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Memento mori

A walk through a cemetery during Easter week is the perfect combination of place and time. In Berlin there are over 230 graveyards, all with their own distinct character and most of them well worth discovering. I have described a few of my favourites in a previous...

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Simply Snug

The 2016 Berlin Film Festival (‘Berlinale’) opens this week and the capital will be full of film tourists. Last March I posted a blog ‘Berlinale City Break’ explaining how to get last-minute tickets and suggesting a few cool places to eat. For this year, why not...

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Where we are now: Berlin 2016

This is the first post of 2016 so I wish all readers, ‘einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr'. In English this translates as, ‘Slide well into the New Year’. In icy weather, this could be taken quite literally and this week temperatures in Berlin are due to fall even...

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Fairy-tale Christmas markets

For Christmas markets with authentic atmosphere and fewer tourists, it’s best to escape the city centre and head for the Berlin ‘countryside’. Public transport links are so good that most are easily accessible by train or bus. Last weekend I visited two of my...

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From the quaint to the quirky

There has never been a shortage of bars in Berlin. Here are two with serious historic pedigree in Prenzlauer Berg, only a couple of tram stops from Alexanderplatz. Try them both on the same evening for the consummate ‘Berlin Feeling', and combine tradition and...

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A Christmas Treat

The Advent atmosphere is in full swing in Berlin. Bright white lights sparkle in the trees and shop windows glitter with gold and silver. Over 60 Christmas markets are on offer. From the grand and gaudy, to the fairy-tale or funky, the urban or eco, there is something...

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Olympian Ghosts

Berlin is vibrant and contemporary, but it is also a city of ghosts. History hides in every corner and in some places it parades in the open. Last week I took a walk in the ‘Olympiapark’ and the past accompanied me every step of the way. It was a cold, grey day and...

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Good Food and Cheer

Berlin café society may have a cool reputation but it has a warm heart too. And in misty November when the days are suddenly shorter and you need to kick back and feel mellow, every Berlin neighbourhood has somewhere that fits the bill. If you’ve already tried the...

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The Spy who came in from the rain

Berlin’s city centre is full of trees. In autumn they turn every possible shade of yellow, orange and red and drop their leaves to form copper-coloured carpets. An idyllic scene under blue skies, but not so great in the rain, when the pavements and cycle paths turn...

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An apartment in Berlin

Apartment hotels are more and more in demand - the perfect solution for people who want to be independent and have plenty living space when they are away from home. Most Berliners live in apartments - so why not visitors as well. And it’s not as expensive as you might...

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Young Berlin

October half-term is fast approaching, a time when many school trips and families head for Berlin. The weather is usually perfect for sightseeing – still warm enough for boat trips, and the parks and woodland are ablaze with autumn colour. In ‘Berlin Unwrapped’ and on...

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Putting Moabit on the map

If you look at a map of Berlin, the district of Moabit is pretty central. In the aerial photo below it takes up most of the top right-hand corner. You can clearly see the Hauptbahnhof (main railway station) and the green areas of the two Moabit parks, the...

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Not just a walk in the park

There are so many parks in Berlin. The oldest, largest and most famous is the Tiergarten, stretching two square miles from the Brandenburg Gate to Ernst-Reuter-Platz and providing the green lungs for the city centre. It’s a fabulous park, once a royal hunting ground,...

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The History Garden

A secret garden, only a stone's throw from the main railway station - what could be more typically Berlin. Berlin Hauptbahnhof (main station) is impossible to miss. A ‘cathedral’ of glass and steel, it flanks the new government district in front of the Reichstag and...

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Beautiful Backwaters

It’s surprising how few tourists venture on to the waterways of East Berlin and beyond. And yet they are so easily accessible. Last week I took a boat trip from Köpenick to Woltersdorf and escaped from the unbearable heat of the city centre to paradise. It was a...

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