The ‘Exberliner’, the hip monthly magazine for the English-speaking community in Berlin (currently estimated at 50,000), has been going since 2002. Apart from cultural listings, reviews, journalistic articles, opinion columns and a large classified section, there is a regular feature called, ‘My Perfect Berlin Weekend’, where an artist, musician or writer lists their favourite Berlin haunts from Friday to Sunday night. It always makes interesting reading and has led me to think of what my own choices might me. So, here’s a plan for this Easter weekend – given that the weather is going to be cool and cloudy. I have stretched it to Easter Monday, as it is a ‘Feiertag’ (Public Holiday). Just click on the names in bold for links to further information.
20.00 Konzert zum Karfreitag (Good Friday Concert) at the Konzerthaus on Gendarmenmarkt. Hector Berlioz, ‘Grande Messe des Morts’.
21.45 Dinner at Grill Royal overlooking the River Spree on Friedrichstrasse. It’s not cheap, but hard to beat this place for both food and location. And it’s got to be fish on Good Friday.
Cool fish at the Grill Royal
12:30 Browse through Saturday’s Wochenmarkt am Kollwitzplatz and the surrounding small shops.
14:00 A wander through the spacious galleries of the Gemäldegalerie at the Kulturforum, with its fabulous collection of paintings from 13th to 18th Century. The special exhibition is currently ‘The Charm of the Small; Studies of Nature in Holland’s Golden Age’ (until end of June).
Botticellis in the Gemāldegalerie
16.00 Coffee and cake at Café Einstein Stammhaus in Kurfürstenstrasse. Where else.
19.30 ‘My Fair Lady’ at the Komische Oper. The interior of this opera house on Behrenstrasee, just off Unter den Linden, is exquisite and the productions are usually quite avant-garde and fun. Everything is sung in German,with English sur-titles. No prizes for guessing which My Fair Lady hit these lines come from: ‘Es grünt, so grün, wenn Spaniens Blüten blühen.’
Inside the Komische Oper
23.00 Post-show discussion, cocktail and snack at the Schwarzes Café, Kantstrasse. Always a good late-night atmosphere, slightly mad décor and friendly service.
11:00 Time for some fresh air, even if it’s not so warm. So, breakfast at the Café zum Neuen See in the Tiergarten and a wander around the park. Or maybe even hire a boat on the lake.
Sunny day at the Café zum Neuen See
12:30 Stroll through the Tiergarten to the Trödelmarkt (Flea Market) and search for pretty 1920s glassware which is getting harder to find these days.
14:00 S-Bahn from Tiergarten to Ostbahnhof where there is another Antikmarkt and I might have more luck.
15.30 Walk across to the Radialsystem V, a former pump station on the River Spree, now a meeting place and arts venue. Coffee and cake in the café, hopefully outside on the riverside terrace.
17.00 Chamber music concert in Radialsystem V, featuring works by Oliver Messiaen.
Radialsystem V on the Spree
20.00 Dinner at the Ganymed on Schiffbauerdamm. I can never resist this place, for old times’ sake. Once frequented by Bertolt Brecht, we used to go there often in GDR days when many of the staff apparently worked for the Stasi….
The elegant Ganymed
11.00 A day out at a Berlin cherry blossom festival. There’s a choice between the Britzer Baumblüte in Gutspark Britz or the one in the Gärten der Welt in Marzahn which features interesting insights into Japanese, Korean and Chinese culture.
Cherry blossom time in Marzahn
19.45 or 20.30 An evening at the cinema, at either the UCI Cinema or the Lichtblick Kino, to see ‘The Young Karl Marx’, a film I missed at the Berlinale in February and which had good reviews. The Guardian review, by Peter Bradshaw, gave the film four out of five stars and stated ‘It shouldn’t work, but it does, due to the intelligence of the acting and the stamina and concentration of the writing and directing.‘ ‘Handsome, well-acted and sincerely-intentioned’, said BBC Culture. It’s not due for international release until June. Karl Marx studied at the Humboldt Universität in Berlin.