Berlin – Into the Light

Berlin plays havoc with your emotions. The brutalities in its recent history are glaring everywhere. reminders, markers, memorials of the holocaust and the subsequent terror of communism and the stasi, are spread among the stones of this intelligent, thinking city. There’s nothing dumbed down about Berlin. I found myself flipping from fascination to tears  and despair within Berlin’s mix of creative vitality and the resounding spectre of death.

My suite in the legendary adlon Kempinski faced the Brandenburg Gate with norman Foster’s distinctive dome of the reichstag beyond. images of blazing nazi rallies in pariser platz below me just 70 years ago jostled with the wonder of the majestic Brandbenburg Gate lighting up the night sky.

I relished every day at this grand hotel, which has hosted luminaries like Marlene Dietrich, Michael Jackson and, a few weeks before me, the rolling stones. Frau Merkel holds meetings here,  and world leaders choose it for its history, luxury and bulletproof windows. During the Berlin international Film Festival, Brad and angelina jostle for breakfast tables on the terrace with spielberg and Matt Damon. everything works seamlessly and with polished style – and with its special place in Berlin’s history, it’s a privilege to stay there.

The hotel’s wood-panelled, Michelin-starred lorenz adlon is serious eating with informed service, softly lit with a library hush and a drift of romance in the air. Don’t ask me how many crunchy, flavoursome courses i ate – but i’m betting you will too.