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What do you think of Berlin?

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Jun 10th, 2017, 07:33 AM
  #1
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What do you think of Berlin?

I've always wanted to visit Berlin, simply because of its history.

But as someone who loves elegant cities like Paris and Rome, I feel I might be disappointed by Berlin. I despise graffiti and Soviet-era buildings, and I heard Berlin has plenty of them.

For those who have been, how did you feel about the city?
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Jun 10th, 2017, 07:58 AM
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I love Berlin!

So much to see and do.

The view from the dome of the Reichstag building is amazing and unforgettable.

I also love the Food Hall at KeDeWa! It is fun to watch all the bourgeoisie with their Burberry scarves shopping for goodies--a scene from Thomas Mann.

Prussians tend to be formal, which I like, as I went to a rigid New England prep school.

Many Berliners bow upon greeting and you see men wearing black trilbies all over the city.

Thin
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Jun 10th, 2017, 08:07 AM
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I liked Berlin a lot--absolutely fantastic fine art museums. We're going again at the end of November.
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Jun 10th, 2017, 08:12 AM
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Love it for so many reasons: the arts, the museums, its history,and its people. Will be there for a week next summer, again.

Want grafitti? Take a look at some of the walls on the Duomo in FLORENCE, unfortunately.
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Jun 10th, 2017, 09:00 AM
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It is not elegant or beautiful like Paris or Rome, a good part of Berlin had to be rebuild ( some interesting architecture), many "Soviet like "buildings remain in the east of the city...

But, there is something special about it that keeps me going back..( six times)
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Jun 10th, 2017, 09:09 AM
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I loved the history, but otherwise I did not care much for Berlin. It's not a particularly charming city, in my view; it is big and spread out, and there is construction everywhere.

I have little desire to go back to Berlin (I just got back from my fifth visit to Paris). Still, I'm glad I went once, and I think you might be too. It's very worth visiting. Just set your expectations as to what kind of a place it is - and then maybe you will be surprised and like it better than you think.

You've probably read more than one book about Berlin and the wars, etc. I recommend "The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill" by Greg Mitchell. It documents early attempts to tunnel under the wall and the people involved (including an NBC news crew). I wish I'd read this book before visiting Berlin (it hadn't been published yet), so I could have gone to the sites it mentions and imagine what had happened there.
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Jun 10th, 2017, 09:27 AM
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I love Berlin, but mainly for the history and the museums. The Cold War history is especially interesting. I have visited it numerous times.

It's not a pretty city, but it's nonetheless fascinating.
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Jun 10th, 2017, 09:31 AM
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ditto to Peg...

A little old but here is why I love Berlin:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...in-journal.cfm
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Jun 10th, 2017, 10:09 AM
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Berlin exceeded my expectations. A Phoenix rising from the ashes. I found it surprisingly inexpensive when compared to other Western European cities.
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Jun 10th, 2017, 10:30 AM
  #10
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That's refreshing to hear.

Aesthetics are a determining factor for me when choosing a new city to visit. But it sounds like Berlin is too interesting not to give it a try.
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Jun 10th, 2017, 10:37 AM
  #11
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I Wonder what Berlin looks like before WWII.

Paris and Prague were spared by Hitler for their beauty.

I guess the allies weren't so enamored by Berlin.
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Jun 10th, 2017, 10:38 AM
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If I were you I would stay near Kurfuerstendamm or Savignyplatz where you get the nice old buildings and architecture. A couple places like Pension Funk and Fasanenhaus are TOTALLY old school with high ceilings, lots of wood, original fixtures (just don't book the rooms with shared toilet, which is old school in a more undesirable sense).
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Jun 10th, 2017, 10:44 AM
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I second staying near Savignyplatz in Berline. Visit Potsdam where you will find castles, parks, and history. There are several good walking tours that explore WWII and other periods. The museums are excellent and don't miss KaDeWe food hall.
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Jun 11th, 2017, 08:18 AM
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The Cold War era is definitely the most interesting aspect of Berlin for me. A lot of the brutalist architecture that you say you don't like has been repurposed as hotels or art galleries and is very much a feature of the city - not something to be avoided. Some of the buildings have a fascinating history (there was much debate over what would be pulled down after the reunification of Berlin and the TV tower only just survived).

Outside of the city centre and easily reachable by excellent public transport you have many lakes and gardens for a more tranquil vibe. In town there is great café culture, night cabaret, cutting edge restaurants etc. As has been pointed out already it is one of western europe's most affordeable cities.

From your previous posts you seem to prefer a more time capsule type feel ie Housemann Boulevards in Paris (although it has a financial/commercial district, modern high rises and as many run down areas as any other city, not just in the central tour
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Jun 11th, 2017, 08:23 AM
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Helpfully cut off there by Fodors, and without pressing submit - interesting.

I was in the middle of saying Paris is only picture postcard in certain areas, and I think there is a lot to be said for contrast anyway, so don't really understand the consensus that this represents some kind of travel pinnacle, but each to their own. Berlin just may not be your type of city and that's ok. I loved it though.
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Jun 11th, 2017, 09:48 AM
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"I guess the allies weren't so enamored by Berlin."

No reason they should have been.

As mentioned , only small parts of the city have what lovers of the "old world
charm" look for.
The history, the vibe of renewal and change ,and great art galleries and museums
are the main draw for most visitors.
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Jun 11th, 2017, 10:42 AM
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Berlin is so huge it is hard to get a fix on it in a few days - most dwell on the Brandenberg Gate/Reichstag/Unter den Linden/Checkpoint Charlie area -but things like the 1936 Olympic Stadium complex, Potsdam and Sans Soucci palace and park - even things such as the old DDR's East Berlin Soviet Memorail is fascinating to me.
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Jun 11th, 2017, 11:58 AM
  #18
 
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Treptow park is fascinating to me. A lot of dead Russians there.

I really dig the cold war stuff. I first visited it when it was a oasis of freedom in a sea of communism. It isn't as pretty as Paris, but it has its share of parks and green spaces. It definitely deserves a look.
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Jun 11th, 2017, 12:00 PM
  #19
 
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Treptow Park on a warm Sunday was great - beer stands everywhere -people soaking up rays -some kind of permanent carnival and yes the Soviet Denkmal or Memorial to Soviet troops who liberated Berlin- first time I visited it was all overgrown with weeds but next time it had been all spruced up.
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Jun 11th, 2017, 12:58 PM
  #20
 
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There is more than enough history in Berlin to make up for a lack of elegance in its buildings.

We stayed in Mitte near the canals which had a lovely atmosphere and was in a very convenient place for getting round the city.

If you want prettier buildings, split your time between Berlin and Dresden.
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