Uncornered Market » Berlin http://uncorneredmarket.com travel wide, live deep Fri, 18 Apr 2014 04:29:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Exploring Berlin: Virtual Tour Week and a Giveawayhttp://uncorneredmarket.com/berlin-virtual-tour/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/berlin-virtual-tour/#comments Mon, 19 Aug 2013 05:41:03 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=13675 By Audrey Scott

This is about Berlin, chunky quotes, something new we’re trying this week, and a few giveaways to tie it all together. Berlin. A city we love, a city we’ve chosen as a base. As we dig into Berlin and meet others who’ve done the same, we learn a little bit more about the city through […]

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By Audrey Scott

This is about Berlin, chunky quotes, something new we’re trying this week, and a few giveaways to tie it all together.

Berlin. A city we love, a city we’ve chosen as a base. As we dig into Berlin and meet others who’ve done the same, we learn a little bit more about the city through them — its layers of history, humanity, creativity, and culture.

Berlin Photos

This week we’re undertaking something a little different to bring more of this to light. We’ll be enlisting the help of Berlin friends and experts to help — on what we’re calling a Virtual Tour of Berlin.

Berlin: One City, Multiple Perspectives

Berlin Wall, East Side Gallery - Friedrichshain, Berlin
East Side Gallery, street art along the Berlin Wall.

How would you describe Berlin? Not an easy task. So we asked several Berliner friends and experts on Berlin to share with us their view on Berlin and what makes it the city that it is. Here are a few:

History’s eternal problem child, Berlin refuses to grow up and be respectable.” – Ben Perry, long-time Berlin resident and friend

———

“Berlin’s obvious attractions include abundant space, a spirit of tolerance, a relatively low population, an excellent cycling network and public transport links, easy access to a countryside dominated by forests and lakes, and a commercial infrastructure that’s largely independent. But its more complex and nuanced aspects – the stories and characters, the dark history and unexpected delights of its interzones and edgelands – are best discovered via patient exploration and home-made sandwiches.” – Paul Sullivan, founder of Slow Travel Berlin

———

As the fall of the Berlin Wall acts as Year Zero for the city, it is much younger than other European capitals. Because of this, it feels more open to strangers and strange ideas, and the creatives here are less competitive and more collaborative. This makes it a great place to work in a creative field or in tech, or to distinguish yourself as a blogger. Moving here is the best thing I ever did.” – James Glazebrook, co-founder of überlin

———

“Berlin, Berlin: There’s this special energy in Berlin—so much potential, so much history and so many interesting people doing interesting things. The Berliners (not the donuts, but the people who live here—international or not) are making Berlin what it is today…and what it has been in the past.” – Adam Groffman, Travels of Adam

———

“Berlin is like a hole. You sink deeper and deeper and you can’t get out.”

“Is it a good hole or a bad hole?”

“Oh, it’s a good hole, the best hole in the world.”Veroniki Alexopulos, a long-term Berlin resident from Finland

———

Berlin. Full of juxtaposition, this rebellious, orderly, outspoken, lively, relaxed, historic, innovative, green (in summer), grey (in winter), urban island in the East of Germany and the heart of Europe is a magnet for international artists, creatives, techies, beauties, tourists, history buffs and partiers – and truly the city that never sleeps.” – Luci Westphal from Moving Postcard

A Virtual Tour of Berlin

And so we’re very excited to share our Berlin during a “Virtual Tour of Berlin” on Google Plus this week. Tapping into the inimitable pace and vibe of the city, we’ll examine a few aspects of the Berlin experience: life, architecture, art, food, neighborhoods, sights, history, and the urban and green spaces that define its streets.

Eyeing a new set of wheels. How far can she go? #trabant #Berlin
Trabant adventures in Berlin

In addition to sharing some of our favorite places in Berlin, we’ll also explore a few new parts of the city (for us). All week we’ll share our experiences and post photos and local tips on the G Adventures Traveling Community.

