Berlin

Old Jun 3rd, 2004, 07:57 PM
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boa
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Berlin

Have one day in Berlin..can you give me a "don't miss" itenerary.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2004, 08:23 PM
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Ah, where do I START? First of all, let me say, that Berlin is absolutely one of the most underseen under-appreciated cities in all of Europe! It is also one of the most culturally rich cities in all of Europe-really. Okay-let's see 1. take one of the walks in English that shows you all the famous Third Reich strongholds-the govt. bldgs. the former Luftwaffe bldg. (now the Dept. of Agric. or something like that) still pockmarked with shells, etc. This is fascinating as well as enormously informative about the Third Reich era in Berlin. 2. the Reichstag- the seat of the German parliament-a far cry from its dark days under Hitler. There's a new transparent Dome (signifying the transparency of German democracy and law) and you wait in line (with all the French schoolchildren) to go and do the spiral walk all the way around until you get to the top-where there's a lovely view of Berlin, and a roof terrace restaurant as well. 3. a stroll down the Ku'damn(one of Berlin's two great avenues-the other is Unter den Linden) for some great shopping at the Ka De We -very elegant-it is as I understand, about 5 times bigger than Harrod's, and may be the largest dept. store in Europe. There's also other great shopping at the huge H & M flagship store adjacent. Across the street-the world-famous Cafe Kranzler- scrumptious torts and ice cream drinks, one of my favorite places 3. Potsdamer Platz-built after the Wall came down- it is an AMAZING area of Sony telecams, apts., restaurants, shopping, the very nice Berlin casino is across the street, there's live theater, movie theaters-anything you want in this area. 4. the old area where Checkpoint Charlie once stood-the infamous border crossing into East Berlin-now, it's an area bedecked with flowers, a place where the youth of the world gather- very counter-culture. There's the Berlin Wall museum that shows all the exhibits from when people would attempt to make their escape into the West-also fascinating. Okay, nighttime? what do you like? the Berlin Philharmonic, the Berliner Radio Orchestra? Casino? (called Spielbank in German) You can get in for a concert for around 10-20 dollars for the low end seats-now too high-up. Then there's the Jewish quarter of Berlin-also a very interesting area. This is just right off the top of my head. Berliners are very friendly-they don't forget what the Americans did for them in the great Berlin Airlift of 1959-60 Transport around the area is like a dream. There's no way a person can't enjoy themselves here-it's lovely, sophisticated, dynamic, cultured-what more could you possibly want from a city? More people need to visit Berlin and see all this city has to offer.
 
Old Jun 3rd, 2004, 09:14 PM
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Berlin is a great city and one day is not any where near enough. Airlawgirl gives good suggestions. I would add the Checkpoint Charlie Museum and the Pergamon Museum with an entire ancient wonder. I enjoy history so visiting Templehof Airfield (Home of Berlin Airlift) was interesting.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2004, 10:04 PM
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Both Frommers and Fodors have a 1-day plan for Berlin (and many other destinations) on their sites. In this particular case, the Frommers one looks better. Both the Berlin Walks and the Brewers walking tours have been recommended here or elsewhere.
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 01:16 AM
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If you're at all into seeing royal residences I can definitely recommend either the Nieuw Palace and/or Sans Souci place in very nearby Potsdam (easy to get to by regional rail).
I agree that Berlin is a fantastic city with many things to see and do...I'll be there in less than three weeks and can hardly wait to return.
Enjoy your trip.
 
Old Jun 4th, 2004, 04:33 AM
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Just returned from Berlin yesterday!! I have to say, it's my favorite city. (in europe i've been to London, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin)

I had two full days and it wasn't enough time, but..I would HIGHLY reccomend the walking tour. There are two companys--Insider Berlin and Original Berlin Walks (both in English). They both meet at Zoo Station at 10 AM (i think there's also an afternoon tour) and are both 12 euro, 9 if you're under 26. The Insider Berlin meets at the Riese Bank at the station, the other meets a little further down the street where the station is--there's a sign for it and someone passing out flyers. I did the Original Berlin Walks--had a wonderful tour guide. Saw all the major sites--the Reichtag, the Wall, etc..

I think the tour was about 4 hours. After that, see what catches your interest. I personally visited the Checkpoint Charlie museum which i really enjoyed--very moving, and the museum at the wall (underground). There are art museums, etc..the tour gives you a backdrop of everything. I really enjoyed the tour because the guide was very passionate about the city and it felt more personal than a bus tour.

