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Berlin by boat

10:00 AEST Thu Jan 27 2011
Germany was a real eye-opener for Jules Lund. He didn't quite expect it to have so many quirky things. The beer bike and the amazingly popular curry wurst are certainly different. The other thing he didn't expect was to find that Berlin has more bridges than Venice has — 1291 more bridges.

The River Spree winds through Germany's largest city for 180km. Berlin has a controversial history, a fascinating contemporary art scene and is the capital of Europe's strongest economy. It's a city known for its culture, politics, media and science.

Until 20 years ago, under the communist rule of East Germany, the River Spree was a no-go zone. It divided the city into communist east and democratic west. Now visitors can take it all in from that very river.

One of the best ways to do it is on Rüdiger Michael's Spree-Shuttle Solarboat. The river is a hub of activity with lots of cruise and leisure boats, but Rüdiger offers an intimate and eco-friendly experience. Solar panels charge batteries giving a pleasantly quite outing.

The 10m craft carries an average of five passengers on two-, three- and four-hour journeys, taking in sights such as the former border area with the longest lasting piece of the original Berlin wall, river locks, the oldest parts of the city, Museum Island and new skyscrapers.

It is chilling to see the Reichstag, where Adolf Hitler's troops famously stormed in and overthrew the government.

Museum Island may be a place you want to spend time after your cruise. The Altes Museum was completed on the orders of Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1830. Neues Museum was opened in 1859, destroyed during World War II and rebuilt for the Egyptian Museum of Berlin and re-opened in 2009.

Alte Nationalgalerie was completed in 1876 and hosts an impressive collection of 19th-century art. The Bode Museum opened in 1904 exhibiting sculpture collections and late antique and Byzantine art. The Pergamon Museum was constructed in 1930 and has immense and significant buildings such as the Pergamon Altar and Ishtar Gate of Babylon. In 1999 the museum complex was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.

Tours are more popular during milder months — April to October — and if you fancy a cooling dip, don't even think about entering the Spree. It's way too polluted. However, there's always the Badeschiff, a bathing ship. The floating public pool is in the East Harbour and offers safe and clean swimming. It's one of the city's hot spots.

Food and drink are not included on the Spree-Shuttle, but you are welcome to take your own refreshments.

Location

Berlin in north-east Germany.

Cost

Spree-shuttle two-hour tours start at around $31 per person.

Emirates has flights to Munich from:

  • Perth $1931
  • Melbourne $1963
  • Sydney $1982
  • Brisbane $1985
  • Adelaide $2070

Sales and validity dates and other conditions apply.

Connections to Berlin are available.

Prices correct at January 27, 2011.

For further information

Emirates
Ph: 1300 303 777
www.emirates.com/getaway

Spree-Shuttle
Lausitzer Straße 36
10999 Berlin
Ph: +49 30611 8001
www.spree-shuttle.de
info@spree-shuttle.de

German National Tourist Office
www.germany.travel
germanytourism@smink.com.au

Visas: Australians require valid passports to enter Germany, but return tickets and visas are not required.

Electricity: Germany operates on 230V at 50Hz with two round pins.

Time zone: GMT +1.

Currency: The euro.

International dialling code: +49.

User comments
We visited Berlin last year, what an eye opener it was, we stayed out side of Berlin at Kurchmoser, and trained it in into Berlin and Potsdam, it was very exciting, though a sad experience, knowing the history of the times, well worth an extended visit, take your time ....
I watch Getaway quite regularly and enjoy the show, however I get quite frustrated with Jules' reports as they show a distinct lack of knowledge. His comment regarding the Reichstag was so historically incorrect, it made me so frustrated. The Nazis did not "famously storm" the Reichstag and seize power. In actual fact, they were voted into power through democratic means. The role of the Reichstag building in the Nazi's ascent into power was through it being set on fire in early 1933. The Nazi's used the fire as a means to introduce a totalitarian state and removed all political opposition. When I travel to places, I take the time to read up on history so I understand the significance of the things I see. It seems quite clear to me that Jules and his team don't take such measures. It displays a lack of professionalism, ignorance and sadly in this instance, the reference of "famously storming the Reichstag" is wrong, but also adds a romantic edge to a dark period in history.
I was shocked to see the blatant historical inaccuracy in tonight's Getaway story on Berlin with the quote - "It is chilling to see the Reichstag, where Adolf Hitler's troops famously stormed in and overthrew the government." I note that this quote is then repeated on the Getaway website. Please note that Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party did not take power in Germany following an armed coup and in fact "on 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of a coalition government of the NSDAP-DNVP-Centre Party." While this quote is taken from Wikipedia for additional references and historical accuracy please see Chapter 6 of William Shirer's 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich'. A correction of this inaccuracy would be much appreciated.

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