Hidden entrance, Hauptbahnhof, Kassel

When you arrive at the main railway station of Kassel, Germany (not to be confused with Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe) and leave the main building you might wonder that there is a large unused space in front of it. The answer is hard to find and located under ground: from 1941 to 1943 the railway company of the Deutsches Reich (the Reichsbahn) invested a lot of money to create an underground air-raid shelter in front of the station. It was supposed to protect travellers that arrive at Kassel during an attack.

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SO36, Berlin

The SO36 is a legendary club and concert venue in the city quarter Kreuzberg of Berlin, Germany – named after the former postal zone of the area. A place I really like; in some parts to small and narrow, but with good sound and always full of awesome people. The decorations there directly show you that this dark place is a home for left-wing people and it is maybe the only concert hall I know where you get bottled beer during events. It feels a little bit strange to emphasize this – but it feels good and like a travel back in time.

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Les Barbeaux, Kulturzentrum Schlachthof, Kassel

Within Kassel, Germany, you will find different smaller concert venues which give you the chance to listen to a wide range of bands – newcomers and bands with a smaller audience. One of them is the Schlachthof in the city quarter Nord-Holland close to the university. At this location, there was once the slaughterhouse of the city until it was moved to Waldau in 1973. The buildings have been destructed and the Elisabeth-Knipping-Schule, a school providing vocational education, was built. Only the gatehouses remained and are now the home of the community centre and concert hall.

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Städtisches Museum

Städtisches Museum, Hann. Münden

I’m always a bit hesitant when it comes to local museums in small towns. They’re often seen as a must-have independent from the question whether there is something to exhibit or not. The Städtisches Museum of Hann. Münden, Germany, is a place I would nevertheless recommend if you’re interested in local history. It feels like a wild mix of topics and some sections look very old-fashioned but it offers enough content for an informative visit.

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Reichsbahnbunker / Kulturbunker, Kassel

Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to find interesting places. And sometimes they are hidden just around the corner and you’ve passed them many times without noticing. I had this experience with two air-raid shelters (in German often called ‚bunker‘) and a beer-cooling cellar north of the city centre of Kassel, Germany. In the city quarter ‘Vorderer Westen‘ you can find a mountain called Kratzenberg consisting of shell limestone. During the time of the dinosaurs, the area was under water and the remains of shellfish sank down and created this limestone. Within this material many breweries created cellars later.

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Children‘s railway

Children's railway, Երևան

The children’s railway is a hidden gem of Երևան, Armenia. It is a narrow-gauge railway for kids opened in 1937, and it was operated according to the standards of normal railways by the communist youth organization. You can find many of these children’s railways throughout the influence sphere of the former Soviet Union. The goal was to create interest in railway employee jobs early – and I guess I would have had fun with that, too.

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Dram, Հայաստան

The Armenian word ‘dram‘ (դրամ) just means ‘money‘ – and it is the name of the local currency. A dram is divided into 100 luma, but there aren’t any luma coins circulating anymore. Currency symbol is Դ, but most often the abbreviation ‘dr.‘ seems to be used. The dram was introduced in 1993 and replaced the Russian ruble as the formerly official currency.

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Sheremetyevo International Airport, Москва́

The Sheremetyevo Alexander S. Pushkin International Airport (Междунаро́дный аэропо́рт Шереме́тьево, SVO) is the largest airport of Москва́ and Russia. It is named after the next small city (Sheremetyevo, which is linked with Russian aristocracy) and the nationally important poet Alexander Pushkin. It handles 40 million passengers every year. Шереме́тьево is the most important gateway to the capital city but also an important hub with many interconnecting flights.

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Visa or no visa

Sheremetyevo International Airport, Москва́

Russia is one of the countries with the most complicated visa rules. When I wanted to fly from Germany to Armenia, the only sensible flight was with Aeroflot via Москва́ – including switching planes at the Sheremetyevo airport (SVO). If you plan such a trip two questions arise automatically: how much time is necessary to switch planes at SVO and – do I need a visa? The first question is easily answered by Aeroflot; their website tells you the minimum amount of minutes you need.

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Borussia-Park, Mönchengladbach

Borussia Mönchengladbach, the soccer club of Mönchengladbach, Germany, was once playing at an epic stadium called the Bökelberg. Legendary fights are recorded from that times. A lot of stories could be told of that place (like when in 1971 the goal post broke in a match against Werder Bremen). What is left? The Bökelberg still exists even though the stadium was destroyed from 2005 on. It defended itself and withstood the first explosives – but today it is converted into a residential zone. You can still see the terraces and the structure of the stadium.

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