  • Street food tour in Kreuzberg highlighting our favorite Berlin cheap eats.
  • Canoe tour of Berlin with Berlin on Bike.
  • Street art tour and workshop with Alternative Berlin.
  • Walking tour of Kreuzberg, one of our favorite neighborhoods, with Context Travel.
  • Museum and exhibition visits, from the Curry Wurst Museum to antiquities at the Pergamon Museum. Big thanks to visitBerlin for providing us with Berlin WelcomeCards and Museum Cards.
Sailing into a Berlin sunset
Sailing into a Berlin sunset

We invite you to explore Berlin with us! RSVP here for the event. Connect with us on Google Plus. Share your own Berlin photos and stories on the Traveling Community.

Google Hangout on Air with Berlin Experts – August 22, 1PM EST

On Thursday, August 22 we’ll be hosting a Google Hangout on Air at 1PM EST/10AM PST (7PM Berlin time) to talk even more about Berlin and answer any questions you might have about visiting or living in this city. We’ve asked Berlin residents and experts Adam Groffman from Travels of Adam, James Glazebrook, co-founder of überlin, Giulia Pines and Natalie Holmes from Slow Travel Berlin to share their expertise on, experience in and love of Berlin with all of us.

So let us know your questions on Berlin! Ask them in the Virtual Tour Event, on Twitter with #gadvBerlin, or in the comments below.

Berlin Giveaway

We realize that we’re a bit nutty about Berlin, but we’re not the only ones. A couple of our partners were also excited about this week and offered prizes so that you, our readers, could enjoy some of the same sort of experiences we are having this week.

Berlin prizes include:

How to enter? It’s easy! Answer: what’s the first thing you want to do when you get to Berlin?

Just leave a comment below. Tweet us @umarket and use the hashtag #gadvBerlin. Leave a comment on the Google Plus Virtual Tour of Berlin Event page. Or, sign up for our newsletter.

Just be sure to submit your entry by Monday, August 26, 2013. Viel Glück!

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Berlin: A Beginner’s Guidehttp://uncorneredmarket.com/berlin-travel-beginner-guide/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/berlin-travel-beginner-guide/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 14:16:10 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=11562 By Audrey Scott

Traveling to Berlin? Here’s our Berlin brainstorming guide to give you some approaches and ideas to get started. We have found ourselves in Berlin this year for the third summer in a row. Berlin draws us in, like the school kid who may not be the best looking in the class but has the magnetic […]

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By Audrey Scott

Fernsehturm and Berliner Dom - Berlin
Berlin, where everything mixes.

Traveling to Berlin? Here’s our Berlin brainstorming guide to give you some approaches and ideas to get started.

We have found ourselves in Berlin this year for the third summer in a row. Berlin draws us in, like the school kid who may not be the best looking in the class but has the magnetic personality that everyone wants to be around.

Berlin for us is a place of openness and open space, physical and mental. The history of the city is one of destruction and creation. From our first visit over 10 years ago, it has always felt like a place in flux, in full evolution, always trying to figure itself out, reinventing along the way. This is what leads to its entrepreneurial feel, its inimitable style.

Given our enthusiasm and the amount of time we have spent in Berlin these last years, we’re often asked to give advice on how we approach the city — what to do, see, eat and enjoy. I’ve given this advice often by email, so it’s about time to share it in one place.

Skip ahead:

Today's Berlin profile, sunshine and buckets of color
Berlin neighborhoods in all their color.

Visiting Berlin, a Brainstorming Guide

Berlin by Bike

Our number one suggestion to anyone coming to Berlin: rent a bike. Even if you’re not a big bicycle person and haven’t been on one for years, get over your fear. Hop on a bike to see the city. You can thank us later.

Berlin is perfect for cycling – the land is flat, bike lanes run throughout the city, and cars are respectful of cyclists (with perhaps the exception of taxis). And while we love Berlin’s fantastic public transportation system, exploring Berlin by bike is the best way to take in the different neighborhoods as you absorb the subtle changes between one area and the next. The whole Berlin-by-peddle-power experience is just plain fun.

