Berlin, the chic capital of Germany and vegan capital of Europe has something for all. With quaint cafes, independent designers and bookstores, and an underground music and art scene, Berlin could be a creative’s paradise. During my 3-month solo stay in Berlin, I stayed in four different neighbourhoods meeting different people each time, exploring subcultures that co-existed. Soon I knew that the main themes for my journey were going to be exploring the coffee cultures and a newly cultivated art scene in Berlin with the growing cross culture communities from Syria, Palestine and other eastern cultures. I knew I needed to really engage in the community to get a real taste of the city, hence I decided to work out of a conscious co-working space in Mitte ( centre of the city) and also worked for a Foundation that supported education in Morocco by selling artisanal products. During my stay, I attended the Berlin art week which is an art festival that takes place every September with many independent art galleries as well as some popular ones like Sammlung Boros and me collectors room.

In a week’s time, I had met a lot of creative seekers, all engaged in the community in alternate ways. During these working days, I had a chance to meet artists who were part of a collective called  ‘A Journey of belonging’ an open studio initiative at Bikini Berlin. Their work spoke of the experience of war and crisis they had experienced in their native homes and it influenced my experience too as an artist to express all that noise inside with such grace. Jeanno and Ahmed particularly made an impact on me. Jeanno used textiles as a material memory to speak of her times in Afghanistan. She explored the ritual of hair braiding in Afghanistan and that special intimate moment's young girls share with their mothers. Ahmed used broken glass with hints of charcoal and blues to express his experience during the Syrian war. I guess all pain does lead to creativity, some thoughts I had on the way back on U-Bahn. With art on the underground, spending more than an hour every day on the Ubahn kept me inspired. U Bahn had some conic tiled stations, I noticed. I read somewhere, ‘What canals are to Amsterdam, street art is to Berlin’. One can see that Berlin’s political history and the suffering has definitely led to a lot of creativity.

I started living in Berlin in the first week of September, and in a month winter had hit and fallen leaves that made the city gold and mustard now had turned grey.  I was going to be in Germany during Christmas and I was already planning a getaway. Berlin which is well connected with most cities in Germany was only 2 hours train ride to Hamburg. I had made a list of must do in the city covering Kunsthalle Hamburg, Speicherstadt and Harbour cube, Trostbrücke, Beatles Platz and Town Hall, St Pauli Elbtunnel, St. Michael’s church, Elbe Philharmonic Hall and Alsterarkaden, but most time was gone at the Christmas markets eating sausages and mulled wine! Well, no place can be completely experienced without its food and Berlin has a lot to offer and could I call Berlin the cafe capital of Europe? Almost! The German capital is a lot more than Pretzels and currywurst, a stereotype about Germany ( Although I absolutely love them)  From its famous brunches and vegan options to commonly found Vietnamese. Also, Did you know Doner kebab was founded in Berlin?! Berlin also has some great street markets that one could explore for food or vintage finds on both weekdays and weekends. The one on Hackescher market on Saturdays had my favourite avocado hummus! Markthalle Neun is where I would go for local produce and Flohmarkt mauerpark had its last few weeks left before it would close for winters.

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ART

JOURNEY OF BELONGING

BERLIN ART WEEK

STREET ART

ART SPACES

CONSCIOUS BRAND

CO WORKING

LOST AND FOUND IN ART

TRAVEL

WEEKEND GETAWAY TO HAMBURG

CAFE GUIDE

FOOD TRAIL : BRUNCHES AND VEGAN

U BAHN AND ART

BEING TOURISTY: KREUZBERG AND MITTE

SOUVINIERS AND BOOKSTORES

PROJECT

MUSTARDS AND GOLDS OF FALL

DICTIONARY

DICTIONARY

Kunst: Art | Kirche: Church | Roggenbrot: Rye bread | Hafer: Oats | Kiez : Neighbourhood | Schokolade : Chocolate | Indisch : Indian | Samlung Contemporary | Kaffee : Coffee | Damm : Road | Strasse : Street | Bahn: train | Dom: Cathedral | Rathaus : government building | Mitte : Centre | Danke: Thankyou | Tschuss : Bye | Ja : yes | Nein : No | Hallo : Hello | Zentrrum Center | Apotheke : Medical Store | Hauz : house | Flohmarkt : Flee market| Platz: Square | Tee : Tea | Milch : Milk | Buch : Book | Gemuse : Vegetables | Vernisaage : Party 

 

BERLIN ART WEEK

Berlin art week is a art festival that takes place every september with many independent art galleries as well as some popular ones like sammlung boros  and me collectors room. I visited the permanent exhibition at sammlung boros exploring minimalism in architecture ( in photos).

