Tuesday, 22 November 2011

1000 steps... round the KaDeWe!

Main: The Princess & the Pea window display. Inserts: Outside the KaDeWe.  No matter the day there will always  be a crowd outside waiting to get in at 10am. 

It's Christmas time in the KaDeWe. Last week the windows were shrouded while the displays were perfected, but it didn't stop people trying to peek. The theme this year is 'fairytales', and it's been done beautifully. I couldn't wait to see the main foyer display. So I waited with the daily crowds (instead of going to the supermarket) and decided it would be the perfect time for another 1000 steps!

 30 steps... 

If you don't have a silver hand-held mirror that rests on a silver platter, then don't worry: they've got it! Christmas comes in all shades. These pale lilac baubles were rather lovely, though my camera hasn't quite captured their true colour.

Oh, and inside it's just lovely. The foyer is packed full of beautiful things. A zillion things that I wouldn't say no to. Admittedly, that would mean that my house would be chock-full of Christmas tree decorations and scented tealights, but I could be happy living like that. Especially those little tealights that smell like the essence of Christmas and come in the teensiest little ceramic casserole dish complete with lid. Oh, and they have a fine selection of festive fascinators - my favourite was a jaunty cup of tea with lovely ribbons, but I'm not sure if it would coordinate with my snowboots, so I've left it for now...

 50 steps... 

Main: birdcage and birdies, the tree of many baubles and Christmas products piled high. Inserts: Louis Vuitton boots, and the most gorgeously illustrated book of fairy tales. I esp. like the purple cover.

Enter into the world of eclectic prettiness. I have fallen for their gilt birdcages which are dotted around the outskirts of the foyer. They sit atop golden pillars, displaying little feathered or glass birds to clip on to the branches of your tree. Want, want, want...the whole lot. But the foyer complete with all it's overflowing displays is dominated by the KaDeWe's very own ginormous Christmas tree. It's the place to stop with your baby or your boyfriend and have your photo taken for your Christmas card, or more likely your FB profile pic.

 300 steps... 

For the girl who has nothing and wants everything: a crystal studded DeLonghi coffee machine; Red Westco scales: totally worth the money as turn them around and they're a CLOCK!; I do need a hole punch for Orla's school newsletters...

So I skipped the rest of the ground floor which is mainly populated with the cosmetics department and handbags. Which is nice and everything and there are probably more exclusive brands than you'd get in other department stores but really, most cosmetics departments have the same 'look' so I just bypassed it on my tour. The ground floor is also home to an outer perimeter walkway where there are lots of little individual stores. It's here that you can find Prada, Gucci, Tiffany & Co, Chanel, etc, and the lifts without a view. If you are in a rush, avoid the glass lifts in the central atrium, you'll be waiting forever.

I also skipped the 1st and 2nd floors. Menswear & Ladieswear. I couldn't be bothered and I thought I might run out of 'steps', so I went to the 3rd - home of bed & bath, childrenswear, hairdressing, and the creche of joy. But I haven't sorted my photos of it. I love the 3rd floor. I can never get tired of gasping at 50 euro Armani baby bottles, or choking over a completely plain tiny baby t-shirt that costs the same as a return flight to Scotland. And the creche, well I adore the creche and the 3 hours of FREE fun they allow me.

So onwards and upwards to the 4th floor - homewares. When I first arrived in Berlin my neighbour's famous words to me were "Buy your fruit, veg, fish, and meat from the market. For everything else there's the KaDeWe". As I couldn't find a single shop selling mops, I did what my neighbour said and went to the KaDeWe. Alas, while the KaDeWe have most things, they do not stock mops. Unless they are studded with diamonds...

 500 steps... 

They do have a 'My First Barbie' but I'd rather have one of these. Left to right: Van Gogh Barbie, Gustav Klimt Barbie, Sinatra Barbie, Elvis Barbie, Grace Kelly Barbie, and Farah Fawcett Barbie - all 50 Euros each - uh-huh-huh, ooohhh, yeah!

Next floor up and it's toys, stationary, books, and technology on the 5th. I love the toy department. It's not the best one I've ever been in, but it's nice. They have a great selection of Playmobil & Lego, and a lot of Steiff, and Haba, and their play food selection is to die for. Admittedly the play food is far more expensive than the real thing, but you are paying for cuteness, and eh..the creche staff wages.

Lego Santa is back in town; the glorious English-language section of Hugendubel in the KaDeWe; the big Steiff bear who costs more than your house is worth.
  600 steps...  

We're still on the 5th but we're round at the Hugendubel franchise. This is my usual first stop hangout when I drop the kids off at the creche. There is an English-language section - look that's it you can see right there! This is the place that is responsible for some of my stranger forays into literature. I just buy what they have that I haven't read. Especially as I haven't really been in the mood for crime since I got here, so I limit myself to 1 bookcase. But it's made me more experimental, and on top of that, there are seats where you can just sit and read as much of a book as you can in 3 hours and then put it back! Yay!

 800 steps... 

