chickfactor international travelog: fairbanks, alaska!

fairbanks, alaska!

by anne kristoff, a photographer, writer and artist (and formerly a music publicist for missy elliott and ac/dc!) whose work has appeared in travel + leisure, bust and budget travel, among others. she sells photographic prints on etsy: poof NY and anne kristoff: capture + release.

best venues: the marlin, the pub, college coffeehouse, the blue loon.

best record stores: vinyl albums hidden at the secondhand stores around town. local music: college coffeehouse.

best vintage / thriftstores: some folks would say the transfer site. also, search at value village and definitely chartreuse (sheri does a great job of curating the collection there)

cheap eats: sam’s sourdough café, miguel’s.

not so cheap eats: turtle club, lavelle’s.

vegetarian-friendly eats: thai house, pita place.

best neighborhood: taiga woodlands.

cheap haircut: fort wainwright PX barber shop (men), elements day spa (women).

best drinking holes: the mecca, the big I, the howling dog.

best coffee or tea houses: college coffeehouse.

best radio station / web station: KSUA and KUAC.

cool cinemas: the blue loon.

best used bookstores: gulliver’s and forget me not.

best place to see art: well street, alaska house.

best local bands: young fangs, phineas gage, thought trade. artists adam ottavi, briana reagan, mark leon, mark fejes. writers gary black. designers sue sprinkle.

parks and green spaces: the triangle (new greenspace downtown), ester park, granite tors.

unmissable highlights: UAF museum of the north, biking along farmer’s loop, paddling down the chena river, breathing in 40 below zero air, fireworks on new year’s eve, rainbows at 3am in the summer.

 

huge thanks to all the bands that played our shows this year!

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we had a pretty fabulous 20th-anniversary year, with 12 nights of amazing events: two nights at artisphere in arlington, va. one at maxwell’s in hoboken. three at the amazing bell house in brooklyn. one at bunk bar in portland, oregon. one at bootleg bar in l.a. one at the rickshaw stop in s.f. three in london: horseshoe pub, bush hall and the lexington. thanks to the bands (quite a lineup if we do say so), the audiences, the soundpersons, the merch sellers, the amp bringers, the putter uppers, the drink getters & esp hangover lounge, other music, mike slumberland, and todd abramson for everything!

the aislers set

allen clapp

amor de días

black tambourine

bridget st john

dan searing

daniel handler

dot dash

dump

fan modine

frankie rose

franklin bruno

gaylord fields

hangover lounge djs

harvey williams & josh gennet

honey bunch

the jim ruiz set

joe pernice

john lindaman

kim baxter

ladybug transistor

ld beghtol

the legendary jim ruiz group

lilys

lois

lorelei

the lois plus

mark robinson

musical chairs

the pines

pipas

pam berry

the pastels

paul kelly

phoebe summersquash

rose melberg

the real tuesday weld

selector dub narcotic

small factory

the softies

the starfolk

stevie jackson

sukhdev sandhu

tender trap

versus

would-be-goods

photo by tae won yu

 

 

exclusive world premiere of a brand-new amor de días track!

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Listen: Amor de Días, “Jean’s Waving”

(Merge Records)

chickfactor is thrilled to present a new song from from London supergroup AMOR DE DÍAS, featuring Lupe Núñez-Fernández (Pipas) and Alasdair MacLean (the Clientele).

“I have no idea what it’s about,” says MacLean about the song. “Maybe describing a movement away to suburbia, leaving behind the eerie/bohemian life in the city. The song wrote itself.”

Their second long player The House at Sea is every bit as tremendous as 2011’s Street of the Love of Days. The combination of Spanish guitar, English melancholy, the spirit of Gal Costa and a touch of cinematic magic makes them one of the most intriguing songwriting pairs working today. They recorded it in nine days because they liked the idea of a quickly made, minimally arranged, no-fuss record. Plus: the musicians on board nailed their takes quickly. Amor de Días will tour the U.S. in February and will play some Spanish dates.

The album will be released on January 29, 2013. Pre-order The House at Sea now in the Merge store. LP Preorders will include a free Merge Records LP slip mat and a poster. Preorders will ship to arrive on or around the release date of January 29, 2013. Don’t forget . . . the Merge Holiday Code works on pre-orders, too!

 

 

the chickfactor & gaylord fields pop quiz!

