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Berlin or Bust

(An article by Julie Kim from a Berlin Travel Review, a city travelreview 2015 work/study project)

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„Herzlich willkommen!“

Welcome to Berlin, a city with the dichotomy of fascinating history and innovative creativity! One may not quite know what to expect from this German capital; it’s not as romanticized as Paris, nor is it popularized like New York. However, it is full of developments and potential. Germany as a whole has undoubtedly become a strong European country and Berlin has been rapidly building itself as a metropoli- tan city, fit for such a nation.

What differentiates Berlin from the others? First and foremost, history. Germany has unanimously been considered as an important part of modern European history, though rather dishonorably, and the people’s effort in maintaining historical awareness shows through the numerous memorials and monuments: to never re- peat the mistakes and to promote peace, both domestically and internationally.

Does this mean that they constantly live with heavy hearts? Absolutely not. Though Germans could be considered more serious in nature than other Europe-ans, they also know how to relish life, especially in Berlin. The copious amount of pubs, cafés, clubs, and live music venues echo the spunky spirit of Berliners. Berlin is home to countless contemporary artists and avant-garde art and as the residence for the world-renowned Berlin Philharmonic, Berlin is also a hot spot for music, both classical and modern. There are a plethora of creativity going on everywhere, from street art and performances to galleries and symphony halls; there is a multitude of diverse cultural possibilities.

As we have discovered and were enchanted by Berlin, we hope this guide will help you do the same. From an abundance of attractive spots, we’ve worked to introduce the best; and also advise against the less good. Become immersed in Berlin with us, and gute Reise!

 

What’s up, EDINBRO?

Untitled(Sample of a Travel Review created by a group of students on a citytravelreview work/study project to Edinburgh in March 2014)

What comes to your mind when you think about the Scottish life- style? Are bagpipes popping into your head, or whisky, golf, kilts and haggis? That is right! These are a few very important aspects of Scottish life, but Scotland has more to offer. Discover the interesting story about the unicorn, why a Scotsman has to get some IRN BRU after an evening with too much alcohol or what a fried Mars bar is. Go out and learn to dance at the ceilidh, so you can act like you are from Scotland. We’ve found the most important things you have to know and try when discovering Scottish lifestyle.
(Laura Sedlmaier)

Introduction: My Berlin

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(Sample of a Travel Review by Amy Turner, a member on citytravelreview project in Berlin, Summer 2005)

Tourist Tips
DO look out for bikes! The bike lanes in the city are rarely differentiated from pedestrian areas.
DO try out your German. Don’t be shy to test out your lan- guage skills. You don’t want to come across as rude!
DO Recycle. Recycling is super big in Berlin and you can even face fines if you refuse to cooperate. Another tip – If you take your used and empty plastic bottles back to the supermarket you will receive €0.25 in exchange for each one.
DO plan your journeys in advance. This is essential, especially during the night-time hours, since if you look like a confused and lost tourist, you may become vulnerable to thieves.
One of the great things about Berlin is that many of the sights and exhibitions are free to visit such as the Reichstag, the East Side Gallery and the Holocaust Memorial. A City that is certainly value for money.
If you fancy venturing to explore the nightlife, it is worth mentioning that most of clubs only get lively post 1am. Great for the night-owls, not so great for those who really like their sleep. Something else to remember if you do intend to head out, is that drinking on the streets and on public transport is strictly not allowed. Respect locals and wait until you are in a
bar or beer garden.

No wall left Bear

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Citytravelreview Guide to Berlin, produced by members on the July 2015 project.

