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As you might know, we have recently begun working with the Schülerpaten Berlin – a mentoring project for children of migrant backgrounds in the city. This weekend, Dana, Romy and the rest of the gang from the Schülerpaten Berlin were in the Mauerpark fleamarket, raising money to help them continue with their activities. And so we dug into our “lost and found” at the Circus to donate some clothes and books for the stand, and Lisa, Jule and some Circus guests also headed up the hill to lend a hand and see what was what.

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Aside from the fact that it was almost uncomfortably hot beneath the canvas of the market stall, they raised over €200 for the Schülerparten Berlin, which makes the day a great success… well done guys!

Open Air

WE LOVE THE SUMMER! And there is nothing we like more than the fantastic Open Airs series of events presented by our friends at FLY Watergate. Because of the overwhelming popularity of the events in recent years they have added a date for 2014, and so there are five fantastic parties to enjoy featuring some of the biggest names in electronic music, such as Fritz Kalkbrenner, Tiefschwarz, Carl Craig, Solomun and many more.

The first event is coming up on Sunday 22nd June – the Life and Death Open Air – featuring Tale Of Us, DJ Tennis, Mind Against, Ame LIVE, Christian Löffler and more. As for all the Open Airs @ Rummelsberg we have tickets available at reception for €19,50, and keep an eye out on the Circus Blog over the summer as for some of the parties we will be putting a Circus party posse together which you are more than welcome to join!

FLY Watergate Open Airs website
event Facebook page

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As the weather warms the city streets it is time to roll out the yoga mats on the roof terrace for our twice-weekly sessions. Once again the yoga classes are being hosted by Manuela and Stefanie from Kalaa Berlin, and dynamic yoga practise is suitable for all levels, combining the unison of breath, motion, strength and flexibility with a blend of loungy music and one of the best views over the city. The flowing sequences of Asanas energise the body, release tension and activate the whole system to wake up and go.

The yoga sessions will take place every Monday and Thursday at 9am and cost €4 per person, per session. Please sign up at reception as space, and therefore places, are limited!

Flea Market

The Mauerpark is one of our favourite spots in the city. It is – as you might be able to guess from the name – an open space that was once the so-called “death strip” of the Berlin Wall (Berliner Mauer – see?), a no-man’s land of concrete, barbed wire and border guards between East and West Berlin. Now it is a public space that among other things is the venue for open air karaoke and – every Sunday – one of the city’s busiest and best flea markets.

This Sunday, the Circus will be supporting our friends at Schülerpaten Berlin as they run a stand to raise money for their activities. You can read more about our involvement with the Schülerpaten here, and if you want to get on down to the flea market to see if you can pick up a bargain or a unique souvenir of your time in Berlin, then Lisa from the Circus crew will be picking up anyone who is interested from the reception at 10am.

See you then!

Gulliver
There are many reasons why a traveller will pick a hostel over any other form of accommodation, and depite what people might think, it is not just cost that is the deciding factor. One of the reasons people love hostels is the social aspect and the chance to meet their fellow travellers, whether in their dorm, down in the bar, or in other social spaces. Last year, alongside a number of different hostels in Berlin, we started helping the boys from Gulliver App as they worked on developing a new tool to help travellers meet each other. And now they are back in The Circus for another test phase, and you can join in the fun.

The idea behind the Gulliver App is a simple one: travellers who share interests or would like to check out the same things in the city can post what they are up to on the app and connect with others who want to join them. So whether you are up for a night in a particular club, want to hit the beer gardens or the museums, or simply are looking for like minding travellers to share a kebab with, then Gulliver is the App for you. You can find an info station in the hostel reception, or get on over to the Gulliver website and download the app now.

For the latest on the current test phase – check out the Gulliver facebook page

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Last week we were extremely happy to welcome Hollie Roberts to the Circus. Hollie is a travel blogger, who has spent the past year on the road… we wanted to know something that she had learned during her travels, and the topic she came up with was something close to our hearts… hostels and hostelling:

Why on earth would I choose a hostel when travelling?

Hello. My name is Hollie and I’m a traveloholic. I’ve been on the road for over 10 months now.

