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Untitled(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.
(Laura Sedlmaier)


The Elephant House

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).

The Ceilidh Club

An article  by a project member on a CityTravelReview programme in Edinburgh, Sept 2014

A traditional Ceilidh is the ultimate in Scottish joie de vivre. Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) is a traditional Scottish gathering, where people dance to Gaelic folk music. The Ceilidh Club in Edinburgh offers weekly events in the Summerhall and in Assembly Roxy every third Friday.

The impressive former church and one of Edinburgh’s finest live music venues creates an exciting night. A fantastic live band combines booming modern rock sounds with traditional Celtic violin melodies. They invite up to 170 people to join in the traditional but wild dances. Locals in kilts and woollen socks as well as newbies enjoy the jolly atmosphere on the dance floor.

At the beginning of each dance, a band member instructs the dancers of the correct moves. After, the band plays for roughly 10 minutes so everyone can enjoy the dance, either in groups or in pairs. Wear flat and comfortable shoes and prepare to sweat a lot. Don’t worry if you don’t get the choreography, locals do not mind giving you a helping hand. If dancing isn’t for you it is still fun to come and watch. However, Ceilidh has a strange way of making everyone come out of their shells to join the evening. It is a beautiful Scottish tradition.

Barcelona – a sweet treat at Dolceria de la Colmena

From an article by Johanna, a member on CityTravelReview project in Barcelona, Summer 2014

If you have a walk through the historic alleys of the Gothic Quarter, you can’t miss to visit La Colmena, one of the city’s oldest cake shops. Since 1849, La Colmena, originally called ‘Ca l’Abella’ after its owner Rosendo Abella, sells the oldest artisan candies in Spain as well as delicious home-made cakes and candies. Today, it is run by Josep Maria Roig whose family still follows the traditional Catalan recipes.

La Colmena became famous for its tasty desserts, such as ‘Xuxos de Crema’, ‘Panellets’ and ‘Torró de crema cremada’. Especially the strawberry tart with delicious vanilla pudding in a bed of chocolate is highly recommended.

The splendidly decorated window display attracts the visitor’s attention and La Colmena definitely keeps its promises. Inside the cake shop, you can admire its antique architecture, the staff is very friendly and a huge variety of delicacies is offered for a cheap price.

Edinburgh, Edinburgh citytravelreview

Since Edinburgh lies right beside the sea shore, why not try the fresh seafood that is offered at several places around the city? It won’t cost you a fortune! Scotland has a large fishing area around its shores with seafood from the Atlantic west coast as well as the Shetland Isles in the North. It is very popular throughout Scotland; in Edinburgh some of the fine but rather expensive restaurants (e.g. Fishers Bistro and The Shore Bar and Restaurant) can be found on The Shore in Leith. While some places in the city‘s Old Town are as pricey as those at the waterfront (like as the Mussel & Steak Bar on Grassmarket and Creeler’s Restaurant in Hunter Square just off the Royal Mile), all of them have attractive lunch time offers of two courses from a set menu for usually no more than £ 10.

For small budget foodies, however, two places on Rose Street might be the more interesting: On one hand, there is the Mussel Inn, which features a maritime interior with colourful mosaics on the walls. Specializing in all kinds of seafood beyond just fish, it is the perfect place to have a very first meal of mussels, prawns, scallops and oysters. Go with some friends, order different starters (£3-5) or grilled platters (£5-10), and share – not at all slimy! Even better and befitting the restaurant’s name are the ½ kilo pots of mussels for only £5.80, perfectly cooked in different stocks that you can choose personally (for example, roasted pepper, Moroccan, or blue cheese) – delicious until the last drop that you‘ll eventually wipe up with the warm fresh bread that is refilled for free. On the other hand, there is The Seadogs, a quirky but classy place that is my personal favourite because of its fantastic price-to-performance ratio. White walls, partly decorated with ornamental wallpaper and various collections of wood and red plastic furniture, create a chic but cosy atmosphere. The menu includes traditional Scottish seafood dishes, like tomato chowder and high standard fish and chips (with different sorts of fish like plaice or trout to choose from), as well as vegetarian meals like barley paella. During the daytime, everything is around £ 5, but the wider dinner menu are also reasonable- a dish costs rarely more than £ 10. The recipes are down-to-earth but with a twist, a genius combination of main ingredients and lots of fresh herbs (for example, cider-smoked haddock with thyme mussels). While the bread is not free, it is obviously home-baked and very moist and wellworth the extra £ 0.95. Having seafood might be a culinary adventure and gastronomically- virgin soil for you, but it doesn‘t have to be expensive or pure glibber.