Bike rentals in Berlin: Many guest houses and hotels rent bikes, as do many bike shops. The standard rate is about €10/day. If you rent one for several days, ask for a discount if one isn’t already offered. Be sure to lock your bike everywhere you go as bike theft is unfortunately commonplace in Berlin.

Berlin Neighborhoods

When we think of Berlin, we think of its neighborhoods. From gallery-flush Mitte to hipster Kreuzkolln to the country feel of Spandau, you can feel like you’ve visited multiple German cities in just one day. Cafes, restaurants, shops, architecture, and people — it all changes rather noticeably from one place to the next.

A few Berlin neighborhoods to consider checking out:

Kreuzberg
In full disclosure, we’re rather biased to Kreuzberg as we’ve sublet a place here for two summers. Traditionally a Turkish neighborhood, Kreuzberg is full of great food, vegetable stalls, independently-run shops, street art and people. Over the years Kreuzberg has become more gentrified (Berliners will shout “understatement!”) but poke in and around Kottbusser Tor and you’ll still see a few lingering grungy roots.

Porsche corner #Berlin - midlife crisis or hipster hunting ground?
Kreuzberg street scene.

Recommended: Turkish market at Maybachufer on Tuesdays and Fridays (12 – 6 PM). Piles of fresh (and often cheap) vegetables and fruit, plus Turkish delis serving up all kinds of spreads, olives and flat breads. The Maybachufer market also features a few takeaway food stands, street performers and even the odd haircut-on-the-street.

Mitte
Once the historic center of old Berlin, Mitte was East Berlin central and home to the DDR’s Checkpoint Charlie. Since the fall of the Berlin wall, the area and vast swathes of nearby no-man’s-land has turned into pockets of hip and creation. Although rents have increased, pushing some art studios further afield, Mitte remains home to many art galleries and few unpolished bits of the city’s not-so-distant and divided past.

Courtyard of the Art Gallery C/O in Mitte, Berlin
Industrial buildings turned art gallery in Mitte.

Recommended: Take a walk down Auguststrasse and Linienstrasse, dropping in on art galleries along the way. Most are free and you never know what you may find — even a human-sized pig on an exercise bicycle.

Prenzlauerberg
Now the Park Slope of Berlin, this neighborhood was transformed from ordinary eastern workaday neighborhood to hip yup enclave within a few years. No shortage of cafes, shops, vintage stores, and baby carriages.

Recommended: On Sundays, Mauerpark becomes packed with people for the weekly flea market. Whether you’re looking for clever t-shirts or grandma’s teacups, you’ll be able to find it all here. Be sure to stick around for afternoon karaoke in the park. Check here to be sure karaoke is happening that weekend and get your courage on to take the stage in front of hundreds of people.

Sunday Karaoke in Mauerpark - Berlin, Germany
Sunday karaoke in Mauerpark. What an audience.

All Neighborhoods: Stumbling Blocks and Street Art

Stumbling Blocks: As you walk around, keep your eye out for “stumbling blocks” (stolpersteine) on Berlin sidewalks. These small brass-covered blocks reflect the names of people (mostly Jewish) who used to live in that house prior to World War II and what happened to them (to which concentration camp they were sent, if they died or survived, etc.). For as small as these memorials are, they are exceptionally moving, particularly as you note that you’ll find them all over the city.

Stolpersteine (Stumbling Blocks) in Mitte, Berlin
Stolpersteine (Stumbling Blocks) in Mitte, Berlin

Graffiti and Street Art: Berlin’s graffiti and street art will greet you almost everywhere you go in the city. Be sure to look up to catch murals on the sides of buildings – they’re easy to miss. Sometimes they’re political, sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they just are. But they almost always make you think.

