Though I've written two novels and though two more are nearly finished and a fifth is in the early stages of research, I'm lazy. As a writer, I don't want to struggle to set a scene in a story. If a city strikes me as ordinary, so will any ideas that come to mind. I want a city, its history, its museums, its bustle, yes, even its horrific past, to come at my forcefully. I want to be appalled, amused, intrigued. I want that city to hit me in the gut. That is the only way I can possibly stand any chance of getting words onto paper.
Which explains why all of my mysteries and thrillers are set mostly or entirely in major metropolitan cities, among them London, Paris, and Berlin. This freebie is the first on this site of an occasional spin-off from my research for stories during my stays in these world-class cities. Each will offer information on inexpensive hotels, supermarkets, free or relatively inexpensive sites to see and things to do as well as bookstores. It will be a work in progress, and I'll add more information as it becomes available. So stay tuned for travel suggestions for Paris, London, and other Euro-cities. A final note: the Kurfurstendamm boulevard is here referred to the way Berliners do, the Ku'Damm.
INEXPENSIVE HOTELS IN BERLIN
---All are close to the underground and the major transportation hub of Zoologischer Garten (Zoo) Station.
---All are fairly inexpensive (Check their websites for current rates).
---All are located minutes from the chic Ku'Damm www.visitberlin.de/en/spot/kurfuerstendamm in the swank Charlottenburg district.
---Upper Room Hotel: Rankerstrasse 3, 10789 Berlin, 49 30 25 20 26 33.,,,
---Hotel Augusta: Fasanenstrasse 22, 10719 Berlin, 49 30 883 5028.
---Hotel-Pension Funk: Fasanenstrasse 69, 10719 Berlin, 30 882 71 93.
---Dussmann das Kulturkaufhaus, Friedrichstrasse 90, 10117 Berlin, 49 30 2025 1111. Don't be put off by the German name. It carries a good selection of English language books in the back. Ask at the Customer Service Desk for directions.
---Saint George's English Bookshop, Worther Strasse 27, 10405 Berlin, 49 30 81 798 333.
---Berlin Story/Berlin Museum, Unter den Linden 40, 10117 Berlin. This is a bookstore and museum. The English language books are along the left wall and on some nearby tables.
---Berlin Wall open air memorial. Bernauerstrasse 111, 13355 Berlin. Free.
---Bus lines 100 and 200 (costs only the negligible fare) offer scenic rides through some of the most interesting parts of the city.
---Stroll and people watch on the fable Kui'Damm. Note: at 207-208 Kurfurstendamm (the Ku'Damm), there is the Story of Berlin, an interactive museum of the capital.
---Take in the ambiance of the charming and chic Savignyplatz in the western part of the city.
---Take the S-bahn, U-bahn, or the bus to the enormous expanse of the Grunewald Forest, its lakes, and villas.
---Potsdamer Platz, another Berlin landmark that works on the imagination. Before World War II, one of the busiest, if not the busiest, traffic intersections in Europe. After the war, a dead zone for decades. Not any longer. To see why, a must visit.
---If you visit Potsdamer Platz, why not drop in to see the German Spy Museum. It's right up the block at: Leipziger Platz 9.
---Kaiser's, Knesebeckstrasse 56-58, 10719 Berlin, Monday-Saturday, 8am-10pm. An American size supermarket near the cross streets of Knesebeckstrasse and the Ku'Damm.
---Netto Marken-Discount, Ku'Damm 38, 10719 Berlin. Monday-Saturday, 7am-9pm.
---Also check major transportation hubs like the Friedrichstrasse Station/Bahnhof Berlin Friedrichstrasse. Georgenstrasse 14-17, at the intersection of Geogenstrasse and Friedrichstrasse.
ALL THINGS ELECTRONIC
---Saturn, situated within the Europa Center, Tauentzienstrasse 9-12, 10789 Berlin.The Europa-Center is a well known West Berlin landmark, located next to another prominent Berlin icon, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a sobering reminder of the Second World War.
---Lumas Art Gallery (free), Fasanenstrasse 73, 10719 Berlin and Rosenthalerstrasse 40/41, 10178 Berlin. Monday-Friday, 10am-7pm.
---Under a Gray Sky, a blog about the capital.