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I figure there have to be some Fools here who have spent some time in Germany along the way...I will be going to Berlin for a week in March, and although I have been to a variety of tourist web sites and checked out an old travel guide, I thought I would see what my fellow Military Fools thought the most worthwhile attractions/must-see/must-do/get the T-shirt things are. Thanks for your time, Navy 58
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Navy58,

don't know, never been but please let me know after you get back what you think. I'm going the weekend of April FOOLS day to run the Berlin Half-Marathon and am looking for the same advice.

Scheller
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Navy58-

It really depends on what you like, but if you like history, here are some good ways to start. I've only been there for a week as a tourist so I don't have THAT much to share but here goes -

My "must see's" would include the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie. It's a museum detailing the history of the Berlin Wall and the various means people used to escape the east. When I went it was located right at the site of Checkpoint Charlie, although I remember reading that the museum may be planning to move to a larger location. According to yahoo, the website is http://www.berlin-wall-museum.com/ but it must be down right now.

A great way to get started in the city is to take the Berlin Walks walking tour. Find out more at:
http://www.berlinwalks.com/v1/berlin_tours.html
If the Checkpoint Charlie museum is still at Checkpoint Charlie, you're in luck, as the Berlin Walks tour ends right at Checkpoint Charlie.

Another great orientation to the city (I learned this from a guide book) is to hop on Bus 100 outside Zoo station and ride it to Alexanderplatz. Get on the second deck as there are great views of many of Berlin's main sights. Also - something I learned a day later than I should have - buy a daily or weekly transit pass if you plan to take the high-quality public transport more than once a day as it's MUCH cheaper than buying individual tickets.

That's my 2 cents - hope you have a great time!
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Navy58 & Scheller: I visited Berlin with my wife in 1996 while stationed in Heidelberg. I can highly recommend Berlin's many museums but especially the archaeological museums. One has the Gates of Ishtar and a greek Temple to Athena. At the turn of the last century many archaeologists were German and they sent all their findings back to Berlin. The Gates of Ishtar is one of the most awe-inspiring sights I've encountered in many years of sight-seeing.

Good Luck.

Duty First!

sgtbill

An Army of One, A Big Red One
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Please, can I go too, huh, huh, can I please?!! Berlin has got to be my most favorite vacation destination. Before the wall came down we vistied 3 times and after the reunification we went 4 times. Our last visit there was 1995 so unfortunatly my info is dated. We stayed at hotels that we would arrange for at the information office (i) after arriving in the city. This was before the majority of the government had returned to the Reichstag and the building boom was fully underway. You need to see the Reichstag, the Zoo, and the Russian war monument on 17th Juni Strasse. There is a great art market on the weekends on 17th Juni Strasse also. Another great market follows the banks of the Spree River. Stop at St George Brau and have a beer for me (on the river also). If time permits go out to Potsdam and the beautiful palace of Sans Souci (spelling on most of this is by memory, an iffy thing at best) Wander off the beaten path and enjoy. BAE
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I forgot about the bus 100 and that is an excellent way to get a good over view and spot what you want to see! Get a 3 or 4 day pass if possible, I think they may cover bus and underground also. You will never experience such great public transport.
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For info about public transport: http://www.bvg.de/e_index.html

You can even tell the online timetable what street you are on, what street you want to go to, when you want to go and it will tell you how to do it.

Ticket Prices:
Short trip: 2.50DM
Single Ticket: 4.00DM
Day Pass: 8.70DM (valid until 3am the next day)
Weekly Pass: 42.00DM
(prices slightly higher if you want to include outlying areas such as Potsdam).
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Everyone else had great ideas. If you are under 30 you may want to check in at the 'olympia globetrotter' hostel. Good campiness, good beer for cheap, 5 mark buffet breakfast. There will probably be some interesting characters there and you can associate yourself with a bilingual individual.
"Zur Letzten Instanz" is a restaurant fairly near there and very near a piece of the ancient Berlin city wall, and dates to the same time. I also recommend the cathedral. There is a crypt in the basement, and you can go up into the roof to view the city.
Orangien Tor area has some interesting nightlife. The hookers, by the way, wore uniforms.
Darned if I can remember where but there is a beautiful synagogue, that was greatly damaged before and before WWII. The plaque outside sent shivers down my spine.

Viel Spass!

Finsternis


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If I were to recommend a single "must see" city in Germany, it would be Berlin. Great choice.

Others here have given you a good "stuff to see" list. I'll just add my impression that the people of Berlin seem more relaxed and friendly than elsewhere in Germany. Kurfurstendamm is the shopping/nightlife district according to a hotel receptionist we asked while I was there in the summer of 98. The locals call it the Ku-dam. (pronounced like "new dam" with a k) Berlin's Hard Rock Cafe can be found in this district. We went to the Ku-dam at times like 0130 Tuesday morning and found busy restaurants and cafes. I'm not sure if it is like this in the colder months.

Potsdam is really scenic. I just drove through and at the time, couldn't stop and get a closer look. It was impressive even from inside the car. Most of the historic museums/sights are concentrated an den Linden Strasse which if I remember correctly runs east from the Brandenburg gate. If you take a cab or bus to the Brandenburg gate, you can see most of these sights on foot from there. There is also a park just on the west side of the gate full of nude sun bathers....umm....maybe not in March.....

Have fun,
Willblur

PS: If you like beer, don't mess with the green or red Berliner special beer. Not the greatest stuff in the world, IMO.
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If you have the time I recommend renting a car and going to Rothenburg. It is a medieval city that still has the wall around it. It is small and has a great story behind it. The clock tower in the town square celebrates the story every hour.

The story is...once upon a time the city was invaded and the King (Mayor) was given a choice. If he could drink 3.2 liters of beer without stopping from a big stein his town would not be pillaged. He did it and the clock reenacts it every hour. I think he slept for 3 days afterward.

Go see some castles too they are everywhere and are all beautiful.

Hendoe
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Drive to Rothenburg ob der Tauber?? Good grief from Berlin that is a long way! 7 or ? 8 hours! At least that is how long the drive was when the Autobahn for most of the distance was East German quality or West German repair staus (stau is German for inexplicaple traffic jams). Rothenburg is great. I had the priviledge to live within 20 minutes driving time to this beautiful city.
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When I was there, I lived in Augsburg and have a bias towards southern Germany. I got to experience a real Oktoberfest and learn to ski in the Alps....it was great. There is plenty to see no matter where you go but someone asked for opinions...that was mine.

Hendoe
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