Berlin Travel Guide
Berlin has ridden out more strife than most European cities and has come through it all surprisingly buoyant. Maybe this has something to with the Berliners penchant for having a good time. Even during war torn periods they were still never shy of a good old knees up in the face of adversity. Because of this Berlin has become accustomed to rebuilding itself and practice has paid off. Since the Wall came down the regeneration and unification has been relentless but the Berlin still remains a city divided, the west embracing alternative lifestyles and vibrant nightlife the east a living museum of industrial, commercial urbanisation. That's not to say the east does not have its hidden treasures take a little time and you'll discover a multitude of quaint bars, intriguing cafes and all night entertainment.
Parts of The Wall remain as a reminder of past transgressions, the longest section being what is now the East Side Gallery the largest open-air gallery in the world where the wall has been painted bright cheerful colours. Brandenburg gate, once entrenched within the wall was ironically built as a symbol of peace it now stands at the City's centre, a symbol of reformation. Those who crave history will not leave disappointed, as Museum Island is a historians dream come true. Check out the Altes, Nationalgalerie, Bodemuseum and the world class Pergamon home of the Alter of Zeus from 180BC. The wonderfully restored Schloss Charlottenburg makes an excellent afternoons site seeing with its lush interiors, romantic paintings and idyllic gardens. Another splendid example of the regeneration is Scheunviertel. Once the East's stable quarter and one of the oldest neighbourhoods this labyrinth of narrow streets has been colonised by alternative artists and the like. The highlight is the once grand shopping arcade of Tacheles, which now houses theatres, galleries, studios, a seedy basement disco and a scrap metal sculpture garden.
Berliners prize their social life and amongst the stunning plazas and magnificent tree lined boulevards there are myriad bars and cafes catering for all tastes and all walks of life. Jazz clubs, live music venues, alternative bars, discos, nightclubs, gay and lesbian bars, cabaret and risqué late bars are scattered everywhere but the hottest spots are around Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg, Mitte, Charlottenberg and Shoneberg. Dining Out is fantastic and truly international - Traditional German, Nouveau German (same only smaller and lighter), Mexican, Asian, French, Italian, Spanish, Vegetarian - just head for Mitte or Prenzlauer Berg and chow down. Above all Berlin is an exciting city, its appeal to the young and adventurous is beyond doubt, its appeal to older travellers equally compelling. If you hanker after sophistication Berlin is for you. If art and history is your bag don't think twice. If you want to burn out by dawn every night forget the Mediterranean sweatboxes Berlin has it all. Believe me when I say the word boredom is simply not in the Berlin dictionary.
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