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  1. #41
    Saint Smugpawski
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    Quote Originally Posted by milanessa View Post
    I'm not dissing your way of traveling - it's just not my preference. I travel pretty haphazardly - very little research and planning. Just kind of plop myself somewhere and explore. I'm sure I've missed out on many fabulous tourist sights due to that but have also stumbled across gems that travelers seldom see. Suits me but probably not very many other people.
    I travel like this, too. I don't make agendas. I get myself to the hotel, take a nap & shower, and then get the ball rolling however the ball gets rolling and wherever the ball gets rolling. And I always end up having a great time and satisfied with my journey.
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  2. #42
    AYS's snark-sponge
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    I don't have enough busy energy to be a tourist.

    I spent 8 days in Berlin three years ago. The main thing I did was walk in parks. It was quite fabulous, so many green spaces! We went to the Charlottenburg palace, but we didn't go in it, we walked around the grounds which are very lovely.

    We did go to the Bauhaus museum which was quite cool.
    Last edited by BlueRidge; 07-22-2011 at 02:06 PM.
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  3. #43
    a monkey stole my title
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    As for planning ahead... I already had everything planned in my head for my Australia trip long before I booked it. (although that was because I needed to figure out a budget) I usually do tons of research and plan everything- but then change things around once I get somewhere if I feel like it.

    Anyway.

    This is the hostel I stayed at in Prague- yeah it's a hostel but it was a very cool place, and had private rooms with bathroom. It's a little bit out from the center, but it was a great place to stay. http://www.sirtobys.com/ I had a huge room with like 4 beds all to myself.

    I would have recommended my most recent Berlin hotel but they seem to only have apts with 1 king bed. Too bad because it was a nifty place, full kitchen, not expensive.

    B&B I stayed at in Berlin a number of years ago: http://www.pension-peters-berlin.de/ Small rooms, but nice and cozy.

  4. #44
    ...an acquired taste
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    I go to Berlin 2-3 times a year and always stay here: http://berlinhabitat.com/en/

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post
    I don't have enough busy energy to be a tourist.

    I spent 8 days in Berlin three years ago. The main thing I did was walk in parks. It was quite fabulous, so many green spaces! We went to the Charlottenburg palace, but we didn't go in it, we walked around the grounds which are very lovely.

    We did go to the Bauhaus museum which was quite cool.
    I walk in the parks in various cities quite a bit, especially when I travel for work. In fact, that's often how I remember places and get attached to them- by their green spaces and parks. Berlin's Tiergarten is a gorgeous getaway from it all, while being so close to the main attractions.
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  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    Thanks. I understand your way of doing it, and would even like to try it sometime. But my inner organized researcher takes over for something like this, since who knows if I'll ever get back to these places.

    Wait til daughter finds out she is going to read about the Habsburg empire and 19th century Prussia before we leave.
    I totally sympathize. Try as I might to be spontaneous, I just can't help myself. For me, researching and organizing a trip is almost as much fun as taking it. I do try to set aside one day for unplanned visits to sights that have caught my attention.

    I was on the Danube for 11 days and encountered Sissi or Sisi everywhere. She was AKA Elizabeth of Bavaria. If your daughter is going to read about the Habsburgs, she might as well learn about Sissi. There are lots of books and movies, too.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post

    We did go to the Bauhaus museum which was quite cool.
    There's a Bauhaus museum in Berlin? Believe it or not, I've never heard of that. I am from Berlin.


    PRlady, if you have any more questions about anything feel free to ask here or PM me.

    Good places to get public transportation tickets, by the way, are the train stations: "Hauptbahnhof" (Main Station), Friedrichstraße, Südkreuz, Zoo. There's a 72-hrs-tourist pass you might want to check into. You should get some info there. Otherwise, I'd recommend taking a daily pass. They're valid until 3 a.m. no matter what time you validate the ticket or at least they used to be.
    http://www.s-bahn-berlin.de/englisch/home.html

    Something else I remembered, there's something at the KuDamm (KuDamm Karree) called "The Story of Berlin". I don't know exactly what it's about, whether it's Berlin's history or just Berlin during WWII.
    And there's, of course, the Checkpoint Charlie.

