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What I expected: For years my husband has wanted to visit Berlin, because his grandmother had been born near there. So this summer, when planning a Baltic cruise, we also purchased a Eurail Pass to travel around Germany. One of the first stops was Berlin, which I wasn't too enthusiastic about, picturing dark, depressing areas of Eastern Germany. I was much more excited about going to Prague, Czech Republic, which was next on the itinerary.
What I found: We had reserved a room at the Westin Grand Berlin for two nights, which as it turned out, was in East Berlin. Imagine my surprise and his delight when Berlin turned out to be one of the best stops on our trip.
We loved every minute, with fine restaurants, warm, friendly people, easy transportation and great historical value. One of the most intriguing aspects of Berlin is the wonderful marriage of old, restored buildings with new, modern structures. Not only did we come to appreciate this bright, beautiful city, but extended our stay an additional night. Anyone who appreciates history or architecture certainly needs to have Berlin on their must-see list.
Conversely, Prague, which had been the most eagerly anticipated destination on our trip, turned out to be the most disappointing. From our arrival at a train station outside of the city with interesting taxi service into town, to the overwhelming crowds, constant worry about pickpockets, and extremely high prices at restaurants, this certainly wasn't the "Little Paris" we had looked forward to seeing.
Mary K. Dana, Huntington Beach
Pictured: Brandenburg Gate