11 Things to do in Berlin

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With its unique history, Berlin is a city like no other.  A broke metropolis at the end of the First World War, Berlin began to thrive in the Twenties leading the way in avant-garde art, music and literature.  With Hitler’s rise to power, the city became the base for the Third Reich.  After the Second World War, Berlin found itself occupied by the Allies and embroiled in the Cold War. The city was further divided with the erection of the Berlin Wall that cut it through its heart. From a crumbling city after the Cold War, Berlin rose from its ashes as the Wall fell in 1989.  The iconic images of Berliners celebrating the reunification are famous around the world representing the dawn of a new era for Germany. Continue reading

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Berlin: Street Arts

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Art critic Emilie Trice has called Berlin “the graffiti Mecca of the urban art world.”  In addition to the artwork of the East Side Gallery, Berlin is rich with lots of beautiful street art throughout the city. Everywhere you look—from the walls of buildings, to doorways and even garbage cans—you’ll find murals, stencils, paste-ups, and many other artistic experiments staring back at you. The colorful public art helps to brighten the cityscape and inspires Berliners and visitors. Evolving trends result in an evolving art scene.

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Berlin: East Side Gallery

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I love street art. So when I was in Berlin, I couldn’t pass up a chance to explore the stirring art of East Side Gallery that has come to represent Germany’s turbulent history between East and West. This large open-air gallery is an international symbol of freedom. It is the longest remaining part of the Berlin Wall at 1.3 km long and located along the banks of the river Spree in Friedrichshain borough. After the Wall was brought down in 1989, artists came from around the world to transform the gray barriers into 105 paintings, each a testimony to victory of the human spirit. Continue reading

Berlin: Free Walking Tour

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The best way to explore a new city is always on foot.  Based on prior trips to Europe, I knew that Sandemans offers great walking tours.  So while in Berlin, we made it a point to reserve a spot on their FREE city tour.  The tour is the perfect introduction to Berlin and helps you orient yourself to navigate the city.  The tour is offered in English and Spanish at four different times daily, each one lasting about 2.5 hours. A lot of people sign up, so make sure you book in advance to ensure a space.  On our tour, about 100 people showed up and we were quickly divided into smaller groups of 20-30.

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Eating in Berlin

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Germany is a country known for its food — from massive schnitzel to juicy currywursts to giant steins of beer. That was what I had expected to eat for the entirety of my trip to Berlin, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that this German capital is a full-fledged culinary metropolis with amazing diverse food from all over the world.  Shows how much I know!  It’s true that these are not your typical “German food” places, but Berlin has become an international city, and its food reflects that status. It’s going to be a long post, so let’s get started.  Here are a few of my favorite places to eat in Berlin: Continue reading

Day 4: On the Road in Berlin

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Our last day in Berlin was overcast and dreary.  Instead of letting it deter us, we grabbed an umbrella and headed out to the largest public park in Berlin. Walking through Tiergarten, we had a little fun with our umbrella trying to see who can have the best ‘swept away’ pose. Clearly Kim won.

Day 3: On the Road in Berlin

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There are a lot of memorials in Berlin, many commemorating the victims of Nazi Holocaust, but none as far reaching as these stolpersteine (stumbling stones).  Created by Gunter Demnig, they are found all over Berlin as well as the rest of Europe.  Each one is  engraved with the name of the victim, the date of their deportation and death.  All the blocks are about the size of a cobble stone, embedded into the street in front of the house of each person murdered.  Many people may walk by and miss these small reminders, however they are there to let us know these people existed and the atrocities they have suffered.