So when you‘re in Edinburgh, sharpen your teeth and senses and broaden your horizons on a delicious exploration!
Seafood venues with great value for money (Costs are usually £ 5 – 10):
Seadogs, 43 Rose Street
Mussel Inn, 61 – 65 Rose Street

citytravelreview – travel writers researchers in Berlin

Outside, a huge gold swan straight from the fairground peers down from the second floor window; a mannequin sits slumped in a gold throne with a pink crown on his head and a mummy sits on a bench. Confused? Inspired? Curious? …Isn’t that the idea of Fundus­verkauf? Specialising in costumes and props used in films such as Toy Story 3, Freedom and The Two Lucky Threes and opera and theatre performances– many gained from the nearby Komis­che Opera–Fundusverkauf is the ideal place for film buffs and theatre enthusiasts alike.

For those just wanting to visit a place to set their crea­tive juices flowing, this quirky shop hits the spot. But for those lovers of shopping, be warned – prices really vary, from a few Euros for a book or nick-nack, to hundreds (and upwards!) for a piece of furniture. However this place is worth a visit even if only for a peek inside. You’ll find dozens of chairs, chandeliers and mirrors scattered about the place and crowds of art­work, costumes, movie props, furniture and everything in-between screams for atten­tion. The sight is bedazzling and confusing all at once. The setting is artistic and grandi­ose but with a hint of shabby chic, with peeling wall paint and electrical wires hanging from wall to wall. Tube lights line a staircase to the second floor overgrown with mirrors, as though visiting a carnival ‘Hall of Mirrors’. It all seems to work in the organised chaos of Fundusverkauf.
Fundusverkauf, Behrenstr. 14, S-Bahn Friedrichstr., 030 47 99 74 00 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              030 47 99 74 00      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, 7th July – 12th July, Open noon- 7 p.m.

Memory shop and cafe
A favourite vintage shop of Ky­lie Minogue’s, Memory does not disappoint! Situated along Schwedter Straβe, this little shop is small in size but filled to the brim like an Aladdin’s’ cave with vintage treasures. Pieces vary from the 1950s to 1970s, and prices are reasonable; it’s well worth a look!

Shopping in Friedrichshain
It’s a sizzling summer’s day in Berlin and you want to while away the hours with a bit of vintage shopping; but where to go? Here’s an idea: Friedrichshain. Previously an area full of student digs, Frie­drichshain has morphed in re­cent years into a little honey pot of development, with many shops opening every year. To­day, the area is bustling with trendy young families drawn to the unique boutiques, yet Friedrichshain still retains its former alternative-niche vibe; and gladly so!… It’s the perfect place to find something differ­ent.

If that sounds like just what the doctor ordered, hop on the M10 from Landsberger Allee/Peterburger Straße to Straß­mannstraße or take a quick walk down to Petersburger Straße and you’ll find ‘SOUL­FOOd’. Outside, the little shop is cocooned in a shell of bam­boo reed, and clothes, shoes and books sit mismatched in weaved wicker baskets and on rickety tables. Don’t let the outside fool you, though, this is a hidden gem! Stepping inside, friendly shop owner Sabine greats her customers with the offer of tea.Two love-worn so­fas sit at the back of the shop where Sabine sits with friends casually chatting and sipping tea. Stocked with cheap and cheerful first and second-hand clothes, accessories, shoes and bit and bobs, a quick rummage is really worthwhile. What’s more, there’s a really relaxed hippie-come-reggae vibe per­fect for soothing the soul and easing you into the day ahead. The tea doesn’t hurt either…

Once you’ve got your creativ­ity flowing, head down on the M10 to Frankfurter Tor and you’ll find ‘Humana’; a vast four story ethical second hand and vintage shop stocking clothes for men, women and children, plus textiles, furni­ture, toys.On the fourth floor, you’ll find a specialised selec­tion of 60s, 70s and 80s vintage clothing. Shopping here does require quite a rummage, but for those with time on their hands it is perfect for finding something thrifty and unique. What’s more, ‘Humana’ uses its profits in the fight against poverty, HIV and AIDS..

