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12 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Berlin

12 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Berlin

If you asked me which city to go for a grad trip, I’d say go to Berlin! Even better take up an internship there as Berlin is one of the most affordable cities in Europe. Oh, and did we mention that most of the people in this city speak English? It’s rare to hear people using Guten Tag or Servus here. So, don’t worry about not being well-versed in Deutsch.

This dynamic city is a must-visit for those in pursuit of art, music and ambrosial vegan fare.

I can’t describe Berlin in one word, but I’ll quote the decades-old slogan by former Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit “Berlin is poor, but sexy”. This slogan has open up possibilities for the creative types to thrive in Berlin (since the studio rental here is cheaper than London). Hundreds of backyard art studios emerged, and art soon began to take over streets, the walls of buildings and even entire districts. Ultimately, Berlin cemented its status as a creative capital of the world. 

Even though Berlin is not as posh as her cousins in the south, the German capital is never dull.

From Brandenburg Gate to the Holocaust Memorial to the graffiti-ridden remains of the Berlin Wall, the city brandishes its chequered past as a reminder of the dark days behind it.

If you can— spend at least a week in Berlin, look beyond its gruff facade— you’ll come to appreciate this city’s creativity, resilience, solidarity and abundant green spaces.

Not convinced yet? Here are some of the city’s best bits in 12 photos.

Eclectic City 

What usually comes to mind when Berlin is mentioned? First, its diversity of nightlife, second, the dominant presence of Berlin TV Tower, once a symbol of Communist power by East Germany, and last but not least, the Berlin Wall. 

Spring in Berlin is marked by longer days and shorter nights. If you like long exposure photography, Spring and Summer are the best seasons to hang out after the sunset which is usually after 9pm. Winter in Berlin is miserably cold at night so you might be better off staying indoor.

In London, you have the iconic red buses. In Berlin, the public transit systems are in yellow. 

Berlin is Germany’s largest city taking up 891.8 km², which is relatively bigger than Singapore, but it is less crowded with approximately 3.7 million people. 

So if you’re tired of your cramped and crowded, constantly delayed daily commute, you’ll feel the difference immediately in Berlin. But like any big cities, rush hours are expected in the morning and evening. 

 

Quaint Neighbourhood

It also makes a world of difference to your experience in terms of which neighbourhood you choose to set up your base. 

This is Prenzlauer Berg, which used to be an impoverished neighbourhood in former East Berlin. Today, it is the most charming residential estate that is populated by artists and young families. 

Hidden Gem

There are endless artisanal coffee houses in Berlin and most travel guides would have pointed you to Kreuzberg, a district that is multicultural and ever-changing with a treasure trove of cafes and restaurants.

While it is true that Kreuzberg offers the food-and-coffee obsessed the best of both worlds, the central borough of Berlin, Mitte, which was once the heart of East Berlin, also offers plenty of chic cafes for breakfast, brunch and coffee.  

To escape the city buzz for a while, head over to Father Carpenter, located in one of Berlin’s most beautiful and stylish courtyards along Münzstrasse. 

Street Art

While Berlin might seem like a concrete jungle, it is the people of this city that makes it colourful and hopeful.

Let yourself be inspired, seduced and enchanted in this strangely creative city.

If you’re visiting Berlin for the first time, I highly recommend going on a street art and graffiti tour.  

Iconic Landmarks

Walk around.

Berlin’s history has left the city with an eclectic assortment of architecture. You’ll notice that Berlin has no organically-developed architecture, unlike London and Paris.  

And that’s what makes it unusual and fascinating. 

Apart from the tourist hot spot like Brandenburg Gate, this double deck bridge, Oberbaumbrücke has great significance too. It connects Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, the former boroughs that were divided by the Berlin Wall, today it is a symbol of unity.

Abundant Green Spaces

Berlin is not all concrete, it is home to 2,500 parks.

Apparently, one-fifth of the city is covered with trees. The more you explore the city, the more you’ll realise just how green this place is, unless you’re visiting in winter.