CO WORKING

I worked out of Lover’s space for about 2 weeks during my stay. Located between Mitte and Prenzular Berg, it’s a perfect space for individuals and creative freelancers. Quiet and cozy with 3 different rooms, lovers’ also organises various wellness and spiritual events for the community. Founded by yasmine, a conscious living ambassador, the place has great positive energy and I highly recommend it.

Follow it here.

“WHAT CANALS ARE TO AMSTERDAM, STREET ART IS TO BERLIN - UNKNOWN”

Here are some of my favourites from the East side Gallery and others from Kreuzberg and Mitte districts

LOST AND FOUND oN

MUSEUM ISLAND


Weekend Getaway To Hamburg

  • Art: Kunsthalle hamburg

  • District: Speicherstadt and Harbour cube

  • Bridge: Trostbrucke

  • Dessert: Ice cream and waffles at Amorino

  • Touristy: Beatles platz and Townhall

  • Walk: St pauli Elb tunnel

  • Visit: St. Michael’s church

  • Experience: Elbe philharmonic hall

  • Shop: Alsterarkaden

FOOD TRAIL

BEST BRUNCHES :

Roamers:

Definitely, reserve before you go, as there has never been a time when there was no queue. A small space serving the best eggs and croissants I have ever had.

Visit: Pannierstraße 64, 12043 Berlin, Germany

Ora:

A high-end brunch place that serves till 4 pm. Their pancakes are incomparable.

Visit: Oranienpl. 14, 10999 Berlin, Germany

Cafe am Neuen see Biergarten:

Think of cedar wood, pretty lights, Christmas carols and oven made pizza with Beer. Located in the middle of Tiergarten, this place is super romantic even during the day.  

Visit: Lichtensteinallee 2 ,10787 Berlin

House of small wonder:

You might just experience Food coma. Croissant with eggs and maple syrup is my recommendation for sure. They also serve matcha coffee!

Visit: Johannisstraße 20, 10117 Berlin, Germany

TEA:

Tadshikische tee tube:

A truly hidden gem, a tea room from Tajikistan that offers an experience of Russian and Chinese cultures with its brocade silk interiors and vodka tea with raisins. You cannot miss this one.

Visit: Oranienburger Str. 27, 10117 Berlin, Germany

VEGAN:

Daluma:

A high-end cosy vegan bar that serves protein-rich snacks and brunches. One could expect avocado bowls, smoothies, chia seed puddings and eggs.

Visit: Weinbergsweg 3, 10119 Berlin, Germany

VIETNAMESE

Que phe:

Located in Mitte, this is an authentic Vietnamese cafe serving, Phos and baos with coffee and chocolate, all sourced from Vietnam.

Visit: Max-Beer-Straße 37, 10119 Berlin, Germany

DONER:

Mustafa Demir gemuse kebap:

When speaking of Doner Kebabs, there is nowhere else to go. Mustafa Demir also is part of the food history of Berlin as kebab was founded in Berlin when the Turkish migrated to Germany 3 generation ago and this became one of the first shops to open.

Visit: Mehringdamm 32, 10961 Berlin, Germany

DRINKS:

Monkey bar :

A rooftop bar at the 25- hour hotel, Bikini Berlin, could be classified under indie luxury. With a spectacular view of the Tiergarten on one side and view of the Kaiserin Wilhelm Memorial Church on the other, this is the perfect destination for a drink during the week or weekend.

Visit:Budapester Str. 40, 10787 Berlin, Germany

OTHER

BRUNCHES- Napoljonska + Super + St oberholz + Le bon food and drink

VEGAN- Jivamukti yoga berlin + Funk you

PIZZA- 12 apostel berlin mitte + Zola pizza + Ritrovo cucina ( favourite) + W- der imbiss

VIETNAMESE- Huong que + Lemongrass scent + Chen che + Rou vegetarian

INDIAN- Chelany + Satyam

DRINKS- An einem sonntag im August

BAKERY- Black isle bakery + Brammibal’s donuts + L’osteria

KOREAN - Gong gang and Chilees korean burger

U Bahn And Art

A city can be judged by it's public transport. How I judge it? With art on the underground. Spending more than an hour everyday on the Ubahn kept me inspired.

