Topic: Europe

Das Stue in Berlin is situated at the rim of the Tiergarten park.

Berlin: The diplomatic legacy of a luxury hotel


Tales of a building: Das Stue in Berlin

Upon setting foot into the hotel’s lobby area, guests are greeted by a gigantic crocodiles’ head sculpted by Parisian artist Quentin Garel. Walls around the premises hold fine examples of black-and-white vintage fashion photography collected by one of the hotel’s owners. Artwork and objects placed throughout public spaces vividly pay tribute to a prominent neighbour, the fabled Berlin zoo only a hop away: an enormous giraffe and two gorillas made of painted chicken wire are complemented by fellow animals ready to serve as poufs or practical footrests.

Who might have anticipated in the late 1930s, that the sophisticated edifice erected to house the Danish diplomatic mission in Berlin, would see it being converted into a stylish luxury hotel more than 70 years later? To transform a repeatedly abandoned building into the fashionable spot Das Stue was destined to be, it had to go through extensive refurbishment. It received a novel wing now attached to its former back courtyard and a completely new contemporary identity enhanced by a blend of old and new elements.

When Das Stue opened its gates in December of 2012, it already looked back on a changeful past.

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Reading time: about 4 minutes
Things one needed for a train ride.

Ireland: Delightful prospects for train lovers


As of summer 2016, Ireland (Republic and Northern) can be explored by rail luxury style aboard the Grand Hibernian, a new member to the family of iconic trains such as the legendary Royal Scotsman. Between August and October, clients are offered an attractive choice of three journeys – each following a different itinerary, yet all starting and ending in Dublin. The train boasts accommodation for up to 40 guests in private en-suite cabins whose cosy interior has been inspired by the isle’s rich cultural heritage.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes
Halfpipe and bikers: Sounds of the city captured virtually everywhere.

City tourism: Sound-hearing soon enhancing Sight-seeing?


What are the sounds usually associated with a city? The irritating ones issued from cars hooting, tyres screeching, trams rumbling, from air-conditioning units humming relentlessly? From ambulances swishing by with sirens amplified by the Doppler effect that hurts our eardrums and sets our minds on alert? When embarking on a trip to a busy metropolis, an undistinguishable concoction of man-made noise will have to be tolerated as an inevitable part of the package. Positive connotations are asking for more pleasant experiences, though.

Conquering an urban jungle by mapping it out via the typical sounds it exudes, is an idea temporarily put into practice in Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam during an “ambient marketing” campaign: from interactive audio billboards, the “Sounds of the City” could be tapped by means of a personal headphone plugged into jacks directly embedded in the “neighbourhoods” of choice.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes
The original timbered houses on the Roemerberg in Frankfurt were destroyed during WWII. The buildings shown here are replicas. +

Frankfurt – my Zuggerschneggsche


The soft sides of a business queen

It’s been a long and sometimes painful journey through a jungle of misconception and prejudice. Both seem to die as hard as any of the bad habits the world so happily cultivates. Finally it looks as though Frankfurt – Hesse’s largest city (but not it’s capital, that’s Wiesbaden, you didn’t know that, did you?) manages to shed its unjustified reputation as an inapproachable, calculating, frigid financial hub. With nothing else on its urban mind than to tag along the leading string of insatiable banking institutes who vainly established themselves in the prime areas of town pointing their noses high in the sky. And whose sole purpose (allegedly?) lies in maximising their own riches and, thus, recklessly minimising everybody else’s.

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Reading time: about 5 minutes
Chocolate: The key to Happiness?

Chocolate: The Key to Happiness?


My, my. Which connotation to a food product could be more flattering and mollifying than the much-employed one attributed to chocolate? It is a scientifically corroborated happy-maker! Endorphins – hormones produced by the human brain – make you see the bright side of life even on a blue, blue, drizzly November day. Heaven knows what else is triggered by the miraculous components chocolate evidentially contains. Speculations are manyfold. Hips and pouch? Rumour! Just succumb to the temptation! Chocolate also works wonders as an antidote, should a guilty conscience creep up after unbridled indulgence. Yep. It is a virtuous circle indeed.

Chocolate, respectively the use of cocoa beans, looks back on a history of nearly 4000 years. It has been a long way from the heaven-sent bitter drink Maya and Aztec civilisations consumed, to the solid sweet treat of our day. The Chocolate Museum of Bruges in Belgium unravels the development of the mysterious substance and its long voyage from Central America to remote Europe in: The Choco-Story.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes