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Old 8th December 2019, 00:21   #1
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Default My acquaintance with Berlin - 3 weeks of exploring this German city

Hello BHPians,

This is my third travelogue in the forum and this time it is to Berlin. I had a chance to travel on a business trip to Berlin and had about 3 weekends to myself to explore in and around Berlin.

A bit of back ground : Germany has been always on the losing side of the big wars and its impact is clearly seen and felt. The Country has a strong world wars history attached to it as well as from the cold war time. The wall of Berlin on which several cold war stories are based was demolished in 1990 and the city has a line on the ground depicting that the wall stood here. One can also see broken parts of the wall in different parts of the city.

Here is a quick map (Credit : to respective copyright owner).

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Berlin is towards the eastern side and is more a political and cultural capital than an economic one. Its also very liberal with Germans constituting well less than half of its total population. The city has a very vibrant and cultural vibe to it. The big auto factories (and interesting car museums i hear) are on the western and southern side near Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich . I didn't get enough free time to visit but its on my to-do list for sure.

I will split my post into multiple parts as I want to post a lot of photos. Apologies for the quality as they are from my mobile phone : One Plus 5 T.

I was put up in Berlin at Potsdammer platz, which is centrally located and is quite near a lot of the attractions in the city. I landed on friday, got settled at the hotel and just walked around potzsdammer platz. There is a manmade lake right at the center and a lot of restaurants and cafes on the side walks. A few photos of the place..

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Sony Center @ Potsdammer platz. It hosts a bunch of shops and restaurants.

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Inside Sony Center @ Night.

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The dome inside Sony Center

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I went on a hop on hop off bus tour for the first weekend.. Its a nice way to explore the city if you just have a weekend at your disposal. I took at 2 day pass costing ~39 Euros.. Worth it if you ask me. The trip takes you locations like Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Victory Column and more. There is also a live guide / recorded guide in multiple languages on the bus and you do get a complimentary pair of ear phones, very basic ones though. The eastern side in the Blue route contains a lot of graffiti on walls and some really old buildings and pubs. Detailed map is below.

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https://www.bigbustours.com/en/berli...and-tour-maps/

I also took the walking tour. It starts from the Brandenburg Gate and takes you through multiple places of historical interest including the place of Hitler's last bunker, the Berlin Wall, the War Memorial, Check point Charlie, Topography of Terrors.

Below are some pics from the tour :

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The Berlin Tower AKA Toothpick

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The Victory Column.

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The Addlon hotel from which Michael Jackson famously (or infamously) hung his baby out of the balcony for the world to see..

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Brandenburg Tor.

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A huge shopping center near Alexandar Platz.

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Memorial to the Jews. This occupies prime property at heart of Berlin and serves as a reminder to the Atrocities on the Jews ..

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Berlin East Side Gallery : Paintings and Graffiti on the Berlin Wall..

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Last edited by charanreddy : 8th December 2019 at 11:31.
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Old 8th December 2019, 00:39   #2
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Default re: My acquaintance with Berlin - 3 weeks of exploring this German city

Classic Remise : Part I

The next weekend was quite a busy one with work, however I did get the Sunday afternoon off to visit one of my favorite places, the Berlin Classic Remise.


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The Classic Remise is a used car showroom, but is also house to a world of classics and exotics. I will let the pics do the talking.. Needless to say I was a kid at a candy store for a good part of sunday afternoon . Some of the cars costed upwards of half a million Euros..

Some of the cars were housed in glass enclosures given their value, others in an open space. The place has a lot of sunlight flowing through the roof, which makes for a great direct viewing but not for great photos.



The Iconic Countach..

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The 6 X 6 : I am not sure if this is the same one driven by Richard Hammond in the Dubai Top Gear Episode. This thing is HUGE..

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Some classics

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This one costs 600,000 Euros

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Some exotics..

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Continued..

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Old 8th December 2019, 00:46   #3
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Default re: My acquaintance with Berlin - 3 weeks of exploring this German city

Classic Remise : Part II

Here are a few more of those classics and exotics for your viewing pleasure. This was perhaps the only leg of my Berlin trip where I missed a good DSLR.

