Thursday, May 26, 2011

Never happened

It never happened before but It just did : we have been evacuated from our work place, but also thousands of us in the neighborhood because while digging in the river, workers found a bomb from second world war. It means I have an afternoon free. How good is that ?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


As I brought from France the concept of apéritif, I admit German brought me the concept of Stammtisch, that I like very much. What is that ? imagine a place, namely a bar, where you go many times a week, near your place, where friends know they can find you there to share a drink with you, having small talk. The barkeeper knows you and your favorite drink (for me Sauvignon blanc, there is always waiting a bottle in the fridge), is happy to see you anyday, and is ready to chit chat welcoming you. This place, I have : It’s the bar Bariton, near the trendy Boxhagener Platz. This is where I live, this is where most of the friends and colleagues live, so It is very easy to meet up there, we don’t even ask where we meet most of the time. It has everything you need : restaurant (Mexican), cocktails (with offers early evening), a nice warm fire for winter, smoking and non-smoking areas and you can rent the place for your private events. They learned how to make a nice Pernod drink but unfortunately, they ran out of Rosé wine because we already drank every bottle and is not on the menu anymore. Nevertheless, to our great relief, the sun just appeared and the terrace is yet open. The bar enjoys a nice view on the place and has the best late sun for the evening. Because the owners want you to feel good, they put outside some deck chairs in front of nice coffee table. In summer, everyone is outside until late, and because we know the neighbors can be very fussy sometimes, no one is shouting drunk but prefers to sip quietly his drink. Because one of the guy is musician and plays in a band, they had the good idea last year to create music events, one evening per week, and let the chance to make live performance to musicians, a group, even friends, even us one time ! It had a great response but unfortunately, due to the anger of the neighbor from the second floor, It had to end. We found that very sad because we never thought It was too loud to not stand it. Strangely, we never heard any complaint from the neighbors of the first floor, so I guess It was someone very sensitive from the ears. We still can enjoy music every day in the bar, but not too loud of course, also outside, but not too late of course, don’t forget you’re in Germany, and for events like European song contest, they put a big screen in the room and we are all enjoying the show together. Price wise, It is very OK, but we don’t order a glass anymore, except when I am alone, but directly the bottle or one half if we know we will move afterward. If we stay late enough, sometimes we even get free drink or a shot of anything they prepare behind the bar. Last time It was a mix of vodka and strawberry, not bad. Soon It is bedtime, so next time, feel free to come by and say hello if you see a group of friends or hear German language spoken with French accent, this must be us.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Place Clichy

Place Clichy is located near our place. It is a French bar, where you can expected to drink good (red) wine, Pernod and/or Ricard while eating cheese. Shame there is no dry sausage anymore but as my vegetarian friend says, It is not a problem. At the beginning of the Simon-Dach strasse, you see the sign of the bar, hanging out, inviting you to enter. During nice weather there is a possibility to find a place outside on the terrace. Even when there is no nice weather you can find a place outside. Last week, we met for apéritif and It started to rain but under the roof, we notices it when the storm started. Then we went inside. We started the 3 of us, then 4, and 5, after that 3 other French friends came, we moved for a bigger table, then a late friend arrived (he’s working too much and comes from west Charlottenburg) who finally called a friend of his who was by surprise in the city. The bar was almost full and the Bourgogne tasted good, as usual. I would say the glass is too small, you hardly have the time to start drinking that the glass is empty. So said our friend who drinks Pernod (he discovered this south French drink with me in Bariton, another bar we’ll talk about later) : he ordered a bigger glass with double Pernod size (of course with double size of water, he must drive his bicycle back home !). Service is uncomplicated, French with German speaking, not expensive as a cocktail but expect to give a little money out if your order, like we do, 3 bottles. Place Clichy opens at 7:00 p.m. and stays open until you’re gone. The clientele is a mix of french living in the neighborhood, French speaking German who like the taste of the country and the atmosphere of the bar, and people who saw light from outside. Sometimes musicians come to play and/or sing something, if you’re a non-smoker, I would not advise you to come because after few hours and if the entrance door is shut, don’t expect to breathe. There is no air conditioned and the poor fan there is usually out of order. But in winter, expect to be dry and warm, the heating is working perfectly !