You’re next stop should be Kopernikusstraße /Wüh­lischstraße Straße just off Petersburger Straße, where you’ll come to the heart of the on-going development of Friedrichshain. Take a wan­der down the street and you’ll find a chilled atmosphere and quaint boutiques in full bloom. In fact, the only time the mean­dering street rouses anything louder than a whisper or two is when a bustle of traffic or young children sails through it from time to time. Once you’ve passed ‘Pony Club’, a unisex hip beauty parlour, it’s time for a well-earned rest.

By now, an afternoon spent shopping with the boiling Ber­lin sun cascading on you all day could be getting too much, but do not fear, everywhere you turn on Wühlischstraße Straße you see a cafe or restaurant. For those with a sweet tooth crav­ing a sugary pick-me-up mid-afternoon, ‘Bio-Eis’ and ‘Olivia’ fit the bill. ‘Bio-Eis’ sells organic and vegan and ice-cream and ‘Olivia’ sells chocolate to eat and chocolate gifts perfect for loved ones. For those crav­ing something savoury, do not fear: there’s a wide selection of cafes and restaurants dotted right around the area.. Or for those just wanting a sit-down in the shade, a small leafy seat­ing area floats like an island in the midst of the street, perfect for people watching.

Once you’ve restored your en­ergy levels, take a peek in ‘Trash Schick’; a shop jam-packed with affordable men and wom­en’s vintage clothes, accesso­ries and records layered in col­ourful strips around the shop. The cool vibe matches the ar­tistic wind that drifts from shop to shop on this little street. The stripped wooden floor echoes as shoes tip tap during a rum­mage for treasures – and it is well worth it, too.

Text: Bethany Wright

citytravelreview – Berlin in summer

Berlin can get unbearably hot during the summer months. With no sea breeze, few air conditioned restaurants and stifling conditions on public transport, the best respite from the heat is to head to one of the city’s many lakes. Of all of them, Müggelsee is the largest, and makes for a pleasant day trip. More like a beach-side resort than an inner-city lake, there’s a food shack where you can grab a beer and a bag of chips and a stretch of sand where you can play volleyball or simply sit back relax. But be careful where you choose your spot, as part of the beach is reserved for nudists. The body of water itself is huge (7.4km²) and despite appearances is very clean, undergoing rigorous checks every year by Berlin’s water works. If you have the energy, take a pedalo for a spin (€6/hour) and head down the Kleiner Müggelsee to the floating ice cream hut. How to get there: take the S-Bahn to Friedrichshagen, and then exit the station and make your way to the tram stop in front of the cinema. The No. 60 tram will take you through the forest and straight to Müggelsee.
Text by Lottie Laken

Potsdam: Park Sanssouci
Today’s capital of Brandenberg state, Potsdam remains to Berlin what Versailles is Paris – a two-pronged symbol of monarchy political reform. It was here that the Hohenzollern dynasty first set up royal residence in the 18th century, transforming the former fishing backwater into a garrison town and peppering its rolling landscapes with stately palaces and carefully manicured royal parks. However, there is more to Potsdam’s history than regal pomp and glamour. The city lost its royal status with the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918. Later it was devastated in WWII when an Allied bombing raid on April 14, 1945 left 4,000 people dead. Luckily, Germany’s reunification caused vast
reserves of money to pour in with the initiative to reconstruct some 80 per cent of Potsdam’s historic buildings. Today Park Sanssouci has earned UNESCO’s stamped approval, legitimising it as an excellent place for tourists to stroll san soucci (literally ‘without worries’) and drink in Potsdam’s cultural and architectural delights.
Park Sanssouci, 9694 200/spsg.de
This gracefully landscaped park is the largest and most famous of three royal parks established in Potsdam by Frederick the Great. If you can brave the weekend crowds, take a good few hours to wander along Sanssouci’s 2km tree-lined avenue. Schloss Sanssouci (April-Oct Tues-Sun 9:00-17:00, €8; Nov-March Tues-Sun 9:00-16:00, €12 entry). Frederick’s Baroque-style summer palace was designed by the artist Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff and built with the king’s comfort and ease in mind. Perched atop rows of vineyard terraces and sporting a façade decorated with ornate Bacchic sculptures, it hints at the aesthetic tastes of the culture-loving king. To this end, pop into the Bildergalerie next door to scope works by Rubens, Van Dyck and Caravaggio.
Neues Palais
April-Oct Mon-Thurs, Sat-Sun 9:00-17:00, €6 with tour, €5 without; Nov-March, Mon-Thurs, Sat-Sun 9:00-16:00, €5 entry with tour An opulent riot of rococo-style design and architectural curiosities, the Neues Palais is a grand statement of the power and wealth of the Hohenzollern clan following the Seven Years’ War. A tour of the premises requires pre-booking but is worth every cent. Highlights include masterworks by the painter Adolph Mezel and the ‘Grotto Room’ adorned with 1,500 species of shells, fossils and precious stones.
mid-May to mid-Oct Tues-Sun 10:00-17:00, €3 entry
The striking palace of Friedrich Wilhelm IV, built to closely resemble a Renaissance era Italianate palazzo, features a viewing tower with picturesque views of the Neues Palais. The gallery inside – known as the Raphaselsaal – houses copies of paintings looted by Napoleon during the Seven Years’ War.
Getting There
Take the S-Bahn out of town from one of Berlin’s central train stations (the journey from Berlin Hauptbanhof takes approx. 35mins) using either the direct S1 service or the S7 (and changing at Wannsee). On arrival at Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, you can take buses 695, 606 and X15 to Park Sansoucci.
Text by Alexandra Syzdlowska

