I was in Berlin to attend ITB, the world’s largest travel conference, and my friend Nick from TravMedia.com hooked me up with a media rate at Adina Apartment Hotel Hackescher.
As you can see from my photos it was a great choice since it’s centrally located in the heart of the historic Mitte district and just 650 feet away from an S-Bahn station (the S5 train goes directly to the Messe Berlin where ITB is held and it only takes 20 minutes). Other notables: Berlin Tegel Airport is 25 minutes away by car and Berlin Schönefeld Airport is 35 minutes away.
Adina Apartment Hotel Hackescher is a non-smoking, 4-star hotel with soundproofed apartments and a restaurant serving Australian cuisine. That’s right, it’s Australian food because the hotel chain is owned by an Australian company. The good size apartments come with a full-size kitchen, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer and are decorated with what else … Australian photos.
One bedrooms go for about EUR 152.10 a night and will sleep four comfortably (there’s a pullout sofa). I’m not the only one that likes it – it is ranked #3 on TripAdvisor out of 659 Berlin hotels.
I was able to sneak away from the conference for an hour and hit some sights. Nick and I checked out …
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial, is located a block south of the Brandenburg Gate. The memorial opened to the public on May 12, 2005, and was designed by Peter Eisenman. It consists of 2,711 concrete blocks that vary in height from 8 inches to 15 feet 9 inches (0.2 m to 4.8 m) and are arranged in a grid pattern. The sloping ground covers an area of 4.7 acres (19,000 square meters) and is designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere.
United States Embassy
Across the street from the memorial is the United States Embassy. Normally you aren’t allowed to take pictures of U.S. embassies, but in Berlin it’s allowed since the building is an architectural wonder. Actually, many of the embassies in Berlin have their own unique style, so be sure to either walk or drive down Embassy Row.
A block away is the famous Brandenburg Gate with its 12 Doric columns; it was commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II as a sign of peace and built from 1788–1791. It’s so much of an icon that it also appears on German euro coins (10 cents, 20 cents, and 50 cents).
A few long blocks away is Potsdamer Platz and on the way we grabbed some currywurst (Berlin fastfood) for Euro 2.90. Here are former slates of the Berlin Wall. As you know it came down unexpectedly in 1989, but they have bits and pieces of it throughout the city, basically as tourist attractions, and in one part of town there’s a good 100 yards of it. So people don’t forget, the whole wall is depicted by an outline. It’s crazy how they just built the wall, with some of it blocking major streets and many parts of it just zigzagging.
Berlin Welcome Card
If you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing one of the best ways to save money is to get a Berlin Welcome Card (20.50 euros for 48 hours, 24.50 euros for 72 hours). The card offers free public transportation and half-price admission to more than 200 attractions.
Just be sure to get the Berlin Welcome Card stamped before using it for the first time. If you decide not to get a Berlin Welcome Card and just buy single-ride tickets, you will need to stamp them each time because if a conductor checks your ticket and it’s not stamped, you will face a 40 Euro fine.
I must have ridden the trains a dozen times and they didn’t check anyone’s ticket, so I could have traveled for free, but it’s not worth the gamble. NOTE: Using the trains and the automated ticket machines is simple and safe. There’s the S-Bahn, which is mostly aboveground, the U-Bahn that’s primarily underground, and the Straßenbahn, a tram system that operates for the most part in the eastern part of the city.
Oh, and there are plenty of buses and bike paths, too. I read that there are about 400,000 daily bike riders, and judging from the bike rack at the beer garden, I’m not surprised.
My first night in Berlin I had dinner at the Sofitel to attend Accor Asia Pacific ITB VIP dinner. For entertainment they had these incredible Ukrainian acrobats and a popular New Zealand singer who looked 18.
The second night I went to dinner with some colleagues from the West Coast to “3 Minutes sur Mer.” They serve French food instead of heavy German food.
Interesting Berlin Facts:
- Berlin has approximately 6,500 restaurants, 546 ice cream parlours and cafes, 2,800 sandwich bars, 225 bars, clubs and pubs and other gastronomic outlets offering food and drinks.
- Berlin has a total of more than 750 accommodation facilities with some 110,000 beds, which accommodated almost 10 million visitors up to December 2011.
- In Berlin, the average rate for a 5-star hotel room is at Euro 134 per night, with Euro 83 for a 4-star, and Euro 64 for a 3-star property.
- Berlin has an area of 554 miles (892 square kilometers) making it nine times bigger than Paris
- Berlin is the most multi-cultural city in Germany. Its c.3.5 million inhabitants include over 470,000 residents with foreign passports. Over 180 nations have long-term residents in the city.
- Berlin has around 960 bridges, easily beating even Venice.
- As a result of its former division, Berlin has two zoos, the Tierpark in Friedrichsfelde, and the Zoologische Garten. This makes Berlin the city with the most zoo animals in the world.
- Berlin is the only city in the world with three active opera houses, which can seat a total of 4,411 opera lovers. Berlin also has some 150 theatres and halls for every genre.
- 10-Day Berlin Weather Forecast
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