Berlin, Germany By Bike

9 06 2017

Berlin bike tour by Dennis HensleyOne of my favorite ways to get to know a new city is to take a bike tour. You get a lay of the land, are able to cross off some major tourist attractions of your to-do list and are able to justify any and all tasty treats you eat before, during and after, because hey, you’ve been pedaling all day. On a gorgeous spring day in late March, I took the 3 and a half hour, 15-kilometer “Berlin’s Best Bike Tour,” one of several tours offered by the company Berlin on Bike. Annd I’m so glad I did. Story and photo by ManAboutWorld correspondent Dennis Hensley.

The bike tour set off from the Kulturbrauerei, a charming complex of red brick buildings that during the Industrial Era was home to a beer factory but now houses restaurants, beer gardens and theaters. The sites we saw and learned about on the tour included a preserved section of the Berlin Wall complete with watchtower, the Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, the Spree River, Tiergarten Park, the Victory Column, the hauntingly powerful Holocaust Memorial and the oh-so posh Hotel Adlon where Michael Jackson dangled his baby Blanket out the window. Along the way, we took a rest stop at a currywurst stand where I sampled Berlin’s most popular street foods, the currywurst, and a bottle of Club Mate, a trendy cold tea-like drink that packs quite punch.

The facts our guide Sebastian Becker shared about the city were fascinating and surprising, like that Chancellor Angela Merkel just lives in a regular apartment with neighbors above and below her, not a fancy government building. But what really made the tour special were the personal stories he shared. When he was a child, Sebastian’s parents were taking the family into the GDR (communist East Germany) to visit relatives, which you were allowed to do on special occasions and they snuck in a Monopoly game as a gift. When they got to the checkpoint, the GDR guards searched their car and found the game. Not only was it confiscated, but Sebastian’s parents had to be interrogated and body searched for hours in a private office while the children waited outside. I guess when you consider how Monopoly is all about American-style capitalism, it’s so surprise the GDR authorities didn’t want their citizens exposed to it. But you can bet the enjoyed playing it themselves.

The tour I took costs 21 Euros, 17 with the tourism board’s Welcome Card, which I highly recommend as it allows you to take public transportation and has many discounts for museums and so forth.

After the tour, Sebastian agreed to let me interview him for my Dennis Anyone podcast over lunch at a nearby sidewalk café, Pane e Vino, where you can get a delicious pizza or pasta dish for under 4 Euros.

You can listen to the podcast here. Dennis, Anyone in Berlin

 

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Upcoming Art Events in Berlin

16 06 2016
Street art, berlin

Street art, Berlin

Berlin is a super gay-friendly destination and still one of the best bargains in Europe even though prices are starting to spike. Why not go now? Here are a few art events through October to time your trip with courtesy of our friends at Berlin Tourism www.visitBerlin.com. Photo above by Troels Johannesen via Flickr Creative Commons 

►9th Berlin biennale for Contemporary Art

until September 18, 2016 at various locations

Since its inception in 1998, the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art has become one of the art world’s premier cultural events. It brings together some of the most influential artists, thinkers, and personalities and presents a cross section of artworks by internationally renowned as well as emerging artists. Each edition of the Biennale features around 50 Berlin-based artists with the majority of them producing new works for the exhibition. The events explore artistic developments to present, the unseen and the unfamiliar at the core of Berlin’s inspiring atmosphere. The New York based collective DIS are the curatorial team of this year’s Biennale edition. The upcoming events will function as a platform for collaboration of different kinds, embracing contradiction, blurriness, and confusion.

►Dada Africa: Dialogue with the Foreign

August 5 – November 7, 2016

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of Dadaism and the Berlinische Galerie will throw a big party to celebrate the occasion. About 120 works from collections in Germany and abroad will be presented in five sections. Dadaist works engage in a direct dialogue with artifacts from Africa, Asia and Oceania. The show reveals how much the Dadaists looked to art beyond Europe in formulating their new aesthetic departures. DADA’s revolutionary attack on traditional notions of art and culture in the early 20th century laid the groundwork even then for new ways of seeing the Other.

►Long Night of Museums

August 27, 2016

Berlin’s popular Long Night of Museums is poised to again become an inspiring and fun late night event, when some 100 large and small museums, presenting established and new collections, open their doors from 6 pm Saturday evening until 2 am Sunday morning. Music, theater, and culinary events will enhance the permanent and temporary exhibitions and promise to make the nighttime museum visit a unique experience. Buy just one ticket and you get unlimited access to a special shuttle bus service and admission to all participating venues and events.

►5th Berlin Art Week

September 13-18, 2016, various locations

A key fall event, the Berlin Art Week is dedicated to contemporary art and combines exhibitions, art fairs, art awards, and an auxiliary program featuring talks, films, and tours. The Berlin Art Week provides new, surprising insights into private collections, project spaces, and the city’s sites of artistic production. Center pieces this year will again be the art fairs abc art berlin contemporary and Positions Berlin – Art Fair.

