Last summer, I took my second trip to Northwestern Germany as an exchange student. Upon arriving, my fellow students and I were lucky enough to have our luggage left behind in Copenhagen when our first and second flights connected. After getting over the hump of wearing borrowed clothes for two days and becoming accustomed to a new culture, we were on our way.
We stayed in the small town of Krefeld, Germany and also visited Duesseldorf, Cologne, Aachen, Monschau, and Amsterdam (just a 3 hour bus ride away from where we were living). My personal favorite though, was Berlin. We took a five hour train ride to get there, and if I can recommend anything, it would be to take advantage of all the public transportation they have in Europe! Don't bother getting a car, because there is a train, bus or streetcar that can take you anywhere you need to go!
We stayed in a hostel right next to Berlin's Hauptbahnhof called Meninger and it was wonderful. The rooms were clean and very modern and there was a rooftop terrace that provided incredible views of the city. We were very close to the Brandenburg Gate and Holocaust Memorial in this location too (about a 10 minute walk). We bought subway cards (definitely recommended!) and got to explore!
My friends and I went to KaDeWe, the famous department store, the Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Memorial, Hard Rock Cafe Berlin and some shopping as well! We also went to "Olympiastadion", the soccer stadium for Hertha BSC, Berlin's soccer team. The stadium was originally built for the 1936 Summer Olympic Games that were held in Berlin, so the history behind it is very interesting too. It's the very last stop on one of the subway lines in Berlin so it's rather easy to get to, just a bit of a ride!
I would also recommend going to the Reichstag Building and making a reservation (a few days in advance!) to go into the dome at night. The Reichstag is the Capitol Building, but a half-sphere dome at the top has a great view of the city and is a huge tourist stop.
Our final stop before heading home was to climb to the top of the "Siegessaeule" or Berlin Victory Column. It's a tall golden angel column with a very tight circular staircase to the top, but it's definitely worth the wheezing to see the view! We managed to do all of this in two days, so although it was fast, we really saw so much of the city!
Berlin is a great city for young and old, but Germany in general is really wonderful country for anyone to visit, so get out there and explore!
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