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My first time in Berlin

Haifa, Israel
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My first time in Berlin

Hello everyone! I will be visiting Berlin in mid September. This will be my first time visiting Europe (well except Belarus probably) and I really don't know what should I see because I am limited by time (1-week) and on budget (I am a student). What can you recommend me to see? Where do you recommend me to stay?

I have decided to clean my mind of my daily routine and pretty much throw my self in to different cultures. (Germany is one of them). That's why i plan to travel alone. It could be nice if experienced travelers or locals could help me to get my best experience of out this trip.

A little about me. And what i prefer to see. My name is Pavel, I am traveling from Israel. 23 y.o. Student. Traveling alone. I am interested in almost everything. Mostly watch how people coexist. Architecture (mid priority) , History (low priority) , Social cultures (high priority) (I don't like loud music except concerts or theater orchestra) I like to chat and observe other people, bars and pubs are the best option. I have heard about German beer so if any breweries are available. I've heard about German Goth Scene which is also interesting. Food is very welcome too :)

Culture is very important and interesting so if I like it in Berlin, I could also spend another week in Germany... But maybe in different part of it... Probably Bavaria with its Oktoberfest ... But that's already another story. I have to build my plan until the end of this week, including flight tickets, (maybe train from Czech republic? I don't know whats cheaper, still haven't decided ) hotel\hostel booking or staying at someones place for work or something (we have free working visas) for that week ...

Well this is some sort of information I can give you and I will be very happy for a good advice! Thanks you!

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Houston, Texas
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1. Re: My first time in Berlin

If you have no knowledge of Berlin at all or even no idea of where to start, I would suggest to do a walking tour from either:

Original Berlin Tours (berlinwalks.de/public/…Discover)

berlinwalks.de/public/…mainsights

or

Insider Tours (insidertour.com/tours.php/cat/27/id/40/title…)

Haifa, Israel
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2. Re: My first time in Berlin

That is correct. I have absolutely 0 idea about Germany. And yeah... Forgot to mention... I don't have any drivers license so walk in tours are the best option. I will check them out later after work.

Thank you. That's a good start.

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Houston, Texas
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3. Re: My first time in Berlin

Also if you are limited on budget there are a few things you can do.

Visit the Brandenburg Gat (tor), the Reichstag, Topography of Terror, Go out to Oranienburg to see Sachsenhausen, Holocaust Memorial, Go out to Grunewald, Go see where the Flak Towers used to be, Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz to name a few things. All of these are things you can see and do for free.

Haifa, Israel
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4. Re: My first time in Berlin

I've checked out those destinations, and probably will visit some of them. Thats for history and architecture part. Now i would like to know about more cultural - social places... Universities / Parks / Theaters / Night - Life

Houston, Texas
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5. Re: My first time in Berlin

"Night - Life"

For me unfortunately on two of the days there was a Berlin version of the Oktoberfest when I was there so I did that and another night it was a carnival type event around the Brandenburg Gate so I did that one evening.

Haifa, Israel
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6. Re: My first time in Berlin

What time of a year was that?

Berlin, Germany
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7. Re: My first time in Berlin

You can check event schedules like this: http://www.zitty.de/list?q=

The search option for "Eintritt frei" (free entrance) lists all free things going on:

http://www.zitty.de/list?type=events&category[types]=Eintritt+frei

There often free concerts of the UdK, univesity of arts.

Moreover some of the churches offer concerts or services with music, some of them are free. Dates:

musikinkirchen.de/Public/…2014-09.html

Stroll around flee markets like Mauerpark or at Boxhagener Platz. At night strolling around areas like Warschauer Straße, Revaler Straße and soaking up the atmisohere is for free.

The Humboldt University is located directly in the city center. If you enter the main building you will find a mensa/cafeteria to meet young people(although September is still summer break with less students).

There are often dance events at Monbijou Park next to Spree River and Museum Island. Sitting next to it and watch others dance Tango or Swing is for free. If you travel in late September it might be closed though, if it's too chilly at night.

Walking at the parks like Volkspark Friedrichshain or at the Jewish cemetery Weissensee is for free...

Munich, Germany
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8. Re: My first time in Berlin

I'd like to recommend "Berliner Unterwelten" - you can take guided tours to some WW2 civilian bunkers, some Stasi bunkers, but also - if interested - to the sewage system. I took the WW2 tour and can recommend it, afak other cities don't often have this, which is why I recommend it.

Don't forget to visit Gedächtniskirche, a half-destroyed Church right next to "Zoologischer Garten", called Bahnhof Zoo, which used to be the central station of West Berlin. ICE trains stopped there for a long time after reunification, too. Then one day, my ICE train dashed right past Bahnhof Zoo and and I had to make my way back there by S-Bahn. Meh!

What's "social cultures"? Are you interested in seeing how the Wall came up? If so, visit the Checkpoint Charly Museum which shows just that, plus a few flights from the GDR, some successful, some not. You're even permitted to search for a fugitive (mannequin) in a car. I only found her because I knew she had to be there.

Would you like to participate in a Jewish service? If so, I can recommend the Synagogue at Pestalozzistr. Why? Because they have a different ritual than in most other Synagogues. There is singing. I've been told that this is what progressive Synagogues used to be like in the beginning of the 20th century. ... You're supposed to call and register as a guest, but then, I was there twice, and they twice forgot to forward my call to the security at the door, so I don't know whether you want to call them at all or just convince security that you are inoffensive.

Pittsburgh...
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9. Re: My first time in Berlin

Buy a Michelin Green Guide so that you at least have the basics.

Houston, Texas
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10. Re: My first time in Berlin

"What time of a year was that?"

Late September when the Berlin Marathon happened.