Treptower Park offers some of the best running and biking options in Central Berlin. The Spree River runs right by it with great boating opportunities.  

If you want to see well-preserved cities on the eastern side of Europe, Berlin is not your best bet. I’d say go to Prague or Budapest instead. And if you want to see “typical” German architecture, drive through the Black Forest, up to the Rhine valley, or through Bavaria.

What’s attractive about Berlin is precisely what’s missing in the cities that are beautiful. It’s not perfect, and it cares not to be. Berlin will surprise you.

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Finnair Celebrates 8th Anniversary of Flights from Singapore to Europe with Anniversary Prices!

Finnair Celebrates 8th Anniversary of Flights from Singapore to Europe with Anniversary Prices!

Time flies! Finnair is celebrating 8 years of flights from Singapore to Europe with anniversary prices!

It’s time to pick your favourite destination and book your next trip by 4 June!

Sale Period: Now to 4 June 19

Travel period: until further notice. An advance purchase period of up to 60 days may apply and impact the available fares. Availability is limited.

The prices displayed are the lowest available for departures from Singapore and may vary depending on which departure airport you choose.

Destinations Anniversary Prices

 

AMSTERDAM 1076 SGD
BARCELONA 1195 SGD
BERLIN 1073 SGD
BRUSSEL 1045 SGD
COPENHAGEN 979 SGD
GOTHENBURG 1022 SGD
HAMBURG 1064 SGD
HELSINKI 1215 SGD
IVALO 1400 SGD
KITTILÄ 1400 SGD
LISBON 1190 SGD
LONDON 1182 SGD
MADRID 1196 SGD
OSLO 995 SGD
PARIS 1212 SGD
PRAGUE 1055 SGD
REYKJAVIK 984 SGD
RIGA 962 SGD
STOCKHOLM 1027 SGD
STUTTGART 1069 SGD
TALLINN 957 SGD
TRONDHEIM 1418 SGD
WARSAW 1043 SGD
ZURICH 1113 SGD

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Experience Award-Winning Travel with EVA Air

Did you know that Taiwan’s EVA Air has been named one of the top 10 best long-haul airlines in Asia? To be one of the top ten, the airlines must show efforts to improve passenger comfort and achieve a seven-star safety rating.

EVA Air was one of the first carriers to introduce a Premium Economy Cabin. There are five different classes under EVA Air: Royal Laurel Class, Premium Laurel Class, Business Class, Premium Economy Class, and Economy class.

Since 2016, EVA Air has become a 5-star airliner joining the league of world-class airlines such as SWISS, ANA, Singapore Airlines among the largest airline alliance that is Star Alliance.

EVA Air continues to impress passengers with more cabin innovations and products. EVA Air has welcomed 2019 with a stylish collection of inflight amenities with luxury brands such as Rimowa and Salvatore Ferragamo, as well as renowned chef Huang Ching-biao and fashion designer, Jason Wu.

What to expect:

Exclusive Amenity Kit 

Royal Laurel and Premium Laurel passengers on long-haul flights will receive EVA’s brand-new overnight kits that were created in collaboration with luxury brands Rimowa and Ferragamo. There are two different sets of Amenity kits depending on the flight route.

Passengers departing from Taiwan will receive overnight kits in Rimowa’s Carmona Red, and the kit will have a colour-coordinated eye mask, cozy socks, a hairbrush, a microfiber cloth for cleaning glasses and screens on personal devices, earplugs, a toothbrush and toothpaste and skincare essentials from CLARINS.

For Royal Laurel and Premium Laurel passengers arriving in Taipei, they will receive the exclusive overnight kits by fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo that is filled with Salvatore Ferragamo lotion, hand cream and lip balm elegantly scented with the brand’s new Bianco di Carrara fragrance.