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the first night of our chickfactor london 20th-anniversary party featured a screening of paul kelly’s ace documentary take three girls: the dolly mixture story followed by a pop quiz created by the zine’s cofounders gail and pam and gaylord fields (wfmu dj who also MCed the saturday show at bush hall and DJed upstairs at sunday’s show), who also presented the questions. the questions and answers for the quiz are listed below! the event took place at the horseshoe pub in clerkenwell on friday, november 16.

part one: lyrics to identify

  1. “I crawl like a viper through these suburban streets / make love to these women languid and bittersweet’’

answer: steely dan, “deacon blues”

  1. “when we groove on into town / charles atlas he starts to frown”

answer: josef k, “sorry for laughing”

  1. “nibbling on bacon, chewing on cheese / sammy says to susie ‘honey, would you please be my missus?’ ”

answer: america, “muskrat love”

  1. “it is your blood I crave / I am the bitch goddess from beyond the grave”

answer: future bible heroes, “I’m a vampire”

  1. “your eyebrows may be the best thing in town/I’d like to shoot ’em up and make ’em frown”

answer: dolly mixture, “how come you’re such a hit with the boys, jane?”

  1. “don’t throw your hand / if you feel you’re alone / no no no you are not alone”

answer: r.e.m., “everybody hurts”

  1. “oh but being with you is like killing bob dylan / if I had to do it I would die”

answer: pipas, “cruel and unusual”

  1. “beetles and eggs and blues and pour a little everything else / you steam a lense stable eyes and glass”

answer: cocteau twins, “cherry coloured funk”

  1. “it’s the singer not the song / ‘something’s gone wrong’ said the spider to the fly”

answer: belle and sebastian, “chickfactor”

part two: trivia questions

  1. what was the first single on caff records?

answer: east village “freeze out” / cath coughlan “Im’ long me measaim”

  1. what record store did slumberland records boss / black tambourine member mike schulman work at in the u.s.?

answer: vinyl ink, mod lang

  1. what band recorded the largest number of peel sessions?

answer: the fall (24)

  1. what dance troupe replaced pan’s people on top of the pops?

answer: ruby flipper

  1. what motown offshoot released only one single by sammy davis jr?

answer: ecology

  1. who were the three founding members of biff bang pow?

answer: joe foster, alan mcgee, dick green

  1. what is the name of nick drake’s home in tanworth?

answer: far leys

  1. what was the flexi only label matt haynes ran that preceded sarah records?

answer: sha-la-la

  1. what fanzine did katrina tender trap publish in the 1990s?

answer: charity shopper

  1. what was the original name of the clientele?

answer: the butterfly collectors

  1. what band played the bowlie weekender and is also playing chickfactor 20: for the love of pop! london this weekend?

answer: the pastels

part three: audio clips (the kids only got to hear a few seconds of each)

  1. sugarcube” — yo la tengo
  2. alone again (naturally)” — gilbert o’sullivan
  3. try” — delta 5
  4. she cracked” — the modern lovers
  5. ce petit coeur” — françoise hardy
  6. the most beautiful girl in the world” — prince
  7. candy” — the magnetic fields
  8. it’ll never happen again” — tim hardin
  9. call me maybe” — carly rae jepsen
  10. linus” — birdie
  11. working girls (sunlight shines)” — the pernice brothers
  12. long hot summer” — the style council
  13. bigmouth strikes again” — the smiths

the pipas & amor de días team won the quiz, which may be a bit unfair since there were two questions involving pipas and the clientele, but the momtch/travis table took home most of the prizes (chickfactor london posters designed by tae won yu and badges designed by lupe pipas) and non-vegan treats.

quiz photo courtesy of mark pipas!

chickfactor poll: phones and camera phones

how has the proliferation of phone cameras changed your approach to live performance?

gordon the fan modine: hasn’t really. but I do feel a sense that scotty is available more-so now.

corin tucker: I’m much more conscious of the fact that everything is being recorded. no unrecorded original material can just be messed around with onstage, which I really really miss.

stephin the magnetic fields: they’re just another aspect of the unpleasantness of playing live.

hannah grass widow: it’s definitely a big deal. there’s the show itself and then there’s the mediated show—the photos and tweets and blogs and facebook response etc. it really bothers me when people are on their phones while we’re playing even if they are tweeting or texting something positive. I would love for people to be present with us and for us all to share an experience. when phones are out at our show, it kind of sends me a message that this moment isn’t worth that person being completely there for. They’ll re-hash it later when they post to their flickr or tumblr or twitter or whatever. I like it when I feel like everyone is in the moment and really enjoying it without feeling the need to broadcast with their avatar.