  8. #48
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    Wien is great! I've never been to Berlin, but it's one of my next trips!
    but...just a question: are you sure you want to see Wien/Prague and Berlin? because I'd choose either Berlin or Wien& Prague (and maybe add Salzburg, which is nearer to Wien than Berlin and also a lovely city), between Berlin and the other two cities there's a lot to travel...IMO, either you get a flight, or you'll lose almost a whole day travelling between them. (Instead, Wien&Prague together is quite a more classic tour..)

  9. #49
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    We recently returned from a trip to Prague/Israel. In addition to the already recommended sites in Prague - Prague Castle, the Charles Street Bridge, Lobkowicz Palace (incredible music room, etc.), St. Vitus Cathedral, Astronomical Clock (we went up to the tower and stayed while the trumpeters were there), the Jewish Quarter, We also enjoyed the Mucha Museum (we learned that the artist Mucha is known for art posters of actress Sarah Bernhardt), and the Museum of Communism. If we had had more time, I would have liked to tour the Kafka Museum (there's an unusual (to say the least) statue in front of it in the courtyard ) and take a boat ride on the Vltava River. There are many opportunities for classical music concerts. We also saw a wonderful production of The Magic Flute at the State Opera House (subtitles in Czech & English) and a life size string puppet production of Don Giovanni (complete with Mozart conducting), done tongue in cheek. Our tour was with our synagogue group, so a lot of the focus was on Jewish aspects of Prague, but we still had time to take in many secular sites. We did go to Lidice (a village outside of Prague that was brutally & randomly destroyed by the Nazis as an act of revenge on the Czech people (2 Czech paratroopers killed a high ranking Nazi official in Prague in 1941). Our trip also included a visit to Terezin, the "model" concentration camp (the Nazis duped the International Red Cross into believing that they were treating the Jews humanely, complete with propaganda film - of course nothing could be further from the truth).

  10. #50
    aspiring tri-national
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    Quote Originally Posted by paskatefan View Post
    We recently returned from a trip to Prague/Israel.
    Thank you, paskatefan and everyone else.

    We actually have 11 days, I built this trip to allow half-days for travel between Berlin/Prague and Prague/Vienna by train. We'll fly back from Vienna to Berlin on cheapie airline to return home, that's only 1.5 hours in the air.

    And re: Holocaust sites. I do want to see the museum in Berlin. I don't want to visit Terezin or other camps/ghettos. I worked at the Holocaust Museum in DC for four years, went to Babi Yar and some other horrific places, I'm done.

    But there is another "ethnic" reason I'm interested in Berlin...it was the most famous divided city of the 20th century. I work on and in Jerusalem frequently and have an interest in that, and in how Berlin has come together (or not) since 1989.
    "Youth and vigor is no match for age and deceit." -- Prancer

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    Thank you, paskatefan and everyone else.

    And re: Holocaust sites. I do want to see the museum in Berlin. I don't want to visit Terezin or other camps/ghettos. I worked at the Holocaust Museum in DC for four years, went to Babi Yar and some other horrific places, I'm done.
    Totally understandable!

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    But there is another "ethnic" reason I'm interested in Berlin...it was the most famous divided city of the 20th century.
    http://www.berlin.de/orte/museum/hau...e/index.en.php
    I imagine you already know, there's always interesting exhibition there.

    Holocaust sites: there's also Mauthausen near Linz (maybe you can do Wien-Linz by train, stop in Mauthausen and then Linz-Prague)
    http://en.mauthausen-memorial.at/index_open.php

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    Thank you, paskatefan and everyone else.

    We actually have 11 days, I built this trip to allow half-days for travel between Berlin/Prague and Prague/Vienna by train. We'll fly back from Vienna to Berlin on cheapie airline to return home, that's only 1.5 hours in the air.

    And re: Holocaust sites. I do want to see the museum in Berlin. I don't want to visit Terezin or other camps/ghettos. I worked at the Holocaust Museum in DC for four years, went to Babi Yar and some other horrific places, I'm done.