►European Month of Photography

October 1 – 31, 2016, various locations

Since 2004, the European Month of Photography has been taking place every two years in Berlin, presenting a wide range of exhibitions and events on historic and contemporary photography. The largest German festival for photography presents a collaboration of museums, cultural institutions, galleries, embassies, project spaces, as well as local photography schools. On the occasion of its 10th anniversary 2014, the EMOP Berlin had an impressive record to its name: 2 million visitors, 500 exhibitions by as many partner institutions, 30,000 photographic works shown, and 2,000 participating photographers.

►Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Hieroglyphics

September 23 – February 12, 2017 at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum for Contemporary Art

Referring to his cityscape paintings, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, the German expressionist painter and one of the founders of the artists group “Die Brücke“, spoke of “hieroglyphs as signs of expression.” Immediate ecstasy, Kirchner wrote, leads already in the preliminary sketch to “complete hieroglyphs.” The variety of visual experience, “ecstasy,” is reduced to abbreviations, to eloquent details such as hats, shoe tips, window frames, or bridge arches. With this focus, the upcoming exhibition directs attention toward 18 works by the artist in the museum’s own collection, ranging from the early Seated Nude of the Dresden Brücke period, to Bathers on the Beach and dense works Meadow Flowers and Cat from the artist’s late works.

►Feuerle Collection opens in former WWII bunker

October 2016

Collector Désiré Feuerle is planning to open a private museum in late 2016, to house his collection of international contemporary and Southeast Asian art, as well as Chinese design. Just like the well-known Boros Collection, the Feuerle Collection will be permanently be displayed in a former World War II telecommunications bunker, which has been refurbished by British architect John Pawson. The museum aims to provoke a dialogue between works of different cultures and eras. After a sneak preview during the 9th Berlin Biennale, the official grand opening of the Feuerle Collection will be celebrated in October 2016.





Berlin: A Year of LGBT Events

19 05 2015
Credit: © Guenther Steffen

Credit: © Guenther Steffen

We recently covered Berlin Pride (Christopher Street Day) and Folsom (below) but there are a lot more gay reasons to put Berlin on your travel radar this summer from exhibitions and street festivals to a queer night at the zoo.

EXHIBITIONS
 “Homosexuality_ies” on History of Homosexuality
June 26 until December 1, 2015

In cooperation with Berlin’s Gay Museum (Schwules Museum), the German National History Museum is planning interdisciplinary exhibitions in both museums on gay history, politics, culture and art. The culture-historical exhibition aims to contribute to a social recognition which goes beyond tolerance. It will show what political contributions the homosexual emancipation movement has made toward the development of a democratic civil society in which everyone is accorded equal rights and equal opportunities.www.dhm.de/en/ausstellungen/preview/homosexuality-ies.html 

 Gay Museum: New Location and Changing Exhibitions
Reopening June 25

Since its founding in 1985, Berlin’s Schwules Museum (Gay Museum) has grown into one of the world’s  largest and most significant institutions for archiving, researching and communicating the history and culture of LGBTIQ communities. At its new location in a converted former printing house, the museum features four exhibition spaces and a café. Exhibition highlights in 2015 include a look at Berlin’s former – and openly gay – mayor, And that’s a good thing – 13 Years of Klaus Wowereit As Mayor Of Berlin (until  17 May 2015) and Homosexuality_ies, the double exhibition in cooperation with the German Historical Museum. (above and atwww.schwulesmuseum.de/en/exhibitions/view/homosexuality-ies/),www.schwulesmuseum.de/. Read the rest of this entry »





Berlin Examines the History of LGBT Porn

24 02 2015
As seen in ManAboutWorld magazine, the gay travel magazine

“Scenes from the Land of Hirschfeld” inside the Schwules Museum

 

One of our favorite correspondents, Paul Heney, is back with another great piece about his recent travels to Berlin:

Berlin took a little time to grow on me, but after four trips here over the years, it’s a place I love to visit. The city’s eclectic style, extensive arts scene, in-your-face “German-ness” and plentiful shopping—not to mention its very gay-friendly vibe—adds up to a lot of fun for the gay traveler.

I had a great opportunity to visit the city’s famed Schweules Museum, now celebrating its 30th anniversary. Schweules, one of the world’s mot renowned institutions for researching and communicating the LGBTQ experience.

Through March 31, the museum is showcasing a fascinating exhibit, “Porn That Way,” a look at the history of gay, lesbian and trans porn. And there is a lot of history, and some pretty interesting insight into what gay porn meant, not to mention how it shaped what men considered sexy. From early work that seemed closeted and subversive to the photorealistic Tom of Finland drawings—and from the gay-for-play muscled hunks that tried to show a healthy counterpoint to AIDS victims to the self-made online empires like Corbin Fischer, the show tries to show how the different eras of gay pornography related to the times.

There’s also an in-depth examination of lesbian porn, including the “produced by men for men” variety, as well as the woman-produced, safe-sex, female-centric movies and magazines.