bridget st john: I haven’t thought much about it – they have no bearing on how I prepare for a gig.

daniel handler: remember when there were signs up saying they’d eject you if you took a picture? that seems fainting-couch quaint.

michael white: I’d rather deal with them than the cigarette smoke that was part and parcel of going to a gig in 1992.

stephen the real tuesday weld: never leave a dressing room without a jacket.

jennifer o’connor: they haven’t. it is sometimes annoying, but what can you do?

matt lorelei: our performances are usually too loud to capture on camera phones. also, I try to ensure that laundry day and gig day do not align.

james dump/yo la tengo: your style’s gotta be tight all the time in 2012.

tim dagger: I loved bringing my throwaway cameras to gigs in the ’90s and getting the photos developed…phone cameras just aren’t the same.

joe pines / foxgloves: I am glad that people have filmed one or two of the pines’ performances for posterity. the other half of the pines may not agree.

shaun brilldream: if you want to watch a gig through the lens of a camera phone, you are an idiot.

allen clapp: made me want to lose 10 pounds! enrolled in bikram yoga classes. done.

fran cannane: it is dreadful but one has to ignore it. even when I am at a concert there is a temptation to film/photograph instead of just enjoying.

andrew eggs/talk it: I’m definitely thinking harder about my stage attire. no more shorts.

pete paphides: I don’t use them, but it doesn’t bother me if other people do.

gail cf: it makes me want to knock people’s phones out of their hands. also: if you are looking after a child/animal, look at the child/animal every once in a while instead of your stupid phone.

 

chickfactor poll about chickfactor.

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how is chickfactor different from mainstream media?

jennifer o’connor: it digs DEEP. it has HEART.  it is MORE FUN.

matt lorelei: in every way possible. would the mainstream media ever run a review as brilliant as: “S*H*I*T S*A*N*D*W*I*C*H”? I think not.

gaylord cf/wfmu: chickfactor wouldn’t know how to be market-driven if it tried. and it doesn’t.

michael white: it doesn’t make me want to abandon all hope in humanity. also, to my knowledge, mainstream media has never acknowledged the existence of—much less interviewed—the cannanes.

daniel handler: CF decides, you report.

shaun brilldream: it’s more open to express ideas rather than sell product.

stephen the real tuesday weld: it’s not owned by rupert murdoch?

clarissa cf: the only points of similarity are cosmetic.

corin tucker: better photos.

fran cannane: on the whole a lot better.

andrew eggs/talk it: I’d like to hear from your mom on this one, gail.

janice cf: it’s copy-edited!!! <3

stephin the magnetic fields: I don’t know, all I read is BUTT.

dawn cf: more intimate, engaging.

the legendary jim ruiz: it’s honest, it looks better and I read it cover to cover.

ian musical chairs: it’s more passionate and less snobby.

james dump/yo la tengo: CF has more photos of the would-be-goods.

tim dagger: you guys write about bands I like/love.

joe pines / foxgloves: it is a fanzine, and it sometimes prints words that I have written.

 

chickfactor poll: music-related apps

do you use any music-related apps? which ones?

stephin the magnetic fields: just voice memos. it’s simple and convenient.

james dump/yo la tengo: funkbox, filtatron, and animoog. all are useful, and fun.

hannah grass widow: garageband.

stephen the real tuesday weld: tune in radio. fire field recorder.

corin tucker: not really…

kim baxter: I have the bandcamp app on my facebook page. on my phone I have a guitar tuner and a metronome.

matt lorelei: songkick to keep track of shows coming to town. starting to play around with introducing some elements from an ios device. I quite like playing around with tonepad to generate ideas.

fran cannane: oh lots—instruments and the like.

andrew eggs/talk it: I like spotify, amplitube and rebirth.

erin a girl called eddy: I use a great app on my laptop called tapedeck for songwriting. It has the look and feel of an old cassette recorder, but without the vulnerability of tape. there is no romance in trying to scotch tape together old cassettes anymore.

pete paphides: I have an app which tells me where the nearest record store is.

bridget st john: no.

joe pines / foxgloves: I don’t really know what ‘apps’ are.

allen clapp: I use an iPad app for mellotron sounds live. it beats carrying a 200 lb. instrument to shows, but it’s still not as cool as a real mellotron!

ian musical chairs: I use spotify at work and iTunes.

jennifer o’connor: I use spotify.

gordon the fan modine: I write and demo on the iphone using voice memo and fourtrack. I also use the guitar toolkit—which is great; and a protools remote.

