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Hallo, Berlin! Transit strike, Reichstag visit

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the snowy view from our window 

Greetings from Berlin, which today (Thursday) has begun rather overcast and moody (see above — the view from my kitchen window in Prenzlauer Berg, overlooking Mauerpark). Yesterday, as I touched down in Tegel at 8:10 AM, I found the city blanketed in snow, a not-too-frequent occurrence this year.

I also found myself arriving on the first day of a transit strike. Trams, buses, and the U-Bahn shut-down yesterday, leaving passengers with only the above-ground S-Bahn for mass transportation. The strike continues today. My taxi driver whisked through the snow and along the back streets in Prenzlauer Berg, avoiding the congested highway.

Yesterday, in that “first day, no sleep” delirium that blesses you on your first day in Europe, Pete, Meredith and I had the good fortune to meet up with Hilary from Less Than a Shoestring, that great daily blog about serious budget (or “no budget”) travels. She’s based in Berlin and really knows how to see the town on, well, nothing!

mere_brandenberg.jpg

We S-Bahned it to Unter den Linden, gawked at the Brandenburg Gate (see above, Mere smiling at the gate–after the snow had melted), and headed for the Reichstag, the seat of the German Parliament. The domed building, a must-visit for any traveler to Berlin, was still open at 6:30 PM when we arrived, and incredibly, had no line to speak of. (Also, as Hilary pointed out, the building has no admission charge to speak of, which makes it a “Cheapo Must.”) Within minutes we were climbing upward through the dome, looking out onto the twinkling capital city.

Euro-shock side note: On my Continental flight from Newark, the price for a small bottle of wine (or any other alcoholic beverage), is now “$5 or €3″! I hope that this special “Continental” exchange rate is not a reliable forecast of things to come!

Later today: A report from ITB, Berlin’s international travel expo. (Note, it, too is easily reachable by S-Bahn!)

About the author

Tom Meyers

About the author: Tom Meyers created and launched EuroCheapo from his Berlin apartment in 2001. He returned to New York in 2002, set up office, and has led the EuroCheapo team from the Big Apple ever since. He travels to Europe several times a year to update EuroCheapo's hotel reviews. Tom is also a co-host of the New York City history podcast, The Bowery Boys. Email Tom. [Find Tom on Google Plus]

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6 thoughts on “Hallo, Berlin! Transit strike, Reichstag visit”

  1. Pingback: Tips for great travel despite the weak dollar | Budget Travel Tips - EuroCheapo

  2. Hi Karen,

    Yes, I’m sorry that we didn’t meet up. We didn’t realize that you were in the city, as well. Next year we’ll do a better job of research! Let us know, by the way, if you’re ever heading to New York.

    All the best,
    Tom

    Reply
  3. The Reichstag may be the front door of Europe, but it’s a pretty nice one (once security stops criticizing your shoes)!

    Hope all the meetings, greetings and ITB negotiations have been good to you Cheapos and that you have time to squeeze in a little more culture before the road trip begins. . .

    Reply
  4. Hey cheapos,

    Can you get a sense of how many Americans are visiting Berlin this time of year?

    Good luck at the conference!

    Reply

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