Samstag, 29. Dezember 2012

Kringle in Berlin

I was not familiar with the Kringle Candles, but almost daily I pass by a Kringle shop and thus, a couple of months after the shop was open I decided to pay a visit.

It is located in a very nice and quiet area of Berlin, not at all a hub for big businesses, where people will rather go for a ride or take a walk with their children instead of shopping. However, the concept of the shop is quite appealing and if one of those living in the houses nearby Konstanzerstrasse will be interested to add more style to their long evenings, they will for sure stop at this small shop.

Compared with other similar candles, the prices are a big high, with at least 2.00 Euro investment in a parfumed candle that will last for around 2 hours. But the effects last and at least once in a while you must try it. There are several essences: foods, fruits, flowers. You can find one of the most creative cmobinations, such as breakfast, watermelon or various spices. 

The shops smells some of the essences of the candles, and the lady in charge was quite friendly and ready to help someone interested less in buying but in understanding the concept and its uniqueness for Berlin. I had a classical vanilla choice and enjoyed the pleasure of the new smell in the house.

A good idea for a weekly present or a surprise candle early evening for someone you love.

Donnerstag, 20. Dezember 2012

Free samples from Weleda

My collection of samples
If you visited lately any of the Bio Company stores in Berlin you might noticed a lot of samples from Weleda offered to the customers. I am not too much into homeopathic remedies, but when it comes to cosmetics, I always prefer those based on natural products. And as all my readers know, Germany is the place where homeopathy is highly appreciated, even despite obvious medical evidences. 

However, within some limits, the natural products could be good and I encourage their use.

As I went very often lately at Bio Company, I had the possibility to collect different samples, including lemon and pomegranate-flavored. I do not like too much the smell - this is the 'disadvantage' of using 'natural products' - but the skin reacted favorably, and got a nice velvet touch that I always expect to be produced by good creams. 

Overall, after trying all the samples for one week, I am tempted to have at least one Weleda product at home. The harsh German winter and the unfavorable weather in general affect considerably the skin and it is important to always use products designed for sensitive skins.

Mittwoch, 19. Dezember 2012

Chez Google

Yesterday evening, I spent some colorful time at Google Berlin. The offices in Berlin are situated in a very fancy old block of apartments on Unten der Linden. Once you are there you should use either your card or to be open the door by the security team. 

The presence in Berlin of one of my favorite companies is quite modest compared with the strong branding I am used with in other part of the world, but it seems that they are smart enough to understand how to address the local market. In other words, you know that you are big but the measure of your greatness is the way in which you can contribute to the local economy. For instance, the Google specialists offer a lot of support for startups looking to develop their advertising plans - via Google, of course. 

For Portuguese and Brazilian fans in Berlin

As in the case of many other communities living in Berlin, it is very difficult to estimate how many Portuguese and Brazilians live in the German capital city. But I've met a couple of them in the last four years and I saw several good shops with traditional food and even a couple of restaurants. 

The final element that I was missing was the bookstore and I finally was in time with my working schedule to pay a visit to ALivraria. It is a relatively small space, situated 10 minutes by foot from Rosenthaler Platz. When I visited the store it was around 2pm and except a lady who say 'hello' and asked me in Portuguese if I need something, was no one around. 

The most part of the space is taken by books. I was excepting a second hand bookstore, with many used books, but I found instead several good translations, mostly novels, but also cooking and history books, both in Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese. The prices are expensier than in a normal bookstore, but probably this is because of the taxes and transportation expenses.

Unfortunatelly, you do not have too much space to stay and read 10-12 pages, but probably if you want a chair to spend more time, you can ask and you will have it.

In the second room you can find some local food specialities, with many beers and drinks, but also some corn-based products. Did not check the prizes but I suppose it is that kind of food that you will want to afford once when you are ready to cook a thematic cooking evening.

In addition, you can have various information about events in Portuguese, classes - for singing or learning German. I was told that some dating tips are also offered for the single boys and girls in love with Portuguese language, but I did not find anything like this when I visited the place. I am thinking about returning soon there for getting some Portuguese books to improve my language - included on my to-do-list for over 2 years without tremendous results.  

Montag, 17. Dezember 2012

Rocco @Charlottenburg

For an early morning gathering of business people from Wilmersdorf - there it is another one in Mitte, Rocco is not such a bad choice. It is situated close to the U-Bahn, there are plenty of places free and there is a lot of light.

The design is not the strong point of this bar as it looks very similar to many kitsch American-style bars from Texas. The menu is 'international' with pizzas and hamburgers and nachos and various types of breakfasts. The prices are pretty high, compared with what you can find in other good looking places. I did not try anything and do not have any intention to do it any time soon, but my simple cup of cappuccino was around 2 Euro and something.

