Cabaret, David Bowie, East and West, communsim and capitalism, beautiful and ugly, hated and loved - Berlin, the German capital is a place of contradictions. I must confess I have a weakness for Berlin, ever since my Granny told me stories about her time in the big city in the 1920's. I was brought up in Germany but lived in Munich; which I personally have always found to be a very uninspiring place. Berlin is not really beautiful, but interesting and also the last of the western captials where living is not rididcoulsly expensive and you can still get a 200 sqm!!!! flat for around, yes it is true, £ 800.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
Like the mayor of Berlin once said: ' Berlin is not beautiful but sexy!' I am always suprised how much space the ' Berliner' has compared to us, the Londoner. Unfortunately, there is no money in Berlin and I reckon two thirds of the 3.5 million inhabitants are either artists, musicians, writers or students which makes for quite a heady mix of people. The other side of the coin, is the fact that Berlin is bancrupt. Big money is somewhere else but to be honest if I could earn my living somewhere else and live where ever I wanted - I would go to Berlin, preferably living in a house like this.
The 'Artists Village Stralau' has been designed by the architect bureau Bayer& Schubert Berlin http://www.beyer-schubert.de in the 'Rummelsburger Bucht' which is situated about 15 mins from Berlin city center by underground. The area used to belong to the communist East of Berlin and used to be part run down industrial no-man's land and part ruinous late Vicorian ( in German:' Gruenderzeit' ) prison complex which now is also renovated and re-developed into flats.
Other parts of the area has been re-developed by the city planning department of Berlin. The Artist's village Stralau consists of 2 rows of houses espcially designed for artists with this amazing room you can see above which can be used as studio or just as an open living space.
More and more Londonders are discovering Berlin. I remember my college tried to organize a week in Berlin. This must have been around 1999 and they had to cancel it because no one was interested to go there but since then, word about this extraordinary place has got around. I don't need to tell anyone nowadays about the excellent clubbing, one of the world's best underground music scenes, the energetic art scene and a vibrant, up-and coming fashion scene. Everytime I think of Berlin, the famous song by Marlene Dietrich comes to my mind: ' Ich habe immer noch ein Koffer in Berlin', which means ' I still have a suitcase in Berlin'. And yes, I definately will always have a suitcase in this city of extremes which '... is a city condemned forever to becoming and never to being...' (Karl Scheffler, German author). Please enjoy the beautiful architecture of this Berlin Blog and the devine Marlene and if you are looking for a fun weekend in Europe - go to Berlin! I am sure you will have a good time!