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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I finally decided to pay a visit to Berlin. Despite having visited various cities and places in Germany over the past 10 years (I don't think I had a year over the past 6 years when I didn't spend part of my holidays in Germany) I somehow never made it to Berlin despite many saying that it is the most fascinating and exciting (let alone the capital) city in the country.

I dedicated three days to Berlin which is probably just about enough to get an idea what the city is all about and see the main attractions. I visited Potsdam too which I will present at the end.

All in all I really liked Berlin. Besides all the traditional features such as museums, nightlife and other important cultural features of a big city there is one thing that I find really nice: planning and urban environments. Berlin feels very spacious and has excellent public areas all over the city center and elsewhere. People take advantage of that and you'll see picnics pretty much all over the place when the weather is good. Really pleasant and there is enough space to relax and chill out for everyone be it a large public park (Tiergarten) or a small greenland near a random highrise residential block.

Another aspect that I find great is modern architecture. Owing partially to WW2 destruction and partially to reunification investment efforts Berlin is packed with good modern stuff. It feels and looks like modern city above everything despite a decent amount of restored old buildings. Those who are not scared of highrise apartment blocks (aka 'commieblocks') will have something to see as well. Berlin has many residential areas built up with tall apartment buildings dominating a number of neighborhoods.

The pictures

View from my hotel's roof terrace. The New Brandenburg Airport terminal which is not open for business yet



More views of the neighborhood that I was staying at. It was right on the official city boundary surrounded by residential blocks on one side and empty grasslands dedicated for new development on the other


My hotel (Meininger Berlin Airport). I normally look for hotels on booking.com and this one had one of the top ratings yet was suprisingly cheap. It was one of the best hotels I have stayed at for this price range (~50EUR per night for a double room). Of course normally it makes sense to stay closer to the city center but since I was traveling with a car it made more sense to stay away and avoid any traffic-related issues including getting the Umwelt sticker which is compulsory for all cars not excluding foreign ones. With the excellent public transport in Berlin it wasn't a problem to move around



First sighting of central Berlin. Leaving an S Bahn train at Potsdamer Platz station. Public transport left me a very positive impression. S Bahn trains are not as good and comfortable as Munich or some other cities but the system overall integrates a number of transit modes (city core U-Bahn metro, suburban and cross-city S Bahn, Regionalbahn trains which can also be used as commuter trains within city transport fare zone limits, tramways and buses all of which makes a very solid and effective public transport system.

To understand how Berlin system works it's best to have a look at the map. Besides the numerous modes of public transit it's worth mentioning how it's positioned in the system. There are four (to my understanding) rail transit hubs positioned at each end (north, south, east, west) of the city several km away from the center. Each hub is a meeting point of several S bahn, U Bahn, Regionalbahn and even IC/ICE services. Each hub distributes traffic to final destinations within the city or central core hubs like Friedrichstrasse or Alexanderplatz so maximizing the efficiency of passenger flows. Very smart indeed


Potsdamer Platz. The centerpiece and the main showcase of modern Berlin. It was a no-go area during the cold war division era despite being centrally located. Today it's packed with life and is an excelent example of integration of business, leisure and public life which will be well visible in some later pictures. Those three highrises are the main landmarks of the area but the bast part is, in fact, on the ground. They did a good job creating a pleasant environment for pedestrians without compromising car traffic as it often happens in some cities
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Potsdamer Platz

The following pictures were taken around Potsdamer Platz



Bus stop at Potsdamer Strasse


Potsdamer Platz Arkaden is a big (around 40 000sq m with over 130 shops and restaurants) shopping center at Potsdamer Platz


Pink Pipes at Tilla-Durieux-Park. The pipes are used to pump away the ground water from construction sites
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Potsdamer Platz

The three dominant highrises which include the prominent Bahn Tower and Kollhoff-Tower. The latter has an observation deck Panoramapunkt at the top which I'll be visiting a little later



Canadian Embassy which is located in the area




Junk food time. The McD at Potsdamer Platz is really nice. They have glass jars full of coffee beans as part of the second floor interior design. Coffee is really decent at McD these days. Burger King and KFC really need to catch up witht heir image-building and investment in appearance and locations of their outlets


This angry sparrow was demanding food. He got a little piece of a fried potato but still had that 'hey you give me more food... you bitch" attitude. Therefore I told him to **** off. I have never seen such bold sparrows. They would land right on the table or next to it and take food from people's hands as if they don't give even a slightest amount of a ****


Small electric cars for rent. I didn't check the pricing and conditions because I was traveling with a car anyway but I guess it may be a good idea in some situations
 

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LIBERTINED
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Geil! Really good pics Pansori, you've got an eye for compositions!


