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The essential young peoples guide to Berlin
ContentsIntroduction Tips and Practicalities Itineraries History Museums The Arts Food and Drink Shopping Sport Nightlife Hostels Meet The Team page 5 page 6 page 9 page 10 page 16 page 25 page 34 page 40 page 47 page 51 page 55 page 59
Berlin combines the culture of New York, the trac system of Tokyo, the nature of Seattle and the history of, well, BerlinHiroshi MotomuraUCLA Law Professor, 2004
BERLINCOLOUR...Spend a few days in Berlin and you will have seen all the important sights- the Brandenburger Tor, the Berlin Wall, Museum Island. You will have had a meal of Currywurst, and sampled some of Germanys excellent beer. You may even have learnt a word or two in the local language. Stay a bit longer and you will discover Berlin in all its colours. The squats lled with grati street art at its best. The underground bars that play eclectic mixes of music fuelled by strange concoctions. Meeting people from all over the world and tasting their delicacies in roadside vans. You will become Berliner in your actions. Avoiding smelly old men with their sinister-looking dogs trawling the streets for discarded empty bottles. Chilling in parks with 60 cent beer in the Berlin sunshine. Jumping on old-school bicycles and cycling around the city centre in your socks and sandals. There is so much to do in Berlin that however long you stay it will not seem sucient. This guide endeavours to show you some of the best and most economical ways to get the most out of your stay in Berlin. Some are tourist Meccas, others are a bit left of the centre; all make Berlin what it is now. So throw yourself into the people, the music, the food; the experience that is Berlin. Prost!
Ich bin in Berlin!Berlin can be a perplexing place for the newly arrived tourist. The train system does very little to orientate one in a city that spreads and sprawls in every direction, and after a few pints of Berliner Pils, the scrambled map does not become any clearer. As with any city, travel guides generally lead you to the heavily touristy areas, where vendors rub their hands in glee as they attempt to take down the next map-wielding, poncho-wearing foreigner. So here are a few tips and hints for a smooth transition into Berlin life. Soon enough youll be changing from the S-Bahn to the U-Bahn like a pro and leading other people from your hostel to the coolest, underground German bar around for a round of Berlinerweie and a late night snack of Currywurst.
The East Side Gallery- one of the many free things to do in Berlin.
Cash strapped backpackers read here!
Five things you must do in Berlin1. Take a walking tour. Best to go early in your stay. The guides are generally very knowledgeable and humourous, and its a great way to see the city and the important sights, get your bearings and learn a lot. 2. Go on a kebab bender. 3. Buy a 60 cent Sternberg beer and get yourself down to Treptower Park on a lazy sunny afternoon. Take your frisbee for extra fun. 4. Go out at night without a plan and nd yourself at some crazy nameless pub, where you end up dancing to Nena 99 Luftballons, followed by a good quality Russian jig, with a whole bunch of new friends. 5. Trace the Berlin Wall. You can hardly come to Berlin without getting in touch with its dramatic and tumultuous history. See the History Section for more information on where to discover the divisive past of this city.
Lets face it, things are always better when they are free. Berlin has plenty to oer those on a tight budget or no budget at all. The Brandenberger Tor, Berlins signature statue, is seen on everything from bank notes to trains. It is a symbol of deance, strength and unity, and a must see on any Berlin tourists itinerary. (Page 11) The East Side Gallery is a portion of the Berlin Wall painted by grati artists from all over the world. (Page 30) The Reichstag. See where German Parliament sits and walk up the dome to witness the Berlin cityscape. (Page 15) Sachenhausen, a concentration camp used in World War II, is one of the last physical remnants of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany in Berlin, and a harrowing reminder of its omnipresent past. (Page 13) Tacheles, a squat that young creative Berliners turned into a grati art haven. (Page 28) Small art galleries along Auguststrae. They are dierent, they are certainly individual, and they are very Berlin. (Page 25) Some museums are free on particular days, such as Thursday evenings after 6pm. The Topography of Terror is a worthwhile exhibit created to face and accept the atrocities that this city has witnessed. (Page 13)
DOs and DO NOTsDO watch out for oldschool bikes screaming down the streets at 70km an hour. They do not stop for pedestrians and seem to relish in your fear, so its up to you to avoid a collision. DO be prepared when purchasing goods at Lidl or other discount supermarkets. The cashiers move at an unearthly speed and do not appreciate those who dawdle, so have your re-useable bags out and your change ready. DO keep your empty bottles. Most bottles can be returned to the vendor for at least 20 cents, although you may have to protect them from scavengers who will oer to take them o your hands for you. DO try a variety of kebabs, beer, Wurst, absinthe and pastries. Berlin has loads of cheap and good quality food and drink, and every now and then youll come across something that will change your life. DO try to speak the language. In Berlin, the majority of people do speak some English but, like most countries, natives will be kinder to you if you at least try a bit of German to start o with.
