Destination: Germany: Berlin
In the eyes of any other world capital, Berlin concept-store impresario Andreas Murkudis had made it. His haute fashion emporium occupied a series of ground-floor boutiques in a courtyard adjacent to the Hackesche Höfe, home to Berlin’s most exciting design shops. The Murkudis boutiques had everything: location, a serious cool factor, success. Then, in early 2011, instead of cashing in and opening outposts in Manhattan or London, Murkudis moved into an underdeveloped area miles off the well-trodden path. And while the New York Times quickly jumped on the story, declaring the entire neighborhood Berlin’s new It place—I’ve been…it’s not (yet)—there’s no way to predict if and when shoppers will follow. Several people I asked about Murkudis’s move shrugged and said, “That’s Berlin.”
The city’s creative scene is permeated by an uncanny sense of exploration and risk-taking—perhaps one of the reasons Berlin is often likened to New York City circa 1985. But Berlin is not 1980s New York. It’s something entirely unique, shaped by a complex history and a current urgency to prove itself as a contemporary capital. It’s a massive place to explore, both geographically and emotionally. It’s also a city whose stereotypes precede a visit—some warranted, others false—and whose nuances are hard to grasp from abroad. For example, while I roughly knew the path of the Berlin Wall, I didn’t really understand its everyday madness until I stood in the quiet of the Invalidenfriedhof, a graveyard by the Spree river that was divided by the wall (if grandma was buried on the other side, you were sheer out of luck as an East Berliner).
Read about the things I discovered on my recent trip:
- Berlin is…eight times the size of Paris
- Berlin is…history
- Berlin is…art and culture
- Berlin is…child-friendly
- Berlin is…green
- Berlin is…unpretentious
- Berlin is…a relative Euro bargain
- Berlin is…old-world
- Berlin is…cutting-edge
- Berlin is…memory and future
Contact Indagare if you are planning a trip to Berlin for help with your itinerary, including hotel, restaurant and sightseeing suggestions.
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