Germany's City of Schwerin's Got Antiques and Modern Home Furnishings Covered
What was once East Germany—the other side of the Berlin Wall—conjures up intrigue, spies and the SS
But if espionage isn't your fancy, then you'll be delighted to find an entire region alive with castles that rival French châteaux and English stately homes. In the case of the city of Schwerin, quirky little boutiques and shops also offer a shopping experience that's fresh and memorable.
Schwerin Castle is located in northeast Germany in the state called Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which is now the city capital for the region. The oft-photographed, classic fairy-tale style castle overlooks the picturesque Schwerin Lake. Once you're finished touring the castle, which was established in 965AD, and the on-site museum brimming with Meissen porcelain and precious antiques, then head outside to the extensive gardens, which are planted in the English style and surround the lake.
Once you've had your fill of history, it's time to hit the town for shopping. But first, stop into Café Prag at 17 Schloßstraße (www.restaurant-cafe-prag.de), the city's A-list kaffee haus, for some caffeine and sweets. The city is easy for strolling and the surprise is that “Friedrichstraße” is devoted almost exclusively to antiques shops, ranging from high end to bric-a-brac, with a few trendy art galleries thrown in between. It is also the street with the narrowest shop in town, the venerable cigar store, “Preussler.”
You can gain a lot of insight into a culture by prying into its history and the best place to do this is antiques shops. It might seem like a haphazard way of shopping, but you can dart back and forth, across the small street, and in and out of the different antiques dealers and find out a lot about how Germans in this former Eastern Block territory collected and lived. Bear in mind, however, that these once-Communist cities fall short in terms of luxury and you need to shop with an open mind. If you go expecting the charm of Paris' Marché des Puces or the classiness of Manhattan's Madison Avenue, you're won't find it here.
Antik am Dom is a fun shop to begin the adventure. It features a great selection of antique porcelain and home furnishings. Other shops along the street, called simply Antik, are worthy of a peek.
Just a few streets away is “Münzstraße” which is another historically preserved section of the city with timbered houses and boutiques offering extraordinary pieces of art, jewelry design and cutting-edge fashion. Ausser-Gewoehnlich, translated as Out of the Ordinary (www.ausser-gewoenlich.com) at 33 Münzstraße has an extensive storefront filled with decorative arts and handmade crafts. Formost at 24 Münzstraße sells very contemporary home furnishings and some of the products can be already be found in the U.S. (www.form-ost.de). Birgit Dürr at 32 Puschkinstraße is just plain cool and her designs range from fashion to furnishings (www.dezug.de).
For more information about Schwerin and Germany, visit www.cometogermany.com