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Published: November 8th 2007
The Victory monument
Yes, despite the very deceptive blogs on South Korea, I've actually been in Berlin for almost a whole week ... and it rocks!!!
I am very lucky to be staying with the wonderful Miss Ines who I first met when I traipsed around Asia in 2005. After sharing a room with me for close to 5 weeks, she didn't run screaming when I asked if I could 'freeload' for a couple of weeks, but opened her home to me. She lives in a lovely flat in Prenzlauer Berg a very hip area of Berlin with great transport links for travellers like me to trot off each day and do some sightseeing.
It's been lovely to spend quality time looking at things rather than the usual rush, rush, rush that has accompanied most of my trips.
I did the Fat Tire Bike Tour which takes about 6 hours and rides around the city looking at the sights and giving some information on the history of this fabulous city. A great way to save the feet while getting oriented. My favourite bit of this was a ride through the Tiergarten with the autumn leaves falling around - looked good, but
Really just a green space, but filled with a temporary exhibition of big, lush statues which fit the pleasure theme
very, very cold - and the ride along the river Spree up past the Reichstag (also very cold) just for the sheer beauty of the surroundings.
I've also done a couple of walking tours looking at the dark side of Germany's history with The Original Walking Tour company. Both were excellent - one was a view of the history of the 3rd Reich and the other was a trip north of Berlin to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial.
In the general sightseeing I've climbed to the top of the Reichstag, toured the East Side Gallery (graffitti covered parts of the old Berlin Wall), seen the Brandenburger Tor at night and the Victory Monument during the day (Siegessäule), visited Museum Island (can I recommend the Lustgarten), seen the old and new National Galleries, The Museum for Contemporary Art (I admit I didn't 'get' most of it!) and visited their Egyptian Museum to have a chat with old Queen Nefertiti! Throw in Alexanderplatz, Potsdamer Platz and a million other Platz's and Alees and Strausses and it's a grand old town.
The modern architecture contrasting with the old buildings is fantastic, especially the Reichstag with the modern dome and Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche
East Side Gallery
The famous graffitti of the kiss between Breshnev (USSR) and Honecker (DDR)
- an old church ruined in WWII and instead of being rebuilt they kept some of the ruins and built a very modern stained glass church next door and flanked the other part of the ruin with a matching modern bell tower - it's stunning.
Much to tell and many photos for you to see but here are just a sample for now!
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