Yes, that's BerlinNalynn Dolan Caine ▼ | Saturday November 2, 2013 6:01PM ET
Yes, Berlin is one fun, cool, relaxed, bohemian city and if you want to soak in the best of it, you will have to make a plan. Make a note in your planner to visit a large glass dome at the very top of German parliament (Reichstag). Mark to see Schloss Charlottenburg, German mini-Versailles, Alexanderplatz and its Worldtime Clock, and The TV-Tower Fernsehturm. Phew, Germans like long words. Well, that last you can't miss because Fernsehturm is still the largest building in Berlin.
Also mark to see Loxx showrooms atop the Alexa shopping center to see lively scenes of Berlin and vivid train traffic, a computer controlled car-system and a huge airport with airplanes taking off and landing - the sound of their engines included. Loxx is the 3rd largest model train set in the world, and a must see.
When you are done with shopping, check Checkpoint Charlie, the crossing point between West and East Berlin. When the World War II ended, Berlin was under control of allied forces although it was in East Germany. When 3.5 million East Germans fled to the wealthier west, politicians on the east built a wall to prevent the escape. On August 13, 1961 the wall was erected and the city remaind divided for 29 years.
In the Checkpoint Charlie Museum you can see artifacts and hear heroic stories about people who were trying to cross the wall to join their families left in West Berlin.
For the start take a walk along 1.3km-long outdoor East Side Gallery, the longest surviving stretch of the Berlin Wall and enjoy paintings by artists from all over the world. Visit Kreuzberg district to see its huge street murals, and Friedrichshain, a trendy districts which streets are practically turned into galleries. Take a sit at charming Kathe-Kollwitzplatz cafe situated near the organic market and order a magic C&C combination, a cake and a cup of coffee, and relax.
But when ein Berliner wants to relax after a long day, he meets his friends and hangs out on bridges. After we learned how many bridges Berlin has this really shouldn't be a surprise. Oberbaumbrücke Bridge, once the border between East and West with its neo-Gothic jaunty towers and arched walkways, is one of the sexiest and coolest places in Berlin to be.
On summer days Berliners move to sand and decks of Badeschiff, a floating swimming pool venue that sits - right on the River Spree! "Well, we just take an opportunity and make the most of it", they say.
Grab Currywurst, a steamed pork sausage sliced and spiced with curry ketchup and a bottle of cocoa (a bit strange combination liebe Berlin) - and meet the city with your camera ready to catch the most interesting attractions. The first on our list - a bear. One bear appears on the Berlin flag, while garishly colored bears statues can be visible all over the city.
At the end of Linden, a grand boulevard, you will find Brandenburg Gate. In 1963, when President John F. Kennedy visited the Brandenburg Gate, Soviets hung large red banners across it to prevent him looking into East Berlin. On October 3, 1990, after 45 long years Germany was finally reunited. However, the Potsdamer Platz is the location where the Wall was breached for the very first time on November 11, 1989. Also, in 1924, the first traffic lights in Continental Europe were erected here.
Talking about lights, there is a story about a little Ampelmann, the traffic light man that became a symbol of Eastern Germany. Prior to German reunification, West Germany had a generic traffic light human figure; East had a male figure wearing a hat. Following the unification there were attempts all traffic signs to be standardise to look like West German's but East said "No way!" Jolly Ampelmann is now a money-making machine, selling everything from mugs to T-shirts.
Take a boat tour to feel Berlin from a different perspective, or a long walk through Friedrichshain Park, the oldest park in Berlin. Take a cold drink and make yourself comfortable in Friedrichshain Open Air Cinema in the evening and watch a film under the stars. The River Spree, bridges, streets galleries, Ampelmann, Currywurst... Yes, that's Berlin. ■