how to explore a city
text by Jessica Jungbauer
photos by Marta Greber (left) and Jessica Jungbauer
Before I moved to Berlin, I had only heard about the inspiring atmosphere of the city. And suddenly I found myself right in the middle of it: From living room concerts to street food feasts, there’s this incredibly creative spirit in the air. And while living costs are still comparably low, creative ideas are more likely to flourish. So when spring had sprung in 2013, from one day to another I had my own idea for an online magazine: Best Wishes Magazine. I imagined all these creatives living in this city from all around the world and wondered what they love about Berlin and why it’s such an intense place to be right now. So I started reaching out to people that I found inspiring and asked them to write down their own story.
|From writers and photographers to bloggers and shop owners, everybody has something interesting to tell and share about themselves. For the actual feature, we always meet at these favorite places to take the photos. There’s just something so inspiring to meet with other likeminded creatives over a cup of coffee and listen to their stories. After some time, other enthusiastic editors joined the team to open chapters in their own city. This way, Best Wishes Magazine not only works as a collection of creative success stories, but also as a personal travel guide made by locals. At the same time, as a food and travel writer, this has become my favorite way of exploring a new city. Besides visiting the usual sights, it’s the small spots frequented by locals that makes one really experience the city life. |
My most treasured travel memories come from stumbling upon these neighborhood favorites. Only recently I’ve spent some time in sunny Lisbon and at almost every green park or viewing platform, there’s a kiosk, a small green shop with its signature square architecture inviting you to sit down after exploring the city all day. As the locals do, I ordered some pastéis de nata with my espresso. Old Portuguese men were playing chess in the shadow of the trees, dogs were chasing each other and loved ones were sitting side by side, leaning their faces towards the sun, their eyes closed, smiling. It’s the coffee culture that really lets you experience the daily life in a city–from Italian espresso bars where one orders standing at the counter while having a chat with a neighbor to the impressive coffeehouses in Vienna where time seems to stand still.
Back here in Berlin, the cafés are much more improvised. This city has always been about change and there’re many people who switched careers to open up their own place.
|So, while the featured creatives on Best Wishes Magazine are completely free to choose any place, I think it’s no wonder that most of them just pick their favorite café around the corner. And now that I can call this city my home, here are my own favorite places to enjoy a cup of coffee in Berlin: 'The Barn' is already an institution and the roastery provides a lot of other cafés in the city with its specialty coffee. For some Brooklyn flair, 'House of Small Wonders' serves a decent cup of Matcha cappuccino, and the 'Store' at Soho House Berlin offers a one-of-a-kind scenery for a morning coffee. Meanwhile, 'Kaffeebar' is already a staple within the city’s coffee scene with its cozy interior. Its bigger brother‚ 'Le Bon', specializes in everything breakfast, from eggs benedict to granola pancakes and bircher muesli. All of this to enjoy while sitting down with others at one large shared table.|