    But there is another "ethnic" reason I'm interested in Berlin...it was the most famous divided city of the 20th century. I work on and in Jerusalem frequently and have an interest in that, and in how Berlin has come together (or not) since 1989.
    I read a guide book on Berlin which summed up the city perfectly IMO -

    [paraphrasing] - It's a patched-up skeleton. Don't go to Berlin for easy sightseeing like one would in Paris, Amsterdam, or Munich. It is a city still profoundly scarred by its past

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasperBoy View Post
    I was just in Prague, doing the tourist thing. I found food to be quite inexpensive, but it was hard to find anything authentic. Lots of Chinese and Pizza. We had a great traditional meal at U kostela restaurant next to St Nicholas Church. www.ukostela.com

    From there we walked 2 blocks down the hill to the Charles Bridge, across the bridge to the Astronomical Clock, and then through town to our hotel. It took 2 hours but we saw lots. It was also very crowded, despite being a Monday afternoon. The Charles Bridge is an experience not to be missed.
    .
    when i was in prauge a few *ahem* years ago- it was SO hard to find anything NOT autentic ( and as a veggie i ate A LOT of fries!! )

    i scond the charles bridge- it is hands down one of the most memorable moments of eurpoe for me- seeing it at sunrise was something I will never forget- and the clock and square are fantastic- does the clock still work? it used to have animation and chimes but i could never figure out the frequency ( or maybe it was the reult of too much beer)

    i too am a quick city visitor I have been in all three cities and you can deff get a good feel and see a lot in three days- but be prepared as you will be one TIred mama after your trip!- can I also say that good walking shoes, blister skin and food lotion will be your best friend

  15. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    But there is another "ethnic" reason I'm interested in Berlin...it was the most famous divided city of the 20th century. I work on and in Jerusalem frequently and have an interest in that, and in how Berlin has come together (or not) since 1989.
    If you have time, seeing these films before your trip might be interesting; both are available from Netflix.

    The Lives of Others, a drama about the activities of the Stasi. Obskating: Ross Miner mentioned it recently as one of his favorites.

    Goodbye, Lenin, a low-budget indie comedy taking place in the period immediately before and immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Loving son tries to protect his mother (ill, and a very dedicated Communist) from finding out that the GDR has collapsed.

  16. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by acraven View Post
    If you have time, seeing these films before your trip might be interesting; both are available from Netflix.

    The Lives of Others, a drama about the activities of the Stasi. Obskating: Ross Miner mentioned it recently as one of his favorites.

    Goodbye, Lenin, a low-budget indie comedy taking place in the period immediately before and immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Loving son tries to protect his mother (ill, and a very dedicated Communist) from finding out that the GDR has collapsed.
    I highly recommend both of those films as well.
    Logic is in the eye of the logician --Gloria Steinem

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    And re: Holocaust sites. I do want to see the museum in Berlin. I don't want to visit Terezin or other camps/ghettos. I worked at the Holocaust Museum in DC for four years, went to Babi Yar and some other horrific places, I'm done.
    I feel similarly even though I haven't seen everything you've seen. I realize the reason I've been reluctant to visit Poland is because I had family exterminated in Auschwitz. But, I've heard wonderful things about Gdansk and Krakow and want to hike in the Tatras, so I figure I can just skip the Auschwitz tour.

    But, it's hard to totally avoid these kinds of things in historically Jewish cities. I definitely recommend going to the Charles Bridge in Prague even though it is connected to Jewish oppression.

  18. #58
    Brezina's Nemesis
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    Prague has been destroyed by the mass tourism. Nevertheless, the city is absolutely beautiful. Just walk around, two days is enough only to cover the city very center. The best views on the city are from Karluv Must, Petrinska watch tower - a mini Eiffel towel in Petrinska park(there's a funicular going there: http://www.petrinska-rozhledna.cz/) and Hradcany - take a walk from Hradcany to Malostranska, going down.

    I don't advice to buy the admission to the Prazsky Hrad with its palace - there's nothing particularly interesting inside - a kind of tourist trap, at least this is how I felt, and the St.Vitus cathedral is free anyway.

    Don't eat around Staromestska, Karluv Must or Hradcany, it's all touristic rubbish; there used to be some very nice places around Vodickova (Mustek metro).

    Take one day for the Jewish quarter, the all-synagogues ticket is very expensive, but it's worth doing just once. There are 5 old places, all built in different times and for different branches of Judaism. The doorkeeper at the Old New Synagogue is a holocaust survivor.

    Also, you should go to a performance of one of the Black Theatres - there are several of them, the first time we've been to Prague we were told that the one on Parizhska 4 is the best. I've been there for 3 times and once when they had a performance in Israel. They also, like everything in Prague, used to be better and cheaper, but still a very enjoyable experience. Also, it's right next to Staromestska square, where you'll probably be able to get some hot wine

    There's also Laterna Magika, it's a unique Prague show - haven't been there, but Tanya did; and the opera house Stavovské divadlo where Mozart's Don Giovanni had its premiere - it still runs Don Giovanni all the time, and it's said to be a very enjoyable performance.

