(An article by Julie Kim from a Berlin Travel Review, a city travelreview 2015 work/study project)
Welcome to Berlin, a city with the dichotomy of fascinating history and innovative creativity! One may not quite know what to expect from this German capital; it’s not as romanticized as Paris, nor is it popularized like New York. However, it is full of developments and potential. Germany as a whole has undoubtedly become a strong European country and Berlin has been rapidly building itself as a metropoli- tan city, fit for such a nation.
What differentiates Berlin from the others? First and foremost, history. Germany has unanimously been considered as an important part of modern European history, though rather dishonorably, and the people’s effort in maintaining historical awareness shows through the numerous memorials and monuments: to never re- peat the mistakes and to promote peace, both domestically and internationally.
Does this mean that they constantly live with heavy hearts? Absolutely not. Though Germans could be considered more serious in nature than other Europe-ans, they also know how to relish life, especially in Berlin. The copious amount of pubs, cafés, clubs, and live music venues echo the spunky spirit of Berliners. Berlin is home to countless contemporary artists and avant-garde art and as the residence for the world-renowned Berlin Philharmonic, Berlin is also a hot spot for music, both classical and modern. There are a plethora of creativity going on everywhere, from street art and performances to galleries and symphony halls; there is a multitude of diverse cultural possibilities.
As we have discovered and were enchanted by Berlin, we hope this guide will help you do the same. From an abundance of attractive spots, we’ve worked to introduce the best; and also advise against the less good. Become immersed in Berlin with us, and gute Reise!
(Sample of a Travel Review created by a group of students on a citytravelreview work/study project to Edinburgh in March 2014)
What comes to your mind when you think about the Scottish life- style? Are bagpipes popping into your head, or whisky, golf, kilts and haggis? That is right! These are a few very important aspects of Scottish life, but Scotland has more to offer. Discover the interesting story about the unicorn, why a Scotsman has to get some IRN BRU after an evening with too much alcohol or what a fried Mars bar is. Go out and learn to dance at the ceilidh, so you can act like you are from Scotland. We’ve found the most important things you have to know and try when discovering Scottish lifestyle.
(Sample of a Travel Review by Amy Turner, a member on citytravelreview project in Berlin, Summer 2005)
DO look out for bikes! The bike lanes in the city are rarely differentiated from pedestrian areas.
DO try out your German. Don’t be shy to test out your lan- guage skills. You don’t want to come across as rude!
DO Recycle. Recycling is super big in Berlin and you can even face fines if you refuse to cooperate. Another tip – If you take your used and empty plastic bottles back to the supermarket you will receive €0.25 in exchange for each one.
DO plan your journeys in advance. This is essential, especially during the night-time hours, since if you look like a confused and lost tourist, you may become vulnerable to thieves.
One of the great things about Berlin is that many of the sights and exhibitions are free to visit such as the Reichstag, the East Side Gallery and the Holocaust Memorial. A City that is certainly value for money.
If you fancy venturing to explore the nightlife, it is worth mentioning that most of clubs only get lively post 1am. Great for the night-owls, not so great for those who really like their sleep. Something else to remember if you do intend to head out, is that drinking on the streets and on public transport is strictly not allowed. Respect locals and wait until you are in a
bar or beer garden.
An article written for CityTravelReview by Janina Reiter, Edinburgh project, March 2014
Don’t think you might fancy a deep-fried Mars bar? No worries, it doesn’t taste as funny as it sounds. Basically, it’s just an ordinary Mars bar fried in batter. It is said to have been invented in 1995 in a bar near Aberdeen in Northeast Scotland. Mass media commented on the new snack, so it has become more and more popular ever since. Still it is not very common among Scottish people: According to a survey, most fried Mars bars are sold to tourists. For around £2.50 you can try one yourself, for example at the Castle Rock Take Away at the Grassmarket. It is worth giving this snack a chance. Although consisting of nothing more than warmed chocolate and caramel, it still tastes great.
An article by Jasmin Seidl, a member on a CityTravelReview project, Edinburgh, Sept 2014
Unlike Hogwarts, which is only reachable by taking the Hogwarts Express from London’s King’s Cross station from platform 9 3/4, George Heriot’s School isn’t hard to find. Though it is not confirmed, it is believed that this school was used by J.K. Rowling as a model for Hogwarts. The school is an imposing stone building with turreted towers on each corner and unique carvings above every window. When looking at it the books and their story seem to come alive. Although entering is forbidden for visitors, the school is worth looking at from the street or from the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade. The school is also just two minutes away from the Elephant House Cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote part of the books.
Heriot‘s was founded in 1628 as a school for orphans and in compliance with the will of George Heriot, a goldsmith and jeweller at the court of King James VI and 1. In 1886 it became a day school for boys and in 1979 it was opened to girls.
An article written by Bilyana Georgieva, a project member on the Barcelona summer programme with CityTravelReview
Barcelona is a city full of all kinds of culture activities. All types of music are represented somehow. The city during the summer is very multicultural. The people are interested in all types of music, not only traditional but also modern music. However you come to Barcelona, as a tourist or for work, there are so many people who like jazz. Whatever the reason, there are so many bars or clubs which offer jazz music played live on stage by local musicians. One of the popular clubs for jazz fans is the HARLEM Jazz club. At first you may ask yourself why you should pay 7 euro to go in but it really pays since you will not find this type of music in other regular or jazz clubs. You will find inside people of any age and any different countries but also people from Barcelona. The band called “CHINO & THE BIG BET” plays any Tuesday evening like they have y jukebox in the head and it’s never the same. When this band plays is it usual to dance to the music which is unusual for jazz and blues clubs. The people from Barcelona just love this place. The club is not only for jazz or blues fans; as a normal man you will enjoy it too to hear the whole improvisation of the musicians and especially the end of the show when they sing without a microphone which makes the atmosphere so familiar like the people there. Here is the address where you have to go Carrer Comtessa de Sobradiel, 8 Barcelona – España.
An article written for CityTravelReview: Edinburgh project, September 2014
The Elephant House is the café where Harry Potter was born. Not literally of course, but the remarkable author Joanne K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter novel in the back room. This café is charming and cosy. While sitting inside and enjoying a hot beverage you have a beautiful view to the Castle and old Greyfriars Graveyard, where Rowling borrowed some names for her magical characters. The atmosphere is mainly “Potterish”. Portraits of J.K. Rowling decorate the interior and every inch of the bathroom walls is covered by notes of Hogwarts fans. Many people come here with their notebooks or bring laptops, hoping for some creativity to take hold of them. The cafe on George IV Bridge is always busy, if you go there after 5 pm you usually have to wait to be seated. However, the staff is very friendly and polite. Sandwiches and snacks aren’t that cheap, but with an aromatic coffee for £1.85 you can’t go wrong. The Elephant House is an inspiring place for all authors to be. If you need more inspiration for a character’s name take a page out of J.K’s book and use the graveyard right across the road (you might even meet Tom Riddle there).