"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
We’ll be there. If you want to come too, check out our flights here.more info
LifeStyle in the heart of Berlin
Por Tensi Sáncez de Actitudes Magazine
As soon as you get off the plane, you realise that life in Berlin is peaceful, unhurried and stress-free and that this city is somewhere where pollution does not form part of the landscape.
For a Berliner, there is no more precious treasure than being able to enjoy a sunny day and take to the streets in search of simple, everyday pleasures like walking, enjoying a bier somewhere in the open, reading a good book in one of the city’s 2,500 wonderful parks or visiting one of the hundreds of art galleries.
The German capital exudes modernity with a clearly unique personality that is reflected in the art that flows throughout the city and is embodied in endless forms. If you add to the mix that life in Berlin is not expensive, you come to the conclusion that this is one of the most dynamic capitals as far as European art and design are concerned.
The entire city is linked perfectly by the metro, a tram or train service. You will find it virtually impossible to discover somewhere that cannot be reached by one or more of these three modes of transport (although you may need a bit of patience at first to decipher things). That said, I want to highlight the Mitte district, which can be visited without the need to use public transport. Mitte means “the middle” or “half”, which is why this district is described as the heart of the city and is the best-known district in Berlin as here you will find the historic city centre.
One of my favourite hotels in the city is the Eurostar Berlin. Here you will want for nothing. There’s a pool, a sauna, a pianist in the lobby who accompanies you during breakfast beside the art exhibits, added to which the staff are really friendly.
From the hotel, a pleasant stroll along the banks of the river Spree will take you to Mitte, where you’ll find many shops, galleries, bars and restaurants. Let’s start with the fabulous Flagshipstore and its collections by more than twenty young German and Scandinavian designers. At Who killed Bambi, you’ll find women’s fashion and accessories with daring designs at good prices. Storia and Fairly offer some very feminine and elegant fashion that you will find impossible to resist.
Greta&Luis is a multi-faceted shop with a great deal of style, especially in clothes for young men. Another of my favourites is Potipoti, a Spanish brand created in 2005 by Silvia Salvador and Nando Cornejo. Its philosophy is to combine graphic design, art and fashion. All its collections are designed in Berlin and manufactured in Spain. You won’t be able to leave without buying something!
In Berlin, it’s impossible not to be seduced by the world of vintage clothing & accessories. One great example is Waahnsinn, where you’ll find an infinity of second-hand gadgets, clothes and accessories.Class of Berlin /run by Franzisca, designer of the Marlenes Tochter brand) is the perfect place to get yourself some vintage clothes from the 1930s through to the 1960s. They also offer a barber’s service. Finally, discover all things vintage with a touch of class at Garments, where you’ll succumb to authentic treasures at very reasonable prices by de Comme des Garcons, Valentino, Channel or Martin Marguiela, along with other outstanding brands.
If you like your objects and furniture to have a more industrial and retro look, Objets trouvés is the home décor place for you. Its peculiar frontage makes it easy to find. Not far away is the marvellous gallery ofOliver Rath, Rath-Gallery. His photography has an impact on everybody and inspires inner reflection. A few streets down is the aquabitArt gallery and its more avant-garde exhibitions.
Stopping for a coffee anywhere in the Mitte district is essential, and even more enjoyable when sitting out on one of the outdoor terraces. However, this is one special place hidden away down a side street at 39 Rosenthaler Straße. Once you find this place, you’ll think you have travelled back to a Berlin of times gone by. The graffiti is hypnotising. Go with the flow and follow it to the end where you’ll discover various art galleries, including Neurotitan Shop & Gallery, where you’ll no doubt lose yourself among the books, records, t-shirts, etc., and Central Kino, a unique cinema-shop with popcorn included.
To recover from the shock and to admire the unique nature of this side street, take a seat on the terrace atCafé Cinema and savour one of the excellent German beers on offer.
In the Mitte district, stretching from Hackesche Höfe to Oranienburger Strasse, there are many bars that flung open their doors to the hoards of West Berliners after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Some of these places are relatively easy to find but it’s more fun to lose yourself among the bars that sprout like mushrooms and disappear from one day to the next.
By Tensi Sáncez from Actitudes Magazine
Picture by Ruben Seco
You now have the essential tips for any first visit to Berlin. What are you waiting for to book your Vueling flight?
A Movie Lovers Berlin
In times when being a tourist has become so passé – the learned traveller wisely tries to avoid crowded places when seeking out the heart of a city – you could do worse than hunt for cinemas with character when visiting another country. Traditional cinemas have vanished in many places. I am referring to the ones with just a single auditorium – or two at most – which are not owned by some international conglomerate. Architecturally quaint buildings where cinema-goers felt like pilgrims going to a special place.
Berlin is a cinema lover’s capital in itself. Directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Wim Wenders were obsessed with it. Indeed, Wenders immortalised the city in his Wings of Desire and Faraway, So Close! (a sequel to the former), which have spawned articles and tours that point up the importance of Berlin’s architecture and real landmarks from the films – the Victory Column, Brandenburg Gate and Staatsbibliothek, designed by Hans Scharoun. With such a cinema tradition behind it, no wonder the city has so many movie theatres to choose from. More so, those that pamper their appearance and their movie listings. Following is our choice of five of the best which, to wit, offer some added value, such as screening films in English or featuring subtitles in that language. So, if you’re a devotee of the seventh art with a smattering of English, or merely wish to visit the buildings and their cafés, this rundown is for you.
