Take advantage of a few tourism Web sites to plan leisurely walking tours along avenues once blocked by an infamous wall, see where some of the best shopping is located, and decide which palaces you'll visit in Berlin, the German capital.
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Try the Berlin guide from World Guides - http://berlin.world-guides.com/ - where you can find a little bit of everything from general tourist info to museum guides and details on markets such as the Arkonaplatz flea market. Check out "Excursions" for suggested side trips including the Spree Forest and the former headquarters of the Stasi secret police. "Sports and Outdoor Activities" has swimming pools, tennis courts and other spots where you can loosen those travel-weary muscles.
Explore the "Entertainment" category at Berlin.de - http://www.berlin.de/english/index.html - and use the search menus to find events such as Musicfestival Berlin 05, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13. Just don't forget to follow the German dating system, with the day before the month, as 31.08.2005 for Aug. 31, 2005. But you might want to make the "Visitors Guide" your first stop for details on getting around, tours, top attractions and city history. "Berlin Tourist Info" has information on hotels and apartments.
Get a head start on learning where the major landmarks are located by visiting Berlin Landmarks - http://www.berlin-landmarks.com/ - and clicking through "Landmarks," "Maps" and "Hotels." The Brandenburg Gate, the Zoo and the Victory Column are all in the famous Tiergarten District.
Take a train outside Berlin to suburban Potsdam - http://hotels.about.com/od/potsdam/bb/potsdam.htm - a city of gardens and palaces, including the 19th century Charlottenhof. Follow the links for photos. You might also look to Historic Germany - http://www.historicgermany.com/ -and look under "Cities" for Potsdam.
Want to join a walking tour of the city? Click on "Sightseeing" at the city's Berlin Tourist Information - http://www.berlin-tourist-information.de/index.en.php - and then the subheading "City Tours," which also has a section on sightseeing at water level on the city's rivers. "Sightseeing" also has a "Palaces and Gardens" section about landmarks such as Peacock Island and Frederick the Great's Sanssouci Palace. And on their main page, take a look at their travel package offerings and ticket services. But skip their attractive little map of Berlin's districts; it's strictly a dead end.
This is another destination where you can make use of Fodor's Online Travel Guides - http://www.fodors.com/miniguides/ - by clicking on Europe to locate Berlin and other German cities. Along with shopping ideas, you'll want to browse through their "Great Itineraries" for tips on scheduling your sightseeing.
Berlin played a pivotal role in the Cold War, and the In Your Pocket guide -http://www.inyourpocket.com/germany/berlin/en/ - has a brief history with directions to landmarks such as Checkpoint Charlie and links to museums. "The German Menu" has food translations, and you'll need to get familiar with the city's districts. "City Walks" has suggestions for relatively short walking tours.
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