Early in the morning, I landed on Tegel airport. Pink Pillow Hotels and Visit Berlin invited us for one of the biggest gay events in Europe: the 40th edition of CSD. I was thrilled to visit this vibrant city and his LGBTQ life!
The Pink Pillow Hotels
VisitBerlin and Berlin’s hotels want to make the city an even more attractive destination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual people. They’re collaborating in setting new standards for hotel hospitality with the “Pink Pillow Berlin Collection”. It is a way of bringing together hotels that believe with all their heart that all guests should be welcomed exactly as they are!
The hotels in the ‘Pink Pillow Berlin Collection’ welcome gay and lesbian guests with professional and relaxed service. All participating hotels have signed that all guests are treated with the same courtesy, dignity, and respect. To contributing actively in a social project, to create a work environment of respect and tolerance, to offer their guests information about the LGBTI scene and participate in visit Berlin’s semi-annual LGBTI information days.
Scandic Berlin Kurfürsterdamm and HENRI hotel had invited us to explore the benefits of the Pink Pillow hotels and of course the city of Berlin! Both hotels are close to the biggest Gay area. The rooms are spacious, the breakfast is delicious and in Scandic, you can enjoy a great wellness and Gym. But the most important thing: the staff. They helped us in every way. Loved the place!
A simple snack, an easy lunch or a fancy dinner. Berlin is a city of cultural food for every budget. There is one place where you can find the food and drinks of all these cultures: ‘Bikini Berlin’. Awaiting hungry guests is an innovative food experience with a perfect, vibrant mix of 13 international eateries: Italian, Mexican, fusion, cocktails, Israeli food, tapas and sweet. Choose your budget, pick up your meal and enjoy.
For a real cultural lunch, try ‘Kanaan’. Kanaan is a vegan-vegetarian and Israeli-Palestinian culinary brand that was established by Oz Ben David, 35, an Israeli entrepreneur and marketing businessman and Jalil Debit, 34, a Palestinian Arab descendent of the Samir family that own the famous “Humos Samir“ in Israel and Palestine. Kannan offers gourmet and end with products such as organic tahini, a variety of salads, their baked goods and pieces of bread, spices, olive oil and much more. I’m not a culinary specialist, but I tasted a delicious kitchen I never tasted before. By good weather, you can enjoy the delicious food outside and have a look at the beautiful setting and neighbourhood of the restaurant. I placed it on my ‘come back-list’ to try the other food on the menu.
When u have a bigger budget to spend, try the ‘restaurant Faubourg‘, next to the Sofitel hotel. They serve the real French kitchen. Mostly I’m not a big fan of this kitchen because of the small portions… but this restaurant changed my mind. In a beautiful setting, I had a delicious dinner. So, in for a romantic dinner? Well, this is the place to be.
CSD on the Spree
As Belgian and Antwerp gay guy I have melancholic thoughts about ‘Navigaytion’, the party on the water. 10 boats with djs and party people on the river.
So, I was excited about the Berlin version: ‘CSD on the spree’. 16 boats were ready to take off with enthusiastic party people… like me. Two hours on the river with all the ingredients: a party boat, lot of party people, alcohol, a great DJ who played the real party music, a theme by every boat (Berlin Pride, Visit Berlin, the fetish boat, dykes and divas,…) and colorful pompoms. And at the end of the tour… an afterparty! It was nice to see how the Berliners enjoyed the fun from the many bridges and streetside. A perfect start of CSD.
40y CSD: 50y of stonewall
On Saturday we could enjoy one of the biggest prides of Europe… CSD Berlin. The first impression: whole Berlin had the rainbow in their hearts: children, parents, shops, party people. For one day, Berlin was LGBTQ.
In 2019 we celebrate 50y of stonewall. The place in NY where the fight for our rights begun. After the usual speeches, it was time to start the parade. And what a fun! Even when u not like parades… you were sucked into the enthusiasm and atmosphere. Hours of walking, hours of watching to color full people, celebrating with the Berliners in the street.
The parade ended on the ‘Brandenburger Tor’. We could enjoy the speeches, the great artists or just take a snack or a drink. Meat, fish or vegetarian… everyone found his or her snack.
Many LGBTQ people love to party or having a nice drink with friends. But where to go in this amazing city with his big choice of bars, gay-friendly restaurants, and shops? I asked it Henrik Tidefjärd. He is a Swede with Russian and Finnish blood who loves the nightlife of Berlin. With his experience of many years living in the Queer city, he is for sure the specialist of giving tips.
Berlin has 4 different areas. Every area has his kind of crowd. Here is a small guide to know where u have to be.
West Berlin or Shöneberg Berlin is ‘the cliché gay scene’. Many commercial bars, darkrooms, gay-friendly restaurants, and fashion shops. You find there a more older crowd and also the fetish scene.
Prenzlauer Berg is the place for the hipsters and bohemian chic with also bars, café’s and restaurants.
Friedrichshain is the place for the alternative people: party, not so clean places gay bars and clubs. But still with dark rooms.
Kreuzberg and Neu Köln is a little bit special. You find the bars next to Turkish places. But not in an aggressive way. Everyone lives together in a respectful way. This area has a more international crowd.
Still looking at a good gay map, you can find it in your Pink Pillow hotel, at the Visit Berlin info desk or in one of the gay bars. Like to know the Queer scene with a good guide? ’Berlinagenten’ has his own Queer tour of 3 hours. Henrik will show you the best places in this city. Take a look on the website for other tours like culinary, lifestyle and cultural tours.
How to visit Berlin?
Berlin is an amazing city and you need many days for just seeing a little part of the city. Are you looking for a cultural trip, finding some amusement or look for child-friendly places, the office of ‘Visit Berlin’ will give you good advice.
But the city is big… very big! So buy the Berlin welcome card. With this card, you can enjoy the trams, buses and the U Bahn without an extra cost for the days you are there (even at night you can go back to your hotel). With the city guide, you have different discounts on f.e. tours, musea, and restaurants.
A short time in Berlin? Then take the hop on-hop off bus: easy and quick to see the places you always wanted to see.
After 3 days of fun, I took my plane back to Belgium… and for the first time, I took my agenda. With a smile on my face I thought… Berlin Ich Liebe Dich!