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spreepark Berlin

The Spreepark was an entertainment park in the north of the Plänterwald in the Berlin district Treptow-Köpenick (formerly part of the GDR-controlled East Berlin). It was well-known also under its earlier name Kulturpark Plänterwald. The entertainment park was opened in 1969 as Kulturpark Plänterwald, covering an area of 29.5 hectares. The area is situated in the north of the Plänterwald, next to the river Spree. It was the only constant entertainment park in the GDR, and the only such park in either East or West Berlin.The VEB cultural park Berlin was completed in 1991 by mixed municipal authorities in Berlin. From seven applicants altogether the Spreepark Berlin company received the contract. Crucially, the references of Norbert Witte of the company were not properly checked. Under the Spreepark GmbH some new attractions were added and visitor numbers reached 1.5 million per annum. Later the concept was changed. The park was transformed gradually to a recreational park on a more western model. From now on an overall fee (adults: 29 DM, children: 27 DM) for admission and for all attractions was charged, instead of visitors paying an individual price at each ride, as had previously been the case. The asphalted surface around the Ferris Wheel was taken up and converted into a water landscape. Roller Coaster, two game water courses, a stage, a Western town and an English village were later added to the park. Since 1999 the park has had to cope with large debts. The increase in the admission fee to 30 DM per person and a lack of parking space contributed to a drop in visitor numbers until in 2001 only 400,000 visitors entered the park. In 2001 Spreepark GmbH announced that they were insolvent. On 18 January 2002, Norbert Witte, together with his family and closest coworkers moved to Lima in Peru. They shipped six attractions (Fliegender Teppich, Butterfly, Spider, Baby-Flug, Wild River and Jet Star) in 20 ship container, having been allowed to do so by the authorities who believed they were being sent for repair. Since 2002 the park has not opened for visitors. In August 2002 the park was declared completely insolvent. Debts at a level of €11,000,000 remained and the area was allowed to fall into disrepair. The Ferris wheel still stands, but has not operated since the park's closure, likewise, the remains of other attractions can still be found on-site. Norbert Witte failed in his attempt to run a "Lunapark" in Lima. On 19 May 2004 he was sentenced to seven years in jail for attempting to smuggle 180 kg of Cocaine with a value of £14 million from Peru to Germany in the masts of the "flying carpet" ride. In October 2006 a Peruvian court sentenced Wittes' son, Marcel Witte, to 20 years for drug smugling. Thanks to Christopher and his hard work to make it possible, we are allowed now to visit the park, within group of max 50 people and for a 15 Euros fee. You can book at Berliner Spreepark and after the tour, please give something to Christopher to thank him because It's worth the visit.

One day in the park, Spreepark, Berlin

One day at the park

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The idea

We are friends who like to meet. We are friends coming from different horizons, country and culture. We are friends who like to have a drink together and share their every day’s life worries and joys, but mostly in a bar. I am French, living in Berlin, Germany, and there is a concept that we have in my country that people accepted very quickly : apéritif. It is this time of the day, after work, when you don’t want to go immediately back home, taking a little time for you, meeting with colleagues and or with friends, sometimes all together, and share a glass of wine, maybe two, not three, well …, at least not without the “one for the road”. After one bottle of very tasty Bourgogne in a bar we’ll talk later about, we had a cocktail at one of the most beautiful bar of the city : CSA bar. You can sip your Martini while enjoying the view of the GDR buildings and in summer, the comfy of the sofas outside is just amazing. The barkeeper is friendly but know his job and so the service is just perfect. I know he has some nice articles, for example in the worldwide known Wallpaper , but also in many others and the advertising coming from customers is of course the best he can have. The music is never too loud, the drinks are memorable and not too strong, the design is just relaxing, the service is there to help you feeling good. And one point you might think is a disadvantage but on the contrary is not : there is no other bar around. Meaning : stay where you are, there is no other place in the neighborhood to get another drink. We were there having a chat and spontaneously we came out with the idea of sharing our experience of having a drink, this is why this article exists and many other will follow, as I did before. Maybe if you are in the area, we could meet, and most of all, feel free to (nicely) comment. Where is the (next) bar ?