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WUDC Berlin 2013
Excursions

General Information

January 1st is excursion day. The activities we offer seek to reflect the wide range of wishes among participants: whether you want to discover the diversity of Berlin or the remnants of Germany's troubled past, whether you wish to exercise on a hiking trip or are eager to use the day to get a glimpse of the glory of Dresden or Lübeck, you can do it with us.

 

The participation fee for the excursions will have to be paid in cash (euro) upon check-in in Berlin. You can sign up for only one excursion. If you have signed up by October 21st, the deadline for the provision of participants' details, you will probably find yourself on the excursion of your first preference. Some excursions will still be available for booking upon arrival in Berlin, but the choice will be restricted to a few city walks.


We aim to make it possible for everyone to join our excursions and a disability should not limit you in your choice. If you have needs that might require consideration please let us know, though, in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable excursion for you.

 

Of course there is no obligation to sign up for an excursion. You can also use the day to discover Berlin on your own or to do whatever pleases you. With the exception of the day trips, all the excursions do not take longer than half a day, so even if you participate in one of the activities proposed you'll still have time on your own.

 

Excursions don't include activities that you can easily do on your own, such as visits to Museum Island or to the Reichstag Building. Please note that January 1st is a public holiday in Germany. Most shops and even some major tourist sites will be closed and public transportation will run on a less frequent schedule. We will publish a list with open sites and public events taking place on January 1st later.

 

If you have any questions regarding excursions, please contact Filip Bubenheimer.

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1. A Winter Wonderland Stroll in Brandenburg

Berlin is surrounded by the lovely landscape of Brandenburg, with more than 70 lakes, as well as rivers, little forests and fairy-tale mansions and palaces. With snow or without, Brandenburg is a winter wonderland during this time of the year. This hiking tour will give you the opportunity to stretch your legs, get some fresh air and relax at this peaceful place. If you wish, we will take a coffee break at a cosy little tavern.

Brandenburg

Brandenburg is flat as a pancake, so the trip will not be physically demanding but you should wear warm clothes and shoes and take a spare pair of socks with you. Public transport is always nearby so we can go home at any time should we find ourselves in the middle of a snow storm.

 

Fee: 3 EUR for the public-transport ticket
Duration: about 5 hours, including a one-hour train ride

2. City Walks in Berlin

Berlin is an incredibly diverse place with lots of hidden treasures. We offer you a wide range of walking tours to discover the capital from different thematic angles. All the guides we work with are renowned and knowledgeable and were tested by ourselves.

 

2.1 Introducing Berlin

AlexThis tour gives you an overview of the main sites and the history of Berlin. It includes the Brandenburg Gate, the government buildings and the Reichstag Building, the remnants of the Berlin Wall and the main memorial sites for the victims of Nazi era and Holocaust, but also the "new Berlin", built after the fall of the Wall.

Fee: 10 Euro // Duration: 3.5 hours

 

2.2 Prussia, Palaces, Politics

Discover the historic heart of Berlin. 300 years of different government systems have left their traces in the old and new centre of Berlin. Visiting restored Prussian palaces, sites from the Nazi regime and ministries of the Communist era in East Germany that are now the seat of the government of unified Germany, you hear about the ups and downs in German history.

Fee: 10 Euro // Duration: 2 hours

 

2.3 The Capital of the "Third Reich": Headquarters of a Totalitarian Regime
On this tour you see traces and places of the Nazi regime. Hitler used prestigious locations for the show off his power with military pomp; most famous may be the torchlight procession through the Brandenburg Gate in 1933. Behind the facade intended to impress the world and fascinate and entrain the people a bureaucratic machine was running. Suppressing and aiming to destroy anything and everybody who didn't fit the ideology, it started with discriminating laws and book burning, ending in war and mass destruction. The infamous central offices of planning and control were situated right in the heart of Berlin: Hitler's Reichschancellery, Goebbel's Propaganda Ministry, Göring's Ministry of Air Force, and the terrifying Gestapo Headquarters which are now a memorial for the victims of Nazi terror.

Fee: 10 Euro // Duration: 2 hours

 

2.4 Jewish Life in Berlin
SynagogueThe extinguishing of Jewish life in Berlin left a large gap in Berlin society. On this tour we walk through the former Jewish quarter. One of our stops will be the beautiful New Synagogue with its Centrum Judaicum. Hear about Jewish life in Berlin in the past and today's growth of the Jewish community due to immigration from the former Soviet Union.