Image courtesy of EVA Air

Stylish and Comfortable Sleepwear

Previously only for passengers aboard EVA Air’s First-Class cabins, the long-haul flight pyjamas are now available for Royal Laurel passengers. EVA worked with renowned fashion designer Jason Wu to create its 2019 sleepwear.

The exclusive in-flight sleepwear designed by New York-based Taiwanese designer Jason Wu is perfect for snoozing at 35,000, or on the ground, and it includes branded sleeper tops, bottoms and slippers.

Image courtesy of EVA Air

Aristocratic inflight menu by Award-winning Chefs

EVA is proud to have award-winning chef Huang Ching-biao to create a special menu for selected EVA routes.

The special menu created by Chef Huang champions slow cooking and traditional techniques. The inflight dining experience begins with a pork shoulder slice wrapped with cucumber and Thai-style shrimp followed by golden chicken soup with seafood in a rich, golden broth. The main course is braised abalone in oyster sauce served with stir-fried rice with caramel olive while dessert is an elegant concoction of mashed taro and sweet potato in water chestnut sauce.

Taiwanese Masterchef Huang Ching-biao is a veteran in Asian cuisine and having personally served presidents, high-ranking officials and the elite, Royal Laurel Class passengers on long-haul flights are guaranteed to have a satisfying meal in the air.

That’s not all to it, EVA even enlisted acclaimed Italian pastry chef Andrea Bonaffini of the popular Taipei patisserie Yellow Lemon to create four seasonal desserts for its premium passengers.

On the spring menu, EVA Air is offering an inventive delight named “Bianca,” followed in summer by “Coco Mango” and in autumn, by “Nocciola.” These delicious treats will be introduced to Royal Laurel and Premium Laurel Classes passengers flying from Taipei to Brisbane, Paris and Vienna as menus change seasonally.

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5 Stunning Beaches to Visit in Your Lifetime

5 Stunning Beaches to Visit in Your Lifetime

For most of us, a beach holiday always feels like the ultimate escape. Despite the many inconveniences like sunburn, the sea breeze that turns our hair into a frenzy, the loathsome jellyfishes, temperamental waves, we still love the idea of a beach holiday.

I guess the idea of disconnecting ourselves from our daily responsibilities and the internet are more achievable when you’re hanging by the beach. Moreover, it has been scientifically proven that the sound of the waves has a calming effect on our brain, and the guaranteed hit of vitamin D will boost serotonin which improves our mood.

Here are 5 stunning beaches from the wild and unusual to the blissfully peaceful and family-friendly sandy paradise that you should visit someday for a revitalising break.

1. Reynisfjara, Vik’s Black Sand Beach, Iceland

The gloom, the black sands, the merciless Atlantic waves and the striking basalt columns leading up to the face of the cliffs, this is one of the wildest and most unusual beaches in the world. One of the epic sights in Iceland and fans of Game of Thrones would call it Eastwatch-by-the-Sea! Did we mention it’s at the base of an active volcano? Also, there is a legend surrounding the two basalt sea stacks which were once Icelandic trolls trying to drag the ships out of the sea but unfortunately turned into stone during daybreak. Doesn’t it all seem straight out of an epic fantasy saga?

This otherworldly beach is definitely not one for swimming, but it is not necessary anyway. To be able to witness the grandeur of Reynisfjara and step foot on its epic coastline is an adventure you’ll remember for life. If you want to get more out of your trip in Vik, Iceland, we suggest going on a tour around the southern shore.

2. Koh Kut, Thailand

For those looking for elusiveness and tranquillity without boatloads of travellers, then Koh Kut should be on your radar. This is a family-friendly beach with little nightlife. With a reputation for being ‘Thailand’s Last Unspoilt Paradise’, you will feel as if you’re on a private island whereby your daily itinerary could probably be exploring the different beaches in sleepy-sounding Koh Kut, lounging on the sunbed, taking a dip in the calming waters, sipping fruity cocktails, enjoying a spa…

However, if you are feeling more adventurous, consider a hike to marvel at some of its spectacular waterfalls and swimming holes. The centre of the island is dotted with plenty of waterfalls. One of the most popular and largest of all the falls is Klong Chao.