A previous short term holidayer I had only ever stayed in hotels and resorts. When I first hit Europe in July last year I found myself in Corfu, Greece in my first ever hostel. I was going to find myself in this hostel for the next three months as a volunteer worker for The Pink Palace. Enter baptism of fire.

I will admit I had initial fears – mainly about the bathroom and the bed – but since then I have never looked back. I have continued to work at hostels including X Hostel Bucharest, Stoke Morocco Surf Camp and Oasis Backpackers Sevilla. And also seen many hostels around Europe through a guest’s eyes. I am currently staying at Circus Berlin which, bias or not, is one of the nicest (and coolest) hostels I have ever laid eyes, and my head to rest, on.

So, why hostels?

I’ll start with the obvious. There is no better way to meet people. Whether that be in your dorm, the common area, breakfast, walking tours, or pub crawls, you have no choice but to get together with likeminded people. That person you knocked back vodka shots, or oohed and ahhed at the Berlin Wall, with could turn out to be your travel companion for the next few days or a lifelong friend. At worst someone to stalk on Facebook on your next eight hour bus ride.

If you are travelling alone, a hotel room can be lonely. If you’re travelling with a friend, being stuck together just the two of you 24/7 can be a recipe for disaster, and if you’re travelling in a big group, a 12 bed dorm is much more fun than trouncing the halls to try and find and coordinate each other. It’s like a sleepover on steroids.

Hostels specialise in finding and knowing about activities for the young and young at heart. Even if you have no idea about the metro or what to do with yourself on a rainy day, the staff at reception will. And the majority are some of the friendliest people you could hope to meet. I know it can be a frustrating job to keep a smile on your face and answer the same questions over and over again, but they do it with pleasure to rival any 5-star concierge service.

Another obvious choice for hostels is they’re better for the budget. When you’re travelling, it’s really just a bed and maybe a shower. Your money is better spent on other things. Plus everyone around can advise on cheap eats, cheap beer and free activities. And if you want to splurge, get a private room occasionally, it’s still cheaper than other accommodation options and sanity is priceless. Plus you’re not here to hang out in your room. You don’t want it to be too nice. It can be an encouraging kick up the backside to get out and see what you really came here for.

Many people fear the hostel horror stories of bed bugs, dirty bathrooms and general ickiness. But what I’ve learnt is that hostels all have one goal: getting really good reviews. It is their bread and butter. It is their reason for being. And how do they make sure their reviews are good? They keep it together. They ensure everything is clean and tidy. They are friendly to guests. They are here to keep you happy.

While it’s not always perfect, it’s more often than not, fun. With the right attitude, your hostel stay can be the highlight of your trip.

Even if one day I am not a solo traveller or even if I have the money to splurge on hotels, I feel I will still choose a hostel. How many stories have started with, “I was staying in this hotel” compared to, “oh man at our hostel in Berlin…”

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Berlin is undoubtedly a city of culture. We boast fantastic opera houses, theatres and a world class philharmonic orchestra. The Berlinale is one of Europe’s leading film festivals. There are countless incredible museums, galleries and art collections. On any given week you can attend literary events befitting the capital of a nation of thinkers and poets. And yet… and yet… if there is one cultural highlight that tops them all, it is taking place not in Berlin or even Germany, but a few hundred kilometres to the north in neighbouring Denmark.

Yes, on Saturday 10th May all eyes will be on Copenhagen for the annual celebration of national stereotypes, Balkan power ballads and dancing grannies… THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST!!!! And as always, we will be beaming it into the downstairs bar of Katz & Maus – with a special tipping competition and prizes for the best costumes… join us, you know you want to!

UVR

(above: Udo and Dirk from UVR Connected)

Eagle-eyed readers might remember that we recently took over the ground floor space of the Circus Hotel, that used to house a kebab shop. Well we are pleased to announce that we have found a new tenant for the space and we are sure they are going to be a great addition to Rosenthaler Platz. UVR Connected is a Berlin fashion label that currently has three shops in the city, and this will be their fourth. 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.

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