Berlin is a WONDERFUL city--i really had a fantastic time there.
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 06:59 AM
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I agree, airlawgirl--why don't more people visit Berlin? Seriously? In researching my trip..i came across very little about Berlin, in comparison to several other cities. I've always been intrigued by Berlin and visiting there was always a dream--but with the relatively little information out there, I was afraid maybe i was building the city up too much and I wouldn't enjoy myself--Boy, was i wrong. It was an amazing trip. Yes, I haven't traveled to as many places as others have (like i said in my earlier post, only London, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin), but I thought it was an amazing city, i loved every minute of it. can't wait to go back!!
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 09:03 AM
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boa-

Just a little tip on Reichstag. One way to avoid standing in line to get in is to make a reservation for the rooftop restaurant. We had lunch there and the food was excellent (and not outrageously pricey). With the reservation, you can skip the line and enter via the handicapped entrance. The link below will give you more details:
http://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/info/050vberl.html
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Old Jun 6th, 2004, 08:46 AM
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I wanted to get back earlier and answer this post, but have been busy. It would seem that all of us who posted here have not just "liked" Berlin, but are quite enthusiastic about this city-and of course, in terms of things to do here, we did not even scratch the surface! For example, just Potsdam and Sans Souci is worth a thread unto itself!

For me, going back to Berlin in May 2001 was nothing short of a revelation. You see, I had been a young, sheltered, quite naive- about-the-world student studying in West Germany many years ago when my school decided to take a bus trip to Berlin. We were told well before we reached the first "grenze" crossing, to PUT AWAY EVERYTHING WE HAD BROUGHT WITH US ABOUT WEST GERMANY AND BERLIN. I remember this very, very clearly. Airlawgirl was of course, hanging out in the back of the bus with my Wallonian Belgian friend Frank, my Parisian friend Patrick and my American friend Tom. The border guard came on to collect our passports, and he gave us each a number and sternly warned us to remember our number, or else we weren't getting back our passports. He started to collect the passports, and then we heard laughter up towards the middle of the bus. We looked, and saw that the border guard was holding up one of our other French friends' passport which had in it a large picture of himself as a twelve year old-and he was about 20 at the time. Well that's all I needed to set me off. The atmosphere in the bus was a bit tense, to say the least. We just lost it, basicially-but only for about 30 seconds. The border guard was very, very angry. He barked at all of us laughers in his best East German stalag voice "das ist DOCH NICHT ZUM LACHEN!!!!" (that's nothing to laugh about). Instant silence. He proceeded to collect the rest of the passports and give us numbers. FOUR HOURS LATER-he came back on, and when he got to me, I was a little nervous and he said "nummer bitte" and I said "sechsunddreissig" and he stopped and said something to me very rapidly, and smiled, and I smiled, and nodded, not quite understanding what he said. Whereupon my Yugoslavian friend leans over and said " how do you like being given a compliment by a Commie?" I responded that I thought he had said something about my German, and he confirmed that he had complimented my accent.

Anyway, I could go into a whole book about that first trip to Berlin, going through Checkpoint Charlie in late December, getting hassled in East Berlin and by the Checkpoint "controllierers" - but you get the idea. The Cold War was very, very much in evidence, everywhere you looked, everywhere you went.

Fast forward to May 2001-and Airlawgirl stayed up near Alexanderplatz in the heart of East Berlin-basically in a state of shock as she walked through those once sad, scary streets in West Berlin where she clearly remembers having to back up upon seeing the red warning signs "Achtung" -approaching the Wall. All that ugliness gone now- there's nothing but transparency. Perhaps by design, Potsdamer Platz with its energy, vibrancy, its sense of the City of- the- 21st- Century went up along the Wall to provide the counterpoint to the misery that had been before.

Those early Berlin experiences quite obviously left an indelible mark on yours truly, and helped to shape my world view on the tyranny of repressive regimes, the importance of tolerance and most importantly, perhaps, the power of the human will to overcome repression, no matter what the cost, in order to give successive generations the chance to live in a society where they can express themselves freely. That's something I think about on a day like today.
 
Old Jun 6th, 2004, 11:11 AM
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jor
 
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I would highly recommend a walking tour of Berlin. We had a fantastic time and learned so much of Berlin's history. I took the experience home with me for weeks!.....but then I have bad feet.
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