Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Berlin: A vibrant city, once divided . . .

I had originally toyed with the idea of a very long day trip to Berlin from Amsterdam because I had heard so much about it.  So when my supervisor encouraged me to take a third week off, there was no question where I wanted to spend it.

Berlin, today is a thriving, young, artistic and vibrant city that is distinguished not between East and West with a wall and an ocean of ideology dividing it but by these different boroughs (also known as districts) that have their own unique vibe and characteristics.

I chose to stay in an apartment in a neighborhood in the district called Mitte (of former East Berlin) based on its proximity to some of the sights I wanted to see on my visit. But truth be told, a part of me also wanted to stay in a district which was a part of former East Berlin simply because I could.  Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia: 

Between 1961 and 1990, Mitte was a part of East Berlin and was surrounded by the Berlin Wall at its north, south and west. There were some border control points, the most famous of which was Checkpoint Charlie between Kreuzberg and Mitte, which was operated by the U.S. Army and its allies and was open to foreigners and diplomats

On my visit I want to have a good mix of exploring both Berlin's past and the Berlin of today which to me seems to be continually evolving.  I find it fascinating how a city like Berlin where horrible things took place has managed to redefine itself and become this very vibrant, artistic and cool city. This transformation is a tribute to Berliners and to Germany. 

Fellow Slow Traveler Shannon spent two weeks in Berlin a few years ago and wrote about her experiences on her Poptarticus blog.  She gave me some fabulous recommendations, which I blogged about on this post:  Berlin: I think I'm in love . Another fellow Slow Traveler Sandra also commented how much she enjoyed her visit to Berlin.  She visited two places on my must see list, Checkpoint Charlie and the Reichstag, and found the City fascinating.

The train ride from Amsterdam to Berlin will be about 6 hours so I plan to leave early enough to arrive in Berlin with enough day light to make my way to the TV Tower (Berliner Fernsehturm).  The tower stands at 670 feet high (207 meters) and provides a 360 degree view of the city below. Shannon said that I will get a good sense of the City's layout from the top of the tower.  Cool! 

I am very excited to visit Berlin. I hope to do a couple more posts on Berlin in the next week which should conclude my pre trip planning posts and then it's the dreaded pre packing logistics and final preparations. eek!  :)


  1. Don't ya just love these 'tips' from other travelers whose advice you can depend?

  2. Kathy, I think you're going to really enjoy Berlin!

  3. Hi M, I really do appreciate and love all the wonderful tips and also words of encouragements from such experienced and knowledgeable travelers... I'm very lucky to be the recipient.

    Hi Sandra, I think I will totally enjoy Berlin too.

    Thanks so much for your comments M & Sandra. Time is sure flying by for me. I might have time to only do a maybe one or possibly two more, well it's looking more and more like one more post before I leave. :) These posts has really helped me to focus.

  4. I'll be very curious to hear what you think about Berlin. I've never had the urge to go but have talked to people who loved it.

  5. Hi Annie, I am curious too. I have heard wonderful things about Berlin so I thought well maybe there's something here that I need to see too. :) Thanks so much for your comments Annie.


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.