Only in Berlin

I hope you have all been able to catch some of the coverage on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, either from the links from the previous post or on television.  Certainly no shortage of the latter.

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For those of you planning a trip to Berlin, if you like museums, you’re in luck.  There are almost 200 in Berlin, satisfying your interests in art, culture, history and/or religion, among other curiosities.  Below you’ll see just a few highlights from my short visit to the city, plus one museum that is a must, if only for the fact that you won’t find it anywhere else in the world other than Berlin.  Any guesses?

Jüdisches Museum Berlin (Museum of German-Jewish History) – a fascinating and thought-provoking museum open since 2001, worth going to just for the building itself. Truly an architectural masterpiece, Daniel Libeskind is responsible for what is now one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks.  A zinc-paneled building is covered in broken fragments and straight lines, “voids” and empty spaces.  The motives behind the design raise many questions that remain unanswered, as Libeskind aimed to provoke reflection and individual interpretation.  One thing is undisputed – the museum is rich in symbolism inside and out, and provides an amazing education on German-Jewish history, going all the way back to the Middle Ages.  I highly recommend it for people of all ages, whether German or not, and whether Jewish or not.

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* Temporary exhibit at the Jüdisches Museum Berlin: Koscher & Co – an exhaustive exhibit about food and religion going on until February 28, 2010.  Make sure you get a paper spoon that you can use to collect recipes at the exit of each room.  A fabulous exhibit touching many subjects including matzoh production, koshering meat and kosher food around the world.

Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie – you’re sure to join the crowds taking pictures of the “soldiers” at the makeshift guardhouse, at what was once the notorious crossing between East and West Berlin. The museum tells the story of the Berlin Wall and documents many of the escapes to the West using a creative variety of strategies. An excellent addition to your visit to this important spot in the city.

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Pergamonmuseum – one of the excellent museums on Museum Island made up of 4 parts: Ägyptisches (Egyptian), Vorderasiatisches (Ancient Near East), Islamische Kunst (Islamic Art) and Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities). Don’t miss the exhibit on ancient coins in the latter, one of my personal favorites.

Neues Museum – also on Museum Island, this museum reopened to the public in October 2009 after massive reconstruction.   It was on the top of my family’s list to visit, especially for the iconic bust of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti, which is causing quite the buzz in Berlin. However, all I can share is a piece of advice- buy your tickets in advance and reserve a time slot. That’s how you’ll get access to this overly-popular museum, which I am sure is well worth the extra effort.

And now, last but not least, this one deserves a drumroll…  Berlin’s one and only Deutsches Currywurst Museum.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the city has a museum devoted to this sausage with a loyal following.  Stands across the city serve up this specialty, a white sausage kicked up a notch with tomato sauce and a sprinkling of curry powder. Head to the museum for everything you’d ever want to know (and much much more) about this German wurst.  Has anyone already visited the museum? Any fans of the famous Currywurst out there?

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If you want to try to recreate the original and give it a go at home, here’s a recipe they offer at the museum:

Currywurst Recipe from the Deutsches Currywurst Museum Berlin

for the sauce:
350 ml (12 fl. oz) water
3 heaping tsp curry powder
2 tsp Sambal Oelek (red chili paste)
200 grams tomato paste
1 tsp apple/cider vinegar
2 heaping tsp sugar
1 tsp paprika powder
1 pinch salt
500 ml (17 fl. oz) tomato ketchup

Heat the water in a pan. Add sugar, curry powder, paprika powder, salt, chili paste and tomato paste, and bring to the boil, stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in tomato ketchup and vinegar, then bring to the boil once more.

for the Currywurst:
Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan. Add original Berlin Currywurst (with or without skin) and fry on all sides. Take out the sausages and cut them into bite-size pieces. Arrange on a plate together with the sauce and sprinkle with curry powder to taste.

15 Responses to “Only in Berlin”

  1. Tweets that mention Only in Berlin | MyKugelhopf -- Topsy.com says:

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  2. Amanda says:

    200 museums! that’s impressive. Oh, and thanks for the Currywurst recipe! Isaiah is a fan, so perhaps I can surprise him with this soon…

  3. katy says:

    I noticed currywurst where we ate at the base of Neuschwanstein. I thought it was strange as I didn’t know it was a “thing” Thanks for letting me know! Next time I’ll try it.

