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Travel Story by Helga McGilp

  A postcard to Berlin
Berlin, Germany

Brandenburg Gate

General travel tips

We spent 4 nights in Berlin in April 2005. The Lonely Planet Berlin map was very handy (£3.99)

• Berlin Mitte is a good place to base yourself. Stadtmitte U-Bahn (underground) is less than 5 minutes walk from NH Berlin Mitte.

• The best way to get around Berlin is on foot. Most tourist attractions are near your hotel - within 15 to 45 minutes.

• Good restaurants are on Charlotten-str (near Gendarmenmarkt and Deutscher Dom)

Places to visit in Berlin – those of greatest interest are (not in order of preference)

1. Jewish Museum (admission = free for Deaf people) Allow 2 to 3 hours for the exhibitions. About 15-20 minutes south from NH Berlin Mitte.

2. Checkpoint Charlie (admission = 6 euros) Tte famous Cold War symbol is worth visiting but it’s a tourist ghetto. If it’s packed, best to start from the end/middle to start (the rooms are not in chronological order and rather confusing) Excellent visual stories of how GDR citizens tried to escape from East to West.

3. Former Gestapo Headquarters/Topographie des Terriors – rather disappointing, as there was no English translation. It’s not really a museum. Photos are displayed outside.

4. Brandenburg Gate/Tor – the most well known landmark in town. Best to have coffee or beer outside Hotel Adlon Kempsinki for great views of Brandenburger Tor.

5. Unter de Linden - plenty of souvenir shops on this street, especially gifts for World Cup 2006.

6. Holocaust Memorial - it was closed when we were there. It’s near Brandenburg Gate.

7. Hitler Bunker – “Site of Fuhrerbunker” – on Ebert (nearer to Potsdamer Pl) This is where Hitler, Eva Braun and the Goebbels family committed suicide in April 1945 (did you watch Downfall?) There’s nothing to see really.

8. The Reichstag (admission = free) – near the new Government quarter. Expect a long wait, as it took us about 40 minutes to get inside (there are queues outside and inside for the lifts) Good views of Berlin especially Brandenburg Gate around the Dome / viewing terrace.

9. East Side Gallery – if there is only one wall you must see then it’s the East Side Gallery. Please note it’s not a gallery where you have to pay admission. Just simply walk along Muhlen-str. Best to get off at U-Bahn Warschauer Str and finish at Hauptbahnhof.

10. Alexanderplatz TV Tower – for good views of Berlin. It’s worth going up if the queue isn’t that long and watch those Russians who gamble outside the tower. U-Bahn – Alexanderplatz.

We really enjoyed the 1-hour boat trip (from one of the piers near Berlin Friedrichstr station) There are guides but ask if they could give you a written transcript. If not Lonely Planet Berlin will do. If you have limited hand on your hands, the boat trip is ideal, as you get to see the major attractions.

A long walk on the Spree river (from the Reichstag to Hackescher Markt via Monbijou Park) is also recommended. There’s a small beach opposite Bodenmuseum. There are lovely bars and restaurants at Heckmann-Hofe. It reminded me of Sundays in Camden Town.

We did not have enough time to cover Charlottenburg, Zoo and Tiergarten areas.

Enjoy Berlin.

Click on photo to enlarge

Checkpoint Charlie

Date Submitted:
27 Aug 2006

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