Thursday, August 15, 2013

Berlin travelogue - part III

Berlin tip #8 - Pergamon Museum

On an island in the river Spree you'll find five world-renowned museums gathered in an amazing ensemble of beautiful buildings, squares and courtyards. The complex is called 'Museumsinsel' (Museum Island), and very much worth a visit.


My favorite is the Pergamon Museum, and even if you have only an hour to spare, it will be worth the time.

The first thing you see when you step inside, is the amazing 2nd century BC Pergamon Altar. It takes your breath away. Just take a seat on the marble staircase leading up to the altar, and let the audio guide (included in the ticket price) transport you into a different world... Babylon's high priests and kings bringing sacrifices to the altar, and greek gods in the middle of their victorious battle against the giants...

 The altar's frieze details and a mosaic fragment (bottom left shows the Milet Market Gate)

Other highlights include the Milet Market Gate (a detail above, bottom row left) and the glazed blue brick Ishtar Gate of Babylon (below)



If you have more time, you can wander through the beautiful collections of Islamic Art.

Visitor's entrance:
Bodestraße 1-3
10178 Berlin  (Museum island)
Pergamon Museum


Berlin tip #9 - Clärchen's Ballhaus

The "Clärchen's Ballhaus" is a Berlin instituion, and one of the last remaining dancehalls from the 1920's. It opened in 1913, and has a rich and colorful history. 

The downstairs ballroom is still reminicent of the shortages in communist post war East Berlin, and in keeping with the style, the tables are decorated with carnations and wine bottles as candlesticks, and the walls are covered in tinsel.


To this day, you can come and dance swing, cha-cha, tango or waltz in the evenings, take dance classes, or enjoy the restaurant's excellent traditional german food.



After WWII, the mirrored ballroom upstairs was closed and lay dormant for sixty years... 

 

it has been left untouched since it reopened in 2005, and can be rented for private functions and events, transporting you back into another era...




Clärchen's Ballhaus
Auguststraße 24
10117 Berlin
Tel: +49 (0)30 28 29 295



Berlin tip #10 -Hackesche Höfe

From 'Clärchen's Ballhaus' it is just a short distance to the 'Hackesche Höfe' (Höfe means courtyards), which are located across from the bustling 'Hackeschen Markt' café and restaurant area. The Höfe consist of beautifully restored houses, which are interconnected by tranquil and charming courtyards.


The courtyards house an array of small shops and galleries. 'Hoffnung Berlin' is located in courtyard no 4, and makes made to measure belts. The concept is easy... you chose a buckle, a strap and a tip, and after you have been measured, your belt will be made for you in about 15 minutes.
 

Belts are displayed on vintage leather sports benches and medicine balls, which reminded me of gym classes in primary school.



It was a lovely surprise to see an exact twin of my favorite non-Hermès belt

 

It has featured in many blog posts, and I have often been asked where it comes from.


I bought it almost 15 years ago at a small boutique in London, and never saw it anywhere else since. For those who are interested, the good news is that it is part of the boutique's permanent collection, and can also be ordered online: Belt Eisenhans


Hoffnung Berlin (Mo-Fri: 11am to 7pm, Sat: 10am to 6pm)
Hackesche Höfe (Hof IV)
Entrance: Rosenthaler Strasse 40/41
10178 Berlin-Mitte 
Tel: +49 (0)30 288 668 08
www.hoffung-berlin.de


Berlin tip #11 - Quartier 206
Quartier 206 Friedrichstrasse

The Friedrichstrasse in Berlin Mitte is a wonderful shopping area, lined with boutiques, bookstores, and restaurants. At number 71, you find the Quartier 206 shopping mall.


The mall has an array of great shops, and it also houses the 'Department store 206', which reminded me of Paris's 'Bon Marché'. Although much smaller, it offers a wonderful selection and mix of brands.

