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Berlin Suggestions


skidmarks

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I second the Checkpoint Charlie Museum it's small and sometimes busy but one of my faves.


You can go to the part of the wall that still remains and have a walk down there(East Side Gallery), do the Reichstag, Alexanderplatz and the TV Tower, the Brandenburg Gate, Zoological Gardens and Charlottenburg Schloss, but I think one of the best things to do is to just explore the local boroughs as they all have different identities. If you like going out you're in luck as i think Berlin is the epitome of 24 hour cities.


Another great film is Goodbye Lenin.


Oh, and wrap up warm it's bloody freezing.


LLx

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I'm shortly planning to return to Berlin. I think now is an interesting time to go. The wall coming down 20 years ago was a momentous event of course, but I think it takes 20 years for the dust to settle on any momentous event and for the history books to be written.


I don't think it would have been possible to make a film like "The Lives of Others" even 10 years ago. The Stasi were so feared and then, after German unification, so demonised. It's an extremely well written and executed film and it made me cry buckets at the end. Interestingly, the East German actor who plays the lead Stasi officer, was himself "watched" by the Stasi before the fall of the GDR. When his files became public he was able to see which of his colleagues were Stasi spies monitoring him. Allegedly his own wife was a stasi spy. How heartbreaking is that? Also, he started out as a construction worker and had himself helped to build the wall. It's interesting stuff.


On a shallower note, I think I'll stay here when I go:


http://www.schlosshotelberlin.com/?page_id=169&parent_id=169

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When his files became public he was able to see which of his colleagues were Stasi spies monitoring him. Allegedly his own wife was a stasi spy. How heartbreaking is that?


Lots more of that here, in a very moving documentary shown at the weekend. Shows family members and friends dealing with the consequences of living in the most informed-upon state in the world.


Although the State had deteriorated to an incredible level of surveillance, and the imprisonment and killing of its own citizens (there is an interview with the mother of the last person to be killed at the wall - aged 18 in 1989) there are also interviews with those who still lament the fall of the GDR - or at least what they think the GDR could have been.

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Tying in with what giggirl said, i've been a few times over the last 15 years and although there were always 'pretty' bits, it was never the most attractive place. For quite a while (and i haven't been for a copule of years now) it was simply a building site. However I have always liked it's youthfulness and slight edginess, and the people are just a bit cooler than the rest of the country.


I'm sure it's changed even more over the last couple of years, I just hope they dont over do it with the redevelopment.


Edited to say I would therefore love to go over there soonish to see what's going on.

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We went a few years ago and stumbled across the Free Belin Tour, a free walking tour run by students, offically 3-4 hours but ours lasted close to 6 and was great. We actually had an american fella how was studying in Berlin but really knew his stuff, saw all the main sites and found out a lot of history which you may not nessecarily find out about otherwise, including the thoughts and meaning behind various monuments and mermorials that are dotted around the city. The tours are free, they just ask for a donation at the end if you feel the tour was worth it.


New Berlin Tours


(They now do similar tours in various other european cities).

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  • 10 months later...
Don't organise to meet your girlfriend travelling in from Prague at the Brandenburg gate in the middle of the night in the middle of winter because its the only place either one knows. In the days before mobiles, that's exactly what I did and waited and waited until a screechy Lada turned up and she jumped out! We had a great weekend mind after I'd recovered from the frostbite! Fantastic city.
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We stayed at the Mark Apart Hotel 3 star. It was good and clean. I found it on Expedia which has some pretty good rates 15% off I think and it worked out ?60 a night with breakfast. The location is pretty good, you just had to walk up to the Zoologischer Garten train station to head into town which is about 10mins
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Living in Charlottenburg, Berlin when I was a kid we also spent a few months a year stationed in the Mission House at Potsdam, a UK Govt facility, whilst Daddy went off to do his thing, ensuring we were in safe hands if owt happened to him (I didn't know that then or I would have freaked). We used to be driven around Postdam in a staff car and it was the first time I'd seen old ladies (perhaps they weren't THAT old but they sure looked it !) using pneumatic drills on roadworks and so so many beggars. Dad was always getting hauled in for 1-2 hours at Checkpoint Charlie and other checkpoints and my Mum would be worried sick but couldn't tell me why. The Mission House was a luxurious mansion but outside was pretty desperate.
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Berlin is incredible;


I suggest hiring some of those little electric scooters to zoom around the parks, the big avenues and round the brandenburg gate. They are really cheap and the most fun I've had ever. (not really but up there)


Also you should go to a restaraunt called "The Bird" and try some Napalm Chicken wings.

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Do the free walking tour too, you meet outside the starbucks by the Brandenburg Gate around 12.30.


There is a good pub on Oranieburger Str at the junction with Tucholskystra#e it has loads of different bottled beers to try and does a really good schnitzel. The street has loads of place to drink actually.


Just realised I still have giggirl?s DVD. Whoops

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Agree with the recs above. Also checkout Unter den Linden from Brandenburg gate to Museum Island, one of the hotels has a huge Fish tank that goes from the top to the bottom of the atrium. The Pergammon museum is great - the Ishtar Gate is a must see and evidence that it wasnt just the Brits that nicked other countries treasures.


Potsdama Platz is a good place to start as it is easy to get to and easy to get to Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate, etc from. The Holocaust Memorial sounds grim but is fascinating and cleverly done, makes you think hard as you wander through the upright stones.


Berlin Zoo is good for an inner city zoo, they have a panda which eats Bamboo and poos mostly, but its a Panda, they also have a lion that is able to projectile wee on the humans watching it through the bars of its cage when locked in-doors - funny if you are a distance. They have other animals which have less interesting excretion habits.


Ka-De-We is the big department store near the Zoo and Kurferstendamm (spl?) or Kudamm is where you can find shopping nice bars and restaurants at the Zoo Gardens end.


GOD there is so much more, I love Berlin. Buy a Lonely Planet guide - they give a good overview.


Depending on the weather and available time, go to one of the city lakes and stroll round the lake before having a proper lager with a blanket on your lap watching the sun go down.


Henne restaurant is a small gem of a restaurant. Its history goes back pre-war and it has always sold one thing - roast chicken. Your meal consists of roast chicken, potato salad and brown bread, nowt else. Its not a KFC type place but its is drenched in Berlin history and much loved by Berliners.

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Thanks everyone. That gives us plenty of ideas.


Yes, the walk had already caught my eye. Did something similar in Melbourne and it was a great way to get your bearings in a new city. And love the sound of the scooters...it sounds like we've got plenty to squeeze in!

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Atticus Wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------

> Mitte is a nice area, a very relaxed, nice crowd

> populate the cool bars and restaurants.


I second that.


Berlin is one of my favourite European cities, I'm sure you'll have a fab time.


The scooters sound fun although we hired bicycles, was very easy to get around that way too.


If you have enough time, its worth taking a short trip on the S-bahn down to Potsdam, park Sans Soucci (sp?) has beautiful gardens and Potsdam itself has fab places to eat and drink. Have fun :)

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