The service is pretty good with friendly faces and fast delivery and the restrooms are clean. If you are rather the 'old school' and you want to network with your business contacts, you can use such a space. Otherwise, there are plenty of places to rent in the hip new office buildings in the East.

Lights in the city

Today was not the best day for the photographer in me, but at least I did part of what I planned for today, and even got some new stuff for my busy and not-for-profit writing life. Sure thing is that it is again that time of the year when the kitsch is everywhere and the tourists are happy to help the poor economy of Berlin to have a new boost for the next 12 months. 

Just to end in a positive note, there are many positive and good taste things to write about, but not in this post.

A reminder that I should avoid Wilmersdorferstrasse after 4pm

The trees are looking a big sad. I prefer the spring and late summer time  on Unter den Linden....

Freitag, 14. Dezember 2012

A crime in Charlottenburg - a local episode of operation Nemesis

As I am a proud citizen of Charlottenburg, I am always very curious to learn more about my piece of Berlin. And as I commute enough lately to have enough time to read, I have more and more opportunities to improve my knowledge about my city.

Only 20 minutes away by bus from my home, on 14 March 1921, a crime took place. Mehmed Talaat, the former Turkish Interior minister, accused as one of the main architects of the Armenian genocide, was killed by Soghom Tehlirian, an Armenian who went through the nightmare of the killings. 

Hardenbergstrasse 37
Till today, the Armenian case is a topic of high tension in the relations between Turkey and Armenia. Talaat, minister of Interior between 1913 and 1917 and grand Vizier till 1918, was accused of being directly responsible over the killing - by firing squad or starvation - of nearly 1 million Armenian. His discussion with amb. Henry Morgenthau, Jr. would be used soon by another criminal when planning the death of Jew as a sign of the indifference of the world to mass crimes: 'I have accomplished more toward solving the Armenian problem in 3 months than Abdul Hamid accomplished in 30 years'. 'When he was condamned to death for his crimes, in 1919, he was helped to suceed by the German generals who offered him the comfort of a submarine. 

Tehlirian was one of the few who escaped the nightmare and later joined the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the Operation Nemesis, a Bosnot-based Armenian plot aimed to assassinate the Turkish leaders involved in the genocide. Talaat and Tehlirian were almost neighbors: the first was living on Hardenbergstrasse 4 and the former Turkish official at no. 37. Most probably, the buildings were destroyed during the war: at no. 37 you can find today buildings part of the TU campus, and on no. 4, there is a modern building, with glass and steel hosting a couple of shops. The locations are opposite and who knows how often the two of them met accidentally those tensed days. 

Hardenbergstrasse 4
In one of the parks around Charlottenburg, maybe it was Tierpark, who knows, Talaat was explaining to the British agent Aubrey Herbert the polices of the Ottoman Empire. Even though Talaat was exposed to what we call today 'diversity of cultures', apparently he did not have any moral barriers for thinking twice before ordering the killing of the Armenian population. 

The crime from Charlottenburg was followed by a trial attended by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew that will create the term of 'genocide' and who will play a tremendous role in the post-WWII setting of the human rights system. Lemkin was one of the many who knew about the killing camps where the Jews were killed and tried without success to convince the Americans to intervene against the Germans. 

Tehlirian tried for murder by a German court. He was defended by 3 defense attorneys, including Dr. Theodor Niemeyer, professor of law at Kiel University and at the end found 'no guilty' on grounds of temporary insanity. He will futher move to the US, where he died in 1960, in San Franscisco. 

After his death, Talaat's wife left the 3-room apartment in Hardenbergstrasse and moved back in Turkey. Her husband was burried in the Turkish cemetery in Berlin, and his remains were moved to Turkey in 1943. He continues to be keep at high esteem in nowadays Turkey, where many streets and mosques are bearing his name. There were a couple of attempts to keep his memory in Berlin and even to create a memorial place, but the opposition was to strong to make this wish reality.

At the time when the former Vizier was murdered he was writing his memoirs enjoying the fresh Berlin spring. At the other end of the street, Tehlirian was unable to sleep and was having epileptic seizures following the tragic moments he went through. 

Donnerstag, 13. Dezember 2012

Happy Chanukah from Ku'damm

It is the special time of the year when we need more light into our life!

Winter, again

It is not exactly a news that the winter is back in Berlin, and this happened a couple of days ago already. I did not write then, but at least I took some pictures. As for the transportation, if you want to be in time at your meeting, you better take at least 15 more minutes as the U and S-Bahn are ready to offer a lot of unpleasant delayed surprises.