 The Department store's entrance

It is where I bought my souvenirs


silk tunic 'Darla' and cotton tunic 'Tory', both by Tory Burch





Departmentstore 206
Friedrichstrasse 71
10117 Berlin
Tel: +49 (0)30 2094 6800
Quartier 206 Department Store

39 comments:

  1. Clar hens ball haus looks surreal!! I would love too see that in real life. Berlin looks fab. You're a great guide x

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    1. The Ballhaus still reflects the atmosphere of some parts in East Berlin in the first years after the wall come down. It's fabulous that they decided to leave it as it is. Hope you'll be able to visit one day soon x

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  2. Thank you for giving your blog followers a tour of Berlin. You are a wonderful travel guide, especially for those of use who want to visit but need to be armchair travelers for the time being. Liked your selection of TB tunics, which will look lovely on you. TB NYC and the US department stores carry different colorways and styles. Do you have time to do a late summer/early fall capsule wardrobe update?
    Signed a follower

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    1. Many thanks, so happy you enjoy the travelogue! Interesting to know about the different TB styles. The ones I bought were available on her website. I planned to post the links, but they already expired (both tunics were from the SS2013 collection). Thank you also for the request. So far, I have not added new wardrobe pieces for late summer/early fall, but will post an update as soon as something new comes along :-)

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  3. Hi Maitai!
    The shock I got when I stepped into this dark room in the Neues Museum and finally found myself face to face with Néfertiti herself! I could not take my eyes off her forever as I seemed to have this room for myself! The Egyptian departmentin the Museum is fab and especially their Amarna period collection: did you have a chance to check it out? It was just baffling to see all those artefacts that I'd only been able to see from the pages of books since I was a child... Berlin is fab anyway, I should really get back there. As some of the Hisory there is all so recent, it makes it all the more palpable: very strange but compelling atmosphere in that city. Again, Maitai, thank you for sharing!
    Take care,
    Béatrice, Switzerland

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    1. Oh how amazing your encounter with Ms N must have been, dear Béatrice! How very lucky to have had the room for yourself. I ‘met’ her in 1987, but the displays back then were less impressive than today. Wish I’d seen her like you. My list of 'Berlin - things to do' is still so very long, like you, I’d love to go back one day soon. Have a great weekend!

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  4. Dear MT, I love the belt, but it looks heavy, is it? Also, any sharp edges or corners on the inside that may damage the clothing?

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    1. There is no flimsiness about the Eisenhans! Mine weighs a little over 500gr ;-) It is perfectly smooth inside and out, and has no sharp edges.

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  5. Thank you so much for this!

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  6. Good shopping, good food and fine art -- sounds like heaven to me! Tory Burch does know how to do a tunic. Love your choices. And how did you know I was on the hunt for a new belt. That one with the dragon buckle is very rock 'n roll and a bit dangerous looking. Tempting but it's a pretty big statement and would detract from one of my precious scarves!

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    1. If anyone can rock the Dragon, it is you, my dear Marla! Thought of you when in the Etro shop, and how fabulously you combine their designs with your scarves. Have fun belt shopping, and a wonderful upcoming weekend xx

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    2. I did notice your photo of the Etro shop and my little heart did skip a beat!

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  7. The Darla silk tunic reminds immediately of the butterflies dress you wear with the Belles du Mexiques!

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    1. So true! They are both have very much the same atmosphere :-)

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  8. What great ideas for places to visit. Of course you can have a good guidebook but nothing beats a personal recommendation. I'm hoping at some point you do a mini travelogue for London, I'm sure that you know some hidden gems that I'm not aware of. Those tunic tops are very pretty, especially with the farandole, I've never bought anything from that shop before but will have to investigate!

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    1. Very happy you enjoyed the series, my dear tara, and glad you like the tunics! I used to live in London for a while, it was a great time. Some favorite old spots still exist, and some new have come up since. Looking forward to going back one day.. a London travelogue would be such fun to do!

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  9. Dear MaiTai,

    I've been reading you for quite sometime via Facebook and email (and have purchased scarf rings from you and will be purchasing more!) but never thought about checking you on bloglovin. I'm glad I did!

    Your tour of Berlin is amazing, you really convinced me to go. I've been thinking about it so the decision is sealed. Thank you!

