Bought this book before travelling to Berlin. We buy lots of alternative and off the beaten track travel guides and we were really hoping it would be at least as good as "Only in Cologne". However, "Only in Berlin" describes places that turn out to be very boring and uninteresting. Also, the language is quite different from the other books by the same author and we think this one was the worst. Just choose a different guide when going to Berlin because after reading this one, you will not want to travel to Berlin...
If you like travelling, BUY THIS BOOK. If you have visited Berlin before, BUY THIS BOOK. If you are considering visiting Berlin, BUY THIS BOOK.
Duncan has done a great job in exploring this vast metroplis and digging beneath the surface to discover some fascinating tales and locations, some well known, some frequently not. Duncans writing style is informative, authorative and completely easy to understand. Once you start from the first page, you will find it hard to put down. Buy before you go, plan your itinerary and also take with you as a constant source of information,inspiration and travelling companionship. Its a beautifully put together book, you will not regret investing in it.
All I can honestly say about Berlin from my own experiences from exploring this great city is how wonderful it is. The people are genuinely friendly and will go out of their way to help you, there is obviously so much history to take in, good and bad. I would recommend climbing to the top of the Reichstag building (and glass dome) for some fabulous views of the city (especially on the night-time), you can also look down into the parlimentary chamber. Also visit the Holocaust Memorial which is represented by large grey blocks, differing in height in size, wander through it and even on a bright blue sky day, it does the job it was intended to do by absolutely focusing your mind on the atrocities that happened in the wars, a claustrophobic, unsettleing and completely moving experience.
Another incredibly moving place to visit is Bebel Platz. There is an extremely effective, permanent reminder of the book burning the Nazis did, right in the middle of Bebel Platz. It's a memorial sculptural installation by Israeli artist Mischa Ullman, but it's only really noticeable at night. It consists of a small square of glass set in the rough cobblestone surface of the plaza. At night, it emits a shaft of light from underground. When you edge up to it and look down, there's a white room, and all four walls, from floor to ceiling, are bookshelves. Empty bookshelves. A nearby ground-level plaque quotes Heine's line about "where they burn books..." and records that this is the site of the book burning in 1933.
I would also recommend you visit Berlin at least once at Christmas, to experience the Christmas fairs and markets. I can safely say, you will be amongst the most fun, safe, fairground attractions in the world, unusual food, and friendly families of all ages.
So, to sum up. Berlin = Definately visit. Duncans Only in Vienna Guidebook = Buy this book NOW. You will not regret doing either, I can say with my hand on my heart.
I really recommend this book if you are staying a bit longer in Berlin to discover some really nice locations but also information you wouldn't get on a normal tourist book! But if you are eager to know Berlin in other ways even for a short period of time buy the book in advance, read it through and pick the things you are most curious about!
Other good thing is that it had up to date information and the only bad thing is that it hadn't any websites/telephones for some of the things to do, for example, the bunker tours from Berliner Unterwelten, I had to google it, which was ok at the end but it would have been easier with some adicional info. Maybe the author just didn't want to do any direct advertising but then why write the names of the companies?
If you are looking for a quick read it's not the book for you, this book is done in a "small stories" way.
If you are really interested in a different trip buy it!