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  #41  
Old Posted Nov 14, 2011, 12:03 AM
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germans are all perverts?

Nah, they're living life to the fullest.
     
     
  #42  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2011, 10:55 PM
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Hipster Christmas Market in Berlin

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  #43  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2011, 5:55 AM
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I miss Berlin! I spent 2 of my 3 month vacation there and had it not been for friends in Holland and Belgium, would have stayed the entire time. Can't wait to return.

Lear, are the trams still being extended into the west? I generally preferred the former east to the west and I think that the trams were a part of the reason.
     
     
  #44  
Old Posted Dec 12, 2011, 5:24 AM
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Lear: probably part of a longer term trend toward more recognition of Germany. Americans really know very little about Berlin compared to London, Paris and the major Italian cities. I guess this is because Germany has been politicized for so long during the Cold War and traditionally excelled in technology, the sciences and classical music more than in food, fashion, painting and other more popular cultural areas. Even in drinking, the Germans are dominated in the US by Irish and British pubs.

But Berlin's re-emergence should change that. Currywurst and stubes are obvious candidates. Street art and attractive architecture (minimalist and post-modern) should be other areas.
Yeah, even in Canada it's like this. Germany is more off the radar and is now being seen as exotic, trendy, and cool. Traditionally, when a North American conjures up images of Europe, it's usually the U.K. or Romance language nations. Sometimes Switzerland, Moscow, Greece, and the Netherlands. However, even that's much more rare in comparison to Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, Venice, Coliseum, South France, Stonehenge, Lisbon, and the Running of the Bulls. It's quite strange because Germany is larger than France, the U.K., Italy, and Iberia.

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Hipster Christmas Market in Berlin

Holy. Shit. Shopping





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I gotta ask...why is there so much English in German texts, adverts, etc.? Especially when most people reading it will be living in Germany/Austria/Switzerland and therefore be able to understand the full German version. It seems even more common in the Netherlands, but the Dutch have a culture of learning and becoming very fluent in English at a young age which doesn't seem to be as common in Germany (and why would it? Germany is a major language with tons of speakers and has things such as movies dubbed).
     
     
  #45  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2012, 1:53 PM
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  #46  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2012, 5:54 PM
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Afflicted with Berlin fever

Berlin fever has been in full swing in Chicago for a few years at least, especially among artsy types (fartsy types too- I’m heading there in a couple weeks). The visual arts and electronic music scenes, the idea that it’s a ‘kinetic’ city in flux and, not least, relatively affordable (and not overly polished and staid) are the reasons my friends are citing for their recent visits. I imagine the underground sex dungeons are all the rage, too.
In the popular (American) imagination, there may still be the residual notion that Germans are a dour, serious, people who eat gruel under grey skies while imagining ways to get an extra 1/32 mile per gallon out of the latest Mercedes Benz in between daydreams of invading Poland, but I think that’s greatly dissipated over the last decade. I feel like it’s been the darling of Europe for awhile now.

On to my upcoming trip….any little known ‘must sees’? Big stuff on the itinerary so far:

Nues, Bauhaus, & stasi museums
Brandenburg gate/Reichstag/Checkpoint Charlie
Dinner @ Dos Palillos in the Camper Hotel

We’re staying at the Michelberger. Oh, I’d like to check out that abandoned theme park posted earlier (featured in the movie “Hannah”, if I’m not mistaken). I’m also curious about the local fast food options….currywurst or the kebab places worth checking out? How about a place for a good, traditional, German meal?

Very much looking forward to the trip!
     
     
  #47  
Old Posted Jan 13, 2012, 8:34 PM
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But I think that’s greatly dissipated over the last decade. I feel like it’s been the darling of Europe for awhile now.
Absolutely. For Europeans there is no doubt Germany has an excellent reputation. Berlin is kind of a hip rockstar among the global cities. The US is a bit slow in recognizing the developments in Germany, but there is also no doubt that the young and cool crowd in L.A., Chicago, NYC, San Francisco, DC are crazy about Berlin.....