3. Monkey Mia, Western Australia

A paradise for dolphin lovers! There is not a monkey in sight even though ‘Monkey’ is part of the name. Monkey Mia is a treasured marine reserve, famous for their friendly bottle-nosed dolphins that will swim up to the shore to interact with humans in the day. But please keep in mind that swimming with the dolphins is prohibited by law.

The crystal-clear blue waters of Monkey Mia is also home to a diversity of marine life. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to meet sea turtles! Monkey Mia is a leisure seaside getaway from Perth. You can fly to Monkey Mia airport from Perth in two hours or drive there in a day.

4. Agonda Beach, India

I bet most of us wouldn’t think of India as the go-to destination for a beach holiday since India is usually well-known for its river (Ganges River). Consider taking a restful vacation from your vacation in bustling India. Head over to Agonda beach, a quiet tropical beach that is relatively under-the-radar and not overcrowded with tourists. If you’re a laid-back traveller who is not interested in the party scene, this place is for you.

Agonda beach is also touted as a wildlife spotting site. Do you mean sharks? No, we are referring to Olive Ridley turtles. Agonda beach is a nesting site for these endangered creatures, and there is a protection centre that looks after them. 

What is a beach vacay without at least a photo of nature’s masterpiece: the sunset? This underrated tropical paradise offers spectacular sunset views. Take a walk along the beach during the evening, and you’ll see why. Perhaps you’ll start scoring #selfies with your new companions— the wandering cows have become a phenomenon— as they have been making their way to the beach to admire the sunset regularly. If you’re planning to swim, be sure to check the weather and sea conditions as there are rock formations which are concealed during high tide.

5. Brandinchi Cove, Sardinia, Italy

Image by gevision / Shutterstock.com

The next time you’re planning a trip to Italy, do include Sardinia in your itinerary. The Italian island located offshore is a soothing oasis featuring unspoiled nature and sparkling azure water. It is one of those lesser-explored destinations (often overshadowed by Sicily) and is perfect for visiting all year round. Brandinchi Cove is one of the beaches in Sardinia, and the Italians called it the “Little Tahiti” because of its turquoise blue waters and fine white sand. It is also the perfect option for families with little ones because of the calm, shallow water.

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Where to Find the Best Japanese Coffee and Brunch Cafes in Singapore

Where to Find the Best Japanese Coffee and Brunch Cafes in Singapore

Café-hopping is a way of life for Singaporeans (especially the millennials). On weekends, locals are seen hanging out at trendy cafés—an epitome of slow living where the ambience is relaxed and bright, people engage in conversations, reading a book, savouring a hearty breakfast, and that— is the antithesis to the fast-paced lifestyle— which we know very well.

The advent of Instagram has drastically changed the way we consume and share information, especially on the topic of food. Singapore has witnessed a surge in coffee and brunch establishments that offer not only great coffee and food but their photogenic interior décor and ambience have become an integral part of the dining experience. For that reason, there is an ever-growing list of instagrammable cafés to explore in Singapore and it continues to feed the phenomenon of #FOMO a.k.a Fear of Missing Out. Like what they say, if it is not on the ‘gram, it did not happen.

So, I’m attempting something different here. Let’s say you dislike queuing, crave authenticity, have discerning taste-buds, and is looking for quality coffee and food instead of the hype, which cafés should you check out then?

We cast our spotlight on 3 cafes imported from Japan that offer city-dwellers a brief respite, and may soon turn into your usual café haunts.

Asanoya Boulangerie @ Queen Street

First impression counts: High ceiling, white interior decor with wooden furniture, Asanoya Boulangerie sports a signature clean and minimalist decor, and its main feature is its variety of bread and pastry.

