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We flew in late afternoon, dropping out of the clouds in our orange Easyjet to be greeted by snow covered forests and the flat landscape of Berlin. After working out what ticket we needed from Schoenefeld airport to get us to our destination near the Zoologischer Garten (zone AB as it turned out), we clambered aboard a window scratched train (S9) and travelled the 50 minutes or so through the changing suburbs of Berlin as the sun set. From the Zoo we got a bus to Hotel-Pension Bregenz, off Olivar Platz, for a 3 night stay in this reunited German capital.
Moving around Berlin was easy, once we worked out how the tickets worked! (5,60€ for a day pass) and with a comprehensive verbal guide, backed up with a 'felt tipped to death' city map, given when we got to the hotel by Christian, the manager, we couldn't go far wrong. He also gave us such a very warm welcome, making us feel right at home straightaway. In fact everyone we met in Berlin was so friendly! Our stay also included a full buffet breakfast, great value... We'd well recommend staying here if you're thinking of going to Berlin.
After some Warsteiner (Austrian Beer) in the Vogelweide (Austrian) restaurant the first night we only had only really two full days to cram in the sights and managed to get to see quite a few things.
First morning we joined the shortish queue (we'd been warned to get there handy) for the viewing Platform from the new glass dome at the Reichstag Building, the seat of the new German Bundestag. After the usual security checks and a trip in a glass lift we got a great 360 degree panorama view of the whole of the city, including the TV Tower at Alexanderplatz (at 368m Berlin's highest building), the Berlin Cathedral, the Red Town Hall (wonder why its called that), the Brandenburg Gate and the new Sony complex.
We made our way across to where the Berlin Wall used to be and walked through the Brandenburg Gate and into the old East Berlin and met by all the building work that's been frantically going on, including the new British embassy. After some delish, kiosk served freshly fried fries and a check over of Checkpoint Charlie, Lisa had a huge coffee froth thing before, in the afternoon, heading to the Jewish Museum for visit, including a thought provoking walk on the fallen leaves exhibit.
Popping in for a warming soup, plus refill!, at Schlotzsky's Deli this kept us going until we got back that evening for a great meal at Maredo and a few beers (and the rest) at a place who's name escapes me.
Next morning we waited for a canal cruise around the city that never left (start of the season) so we had a shufters around the grounds of Charlottenburg castle (what we'd call a palace) before exploring the Nikolai quarter, a small reconstructed area (as it was in 19th Century) surrounding the church. In the afternoon we visited the Pergamon museum, well worth a visit, if you like stories of the gods! The Ishtar gate was fascinating Then headed back for a final night on the town before our flight back the next day.
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