  4. Jean - OurExplorer Tour Guide says:

    Great to be able to enjoy the museum as well as its buidling. Museum is an interesting place. Good ones have their internal display layout/atmosphere and external building designed for the content exhibited.

    http://www.OurExplorer.com
    local guides, local wisdom

  5. VeggieGirl says:

    Such captivating photos.

  6. Mom says:

    Walking the streets of Berlin and feeling the history of what has happened in that city was heart wrenching. I saw burned out buildings next to glass and steel structures, visited many museums and learned so much that I did not know. I felt that Berlin is a great city….quite interesting. My favorite part of my visit was to read all there was in the Jewish Museum. But of course, I enjoyed tasting all the different foods of Germany! Thank you for choosing Berlin as part of my vacation….Mom

  7. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    Currywurst? Now, if I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it. Seems like such an odd inclusion from my perspective, as I consider Berlin to be quite a serious city. Not that I’ve ever been there, but you know, my perception.

    An amazing array of museums though, as you say, for every taste. Sounds like you wouldn’t run out of things to do in that city!

  8. Y says:

    Love the photos. I’ve been to Berlin, but didn’t know about the currywurst museum. Definitely a place I would’ve wanted to visit!

  9. jen laceda says:

    Hello Kerrin,
    I remember watching something on YouTube about a girl who walked around Berlin to sample its many currywursts! I guess they like their wursts there – to have a Museum dedicated to sausages!
    By the way, you just gave me plenty of reasons to visit Berlin! Recently, my husband pointed out that Berlin is the capital of Germany. For some reason, I always thought it was Bonn. From where did I get that idea? I’m not sure!!! I must have been dreaming all these years!

  10. Kerrin says:

    Amanda, so glad I’ve touched upon a few of Isaiah’s favorites on the blog! Pumpkin pancakes I recall! Let me know how the currywurst goes!

    katy, we can definitely call currywurst a thing – a very hot thing for sure. But it’s true, taken totally out of context, it does seem a bit strange – and an adventurous snack at that!

    Mom, Berlin was definitely an excellent option for our trip. And you said it best – eclectic. Such a vast variety of everything – architecture, art, cultures, fashions – and but of course, food too!

    Julia, hey now – people in Berlin take their currywurst seriously. I mean, there’s an entire museum devoted to the thing! That’s serious! 😉 And definitely can’t see running out of things to do in Berlin – perhaps a city to revisit in the future…

    Y, for your next visit then, to put on the list !

    Jen, a currywurst tour of Berlin! ha, I love it! They absolutely do love their wursts there, you said it! About your question on the capital – you weren’t dreaming at all, you would have been right, but 20 years ago. Bonn used to be the capital of West Germany but after the reunification of East and West, it was moved to Berlin – here’s a link if you’d like to read more about it: http://geography.about.com/library/misc/blbonnberlin.htm

  11. jen laceda says:

    Kerrin,
    Oh ok, so we were both right. I just hadn’t had time to reboot and update my world capitals list – hehe 🙂

  12. Nicole Urdang says:

    Hi Kerrin,
    Your site is just stunning!
    All the best,
    Nicole

  13. World Traveller says:

    Currywurst was invented by Herta Heuwer in Berlin in 1949 as an affordable but filling meal for the people of Berlin at a time when food was in short supply.

    When you order your Currywurst you can ask for it skin on “Currywurst mit Darm” or without skin “Currywurst ohne Darm”. Sausage casings were in short supply in the Soviet-controlled side of the city. If you grew up in East Berlin, you like sausage without skin; if you grew up in West Berlin, you probably prefer sausage with skin.

    I’m not from Berlin, I prefer Currywurst without skin and in my opinion the best place to get it is from Fritz & Co (a Currywurst stall) on Wittenberg Platz in the Schöneberg area of Berlin.

  14. Gerda says:

    Love reading about your travels! I will be staying at Valdirose because of your blog next month! Can’t wait! Now please suggest something as great in Berlin please!

  15. Kerrin says:

    Gerda, thank you so much ! That’s so exciting that you’ll be going to Valdirose next month. Please say hi to Irene and Paolo for me – and definitely let them know you found out about their B&B from my blog. 🙂 I wish I knew of a place as special in Berlin too ! If I hear of something, I will let you know. Enjoy your travels !

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