”

Well now they are here we are certainly happy to have them next door, and as the dust settled on the opening party we sent Lisa around to take some pictures so you can get an idea what to expect. Rosenthaler Platz just got a lot more stylish:

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Today is the 53rd anniversary of the day the border between East and West Berlin was closed using rolls of barbed wire and hundreds of armed guards. Within hours the construction began of what would become known at the Berlin Wall, the most visible manifestation of Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” that divided not only the city, the country, but also Europe. The Berlin Wall continues to shape the city almost 25 years after it came down, and if you are interested in learning more, there are a number of fascinating exhibitions and other sites of memory to explore. Here are some of our favourites:

Berlin Wall Memorial and Documentation Centre

Just a short walk up the hill from the Circus, Bernauer Straße was the location for some of the most dramatic scenes during the days following the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. Many escapes both above and below ground took place here, as well as some of the first tragic deaths of people attempting to cross the dividing line. The stretch from Bernauer Straße U-Bahn station to Nordbahnhof is now home to a large open-air exhibition about the many historically important events that took place here, as well as  the Chapel of Reconciliation and a preserved stretch of the Wall itself which stands as a memorial site. The Documentation Centre is closed until November 2014 for renovations, but the Visitor’s Centre houses an interesting shop with books, videos and other resources relating to the history of the Berlin Wall.

U-Bahn: Bernauer Straße
www.berliner-mauer-gedenkstaette.de

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Rummelsburg

After a great summer of Open Air parties down in Rummelsburg, hosted by the fabulous FLY Watergate crew and their pals, this Sunday 17 August sees the final installment – for this summer at least. Here’s what they have to say…

“A fantastic summer at Rummelsburg is coming to an end and for the grand finale we will be going out with a big bang! Our favourite location will be especially prepared for the occasion with the sand sifted and the trees perfectly combed. The weather fairy has already been bribed so all you fortune seekers can rave to your hearts content as the sun charges our batteries with all its’ strength one last time. That the music for the show will be amazing should go without saying…so anyone who isn’t familiar with Loco Dice, Jamie Jones or the fantastic live shows of dOP is going to get some serious extra tuition from us. Whether barefoot or in polished shoes, everything goes, just don’t forget your sunscreen!”

As always, we have tickets available at the reception of the Circus Hostel for €19,50, and it is going to be some party… check out the facebook page of the events for more information, as well as links to the artists performing on Sunday.

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So the Circus Creativity Bonanza continues apace… anyone who has been to Rosenthaler Platz in recent weeks will see that the renovations to both the hostel and hotel buildings are in full swing. On the hotel side, the new corner shop from our friends at UVR Connected has opened – we will be bringing you some photographs from the interior in the coming days – whilst across the street the Apotheke space has now joined the opticians under the deconstruction hammer.

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But what to expect in the future? Well, behind the scenes the Circus team and our buddies at Unit Berlin have been formulating their plans for both inside and outside the hostel building, and today we are offering a sneak peak of what you can expect for the façade of the building. We have so many ideas that we cannot wait to share with you, so keep following us here on the blog to find out more in the coming weeks and months.

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Lisa takes us on a trip south, to the absorbing Spreewald, just an hour or so by train from central Berlin…

If you ever feel like escaping the noise of the city to seek refuge in the countryside beyond Berlin, then Lübbenau is the place to choose. Known as the gateway to the Spreewald it is a small place with a population of around 18,000, most of whom appear to prefer to get around by bicycle rather than the car… which means that from the moment you get off the train you can hear the birds and the wind in the trees.

Some people would say there is not much “to do” in a place like Lübbenau, but I think the opposite is true. I can spend hours walking around the old quarter of the town taking pictures, exploring the narrow alleys with their small, picture-perfect houses, checking out the lovely church and the impressive old castle – nowadays used as a hotel and surrounded by a park.

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For lunch ‘Bootsverleih Petrick’ next to the campsite is quite a good choice. You get a large helping of tasty food for little money, as well as the chance to meet assorted holidaymakers, many of whom seem to have come to the Spreewald to canoe its many canals, rivers and other waterways. To retain the landscape, in 1991 UNESCO declared big parts of the Spreewald to be a biosphere reserve. A trip in a traditional wooden punt gives you an impression of the 1,500 kilometres of waterways. The punt tour to Lehde, a small village next to Lübbenau, is highly recommended!

You can book a trip with a short or a longer stop to visit the outdoor museum. Old farms, gardens and liveries tell about the Lower Sorbian history. If you feel like taking a closer look at the museum and having food at one of the restaurants in Lehde, I’d go for the more extensive tour. For children and those with a pretty lively inner child the swimming pool ‘Spreewelten Bad’ offers a unique attraction. Seperated by a glass panel you can play catch with twelve penguins. Furthermore they have a huge wave pool, water slides and a range of wellness acitivities. And don’t forget to bring Spreewald gherkins for your family and friends back home!

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Only a short walk from The Circus you find a museum that couldn’t differ more from venues like ‘Pergamon Museum’ or the ‘New National Gallery’. It’s a place that you wouldn’t expect in Mitte and that – to be honest – looks a bit weird from the outside. Some of the windows are masked and most of what you can see is a mishmash of lamps, old cameras and furniture. As soon as you enter the ‘Surreal Museum of Industrial Objects’ you set food in a both spooky and interesting world. The small rooms are packed with industrial things that Vlad Korneev, a photographer and artist, arranged in a unique way. From the first moment on you start wondering what those things might be useful for. Some everyday objects that all of us use plenty of times a day suddenly don’t look familiar at all. Others are items from a long gone time and combined with dolls and outdated medical devices the scenery sends a chill down the visitor’s spine. You can either choose to walk around on your own or join a guided tour. Whatever you decide to do: feel free to ask questions. Here’s an easy one: What could this be?

A small hint: when the first copies where produced, it was a luxurious thing to have that most people couldn’t afford. Nowadays your neighbours would probably call the police soon as you switch it on because it’s incredibly loud.

The ‘Designpanoptikum’ is definitely more than a museum – it fills grown-ups with wonder.

Designpanoptikum
Torstraße 201
Mon – Sat 11 am to 6 pm
Entrance fee: 7€

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