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Nues, Bauhaus, & stasi museums
Brandenburg gate/Reichstag/Checkpoint Charlie
Dinner @ Dos Palillos in the Camper Hotel

We’re staying at the Michelberger. Oh, I’d like to check out that abandoned theme park posted earlier (featured in the movie “Hannah”, if I’m not mistaken). I’m also curious about the local fast food options….currywurst or the kebab places worth checking out? How about a place for a good, traditional, German meal?
Very good choices. Michelberger is a 5 minutes walk from where I live. The abandoned Ex-Communist Theme park, Spreepark is awesome, the real thrill is to get in there illegallly, without getting caught by the security Butas mentioned in the link there are tour operators as well (Every Sunday, starting 13.00h)

Food Check List:
Breakfast/ Bakery Morgenbrot (10 min walk from Michelberger)
Tasty burgers ....Burgermeister ... (5 min walk )
Southern German cuisine Schneeweiß.... (10 min walk) or Austria
Very good punk pizza Il Ritrivo (10 min walk)
Currywurst ...Curry36 or at many other places, the same goes for Kebap or Schawarma.

Don´t forget washing down all this miammy food with this, Augustiner Lager, finest beer from Munich.


or German Afri Cola !


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Originally Posted by ametz View Post
any little known ‘must sees’?
The Badeschiff, a pool, and at winter times a sauna, floating in the river Spree (15 min walk)


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Last edited by Lear; Jan 13, 2012 at 9:31 PM.
     
     
  #48  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2012, 8:20 PM
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I gotta ask...why is there so much English in German texts, adverts, etc.? Especially when most people reading it will be living in Germany/Austria/Switzerland and therefore be able to understand the full German version. It seems even more common in the Netherlands, but the Dutch have a culture of learning and becoming very fluent in English at a young age which doesn't seem to be as common in Germany (and why would it? Germany is a major language with tons of speakers and has things such as movies dubbed).
Lear? Anyone? This is something that I've always found strange, considering German is a major language and all.
     
     
  #49  
Old Posted Jan 16, 2012, 1:17 PM
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Yeah, even in Canada it's like this. Germany is more off the radar and is now being seen as exotic, trendy, and cool. Traditionally, when a North American conjures up images of Europe, it's usually the U.K. or Romance language nations. Sometimes Switzerland, Moscow, Greece, and the Netherlands. However, even that's much more rare in comparison to Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, Venice, Coliseum, South France, Stonehenge, Lisbon, and the Running of the Bulls. It's quite strange because Germany is larger than France, the U.K., Italy, and Iberia.
After WWII, Germany kept a low profile and intentionally portrayed itself as a boring and generic place in order to regain some sort of standing in the international community. While this was generally successful in dispelling other countries' fears of German agression, it also allowed the more subliminal negative stereotypes to survive longer. The Germans' image of efficient robots unable to enjoy the beautiful things in life is still common even among people who hold an overall favorable view of the country. This is starting to change in Europe, but hasn't really reached the other side of the pond yet.

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Originally Posted by ue View Post
I gotta ask...why is there so much English in German texts, adverts, etc.? Especially when most people reading it will be living in Germany/Austria/Switzerland and therefore be able to understand the full German version. It seems even more common in the Netherlands, but the Dutch have a culture of learning and becoming very fluent in English at a young age which doesn't seem to be as common in Germany (and why would it? Germany is a major language with tons of speakers and has things such as movies dubbed).
Languages have always loaned from each other. English is the global lingua franca nowadays, and I suppose better education and globalization means that foreign words and concepts are absorbed faster than they used to be.

In the case of Germany, language pride and calls for linguistic purity were long associated with a backward mindset or even nationalism, and there isn't the same sense of "rivalry" with American culture as there is in the French and Spanish-speaking countries. Knowledge of English is also greater than it is in other parts of Europe apart from the Netherlands and Scandinavia.
     