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Old 8th December 2019, 00:52   #4
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Default re: My acquaintance with Berlin - 3 weeks of exploring this German city

Classic Remise : Part III

Ferrari s, Mc Laren, The Buggati Veyron , Lamborghini Veneno and more..


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Old 8th December 2019, 00:58   #5
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Default re: My acquaintance with Berlin - 3 weeks of exploring this German city

Classic Remise : Part IV (last).

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Old 8th December 2019, 01:10   #6
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Default re: My acquaintance with Berlin - 3 weeks of exploring this German city

Potsdam

The next weekend was touristy starting with a trip to Potsdam..It is located in the state of Brandenburg and was infact close to my office in Kleinmachnow / Wannsee.

Potsdam is rich with castles and historical buildings, all of which were destroyed mostly in the war and re-built post the fall of Berlin Wall in their original style. Given I had ~ 6 Hrs at potsdam, I took the guided bus tour where a live guide walked us through the historical significance.

The bus :

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Potsdam is really beautiful with palazzos and rustic shops where you can enjoy an evening with live music performances on the street, some good craft beer and pizza

Here are some pics of the beautiful palaces, lakes and houses.

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Some houses.

Trivia: Potsdam was a part of East Berlin and housed one of the biggest KGB head quarters outside of Russia. Grapevine has it that the current president of Russia, Vladimir Putin has served here.

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Schloss Cecilienhof, Neuer Garten

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I tried my hand at portrait photography of flowers..

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I found this really cool tour bus in the parking lot. The large green house should make for an ideal tour vehicle.

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Horse drawn tour carriage.. Look at the size of that horse

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Sanssouci Palace & Park

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These reconstructed buildings house a university of arts and are majestic to look at

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Old 8th December 2019, 11:47   #7
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sachsenhausen concentration camp

Next up was a historical visit to the sachsenhausen concentration camp. This is located near Orianiennburg and used to host prisoners during world war 2. This was host to a lot of prisoner abuse in atrocious conditions, experiments on the prisoners with toxic gas. This serves as a grim reminder to the depravities during world war 2.

The camp now houses University of Police Sciences, where police are taught respect for humanity and atrocities during WW2.

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These photos adorn the wall to the camp and depict the facts of the camp.

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The actual camp itself which houses 2 Lakh prisoners of which 30K were killed..

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Common places including toilets and bathing areas..

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Photos of a prison cell.

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Memorial built to the prisoners post WW2.

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Some artifacts of the prisoners .

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Area where executions were carried out..

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Gas chambers and medical rooms where experiments where carried out..

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Old 8th December 2019, 12:22   #8
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Default re: My acquaintance with Berlin - 3 weeks of exploring this German city

Visit to Dresden

I wanted to visit Prague, which is 4 hrs away from Berlin on one of the weekends. However I was too tired and made a day trip to Dresden instead. This was from VELTRA, a private tour operator and they charged around $70 for the trip. The guide was very knowledgeable and explained the about the royal family of Saxony which ruled Dresden..
The guide took us through a 1 hr tour of the key attractions of Dresden post which we were free for about 3 hrs to visit places of interest on our own. The key attractions in Dresden included the Museum which houses the green vault, an assortment of items, jewels and weapons of the royal family housed in about 10+ rooms. This took most of my time. Like other places in Germany these buildings were destroyed during the war and rebuilt recently to celebrate the history of the place. Dresden is also home to Sistine Madonna by Raphael and other artworks but I didn't get time to pursue.

Pics from the guided tour.

The painting on a palace wall depicting the complete line of Kings of Dresden.
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Other assorted buildings and pics from the guided tour..

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Dresden was home to porcelain makers in Europe. The shops in Dresden do sell porcelain and are very expensive. the below model is priced at Euros : 8500

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Inside a beautiful church in Dresden.

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Bunch of palaces covered during the tour. The kings had multiple palaces for wives, concubines, princes etc and each had a different story attached to it.

