Five Things You Can’t Miss in Berlin

Author: , May 20th, 2015

Berlin - Apple MapsBerlin’s been on the receiving end of some backlash as of late. Having been the reigning king of cool for so long, it’s now even trendier to lash out against it, to claim Berlin is ‘over’ and to declare a dozen or so burgeoning the cities “the new Berlin!” But these headlines are mostly unfounded, and while we suspect travelers have grown bored and weary with media’s constant and sometimes hyperbolic praise of Berlin, they’ve not yet grown tired of the city itself. Step one foot in Berlin and it’s still every bit abuzz and edgy as it ever was. And we have a couple reasons why it might be time to check it out.

The first is Berlin Gay Pride (known locally as Christopher Street Day) takes place June 21-27, with festivities and events spread over the week.

The other is a bit more hardcore: Folsom Europe the world’s biggest leather party (September 12-13). This two-day celebration of kink and fetishistic debauchery, where anything goes and nothing shocks, is a crowded, sweaty, festival of whips and chains, furries and slaves, collars and ball-gags, daddies and maids. And if that weren’t enough, it’s being held for the 12th year in Berlin, full of Germans who always manage to make any sexual act that much dirtier. So break out the nipple clamps and Gun Oil, because things are about to get messy.

By Ed Salvato, Man About World – Full Story at Towleroad.com | Germany Gay Travel Resources

Image via Apple Maps

Berlin by Boat

Author: , January 18th, 2015

Adam Groffman in Berlin

Recently I was invited by Hannes from one of Berlin’s newest boat tour operators, Berlin Liquide, to experience an afternoon out on the River Spree. After having lived here for a number of summers, I’ve spent a lot of time hanging out by the river (as you do in Berlin), but this was my first opportunity to actually get on a boat and see Berlin from a different perspective. We were lucky that this autumn was relatively warm in Berlin, plus the sun managed to stick around for a lot of the season.

Hannes is a friendly German guy that speaks perfect English and his boat, suitable for 12 people, provides the perfect setting for a half-day tour of Berlin. The private boat tours can be focused around one of four different themes and Hannes has done a great job of showcasing some of Berlin’s best alternative parts in his tours.

On this particular tour, we departed from the boat’s dock at Kaisersteg in Schoeneweide (easily reached from the S-Bahn) and spent the next three hours on a blissful boat ride through the eastern half of Berlin. Is there anything better than being on a boat?!

This article was written by Adam Groffman, author of the internationally popular travel blog, Travels of Adam. Read more here: Berlin by Boat.

Germany Gay Travel Resources

What’s New in Gay Berlin?

Author: , December 29th, 2014

Berlin, Germany - Apple Maps

Apple Maps

If ever a city knew how to do new, it’s gay Berlin. Sometimes by circumstance and sometimes by design, the German capital has weathered a steady stream of profound changes over the last century. In the past quarter of it alone, Berlin has gone from tensely divided Cold War ground zero to euphorically reunited mass construction zone, only to overextend itself into turn-of-the-millennium bankruptcy, only to be reborn as a global creative hotspot and hipster haven. Berlin’s next chapter is still to be written, but given that the city is now also sitting at the helm of Europe’s most booming economy, its future is looking pretty bright.

In the historical scheme of things, 2014 is a fairly momentous year for Berlin, marking both the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. November 9 will be a big day for the Wall (festivities will include a 7-1/2 mile strip of illuminated helium-filled balloons lining the path where it once stood), and throughout the entire year special events and exhibitions will take place at venues around town dedicated to the Wall’s memory. Foremost among these is the Berlin Wall Memorial (Bernauer Strasse, Mitte. Tel: 030-467-986-666. www.berliner-mauer-gedenkstaette.de) that features the last remaining section of the Wall with pre-1989 buffer grounds still preserved behind it.

Nearly just as popular is the East Side Gallery (Mhlenstrasse, Friedrichshain. Tel: 030-251-7159. www.eastsidegallery-berlin.de), the longest remaining stretch of the Wall thats now also an outdoor art gallery. It found its way into world headlines last year when real estate developers (who want to remove it, at least partially) were met with loud public outcries and protestors, including none other than David Hasselhoff. For a deeper understanding of how life once was on the Wall’s eastern side, check out the DDR Museum (Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 1, Mitte. Tel: 030-8471-2373. www.ddr-museum.de) that offers a hands-on look at daily life in East Germany; and the Stasi Museum (Ruschestrasse 103, Building 1, Lichtenberg. Tel: 030-553-6854. www.stasimuseum.de) located in the former headquarters of the East German intelligence organization.

By Dan Allen – Full Story at Passport Magazine | Germany Gay Travel Resources

Image via Apple Maps

Do I Belong Here?

