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first vaycay of the new year 2015

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Mühlenstraße 3-100, 10243 Berlin, Germany
The most famous remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall gets its name from its location on the east side of the Spree River, as well as from the collection of political and satirical murals. Originally painted just after the wall fell, the...
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Knaackstraße 98, 10435 Berlin, Germany
A vast majority of Berliners will gladly stop for a good old currywurst on their way back home from a festive evening at the pub. The history of this mouthwatering dish goes back to the 1950s when a German woman was given ketchup, curry powder,...
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Am Sandtorkai 36, 20457 Hamburg, Germany
Stretching for 1.5 kilometers within the HafenCity quarter, the Speicherstadt is the world’s largest integrated complex of warehouses. The district comprises a series of warehouses built on oak piles rising from canals dug deep enough to allow...
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Domkloster 4, 50667 Köln, Germany
August 6th, 2004 As a non-religious person, I am still a big fan of church architecture. Its hard to get more iconic than the Cologne Cathedral. If you visit and arrive from the train station, you are dumped out directly beside it. Climb the...
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Prinsengracht, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Beyond tulips, windmills, and weed, Amsterdam's global image is entwined with water. The Canal Ring (Grachtengordel) is made up of 165 fluid channels developed during the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age. In the ensuing years, the water network has...
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Dam, 1012 JS Amsterdam, Netherlands
The central hub of downtown Amsterdam is Dam Square, and it’s been at the heart of the city’s history since the 13th century. Today, the open-air public space is ringed by shops and restaurants and packed with people, including street...
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1071 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Beloved by locals and popular with tourists, the Vondelpark is a 120-acre oasis of green in buzzing Amsterdam, southeast of the Leidseplein. Opened in 1865 as the Nieuwe Park, it was later renamed after 17th-century Dutch playwright Joost van den...
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Begijnhof 29, 1012 WT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Escape the bustle of the city by ducking into the quiet courtyard garden of Begijnhof. Located just a few minutes on foot from the Koningsplein and the Singel canal, this tranquil oasis dates back at least as far as the 14th century. Look among...
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Amsterdam-Noord, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Once a place where convicts were hung, then a working class district for shipyard laborers, Amsterdam-Noord has evolved into a multicultural community with a creative vibe and numerous restaurants, nightclubs and cultural attractions. Officially...
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IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Step inside the Eye Film Institute to discover an homage to international cinema replete with interactive displays and perched like an ivory spaceship ready for launch on the northern bank of the IJ River. The striking facility, accessible via a...
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Enge Kerksteeg 3, 1012 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands
Ever wondered how it feels to sit behind one of those curtained windows in Amsterdam's Red Light District (RLD)? Find out from women who've been there at the Prostitute Information Center (PIC), near the statue of Belle on Oudekerksplein engraved...
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Hazenstraat, 1016 Amsterdam, Netherlands
It's a single street after Amsterdam's Negen Straats (Nine Streets), but Hazenstraat, the Tiende Straatje (Tenth Street), rates a ten in serious shoppers' books. Lined with boutiques, cafés and galleries, this cobbled strip in the Bohemian-chic...
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Gabriël Metsustraat 8, 1071 EA Amsterdam, Netherlands
It has been a decade since the major museums on the Museumplein—a grassy square connecting Amsterdam’s main art centers—have all been open at the same time. Here’s what to check out at the Van Gogh Museum. Sunflowers, The...
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Museumplein 10, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
It has been a decade since the major museums on the Museumplein—a grassy square connecting Amsterdam’s main art centers—have all been open at the same time. Here’s what to check out at Stedelijk Museum. The modern art...
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Kinkerstraat 1, 1053 DB Amsterdam, Netherlands
You know what's annoying? Biking around Amsterdam on a bike that screams I'M A TOURIST. Here at Bike4U, you can get classic black Gazelles. Prices are good, child seats are available, and the Bulgarian guys who run the place are super nice. Note...
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Dam 8, 1012 NP Amsterdam, Netherlands
Did you know that Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Matt Damon once kicked butt in Amsterdam's Dampkring coffeeshop in the Hollywood blockbuster Ocean's Twelve? Or that Amsterdam has a Jewish quarter with a museum that tells the story of the Jewish...
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Tesselschadestraat 1E, 1054 ET Amsterdam, Netherlands
When in Amsterdam, do as the Dutch do and rent a bike. There are half a million bikes in the city, so be sure to look both ways before crossing the street! Bike rates average 12 Euro/day or 50 Euro/week. Mike's Bike Tours...
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Prins Hendrikkade 33A, 1012 TM Amsterdam, Netherlands
Canals are an integral part of the Dutch landscape so it's only fitting you see them up close and personal, from a boat. Viewing Amsterdam by watercraft puts you level with Golden Age mansions, world-class monuments like the Anne Frank House and...
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Warmoesstraat, 1012 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Ah, Warmoesstraat, Amsterdam's heart of darkness, the street that never sleeps. Well, maybe...between 5:00–8:00am, after the junkies leave and before tourists arrive.Set adjacent tode Wallen, the city's most famous Red Light District, this lively...
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Leidsestraat, Amsterdam, Netherlands
It's easy to have a love-hate relationship with Leidesplein (Leidse Square), a colorful if sometimes frenetic entertainment hub near Vondelpark, at Amsterdam's southern end. Accessible via trams 1, 2, 5, 7 and 10, the square is the stage for...
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2961 Kinderdijk, Netherlands
"God made the world but the Dutch created the Netherlands" goes an old saying, popular in Holland. For proof, visit Kinderdijk—19 spinning windmills in a stunning natural landscape that would be underwater were it not for Dutch ingenuity. Built in...