     
  #50  
Old Posted Jan 16, 2012, 7:53 PM
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Firstly, thank you for the response. That clears things up. I know English phrases are thrown all over signs in cities like Amsterdam too, but it always made more sense in the Netherlands because just so many people do speak English there and the Dutch translation most likely wouldn't have been too different (because English and Dutch are similar). But it still did seem strange, because well, despite being very fluent in English, the Dutch do have their own language.

But with Germany, I wouldn't have figured that to happen so much just due to the fact that German is a major world language, and is heavily spoken especially in Continental Europe. That, and the fact that Hollywood movies don't necessarily need to be subtitled in German, as it can just be dubbed (which isn't true for Benelux or Scandinavia). One example I found strange is I saw on a German website about how you can sign up for a "Newsletter," why isn't it "Neuesbrief" or something to that extent? I guess it's just because the word came into vernacular quick and the Germans weren't so English-resistant like French and Spanish speaking parts of the world, which is nice. Another way Germany is ahead of the curve, because clearly accepting, knowing, and using English is going to continue to become more important in our increasingly globalized society of which, as you mention, English is the lingua franca.
     
     
  #51  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2012, 9:19 PM
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The wild, decadent ways of the Weimar era are alive again in Berlin - Wall Street Journal

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Today, with the city's post-Berlin Wall reconstruction nearly complete in physical and emotional terms, there are signs that the wild, wicked Berlin of the 1920s has returned. The city's avant-garde art scene is flourishing; stars like Olafur Eliasson and Daniel Richter now call Berlin home. (Chinese artist Ai Weiwei accepted a post at the Berlin University of the Arts after his imprisonment last year.) World-class filmmaking has returned to the famed Studio Babelsberg; soundstages where Fritz Lang and Josef von Sternberg worked are now being used by notable subversives like the Wachowskis and Quentin Tarantino. The contemporary nightlife scene is unmatched in its enthusiasm for all-hours partying and sheer volume of venues and events--many inspired by a past golden age.


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  #52  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2012, 10:58 PM
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Berlin fever has been in full swing in Chicago for a few years at least, especially among artsy types (fartsy types too- I’m heading there in a couple weeks). The visual arts and electronic music scenes, the idea that it’s a ‘kinetic’ city in flux and, not least, relatively affordable (and not overly polished and staid) are the reasons my friends are citing for their recent visits. I imagine the underground sex dungeons are all the rage, too.
In the popular (American) imagination, there may still be the residual notion that Germans are a dour, serious, people who eat gruel under grey skies while imagining ways to get an extra 1/32 mile per gallon out of the latest Mercedes Benz in between daydreams of invading Poland, but I think that’s greatly dissipated over the last decade. I feel like it’s been the darling of Europe for awhile now.

On to my upcoming trip….any little known ‘must sees’? Big stuff on the itinerary so far:

Nues, Bauhaus, & stasi museums
Brandenburg gate/Reichstag/Checkpoint Charlie
Dinner @ Dos Palillos in the Camper Hotel

We’re staying at the Michelberger. Oh, I’d like to check out that abandoned theme park posted earlier (featured in the movie “Hannah”, if I’m not mistaken). I’m also curious about the local fast food options….currywurst or the kebab places worth checking out? How about a place for a good, traditional, German meal?

Very much looking forward to the trip!
I don't know when or for how long you are going but here are some recommendations:

Fist off, book the Reichstag tour as soon as you know your travel dates. I had to wait 3 weeks after I arrived and that was in March! Fantastic tour and the Norman Foster dome is spectacular.
https://visite.bundestag.de/BAPWeb/p...st.jsf?lang=en

Buy a Berlin Welcome Card. This will give you 5 days unlimited transit and good discounts on over 150 attractions and museums. Cost is 30-35 euro (Zone AB will cover most of your needs, ABC for Potsdam, Sachsenhausen) Renew at will.