Do not miss sights like the Berliner Dom
DO NOT J-walk or cross the road at trac lights when the little fat Ampelmann is red. Brazenly dashing across roads like you would in Paris or London is socially unacceptable in Berlin, especially in front of children, so to avoid getting yelled at in German in the middle of a road, wait for the green. DO NOT put money in the middle of a table when paying at a bar or cafe. They usually prefer if you pay separately too. DO NOT expect to get into the premier clubs in Berlin like Watergate. The queues are long, the clientele exclusive, so bouncers are looking for any reason to deny you entry. If you do decide to give it a go, dress up, try not to scream tourist, and know who the DJ is, and you might just get in. DO NOT light up cigarettes in public areas unless other people are smoking. There is an ocial smoking ban in public areas in Berlin although it is rarely adhered to. But to avoid trouble, follow the locals and ask before smoking indoors. DO NOT fare evade on the train. The ticket inspectors do not have the best sense of humour and pulling the I dont speak German is not going to get you out of a ne as the directions are written in English too. Best to just buy a ticket. DO NOT use hostel internet if possible. Internet cafes are ridiculously cheap here, so it is scally sounder to go to your local net cafe and pay 50 cents an hour, rather than 2 for 20 minutes which is the going rate at most hostels..
Currywurst- a do when it comes to eating in Berlin!
The train system in Berlin makes this giant city quite accessible. Theres two systems- the S-Bahn (urban rail) and the U-Bahn (metro). The U-Bahn opens at 4am, and closes at 1.30am. The S-bahn and U-Bahn are open all night on Friday and Saturday night. There are also trams in the east of Berlin and a healthy supply of buses. Trams and buses usually run every ten minutes in the city centre, and some run all night. Zones A and B will get you most places in Berlin unless going to Schonefeld Airport. Fares to use all public transport systems are: Adult 2 Hours: 2.10 Adult Daily: 12 Adult Weekly: 44
Berliners love their bikes, and biking is a terric way to see the city. So if you are feeling energetic, don the lycra and rent a bike! There are lots of bike stores that will rent you a bike for 8 to 12 a day, and discounts often occur if you rent it for subsequent days. There are also some bicycles that you can just pick up on the side of the road, ride around to your hearts content and then leave the bike wherever you nish up as it has a tracking device implanted in it. All you do is call the number on the bicycle, pay the fee for the day via credit card over the phone, and then get the code to unlock it.
on Oranienburgerstrae. Day 3 If its a Tuesday or a Friday, start o the day at Kreuzbergs Turkish Market. From here you can walk to the East Side Gallery and take in the colours of the gratied wall remnants. From here its a ve minute walk to the S-Bahn where you can jump on a train to Treptower Park- take a picnic for lunch, some bevvies and a frisbee! Check out the large Soviet Memorial whilst youre here. Then head around the river, past a large sculpture in the river of three men moving in to an embrace, and end up for some drinks at the very cool barge bar Club Divisionair (Page 54) Day 4 Today, walk along Auguststrae taking in all the small art galleries around this area (Page 26). Walk until you end up at Tacheles to see Berlin at its creative best (Page 28). Spend the afternoon relaxing at a Turkish Shisha bar in Oranienburgerstrae if you will. Then, for dinner, go to Mehringdamm Strasse U-Bahn station because the three men at Mustafas Kebab Van make the best kebabs in the world. Get your dancing shoes on and Russian jig the night away at Kaee Burger (Page 53).
Berliners and tourists relaxing on the grass in front of the Altes Museum
Four days in BerlinDay 1 First, visit the Reichstag, one of Berlins most popular sites for visitors but worth the queues (Page 15). Next head to the Brandenburg Gate (Page 11) for a cheesy but necessary tourist photo on your way to the Holocaust M