Tales of chocolate and currywurst!
Staying on a few days in Berlin? Got some time to kill after the show and don’t want to party with your colleagues? In this year of culture, CLARK KELLY looks at what visitors to ITB can fill their dance cards.
ICH BIN EIN BERLINER
The Kennedy Museum opened late last year, just a few steps from the Brandenburg Gate where US president John F Kennedy made his legendary statement of solidarity with Berlin on 26 June 1963 – only in reality comparing himself to a jelly doughnut.
The Kennedy Collection of the Galerie Camera Work – one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of photography work, official documents, private papers and memorabilia of the Kennedy family – is on display at the Pariser Platz.
After the collection in 2004 attracted a huge stream of visitors to Berlin and to the following exhibition in Rome, Camera Work and a team of American historians at the John F Kennedy Institute of the Free University of Berlin developed the comprehensive museum exhibition.
Two famous Berlin landmarks synonymous with the glamour of the city’s Golden Days will celebrate their centennial in 2007: the KaDeWe and the Hotel Adlon.
For one hundred years, Berlin’s iconic KaDeWe – Kaufhaus Des Westens – has been a destination for luxury shopping and a seemingly endless selection of high-quality goods, fashion, and gourmet foods.
With over 250,000 square feet of retail space on five floors, the KaDeWe of 1907 already attracted those who not only wanted to shop, but to see and be seen. Merchandise ranged from sewing needles to high couture, from cooking ware to caviar. In 1945, a US military plane crashed into the building and mostly destroyed it.
However, only five years later – while the surrounding area still lay in ruins – the venerable department store reopened with two floors and quickly became a symbol of the city’s resolve and will to survive. Reconstruction was completed in 1956 with the grand opening of the famous 6th floor, also known as the gourmet floor. Today, KaDeWe is continental Europe’s largest department store, offering some 380,000 items to over 40,000 daily customers.
For its centennial, the store will unveil a newly designed ‘luxury boulevard,’ featuring the world’s most coveted luxury brands.
100 YEARS OF LUXURY
Built with the support of Emperor William II in 1907, the Hotel Adlon soon became known as the most luxurious hotel in all of Europe. Headed by Lorenz Adlon, it evolved into a meeting place for European royalty, Tzars and Maharajahs and a playground for celebrities including Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, Johann Strauss, and Herbert von Karajan. The Adlon, as it came to be known, survived WWII without much damage but sustained major wounds in a 1945 fire.
Located on the eastern side of the Wall, the GDR regime took over what was left of the hotel and superficially renovated the property in 1964. However, in the 1970s the doors of the original Hotel Adlon closed forever; the building was demolished in 1984. The revival came eight years after the Wall came down: in 1997, the hotel was rebuilt in the same location as the original hotel, directly opposite the Brandenburg Gate. Today managed by the Kempinski, the Hotel Adlon once again represents the highest standards of luxury, comforts and service that made the old Adlon one of the most beloved and renowned hotels in the world.
Its Restaurant Quarré overlooks the Brandenburg Gate, while the gourmet restaurant Lorenz Adler serves haute cuisine and fine wines with impeccable service.
An exhibition at the Babelsberg Film Park running until April 29 is showing 500 original requisites from the film trilogy The Lord of the Rings. The exposition about Middle Earth is delighting fans of the trilogy for the first time on the European continent.
For chocolate fans and gourmets alike, a very special culinary attraction set up shop in Berlin last Fall. Europe’s first chocolate restaurant has been opened by Fassbender & Rausch at the Gendarmenmarkt. This unusual specialty restaurant offers the most varied of dishes involving the cocoa bean, created by chefs from around the world, including chocolate cannelloni! A special highlight is the chocolate dinner show in which the enjoyment of the specialties is unforgettable. www.fassbender-rausch.de
If you’re the funny type that hates sweets, Currywurst will probably appeal to your palate. A popular snack with cult status not only in its native city Berlin, it is considered a bit of history of German culture and society. It has been a theme in film and literature, and its praises are sung by balladeers.
Set to open about now is a museum celebrating this treat and the German Currywurst Museum in Berlin will link multimedia experiences, edutainment and the transfer of knowledge with the realtime enjoyment of a spicy dish of sausages.