The first tour you should book is an Alternative Berlin tour. They take you to places that you would never think of going to and if you go on arrival, you can return to the places that interest you later. I did the twilight.
http://alternativeberlin.com/

Absolute must: Berlin Unterwelten. There are about a half-dozen or so tours of bunkers and underground complex from both WW II and the Cold War. The guides are historians and the structures are absolutely amazing. I did 4 tours but if you can only do one, I suggest the flak tower.
http://berliner-unterwelten.de/guided-tours.3.1.html

The Neues is a fantastic museum as are all on Museum Island. Buy the 19 euro, 3-day pass (and another and another..) It's good for over 50 city museums including (that I went to) Bauhaus, Guggenhein, Luftwaffe, Technikmuseum, Pergamon, Alte and Neue Nationalgaleries, Bode, Altes, Jewish, Medizinhistorisches, Deutscher Dom and Hamburger Bahnhof Contemporary. Depending upon your interests, any or all of these could be an all-day experience. I visited the Technikmuseum twice in order to take it all in.
http://www.visitberlin.de/en/article/museum-pass-berlin

Which leads me to the Deutsches Historiches Museum. WOW. Took me 3 visits before I saw it all. Phenomenal in content, architecture and layout, it will slaughter you if you're a fan of history. Right next to Museum Island.
http://www.dhm.de/ENGLISH/

Stasimuseum is well worth the trip even though it was under renovation when I went. Also, the Stasi prison will chill you. Saschenhausen concentration camp is a must see.

I found Checkpoint Charlie to be a bit of a touristy letdown but it's easy enough to see on your way to and fro. Other museums that are interesting and will only take an hour or two are DDR Museum, This Is Berlin, Aquadom, Zoo, Motorcycle Museum.

Check out Fat Tire Bikes for really fabulous bike tours with amazing guides.
http://fattirebiketours.com/berlin

Go to Olympic Stadium. A beautiful job of historic preservation with a fantastic modern upgrade for the 2006 World Cup. If Hertha is playing, catch a soccer game. For a less glamourous but more fun and down to earth soccer experience, catch FC Union Berlin at Alte Forsterei stadium. Hardest working fans in football!

Another point of interest is the ghost station exhibition at S Bahn Nordbanhof. Across the street is a preserved section of the wall with an interpretation centre across from that. On the fourth corner, there is a crazy urban beach (BeachMitte) with a five-storey climbing apparatus (MountMitte) and a park built along the former death strip. (Berliners tend to take all of this stuff for granted!)

Treptower Park is beautiful and has a massive Soviet war memorial. Gorlitzer Park is great to hang out in and there is a small community at the south end where people live completely off grid.

You MUST go to Mauerpark on Sunday, this is not negotiable!! A huge flea market where you can buy absolutely anything next to a park where everyone is doing their own thing while 1,000's of people line the hillside listening to people belt out karaoke tunes!

Nightlife is 24 hours and whatever you want it to be. Music venues are everywhere, every style and the clubs are legendary, Berghain being the most amazing club I've ever been to. The door policy is difficult to get a handle on (we got in on the 3rd attempt) but once you're in- anything goes, and I really do mean anything. You lose all connection to time and place until you emerge the next morning, afternoon or evening. Or 2 days later.. Watergate, Tresor and Matrix are good bets as well. Dressing casual, even down a bit, and not looking or acting like a douchebag seems to be the best bet for getting into clubs. Berlin is very anti-douchebag.

Keep in mind that public drinking is legal and alcohol is available practically everywhere and at any time. You can walk into a bar, buy a beer and leave with it. When you order, your first drink will cost you 1 euro extra and you will receive a plastic token. Return your bottle or glass each time you order another and you won't have to pay the 1 euro. You can cash in your chip(s) at the end of the night or do like I did and return home with 30 euro worth of souvenir chips! Smoking is allowed in most venues (but not restaurants). Prostitution is legal so you will see some killer attractive workers in tourist areas.

