Our Neighbourhood

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review 2013
So what did we get up to over the past twelve months? Well, as we flick through the archives we can see that there was quite a lot…

We spent most of January renovating the lobby and reception area of the Circus Hostel, to make sure things were fresh and new as we entered the New Year. In February we launched Issue #4 of our magazine, got serious on Twitter, launched a new tour as Ally took guests around some of the best street art in the city, oh… and won some awards for both the hostel and the hotel.  As spring approached we enjoyed the sun, as well as new TV channels in the hotel and our regular eyewitness history talks, whilst into April and The Kitchen at the Apartments featured in a book from Gestalten, we launched the Café Conversations at the Hostel, the behind-the-scenes team moved into a new office, and Berlin became the unlikely sporting capital of the country (at least until Bayern Munich had the last say).

Into May and we could not help ourselves with our Eurovision Song Contest Party, the company featured in the Volksbank annual report, and we made more improvements to our hotel roof terrace. June began with sad news as we said goodbye to two close friends and partners of the Circus, Terry Brewer and Michael Kersten. We spent a nice evening with our neighbours in the Fabisch courtyard, Mike launched his Berlin Wall tour, we created some new neighbourhood maps, and we began our summer series of yoga and sundown drinks on the roof terrace.  As the summer progressed we received commendations for the hostel, the hotel and the apartments, gave our lion a name, launched the Kitchen Culinary Club… and, oh yeah, the company bought the Circus Hostel building.

Into the autumn and time to take a break? Not a bit of it… as we brought Oktoberfest north to Berlin and welcomed the return of Berliner Abend to Fabisch, taught the world Berlinerish, were nominated for SO!Apart awards, held the last ever Karaoke Klub and celebrated five years of the Circus Hotel… including a party and all as Jared and Felix began to cultivate their tasches for Movember. We ended the year as we began, with further renovations on the ground floor which led to the opening of our new gastronomic space called Katz & Maus, before we could relax into a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

See you in 2014!

Baustelle

If you have been staying with us over the past couple of days, or indeed have just looked at the picture above, you will know that there is a teeny tiny amount of chaos on the Rosenthaler Platz at the moment, as they do some work on the tram tracks that run past the Circus Hostel and Hotel. But what does it mean for you? Well if you are trying to get to us… not much. All our directions, from the airport or the train station, suggest a route which uses the U-Bahn (the underground) which is unaffected by the work going on above the surface.

Once you are here, there are some changes to the transport network beyond the U-Bahn, which might impact your exploring of the city. The tram M1 which usually runs from Prenzlauer Berg down into Mitte and vice versa has been diverted. If you want to head north, to Prenzlauer Berg, then you can walk up the hill for five minutes to Zionskirchplatz where things are running as normal. If you want to get down to Hackescher Markt, a replacement bus will take you from Brunnenstraße to S-Bahn Oranienburger Straße (where you can change to a tram) or to Friedrichstraße station, where you can catch the S-Bahn. If you are not at all sure… come and ask us at reception, and we will get you where you want to go.

But the positive news is that with these new tracks the trams will – supposedly – be quieter in the future, which can only be a good thing!

torstraßeOur neighbourhood will be getting pretty loud and lively next week for the Torstraßen Festival which takes place on the 31st August. Torstraße is the name  of the street that runs through the middle of Rosenthaler Platz, past both the Circus Hostel and Hotel, and the festival began a couple of years ago as a means to promote both old and new structures in the neighbourhood, celebrating the venues and the artists, and presenting “a musical matinee showcase with a current leftfield and cross-genre soundtrack.”

There is loads to look out for – take a look at the programme on the website where you can find information (also in English) about all the artists who will be performing. One that caught our eye is Phia, an incredible singer and songwriter from Australia who uses a loop pedal and a kalimba to glorious effect, and who also happens to have played once at Fabisch in the Circus Hotel. Next Saturday you can catch her at 3pm at Z-Bar on Bergstraße.

Alongside the live music there are a series of side events taking place, including a very special Torstraßen Festival indie/alternative edition of Karaoke Klub at our very own Goldman’s Bar, where we will be waiting for you to take to the mic and show us how you rock Arcade Fire, Depeche Mode, Kings of Leon and The Temper Trap, amongst others…

Support local venues, support local artists, support the Torstraßen Festival 2013!

