Berlin – from Isherwood to Sanssouci …
I just returned from an amazing trip to Berlin. It was actually the first time since I moved to Istanbul in October that I visited the Western-European world again … And it did feel a bit strange at first, but then it got better and better – Berlin is just a very vibrant and interesting city on so many levels.
And the timing seemed to be perfect too. On my second day in Berlin I had an email from a friend from NYC (who joined me later in Berlin) saying that the April issue of the magazine The World of Interiors is out and one of the cover stories is on Christopher Isherwood – the legendary author of ‘A Single Man‘ (Tom Ford turned the book into an Oscar-awarded film in 2009) and ‘Goodbye to Berlin‘, which was the basis for the film ‘Cabaret’ with Liza Minnelli. Isherwood used to live in Berlin from 1929-1933!
click here for The World of Interiors: http://www.worldofinteriors.co.uk/
Inspired by the article, I not only read the book ‘Goodbye to Berlin’ (Isherwood’s diaries – highly recommendable!!) but ventured out to find where in Berlin he used to live and experience the Metropolis. And it turns out that he used to live very close to U-Bahn station Nollendorfplatz in Nollendorfstrasse. There is even a plaque commemorating Isherwood.
Following the footsteps of famous authors and trying to piece together Berlin’s rather glamorous 1920s past, there are some much older beauties to find too. The museums in the city are just incredible and, for some reason, still hidden gems… I can only say – Go and discover them!
Just to give you a little taster: Alte Museum, a stunning building in Berlin Mitte designed by the early 19th Century architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Sheer beauty, close to perfection, actually. Schinkel, a genius of his time who left his mark on Prussian Berlin.
The newly re-opened Neue Museum. The building was designed by the Berlin architect Friedrich August Stüler, a student of Schinkel’s, and constructed between 1843 and 1855. Sadly the museum was bombed during WW II and left abandoned for decades. In 2003, the architect David Chipperfield began the reconstruction of the museum – and took it to a new level. It is beautiful, modern, traditional and exciting at the same time. One sees only rarely objects being presented in such a contemporary and exciting way, and at the same time the reconstructed building is paying homage to the past and history of the museum.
The Neue Museum is part of the legendary Museumsinsel (museum island) that is being reconstructed and returned to its former glory. The Alte Nationalgalerie (old National Gallery) is as much part of it as the well-known Pergamon Museum.
The Pergamon Museum is celebrated for its famous Pergamon Altar. However, there is so much more to see …
This week also saw the beginning of Spring in Berlin. After weeks of grey and freezing cold winter weather, the blue sky and the sun were just luring people back into the parks and streets. Schloss Sanssouci in Potsdam, a town just outside of Berlin (50 min by S-Bahn from Friedrichstrasse), is the perfect destination to enjoy this kind of weather.
Sanssouci was designed by King Frederick the Great as his summer retreat and cherished place of escape from his daily worries (‘sans souci’ – no worry). It is situated on a hill that is descending into wine terraces. It is the most beautiful example of Rococo architecture in German – at least in my eyes!
And so it continues …