The Japanese bakery, is famous for its range of gourmet bread and pastries based on European recipes and prides itself on using premium ingredients. It was founded in 1933 and has been operating in Japan for more than eight decades. If you’ve been to Tokyo, you would have tried their best-selling signature Japanese crispy curry bun.

Granted that Singapore is a cosmopolitan city and Japan is a favourite travel destination among the locals, it is no surprise that Asanoya’s first overseas flagship store successfully made its way here in 2014 through a joint venture with a local automobile business. Located on Queen Street, aka Singapore’s art district, Asanoya Boulangerie is a charming addition to the location. Apart from its main offering of Japanese-European artisan bread, there is also all-day brunch, salads, and even alcoholic beverages from Japan.

On a weekday, this spacious avenue is possibly the best place for students and digital nomads to get work done. The 80 seater café is well-furnished to hold the weekend brunch crowd too. So if you’re looking for affordable, casual dining in a relaxed environment, head over to Asanoya Boulangerie on Queen Street.

Getting There

Asanoya 浅野屋: 15 Queen Street, #01-03, Singapore 188537

Tel: +65 6703 8703

Nearest station: Bras Basah

Opening Hours

Daily from 8 AM – 8 PM

Baristart Coffee Singapore

Making coffee is an art and the barista is the artist. Over the years, the foamy heart in your cuppa joe has become a cultural phenomenon with over 6 million posts of #latteart on Instagram. Let’s be honest, most of us have had taken at least a single picture of the latte art.

While there is no lack of coffee places in Singapore, Baristart Coffee is unique in its philosophy of using premium Hokkaido milk to prepare each cup of coffee with meticulous precision. The baristas in the house also pride themselves in creating the perfect latte art that will brighten up your day.

 

Baristart Coffee hails from Hokkaido and the owner, Mr Yuki Takeuchi, is the two-time champion of the UCC Coffee Masters Latte Art competition in Hokkaido for 2014 and 2016. Baristart Coffee at Tras Street is the brand’s first overseas outpost.

The 40-seater cafe offers an extensive menu of Japanese-Western fusion dishes including pasta, sandwiches, salads, and decadent desserts. Some of their signature dishes are prepared with Hokkaido milk. Don’t leave without trying their Hokkaido Carbonara and Shiro Kuma (Shaved Ice with Hokkaido Milk).

Time to feed your eyes and bellies at Baristart Coffee without flying all the way to Hokkaido to enjoy the velvety smooth coffee, but I can’t promise there will be no queue on weekends though.

Getting There

65 Tras Street, Singapore 079004

Tel: +65 69043169

Nearest station: Tanjong Pagar

Opening Hours

Daily from 10 AM – 10 PM

JW360° Cafe

Wishing you could be in Japan to enjoy your coffee break instead? Now, your wish is granted! Enter JW360°, short for Japan Way 360, strategically located in Jewel Changi Airport.

It is a multi-concept store featuring a cafe, restaurant and retail section that is owned by JR East Group, a major railway company in Japan. Both the cafe and restaurant can cater up to 140 seated patrons. It is their first multi-concept store located outside of Japan, which is great news for the Japanophiles amongst you. 

JW360° is well poised to be a gateway where customers can experience the four seasons in Japan through their seasonal menu and retail items. You can choose to enjoy a hearty meal at the restaurant or opt for something lighter and refreshing at the cafe.

The novelty of JW360° is there will always be something different on the menu each season for you to enjoy! If you are looking to stock up your snacks at home, head over to its retail outlet that carries seasonal snacks and sweet treats from all over Japan.

To bring the experience further, JW360° even set up a small area for guests to pen down their prayers and wishes on ema boards (wooden plaques adorned with art commonly found in the Shrines of Japan), which they will bring back to Japan. So go on and wish for great weather and cheap tickets for your next trip there. 

Getting There

225 Jewel, 78 Airport Blvd, #01-223/224 Changi Airport Singapore

Tel: +65 6243 2466

Nearest station: Changi Airport

Opening Hours

Daily from 9 AM – 11 PM 

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