It's OK to look Lost
It's perfectly okay to stand in a station with a public transit system map in hand. Who said Berliners, those from my area always said northern Germans in general weren't friendly! One day I got myself really really REALLY lost and had no idea how to get back to where I was staying. Previously I'd had personal navigators in the persons of Damon and Jay (if you read the rest of my page you know who they are), but after they'd left for other parts of Germany I was on my own.
Courageously I struck out on my own one day to see Charlottenburg, I never made it and got lost, yet found that by standing in the station looking lost I had a number of persons come up to me and ask in English, "what are you looking for?" and "can I help you find your way?" There are information booths at some stations, but persons in general, usually were quite helpful. So synopsis: ITS OK TO LOOK LOST SOMETIMES ;-)
The Turks in Berlin originally came to Germany as "Gastarbeiter" - guestworkers - in the 1970s. Today, many of their children and grandchildren are not yet citizens, because German citizenship is based on blood and the naturalization process is difficult. However, many Turks have also chosen not to become German citizens. Many still retain hopes of returning to Turkey or of sending their children and grandchildren there to study. However, many second- and third-generation Turks grew up speaking German with their German peers and resent their parents' plans to send them "back " to Turkey.
Regardless, the Turks represent a colorful presence in Berlin and have made many contributions to the city and to Germany as a whole. Late night doener kebab and falafel stands are extremely popular among Berlin clubbers. The Turkish market in Kreuzberg is a great place to shop for cheap goods and eat delicious Mediterranean food.
This picture of an apartment building near Kottbusser Tor shows the attachment Turks have for their home, culture and language - satellite dishes on almost every balcony receive Turkish programming daily.
Sombre wartime memorial
Soviet War Memorial, Treptower Park
Although some people do make the trek over to Treptower Park, many people still seem to confuse this memorial with the far less impressive one in the Tiergarten.
The war memorial is a massive exercise in Soviet visual propaganda, and is also a grave for 5,000 Soviet soldiers who helped to liberate Berlin (as a consequence, it's also a solemn place; keep the raucous picnics for other parts of the very large park, closer to the river).
At one end stands a statue representing Mother Russia, at the other a heroic Soviet soldier carrying a child, and trampling on a swastika. Even if you're turned off by the many quotes from Stalin that adorn the friezes on either side of the memorial, in Russian and German, this memorial is a very powerful reminder of the tragedy, suffering and heroism of very ordinary people, in this case young Soviet soldiers, that have so marked Berlin.
Perhaps understandably, the memorial seems at its most impressive in the dead of winter, the trees bare and a sprinkling of snow on the ground. Once, while we were visiting, a fox darted out from one side of the park, leaving tracks in the snow and disappearing through the railings at the other side.
Eastern Market For Your Ethnic Needs
You had to select an appropriate type for the shop but its not just food items here. Golden Rajah is conveniently located if you live in the area, has friendly staff, basic ethnic needs for cooking as well as home decorations and clothing. Also foreign language DVDs and videos especially those from India. They have a nice selection of fish, though its mostly frozen and imported of course, rices, beans, coconut milk and the like.
Berlin has a large immigrant population but it isn't as easy to obtain ethnic foods if you live outside of a more ethnic neighborhood. But that is the life, most times if I am shopping for a special meal I visit shops all across the city looking for ingredients. Golden Rajah, just a short walk from our flatblock, has most of the things I need at any given time. The special item I was looking for was fresh okra, and herbs like lemongrass and cilantro. In season, produce usually comes in on Mondays and that's the best day to get the freshest selection. That depends on your needs, but prices are very reasonable depending on the item and how difficult it is to ship. Most items are imported from India and China and other countires in Asia.
A REAL Jazz Bar-No Shickey Mickey! Yorckschlossen!
Yorckschlossen was a great place to go for a drink especially if you like JAZZ! Some of the best Jazz players in Berlin and from around Europe come here to play. The interior is decorated with photographs of famous jazz and blues greats, and I would have missed this place if Robin (BerlinTraveler) had not found and pointed it out in his guidebook. He's into jazz in a big way and could always find all the good places and parties.
They play live music here often, so if you are in Berlin and like jazz or just want a cool place to go, pick up a local flyer that tells about events in the area and I am sure you can find something about Yorckschlossen and who's playing and when. Anything you want, but something Berliner, black and cool was always my choice. Robin always were his hat! But anything goes here, it was a laid-back place.