Jamesag96 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 2095 posts, RR: 3 Posted (10 years 7 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2291 times:
My younger brother will be studying abroad this summer in Berlin. I'd like to forward as much information about the city and surrounding area to him as possible, such as things to do, places to avoid, temperament of the locals...he speaks German so that is not a concern. He will be there for three months, easily his longest time away from home. He was in Germany a little over a year ago for a vacation, but this is a bit more intense in that he is traveling alone and staying with a host family.
Racko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4853 posts, RR: 20 Reply 1, posted (10 years 7 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 2164 times:
What exactly do you want to know? It's hard to start without a specific question, but I'll give you my personal impressions from my last visit in Berlin (Dec. 2002) and will try to give rough answers to your points:
It's a very interesting city, because it has so many different faces together in one city. It's also a very much "living" city, i.e. you can really feel how the city grows and develops after the reunification in 1990. Berliners are "a class of their own", but they are very friendly and open. Berlin is a truly international city, you'll find people from almost all nationalities there. Places to avoid is a difficult question for me as I don't live there, but I think Kreuzberg doesn't have the best image. Things to do, well, where should I start? I'd say make sure to see the governmentquarter (Regierungsviertel), the Reichstag as an old house with a very modern glass-dome is a must-see, so is the Brandenburg gate. Ah, and if he likes techno music (I don't ) he must visit the "Loveparade", an open-air parade through Berlin with I think up to 1 million ravers, impressive sight.
The guys who know Berlin better than me will surely give you better informations
NoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7891 posts, RR: 13 Reply 3, posted (10 years 7 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 2155 times:
My move from Hamburg to Berlin in 1995 was followed by sort of a cultural shock. Unfriendly people, grey buildings and much more dirt.
Now eight years have gone past and Berlin has almost totally changed. People became more open (A Chinese man recently compared them to a thermos bottle: "Cold at the outside, hot at the inside" - I think that fits nicely), and most buildings have improved too. But streets are still covered with dirt when you compare Berlin to other big German cities.
However, your brother should NOT hesitate to make the "first step". (Edit: I mean when it coms to make contact to othe people)
It is a good idea to buy a copy of "Zitty" or "Tip", two thumb-thick city magazines and event calendars for the next 14 days (and the nights ) to come.
Places to go ... well ... this is sort of a short-list:
Oranienburger Str. with: Synagogue, Tacheles, Hackesche Höfe, Heckmanns Höfe and Café Orange (inbetween of the Synagogue and Heckmanns Höfe) - one of my fav. Restaurants.
Reichstag Building (not only from the outside!)
Brandenburg Gate and Unter den Linden
Kurfürstendamm (the so-called Ku'damm)
Friedrichstrasse and Gendarmen Market (preferably at a warm evening when the sun sets)
Prenzlauer Berg with: Kulturbrauerei, Kollwitz Square, Helmholtz Square (perhaps) and Pfefferberg (at night).
Museums: Pergamon Museum, Jewish Museum, Deutsches Technikmuseum, Filmmuseum at Potsdam Square
Charlottenburg Palace (perhaps)
The lakes in southwest Berlin
Tiergarten (the park, not the district)
Potsdam: Castle Sans-Soucci and the Netherland Quarters
I think he should make a trip to Poland as well.
There are hardly any no-go zones in Berlin but I would skip Alexander Square (the so-called Alex boring and ugly) and districts like Marzahn with those butt-ugly high-rise buildings.
If your brother is still looking for an accomodation, drop a line here.
Andreas From Germany, joined Oct 2001, 6104 posts, RR: 33 Reply 4, posted (10 years 7 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 2138 times:
what do I read here...an American who wants to go to Berlin? Very good idea, one of the most vibrant cities in Europe, maybe worldwide (though not economically..unfortunately!), and he'll get a good and not-too-short impression of Old-European-New-Germany. Which is something we all need...an in-depth look at each other in order to understand why things are as they are.
Ok, basically the list of NoUFO is what he should do, maybe a few additional remarks:
Reichstag - get inside and into the glass dome on the roof designed by Norman Foster..the Berliners hated it, when they heard about the idea, now that it is ready they love it!! preferably around evening, the look at Berlin Center and Pariser and Potsdamer Platz is spectacular!
Prenzlauerberg or Prenzelsberg - Don't know how old your brother is, but if he's 18+, then he should have a go at the pub and club scene, drive to Kollwitz Square and then go into the little streets around the square, looks still a little bit like after the war, but it's an absolute trendy in-area of Berlin, very groovy pubs and some clubs, even some "old east" flair. Bill Clinton did, when he visited Berlin twice, he actually loved it and he came back on his farewell tour in 2000!!
Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf - Ludwig-Kirch-Platz..very cool pub area, Savigny-Platz dito, especially under the s-bahn bridges! From there it's a short walk to the Schwarze Cafe, where you end the night...not to be entered before 3 in the morning if you don't want to be outed as an ignorant tourist , but then the "Black Cafe" is the place where you want to be!!!
Schoeneberg - Winterfeldplatz, markets on saturdays, and nightlife 24 hours, and DON'T FORGET TO HAVE A FALAFEL AT HABIBI there, or more than one, or lots of!!!!!! This Plaza and the surrounding streets are Berlins gay center btw, it's absolutely safe, very beautiful, just in case he wonders why there are so many pretty men
No-go zones - all the old Western and Eastern lower class residential areas at the city border: Siemensstadt, Gropiusstadt, Hellersdorf, Marzahn...that's not nice really but there's nothing to see or to be done there, and if he goes there it's not really dangerous though I would watch out for Skinheads, these fu"gg"ed-up assholes live there and are an unpleasant lot, just get out of their way!
and another thing to do: a boat trip: Berlin is not only a very green city, that is, lots of parks, forests, trees and so on, but also a very wet one...many, many canals, Berliners love the water and a boat trip on a sunny day is a very nice thing to do!
Ok that's it for now, if I come up with more ideas I'll post some more!
JamesAg96 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 2095 posts, RR: 3 Reply 5, posted (10 years 7 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2113 times:
Thank you very much for all of the input. Sounds like he is going to be a busy man for three months. Now that he can travel out there with some beforehand knowledge, I think this will settle him down a bit. Hell, from the sounds of it, I think I need to venture out that way while he is there...wonder how the host-family would respond to that?
Thank you again, and any further information is surely appreciated.
Andreas From Germany, joined Oct 2001, 6104 posts, RR: 33 Reply 7, posted (10 years 7 months 4 hours ago) and read 2073 times:
Yes-on short notice:
There's a biweekly magazine called Tip that contains all events for 2 weeks, he should buy that one in order to keep up with all the nice things happening there!
When he's on tour in Kreuzberg around Moritzplatz, he should prevent at all costs to try to discuss about politics with the aboriginees or those who think of themselves as such otherwise he's bound to go crazy!!
If he likes to go swimming, there are lots of lakes to do so, but he should keep in mind that most Berliners do this in the nude...
Ok, that should prepare him allright, again lots of fun!!
NoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7891 posts, RR: 13 Reply 10, posted (10 years 7 months ago) and read 2048 times:
BTW: I really hate to say this, but I came across an article saying that the situation of the Berlin Universities and their associated libraries is beyond imagination. So he should consider himself warned.