Exberliner, Berlin's leading English-language magazine, this month picks the best places to buy a trusty shoulder-bag, get queer in cowboy boots, nab a skyscraper-sized dose of adrenaline and catch a glimpse of the American president in all his glory. "/> Exberliner, Berlin's leading English-language magazine, this month picks the best places to buy a trusty shoulder-bag, get queer in cowboy boots, nab a skyscraper-sized dose of adrenaline and catch a glimpse of the American president in all his glory. " />


The best of Berlin in June

Exberliner, Berlin's leading English-language magazine, this month picks the best places to buy a trusty shoulder-bag, get queer in cowboy boots, nab a skyscraper-sized dose of adrenaline and catch a glimpse of the American president in all his glory.

The best of Berlin in June
Photo: DPA

Freitag in Berlin

Markus Freitag was a young bike messenger in need of a good bag – so the story goes – on a snowy day in Zurich when he stumbled across some unwanted lorry tarpaulin and tyres on the side of the motorway. The proverbial lightbulb flashed above his head and before long Freitag’s baby was born, named after him and grew up into a Trendy Young Thing.

And, like any TYT, it has now moved to Berlin to be with other TYTs. Launched in May with a fabulously recession-proof Mitte party replete with flowing champagne and celebrity guests, the Mitte flagship store features concrete, couches and catwalk lighting – all of which provides the perfect backdrop for 1,600 colourful, durable bags in every shape (tote, clutch, laptop, satchel etc) imaginable. They’re all made in Zurich (hence the prices: €100-€150 for a bag; €60-plus for a Mac sleeve) and still entirely crafted from materials fresh off a Swiss motorway. So head on down to Mitte, open those fun little shoebox drawers and start agonising over which bag to leave with. /JB

Freitag Taschen, Max-Beer-Straße 3, U-Bhf Weinmeisterstr., Tel , 246 36 961, www.freitag-taschen.de

BerlinRodeo: stand by your trans

The country and western scene in Berlin is older than the Wall – and even bridges it. East and West Berliners alike have been fascinated by cowboys’n’indians since long before working class Ossis first line danced in their Kleingärten and Wessis held their first Karl May festival. So, really, it was only a matter of time before queer rodeo took off in Berlin. Think about it: the Brokeback Mountain factor, the undying love for Dolly Parton, the persistent trend for plaid shirts … and SO36’s determination that everyone learn how to dance.

From 20:00 on the second Saturday of every month, a strange but very friendly mix of queer SO36 folks, serious 50-somethings line dancers from Marzahn and Wedding, American ex-pats and others with a penchant for boots, hats and country music meet to cut a rug (swing, line, two-step), watch great live performances and generally have a good ol’ hoedown.

Every month there is a special twist: in June, it’s a barbeque in the club’s great outdoor space and some kind of comedy rodeo that involves dressing a goat. Beginners are welcome, but don’t forget your hat – tickets cost €5 with one and €7 without! /JB

Jeder ist Tanzbar, Rudolfstraße 1-8, Friedrichshain, U-Bhf Warschauer

Str., Tel 2123 9824, www.myspace.com/berlin_rodeo

(Not so) free fallin’

If you fancy jumping off a 41-storey building with a rope around your waist, then the Jochen Schweizer event group’s new base flying platform (the first in Europe) on the top of the Park Inn Berlin-Alexanderplatz is the place for you. All you have to do is show up at the hotel lobby and throw down €99 to book your session – although your ‘flight’ scheduling will be highly dependent on the will of the weather gods. Needless to say, storms and jumping don’t mix.

And the ‘flying ’ itself takes more that just a wad of cash: it takes serious guts. You’ll be falling from a height of 125 metres at a staggering 20 metres per second. What a rush! The team itself is always good for a laugh: it consists of a cool bunch of adrenaline junkies who really know their way around. /CN

Jochen Schweizer, Park Inn Berlin-Alexanderplatz, Alexanderplatz 7, Mitte,

Tel 01805 606088, www.jochen-schweizer.de

Obamania at the Kennedys

Since the earliest days of his presidential campaign, Barack Obama has been enthusiastically compared to JFK by the media and supporters alike: besides being his natural heir as the embodiment of hope, tolerance, change and all the rest, Obama also shares the same personal photographer as JFK – Pete Souza of the Chicago Tribune.

Thanks to Souza’s extensive (and similar) coverage of the two leaders, Berlin’s Kennedy Museum has been able to put together a small exhibition aimed at those who still dare to be skeptical about this parallel. In fact, the collection proves several likenesses beyond any reasonable doubt: both presidents play(ed) with their children in their spare time, occasionally relax(ed) in their office, intently follow(ed) lectures in congress and take (or took) planes very often.

But most importantly, and as this exhibition is here to show, they both inspired a rock star-like treatment from fans and photographers alike. Several pictures of JFK’s visit to West Berlin in 1963 are also included, but – regrettably – none of Obama’s Siegessäule speech last summer. /VC

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA – On the tracks of the Kennedys?, Kennedy Museum, Pariser Platz 4a, Mitte, S-Bhf Unter den Linden, Tel 2065 3570, 10-18:00, through August 2, www.thekennedys.de

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For members


EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.