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"Heroes": David Bowie's Berlin

David Bowie moved to the German capital looking for anonymity in the atmosphere of Berlin during the Cold War, when he was interested in the local music scene of the city at that time, with bands like Tangerine Dream or Kraftwerk, and also focused on his detoxification.

"Low", "Heroes" and "Lodger" are three albums comprising the Berlin trilogy, three fundamental titles on David Bowie’s discography, recorded with Brian Eno’s contribution on the 1970’s and bathed by the influence and power of a city and a time unique on history.

To follow the key locations from the stay of Bowie in Berlin we should start by going to Hauptstraße 155, the address of the building where the British genius lived. Curiously, you should know that his partner on parties and also a rock star, Iggy Pop, lived here in the same building but, contrary to popular belief, in a different apartment.

Bowie & Iggy were regulars at the nightlife in Berlin. One of the venues they visited the most is the second stop on this route: Neues Ufer café. Previously known as Anderes Ufer, this place is one of the first openly gay bars in Europe. That is the reason for its name, which means “the other side of the shore”.

If we take the metro in Berlin, it’s mandatory to stop at Neukölln station. We encourage you to bring a MP3 music player with you to tribute the instrumental song "Neuköln", included in the album "Heroes" (1977).

After this tribute, we can stop at Potsdamer Platz, right where the Wall crosses the square. In the song “Heroes” Bowie sings “I, I can remember, Standing, by the Wall, And the guns shot above our heads, And we kissed, as though nothing could fall”. Besides being the spot where Bowie sees the wall, this song is about lovers kissing. At that time, Bowie said it was just inspiration but later on it was known that the lovers were Tony Visconti, Bowie’s guitarrist, and one of his backup singers, who were having a love affair.

Bowie was looking at this lovely scene by Visconti from the next stop in the route: Hansa Estudios. The place where they were working in what later became a trilogy beyond comparison on music’s history.

Last stop in the route is in front of Brandenburg Gate looking at the Republic Square. This square, in front of the German Parliament, is where Bowie returned for a show at the Berlin Festival, in 1987.

Image from Jean-Luc Ourlin

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