Street Art of Blu: Murals in Berlin and Lisbon

Blu, Friedrichshain, Berlin.

I stumbled upon Blu murals on my last two trips to Europe. While I love Blu’s mind-blowing wall-painting animations like Big Bang Big Boom and Muto, it’s cool to come upon his still images—and remnants of his animations—on facades around the world. Especially when you’re not looking for them.

Berlin’s East Side Gallery: Remnants of the Wall

East Side Gallery

The outdoor East Side Gallery, free and always open, is a 1.3-kilometer section of the Berlin Wall. While you can start your stroll at either end, the gallery begins on Mühlenstraße in Friedrichshain, a short stroll from the Oberbaumbrücke bridge. Reach it via Warschauer Straße station, then cross the River Spree.

Angles & Shadows in Berlin: The Holocaust Memorial and Jewish Museum

Slanted, Holocaust Memorial, Berlin.

I was overwhelmed by all the things to do and see in Berlin, and was particularly moved by the Holocaust Memorial and the Jewish (Jüdisches) Museum, two of the city’s major sites of Jewish history and culture. A dose in photographs: Holocaust Memorial Designed by architect Peter Eisenman, the Holocaust Memorial is made up of about 2,700 concrete columns, arranged in a grid that’s at once methodical and disorienting. Head into its shadowy center, and the pillars grow taller and more menacing. Above, a slanted perspective from the ground. A view of… Read More

Berlin’s Kunsthaus Tacheles: The Ultimate Junkyard

truck

The yard retains a silent strength—the collective presence of stuff, old and discarded, is strangely comforting to those who wander, for things live here in peace. And it’s an unconventional space, in ruins, that defies time: here, you feel and see Germany’s history and Berlin’s cutting-edge present at once.

Hunting for Vintage in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg: Flohmarkt am Arkonaplatz

Vintage Treasures, Flohmarkt am Arkonaplatz, Berlin.

One Sunday afternoon, I meandered over to leafy Prenzlauer Berg. Colorful facades and 19th-century townhouses. Graffiti and club flyers. Students, bar-goers, and couples with strollers wander the sidewalks. A lovely neighborhood to explore, especially if you’re looking to rummage the racks of its markets, like Flohmarkt am Arkonaplatz. Berlin in the winter has proved to be quite cold, at least for a Northern Californian; each day, it’s been an average of -6°C, but perusing flea markets in chilly weather, like the one at Arkonaplatz, makes the outing festive—hunting for vintage treasures with glühwein in… Read More

Art in Ruins: Inside Berlin’s Kunsthaus Tacheles

Fallen Sign, Kunsthaus Tacheles, Berlin.

Today, I was on my way to check out a place I had read about, but got off at the wrong U-Bahn station, Oranienburger Tor, in the historic Mitte. Instead of getting back on the train, I wandered in the neighborhood, hoping to find something.

And I did.