Sachenhausen Concentration Camp
Built during the summer of 1936, the camp was designed to be the ‘archetypal’ model in which all camps afterwards were to be based on. It was intended to give an architectural expression to the Nazi world view and symbolize the subjugation of the prisoners to the absolute power of the SS. More than 200,000 people were imprisoned at the camp between 1939 and 1945. Most prisoners were political undesirables at first, but were later joined by those deemed racially and biologically inferior by the Nazi regime. Tens of thousands died at the camp of starvation, maltreatment, forced labour and disease or they were systematically murdered. On the 22nd and 23rd of April 1945 the camp was liberated by Soviet and Polish soldiers. Three months after the end of the war Sachenhausen was turned into a special camp by the Soviets. Using most of the same buildings as the Nazis with the exception of the crematorium and extermination facilities, the Soviets imprisoned minor Nazi functionaries and political undesirables. After 1948, Sachenhausen was the largest camp out of three in the Soviet occupied zone. The camp was closed in March 1950, 60,000 people had been imprisoned with around 12,000 having died there. Today Sachenhausen is a memorial centre to those that lost their lives at the Nazi concentration camp and the Soviet Special camp. Visitors can visit the camp and are guided through the memorial with a map and a personal audio guide, tour companies also go tour guide led visits as well.
Text by Chris Pomfret

Teufelsberg, S75 to Heerstrasse, walk down Teufellseestrasse 15 mins then enter 2nd car park on right and follow road untill arriving at the site S-Bahn Heerstrasse
The abandoned spy station at Teufelsberg is perhaps the most fascinating and original Cold War relic that Berlin has to offer. Literally built upon the rubble of the Second World War, the listening tower offers spectacular views of Berlin including nearby landmarks such as the Olympiastadion and Grunewald Forest to the iconic TV Tower in the centre. The area has a curious history; the original site housed a military-technical college designed by Nazi architect Albert Speer before unsuccessful attempts to blow this up lead to the area being covered by the remnants of Berlin’s buildings post-war and finally used as a listening post for US intelligence to garner information on their Soviet neighbours
during the Cold War. Today however the site is abandoned and scantly populated by squatters and a trickle of eager tourists. A 20 minute S-Bahn journey out of the centre and the uninviting landscape make this a trip which many will not make; the site is accessible only by a challenging trek and then a crudely fashioned hole in the mesh fence. Once inside the abandoned buildings are somewhat hazardous with pitchblack stairwells and no barriers at the summit; the journey is more suited to the thrill-seeking, adrenaline hungry visitor. It is perhaps these raw features which make Teufelsberg so appealing, it is not managed or over-populated and as such it feels real – something not easily achieved in one of Europe’s most visited cities. A fusion of the area’s history, the breathtaking views and the adventurous trek to the summit are what make Teufelsberg an excellent trip; its obstacles are surmountable for most and certainly offer an alternative to the more famous Checkpoint Charlie.
Text by Allan Edgar