Fee: 10 Euro // Duration: 2 hours

 

2.5 Kreuzberg: Immigrant Berlin
Explore Kreuzberg, the smallest but the most colourful district of Berlin. Berlin has always been a home for immigrants, in former centuries for Huguenots, Jews and Silesians. During the past decades, migrants came mainly from Turkey, Poland and other Eastern European countries, with increasing numbers after the fall of the "Iron Curtain". Is this vital mixture of ethnicities, religions and types of food in Kreuzberg the multi-cultural society of the future?
Fee: 10 Euro // Duration: 2 hours

 

2.6 The Berlin Wall
Discover what is left of the former "Death Strip" on the "Historic Mile" between Checkpoint Charlie and Potsdam Square. Hear about the construction of the Wall in 1961, its breathtaking fall in 1989 and about life in a divided city during the period of time in between.

Fee: 10 Euro // Duration: 2 hours

 

2.7 Bauhaus and Modernist Architecture in Berlin
architectureBerlin features some remarkable examples of Bauhaus and the modernist architecture of the 1920s. Both the first and the last building designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe are situated here. Other notable architects such as Walter Gropius and Peter Behrens also left their traces. During this tour, you will discover their work and visit some of the Modernist Housing Estates, such as the Siemensstadt, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites today.
Fee: 10 EUR // Duration: 3 hours

 

2.8 Berlin from a Feminist Perspective
90 per cent of all streets in Berlin bear the names of men - a detail that illustrates to which extent gender injustice is reflected in the public sphere of the city. This tour provides an insight into the gendered nature of public space in Berlin and seeks to tell some of the numerous untold women's stories that are part of Berlin's history, too.
Fee: 10 EUR. // Duration: 2 hours

 

2.9 Berlin from a Post-Colonial Perspective
Colonialism left its traces in Berlin, although many of them are not visible to most of us. Germany's colonial past is an issue rarely dealt with in public. During this tour, we will discover how colonial politics and racist discourses contributed to shape the city, but also how Berlin's black population continues to challenge the hegemonic white narratives.
Fee: 10 EUR // Duration: 2 hours

3. Guided Tour of Potsdam

PotsdamSituated only a few kilometres west of Berlin, with only only 145.000 inhabitants, Potsdam outweighs Berlin in terms of charm. Prussian kings and princes such as Frederick the Great wasted their money here for gigantesque parks and buildings such as the Sanssouci palace, seeking to create a "German Versailles". Finally, the royal squandering seems to pay off for the people, as Potsdam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site today. Beside parks and palaces, Potsdam also features a nicely preserved old town with sights such as the 18th century "Dutch Quarters". During a guided tour, you learn how not only kings and princes, but also immigrants from all over Europe shaped this city during the centuries.

 

Fee: 12 EUR, including a guided tour and the train ride
Duration: about 3.5 hours, including a 1.5-hour train ride

You can stay in Potsdam after the tour and return to Berlin on your own.

4. Former Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen

More than 200.000 people, among them Jews, prisoners of war and homosexuals, suffered in the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp during the Nazi dictatorship. Inmates were forced to work in brickworks and the armament industry or to participate in painful medical experiments. About 30.000 people are estimated to have died in the camp - of hunger, exhaustion, illness, the cold, abuse, or in mass murders or public executions.

Sachsenhausen

Today, the former concentration camp is a memorial and museum that bears witness to the atrocities committed in Nazi Germany. Many of the original camp buildings have been preserved. A permanent exhibition tells the stories of the camp, its inmates and explains the historical context.


While it is difficult to organise a guided tour on January 1st, we will make sure that your questions will be answered.


Fee: 3 EUR for the public transport ticket
Duration: about 4-5 hours, including a 1.5-hour train ride

5. Day Trips

We devoted special attention to selecting the destinations of our day trips. We want to give you the possibility to get out of Berlin/Brandenburg for a day and to discover some of the most beautiful destinations of Germany's North-East or even to cross the border to Poland. Note that we only offer trips where the fact of being a group represents an organizational and/or financial advantage and that all these trips require you to get up (very) early on New Year's morning and that you will be back in Berlin only in the evening. You may be able to catch some sleep on the train, though.

