Of all the cities I went to in Germany, Berlin was by far my favorite. To compare it to a US city, I would probably liken it to San Francisco or Seattle, but Berlin has a long and deep-rooted history making it what it is today. Many parts are quite new and as a city it seems to be very forward thinking, yet you can still feel the residue of its tumultuous past. I was only there for 3 days but here is just a small sampling of this vibrant and eclectic city.
Painted bear statues and bikes are everywhere. Berlin is not the most populated bike city, even in Germany. Of German cities I saw, I think Bonn or Cologne had more. Amsterdam was even featured in a magazine about its bike populations, stating there were more per sq. mile than people.
However, Berlin is in heavy competition and its bike traffic almost rivals the car traffic. Bikes and I had a numerous close call collisions on a number of occasions because the bike lanes are on the sidewalks, and this took some getting used to. After growing up in Texas and moving to the biggest car city in the US, Los Angeles, this was quite a sight to see! I can only hope one day we will all catch up or revert back to this eco friendly mode of transport.
The first day we spent acquainting ourselves with the city, but spent most of the early part of the day at the East Side Gallery, where a good portion of the Berlin Wall has become a canvas for artists.
We continued walking along the Spree river until we reached the Turkish Market full of delectable fresh fruits and vegetables and authentic Mediterranean food. We drank fresh OJ, tried spicy stuffed olives, and ate baklava while sitting next to the river in the hip and up and coming Kreuzberg. It was a perfect, relaxing way to spend a Friday afternoon. I felt very at home even though it was like no home I've ever had.
My co-adventurer: Anna
Below is Alexanderplatz, a popular and touristy square, named after a Tsar. If you make reservations or have time to wait, you can go up the Fernsehturm tv tower, Berlin's tallest structure, and see a panoramic view of the city.