If a hot cup of chicory coffee in the morning and an 8×10 glossy of Walter Ulbricht on the nightstand sounds like your kind of travel experience, be sure to check out Berlin's Ostel, a hotel that "recreates the experience" of East Germany for the budget traveler. From the AP:
The Ostel, which opened on May Day—the traditional worker's holiday under communism—represents a broader phenomenon known as Ostalgie, or fascination with life in the former East Germany. Ostalgie, like Ostel, is a play on the German word for east—ost.
Ostalgie primarily focused on communist-era pop culture, including TV shows such as "Sandman" that several generations of children grew up with, and theTrabant automobile, an East German clunker that families waited for years to be able to own under communism.
The Ostel, located in an old Communist-era building just steps from the East Side Gallery, the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall, takes pains to be as authentic as possible.
Ostel employee Liliana Lehmann, 25, whose early childhood was spent under communism in East Berlin, said the hotel was a break from the bustle of today's capitalist capital.
"We try to create a community feeling," she said. "It's a contrast to today's dog-eat-dog world."
In 2004, the Daily Telegraph reported that the (former East) German village of Tutow's was building a totalitarian, errr, "community" theme park:
In a desperate attempt to create jobs and income, the rundown village of Tutow is transforming itself into a Communist-era theme park, complete with a Berlin Wall and Kalashnikov-toting border guards.
Visitors sit down to eat in the canteen, an ugly, single-storey building that was once a state collective laundry and supermarket. Black, red and gold flags of the former German Democratic Republic with the old hammer and compass emblem festoon the building, along with banners supporting Free German Youth and Communist Young Pioneers.
Inside, portraits of Eric Honecker, the former East German leader, and Politburo colleagues adorn the walls, while red menus embossed with Communist insignia tempt diners with a selection of hearty Socialist dishes.
But how, one wonders, does it compare to Stalin World?
I wrote about East German pop sensation Dean Reed here; reason contributor Glenn Garvin reviewed Anna Funder's terrific book Stasiland here. If you're not content with the standard, chimerical view of the GDR and too lazy to read either of those pieces, make sure to add this film to your Netflix queue.