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Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam’s State Museum reopened in 2013 after a decade of renovations, and it is oh so worth a visit! Weave your way through the museum's vast assemblage of historic art (there are over 8,000 pieces!) to check out works from Dutch masters...
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Polonceaukade 23, 1014 DA Amsterdam, Netherlands
With its chill vibe, funky decor, warehouse-like interior and spacious terrace, Pacific Parc is a rock 'n' roll bistro with an edge. Situated in a former treatment plant at Westergasfabriek, the café-nightclub on Amsterdam's west side...
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Herengracht 427, 1017 BR Amsterdam, Netherlands
Exploring Amsterdam aboard a canal boat is an iconic way to see the sights, with myriad tours and cruises plying the 65 miles of waterways that lattice the city. From many spots you can join simple, hour-long cruises with narrators describing...
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Singel, 1012 DH Amsterdam, Netherlands
Since 1862, fresh flowers and plants have arrived by barge from the Dutch countryside to Amsterdam. While this assemblage of flora still shows up daily, it comes by van, not boat, to the Bloemenmarkt, the world's only floating flower market. Here,...
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No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a stop in one of the bruine kroeg, or brown cafés. These are the Dutch equivalent of Irish pubs, cozy spaces where people gather to relax over beers and comfort food. And Café Papeneiland is a...
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Museum Island, Berlin, Germany
Visiting at least one of the five museums that make up Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must for any serious culture seeker in Berlin. The pioneering concept of an ensemble of public institutions brimming with exquisite artworks...
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Bernauer Str. 63-64, 13355 Berlin, Germany
In true Berlin fashion, flea markets are not hard to find. One of the newer fleas takes place every Sunday at Mauerpark. I arrived on the early side, around 10am, and the space was already buzzing with locals on the hunt for vintage items,...
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Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin, Germany
Built by Kaiser Wilhelm I in the late 19th century as a gesture to parliamentarians, Berlin's famed Reichstag came into its own during the Weimar era—Germany’s first attempt at democracy. The parliament building burned under...
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Dircksenstraße 89, 10178 Berlin, Germany
If you can find a way past the guard and barbed-wire fence, you can get into this amazing old spy station in West Berlin. The views are fantastic.
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Friedrichshain, Berlin, Germany
While living in Berlin, I stayed on Warschauer Strasse, on the end closest to the U-Bahn station of the same name. On an evening walk before dinner, I took a walk down the street to explore my new surroundings. This particular set of doors is the...
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Bodestraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin, Germany
One of the biggest stars of the five museums on Museum Island, the Pergamon was the last to open, in 1930. Built to resemble a Babylonian temple, it houses a trove of ancient treasures from the Middle East, with highlights that include the...
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10965 Berlin, Germany
Viktoriapark in Kreuzberg is a great gem of a park hidden in Berlin. The park is located on a small hill and is easy to get to with public transporation. There's a beer garden at the top of the hill with great views of the city. The western side...
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Am Lustgarten, 10178 Berlin, Germany
This immense—some might say immodest—neo-baroque cathedral opposite the former Royal Palace nods architecturally to St. Peter’s in Rome and served as the family church of the Hohenzollern dynasty up until 1918. The current...
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Rosenthaler Str. 39, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Ever been on a trip and found an attraction so weird and wonderful that words cannot give it justice? Well, in Berlin I found myself in this situation. While on a tour with "Alternative Berlin," I was transported to a hidden courtyard that has...
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Brunnenstraße 197-198, 10119 Berlin, Germany
If you're looking for the epitome of "Hipster Berlin," you can't find anyplace more suitable than Mein Haus am See. In the most hip area of Mitte, Rosenthaler Platz, the cafe is more than just a coffee spot. It's also a bar and club. During the...
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Alexanderpl. 7, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Berlin's most central hotel, the Park Inn, has some of the best views in Berlin. Rooms facing the Alexanderplatz central square provide premium viewing space for Berlin's most iconic architecture. The TV Tower (Fernsehturm) and Berlin Cathedral...
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Hackescher Markt, 10178 Berlin, Germany
In the streets around the Hackescher Markt S-Bahn station near Alexanderplatz, you’ll find the full variety of shopping experiences that Berlin offers, from leading international brands to independent boutiques and the studios of rising young...
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Teufelsberg, 14055 Berlin, Germany
Deep in Berlin's Grunewald Forest, Teufelsberg (literally, Devil’s Mountain; the name comes from the nearby Teufelssee, or Devil’s Lake) was once the site of a Nazi technology college. After the war, it was decided that the school...
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Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Napoleon and his armies marched through it; revolutionaries and Nazis gathered beneath it; the Berlin Wall ran right behind: It's safe to say that Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate, completed in 1791, has pretty much seen it all. Designed by...
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Rosenthaler Str. 40 -41, 10178 Berlin, Germany
This is one of the most hectic and lively courtyards in Berlin. Located in Mitte, it is named after the Hackeschen Market, which is across the street. As in many of Berlin's courtyards, the building complex around it consists of offices,...
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Budapester Str. 48-50, 10787 Berlin, Germany
Two must-sees on Kurfürstendamm Street in Berlin are the KaDeWe department store (with its foodie-heaven top floor) and the remaining spire of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. The structure is all that remains of the original 1890-era church...
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Johannisstraße 20, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Founded by the owners of the original – and much-adored - House of Small Wonder in New York’s hip Williamsburg neighbourhood, this Berlin iteration puts the same Japanese twist on American brunches and lunches. Traditional croissants...