Things to see, do and eat in Berlin, Germany: Expert expat travel tips

A one-way ticket to Europe was Scott Curry's present when he graduated from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 1980. He studied piano at Berlin's University of the Arts and was a staff accompanist there for 23 years. The pianist and conductor works at institutions and festivals across Germany and Australia, and is a specialist music tour guide.

SEE

Despite the excellent public transport system, traversing the whole city by foot is a must. The cruel past, lest we forget, is omnipresent in Berlin's mix of historical, restored and modern memorials, such as the Topographie of Terror, the Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) and the plaques commemorating those persecuted by the Nazis (there's one on my house). There is also the memorial to the German resistance and various deportation rail platforms. See topographie.de, stolpersteine-berlin.de, gdw-berlin.de

DO

Visit my Temples of Culture – the Berliner Philharmonie, the Konzerthaus, Pierre Boulez Saal, Deutsche Oper and the Berlin State Opera's Staatsoper, which are all iconic buildings designed by architects from Karl Schinkel and Hans Scharoun to Frank Gehry. Almost anything classical that's been written has been performed in these buildings. The only one I have not performed in, the Boulez Saal, is the newest and continues to fascinate with its architecture, clear acoustics and almost hands-on proximity to the performers. See boulezsaal.de

EAT

My simple tastes prefer the two German national dishes, the doner kebab and the currywurst, which was invented in the year of my birth, but not named after me. Taste them at any one of many imaginatively named outlets, such as Curry-Bitch or Don't Worry, Eat Curry. My local Mediterranean buffet, Salut, offers lunch for €7, and nearby Dolores on Wittenbergplatz satisfies every Mexican craving. If it has to be really Deutsch, my local Zur Kneipe does a great knuckle of pork (Eisbein), and if you only want to pay €5, try the daily menu at the very popular Joseph Roth Diele. See salutberlin.de, dolores-online.de, zurkneipe.de, joseph-roth-diele.de

DRINK

Again, simple tastes – beer and coffee. A drink at the (too) popular rooftop Monkey Bar in the Hotel 25Hours is the best way to admire the urban landscape of rejuvenated west Berlin, the skyline of the distant east, and the monkeys in the adjacent zoo. See monkeybarberlin.de

AVOID

Any public places endangered or inconvenienced by self-righteous cyclists, illegally parked scooters, pedestrians who don't know right from left or, as in any city, the omnipresent smartphone-wielding zombies.

The next music tours Scott Curry will lead are Christmas in Germany (December 14-27), The Chicago Ring 2020 (April 26-May 4, 2020) and Opera and Music in Eastern Europe in September 2020, see renaissancetours.com.au

Comments