Monday, September 13, 2010

Return trip to Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany is a tourist mecca. There is so much to see and do that you can return again and again and still discover new things about the city.

My favorite way to get re-acquainted with Berlin is to start with the City Circle Hop on Hop off sightseeing bus. Since 2008, they've expanded the route to include the East Side Gallery. While there are other Hop on Hop off (HOPO)options in Berlin, I think City Circle is the only one to head over to the East Side Gallery. The HOPO tours range in price from 15-20 Euro for a 1.5 - 2 hour route. City Circle is 20 Euro for 2 hours and is good for 24 hours. You can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time by using the HOPO, just hop off at your favorite site, explore, then hop back on. Another bus is just around the corner, as they are scheduled every 15 minutes!

Some of my favorite spots are:

Schloss Charlottenburg or Charlottenburg Palace - It was built from 1695-99 as a summer residence for Sophie Charlotte. The park grounds, designed in 1697 to resemble the elaborate gardens of Versailles in Paris, France, are simply enchanting. There is a mausoleum on the property which contains the sarcophagi of Queen Luise and Friedrich Wilhelm III.

Tiergarten - The tiergarten (animal garden) was built in the 1830s and served as a royal hunting ground. The tiergarten contains Victory Column (which is currently being renovated) and Schloss Bellevue, the home of the German President

East Side Gallery - The East Side Gallery is about a 1 mile (1.3 km) section of the Berlin Wall that contains about 100 paintings by artists worldwide. The project started in 1990 and has undergone some restoration due to the deterioration of the paintings from natural elements. In 2008, a full restoration was initiated.

Gendarmenmarkt - I had a spectacular view from my 6th floor room at the Hilton. This central square is one of my favorites in Europe. There are 2 beautiful churches, trees, and lots of open space. It's a great place to escape the tourism hub bub, grab some lunch or a snack and hang out on one of the many park benches.

A few pictures from my 2 day whirlwind tour of Berlin, Germany.

Schloss Charlottenburg entrance

Portion of the Wall (near the Topography of Terror)

Bridge near the East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

Gendarmenmarkt and the TV Tower

Jewish Memorial near the US Embassy and Brandenburg Gate

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

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