Hello! It's lucky you are protected by glass or I would throw myself at you.
 Just one floor up on the 6th is the KaDeWe food hall. It's great. You'd like it. I promise. It's everything you could ever want at a price you can barely afford! There are unusual, hard-to-get-hold-of things and there are everyday things. I like the bread counter and the cake counter with the lovely little petit fours - they do the tiniest little chocolate eclairs that are only about 3 cm long and a cm wide, they have the broadest range of loaves I have seen this side of the city all displayed beautifully. There are little restaurant stands dotted throughout the food department which are on the ok-side of a-bit-dear. Stevie and I have frequented the Chinese restaurant a couple of times where you can watch your food being prepared as well as watching the world go by and it seems pretty reasonably priced. Really I want to be one of the people hanging out in the Moet bar at 10:30am, having a little glass of champagne while I meet a client. Those are my kind of meetings! Behind the Moet bar you can find the fresh fish; fresh to the point that some of them are in tanks so you can point to the one you want. Around this part of the food hall there are oyster bars which are always busy. Ah, oysters and champagne, or even oysters and beer...if only I liked oysters!

You can buy tea from giant ceramic urns, and choose wurst and cold meats from a massive selection. There are walls of sauces and condiments, a whole section dedicated to different chocolate companies including Godiva. And of course there's the 'American section' which I adore. But you could do all your regular grocery shopping here too. There are fruit and veg sections (see below) which stock everything that you could hope for. I read on someone else's blog that they didn't think people actually shopped there, but that in order to be a proper food hall it was a requirement. I can confirm that I have seen on quite a few occasions people buying potatoes or apples or in fact a whole shopping list of perfect quality produce.

The KaDeWe food hall. This bit has the more exotic things like baby pineapples and plantains, but you could also buy just a regular apple, onion, or orange round the corner. 
 1000 steps... 

Part of the glass roof on a sunny, blue sky, November morning. The seasoning station where you can add herbs, oils, dressings, and spices to your lunch. Nice. Bottom: Dessert. Kids in the creche? Why, yes, I think I will have the strawberries!

From the 6th floor there is an escalator (or lift) which takes you up to the restaurant and bar on the 7th floor. (Just before you get on the escalator you should take a moment to admire the huge Brandenburg Gate which sits in a glass display cabinet. I never gave it too much examination before, but it turns out it's made of 50 kilos of marzipan and took 150 hours to make by hand)  In the restaurant the food is displayed no-less beautifully than you would expect. Everything looks totally delicious. You can buy salads and so on by weight, there is a lovely selection of cakes, always at least two soups, and a wide range of hot meals all freshly prepared. But it is quite dear. You can however get perfect strawberries and cream all year round - but let's just say, you'll pay for that pleasure.

The restaurant itself is set in the roof of the KaDeWe and has great views from the giant arched window which faces out on to Tauentzienstrasse and Wittenbergplatz. You can also see the Fernsehturm from here which is the only place round this end of town that I have actually seen it from. But mostly it's nice just sitting under the glass roof, with a beer, and a new book, and two kids having a great time in the creche 4 floors below. Aaahhh.....

More photos on my Flickr


  1. Great idea to do the steps all in one store, and love the photos! Those desserts look amazing and a sad part of me would love a Van Gogh or Klimt Barbie.

  2. I like Sinatra and Farah Fawcett Barbie. But my favourites were the Barbies from every decade that they had a few months back. The ones for the 50's, 60's and 70's were pretty cool. But I'd still rather have those Westco scales/clock!

  3. Those are pretty great scales. I have to say, it seems like housewares stuff in Europe is so much more fun than in the U.S. I've never seen so many different egg cups in my life! Being an interior decorator here would be about the best job ever.

  4. Wow, lots of beautiful things I can't afford! Thanks for going in and resisting things so we could see them. I want a Sinatra Barbie!

  5. I think I read this during my hardcore working phase of mid-November 2011 and never came back to comment... until now... but I did have things to say about this post. I wonder if I can remember them all. Firstly, I think it's horribly unfair that you have such lovely shopping facilities where you are. Round here is shit. Secondly, I MUST HAVE THOSE WESTCO SCALES. I have literally not stopped thinking about them since I read this post. Why would anyone not own a pair of scales that is also a clock?

  6. I know, but I have a clock that you can take down off the wall and weigh things on, so do I really need them?

    I do think they are one of the marginally more affordable things in the KaDeWe. Seriously, when you divide the price by 2 because you are essentially getting two functional items rolled into one then hey that's only 39.50 euros per item. If you think of it as having three functions, scales, clock, decorative item of kitchen beauty it gets even cheaper. If you really want to justify it, through in 'design classic' and we're talking just 20 euros per reason. And if you listen to me much longer I bet I could find 79 reasons to buy them and that would be just 1 euro a reason which means it equates to buying them from the 1 Euro shop!

    And that is why Stevie checks the bank statement every month with a fine tooth comb. Grrr....and that's why I don't own these. New Years Resolution No1: Find Own Private Income!


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