A Travellerspoint blog

Berlin

Day 1 - 24th August

sunny 30 °C

Taxi. After all the fighting with cab drivers in almost every city we visited in 2009, we decided to avoid them wherever possible this trip. So far so good…

Putting on the Ritz. What can I say? We were staying at the Ritz-Carlton for a taste of German opulence. Right on potzdamer-platz across from the famous sony Centre. Mind-blowingly impressive. Rumour has it they spent $100M on each of their 5 stars and another $50M for the ‘plus’. It certainly showed. Grossly indulgent but just what we were after.

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Berlin City. What a beautiful city. A tasteful mix of the old and new. The city of Berlin was levelled in the war with only a handful of buildings surviving. Years on, it is still a virtual construction site but one that has real heart and soul. They say Berlin will never be the Berlin they expected to rebuild, mainly due to red tape and funding however what they have achieved is remarkable. Some of the historic buildings have been restored to their former glory or rebuilt to be more accurate. You could hardly tell the difference.

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Berlin wall. We’ve all heard about it but nothing prepares you for the confronting and chilling impact once in sight. They call it the wall of shame. Apparently the entire length of the wall (some 150km) has been sold 3 times over. They still sell ‘genuine’ chippings of concrete for 3 euro. Can’t wait to see and learn more.

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Sony Centre. Modern complex made almost entirely from glass. The core of it forming an atrium of sorts providing residence for entertainment and numerous eateries. Nice place to stop for a coldie.

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Kurfurstendamm. Shopping heaven. One of the premium shopping strips in Berlin and it didn’t disappoint. I’m starting to sound like a chick. All I seem to want to do is shop, eat and drink. Might still be a little burnt from all the basilicas!!!

Refuel. After another full day of sightseeing, shopping and excessive walking it was time for some grub. Anyone who read through our 2009 blog would have noticed all the pictures and commentary of the food. Unfortunately, not much to write home about here. It’s not bad but it’s far from good. Schnitzel is becoming the safe option. Surely you can’t stuff that up.

Is it safe? The fitness area at the Ritz-Carlton is exceptional. Pool is small but the presentation is superb. I’ll take Vic with me for protection this time. The sauna was far less traumatic than my last experience however it will never be the same again. It once was a place of solace.

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Posted by samandvic 01:22 Archived in Germany

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