DAY TRIPS FROM BERLIN

DAY TRIPS FROM BERLIN

Schoko-Cafe, Mariannenstr. 6 (615 15 61). Lesbian central; a bright and colorful cafe with billiards, Turkish baths, a cultural center, and innumerable other women-only services. Dancing every second Sa of the month (from 10pm) and cultural events every weekend. Friendly and laid-back. Open daily from 5pm.

SchwuZ, Mehringdamm 61. U6: Mehringdamm. Dance floor hidden behind Sundstrom, a popular gay and lesbian cafe. Semi-famous parties are thrown here, including a lesbian event every second F of the month. Cover ‚4-8. Open F-Sa from 11pm.

FRIEDRICHSHAIN AND PRENZLAUER BERG

18 Die Busche, Muhlenstr. 12. Ul; Warschauer Str. Outside, it looks like an auto yard; inside, Eastern Berlin’s largest gay disco is a color-saturated haven of dance, spinning an incongruous rotation of techno, top 40, and Schlager. Cover ‚4-5. Open W and F-Su from 10pm-5am.

Cafe Amsterdam, Gleimstr. 24. U2: Schdnhauser Allee. Relaxed and romantic. Good cocoa. Pasta dishes (‚6-7) until 11:30pm. Open M-Ffrom 4, Sa-Su brunch from 10am.

KZ SACHSENHAUSEN. The small town of Oranienburg, just north of Berlin, was home to the Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen, where more than 100,000 Jews, communists, intellectuals, Roma, and homosexuals were killed between 1936 and 1945. The Gedenkstatte Sachsenhausen, a memorial preserving the remains of the camp, was opened by the DDR in 1961. It including some of the original cramped barracks, the cell block where dangerous prisoners were kept in solitary confinement and tortured, and a pathology wing where Nazis experimented on inmates. A stone monolith commemorating the camp’s victims stands sentinel over the wind-swept grounds and several small museums. (Str. der Nationen 22. SI: Oranienburg (40min.). Follow the signs from Stralsunderstr. turn right on BemauerStr. left on Str. der Einheit, and right on Str. der Nationen (20min.). 03301 20 00. Free. Audio tour rental ‚3.50. Open mid-Mar. to mid-Oct. 8:30am-6pm; mid-Oct to mid-Mar. 8:30am-4pm.)

POTSDAM. Visitors disappointed by Berlin’s distinctly unroyal demeanor can get their Kaiserly fix in nearby Potsdam, the glittering city of Friedrich II (the Great). The 600-acre El Park Sanssouci is Friedrich’s testament to the size of his treasury and the diversity of his aesthetic tastes. For info on the park, stop by the Visitor’s Center at the windmill. (Open May-Oct. daily 8:30am-5pm; Nov.-Feb. 9am-4pm.) Schlofl Sanssouci, the park’s main attraction, was Friedrich’s answer to Versailles. German tours are limited to 40 people and leave every 20min. but the final tour (5pm) usually sells out by 2pm, so come early. The tourist office leads English-language tours of the main Schlofi only. (Open Apr.-Oct. Su and Tu-Sa 9am-5pm; Nov.-Mar. Su and Tu-Sa 9am-4pm. Required tour ‚8, students ‚5.) The exotic gold-plated Chinesisches Tee-haus, complete with a rooftop Buddha toting a parasol, contains 18th-century chi-noiserie porcelain. Next door is the Blldergalerie, whose collection of Caravaggio, van Dyck, and Rubens crams a long hall. (Open mid-May to mid-Oct. Su and Tu-Sa 10am-12:30pm and l-5pm. ‚2, students ‚1.50. Tour‚l extra.) The stunning Sizilianischer Garten is perhaps the park’s most intricate garden. At the opposite end of the park is the largest of the four castles, the 200-room Neues Palais. (Open Apr.-Oct. Sa-Th 9am-5pm; Nov.-Mar. 9am-4pm. ‚6, students ‚5; ‚1 less in winter.)

Potsdam’s second park, Neuer Garten, contains several royal residences. SchlofS Ceciienhof, built in the style of an English Tudor manor, exhibits document the Potsdam Treaty, which was signed here in 1945. It was supposed to be the Berlin Treaty, but the capital was too bombed-out to accommodate the Big Three. (Take bus #692 to SchloB Ceciiienhof. Open Su and Tu-Sa 9am-5pm. ‚3, students ‚2. Tours ‚1.) The garden also contains the huge, marbled Marmorpalais, and odd little buildings like a replica of an Egyptian pyramid. (Marmorpalais open Apr.-Oct. Su and Tu-Sa 10am-5pm; Nov.-Mar. Sa-Su 10am-4pm. ‚2, students ‚1.50. Tours’‚1.)

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