Here is a photo essay capturing everyday on the Ubahn and it's iconic tiled stations.

Markets

  • Flohmarkt arkonaplatz + mauerpark for local designers and food

  • Markthalle neun for local food

  • The berlin art market by the zeughaus supports local artists

  • Boxhagener platz for furniture, vintage and books

  • Gendarmenmarkt is the best christmas market

  • Hackescher Markt is in one of the most central and hip neighbourhoods of Berlin

  • Winterfeldtmarkt is along a canal in kreuzberg

  • Bebelplatz and Trodelmarkt are more local

SOUVINIERS

STATIONARY

  • Paper and tea

  • Rsvp papier

    DESIGN/ CONCEPT STORES

  • Voo store

  • Present and paper

  • Soho house

  • Mazooka

  • Artek

  • Schee

  • Granit

  • The amazing crocodile design store

  • Furst nebensortimente im buchhandel

  • Heimat berlin

    VINTAGE

  • VEB orange

  • Mankii vintage

  • Townes vintage

    FASHION

  • Le labo for perfumes

  • Loveco

  • Starstyling for clothes

  • Ace and tate for glasses

BOOKSHOPS

  • Curious Fox

  • Motto berlin

  • Buchhandlung walther könig gmbh

  • Saint georges english bookshop

  • Modern graphics

  • Do you read me

  • Shakespeare and sons

  • The berlin book nook

  • Die buch konigin

  • Bücherbogen am savignyplatz

  • Marga schoeller buecherstube

  • Ocelot

  • Bunchbox

  • Soda bookstore

  • pro qm thematische buchhandlung

ART

  • Modular art supply store

  • Neurotitan shop and gallery

  • Künstlerbedarf künstlermagazin

    FOOD

  • L’epicerie

  • Kochhaus kreuzberg for organic grocery

JOURNEY OF BELONGING

During my 3 month stay in Berlin, I spent half of my time at ‘A Journey of belonging’ an open studio initiative by CAA berlin at Bikini Berlin. With artists from Syria, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan,  "A Journey of Belonging" gave artists the opportunity to pursue their artistic work and to present the results to a larger audience. 15 artists moved their studio in Bikini Berlin which included artists like Marwa Abou Hatab, Mohanad Adwan, Khaled al Boushi, Fadi al Hamwi, Hiba Alansari, Akel Amer, Jeanno Gaussi, Mohamad Halbouni, Fadi, Keith King.

To know more about their works, Follow A Journey of Belonging

A CONSCIOUS BRAND

Abury is a sustainable fashion brand that supports crafts community in Africa, South America and Asia. Andrea bury’s trip to morocco and finding rare vintage leather- hand embroidered berber bags started it all four years ago. Today Abury also supports the Abury foundation through its various projects like the Portraid Project. I was fortunate to be a part of their Breast cancer awareness campaign. To find out out more about Abury here. 

SPACES

The creative community in Berlin is wide and experimental. Here are some useful organisations and spaces to know about for artist residencies and galleries.

  • Visit the Museum Island and check out at least 3 out of 5 galleries and Museums that include. 

  • Walk along the east side gallery for Street Art that stretches for more than 2 km.

  • Visit the Jewish Museum to understand the Jewish history in Berlin

  • Bethanien Centre is an open studio and gallery for artists to rent. One Could expect unique events like book festivals and movie screening at this space.

  • Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt: House of world cultures organises exhibitions from around the world with relevance to politics, anthropology and history. One can also attend movie and theatre at the auditorium

  • Co Berlin: A contemporary space dedicated to emerging and established photographer with quint cafe and bookstore.

  • Sammlung Boros: Influenced by modern architecture, the space exhibits contemporary art installations.

  • Bauhaus Archive: Dedicated to the Bauhaus school of design, space could be a delight for an architect/ designer looking for inspiration and homes a design shop and cafe.

  • Me collectors room: Located in the centre of the city, the gallery is surrounded by many other independent galleries and works on cross-cultural initiatives.