    Have a lovely weekend :)

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    1. A very warm welcome to you! Here is very much where the heart and roots of my blog and collection are, glad you have found us here :-) Very happy too that you are enjoying your scarf rings, and hope you’ll have the chance to visit Berlin one day soon. Have a great week ahead!

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    2. Thank you for the very warm welcome MaiTai :D

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  10. What à fascinating tour! I have been to Germany many times, started when it was still divided, but only visited Cologne, Dusseldorf and Munich a long time ago but always wanted to go to Berlin, which is supposed to be such a cultured and vibrant city. Definitely earmarked this page for future travels.
    Merci :)
    xo

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    1. Hope you had a wonderful time in Cologne and Düsseldorf, ma chère Jamais! Both are are very dear to me, but then there are so many great cities in Germany. Berlin is truly special though, so vibrant and varied. I hope your travels will bring you there one day soon <3

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  11. Thank you for this wonderful series Mai Tai. I have been to Berlin twice - once in 1979 and once in 2011. I'm hoping to take my husband there next year so your recommendations will be very useful.

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    1. How great to have seen Berlin when still divided, it gives such a different perspective to the amazing changes since the unification. Hope you'll make it again next year again.. have a wonderful time!

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  12. You've convinced me dear MaiTai, Berlin is now on my bucket list! From your posts, Berlin looks rich in culture and history with so much to see and do. Have truly enjoyed this travelogue. Love your Tory Burch tunics and can't wait to see how you style them.

    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Simone

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    1. Glad I convinced you, dear Simone, and I hope you’ll have fun on your visit! Berlin has so much to offer, and I still have not explored all I wanted to see. Longing to go back already!

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  13. Well, I just ordered the belt and also another with a giant dragon buckle, just for fun!
    Who needs Vogue when we have you~
    Thank you for generously sharing your sources and for taking us on a whirl around Berlin!
    Barbara A

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    1. Belt twin hugs to you, my dear Barbara! Please let us know once the dragon belt arrives, I am longing to hear how it feels when worn! As Marla in the OC said before, very rock'n'roll! Hope you’ll enjoy the last part of the travelogue as well, it has been so much fun sharing with you girls <3

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  14. Dearest MaiTai,

    I am fascinated with the Pergamon Museum. How beautiful it must be! And the old 'Ballhaus'. How interesting! So lucky to find a belt like yours. It must have been a huge surprise to you!
    Your tunics are both very pretty and I can't wait to see you wearing them.
    Thank you so much for this great journey! It's wonderful to see these lovely posts when the holidays are already over. Have a great weekend, Manuela xx

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    1. The Pergamon is such a place of such tranquility and beauty, I would not want to miss it on future Berlin visits. The audio guide provided is very well done, and it is so restful to sit in a quiet spot while listening to the amazing stories and looking at the beautiful exhibits. Glad you like the tunics, and hope you had a good start going back after the holidays <3

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  15. Dearest MaiTai,

    You're such an excellent photographer! I've enjoyed all of your photos, but the ones of the Clarchen's Ballhaus are stunning. Yes, I second the Pergamon! Another trip down memory lane. :-) Love your new tunics. Seeing the off-white, pale pink, and black makes me wonder which new FW scarf you have your eye on in that color combination. I'm deciding between two of them in that cw.

    Thanks for the wonderful travel tips. I've taken note, dear. :-)

    Warm orange hugs,
    CS

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    1. So glad the pictures of this trip brought back some happy memories, my dear CS! I am wondering which scarves you might have in your mind, perhaps the IdR? Wishing you the best of luck with your decision! I have not had a chance to look at many of the new season's scarves yet, but will hopefully soon. Have a great week ahead <3

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  16. You are amazing! A belt bought 15 years ago still fits! How disciplined of you! Well done!

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  17. Hi, MaiTai--thanks very much for posting the info about the belt! Could you please tell me what color/leather category yours is, if you recall? The company has several wonderful shades. Thanks! xx

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    1. Hi Cordelia, I did not buy mine from Hoffnung Berlin, but fould it in a London boutique a long time ago.. there was no specification regarding the leather/color, but it seems very similar to the one displayed on the medicine ball. Good luck!

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  18. Thanks, MaiTai! Love your blog by the way! xx

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