Berlin Wall, East Side Gallery - Friedrichshain, Berlin
Berlin Wall turns into a collection of street murals at the East Side Gallery

Berlin Parks

Just open a map of Berlin (you know, the old fashioned paper kind) and take a look at the amount of green staring back at you. Berlin is among the world’s greenest urban spaces. When the weather is good (a rarity some years) in the spring, summer and fall, parks are full of people picnicking, hanging with family, cooking, drinking, and just enjoying the space. Urban parks, happy places, happy spaces.

A few Berlin parks to recommend:

Tempelhof
If the name Tempelhof sounds familiar from your history classes of years past, it’s because it was the airport instrumental to the Berlin Airlift (June 1948-May 1949), when American and British forces delivered food, fuel and other supplies to West Berlin during the Soviet blockade.

Today, this bit of history is a park open to the public and offers the possibility of riding your bicycle down one of the airport runways, as free as a bird, hoping that you just might take off. Now where else can you do that?

Bike Ride at Tempelhof Park - Neukölln, Berlin
Biking down the runway at Tempelhof.

Tiergarten
Tiergarten, Berlin’s largest and most famous park smack in the middle of the city, seems to stretch forever, scattered with little paths, teahouses, and gardens. It used to be the dividing point between East and West, with Brandenburg Gate marking the East and the iconic Siegessäule monument the West. The whole thing is made for a bicycle.

Recommended:
Soviet War Memorial: The memorial to Soviet soldiers between Brandenburg Gate and Siegessäule is worth visiting not only for the sculpture (especially when you think that this was in West Berlin), but also for the large-format black and white photos of the city contrasting what it looked like before and after World War II.

Teehaus Tiergarten: Located on the northern edge of the park, the Teehaus Tiergarten offers a nice little place to rest your legs, get lunch or have a beer. On summer weekends, it offers free music concerts featuring jazz, world music, pop and more.

Treptower Park
Treptower Park took us some time to discover, but now that we have, it’s one of our favorite parks, particularly on the weekend along the Osthafen Spree (East Harbor of the Spree river).

Recommended:
Soviet War Memorial: This is one of the biggest Soviet war memorials outside of Russia. Translated: if you’re looking for Soviet grandeur, style, and propaganda, you will not be disappointed. The memorial is dedicated generally to the Soviet soldiers who died in World War II, but more specifically to the 20,000 Soviet soldiers who died during the Battle of Berlin. Around 5,000 Soviet soldiers are buried inside the memorial.

Soviet War Memorial at Treptower Park  - Berlin
Soviet War Memorial at Treptower Park

Beer gardens along the Spree: As you walk towards the Spree river you’ll notice several beer gardens with great views of the water. Our favorite of the bunch is Zenner, for its beer on tap and the weekend afternoon polka-meets-disco that takes place on the outdoor stage. A little down home. When in full glory, this place will make you feel like you’ve gone back in time.

Random Berlin Recommendations: Museums, Ping Pong and More

Beer in the park
One thing that surprises Americans when they come to Berlin is that people walk around drinking beer openly. And this is legal; there are no open container laws in Berlin. If you’d like to feel like a local, find your nearest spätkauf (bottle shop), pick up a couple of beers and either sit outside on their benches or go to a park and enjoy. Don’t forget to return the bottle for a refund.

Picnic in Kreuzberg, Berlin
Late summer picnic gathering with beer and wine in a park in Kreuzberg.

Base Flying at Alexanderplatz
It may sound crazy to voluntarily jump off the top of a 37-story building. And it is. But it’s also a lot of fun. Don’t worry, you’ll be attached to the building by a wire contraption that makes the process worry free (terrifying, but worry free). See for yourself in our 11th wedding anniversary base flying experience. Open on weekends, weather permitting. Go early (10-11 AM) for a special discount.

Berlin Base Flying - Dan About to Go!
Base flying off the top of the Park Inn Hotel at Alexanderplatz.