Looking forward to see more - much more hopefully. :eek:kay:
 
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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Potsdamer Platz

Thank you. There certainly will be many many more photos. :)

Some street level photos from around Potsdamer Platz. Berlin has great street level planning which serves pedestrians and traffic equally good. I think it's one of the good showcases of how both pedestrians and cars can enjoy a great level of accessibility without compromising each other.


Sony Center. It's a busy social and business location with numerous activities


The Ritz-Carlton Berlin


An open space right next to the Sony Center (Henriette-Herz-Park)


Street scene
 

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:coffee:
It's a pleasure looking at the photos you've taken of the various cities you've visited. The photos are always well-composed and interesting.
 

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Nice pictures! Hope you will add some other pictures of the other parts of the city. Potsdamer Platz is nice, but just one very small peace of the thousand different corners and sights of the city and all peaces are looking completly different what is really really interesting and special about Berlin - the result of departing a 4 Millionen people city into 2 parts!
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Nice pictures! Hope you will add some other pictures of the other parts of the city. Potsdamer Platz is nice, but just one very small peace of the thousand different corners and sights of the city and all peaces are looking completly different what is really really interesting and special about Berlin - the result of departing a 4 Millionen people city into 2 parts!
Thanks. I did see many parts of Berlin but didn't take many pictures at all of them. Still I have many more photos including a few from non central locations and, of course, Potsdam and the beautiful Sanssouci Park.
I did a fair amount of driving too. Berlin is great for driving. The streets are fairly wide and traffic is not too bad. I have noticed they switch off many of the traffic lights late in the evening so if you're driving at night and stick to main roads you can cross the entire city with few if any stoppings. I really love how Berlin has done it's transport, street network and pedestrian spaces. Everything seems to work just fine.
 

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Berlin is my religion!
I´ve been completely fascinated by everything about this
stunning metropole since my first visit twenty years ago.
There´s magic in the air just about everywhere down there! :eek:
 

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I can't understand how manage Germans to make their country always so neat, beautiful, comfortable for living and 'gut eingerichtet'.
Thanks for photos!
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
I can't understand how manage Germans to make their coutry always so neat, beautiful, comfortable for living and 'gut eingerichtet'.
Thanks for photos!
Thank you.

Yes, Germany is a well ordered country. At least this is very evident coming from Great Britain. :D

However it must be said that it's not always the case. Berlin is far from being a very clean and tidy city. Not that it's dirty (it's still much cleaner and more tidy than London, Paris or Milan) but it's got places which completely contradict the 'neat and tidy' image of Germany (which IS deserved because that's what Germany is for most part). You'll see a lot of graffitis, rubbish on the street and general disorder in some locations which was rather surprising to me. Something I did not get to see elsewhere in Germany.

Munich, Frankfurt or Dusseldorf are considerably tidier and better ordered than Berlin. At least from my personal experience. Berlin, on the other hand is and feels like a much bigger city than any other city in Germany (not that it's an excuse to be less tidy. Tokyo is many times bigger than Berlin yet it's probably more tidy).

Berlin is my religion!
I´ve been completely fascinated by everything about this
stunning metropole since my first visit twenty years ago.
There´s magic in the air just about everywhere down there! :eek:
True, Berlin in an amazing city. A true metropolis. It feels very pleasant and 'like home'. Although I could apply that to other German cities too. Especially Munich which is probably the friendliest and most sophisticated city I have been to in Europe. I guess it's part of the German character to welcome tourists and treat well those who leave their money in the country. And that's a very right attitude. I chose in the past and will choose Germany in the future as my main European travel destination for a reason which is the people and their manners. Service is always top and I know I will be treated with respect and be welcomed. It could not be more different from my experiences in France or Italy (except the Sudtirol) which is a shame.

I didn't have a chance to try out the nightlife side of Berlin but I hope I will one day. From what I've been hearing there are more than enough of great nightclubs to have lots of fun.
 
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