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A bridge built by the king to connect his palace to his concubine's so he could return to his palace post his 'business'..

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Some other adhoc building and squares ..

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My only pic inside the green vault. I didn't realize pictures were not allowed and clicked this one post which I was informed by the security..

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Thus ended my trip to Berlin. A few pointers incase you visit Berlin in the future.

1) I flew via Frankfurt on Lufthanza Airlines. The airport at Frankfurt is a Day only airport and is HUGE. It took me ~ 1 Hr to walk from one terminal to another. Incase you have a connection, hurry as the airport is really huge.

2) On landing in Berlin, I searched for a taxi and saw a huge line of Merc E Classes standing. Being the Indian I am, I started searching for a more economical option.. but came to know that Mercs are commonly used as Taxis. It was a shock, but over the duration of my stay, they started appearing less special to me . Other common taxis included Toyota Prius. I had a chance to travel in a Porsche Cayyene during one of my office team dinners. The interiors are exquisite.

3) Exotic cars are pretty common. I saw a lot of Mercedes S Class, G Wagons , Porsche 911, Cayyene, BMW 5 , 7 , X5 's as well as American Muscle cars parked outside my Hotel. I also saw Hyundai i10's and Chevrolet Beats on the other hand . I hear cars are expensive to insure and maintain and most people prefer public transport.

4) My commute to office was through public transport, which is the most convenient way to travel. It consists of a rail network including Regional Express, Sub Urban, Underground trains and Trams as well as busses. All of these are managed by the same company VBB and one needs to purchase a common ticket and can use any or all of the modes of transportation. The city is divided into three zones A , B & C. A is the inner most circle, while C is the outer most. One can purchase a ticket for zone of their choice either on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. My Zone C ticket for a month costed 100 Euros. Tickets are not checked at entry or exit but randomly by private ticket checkers who operate on a commission. I was asked for a ticket only twice during my stay spanning close to 4 weeks.

5) Not all hotels accept credit cards, It is advisable to carry atleast 100 Euros cash per week of stay.

6) It was a cultural shock to realize Restaurants do not serve water with meals. You can purchase water or any other beverage. I would recommend beer . It is cheaper compared to water.

7) English is spoken in Berlin and is generally not a problem. As you travel further away, English speaking becomes rarer but you can still manage with signs. The Germans are a very direct people and can appear rude at the first few interactions. However this is just a different the way of life and should not be interpreted as intentional.

8) Most train stations have restaurant and super markets. It is convenient to shop at these places. I developed a liking for jagermeister, which is a type of alchohol, a digestif with some 56 herbs and spices including star anise. I also developed a taste for pretzels

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Old 9th December 2019, 10:03   #9
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Default Re: My acquaintance with Berlin - 3 weeks of exploring this German city

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12th December 2019, 10:47   #10
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Wow... I'm so happy to see the places I visited in 2013. Every year I travel to Germany and I have been to Cologne, Hamburg, Berlin and Frankfurt! I liked Berlin the most!! If I was given an option to live in a city of my choice, Berlin would be the first

No where in Germany, they serve water for free at the resturants. We have to buy a drink along or the drink would already be included in the food cost, so we can choose any drink we want. I think this is the norm in all Europe.
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Old 12th December 2019, 11:55   #11
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Default Re: My acquaintance with Berlin - 3 weeks of exploring this German city

Nice travelogue, feeling nostalgic for I studied there. Berlin was like a weekend hangout place. Always loved it. You have this Wochenende tickets in D-Bahn, used to be 35 EUR for five people to travel unlimited on weekends all over Germany.

After Berlin, one city that demands attention is Munich.
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Old 15th December 2019, 08:46   #12
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Default Re: My acquaintance with Berlin - 3 weeks of exploring this German city

Wow, excellent travelogue. I visited Berlin in May/ June this year for about 24 days where we stayed PG style with a German lady and took a short course. Visited almost all the places you mentioned, and then some , in Berlin such as Charlottenburg Palace, Peacock Island at Wansee . We also visited cities such as Frankfurt , Heidelberg and Amsterdam, NL.
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