Visiting Berlin

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I’m back in the familiar surroundings of Berlin.

It’s a city I first visited on a whim in 2006 and have returned to many times, even going so far as to spend an entire summer here in 2008.

My broken German is remarkably in-tact, if that makes sense, considering I picked up most of it five years ago and have barely used it since. I’m still able to carry on conversations with those I meet who hate speaking English.

I’ve divided my time between catching up with friends and playing tourist, visiting all the sites I’ve visited and walked past many times before.

The Brandenburger Gate is the symbol of Germany. It’s been used as a backdrop for famous speeches by US Presidents, past and present. I was able to get some great shots of it all lit up at night with my DSLR, I’ll share once I get back to Canada and process them.

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The amount of history from the past 80 years that swirls through this city is remarkable. If you have any interest in 20th Century history, Berlin is a must visit.

You can check out Tempelhof Airport, a well-preserved piece of Nazi Architecture, that became a symbol of peace during the “Berlin Airlift.”

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Then, of course, there is the uber famous Berlin Wall. You’ll have to do some research before you visit, there aren’t many remnants left. Almost all of it has been chipped away. Only a few small stretches remain.

On the other side of that wall, was East Berlin, which has a distinct look and feel not found anywhere else. I’ve always enjoyed the East part of the city, it’s got character. At Alexanderplatz, there’s the TV Tower (Fernsehturm) build by the Communist goverment in the 60’s.

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Further east, is Karl-Marx Allee, which was the planned, main street of East Berlin.

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Back on the West side, Potsdammer Platz, the New Jewish Synagogue and the Reichstag are also important sites not to be missed.

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Berlin is the kind of city in which you could spend a year in and not see everything. It’s bursting with history and culture.

But beware: the secret is out. Everybody knows about Berlin now and everyone is coming. Get here now before it becomes overrun with tourists and auslanders like myself in search of the Berlin experience. Get here before Berlin becomes expensive like other European capitals and visiting this great city and experiencing all it has to offer becomes a clichĩ.

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