Author: , November 1st, 2014

Photos by Alexander ArayaDo you ever have those days where you question everything? Where you wonder: is this me? Is this my life? What am I doing here? Do I belong here? I think it’s healthy to ask these kinds of questions – not everyday of course, but sometimes a little bit of self-doubt can be helpful.

As you may have noticed from the tone of recent blog posts, the past few months haven’t been the easiest. As Berlin weather changes from summer to autumn, (and with a plane ticket to London on Sunday…just for a holiday–don’t worry!), I find myself wondering yet again–what am I doing here? I came to Berlin just over three years ago during an Eurotrip where I was planning to move to London. In Berlin, though, I met a boy. Well, several boys. As you do. And then I discovered there were lots of other foreigners living in Berlin. And that the German language wasn’t as scary as I first thought. And that Berlin is just so damn cool.

I found it impossible to leave Berlin after having spent just a week here. But Berlin had never previously been in my sights. And having lived in a handful of foreign cities as a student, an intern or a young adult, today I find myself wondering if this is the city that was actually meant for me. Germany wasn’t my favorite country. German food isn’t my favorite international cuisine. And the language. Well, let’s just say it wasn’t the easiest to learn.

This article was written by Adam Groffman, author of the internationally popular travel blog, Travels of Adam. Read more here: Do I Belong Here?.

Germany Gay Travel Resources

Photos by Alexander Araya

That Berlin Style

Author: , September 11th, 2014

Das ist so Berlin

I’m not sure how it happened, or when, but at some point Berlin, as a word, became synonymous with “cool.” But not just cool. A special kind of cool. Something very Berlin. It’s hard to put your finger on it but Berlin has its very own style. That’s probably universal for most cities, but after reading thousands of articles about Berlin, I’d argue Berlin’s special style and flair has become a popular export.

Berlin has a long tradition of being a creative and capital hub. Many people here like to remind the world that the capital city was once a cultural hotspot and a liberal, free city in the 1920s. That was a long time ago (and a lot has happened since), but Berlin today is the type of Bohemian capital that once made many artists, philosophers and writers famous. I’ve heard Berlin called a playground, a resurgence of NYC in the ’70s, a “mecca of cool.” Berlin is…well, Berlin.

I’ve received some criticism in the past for being unable to explain exactly what it is that makes Berlin so special. And despite countless travel stories about Germany’s largest city, I still struggle with words when trying to explain why I love this city so much. Berlin is simply Berlin. And once you visit the city, you’ll understand just what Berlin means. However, for first-time visitors, it may be difficult to find some of those places and things which are so-very-Berlin, so I’ve collected my favorite Berlin-Berlin places here.

This article was written by Adam Groffman, author of the internationally popular travel blog, Travels of Adam. Read more here: That Berlin Style.

Germany Gay Travel Resources

Just a Typical Summer Sunday in Berlin

Author: , September 8th, 2014

Berlin - Adam GroffmanThis month marks three years living in Berlin, and as part of my year-long goal to explore more of my adopted city, I’ve spent the past few weeks wandering around to both new and unfamiliar places as well as old haunts. And like most Berliners, today I went to the flohmarkt.

Sundays are usually my least favorite day in Berlin. Mostly because everything is closed. And I mean basically everything. No clothing shops, hardly any convenience stores, certainly nothing big-box. There are literally only seven supermarkets open on Sundays in Berlin (sonntag geoeffnet). That’s seven grocery stores for a population over 3 million. And if you think you’d be lucky to stumble into one of those grocery stores on a Sunday, you’ll really just find yourself in the middle of a mob trying to grab the last half-rotten tomato. It’s just not fun.

So, while living abroad in other cities, my Sundays were for shopping, in Berlin, well… I still shop. But I do as the Berliners do and shop at flea markets instead. It wasn’t an easy transition, but the idea that I’m now buying most of my products from independent shop owners and street sellers is kind of comforting. We like to call Berlin a village, and every Sunday that I find myself shopping at a flohmarkt, I can’t help but realize how true that actually is. Berlin is this big, massive, sort-of cosmopolitan city, and here I am haggling for a bike lock while trying on vintage watches and shopping for tableware from a bin.

This article was written by Adam Groffman, author of the internationally popular travel blog, Travels of Adam. Read more here: Just a Typical Summer Sunday in Berlin.

Germany Gay Travel Resources

Discovering the Berlin Wall

Author: , August 21st, 2014

Berlin Wall - Adam GroffmanWith this year marking 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, there’s been a lot of buzz in the city. Germany is pulling out all they’ve got and, as most things in this country, the focus is (perhaps, not surprisingly) on Berlin.