    If by any chance you have time left (which doesn't sound probable, Prague is a week city rather than 2 days city), you should go to Vysehrad. First of all, you'll be able to escape the omnipresent hordes of tourists, and then you'll also get some beautiful views and an old church that plays "ha-Tikva" every hour
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  19. #59
    Brezina's Nemesis
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    Berlin...

    Well, for the normal touristic places, go to Potsdam (haven't been there ) and Charlottenburg palace. Unter den Linden is the local Champs Elysee and you should have a stroll there if the weather permits. Berlin is HUGE so you definitely should get some public transportation card, allowing you to hop on a bus or subway on every given moment.

    I didn't go to Reichstag, hate queuing, but the area around it is interesting, it's all modern architecture that feels Berlinian even if you know nothing about Bauhaus and the rest. The new Berlin train station is another example of "how Germans do things". For the Bauhaus, and in general, to see that Berlin has its own architectural style, despite it's being bombed to the ground, go to Zoologische Garten and south, Uhlandstrasse, Kufurstendamm, Wittenbergplatz and etc.

    You absolutely must go to the Berlin wall, and have a walk from Ostbanhof to Warschauer Strasse, the place is unique. Alexanderplatz is fun with its unmistakably Socialistic 70ies TV tower and the beautiful Gothic church next to it; plus the Berliner Dom is very close. They do organ concerts in the Dom from time to time, you may try it. Can't say it's the best, but nice (ah, yes, I forgot - you might consider going to such concert in Prague, they do them all the time in the Nicholas church on Staromestska; in 2001 it was very good and in 2010 I didn't have the time to go again ). Take a walk around the Dom on the other side of the river, crossing on the small bridge that leads to the museums - there are some nice views and the sculptures of "3 girs and a boy".

    The National museums are said to be very good, but I don't like museums in general. I went only to the modern art museum in the old Hamburg Banhof, and it was curious.

    But in my opinion, Berlin is not exactly the place of common tourism, I agree with the previous posters. The most amazing thing is to see the scars of it and to feel its history of being divided to two different worlds (kind of like Jerusalem but obviously moreso). Spend a day in the Western part, like Charlottenburg with its typical German houses and then go to the East, Ostbanhof and beyond, on subway line 1 - the difference is striking; not only the houses, but even the subway itself, the people, the trams...

    Also, in my opinion, Berlin's essence is in its "underground" culture. I don't suggest you go to some crazy disco parties but if you feel adventurous, have a walk around Orienburger Strasse. There's a beautiful synagogue there, and also something like an open museum there people with different views on the life sell their works. It's on the opposite side of the synagogue and 0.5km away, IIRC the place is called "Studio 54" - it looks like (and it is, in fact) an abandoned house, where apart from this art show, they have clubs for all kinds of alternative movements on every floor.

    The parks of Berlin are HUGE, in my opinion Tiergarten is too big to be enjoyable, but it's still tiny compared to Grunewald. There are several lakes there, if you feel like having a walk, Schlahtensee being the most convenient, probably - it's right next to the station; there's even a nudist beach somewhere at Wannsee, lol.

    Hm... What else?... Never tried to properly eat in Berlin, so don't know how it is. The sausages kept me satisfied at all times

    I think you'll be too early for the Christmas markets, but, unfortunately, they are disappointing anyway. Also, the public transportation got much worse, but it's still amazing compared to either Israel or US; and the city got about twice as expensive in 5 years. It used to be one of the cheapest capitals in Europe, now it's on the same level as Paris. Eastern part, obviously, is cheaper on everything than the Western.
    In Soviet Russia, the skaters lobbychick YOU.

  20. #60
    Brezina's Nemesis
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    Lol, I'm totally worthless when it comes to Vienna
    I was there only once, in 2003 and it was one of the few times I went with my parents, so the entire trip is blocked in my mind like a nightmare and I can't remember a thing, other than the fact that I've been to Munich, Salzburg, Innsbruck and Vienna

    But I actually planned to go to Vienna, maybe, this October
    It's far from being decided, but if you go there and I do as well, I might adjust the dates
    Last edited by Andrey aka Pushkin; 07-23-2011 at 10:21 PM.
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