Visit Berlin, Germany, By Mouse
(Google Map)
Berlin, Germany (tourist web site) is 118 miles northeast of Leipzig. An enclave within Russian controlled East Germany after WW II, it was identified as West Berlin, and not as Russian controlled East Berlin. Since the reunification of Germany in 1990, the two parts became one and the capitol of Germany. It is a large city, with a population of 3 million in a metropolitan area population of over 6 million.
We did not warm to this city. Our first experiences in our campground were not very pleasant. These are described in the letter we wrote home at the time and a postscript we added afterward describing a few more unpleasant details. When we got into Berlin we decided to take a city bus tour as a way of orienting ourselves. We were treated to some very interesting sight on this tour, including remnants of the Berlin wall, the Reichstag building, the former STASI headquarters, the Palace of the German Democratic Republic, the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, and the Holocaust Memorial, and the ruins of the bombed out Kaiser Wilhelm Church left as a memorial.
After the bus tour we had a very pleasant walk on the Kurfurstendam, Berlin’s main shopping street (modeled after the Champs Elysee in Paris). We went into the huge Ka De We department store (yes that is its name, which we could not remember when we wrote our letter) because we needed something for dinner, and toured its amazing food floor, where there were many choices of prepared food to take out.
So this day was very pleasant. We realized that there was much to explore in this center of culture, politics, media and science. For example, there are between 153 and 170 museums (depending on your source of information) , 53 theaters, the most visited zoo in europe, many churches and a botanical garden among a host of other attractions. (You can get detailed information about these on the tourist web site link above.) But to explore these would take more time than we wanted to spend there. Perhaps because of the unpleasant experiences with the people in the campground, we decided that we were more interested in getting on to other places we had in mind for this trip--other cities like Dresden and Prague, and then Italy. So we ended up only with that day in Berlin.
Based on conversations with others who have been to Berlin, we  think our experiences were atypical and that Berlin deserves a visit.
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Intrepid Traveler
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