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Trip Report Berlin (or Tip-Toe Through The Lindens)

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I’ve just got back from a week in Berlin - part of which was spent at a conference, and part of which was leisure time to explore Germany’s capital under my own steam.

Berlin most certainly is not Disneyfied chocolate box cobbled and cuckoo clocked Europe, but if you have an interest in 20th century history (and how could you not, when it shapes our every waking moment), art and design, plus a smattering of very good baking, read on, as their might be something here that will appeal to you.

I am starting with photos to whet your appetite – you’ll have to keep following if you want an explanation of some of the more obscure subjects.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/49452305@N02/albums/72157664612975436

Sunday.

I don’t like flying and miraculously managed to persuade work to pay for a train ticket instead of a flight. I’m only 20 minutes or so from London, so although slower than a plane, the trip was nonetheless relatively straightforward - Eurostar to Brussels Midi, then Thalys/ICE trains on to Berlin via Cologne. Absolutely nothing remarkable about the journey – all on time, lubricated by coffee and pain au chocolat at regular intervals. The Thalys train had free wifi (vive la France!) and old fashioned attendants in peaked caps who stood by the doors at every major stop, ostensibly to welcome passengers aboard and check tickets, in reality to puff and gasp on Gitanes.

I arrived at Berlin Hauptbanhof around 8pm – a monumental structure where international, S-bahn and U-bahn trains come and go on multiple different levels like a scene from Metropolis. Grabbing a taxi from the Europlaza exit I was at my first hotel – Maritim ProArte Mitte – just 5 minutes later.

The Maritim ProArte doesn’t look all that swish on Booking.com, but it turned out to be a very decent base. Sure the décor is getting a little tired (threadbare carpets in some rooms), but I really liked the 70s Italian styling, with an eclectic portfolio of original art throughout the building. The housekeeping was good, rooms were a decent size, bathrooms had both bath and shower in them, large wardrobes with tons of hangers, a number of free items allowed from the minibar every day, friendly staff, a couple of decent onsite bars and cafes, civilised midday checkout, and best of all, what I think is a pretty much unbeatable location, 5 minutes walk in one direction to the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag, 5 minutes the other way to museum island, plus barely 200m meters from Friedrichstrasse S-bahn station.

http://www.booking.com/hotel/de/maritimberlin.en-gb.html?aid=318615;label=New_English_EN_GBIE_5226314545-RnYQj%2AqnIkYg15Re%2ASD5mgS85657670905%3Apl%3Ata%3Ap1%3Ap2%3Aac%3Aap1t1%3Aneg;sid=ad80e97f96978be1603cfdaa3fd7f972;dcid=12;dist=0;room1=A%2CA;sb_price_type=total;srfid=f852e5ec0b20a66db886892d187f6f55c25fa587X1;type=total;ucfs=1&

Post conference exploration to follow…

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