Currywurst and wurst are available everywhere and I never found a bad kebab place, they all claim to be 'The Best!'. I frequented one across from the TV Tower on Karl-Liebnecht as well as one near Hackescher Mrkt. My favourite street snacks were crepes with either Nutella or ham and cheese. They were ready in 3 minutes and only cost 2 or 3 euro. There are pastry and sausage places everywhere including just about every S bahn and U bahn station (where you can also buy beer, vodka, Jagermeister etc. and hop on your train with it). Stir fry and sushi places abound. And roast chicken! There is a takeout place by Gorlitzer park that is awesome but you'll find them all over.

You'll often be approached by Roma women and their children asking if you 'speak english?'. Say 'nein' or just ignore them, they're very annoying.

Transit is super efficient, frequent, 24 hours and goes everywhere.

Hope that helps. I've missed a bunch but you'll probably find 100 things that I didn't. You need a few years to get a grip on Berlin.
     
     
  #53  
Old Posted Feb 2, 2012, 4:37 PM
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Berlin first timer's (quick and dirty) report

“You need a few years to get a grip on Berlin”

You’re not kidding.

I just returned (3.5 days- just enough to get the slightest glimpse of the upside-down, neon fringed, unfussy, glorious people circus that it seems to be).

I’ll keep it brief as my brain is still scrambled and my employer has little sympathy for my decision to maximize my trip by coming straight into the office from the airport, no adjustment/decompression.

Stayed at the Michelberger- a budget hotel in Friedrichshain (sp?), ingenious use of simple materials and a shabby/chic design standout. Hip sans attitude, easily accessible by rail, good breakfast, very good lounge/bar (where we had a nightcap most nights). By far the best hotel website in the universe:

http://www.michelbergerhotel.com/

I and my travel companions are in our late 30’s and we were very comfortable here, but I suspect there’s more of a 24hr. party atmosphere (and attendant noise- damn kids!) during the summer months. Recommended, especially if you want to save a few bucks (comfy 2 person room was 90 dollars).

Meals:

“Little Otik” – in Kreuzburg, GREAT meal. Simple menu that changes daily, pitch perfect wine list. God knows why, but it’s named after the most bizarre Czech movie about an anthropomorphic, man eating tree. I recommend the movie, too

“Dos Palillos” in the Camper hotel (in Mitte). Haute cuisine dished out by an El Bulli alum. Small plates……12 courses with a surprisingly affordable (and thankfully German/Austrian leaning) wine list. Service was a little sketchy, especially for a high end joint, but the food was bullet proof. Asian/Spanish with German influences. Pricey, but worth it.

Those were the highlights….also had hole-in-the-wall Lebanese in Kreuzburg (solid, if average), a currywurst from a little dive near the Alexanderplatz station (surprisingly pleasing, despite my genetic Chicago “no ketchup on sausages” snobbery), and a southern German tourist trap near Checkpoint Charlie (complete with a big fat guy statue, garbed in lederhosen, holding a stein). It wasn’t bad!

Museums:

Even though our time was limited, the 3 day museum pass for 19 Euro was a steal. I was traveling with an architectural preservationist, so we skewed toward sculpture and antiquities- Altes, Nueus, Pergamon. World class all, but the Pergamon Altar in the Pergamon is a show stopper without peer.

We also spent a couple hours in the Stasi museum. Interesting, but I wouldn’t call it ‘must see’ unless you’re in town for weeks or have a deep and abiding interest in the Stasi. The museum was Spartan, and I didn’t think it offered much insight into the transition between the Nazis and communism for the East German population, and it didn’t shed much light (at least in English) on what it was like for the average citizen. And I missed the jail cells! Are they elsewhere? It was also undergoing renovations, I should add. One of the highlights was an employee walking us (4 people) to a toilet on display and frantically telling us (I think- she was speaking German) to NOT use it. She did this twice, though none of us had that “I have to poop now” look in our eyes, nor were any of us disrobing. And the toilet was clearly not functional. We could only surmise that one guest did indeed use the toilet, and that poor woman was charged with its cleanup. She was scarred, no doubt. Anywho, we rented “Lives of Others” upon our return to Dublin, and that really did bring the Stasi experience together nicely (much of it was filmed in the museum).

