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Gendarmenmarkt

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And so it begins! The Christmas Market season is once again upon us. The wine has been mulled, the sausages grilled, and the blocks of wood carved into beautiful fairytale scenery. The rollercoasters have been erected behind the Alexa shopping centre, the big wheel is spinning beside the town hall, and all across the city market stalls have been filled with goodies for stockings or simply for your belly. There are LOADS of Christmas Markets in Berlin, but we all have our favourites… here is the special Circus Guide for 2014:

DAILY

The following markets are open each day throughout the advent period… they are only a selection. You will also find Christmas and Winter markets at Alexanderplatz, Zoo Station, Potsdamer Platz and the Schloss Charlottenburg, amongst many more…

GENDARMENMARKT

(From the 24.11 – 31.21; 11am – 10pm)

Nothing keeps the riff-raff out like a cover charge*, but then again it is only €1 and they promise that all the money goes to the performers to take to the central stage to keep you entertained. This market combines lots of different arts and crafts stalls with a truly international food and drink selection that, it must be said, is particularly good… and altogether it is definitely worth a hundred cents of anyone’s money.

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Lamps

Hotel Manager Katrin Schönig on some of the improvements we are making to the rooms at the Circus Hotel, as part of our creativity bonanza on both sides of Rosenthaler Platz:

This week we started on the rooms, and what I wanted to write about today are some of the ways we have been reacting to the reviews our guests leave, and how we have used the feedback to help develop our plans for the Hotel. One thing that many people mentioned was that they missed the chance to make themselves a hot drink after a long day wandering the streets of Berlin. As things get colder here in the German capital, this is something quite important, and so we teamed up with the Dutch company b-tray to find a stylish and practical solution… a wooden tray with a big kettle and some tasty Althaus tea to warm your belly on cold days.

Kettle

Another piece of feedback we have been reflecting on is that of lighting in the rooms. As you might know, our rooms are all individually designed by Sandra Ernst, and therefore we needed to find some individual solutions. One which will be finding its way into some of the rooms are the fantastic Re-flect Lamp from e27/Steng. Sandra is extremely happy to have found a solution that not only looks great, but which gives the perfect light for reading your book… perhaps alongside the cup of tea.

11_LICHTGRENZE_Engelbecken__c__Kulturprojekte_Berlin_WHITEvoid_Christopher_Bauder__Foto_Daniel_Bueche

As you might know, this coming Sunday is the 25th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which began with the opening of the checkpoints at Bornholmer Straße and elsewhere on the 9th November 1989. Regular readers of the blog will know that we have a whole series of events taking place this week at The Circus to mark the occasion, but of course, there are all kinds of things happening elsewhere in the city which we wanted to highlight here on the blog:

Lichtgrenze – Border of Lights

You can get a sense of how the “border of lights” will look from the visualization above. The Lichtgrenze project involves some eight thousand illuminated balloons standing along the path of the Berlin Wall in the city centre, from 5pm on Friday 7th November until 7pm on Sunday 9th November at 7pm when, at seven locations along the route, white balloons will be released into the night sky to commemorate the peaceful revolution of 1989.

The light installation will be some 15 kilometres long, from Bornholmer Straße through the Mauerpark, past the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Straße, the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, to the East Side Gallery. The light installation project has been developed from an idea by Christopher and Marc Bauder, and you can read more about the project on the website.

Brandenburg Gate

There will be a street festival at the Brandenburg Gate on the 9th November, involving Daniel Barenboim, Udo Lindenburg and Peter Gabriel. Just down the road at the Philharmoniker, Sir Simon Rattle and his orchestra will be performing a special concert to mark the anniversary on the same evening.

Bernauer Straße

There will be information pavilions open at the Berlin Wall Documentation Centre over the weekend,. Offering guided tours, films, viewing platforms and more (other locations include Bornholmer Straße, Mauerpark, Brandenburg Gate, Potsdamer Platz, Checkpoint Charlie, and the East Side Gallery). After a memorial service on the morning of the 9th November, the new permanent exhibition 1961/1989: The Berlin Wall will be opened.

Hundreds of Wall Stories

From the 7th to the 9th November a special open air exhibition will be created with 100 stations telling the stories of the divided city. These include stories from the period of sector boundaries (before the Wall was built), the building of the Wall, protests against the Wall, the border regime, and the victims of the Berlin Wall. They will also tell the stories of everyday life in the divided city and, of course, the events leading up to the peaceful revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

You can find out more about the subject of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the wide range of events taking place over the next week – of which we have only picked out a small selection – on the Visit Berlin website.