OTHER:

  • Zentrum fur Kunst und urbanistik

  • English theatre Berlin

  • Museum fur fotografie

  • University de Kunst

  • Salon berlin

CAFE GUIDE

Could I call Berlin the cafe capital of Europe? Almost! Here is a list of my favourites in Mitte, Kreuzberg and Prenzular berg

1. Refinery High-end Coffee: A perfect destination for high-end single origin African and South American roasts.  One must try their latte with cheesecake.

Location: Albrechtstrasse 11b 10117 Berlin

Website: http://refinerycoffee.de/en/

2. Distrikt coffee:Fantastic breakfast all round (berry Brioche and eggs/avocado on toast), great coffee and juice with very quick friendly service.

Location: Bergstrasse 68

Berlin, Germany 10115

Website: http://distriktcoffee.de/

3. Five elephants:Roasters with a chain of stores serving a perfect cuppa, whether you are an espresso person or a latte lover.

Location: Kreuzberg Cafe & Bakery

REICHENBERGER STR. 101

10999 BERLIN

Mitte Cafe

ALTE SCHÖNHAUSERSTR. 14.

10119 BERLIN

Website: https://www.fiveelephant.com/

4. The barn cafe coffee roasters :For the ones who like a freshly roasted and brewed cup with an outside seating or beans to take back home, this would be perfect. With a coffee academy, the barn truly does excel in what they do. Location: Auguststrasse 58, 10119 Berlin

Website: https://thebarn.de/,

5. Bonanza coffee roasters:A roastery and co-working space, this is an experience in itself with its chic interiors and outstanding coffee and croissants.

Location: Oderberger Straße 35 | 10435 Berlin

Website: http://www.bonanzacoffee.de/

6. Father carpenter coffee brewers:Hidden in a courtyard in Mitte, This is a brewery and cafe that serves delicious eggs benedict, cakes and coffee.

Location: Muenzstrasse 21 - 1.Hof

Berlin, Germany 10178

7. Companion coffee: Coffeehouse that also serves delicious tea, located in a high-end boutique called voo store. One could spend a perfect afternoon shopping, sipping tea and coffee with cakes.

Location: Oranienstr. 24,

10999 Berlin,

Germany

Website: http://www.companioncoffee.com/

8. Chapter one coffee: Small cafe for taking away in Kreuzberg is perfect for the ones who like it simple.  

Location: Mittenwalder Str. 3010961 Berlin

Website: http://www.chapter-one-coffee.com/ 

9. The visit coffee: I would visit it just for the experience of the space and of course an amazing cappuccino

Location: Adalbertstraße 9, 10999 Berlin

Website: https://visit-coffee.com/

10. Roeststaette: More than just a coffee shop, this space also organises workshops for the curious customers. Offering a range of coffee brews, they are also great for a hot chocolate.

Location: Ackerstr. 173 D-10115 Berlin

Website: http://shop.roeststaette.de/

OTHER:

  • Silo Coffee

  • God shot

  • Friedl rotisserie and kekse

  • 19 grams

  • Isla berlin

  • Tres cabezas

  • Impala coffee

  • Concierge coffee

  • westberlin

  • Coffee profilers

  • Cafe im literaturhaus

  • Cafe 9

  • KoffAin

BEING TOURISTY

  • Jüdischer friedhof

  • Pariser platz

  • ast Side Gallery

  • Monbijoupark

  • Checkpoint charlie

  • Brandenburg gate

  • Jewish Museum Berlin

  • Alexanderplatz

  • Berlin wall memorial

  • Bode museum

  • Berlin cathedral

  • Pergamonmuseum

  • Alte nationalgalerie

  • St Nikolai Kirche

  • Memorial of murdered jews

  • Checkpoint charlie

  • Topography of terror

  • Potsdamer platz

  • Rykestrasse synagogue

  • Tiergarten

  • Charlottenburg palace

  • Victory column

  • Neue kirche

  • French cathedral

  • St hedwig’s cathedral

  • German historical museum

  • Oberbaumbrucke

  • Flughafen tempelhof

  • Zionskirche

  • Kadewe

  • Anne frank zentrum

  • Kaiser wilhelm memorial church

  • Passion kirche

  • Reichstag