Ticket Information here

choriner_flowers

Every so often we need to escape from behind our desks or our special corner of the Circus empire… whether it is Jim, exploring the hidden corners of the city, or Jared sampling the gastronomic delights Berlin has to offer, or even, for a few minutes in the day, a wander around our neighbourhood – to stretch our legs and get the blood moving, and to make sure nothing has changed since the last time we looked.

A few weeks ago we struck out from the Circus Apartments to explore the nearby, past the little corner shop with its pots of herbs and the Schwarze Pumpe café – a neighbourhood favourite – which is named for the brown coal mines of the GDR, the burning of which gave East Berlin its distinct smell during the long years of division. We reached the supermarket – where countless Apartments guests have stocked up on goodies for their fridge – and the shady Teutoberger Platz, one of those lovely green spaces of Berlin where you can lounge on the grass and listen to the sound kids playing and the dink/donk of ping pong balls batted back and forth. We were out of the office for perhaps fifteen minutes in total, not long at all, but another reminder of the loveliness of our ‘hood…

choriner_cornershop

choriner_schwarzepumpe

choriner_grill

choriner_bench

choriner_supermarket

choriner_moped

choriner_flowerstand

choriner_teutoberger

Bild 183-1986-1205-029

(above: the tram stop at Rosenthaler Platz, 1986. Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1986-1205-029 / Settnik, Bernd / CC-BY-SA)

If you have ever stayed with us at The Circus, you will know that both the Hotel and the Hostel stand overlooking the Rosenthaler Platz, here in the north of Berlin-Mitte right on the point where the city walls once stood and where the Rosenthaler Gate once allowed admittance into the city. Indeed, “our platz” has a fascinating history, which you can read about on the company pages of our website:

Read the rest of this entry »

Neighbourhood Map Front

Take a look at our new neighbourhood map for the Circus Hostel… on one side we detail the many and varied things you can get up to when you stay with us, from free dinners and events in the bar to tours, bike rental and more, whilst on the other we show off our immediate surroundings, from important information such as the nearest cash machines, laundromats and supermarkets, to some of our favourite shops, bars, restaurants and cafes within a short walk from Rosenthaler Platz. The maps are free to anyone who comes by the reception, and we hope it shows off a little our great neighbours, and it will encourage everyone to explore Rosenthaler Platz and the surroundings a little bit more…

Click on the images to see a larger version!

Neighbourhood Map Back

 

otto weidt

This coming Tuesday (30th April) we have a tour once more to the Otto Weidt Museum, just down the street from the Circus. It is one of the most fascinating free tours that we offer, thanks to the commitment and knowledge of the museum guides who show us around… they really are excellent, and the story they have to tell has to be heard to be believed.

In 1936 Otto Weidt established his workshop, which he moved in 1940 to the back courtyard of Rosenthaler Straße 39 to manufacture brooms and brushes. Because one of his main customers was the German Army, Weidt managed to have his business classified as vital to the war effort. About thirty blind and deaf Jews were employed at his shop between the years of 1941 and 1943. When the Gestapo began to arrest and deport his Jewish employees, Weidt fought to secure their safety by falsifying documents, bribing officers, and even hiding them inside the factory itself.

Here’s what Andrew, our Entertainment Manager has to say about his experience of leading the tour down to the Otto Weidt museum:

“During the tour through the museum you discover stories of real people that are almost unbelievable – from the desperation of living a hidden and underground life in Berlin to amazing stories of survival – and it is thanks to the guides at the Otto Weidt that this history comes to life in such a vivid and incredible way. After the tour of the museum they then take us through the heart of the old Jewish quarter of Berlin, including the memorial that marks the collection spot for the Jewish population before their deportation to the camps.”

The tour is of course free to guests of The Circus, but places are limited, so please make sure you sign up at reception to guarantee your place.

Nice weather

You will have to apologise the delay on this Monday’s blog post, as all of us at The Circus are enjoying the wonderful warm weather (well, compared to the past month or so) and the weather report suggests that the sun is going to be shining for the next couple of days at least. So why not check out the perfect days of some of the Circus team, to give you an idea of how best to use this first arrival of sunshine in 2013, or else find a corner in the sun, grab a coffee and let the warmth remind you of what you have missed during the long, cold months of winter.

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