Friday, June 29, 2007

Communist Chic

SPIEGEL ONLINE Want to spend a night in East Germany and experience the way things used to be? A new youth hostel has opened in Berlin seeking to offer visitors a taste of life before the Wall fell and a bit of Communist kitsch.

Opened in May by entrepreneurs Daniel Helbig, 35, and Guido Sand, 33, Ostel -- a German mashup of "East" and "Hostel" -- lucratively exploits the trend of "Ostalgie," or nostalgia for the lost days of socialism since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. International interest in daily life in East Germany has surged in recent years with the success of German films abroad about life in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR) like the comedy "Goodbye Lenin" and the Oscar-winning Stasi snitch drama "The Lives of Others."

If I ever get to Berlin, I think I know where I'm staying! How funny is this place? I want to start my own hotel now with it's own quirky, kitschy theme. Maybe I could start a Nazi hostel, that would go over really well, right? Yeah, I don't think Nazis will ever be kitschy... ok so maybe I won't start up a Nazi hotel, haha that just sounds funny, but maybe I can go for some other type of weird nitch and make a cool hostel/hotel. I'm sure I'll think of something.

In the meantime, I got a laugh from these ex-circus performers turned hotel owners and their interior design and wallpaper choices. Never having been to communist Eastern Germany, I have no idea what people's houses looked like back then but these rooms look semi-cheery with lots of colors. The rooms also remind me a bit of my neighbors house when I was growing up with all the old furniture, but without the crazy wallpaper.

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