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Trip Report Family week in Berlin

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Thought I would file a quick trip report on our recent week in Berlin this February. Thanks to those who helped with my questions!

Things we did and our impressions:

-Free walking tour with Sandemans. This was excellent, a great way to start the week and brush up on our history. Our guide Sam was extremely knowledgeable and lively.
The tour was perhaps a little bit long, particularly since it was so very cold when we were there.
-DDR Museum. This was a highlight as the exhibits were good and you could delve into a lot of different facets of Cold War/East German history. We tried to get there early as I had read that it can be crowded and it was. I would hate to see it in the height of tourist season. It is quite small and no restriction on how many people go in.
-Topography of Terror. Bit of a letdown. There were a lot of interesting facts of course but all presented in a very dry manner - photos and text up on walls. The outdoor section was closed off.
-Reichstag - tour of the Dome. We got some great photos here but if you're on a short visit I would skip this. The views aren't that amazing and we found it a bit tedious. It was also cold up there!
-Pergamon Museum - SO glad we went to this. We went on our last day after a lot of World War Two stuff - great change and such a thrill to see the true scale of these amazing artifacts. Definitely do not miss.
- Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The memorial was a highlight for us. I think it is a brilliant, moving, thought provoking creation. Walking through the stones is a strange and disorienting experience. I was shocked to see people running around and laughing through the site. The downstairs museum is very good. Tons of information, but broken down into individual and family stories which was very powerful. Limited entry so not too crowded.
-Palace of Tears - small Berlin wall museum - free and good for a quick visit if you are nearby
-ride on #100 bus - sit up top and get great views
- walks around neighbourhoods - so far flung and distances are quite big. We went to Kreuzberd, Freiderichshain, Mitte and Prenzlauer-Berg. All have interesting pockets. We found P-B the prettiest.
-KaDeWe food floor- AMAZING. So beautifully designed and filled with immaculate mini-restaurants and food stalls. We spent a long time here and treated ourselves to delicious crab soup and sandwiches and then agonizedover which dessert to choose. My vote went to toffee tart from Princess Cheesecake - Wow. The shopping area around KaDeWe is nondescript - it could be found anywhere in the world.
-Vintage clothes shopping - my daughter was keen to get "vintage" clothes in Berlin. We did a lot of research and were a bit disappointed. Many of the stores were just run of the mill second hand - with clothes from the Gap etc on sale. Prices were high.

We loved Berlin but I think if we visited again we would go when it's warmer. The cold was a deterrent to wandering around discovering things. It was very grey and gloomy. We also found the city big and tiring - often switching trains required long walks between platforms/stations on tired feet. Plan your day accordingly.

Food - we had good food all week. Mexican on Danziger, Indian on Kolkwitzstrasse, German on Oranien and Kastienallee, Burgers in Friedrichshain, Dumplings and smoothies in Mitte. Pretzels wherever they looked good. Currywurst at curry36. (Long lines here - not sure worth such a long wait). I used recommendations from Berlinstories and they were all good.

Accommodation - stayed in OTA apartment on Metzer Strasse (penthouse). Very happy. Clean, warm, spacious and quiet. A bit sparse in decor but no other complaints. Staff very friendly and helpful. Good restaurants and groceries nearby as well as U train.

Hope this helps. Enjoy Berlin if you go. Pack good shoes!

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