Cities – The Real Berlin 1 of 2 – BBC Travel Documentary, recorded 26.09.2010 In Berlin the past is always present, and the present is on the fast-track to the future. The German capital is a confident, sassy and irreverent city that buzzes with giddying energy and a zest for experimentation. Over the past decade, it’s become a pillar of the fashion, art, design and music worlds, not just keeping up with but setting new trends. The bustling city of Berlin is always on the go A global influx of creative people has turned the city into a cauldron of cool that’s often compared to New York in the 80s. What draws them is Berlin’s legendary climate of tolerance, openness and experimentation infused with an edgy undercurrent that gives this ‘eternally unfinished’ city its street cred. But the times are a-changing, ever so slowly. As foreign investors snap up cheap real estate, the city’s famously low rents are evaporating, open lots are sprouting high-rise offices and ‘loft-living’ is becoming the new buzzword. Formerly gritty areas – that until recently made headlines for their high crime rates and low educational levels – are now firmly in the grip of gentrification. Changing circumstances Still, Berlin remains undeniably addictive. Like some hyperactive child, this dynamic capital hates standing still. Having adapted to changing circumstances so many times, it has made a virtue of reinventing itself. Berlin staged a revolution, was ruled by fascists, bombed to bits, ripped in half, reunited, made a capital and rebuilt – and that was just in the 20th century. When it comes to culture, Berlin is an embarrassment of riches. The city has not one but three top-notch operas, seven famous orchestras including the Berliner Philharmonic and dozens of playhouses and theatres. Berlin’s collection of world-class museums dwarfs those of many a small nation. Make a date with the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, stand in awe of the ancient Pergamon Altar, then plunge into the zeitgeisty Sammlung Boros or keep tabs on the Young German Artists scene in cutting-edge galleries on Auguststrasse. In fact, the entire city treated as a huge canvas by some of the hottest names in international street art who have left their mark on local walls – including Banksy, Os Gemeos and the Italian artist Blu. Eating and drinking The nightlife too is among the best and most varied in the world. Sip absinthe in a trashy dive or mix with the money crowd in chic bars tucked behind anonymous steel doors. Afterwards kick it up in a historic dance hall or let a DJ save your life in a power station-turned-techno-temple. Berlin’s legendary tolerance has also made it a gay and lesbian hub: anything goes, from the highbrow to the hands-on, the bourgeois to the bizarre, the mainstream to the flamboyant. Monuments like the Holocaust Memorial are reminders of Berlin’s turbulent past In terms of food, Berlin may still lag behind London, Paris and New York, but it’s come on since the days when local cuisine was limited to massive platters of pig and mayonnaise-drenched salads. The city has also embraced the guerilla dining trend and new secret supper clubs seem to pop up every week. Even the hallowed Guide Michelin is showing Berlin respect by awarding stars to a dozen restaurants – Fischers Fritz at the Regent Hotel even managed to garner two. All this trendiness is a triumph for a town that’s long been in the crosshairs of history: Berlin staged a revolution, was ruled by fascists, bombed to bits, ripped in half, reunited, made a capital and rebuilt – and that was just in the 20th century. Famous landmarks such as the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and what’s left of the Berlin Wall are like a virtual 3D textbook in a city where you’ll find history staring you in the face every time you turn a corner. Join the party and be swept away by the riches, quirks and vibrancy of this engrossing city. For more Information, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/real_cities/9017551.stm .
Cities – The Real Berlin 1 of 2 – BBC Travel Documentary
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