 

5.1 Day Trip to Dresden


Dresden, the capital city of the state of Saxony, is undoubtedly one of the top destinations of East Germany. Situated on the borders of the Elbe river, Dresden features magnificent baroque and rococo architecture in its old town, which has been carefully reconstructed after nearly complete destruction in World War II. One of the most notable sites is the reconstructed Church of Our Lady. Also known as the "Lutheran St. Peter's Basilica", it is so impressive that even Barack Obama came here during his last visit to Germany. A further asset of Dresden is its huge art collections and galleries, which outlived their founders, the many princes and kings of Saxony. Masterpieces such as Rafael's Madonna Sistina can be found here.
Dresden

Fee: 20 EUR for the train (We are trying to arrange a guided tour without extra costs, but cannot promise it)
Departure from the hotel: around 7 a.m.
Return to the hotel: around 10 p.m.
Duration of the stay in Dresden: about 7 hours

 

5.2 Day Trip to Lübeck


Although the days of the Hanseatic League have been over for long, a visit to Lübeck, the League's former "capital" will give you an idea of the merchant pride reigning in the member cities of this powerful commercial alliance. Also known for being the hometown of Nobel Prize laureate Thomas Mann, one of the most prominent German authors of all time, Lübeck features an impressive old town with the Brick Gothic architecture typical of many hanseatic cities. In winter, the atmosphere of Lübeck's old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, is even more charming, and the marzipan, Lübeck's trademark almond-based sweet, tastes even better.

Lübeck

While we cannot promise that there will be a guided tour in Lübeck, we will make sure that you get all the information to fully grasp the historical richness of this place.


Fee: 20 EUR for the train
Departure from the hotel: around 7 a.m.
Return to the hotel: around 9 p.m.
Duration of the stay in Lübeck: about 6 hours

 

5.3 Day Trip to the Baltic Sea


No, January is not the most usual time for a trip to the Baltic coast. You will hardly feel an urge to dive into the ice-cold waters or to bask on the windy beach. But winter at Germany's Baltic coast has its own charms. The wide and empty beaches of the Warnemünde sea resort invite for a lonesome stroll with your newly found love, an intense strategy discussion with your team partner or monologues about your New Year's resolutions. Warnemünde is a cosy little harbour town with a lot of nice corners to discover and its cafés are perfect to have a tea or coffee to warm up.

Baltic Sea

Please note that the mean temperature in Warnemünde in January is 0° C (32° F) and that there will probably an icy wind blowing. You will only enjoy this trip (but then you will!) if you wear really thick clothing.


Fee: 20 EUR for the train
Departure from the hotel: around 7 a.m.
Return to the hotel: around 10 p.m.
Duration of the stay in Warnemünde: about 6 hours

 

5.4 Day Trip to Szczecin (Poland)


One of the best ways to celebrate peace, reconciliation and freedom in Europe is to take the train from Berlin to Szczecin, the capital of Poland's West Pomerania province. Situated on the banks of the Oder river, this proud member of the Hanseatic League was once one of the most important Baltic Sea harbours. In more recent times, Szczecin was one of the birthplaces of the Solidarity movement that was essential to the fall of communism in Poland, and probably in Central Europe as a whole.

Szczecin

In World War II, the old town of Szczecin was nearly completely destroyed. Today, an architectural mix of all epochs bears witness to the horrors of war, the hardships of authoritarianism and the fruits of European integration.


We are designing a trip for you that will make you discover the many layers of history of this place and its hidden secrets. You will also learn a lot about the troubled history of Germany and Poland, which mirrors recent European history as a whole. Besides, you will get to know the fine and fatty Polish cuisine - if you wish.


Poland is not a member country of the euro area but has its own currency, the Złoty. For your convenience, we offer you to change a small amount of euro (the amount that you probably need for a day in Sczeczin) to Złoty when you pay for the excursion and we will also change back what is left over. Obviously, you can always change more in Szczecin or use an ATM.


If you need a visa in order to enter the European Union, make sure you received a visa for the Schengen area. This should normally be the case, but please check.


Fee: max. 20 EUR (We will probably be able to offer you a guide and some other frills as well)
Departure from the hotel: around 7 a.m.
Return to the hotel: around 9 p.m.
Duration of the stay in Szczecin: about 8 hours


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