In the footsteps of Richard Burton at Checkpoint Charlie
At the height of the Cold War (1947-1991), Checkpoint Charlie on the Friedrichstraße was one of the border posts reserved for foreigners, diplomats and prisoners exchanges between East and West Berlin. Since the reunification in 1990, numerous architects focused on that particular location. Among them, Philip Johnson, the first laureate of the Pritzker Prize.
At the corner of Friedrichstraße and Kochstraße, the old checkpoint takes the form of an American booth, sandbags and extras dressed in uniforms in the middle of the street. You'll remember scenes from various movies likeThe Spy Who Came In From the Cold (1965), Funeral in Berlin (1966), Octopussy (1983), Wings of Desire (1987) and more recently Bridge of Spies (2015).
Cuban Revolution in Havana's streets and museum
Fidel Castro died on November 25th, 2016. 57 years after he took power. On the lawn in front of the Museum of the Revolution lies the SU-100 Soviet tank used by Castro during the Bay of Pigs incident. It immediately sets the tone of Cuban history. Right after Fulgencio Batista was deposed, the former Cuban presidential palace was requisitioned to sing the revolution's praises.
If you wish to dive deeper into the atmosphere of the time after your visit at the Museo de la Revolución, you just have to open your eyes in the streets of Havana. Since the beginning of the American embargo, it was practically impossible for Cubans to purchase US products, cars in particular. Therefore, they have been taking the greatest care of their old Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and Hudson cars for more than 50 years now. To keep them running, they had to become the greatest champs in resourcefulness and kept reusing spare parts.
Museo de la Revolución
Calle Refugio n° 1
10600 La Habana
Shinjuku Golden Gai in Tokyo, between modernity and tradition
The six intertwined little streets of the Golden Gai district will take you back to 1970s Tokyo. Located in Shinjuku, this architectural gem houses over 200 bars and cafés where regulars and celebrities gather for a drink. The run down aspect and the low lighting further enhance the retro atmosphere, undeniably making the passerby travel back in time.
When all big cities start to look alike, it is a delight to take some time and lose oneself in this very intimate neighbourhood. It is so confidential that some bars only serve regular customers! Rest assured, the vast majority welcome foreigners with open arms. You only have to look for those English translated signs and enter!
Golden Gai district
East exit at Shinjuku station, between Shinjuku city hall and Hanazono Temple
1 Chome Kabukicho
(Open from Monday to Saturday, from 5:30 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. On Sunday, from 8:00 p.m. to midnight)
Sleeping in compartments at the Wontonmeen Hostel
In this guest house, you'll notice at once a particular atmosphere between tradition and modernity. Over eleven floors, this building is a communal living space, where journalists, painters, musicians and other artists rub shoulders in what is basically a collaborative community. The decoration is retro, the atmosphere friendly and favourable to exchanging viewpoints and meeting people.
You have the possibility to sleep in compartments placed on top of each other in a shared dormitory, typically Hongkongese type of temporary housing, first intended for the workforce that settled in the former British colony in the 1950s.
1/F 135 Lai Chi Kok Road
Kowloon, Hong Kong
+852 6904 0918
Rooms: from 452 HKD
Dormitory: from 205 HKD
A 1970s put-putting vehicle to visit Warsaw
On board his Nysa 522 polish minivan, Rafal Patla, founder of Adventure Warsaw, offers an unusual visit of the city, exploring the remains of the communist era, with a strong Socialist realism style. This former town planning student also loves to show the pre-war part of town, what he calls the “Northern Paris”. The adventure goes on in a milk bar (bar mleczny), then a soviet era canteen, and ends at the Museum of Life under Communism. Make sure you raise your glass of soda or vodka to friendship between peoples.
Adventure Warsaw and Museum of Life under Communism
Minska 22 (3A Glucha entrance)
+48 664 828 243
+48 606 225 525