Berlin’s unique history in the world has led to its unique culture (and “vibe”) today. But what makes it special today, made it a slightly surreal and strange place during the Cold War. The Berlin wall famously rose in a single night though it actually took much longer to build completely and also saw several updates and revisions over the years. Stretching for over 140 kilometers, the wall was for a long time a symbol of the city. These days, Berlin has arisen out of a rocky past and is working hard to recreate itself — never forgetting its history, but also simultaneously looking forward.

It’s all part of what makes Berlin special. And with the historical anniversary coming up (this November will see several large-scale commemoration events), I spent a weekend with Visit Berlin exploring the history of the Berlin Wall. Part of the weekend included a photo challenge where we were each given an historical photo of the Berlin Wall and then had to find its present day location.

Authored by Adam Groffman. See the Full Story at Travels of Adam here.

See Adam’s full blog here.

Germany Gay Travel Resources

Eating Filipino Food in Berlin

Author: , July 24th, 2014

Pan Restaurant - BerlinYou know that feeling when you’re traveling and you get cravings for food from home? You just can’t ingest another plate of schnitzel or curry wurst anymore? I sometimes have that. I want to pig out on adobo lechon kare-kare sinigang na ulo ng bangus tinolang manok longganisa shet pati dinuguan pinakbet ginataang alimango ok tama na. Nagutom ako bigla.

But it’s always difficult to find a Filipino restaurant in Europe even in the big cities eh so I always end up going Vietnamese or Thai just to satisfy my cravings, you know? Naging conyo bigla haha.

Imagine my excitement when my Fil-Am friend Anne told me that there is a Filipino restaurant in Berlin and asked if I wanna go check it out with her. I said YES without batting an eyelash.

By DJ Yabis – Full Story at SOURCE | Germany Gay Travel Resources

What Are The Top Five Gay Pride Events Worldwide?

Author: , June 7th, 2014

San Francisco Gay PrideJune is pride month in many cities around the world, and so we focus on the Top 5 gay pride events in the world:

1) Sao Paulo: Easily the world’s biggest gay pride parade, with millions participating (4 million at last count!), Sao Paulo’s parade has to take pride of place. And it’s really not all about size since the energy levels are also off the charts, being stoked by the music and the rhythm of the dancers on the 20-25 themed floats or trio electricos. While the parade garners the most attention, the pride event spans the whole weekend and has interesting debates, concerts, and offshoot festivals associated with it. Starting at Avenida Paulista, the parade traverses 4.2 km down Rua da Consolacao, finishing at Roosevelt Square. But that’s not the end of the party… Book one of the Sao Paulo hotels and you’ll see the rest.

2) New York: Not the biggest or the brashest, but certainly the oldest. And for many, the big granddaddy of them all. Birthplace of the modern LGBT movement, this is where the gay parades started, after all – on June 28, 1970, the first anniversary commemorating the riots following the police raid on Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher Street. Apart from its historical significance, New York’s place at the very forefront of the great cities of the world must mean that its LGBT community, and the city’s parade, has to be right up there!

By Donna Welch – Full Story at Venere | Other Gay Travel Events

Berlin’s Modernist Architecture

Author: , April 19th, 2014

Berlin's Modernist Architecture - Adam GroffmanIf you remember…one of my goals before turning 30 is to explore more of my own (adopted) hometown. So the other weekend I hopped on the u-bahn and made me way to Neukoelln to do some urban exploring. At the Parchimer Allee u-bahn station, there’s a small sign signaling the exit toward the Hufeisensiedlung (Horseshoe Estate — named after its horseshoe layout of buildings). This massive housing estate in southern Berlin was built in the 1920s by modernist architect Bruno Taut and was named part of a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 celebrating Berlin’s six modernist housing estates.

The housing estate is notable for its modernist architecture (hence it’s UNESCO World Heritage designation) of which it’s one of the first places employing modern thinking in architecture. Following WWI, Berlin had a serious housing shortage and needed nearly 100,000 apartments built to accommodate newly unemployed soldiers and others who flocked to the liberal city of Berlin.

During that period, city planner Martin Wagner enlisted Bruno Taut to design the Hufeisensiedlung in an undeveloped area of Neukoelln (not far from the Schloss Britz). Whether because there was an immediate need to get the housing estates built, because of Martin Wagner’s foresight or because of the newly formed Social Democratic Weimar Republic, Taut was given quite a bit of flexibility in the design and construction of the new housing estate. Today Taut is considered a forerunner of Bauhaus architecture and it’s easy to see in this Berlin modernist housing estate why.

Authored by Adam Groffman. See the Full Story at Travels of Adam here.

See Adam’s full blog here.

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