Dr. Pong
Round-robin ping pong doesn’t get any better than this. Rent a paddle for €5, grab a beer, and take part in the fun of running around the ping pong table trying not to miss your shot. Address: Eberswalder Strasse 21, Mitte

Ping Pong Roulette at Dr. Pong - Mitte, Berlin
Ping Pong Roulette at Dr. Pong in Mitte

DDR Museum
The goal of this museum is to give you a feel for what life was like in Berlin during communist times including in all facets of life, from fashion to secret police to a love of nude beaches. The whole museum is interactive, so have fun getting your fill of the DDR, then exiting to a new era. Address: Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1, Mitte

Berlin Food

Eating in Berlin is easy. Have no fear, Berlin isn’t only about sausage; you won’t find yourself confined to currywurst and bratwurst. Creative and ethnic cuisine abounds. In fact, it’s often the ethnic food that makes eating in Berlin so fun, and so reasonably priced.

Cheese Spätzle in Berlin
When what you need is a big plate of spaetzle.

We’ve already written tomes about food in Berlin and some of our favorite places that fall into budget eating €5-€10 category so we won’t bore you with repeating it all here. Our Berlin food recommendations:

Recommended: Use food, and your search for it, to aid your exploration of Berlin’s collection of neighborhoods. Choose a restaurant or café in one neighborhood for lunch and in a different part of town for dinner. As make your way around, either by bicycle or public transportation, stop in random cafés, shops, and art galleries along the way.

Online Resources for Berlin Events and Activities

Berlin is a great place to seek out quirky events and festivals, especially on weekends. These events are often free and they offer an opportunity to get a feel for the city’s neighborhoods and to hang out with locals. Summertime is especially chock full; it overwhelms and it inspires discovery.

A few sites and newsletters to help you find out what’s going on:

  • Sugarhigh.de – a daily newsletter of events – artistic, culinary, funky. The weekend edition is chock-full of great stuff, much of which you couldn’t imagine if you tried. That’s how we found the daschund races, pug races and hay bale races.
  • Cee Cee: A good weekly newsletter resource, particularly for Berlin food events happening around town. Cee Cee Berlin now has a Facebook page, too.
  • Slow Travel Berlin’s What’s On This Week: A nice overview of what’s going on in Berlin in the arts, theatre and music fronts. The rest of the Slow Travel Berlin site serves as a great resource for cultural and culinary reviews and happenings around Berlin.
  • VisitBerlin: It’s impossible to keep track of everything happening in Berlin, but the official tourism board hub visitBerlin does a pretty good job trying to lay out upcoming festivals, concerts, and exhibits.

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By no means is the Berlin Beginner’s Guide a comprehensive list of things to do and see in Berlin. Instead, it’s meant to be an orientation of what we think are some of the best bits of the city so that you can create your own Berlin adventure. Enjoy!!

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We’ve taken all our Berlin tips — sites, neighborhoods and cheap eats — and put them into one nifty pdf guide! Click on the image to buy and download!
Berlin guide

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Panorama of the Week: Berlin, Where German Wine Meets Contemporary Arthttp://uncorneredmarket.com/panorama-german-wine-vdp-berlin/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/panorama-german-wine-vdp-berlin/#comments Fri, 10 Sep 2010 18:58:05 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=5116 By Daniel Noll

When you hear “German wine,” what comes to mind? For many it means “Riesling, white wines, sweet.” With the help of VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter) and their 100th anniversary celebration, we aimed to better understand what German wines are all about. The roster: 200 of Germany’s best wineries. The backdrop: 70 of Berlin’s trendiest art […]

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By Daniel Noll

When you hear “German wine,” what comes to mind?

For many it means “Riesling, white wines, sweet.” With the help of VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter) and their 100th anniversary celebration, we aimed to better understand what German wines are all about.

The roster: 200 of Germany’s best wineries. The backdrop: 70 of Berlin’s trendiest art galleries. For a taste of German wine tradition and Berlin art gallery style, take a spin around the panorama below.

Yes, those are stuffed birds dangling from the ceiling.

