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  • Traveling to Berlin?

    If you plan to attend next year's World Championships, or have some other reason to be in Berlin soon, you may want to look at the long piece on that city appearing at nytimes.com:

    http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/06/22/tr ... erlin.html

  • #2
    I have been to Berlin many times, but one visit was scarily surreal. In 1972 I crossed from W Berlin to E Berlin as a college student and I might as well have been in a Fellini flick, for all the bizarre things I saw. Going from WB to EB was like stepping into a black & white Twilight Zone episode. Everything was somber and sparse (in direct contrast to the vibrant colorful WB), and the people looked like joy did not exist in their lives. Everything was much cheaper than WB and my WG hundred mark notes were highly prized there, not that I could buy very much. It was the saddest tour I've ever taken. Haven't been there in 20 years, but it was nice to read that article and see that the entire city hums again.

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    • #3
      I know exactly what you mean. I walked through Checkpoint Charlie before the wall came down, and the contrast between West and East Berlin was indeed startling, All of Berlin is now much livelier and modern than it was in those days, and what used to be East Berlin has lots of high end shopping and dining. Quite amazing.

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      • #4
        Berlin certainly ranks as one of the coolest cities I have visited in recent years in Europe. Compared to some of my favourties, it is less commercialised than Barcelona, less chaotic than Rome, less grotty than Paris, less cliched than Amsterdam, less expensive than Copenhagen or Stockholm (in fact it's less expensive than almost any of the major cities in "Western" Europe - probably only Lisbon was cheaper).

        Great balance of old and new and with little of the preciousness than can make some Euro cities offputting.

        Great spot for a world champs...

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        • #5
          Is the monster memorial to the brave Soviet troops who died "liberating the German people from their Nazi oppressors" still there? Stunning bit of Stalinist architecture.

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          • #6
            Yes it is (Treptower Park, former East Berlin) - not to be confused with the much smaller (but perhaps better known) Soviet war memorial near the Tiergarten in (West) Berlin.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by AS
              Berlin certainly ranks as one of the coolest cities I have visited in recent years in Europe.
              Totally agree. I got there for the first time 2-1/2 years ago and was just blown away by it all--a fascinating, hip city...

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              • #8
                And the Russian (nee Soviet Union) embassy is another example of Stalinist architecture. I first visited Berlin when I was in the US Army, '65. To go to E Berlin, we were required to wear unis, and use leave orders (not passports) to cross. We took a bus, I can't remember if that was required, which was probably for the best. Out at Treptov, there were a lot of Soviet soldiers, also in uniform. We studiously ignored each other.

                My 2nd trip (Mary's first), in '02, obviously we just took the E/U-Bahn combo. Didn't go out to the Soviet cemetary that time. Too much to see on museum island, etc. In two trips, I have managed not to ever have seen the Olympic Stadium. That will be rectified next year.

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