“Berlin, Berlin, wir fahren nach Berlin!” (a famous battle call orginally used by football supporters of the two teams which have reached the finals of a national soccer competiton with its final showdown in the Olympiastadion) is a suitable motto for all project travels to Berlin. What shall we write about Berlin here, which you most likely already know from the media? East & West, the Wall, culture, museums… they’re all here, waiting for your spare time! It is conveniently located on the Axis of B-ville, which is very relevant in any international activity, including research.
What to do
- Take a look at the Museum for Post & Telecommuncations! Robots will approach you in the entrance hall of a fancy building, and ask you to play ball with them. Being one of three museums that document the history of postal service and telecommunications, this one is a must-see for all business travellers in the IT branch.
- Get a free-of-admission glimpse at contemporary art at Potsdamer Platz by visiting Daimler’s art collection. Take a glass of sparkling wine at Lutter & Wegner’s, a traditional fine restaurant (and in this case, wine shop) right next to the entrace door to the art exhibition.
- In case you’d like to dive in deep into modern art, the national gallery at the former railway station “Hamburger Bahnhof” has a huge collection on display – including the controversial Flick collection.
- Walk the glass roof dome of the German parliament, the Reichstag. After the German unification, architect Norman Foster build the dome and its spiral walkway right over the heads of politicians in the plemum to illustrate transparency, political control, and the position of politicians in relation to the people.
Where to stay
- Did you ever wonder how life was in a socialist concrete appartment block? The Berlin Ostel is an original DDR block that – after refurbishment – is run as a hostel and guest house. Night from 9€ and up. Very affordable, clean and safe. Also, very close to (obviously) Ostbahnhof.
- On the top end of the recommendations, the Radisson Hotel at Alexanderplatz offers several stars, Scandinavian room rates, and an incredible multi-million-liter 25m cylindric fish tank with a glass elevator going throgh it (the elevator ride can be done against a fee without a room booking). However, you could as well just host a conference there.
- The public transportation system gets you virtually anywhere, including the pitoresque neighbour city of Potsdam.
Where to eat
- Try “12 Apostel” – an Italian restaurant and beer place in a unique location. Make sure to hit the location in Georgenstrasse 2, near the Friedrichsstasse train station and the museum island. The restaurant resides in an arcade below the train line, neigboring some interesting antique shops. Discount on pizza at lunchtime – ideal for a break when doing the central museums or Checkpoint Charlie.
- The Monsieur Vuong is a typical Vietnamese restaurant, which is rather hard to find in western cities. While reservations are not possible, the food and atmosphere are quite worth the possible wait.
What to bring home
- Don’t fall for any “Berlin Wall bits” – these concrete slabs originate , most likely, from a construction trash dump, not from the Wall.