360-Degree Panorama: Tasting German Wines at me Collectors Room in Berlin’s Mitte Neighborhood

panorama directions

As I hopped back on the German wine learning curve, I reflected on my admittedly limited experience: a full-semester wine course at university, during which German wines were covered in two or three classes. I remembered tidbits of the intricacies of Germany’s wine classification system and ripeness scale.

Sure, German wines made an impression on me back then.  But relative to the messaging and marketing from other wine growing regions around the world, German wines had to battle misconceptions: light, sweet, often expensive, with difficult to comprehend labels.

High in specificity, low in accessibility. Like many others, I usually gravitated to anywhere but the German wine section at the local wine shop.

That’s why this event served as a real palate-opener.  German whites are crisp and often feature a beautiful acidity. They are fresh but complex, and certainly not universally flat. German varietals like Riesling and Silvaner and Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) are not only different from one another, but their style and interpretation in Germany is distinct from elsewhere in Europe and around the world. And while German whites usually get all the press, we learned this weekend that German reds are no slouches either. There’s tough competition from their French counterparts next door, but my experience so far only makes me want to learn more.

As with understanding anything, appreciating German wine is a process.  I feel like we are just onto something. This is only the beginning.

Zum Wohl!

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An Eye for Central Europehttp://uncorneredmarket.com/an-eye-for-central-europe/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/an-eye-for-central-europe/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2008 16:19:54 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=455 By Audrey Scott

Medieval castles, imperial palaces, blocky Soviet throwbacks and new glass and steel buildings lined our paths; poppy seed strudels, potato dumplings, and goose feasts filled our stomachs; light Austrian white wines, hearty Hungarian reds and freshly pulled Czech beers served as social lubrication; and Slavic, Germanic and Finno-Ugric (Hungarian) accents provided the soundtrack. This is […]

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By Audrey Scott

Medieval castles, imperial palaces, blocky Soviet throwbacks and new glass and steel buildings lined our paths; poppy seed strudels, potato dumplings, and goose feasts filled our stomachs; light Austrian white wines, hearty Hungarian reds and freshly pulled Czech beers served as social lubrication; and Slavic, Germanic and Finno-Ugric (Hungarian) accents provided the soundtrack.

This is the cultural goulash of Central Europe.

Prague Castle - Czech Republic
Driving up to Prague Castle

Although our recent reflections on this site have been focused on China, we’ve actually been bouncing around Central and Eastern Europe and working on projects.

Before we move onto stories from Burma and India, we offer a visual slice of Central Europe. Enjoy our photo collections from Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia and Hungary.

Vienna and the Austrian Countryside

Vienna, a city of grand culture, coffee houses and sacher torte. While it’s firmly in the West, it provides hints of the East. For visitors, it offers magnificent museums, a vibrant market (Naschmarkt), and Heurigers (vineyard restaurants on the outskirts of the city) that make drinking a spritzer (white wine mixed with sparkling water) a required activity.

Concert Ticket Salesman, Dressed Up - Vienna, Austria
All dressed up and nowhere to go. Vienna, Austria.

Read: The Wine Bends: A Detour in the Austrian Countryside

More photos from Vienna and the Austrian countryside

Prague, Czech Republic

Despite the density of crystal shops, souvenir stands, strip clubs and tourist restaurants in Prague’s Old Town (Starometska) and Wenceslas Square, its residential neighborhoods (Vinohrady, Vrsovice) still retain their charm.

Vinohradska Vodarna - Prague, Czech Republic
Vinohradska Vodarna, getting into Prague’s neighborhoods.

Although the days of $0.40 draught Pilsner Urquell beer (upon our arrival in Prague, circa December 2001) are long since over, the city still begs a visit.

Read: Clown and Country: A Week in the Czech Countryside and other articles about Prague.

More photos from Prague and the rest of the Czech Republic (Cesky Krumlov, Valtice, Kutna Hora, and more)

Bratislava, Slovakia

Although sometimes overshadowed by nearby Prague, Bratislava (a.k.a., the “Little Big City”) is relaxed, unpretentious and pleasantly lean on souvenir shops.