 

chickfactor poll: reunions, part two

what bands pulled off a successful reunion? which ones did not?

janice cf: successful: the aislers set! black tambourine! the softies! unsuccessful: pavement at matador 21.

ed shelflife: good: aislers set, black tambourine, pipas, small factory, devo. bad: peter hook / joy division, omd, gang of four.

james dump/yo la tengo: mission of burma; no one else.

michael white: the stone roses were successful because they had nothing to live up to: they were awful then and are awful now. alternately, prefab sprout’s reunion was unsuccessful because it never happened.

daniel handler: the soft boys did it really well, but nobody noticed, nextdoorland is one of my favorite pop records of the last decade. the go-betweens made their best albums post-breakup, there, I said it, rachel worth and oceans apart are even better than before hollywood.

gaylord cf/wfmu: I was not only pleasantly surprised but also genuinely pleased with the recent beach boys reunion and album. the primitives’ reunion show and album were also pleasurable. I’m holding out hope for the upcoming mike-present/davy-free monkees concert.

gordon the fan modine: really enjoyed the feelies at ATP. any reunion is successful. good on those who can muster and make it happen, I say.

stephen the real tuesday weld: did: blur. did not: paul mccartney.

corin tucker: I saw the go-gos, which was great. pavement was fantastic, the portland show was great.

the legendary jim ruiz: I finally got to see honeybunch in brooklyn, loved it!

hannah grass widow: I’ve seen the raincoats and the vaselines in the past few years and they were amazing! we played a show with zounds and I was really excited but those guys were kinda weird. they got our name wrong when they thanked us for playing and it was an overall disappointing experience especially because “demystification” is one of my favorite songs. oh well.

stephin the magnetic fields: throbbing gristle. the spice girls.

dawn cf: successful: black tambourine, lois, small factory, codeine. not successful: pavement @ matador 21.

shaun brilldream: the only band I’ve seen pull it off are the pixies.

matt lorelei: I was skeptical of going to see gang of four years ago at the warfield but it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. they delivered. also, the aislers at bell house were as tight as a band could hope to be at any time. ridiculous.

clarissa cf: successful: mission of burma: great because they never claimed to be kids, & got better at listening to each other; unrest: great because all they have to do is show up and do what they do, and time freezes. not successful: any band that once prided itself on having new material all the time and no longer bothers to come up with any.

fran cannane: the buzzcocks were pretty good. I am looking forward to even as we speak playing in november in sydney.

joe pines / foxgloves: the commotions 2004 and black tambourine 2012 both seemed to know when to leave people wanting more. I would like to note for posterity that archie moore introduced “dream baby dream” by telling a brooklyn crowd: “hey, new jersey, here’s a bruce springsteen song for y’all!”

tim dagger: good: mission of burma, scratch acid, dino jr.

bridget st john: successful: the aislers set.

pete paphides: pentangle. that was pretty unbelievable. their london lyceum show was one of the best shows I’ve seen by anyone.

ian musical chairs: did: soft boys, go-betweens. did not (sadly): VU, television.

andrew eggs/talk it: in the last couple years I’ve seen the vaselines, the dismemberment plan, and pavement. all shows were pretty good!

gail cf: did: black tambourine! small factory! did not: the pavement boys got me down. if you really hate each other, don’t do it.

chickfactor poll: reunions

are there any bands you would pay top dollar to see reunite?

john the magnetic fields: talking heads.

pete paphides: mellow candle; the astronauts line-up of the lilac time; abba, even though I admire them for not doing so.

stephen the real tuesday weld: walker brothers.

gaylord cf/wfmu: I’ll limit my answer to bands in which all or most original members are alive and available, so I’ll say dolly mixture. I’d also break the bank for a kinks reunion as well as one with the diana-mary-cindy supremes.

michael white: everything but the girl—but only if they played eden in its entirety and in the venue of my choosing, such as my living room.

corin tucker: it’s not really about money, but bikini kill would make me happy.

daniel handler: I’m not good at these reunite questions. I just keep picturing the reanimated corpse of shostakovich or mary hansen or something.

erin a girl called eddy: the smiths.

fran cannane: the particles. smokey robinson and the miracles.

stephin the magnetic fields: felt.

