Monday, 21 March 2011

Berlin Highlights

There are so many things worth seeing in Berlin, I am just going to focus on the things I saw myself.

The Berlin Wall (Die Berliner Mauer)
The Wall together with the most tourist landmark - Checkpoint Charlie and the museums on this topic are definitely things worth visiting. If you are into such things you can even acquire a visa allowing free passage through the checkpoint to the other side and also buy a peace of the famous wall to take home with you. Both are available at rather high prices.
Even after seeing it in person one can only begin to imagine how it looked back then when the Wall was still performing its task. A few sections are still standing today. For a more genuine impression I recommend you check out one of the non centrally located sections of it.

Museums and Galleries
There are countless museums opened around the city. One can easily find at least a couple to his liking. Of those visited I just have to point out the DDR Museum and the Deutches Technikmuseum.
Both of these two house a vast number of expositions and if you want to pay any attention to detail, you should reserve at least half a day for each one of them. Even then I suggest you make a list of what to see first. If you don't run out of time, your feet might let you down in the process.
Both museums offer a highly interactive experience to their guests. I must say they do a great job!

Nightlife, Club Scene and Festivals
Berlin offers a great variety of socializing opportunities. I had a feeling there is always a club opened nearby. Many of them are building their reputation on some kind of a weird or even bizarre offer. In some cases their reputation is based on their setting inside some old power plant or something like that, in other cases it is all about the happening.
It is always worth asking around for something of your liking. Bizarre does not necessarily go together with enjoyable!
If you find the right club and enough energy, it might just happen you start the party late in the afternoon and don't stop until one next day... and by one I mean one o'clock in the afternoon!
In the warmer months many festivals also take place in the opened. Love Parade is probably the most famous of the bunch.

City ZOO and Aquarium
Zoologischer Garten Berlin houses the most diverse range of species in the world. Among its inhabitants is also the captive-born celebrity polar bear Knut.
Although the ZOO itself is still just a big cage it is well worth visiting if this is your thing. However if you have a choice, you should perhaps not plan a visit in winter time. During other seasons you will be able to see more animals out in the open.
A large city aquarium also features the AquaDom - the World’s Largest Cylindrical Aquarium. At 25 meters tall, and 11 meters wide, it is the largest acrylic glass cylinder in the world and contains 900,000 litres of sea water. Divers jump in every day to clean it and to feed the 56 different species of fish living inside.

Glühwein stalls
However cold it might get during winter in Berlin, it always feels good to warm up with a cup of mulled wine (yes, that's Glühwein if you were wondering).
Usually there is also a sausage stand nearby offering many variations of this traditional German food.

I guess I should also mention some other things... but this time I will leave it to you. So please point out some of the highlights you liked the most.


Thursday, 17 March 2011

Berlin - A reunited city

If you are thinking of visiting an European metropolis, Berlin can be a good choice.
With a population of around 3.4 million it is not just the capital but also the largest city in Germany and it can offer almost anything you have ever wished for.

The second most famous wall on the planet (right after the Great Wall of China) can still be seen in the German capital.
Authorities sealed off free passage between East an West Berlin in mere two days in August of 1961 and started building the Wall which stood for the next 28 years until the army finally started dismantling it in November of 1989.
Even now there is an obvious difference between the two parts of once divided city.

Whether you are on a tight budget, or you are looking for a luxury destination - Berlin can offer you both and everything in between.

There is no true top season for a visit. During every time of year Berlin has something to offer. Most of many festivals and other outdoor activities take place in warmer months, but even during winter (when temperatures can drop way below zero) there are many cute stalls offering Glühwine and Schnapps set up all over the city. These stalls really add-up to the whole December holiday spirit feel. Streets literally look like they were taken from a cheesy movie, with cheesy Christmas carols playing in the background and loads of useless souvenirs on offer.
Don't get me wrong, I actually liked the whole thing. Everything else would have looked out of place.

Recently an opportunity to visit this interesting city arose and I took it. Last December I decided to join a group of friends visiting Berlin. Obviously it was the right decision.

It was a five-day budget trip. We stayed in a very nice and clean hostel for a very reasonable price. It is called EastSeven Hostel and is situated at a great location. I would easily recommend it to anyone looking for such an option.
We simply tried to enjoy ourselves while there. I must say we succeeded in doing just that. Berlin is definitely a place I could definitely visit again.

Stay tuned for more!


Monday, 14 March 2011

Village of Coi di Zoldo in Italian Dolomites

The Italian Dolomites are not just a skiing destination, there are also many other activities one can enjoy. Hiking and climbing during the summer are just two of them.

As I have been told, tourist accommodation facilities within the main tourist centres are usually sold out for half a year in advance. If you are thinking of making a reservation in the top summer season you should start doing something about it even much earlier.
I suggest you do your homework and look for some useful information before you start your holiday in Italy.

Even if you are not a sports person, there are many opportunities to simply enjoy the nature and local Italian culinary delights.

Among many interesting things to do is also visiting some of the unspoiled little villages just off the beaten path.

In the close vicinity of the town of Zoldo Alto, just 3 kilometres from ski lifts in the centre of Pecol (Civetta ski area), there is an old little village of Coi. It lies at 1494 m on a sunny side of a hill above Val di Zoldo. It is really small and really cute.

Even though most of the buildings are rather old or at least built in traditional style, there is also a hotel where one can stay. I did not have time for a closer look and can't really say if it is any good.
I have also noticed that many traditional barns have been renovated and transformed into fancy holiday retreats. The only thing giving them away are glassed windows. Some of the old ones appeared to still be on sale.

The village offers an opportunity for a nice afternoon walk and a load of details are just shouting for a photo. Here are just two of the many photos I took during a short stroll around (the first one is taken from the top of one of the nearby ski-lifts on the opposite side of the valley and offers an interesting perspective of the village).

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