We spent a day at the Reichstag (no proper tour- yes, it has to be reserved days if not weeks ahead of time. Cursory background check?), Brandenburg Gate, had tea at the Adlon (worth the 10+ euro a cup tag if you need to take a load off, and want to do it in luxury), and spent a couple hours touring the murdered Jews of Europe memorial just around the corner. The field of grey slabs coupled with the recovered letters in the underground museum may be the most evocative and affecting I’ve experienced regarding the holocaust.

Went to Ka De We because I have a wife. Typical high end dept. store with a fantastic food court up top. Global availability + exchange rate is such that it doesn’t make much sense for an American (or my Irish companions) to buy anything outside of local boutiques and galleries (which we did, mostly in Mitte). Checkpoint Charlie was an interesting blow by- the pics and explanations posted nearby were interesting and informative. We skipped the museum. Other than that, we spent time walking and taking public transport as much as we could to get a general ‘feel’. In a nutshell, we found it unique- artsy, unfussy, German but multicultural, friendly but not overtly so, accessible by all measures, and relatively inexpensive. Thanks a million Lear & The Gibbroni for the recs (Gibbroni, I didn’t see yours until just now)- I’m definitely going back, probably late summer/early Fall (for at least a week).
     
     
  #54  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2012, 12:36 PM
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Berlin as global lifestyle center is again seen as one of the movers and shakers...


Hub Culture 2012 Zeitgeist Ranking

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4. Berlin (2011 rank: 4)

Berlin is like your hipster friend who went into local politics and ended up raising your property taxes. All the cool kids are still there, but the city's evolution into political power player is complete, and that's replacing the hip factor with raw power. Berlin is calling the shots across Europe - from the Greek crisis to EU interest rates, and so for every underground dungeon slash disco there are now two lawyers in a coffee shop talking about work. That's life.



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  #55  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2012, 7:58 PM
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Cultural invasion of Britain celebrates Germany's big shift - The Guardian

Until the fall of the Berlin Wall, the popular British perception of German culture involved either a stout opera singer in a horned helmet warbling Wagner, or Nena on Top of the Pops singing about 99 Red Balloons.

Much has changed in the intervening two decades, not least Berlin's coronation as a "poor but sexy" international capital of cool.
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  #56  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2012, 4:33 PM
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the crest of love for berlin in ny passed a few years ago when we got beer-halled out - lol!

berlin is an uber cool city for sure. its full of promise which is interesting and exciting. everyone should go now or soon while its still like this.
     
     
  #57  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2012, 3:55 PM
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I was planning a short trip to see Berlin (a great city), budget airlines offer dirt cheap fares but even the train from London isn't that expensive. I looked at the seat61 website and you can get from London to Berlin for a mere £43 (49 Euros) which seems quite reasonable

http://www.seat61.com/Germany.htm

     
     
  #58  
Old Posted Mar 13, 2012, 12:42 PM
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Richard Quest reports on Berlins creative scene...

Berlin: 'Poor, but sexy' - CNN Video


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  #59  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2012, 5:19 AM
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LOL @ cheesy old guys writing/reporting for clueless, corporate rags about what's "hip" and "cool." And hasn't the Berlin art/creative/start-up stuff been going on for a while? I have heard the same thing for several years now. Talk about beating a dead horse.
     
     
  #60  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2012, 5:35 AM
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And hasn't the Berlin art/creative/start-up stuff been going on for a while?

At least 20 years now...
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