Wilkommen in Berlin, Germany’s cool, creative and just a little crazy capital. Described as ‘the greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine’ Berlin is home to a treasure trove of world-famous nightlife, countless museums and, as you’ll soon discover, an overwhelming amount of currywurst. The mention of Berlin will, for most, conjure up images of […]
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ctr-cover-no-wall-leftWilkommen in Berlin, Germany’s cool, creative and just a little crazy capital. Described as ‘the greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine’ Berlin is home to a treasure trove of world-famous nightlife, countless museums and, as you’ll soon discover, an overwhelming amount of currywurst.
The mention of Berlin will, for most, conjure up images of the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and, perhaps more than anything else, the Berlin Wall. The wall officially ‘came down’ in 1989 but parts of it still stand as a poignant reminder of the fault-line that once divided this city. Later transformed into one of the world’s most famous open-air galleries, the remaining part of the wall is also a symbol of the city’s endurance, of its endeavour to remember but overcome its turbulent past.
Like the rest of Berlin’s artwork, the murals that now adorn what’s left of the wall have become inextricable from the city itself. In galleries, on the walls of abandoned buildings, under railway bridges and anywhere else where there’s room, you’ll find art, graffiti, call it what you will – the city has become a living canvas. Over the following pages you’ll find the most famous as well as our favourite examples of the city’s legendary artwork.
You’ll also find our top picks of things to do, see, and eat during your stay in Berlin. Our guide is not, however, intended as a checklist of ‘must-see’ places for you to visit, photograph and then quickly move on to the next landmark, nor does it aim to dictate ‘what’s hot’ and ‘what’s not’ in this vast and ever-changing city. This is not an instruction manual for how to ‘do’ Berlin. Whether you’re here for one month or three, you have time to discover the city at your own pace and this guide offers inspiration for interesting and exciting places that you might want to see during your time here.
From the most well-known historical landmarks, to start-ups, hidden gems and Berlin institutions alike, you’ll find something to suit every taste and every budget within the pages of this guide. Independent shops, bars and restaurants thrive in this city where corporate is not yet king, and we’ve searched far and wide to bring you the best of Berlin. To make it easy for you to decide on how to spend your time, we’ve organised the guide into easy to read sections. We’ve also provided you with a survival guide for the city, as well as a crash-course of Berlin’s history, transport system and accommodation options, so you can quickly get out there for yourself.
Berlin is a city of contrasts and contradicitons, where old meets new, east meets west, and trendy hipsters and techno fanatics rub shoulders with history enthusiasts and young creatives. Whatever your taste, Berlin has something for everyone and, no matter how long your stay, we can guarantee that you’ll never be bored. So get out there for yourself, start exploring and make your own mark on the poor, but sexy, city where no wall is left bare.

The Berlin Bear Necessities

Introduction to the Travel Review produced by the work/study group on a citytravelreview project, July 2015

Made up of multiple boroughs, Berlin is a city of many characters and faces. Not as compact as London or New York, Berlin is a place where you can travel 20 minutes and feel as if you are in a completely different city. Every borough combines to make Berlin a cosmopolitan, diverse and vibrant city. Albeit a relatively new city, Berlin still has a substantial amount of history.

Berlin is such a vibrant and inclusive city, that you never want to leave after visiting. From our personal experience, Berlin is a truly great city. We have used our time to experience and collect as many fun memories, moments and great attractions as possible. Hopefully you can use our guide as a basis for your own trip to Berlin, and we hope our guide will help you realise what this wonderful city has to offer.

Brandenburg Gate

An article by Alison Bouchard, a project member on a CityTravelReview programme, Berlin, Sept 2014

This majestic monument is Germany’s most important landmark as well as the city’s biggest tourist attraction. Built by Carl Gotthard Langhans from 1788 to 1791, this former gate to the city was once a sign of peace. Since then, the
Brandenburg Tor (Brandenburg Gate) has survived the biggest conflicts in the history of Germany including WWII, when it suffered considerable damage. Following the war, the 85-foot tall gate was closed off when the city was split into East and West-Berlin in 1961. During that time it became a symbol not only for the division of the city but for the division of all of Germany. It would not be open to the public again until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Since then, the gate has come to symbolize the new reunified Germany.

The neoclassical masterpiece comprises 12 massive Doric columns and five passageways, the biggest of which, located in the centre, was once reserved for royals only. The gate’s most striking element, however, is the magnificent Quadriga, a statue of Eirene the Greek goddess of peace, on a chariot drawn by four horses. The ornate, green statue made of bronze is now a symbol of victory.
Stop by at night time for a breathtaking view of the glowing gate.

Fried Mars Bar

An article written for CityTravelReview by Janina Reiter, Edinburgh project, March 2014

Don’t think you might fancy a deep-fried Mars bar? No worries, it doesn’t taste as funny as it sounds. Basically, it’s just an ordinary Mars bar fried in batter. It is said to have been invented in 1995 in a bar near Aberdeen in Northeast Scotland. Mass media commented on the new snack, so it has become more and more popular ever since. Still it is not very common among Scottish people: According to a survey, most fried Mars bars are sold to tourists. For around £2.50 you can try one yourself, for example at the Castle Rock Take Away at the Grassmarket. It is worth giving this snack a chance. Although consisting of nothing more than warmed chocolate and caramel, it still tastes great.