How long to stay in Berlin?
Hmm... that is the question!
I think that for a very fast and full of energy visitor 3 full days is an absolute minimum. For someone (like me) interested in history, architecture, art, the Berlin wall, cultural events, meeting people and VT-ers + visiting surroundings (Potsdam) hmm... a week maybe not enough. You can stay in Berlin even two weeks and be sure, you will never be bored.
Don't you have so much time? No worries, thanks to very efficient public transportation you can visit a few top attractions during a few hours. Or go and... come back again :-) Enjoy!
There is very much the 'can do, will do' attitude in Berlin. After many years of cold war and a wall around the western part of the city, Berliners have an attitude that their is nothing they can't do. A good way to see this in action and representation is to vist the Checkpoint Charlie museum. The museum has an interesting collection of items and stories and is a must see if you visit Berlin.
Outside is the remains of the watch-tower where armed guards would watch you going from west to east & back again. At the old checkpoint you had to buy at least 50 East German Marks & you were not supposed to bring any out!! Sort of like a pay and display but with nothing to buy...... How times have changed!!
wandering around the neighbourhood, there are alot of interesting things to see. nearby, there was a flea market, with lots of cool historical artifacts. i was trying to find a Mitte bus stop sign, but i think everyone else bought it. i was going to buy an old war helmet, but i dont think that would go to well at the airport, or on my backpack. also nearby there was a beach near the river. i found it odd that there was a beach, and some were still wearing pants... kinda thought that it defeats the whole purpose of a beach
All Around the City on Weekends You Will Find...
Flea markets in Berlin, they have them most any square near the stations, the ones I have been to most often are the ones are Rathaus Schöneberg in front and alongside the Rathaus itself. On Saturdays they are mostly food vendors, groceries, housegoods like candles, soap or paper, just all kinds of things. On Sundays they are more other kind of goods like electronics, toys, clothes, games, books, again almost anything you can scrounge around through but less of the food vendors and grocers. Also I have been to one in Wedding near the stations, construction ramps and like had been left out from during the week but it was a beautiful day and everybody was out, children and families, young people, old people, all colours, goods from around the world. Its great to walk along with a beer, talking and laughing, having a good time, and just hang out for the day. I almost always buy something whether I really need it or not.
A little tea glass from Russia, a stuffed animal from China, silk napkins with hand made lace just one for the beauty of it...its just the fun of being there. I learned to bargain, never accepting the first price. This usually works with Turkish vendors, they happily seem to want to haggle over items. The first time when I didn´t over a crystal figurine the guy asked me where I was from, and he just laughed. He let me pay the too much amount, then gave me a pair of earrings anyway because he noticed I´d just gotten my ears pierced again. There used to be a famous on at Brandenburger Tor but honestly I have not checked recently to see. In any case, just look for them, Saturdays and Sundays at most any square or sometimes a certain straße, have small change and a few cloth bags to carry your goods. One can pick up great low priced souvenirs at flea markets.
Die Engel von Cafe Cinema!!
One of THE best and my most favorite places to go in Berlin. Nice and cozy, rather cramped and smoky, but lots of atmosphere (and I don't mean from the cigarettes!), and its in the popular area of Mitte/Hackescher Markt. By candlelight with the music low it was a special place, the best seat was at the piano! You could actually have a drink there. Film star photo-lined walls, narrows tables, you sit wherever you can find a spot, its a popular beginning place for an evening in an area where there are literally dozens and dozens of similar spots. It's simply a matter of choice, and for me (often looking in through the front window to see how crowded a place is) a matter of whether you can get a seat.
Drinks and beers are reasonably priced, ranging the average for Berlin 2,50 for a beer and more for cocktails and long drinks, and if you are at the start of a night on the town, its a decent enough place to have a quick half sandwich or appetizer. Anything goes, but "night neat" and city-like would be your best.