Bratislava's Old Town, Fisheye - Slovakia
Bratislava’s Old Town.

See more photos from Bratislava and Trencin, Slovakia

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is arguably the most dynamic city in the region; a forward-looking and creative energy circulates constantly and begs us to stay each time we visit. During our first visit in 2002, Berlin was a giant construction site whose cranes consumed the landscape. Berlin has since settled nicely into its post Cold War identity, but the spirit of change abounds. Maybe this is why Barack Obama chose to speak here in July, 2008.

Berlin Wall - Dresden, Germany
Eastside Gallery in Berlin.

Read: Barack Obama in Berlin

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest leaves no doubt about its historical significance – just look to the scale of its streets, buildings, and its public transport network. We’ve already spilled our ink about rediscovering Budapest this autumn and falling in love with its markets. Check it out below.

Great Synagogue (Dohany Street Synagogue) - Budapest, Hungary
Through the gates at Dohany Street Synagogue, Budapest.

Read: Budapest: Warmth and Spice in Central Europe

Photos from Budapest, Hungary

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I Am Not a Jelly Donut* (Obama in Berlin, A Slideshow)http://uncorneredmarket.com/obama-in-berlin-a-slideshow/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/obama-in-berlin-a-slideshow/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2008 16:13:54 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=344 By Daniel Noll

Spilling more ink about Barack Obama’s speech in Berlin would be akin to spitting into the ocean. But that won’t stop us, particularly since we noticed coverage of the event was delivered mainly from the perspective of the speaker’s podium. We bring you the other perspective from where we were: in the in the midst […]

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By Daniel Noll

Spilling more ink about Barack Obama’s speech in Berlin would be akin to spitting into the ocean. But that won’t stop us, particularly since we noticed coverage of the event was delivered mainly from the perspective of the speaker’s podium.

We bring you the other perspective from where we were: in the in the midst of the 200,000 people gathered in Berlin’s Tiergarten.

American Flags at Obama's Speech - Berlin, Germany
American Flags at Siegessaule (Victory Column), Berlin.

We traveled by car four hours each way from our current post in Prague, Czech Republic to Berlin, Germany. A significant time investment considering Obama’s speech would be drowned in a sea of punditry worldwide, but – like everything else on this journey – we wanted our own glimpse.

Despite the long security lines, the mood was jovial and excited, as if attendees were waiting to see their favorite band. American expatriates manned voter registration tables, and like any political event, there were single-issue fanatics including those in polar bear suits holding “Stop Global Warming” signs.

Cameras Poised for Barack Obama - Berlin, Germany
Obama speaking in Berlin, July 2008.

Like a summer rock festival, beer and sausage trucks lined the way through the streets bordering the Tiergarten. Towards the Siegessäule (Victory Column) where the podium stood, vendors hawked Obama t-shirts and clever pins (including our favorite “Obamafest” featuring Obama carrying giant beer mugs a la Oktoberfest). Obviously, entrepreneurial opportunism doesn’t stop short at political and diplomatic rallies.

And yes, every now and then you could hear an accented voice say “Yes we can!”

We found ourselves no more than seventy meters away from Obama’s podium, in an all-ages but youthful crowd. The audience, it seemed, came from across Europe and North America: Germany, Netherlands, France, Canada and America – and this was just within earshot. American flags were only outnumbered by cell phones and cameras hoisted high to capture a piece of history.

Ours, too. Enjoy the slideshow below. Or, view the photo set here.

*Oh, and for those unfamiliar, here’s a full explanation of the jelly donut reference, featuring John F. Kennedy’s “Gaffe That Never Was.”

Update, July 31, 2008: You can see for yourself that there were no free beer and bratwurst signs at the Tiergarten. And trust us, if free beer and bratwurst were available, we’d have been the first to find it.

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