hannah grass widow: the raincoats. and I feel so lucky to have seen them play several times!

matt lorelei: I doubt it is possible but, josef k and/or snapper. oh and loop, the sheer mention of which will no doubt send my lovely wife into spasms of laughter as she has seen loop and I have not.

sam the magnetic fields: the magnetic fields.

james dump/yo la tengo: yura yura teikoku.

dawn cf: not sure I would pay top dollar to see anyone reunite. the question is would I go? it’s mostly bands I loved that I never got  a chance to see: replacements?

ian musical chairs: sneaky feelings, orange juice.

bridget st john: no!

mark teenbeat/unrest: queen (with freddie mercury). the smiths (of course, like probably everyone else here).

tim dagger: no…ok, maybe the smiths.

janice cf: velocity girl.

gordon the fan modine: yep. gotta be the smiths. never say never.

ed shelflife: the housemartins.

jennifer o’connor: maybe the sundays, never got to see them, really loved them back in the day.

darren hanlon: jake thackray.

clarissa cf: if masada got back together 20 years from now, I’d probably fly across the country to see them.

andrew eggs/talk it: no.

the legendary jim ruiz: heavenly, the jazz butcher, the housemartins, the style council, any old mersey beat bands like the merseybeats, the searchers or the escorts, to name a few.

gail cf: dolly mixture. marine girls. tiger trap.

shaun brilldream: I would give my right arm for the smiths not to reform.

joe pines / foxgloves: honeymoon diary. the world could use a little more jennifer robbins. I would also pay my favorite just to come over and play ‘homeless club kids’ with me.

 

chickfactor international travelog: berlin!

berlin, germany

by yoshi nakamoto, drummer for the aislers set, eux autres and still flyin’. his hometown is san francisco. in 2009, while on tour with eux autres he met laura in berlin and fell in love. in 2011, he moved to germany to live with her. they have two cats, felt and billie holiday. yoshi works as a video producer for a language learning publisher.

best venues there are lots and lots of venues throughout this city and lots and lots of touring bands that come visit. we’re blessed here. two of the best shows (electrelane and black dice) that I’ve seen in berlin were at festsaal-kreuzberg. I loved the venue marie antoinette the night that je suis animal played, je suis animal is absolute magic, I love them. I always look forward to seeing shows at rotor salon, o tannenbaum and schokoladen. ¶ earlier this year I saw the magnetic fields and amor de días play in a beautiful church, passionskirche. If you have the chance to catch a band there, make sure you do, there’s a beautiful mood inside. ¶ if you’re around on a wednesday night, spend an evening checking out the free jazz nights at b-flat and zosch, in the mitte district. from 8 – 10, la foot creole play new orleans style jazz in the very nostalgic-like cellar of zosch. after you’re done with that gig, walk a short few blocks to b-flat for their weekly jam session, which is great for fans of be-bop and on till late.

best record stores try bis aufs messer for new hits and platten pedro for old hits. there are a ton of record dealers at the massive sunday flea market at mauerpark.

best vintage/thriftstores KDW, housed in an old GDR supermarket that still looks like it’s straight out of the 1970s, complete with counters and deli signage intact. this place is crammed with furniture, books, records and relics. ¶ there are fantastic flea markets spread out in the city every sunday like; mauer park, arkonaplatz, hallentrödelmarkt treptow and boxhagner.

cheap eats the picadillo burrito, homemade chips and guacamole at ta’ cabron. the daily special at hamy. the ramen and gyoza at cocolo. the pizza at zia maria or il casolare. the pho and spring rolls at monsieur vuong. currywurst at curry 36. the gemüse kebap at mustafas (icons of berlin street food, mustafa and curry 36 are on the same block of mehringdamm, you can’t miss them because there are lines all day long. I’d recommend hitting up both and sharing). the falafel or schwarma plates at babel or maroush. gözleme at knofi. the jiaozi (vegetarian or pork) at wok show.

not so cheap eats when you come visit me, I’ll take you to schwarzwaldstuben on the first night and you’ll likely want to return on your last night in the city. this is my favorite place to eat in berlin, the food never fails and the mood is rather relaxed. I usually always ordert the schnitzel and the rothaus beer on tap. there are great vegetarian options here—the spätzle or the maultaschen. the place isn’t too expensive and you can easily get out of here having spent a little under 20 euros. ¶ the food hall on the sixth floor of the department store kadawe is food porn. a mesmerizing medley of food and drinks from all over the world. there are over 30 gourmet counters spread out on the floor where you can have a seat and treat yourself to whatever your heart desires. the fish bar is first-rate.