(Photo credit: Visualisierung der LICHTGRENZE am Engelbecken © Kulturprojekte Berlin_WHITEvoid / Christopher Bauder, Foto: Daniel Büche(jpg)Web Link)

KF1

Jonathan and the gang did it! And here is their race report and some pictures to make you glad you didn’t join in the “fun”…

The Circus in Action – We ran the Krassfit-Challenge! On Saturday morning, 18th of October, some members of the Circus were headed to the harness racing track in Karlshorst in the east of Berlin. On this day, there were no horse races scheduled but the Krassfit-Challenge 2014! The challenge is an extreme run that covers a distance of 12 kilometers and about 30 obstacles that we had to pass. Although the weather forecast had announced up to 25 degree Celsius and sunny sky, there were only clouds and it was pretty cold – not exactly the perfect weather to crawl through mud ditches and ice tunnels. Still when we arrived, there was already a large crowd waiting to run.

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Embassy in Prague

Next week we have a whole series of events taking place at the Circus to mark the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, on the 9th November 1989. You can find more information about all the things that are going on here, but one event we really wanted to highlight was the next in our series of Eyewitness History Talks in cooperation with the Centre for Witness to Contemporary History, which will be taking place in Fabisch at the Circus Hotel on Tuesday 4th November at 6pm.

We will be joined by Hans-Joachim Weber, who worked at the West German Embassy in Prague during those momentous months leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was here that that several thousand East German refugees set up camp in autumn 1989. Their eventual journey from Czechoslovakia to West Germany was one of the most symbolic moments in that dramatic period in history, and we are extremely pleased and grateful that Mr Weber will join us at Fabisch, to share his experiences.

As always, the talk is in English, is free and open to all, and we look forward to welcoming you to the Circus for what promises to be a fascinating evening.

On a related note, on the Tuesday morning at 9.45am we will also be running a tour for Circus guests to the Marienfelde Refugee Centre. This was the first port of call for East Germans who had fled the GDR for the West, both before the building of the Berlin Wall and after. The tour is free for Circus guests, although places are limited. Please sign up at reception and you will need a public transport ticket.

(Photo:  Tmv23 via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Olympic-Stadium

The Olympic Stadium in Berlin has a famous history. 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.  It is also the home ground of local footballing heroes Hertha BSC, and for those who did not know, we have tickets for sale at The Circus for every home game in the German Bundesliga!

Yes, that’s right… many of the heroes of Germany’s triumphant World Cup success in the summer ply their trade in the top flight of German football, one of Europe’s top football competitions, and quite a few of them will be coming to Berlin before Christmas. Here are the upcoming matches at the Olympic Stadium:

Friday 7.11: Hertha BSC vs Hannover (Kick-off: 20.30)
Saturday 29.11: Hertha BSC vs Bayern Munich (Kick-off: 15-30)
Saturday 13.12: Hertha BSC vs Borussia Dortmund (Kick-off: 15.30)
Sunday 21.12: Hertha BSC vs Hoffenheim (Kick-off: 15.30)

We have tickets in different categories, and they start from the incredible price of €19 (which includes public transport to and from the stadium… amazing!). But of course, tickets are limited and we often sell out fast… so if you will be staying with us at The Circus on any of those weekends and fancy catching a game, please get in contact to reserve your ticket.

(Image: © visitBerlin | Scholvien)

Eraserhead

Our mates at the Berlin Film Society are at it again, with another great event. On Halloween (31st October) they will be presenting David Lynch’s first feature film, the hauntingly dark and surreal ERASERHEAD (1977). This will be followed by a party inspired by the works of the director, and the first 100 guests dressed as their favourite David Lynch character will be rewarded with a free drink, courtesy of OUR/VODKA (which is produced in a local Berlin distillery).

About the Film

David Lynch’s 1977 debut feature, Eraserhead, is both a lasting cult sensation and a work of extraordinary craft and beauty. With its mesmerizing black-and-white photography by Frederick Elmes and Herbert Cardwell, evocative sound design, and unforgettably enigmatic performance by Jack Nance, this visionary nocturnal odyssey continues to haunt American cinema like no other film.

Important Details

Tickets are €12/€10 students and include the Halloween after party.

RSVP Essential: rsvp@berlinfilmsociety.com

Venue: Leipziger Str. 70 (entrance Jerusalemstr.)
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/463728443768836/
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0Eq5GtCYdA

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