Trip Start Jan 20, 2010
Trip End May 15, 2010

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Flag of Germany  , Brandenburg,
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Berlin is one of the youngest cities. It is made up of 59 villages and 6 cities. Our hotel was on the outskirts of the city, 80 kilometers away from Poland. The Berlin wall was built in 1961 and was taken down 20 years ago. There are three and a half million people living here, the cost of living is low. There are 300 subway stations so it is every easy to get around. The subway was put into place in 1902. In 1918 Berlin became a republic (after WWI) and Hitler was elected as something. During WWII 70 percent of the buildings were destroyed and rebuild in the 1950s.

We started our tour going to see the Berlin wall. It was different than my expectations. It looked just like a wall, there was no barbed wire, it wasn't crumbled down but instead painted. There were different scenes painted on it, it was very colorful. It runs threw the city. The wall is 120 miles long.

During out driving tour we drove past St. Nicolas Church which was built in the 1930s and is one of the oldest buildings in the city. The city square is centered around it. We passed the Red Town Hall (made from red brick), the tv tower (1200 feet tall and one of the tallest buildings in Europe), as well as numerous cafes. 

Next we drove over the Spree River and saw the Bode Museum which is on its own island. The Bode Museum contains statues, paintings and sculptures. It looked more like a church sitting on water than a museum. When you get a ticket for the museum it has a time stamp on it and you go in at that time, this way they can control the crowds.

We drove past the German Historical Building which has the same architect as the Louvre's glass triangle. Next we saw the Humboldt University, the Opera House, and the place where the book burnings took place (The White Library). The White Library can only been seen when standing next to it. It is a monument in the ground, it is very unusual.

None of the buildings are higher than 120 feet due to the fact the city center is considered a historical district. After we went to Check Point Charlie. CPC is the check point where the Russian and American crossed. There is a replication of what it used to look like complete with a fake US soldier. There were also posters all over the place with information about the check point and the history of the Berlin wall.   

Next we drove past Tear Garden, it is a large park that was used back in the day as the royal family hunting grounds. Across from the Tear Garden is a street which houses all the embassies. In front of the South Africa embassy is a count down to the world cup. There is no Turkish embassy building. Turkey just owns the land which is over grown and boxed in by fencing.     

Next we went to the city west part of Berlin which is famous for restaurants, cafes, theaters and department stores. a famous department store is KaDeWe. It has been open for 100 years. It is known for its restaurant on the 6th floor which has over 400 different types of bread and over 100 different types of cheese. We drove down "cool down street" as it is translated. It was built in the 19th century by royalty on horse back to get out of town to go hunting. It is now modeled after the Champs Elysees in Paris.

After our tour ended we hopped on a double decker bus and headed to Germany's oldest zoo containing the worlds largest number of species. Going to see the zoo was fun. We saw all sorts of animals: a panda, zebras, a black swan, monkeys and lions. After the zoo we went back to the city square and walked around and had dinner. On the train home we saw men drinking beer on the train which was weird.
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