So if you’re in Germany’s capital city anytime soon, make sure to stop by Schweules before heading over to Brunos for your underwear and gymwear shopping! It’s a worthwhile stop to pay homage and learn more about that media that no one likes to discuss in public—but that everyone watches in private.





Europe’s Top Gay Travel Destinations

26 02 2014

This article samples one originally published in Iberia Airline’s blog Love2Fly. To read the rest of this article, click here or the link below.

When it comes to LGBT travel, few experiences are as rewarding as travel to Europe. There’s such an amazing variety of cultures, environments, climates, and experiences – all on the most liberal continent on the planet, thanks to the encouraging social (r)evolutions of the 21st century, making most of Europe an ever more gay-friendly destination. There are hundreds of welcoming cities large and small, as well as towns and rural areas, which I could steer you to, depending on your interests, but let me start off by highlighting a handful of the top most prominent, and you could say gay-friendliest:

AMSTERDAM

Say ‘Amsterdam’ and your mind conjures contradictory images, both sublime and profane: Rembrandt and peep shows, coffee shops and cannabis, cobbled streets and red light districts, historic canals and sleazy bars. After all these years, the city remains the godfather of gay pride and the birthplace of LGBT rights, rebellious and uninhibited, and as effortlessly beautiful as ever. The world’s first legal gay and lesbian nuptials were officiated here, and the Homomonument first gay monument was constructed here more than a quarter century ago. The queer scene in Amsterdam is one of the largest in Europe and boasts more than a hundred gay and lesbian bars, clubs, saunas, shops, and hotels. Though summer is the most crowded and fun, Amsterdam attracts visitors all year with gay-oriented events like Pink Christmas in December and King’s Day in April (we of course preferred when it was called Queen’s Day (ahem), but it’s still way popular with gay girls and boys). Flights from Spain, from the USA.


BARCELONA/SITGES

As an urban destination, the capital of the Catalonia region is as close to the total package as it gets – a stylish culinary, cultural, nightlife, and design capital with its own spectacular architectural flavour (hello, Gaudí!) and great beaches even right in town, not to mention nearby: The fetching Mediterranean seaside town of Sitges (above), a half hour south, is one of Europe’s top gay resorts. Barcelona has arrived on the gay circuit with a party called, well, Circuit, which attracts thousands of men every August, and following that there’s Girlie Circuit Lesbians for las chicas. Then of course there’s Barcelona’s “Gaixample” – ground zero for a large, diverse (twinks to bears and beyond), and active LGBT scene and community. There are scores of fabulous places to stay, eat, and play gay – but virtually the whole city is welcoming, so spread your rainbow-hued wings. Flights from the UK, from the USA.

Click here to discover the other fabulous destinations Ed wrote about.

Ed Salvato is editor in chief of ManAboutWorld, the world’s first gay travel magazine created for iPad (and soon Android tablets) only. Click here for a special three-month free subscription offer.

images | Mike SlichenmyerCaptn_JackJörg Kanngiesser





Correspondent Update: Eating Berlin

23 05 2013
Facil

Facil

ManAboutWorld Global Correspondents Niazi Rubez and Marcio Chapman ate and sipped their way across Berlin. Here are their favorite restaurants.

Gustav heuriger

A typical grastropub: cozy, the atmosphere is relaxed. Patrons greet the waitress by her name. The menu is based on Austrian food. The wine selection is small, focused in Austria and Germany. Wines by the glass are a good and reliable option.

Motzstrasse 10-10777 – Schöneberg

Tel 030/21280140

Facebook.com/Gustav.Heuriger

Café des Artistes

Restaurant, winebar and art gallery. As the name suggests the focus is French cuisine. Tasteful decor, silverware, linen table ware give a certain air of refinement. The service is very friendly. The Wine Bar is perfect.

Fuggerstrasse 35-10777 – Schöneberg

Tel 030/23635249

www.artistico-Berlin.com

Read the rest of this entry »





Travel Geeks Take Note: New Airport in Berlin Opens in June

31 03 2012

Airport City (simulation); Visualisierung: Björn Rolle

This just in from the folks at www.visitBerlin.com: On June 3, 2012 the brand-spanking new Brandenburg BER airport in Berlin opens and the two remaining airports, Tegel and Schönefeld, will be shut down permanently. (Tempelhof airport was closed in 2008.)

There is a lot of information about the new airport that is interesting and exciting like its convenient access to the center of the city: Trains will leave from the train station just underneath the main terminal every 15 minutes. Travel time to Berlin’s city center will be less than half an hour at a cost of around just 3 Euros.

Architects and designers were also highly conscious of environmental concerns. The planners employed a range of eco-friendly measures to ensure the new airport’s sustainability: Flora and fauna at the construction site were protected and heat and energy recycling systems were incorporated into the design from the get-go.

If your travel plans include Berlin this summer be sure to check with your airline. You may also wish to read more about Brandenburg BER on their website: www.berlin-airport.de.








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