Eighteen Berlin-based, if not Berlin-born, contributors collaborated to create this passionate snapshot of the city at the beginning of the 21st century, including Finding Your Feet in Berlin author Guilia Pines. Locations are not grouped by neighborhood (though a map at the back can help you figure out what’s where), but juxtaposed so that “Each turn of the page will reveal a new surprise.” Each place featured in the 224-page book reflects the slow travel ethos that encourages the traveler to take “time to explore the fringes of the city, discovering lesser-known delights and supporting smaller independent businesses.”
In their own words, 100 Favorite Places is “Less a conventional guidebook than a charming companion…aimed at both visitors and locals,” that “resists reducing Berlin to its commercial components in favour of a more personal, ‘less is more’ approach. Inside you’ll find 100 places spanning the quirky, the small and the time-honoured.” Many of the book’s 100 places cost nothing to visit.
The book is attractively designed, with an airy layout and bright photographs. Each place is accompanied by one full-page image. My personal favorites were numbers one through four: Aerodynamic Park, Museum of Things, Rum Trader, and Onkel Philipps Toy Workshop.
100 Favorite Places lists sites that tell a familiar story about Berlin through a refreshingly unfamiliar collection of settings where you can contemplate the city’s past, present, and future. Instead of showing readers the highly trafficked memorials and museums, it shows us places like Baumhaus an der Mauer, the Schwerbelastunskörper, the Former Prison Park, the Jewish Cemetery on Weissensee, and the Otto Weidt Workshop for the Blind. The few restaurants featured appear to have been carefully selected for their endurance as well as their personality and high-quality offerings. Learn about East Germany with a visit to Onkel Philipps Toy Workshop, bats in the Fledermauskellar, the history of German radio at Funkhaus Nalepastrasse, and anatomy at the Animal Anatomy Theater.
While 100 Favorite Places might not tell you a new story about Berlin (you already knew it was hip, interesting, and filled to the brim with history), it will give you a new perspective from which to look at its history and its streets. Designed, photographed, written, and put out by the Slow Travel Berlin team, 100 Favorite Places is a truly local product and is available online and at many Berlin book stores