vegetarian-friendly eats viasko, straight up vegan and straight up delicious in a british pub-like atmosphere. yellow sunshine has a tasty vegan currywurst in addition to veggie/vegan burgers. I’ve never been to cookies cream but I’d like to—it’s on my date-night list.

best ice cream sicilian pistachio at vanille-marille.

best neighborhood prenzlauer berg. I live on the street schönhauser allee and I love that I can walk out my front door and be in one of the hearts of the city. it’s the best neighborhood for walks. the kids these days gravitate toward kreuzberg and neukölln, which is where many of the bars and venues are.

cheap haircut hoshi mitte. it’s not necessarily cheap, but if you happen to have difficult hair (i.e japanese hair), the all-japanese staff know how to navigate it and fashion it into something chic.

best drinking holes das gift in neukoln. co-owned by barry burns of mogwai and featuring a great selection of scottish whiskies and ale. I’d definitely recommend ordering a few pints of the zirndorfer landbier, a franconian beer that’s near impossible to find on tap in berlin. das gift has the best jukebox in germany—you can select from playlists curated by david cross, mike joyce/smiths, bob nastanovich/pavement, deerhoof and many of your other favorite artists. ¶ when it’s not winter, I go to prater garden in prenzlauer berg as much as I can. my local drinking hole is the oldest biergarten in berlin. a lovely place to drink especially when the sun is out or at night under the strings of lightbulbs. they serve sausages, pretzels, roasted almonds and many other biergarten-y food. perfect for birthday parties (unless your birthday is in the winter!). ¶ drinking on the street, in parks, in the subways, while walking your cat on a leash is totally OK. even the cops are drinking beers on their beat. you don’t ever have to be without a beer in your hand.

best coffee or tea houses bonanza.

best radio station we’re lucky to have NPR berlin on the dial. I heard both tally ho! and tender trap on radio eins late last monday night. flux FM is a very good friend of the indie.

cool cinemas hackesche höfe kino. you can see your woody allen and your lars von trier here. if you want your hollywood blockbuster, hit the cinestar sony center. if you happen to be in berlin in february, don’t miss the berlinale film festival when the city becomes the film capital of the world for ten snowy days. I make sure to catch a film at the beautiful friedrichstadt-palast, which usually is home to musicals but opens it’s curtains for film during the festival. the berlinale jury president for 2013 is wong kar wai! that man is magnificent!

best used bookstores another country. a secondhand bookstore where you can borrow any of their books for 1,50 euros.

best place to see art my first choice is always the martin-gropius bau, I’ve seen really, really wonderful exhibits by ai weiwei and olafur eliasson. there is usually a great photo exhibit up at the C/O berlin. you can have a very hands-on experience at the DDR museum. it’s small but smart at the bauhaus museum.

best local bands stereo total, of course. I found out about an awesome berlin band, make out!, on my friend chantal’s excellent berlin gig guide the craze. sadly, I found out about make out! just as they were playing their last show. I saw hamburg’s the honeyheads here back in may and I fell for them hard. and since I’m bringing up hamburg, I must give a shout out to trip the light fantastic and to andreas dorau, who is the könig of german pop!

parks and green spaces berlin is green. parks are everywhere and are the most popular destination when the weather is nice. germans love parks … ice cream, hand-clapping to songs and barbeques. my favorites parks to visit are treptower park in treptow, viktoriapark in kreuzberg, schoßpark in pankow, tiergarten, humboldthain park in wedding. the little park that surrounds the wasserturm prenzlauer berg is a nice spot to read a book.

unmissable highlights berlin is a big city and a very bike-friendly city; and cycling through the city is the best and funnest way to see it. renting a bike is easy and cheap. I’d suggest heading over to templehof—the former international airport that has been turned into a public park—and speeding down the runway. bike through tiergarten, stop at the schleusenkrug biergarten and have a glass of my favorite german beer, andechser. head over to treptower park and visit the grand soviet war memorial, prepared to be impressed. cycle out to my favorite swimming hole, krumme lanke in the grunewald forest. In any direction thay you pedal, you’ll run into (not literally, I hope!) something pretty cool to see. berlin is a special place, I feel so fortunate to live here, I hope you visit soon.

photograph: gail o’hara