Monday, 14 November 2011

1000 steps from.... kita

I undertook a little project this morning. The other day Morganmuffel  of Anglo-Deutsch was set a little project by Linda of Dummy Text to walk one thousand steps from her front door and take photos every so often. Sounded like a fun idea to me. But seeing as everyone knows what me and the kids look like, our real names, etc, etc, I decided to preserve our last shred of privacy and not start at our front door. Instead I started at kita. So this is not far from where I live. Unlike Morganmuffel's and Linda's, mine is more like an architectural tour. However, it's a nice way to see parts of the city so I may do more of these setting off on different directions or from different locations in the future.

150 steps...

This is the Ellington Hotel. It's a vision of 1920's streamlined architecture. It's a lovely hotel, with what looks like lovely restaurants and very lovely modern rooms. At one point around this time last year they had a Veuve Cliquot bar which I could happily have whiled away the hours in. Alas, I didn't have the funds or the babysitter to be able to partake of this particular service. Along the side of the Ellington there are a few shops. My favourite is Florale Welten, a supremely stylish flower and 'lifestyle' shop which always has stunning displays.

200 steps...

Just a further 50 steps along from the Ellington Hotel is Peek & Cloppenburg's flagship Berlin store, a modern glass 'skirted' building. You'll see this in all the modern architecture books about Berlin. It is rather pretty. It was designed by Professor Gottfried Böhm, the only German to win the Pritzker award seen as the 'Nobel Prize' for architecture. Another building you'll see in the srchitecture books is Nike Town which sits diagonally across Tauentzienstrasse from Peek & Cloppenburg. Quite why it merits even a mention is beyond me, but then I'm no architecture expert. (You'll see it in a minute.)

220 steps...

Across the road from Peek & Cloppenburg (or rather in the bit in the middle of the two lanes of traffic on Tauenzienstrasse) you have a good view of the 'Berlin' sculpture, or the 'knot/spaghetti thing' as I call it. It was designed by Brigitte Matschinsky-Denninghoff and Martin Matschinsky in 1987, and is actually meant to represent a broken chain, showing the broken link between East and West Berlin. Today is the first time I have seen it in about 10 months or so. They removed it while they dug the living daylights out of the portion of land it sits on. But obviously they want to have it back in place in time for all the Christmas market tourists.

As you may be able to see from my ropey panorama above there's quite a lot going on in this part of town. From left to right: All the Christmas decorations are going up for the festive season. There are a couple of giant trees usually dotted along Tauentzienstrasse and Kurfurstendamm (which extends from Tauentzienstrasse). The KaDeWe (known as the Harrods of Germany) sits behind those trees, then we have Peek & Cloppenburg at the junction. Crossing over you can see the Berlin sculpture, and through that you can see (kind of) the Gedachniskirche, the famous bombed church which was left standing in ruins after the second world war. It is undergoing restoration work so it's under a lot of white panels (Follow the link if you want to see how it normally looks). If you head in this direction you end up on Kurfurstendamm, known to all as 'the Ku'damm', Berlin's famous boulevard in the West, where you can find all the designer shops. Moving further to the right you can see Nike Town, as I mentioned earlier. Is it just me, or is it nothing special? Anyway, most men like to drop by there when they visit. And then we finish up with a continuation of the street which leads you to the Berlin Zoo. Wikipedia says it is the oldest and best known zoo in Germany, and the most visited zoo in Europe. I imagine me and the kids have contributed quite substantially to that last stat.

350 steps...

Instead I wandered along Tauentzienstrasse towards the Ku'damm. Christmas is now officially on it's way! This morning along with all the street decorations being set up, all the Christmas market stands are being put in position and stocked up. The Christmas market around Breitshiedplatz and along Tauentzienstrasse and the Ku'damm is, I think, the biggest one in Berlin. This morning I saw the catering equipment going into the food stalls and the shelves being stocked already with those wooden nutcracker soldiers. From what I can tell the markets don't start until the 21st November, by which point we should have lots of pretty snow adding to the atmosphere. Yay!

450 steps...

I had intended walking towards Zoo station, famed for it's U2 connections, and it's seedy past. But my path was blocked by the barriers surrounding the Christmas market at Breitshiedplatz. So I headed a little further along the street. My 'neighbourhood' is chock to the brim full of souvenir shops. I thought I'd share with you some of the highlights. I am always surprised by the number of people who buy these bags. More than that though, I wonder where they keep getting this endless supply of 'wall' that they've been happily selling to millions of tourists since the Wall came down.

1000 steps...

We're at the last stop on my mini-tour. We're at the corner where the Ku'damm meets Bundesallee. I thought I'd finish up with another very modern glass building (of which I know zero), the rotunda of the Cafe Kranzler, and some signs telling us what else is around.

And that was the end of my 1000 steps. I should get one of those widgety things so we can group all these 1000 steps together. Let me know if you plan on doing one too. I hope you enjoyed mine.


  1. Oh Yay, glad you did this, and a great idea of starting from Kita. A really enjoyable tour, makes me want to visit Berlin even more :) I particularly love the hotel and wish I had the money for said Veuve Cliquot bar too.

  2. I like this idea. Might have to try it out this afternoon. Wanted to walk into town to pick up some groceries anyway. Sweet.

  3. By the way, how do you do those photo collage thingies on here? I've been meaning to learn how to do that...

  4. Let me know when you've done yours! Oh I just stick them together in Photoshop. You could use any graphics/photoediting thing to do it. Start with one photo > increase your 'canvas size' in whatever direction (I usually double mine in the direction to the right) > drag on another photo > leave a bit of a gap > bob's your uncle.


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