One of the city’s most prestigious cinemas, which screens original-version movies. It comprises three, small but well-equipped auditoriums, as well as a bar-café and a video library with a large selection of films on DVD and Blu-ray. The interior is amazing – some of the rooms look like a set from a film by David Lynch. Ladenkino is located in the Friedrichshain district, very near Boxhagener Platz, where a well-known open-air flea market is held every Sunday.
Located in Schöneberg, one of Berlin’s most charming quarters –Marlene Dietrich and Helmut Newton were both born here – the area is also celebrated for its attractive culinary offerings. The Odeon captivates from the outset, prominently featuring a green neon light and an old-school awning displaying screening times, and witty phrases and questions, setting the scene for cinema-goers. Their forte is signature films and independent cinema.
The punkiest cinema in this list, wholly in tune with Berlin’s industrial imagery, artistically speaking. They have two auditoriums and a highly varied programme based on American and English films far removed from all grandiose Hollywood blockbusters, save for the odd exception. Located a few metres from Hackescher, a beautiful square in Berlin’s Mitte quarter which also hosts a market. Kino Central is one of the city’s film lovers’ secret haunts.
The cradle of Berlin’s punk movement, the Kreuzberg district boasts a healthy culture scene, so be sure to visit the legendary SO36 club, where Iggy Pop and David Bowie were regular clients in the seventies. The Babylon cinema is one of its nerve centres and features two auditoriums in a three-storey building with a history, which offers a bit of everything, from Indie cinema to the re-screening of classics and also horror movies (a festival of this genre is held every October).
“Spectacular” is the word that best defines this small palace, seemingly a throwback from former times. In effect, its history stretches back several decades and both the auditorium and other facilities are markedly vintage. This is a peerless setting for raising the cinema experience to another level. It is sited in an awesome location, hard by the legendary Alexanderplatz, which makes it a compulsory landmark for any inquiring sightseer.
Fire up and discover these temples for movie lovers – book your Vueling here.
Text by Xavi Sánchez for Los Viajes de ISABELYLUISmore info
10 Top Art Museums in Berlin
That Berlin has a daunting variety of cultural resources is a well-known fact. Indeed, it is one of the main reasons for visiting the city. Added to the alternative venues that appear to spring up in the most unlikely spots in town – and not always easy to locate, at that – there are the more official offerings, which include a vast range of museums. Hence, those given to “collecting museums” on their journeys to various cities in the world will face a dilemma when it comes to Berlin – that of having to choose from the huge gamut of museums, housing an overwhelming quality and quantity of works.
The Museum Island
Museum Island (Museumsinsel), as it was re-christened in 1870, takes up the northern half of the island formed by the river Spree on its passage through the city. This is a must-visit destination for any museum buff in Berlin. It contains no fewer than five splendid museums, featuring collections that enable you to travel through art from ancient times to the 19th century. The value of the vast collections here led it to be listed as a World Heritage Site in 1999.
One of the most striking spaces in the complex is the Pergamon Museum, which draws about one million visitors a year. It features a collection of classical antiquities, a museum dedicated to Middle Eastern art, and another devoted to Islamic art. The building was designed to house large-scale artworks, notably its two standout exhibits – the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate.
The highlight of the Altes Museum (Old Museum) is the building itself. Dating from 1830, it is the work of the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, and one of the finest examples of German Neoclassicism. Housed in its interior is a splendid collection of exhibits from classical antiquity.
Sited behind the previous museum is the Neues Museum (New Museum), home to the magnificent collection of the Egyptian Museum of Berlin and the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte (Museum of Prehistory and Early History). Its paramount exhibit is the superlative Nefertiti bust, which attracts a large number of visitors each year.
No less important is the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), a magnet for enthusiasts of 19th-century art, and the Bode Museum, with an endowment that includes sculpture ranging from Byzantine to Italian Gothic to Prussian Baroque, as well as one of the largest numismatic collections in the world.
The Gemäldegalerie lies west of Potsdamer Platz, within the complex of museums and concert halls making up the Kulturforum (Culture Forum). The gallery houses an excellent collection of paintings by European artists active from the 13th to the 18th century, with works by Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Hans Holbein, Jan van Eyck, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer.
Another of the museums making up the Kulturforum is the Neue Nationalgalerie. Located in the Tiergarten, it is housed in an original building with glassed walls and a spectacular metal roof, the work of the architect Mies van der Rohe. Opened in 1968, this museum specialises in international art from the early 20th century to 1960. Standout features of this collection are the work of the German Expressionists and the Bauhaus.
Martin Gropius Building
Located on the Niederkirchnerstraße, between Checkpoint Charlie and Potsdamer Platz, in a building designed by the great uncle of the architect who founded the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius, this interesting exhibition space is celebrated for its excellent temporary exhibitions.
Inaugurated in 1975, the Berlinische Galerie is the best option for whoever wishes to take the pulse of art production in Berlin, as its collection features artworks produced in the German capital from 1870 until the present time. It is situated in Kreuzberg, one of the trendiest districts in the city where, if you’re good at getting your bearings, you can unearth the best of the alternative scene.
Lastly, we have also chosen the Berggruen Museum, located opposite Charlottenburg Palace, as it houses exhibits donated by the art collector and dealer Heinz Berggruen. It is a collection of modern art classics with works by Picasso, Matisse, Klee and Giacometti as its major offerings.
Book your Vueling to Berlin and get ready to discover its magnificent museums.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS