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Curso/CTR Reisejournalismus: Berlin Calling


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When faced with such a huge array of incredible museums, cracking cuisine, the best night clubs on earth and a history richer than a Black Forest gâteau, it can be difficult to know where to start. However, this compilation should go some way to helping you decide how best to tackle this amazing city; offering hints you won’t find at the tourist office, as well as letting you know what really doesn’t live up to the hype.
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Curso/CTR Reisejournalismus: Berlin Calling

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  2. 2. When faced with such a huge array of incredible mu-seums, cracking cuisine, the best night clubs on earth and a history richer than a Black Forest gâteau, it can be difficult to know where to start. However, this com-pilation should go some way to helping you decide how best to tackle this amazing city; offering hints you won’t find at the tourist office, as well as letting you know what really doesn’t live up to the hype. We’ll also offer practical tips; how to get around, when to beat the queues at the most famous sites, or which fast food outlets to visit when you need to stave off a 2 hangover. Whatever you do, you’re sure to have a great time. The culture is vibrant and the beer is cheap. Perhaps best-known these days for its thriving arts scene and ever-growing hipster credentials, Berlin in its current incarnation has a lively, young atmosphere perfectly complemented by the historical monuments which greet you on every corner. In a city once ravaged by war and conflict, Berlin has overcome some major obstacles in weaving its extraordinary tapestry of people and pursuits – those which make it the diverse and ever exciting city it is today.
  3. 3. The capital city of Germany, Berlin, is filled with history which is embraced throughout. The first German settlers reached the area now known as Berlin in the 11th century. Cen-turies after this, by 1709 the city was named the capital of Prussia and had around 55,000 inhabitants, ruled by Frederick III, who had crowned himself king of Prussia. Berlin continued to grow at a fast pace in the 1700s as it was made the centre of culture and arts in Prussia, as well as the army. By 1814, the city was in fantastic economic shape and had a population of around 400,000, making it the fourth largest city in Europe. During the First World War, Berlin suffered as a re-sult of Germany’s rations, and the rising unem-ployment, sinking morale as the war progressed. By the end of World War 1, the Monarchy and Aris-tocracy were no more and Germany became a Republic known as the Weimar Republic. After the economic devastation caused by the Treaty of Versailles, Berlin began to enjoy the 1920s as the economy be-gan to stabilise and the nightlife scene began to grow and Berlin grew to be-come the largest industrial city in Europe. Following the economic disasters caused by the Wall Street Crash in America, Adolf Hit-ler rose to power as Chancellor of Germany. The Nazi’s anti-Semitism was clear from the start of their rise to power: all Jewish doc-tors were required to leave Charité hospital. The Nazi’s at-tempted to de-stroy the Jewish community in Berlin. Before Hit-ler’s reign, around 160,000 Jews lived in Berlin and after 1939, only around 75,000 remained. Hitler had built s e v e r a l buildings across Berlin, together with his architect Albert Speer a whole new Berlin was planned and was to be named ‘Welthaupstadt Germainia.’ However the outbreak of war postponed all of these plans. During the war, Berlin suffered a great deal as a result of several air raids, several bombings and the battle of Berlin left the city crippled with an estimated one fifth of all buildings destroyed. With the end of the War, the city was left divided into 4 sectors by the allies. The area occupied by the Soviets became known as East Berlin, they removed railway tracks and destroyed industries in Berlin. On the 26h of June 1948 the Soviets blocked ground access to West Berlin which lasted for a year. Conditions worsened across Berlin and in 1961 the Communist government be-gan to build a wall dividing East and West. This was built alarmingly fast and hundreds of fam-ilies were separated. East Berliners could no longer travel to the West, however, West Ber-liners could visit the East through checkpoints. The wall continued to divide the city until The Fall of the Berlin Wall on the 9th of November 1989. This marked the end of the Cold War and Germany and Berlin became reunited. By 1990 only small sections of the wall remained as most had been demolished and in 1991 the German Parliament voted to move the capital of Germany back to Berlin from Bonn. Sarah Kueter SHORT HISTORY OF BERLIN 3
  4. 4. NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE For the purpose of the guide, we have split Berlin into seven colour according to boroughs and localities. Mitte Situated in the center of Berlin, it is where most of the sights and monuments such as the Muse-um Island and Brandenburger Tor are located. Prenzlauer Berg Now a part of the borough Pankow, it is north of Mitte and home to a more bohemian part of Berlin. Many vintage stores and the famous Mauer Park flea market are located within. Friedrichshain North of the river Spree in the east part of Berlin, it is now considered to be one of Berlin most fashionable district and also where East Side Gallery is located. Neuköln / Treptow Neukölln is located in the southeast bordering Kreuz-berg with the highest percentage of immigrants in Berlin. To the east Treptow is known for its beautiful park of the same name which houses the Soviet War Memorial. Kreuzberg / Tempelhofer Kreuzberg is known as the hip district of Berlin, housing many famous clubs and bars its many Turkish inhabitants. Tempelhof house the former airport and is located in the south central part of Berlin. Tiergarten / Schönberg Tiergarten borders Mitte to the west and consist mostly of the park and a vast majority of embassies as well as the Zoo. Schoneberg consist of beautiful streets and facades, this district houses the famous KaDeWe. Charlottenburg Known mostly by the Charlottenberg Palace, this district is at the north center of Berlin west of Tiergarten. Others For districts not mentioned above. 4
  5. 5. SURVIVAL GUIDE Berlin is an incredibly interesting, unique and vibrant city, particularly for young people. This brief survival guide aims to provide some ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to assist you on your trip! Language Firstly, don’t arrive with the as-sumption that everyone in Ber-lin will speak English. Many will, of course, but you will make far more meaningful connections with others and have a much better time of getting what you want if you can pick up some essential phrases before you come! Budget One of the city’s attractions for the various interesting types who have made Berlin their base is how one can live fairly inexpensive-ly but miss out on none of the things which give the German capital its distinctive char-acter. Charged attractions and entertain-ments aside, €10-15 per day is enough to cover a day’s eating and drinking on the move. If you want to splash out a bit more, a decent meal out in the centre of town is unlikely to cost you more than €20. When it comes to tourist attractions, the larger and well-known sights will inevitably charge steeper entry fees, but it should be borne in mind that Berlin is a city with many facets and interesting places that are worth a vis-it, not only the commercial and touristy ones. Eating Out Berliners like their food, and they like it rich! Large-scale immigration since the 1960s has developed the vast range of multi-cultural food and drink on offer here. In particular, you will notice restaurants and takeaways offering Berlin’s adopted fa-vourites currywurst and doner kebabs on most streets, particularly in Kreuzberg, the district colloquially known as ‘Little Istan-bul’. Here, you can pick up some delicious street food for as little as €2. You should also take note of the various food mar-kets taking place across the city daily, where patrons can sample the culinary delights of a multitude of nations across all continents. Going Out The nightlife of Berlin has earned its reputation justly. The city’s many bars and clubs are innumerable, and each district will hold some-thing for everyone. Just remem-ber that Berlin is an incredibly casual city, so don’t expect to gain entry to most places dressed to the nines. Likewise, do not be disheartened if you are told ‘not tonight’ by the door staff after queuing for some time at some of the larger clubs, arbi-trary though it may seem. The hype around certain places can be exactly that, and you will find other places you like just as much. Staying Safe Berlin is a safe city but, as with all major cities, it pays to be savvy as a tourist. Some of the larger tourist zones or major city transport hubs, such as Alexanderplatz, have a problem with pickpockets. Likewise, do not let yourself be engaged by the many bogus charity representatives combing the streets as all reputable causes will allow you to donate at your leisure online. Whilst going out in excessively large or rowdy groups will not be particularly favourable to whatever you want to do in Berlin, try to avoid venturing far without trusted com-pany, especially at night. Plan journeys carefully in advance, and be sure to have noted down the telephone numbers of the emergency services, just in case. EU citizens should also take their European Health Insurance Card. by Scott Clair 5
  6. 6. Accommodation 6 Heart of Gold Hostel In the wise words of Nicki Minaj ‘Starships are meant to fly’ – they’re not supposed to be the inspiration for hostels. According to both the website and the brochure for Heart of Gold, however, this is a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy spaceship themed establishment, de-spite that fact not being expressly stated any-where inside. A few wall paintings of a loosely space-related nature aside, it’s just a clean and easy place for students – not the kind of place where the film Hostel is set – with a central location near Friedrichstraße. Heart of Gold is also rife with other peculiarities, which include the ear-ringing heavy metal music played over breakfast (by no means ideal after a few drinks the night before) and the fact that there is not one sign to show where the place is – indeed there’s barely even a street number. Despite this, there are positive quirks to the hostel – such as the eclectic range of sunglasses for rental and the occa-sional movie night. However, the salient fea-ture of Heart of Gold is its reasonable prices and no-nonsense bar packed with friendly travellers every night of the week. Beware of the prices on the brochure however, as they have not been updated since 2008 and have increased significantly since then…or perhaps Heart of Gold just operate in a dif-ferent period of space and time. Either way, beware. Jack Parkes The Circus Hostel Located in the city-center hotspot of Mitte, this one-of-a-kind student hostel offers trav-elers from near and far a comfortable and affordable accommodation while visiting Berlin. Depending on your budget, several different accommodation options are avail-able. Rooms of 8 to 10 people available for €23 per night, rooms with 4-5 people are €27 per night, and if you feel like having more pri-vacy, you can rent a single room for €50 per night. Room fees also include free wi-fi, show-ers and linen services. Additionally, the Circus also offers a safe for your passport and stor-age lockers where you can drop your bags for the day while you’re out exploring the city for no additional charge. Make sure to visit the hostel’s Katz & Maus café for a delicious and affordable breakfast. Enjoy an all-you-can- eat breakfast buffet complete with tea or coffee for a budget-friendly €5 while you pour over a map and plan out your route for the day. In addition to being located across the street from the Rosenthaler Platz U-Bahn station, the Circus is within walking distance of a plethora of quaint cafés, clubs, and res-taurants. If you’d rather see the city on two wheels, rent a bike from the front desk for €12 per day. Caitlyn Bishop Johannisstraße 11, 10117 Berlin Station: S7 Friedrichstraße, M1 Or-anienburger Straße +49 30 29003300 Reception open 24/7. http://www.heartofgold-hostel. de/ Weinbergsweg 1a, 10119 Berlin- Mitte Station: U8 Rosenthaler Platz 030 20003939
  7. 7. Public Transport Berlin’s public transportation system is just as amazing as it is comprehensive, with 9 dif-ferent lines and 170 different stations making up the U-Bahn system (underground) and 15 lines and 166 stations in the S-Bahn (over-ground) system. Many of the stations, such as the Deutsche Oper (U2), Paulsenstraße (U7) and Richard-Wagner Platz (U7) have been colorfully decorated to match the playful and artistic spirit of Berlin and are worth keeping an eye out for during your travels! Wherev-er you go, you’ll never be too far away from any U- or S-Bahn station, and directions to ei-ther one are clearly marked throughout the city with a giant, green S or a glowing, blue U. In Eastern Berlin, trams are more commonly used as public transport. Nine different tram lines run throughout this side of the city and frequently stop at major S- and U-bahn sta-tions. Timetables for all trams are available at their individual stops. Buses run throughout the vicinity of the city, and timetables are availa-ble at all stops. An orange H designates tram and bus stops. Tip: Both buses and trams run all night, but their schedules will become increas-ingly staggered the later it gets. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the time when you’re out late! Tickets Depending on how long you plan on staying in Berlin, there are many different types of tickets you can purchase: One-way ticket: Valid for one person and a two hour jorney. One-way tikets must also be purchased for returns Zones AB: €2.60 Zones BC: €2.90 Zones ABC: €3.20 Short Distance ticket: Counts for 3 stops within the S- and U-Bahn and 6 stops in buses Any Zone: €1.50 One-Day ticket: Valid for one person during the whole day for as many differ-ent trips until 3am the next day. Ticket only valid in Zones A&B. Zones AB: €6.70 Seven-Day ticket: Valid for one person for 7 con-secutive days. Ticket expires at midnight on the 7th day. Tickets only valid in Zones A&B. Group Day ticket for up to five people: This ticket allows for up to 5 peo-ple to travel on all forms of public transportation until 3am the fol-lowing day. Tickets only valid in Zones A&B. Zones AB: €28.80 Monthly Pass: This ticket allows for unlimited public transportation for one month after the ticket’s pur-chase. So go crazy! Zones AB: €16.20 Zones AB: €78.00 Zones ABC: €94.00 7
  8. 8. Dos and Don’t When Using Public Transportation in Berlin Buy a transportation ticket as soon as you reach Berlin! Tick-ets can be purchased in any S- or U-Bahn station with cash or credit cards. Bring your transportation tick-et with you wherever you go! If you are caught with-out your ticket, even if you forgot it at home, you will automatically be fined €40. Download the BVG app for smartphones. Not only are there comprehensive maps of all Bahns, trams and buses throughout the city, but there also timetables with up-to-date train times to help you plan your trips. Free up seats for the elderly, pregnant women, families and those with injuries or disabilities. They need the seats more than you do! Be polite and patient with fellow passengers and the occasion-al late train. There are always lots of ways to get to where you need to be! Say “enstchuldigung” (Ein-shool- dee-gung) in case you accidently bump into some-one or if you’re trying to get on or off a train. Eat or drink on the trams or trains. Be considerate and wait until you reach your destination. Treat public transporta-tion Worry about getting lost; all of Berlin’s public transportation is very well connected and there is always a way to get to where you need to be! as your own personal pre-party spot. This is ob-noxious and disrespectful touristy behavior that’s annoying for everyone. Do Don’t 8
  9. 9. Brandenburger Tor / Brandenburg Gate Regardless of whether or not you enjoy spend-ing your time in overhyped areas which are al-ways surrounded by large crowds of families, walking tours and pick-pocketers, Branden-burg Gate is something which should be vis-ited during your stay in Berlin. The gate itself is not very big which can come as a surprise, but it is still a great historical sight of Berlin. Constructed in 1688, the gate was built to represent peace and religious tolerance. Fol-lowing Prussia’s occupation of Paris and their victory against France, the structure that was once the symbolism of peace became Prus-sia’s triumphal arch and the woman who rides the chariot on top of the arch was given an Iron Cross and the Prussian Eagle. During the Cold War the gate become one of eight Ber-lin Wall Crossings, however during demonstra-tions on the west side the crossing was closed. Visiting the gate costs nothing and one can also find various walking guided tours beginning around the square, which cost little to nothing and provides a great-ly detailed insight into the history of the gate and the areas which surrounds it. Sarah Kueter Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer / Berlin Wall Me-morial Marking one of the most important and icon-ic parts of Berlin’s recent history is The Ber-lin Wall Memorial, located along Bernauer Straße. The Wall was built in 1961 as a way of separating the Soviet controlled East from the West and fell in 1989. Walking down the street provides an amazing visual experience. A line of poles stretches for 1.4km along the former border, leading the way down the street. Start at the visitor centre next to Nord-bahnhof – here you will find hourly showings in English of two 15 minute informative films about the history of the wall. Then on to the monument. It is immense, consisting of two massive steel walls which preserve a 70m section of the death strip. Peering through sections in the wall you can see a desolate Pariser Platz,10117 Mitte Station: U55 Brandenburger Free entry Bernauer Straße 119,13355 Pren-zlaur Berg Station: U8 Nordbanhnhof Open: Tues - Sun: 09.30-19.00 +49 (0)30 467 98 66 66 www.berliner-mauer-gedenkstae-tte. de 10