Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Advice from readers about things to see/do/eat in Dublin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Berlin

This is a mega-post, and none of it's mine. I leave Friday evening. My trip posts should begin Saturday, or whenever it is I find Internet and/or do something interesting enough to write about. Hopefully I'll get a chance to use some of the advice here that I've been given. But even if not, I want to post it so other people can use it.


Here are some of my favorite places in Dublin -

Grafton Street/St. Stephen's Green area - a nice place to hang out and people watch, shop etc.

Trinity College - it's beautiful and the Book of Kells and the old library are worth seeing

Kilmainham Jail - a really interesting place to learn about Irish nationalism

The Irish Jewish Museum - small but fascinating

The Winding Stair bookshop, on Liffey Street near the Ha'penny Bridge - a great place to just hang out and browse

But my all time favorite has to be the New Grange historic site, which is actually in the Boyne Valley. You can book a bus tour at the Dublin visitors' center. It's a trip that will take most of your day but is well worth it, through amazingly beautiful countryside until you get to a historic passage tomb that's 1000 years older than Stonehenge. Not to be missed!



Get tourist pass for all-day mass transit. Go see the Vasa. It's a big ship that the king of Sweden spent way too much money on around 1620, that on it's maiden voyage sailed about half a kilometer and promptly sank. But it sank into the peat at the bottom of the Stockholm harbor, and as a result was well preserved. In the 1950s they hauled it up and cleaned it off, and now it's in a museum. DEFINITELY worth seeing. Near the Vasa is this historical park, whose name and particulars I can't remember - I never actually got there myself - but is supposed to be good. I think it's a living history type place. Walk through the old town. Maybe take the big ferry (Silja or Viking line) to and from Helsinki (or Turkuu). This might be expensive, although not so much if you have a Eurail pass. You could take the night boat one way and the day one back, if you wanted. (Helsinki's nice to see too.)


Stockholm is a wonderful city (albeit expensive, but you presumably know that). I used to enjoy just wandering around the old town (Gamla Stan? My memory is not what is used to be). Skip the royal palace -- yawn. Bill Bryson in Neither Here nor There had it right about how ridiculous the Swedish army looks stansign guard there. The Wasa (an old warship brought up from the bottom of the sea many years ago) is a neat museum. Djurgarden, a large outdoor park, is a great way to waste a day. Not sure how much time you'll have. I'd see about a water tour, maybe one that includes some of the not-too-far-away islands. Eat lingonberries with everything.


You may want to time your visits to coincide with a free museum day (the Time Out guides will list them). But if memory serves, the National Museum and the Modern Art Museum in Stockholm are both free anyway. The standard tourist attractions there, though, are the Vasa Museum and Skansen (an openair park with historical Swedish houses and farmsteads).

I didn't get a chance to do an archipelago cruise in Stockholm, which people think is a must-do. You'll be there during the right season anyway.


In Stockholm, walk around the old town (the Gamla Stan -- this is a
huge tourist attraction so it's hard NOT to do it -- but I think it's
lovely and worth it). Then there's a royal palace out in the
archipelago -- Drottningholm Palace -- and you can catch a boat to it,
which was a lovely trip. I actually had a friend with a boat when I
went there, and he was actually in charge of security at
Drottningholm... so *maybe* my experience was colored by the private
and awesome boat ride/tour we got... but I remember it being lovely.
The boat ride makes it feel exotic, like you're traveling farther away
than you actually are.




You can do a boat ride through the harbor. Maybe you can do this in Stockholm too? It leaves from the old port, which is worth taking a peek at. See Tivoli (the amusement park Walt Disney based Disneyland on).


If you can find them, aebleskivers are wonderful spherical pancakes. I
think they are a traditionally reserved for holidays food, but you might find them on a dessert menu somewhere or in a total tourist spot. Otherwise, Danish pancakes. Yum. Tivoli Gardens is fun.


In Copenhagen, in terms of art museums, there's the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, but it's under renovation, and so you get reduced admission.

The Lousiana Art Museum looks interesting. I didn't get to visit. But perhaps even better -- if you're into castles, you can potentially visit Frederiksborg and Kronborg on the same day (I went to the former, but not the latter, supposedly the setting for "Hamlet," so it could appeal to those with English lit. leanings).


I thought Helsingor, Denmark, was also cool -- also touristy, but enjoyable -- the Kronborg Castle there is supposed to be Shakespeare's inspiration for Elsinore (get it, Helsingor, Elsinore?) in "Hamlet." It was a cloudy day when I toured it, and suddenly rain was pouring down, and the big stone rooms got very gloomy, and I felt very much like I was walking around in "Hamlet"... fortunately, I left before I started feeling tragically indecisive... The night before, I had stayed in Helsingborg, Sweden, a small Swedish city a short ferry ride across the channel (because I had family there), and it was pretty, but probably not worth a trip out of your way. After Helsingor, I traveled on overland into Copenhagen -- don't remember exactly how far, maybe an hour or two? The point is, if you are looking for a day trip out of Copenhagen, Helsingor is nice.

Helsingor Tourist Website (in English):

My favorite thing in Copenhagen was going to Tivoli Gardens at dusk. The flowers were gorgeous in the twilight, and then thousands of little colored lights appeared overhead... it was lovely...



See the Berlin Wall museum (you can't see much of the wall itself, however.) It's near Checkpoint Charlie, although I don't know if that's still there. In what used to be West Berlin, see the church with the broken spire. They left it like that rather than tear it down or rebuild it, to remind them of what they had done. See the TV tower. (In what was East Berlin.) See what's left of the synagogue. It's really just a facade, with a museum constructed behind it in what used to be East Berlin. This may have been fixed by now, but there used to be shrapnel scars on the buildings in East Berlin that the East Germans never got around to repairing.


I'm from Germany and I live in Potsdam (that means very close to Berlin). I thought I could give you some suggestions what to do in Berlin.

You should try the kind of fast food we eat (beside McDonalds)
a.. Döner (very popular in Germany;
b.. Currywurst (Bratwurst with a lot of curry-flavored ketchup,, in Berlin you will find the best Currywurst in Germany)
c.. Bratwurst (try to get a "Thüringer Bratwurst", they are the best)
d.. go into a bakery and buy what you think looks good. I recommend "Apfeltasche" (Leo says: filo dough filled with apple purée; it is not like the one you buy at McDonalds!) or "Streuselschnecke" (the best one is cut in two halfs and in the middle is vanilla pudding)
e. drink a German beer: I recommend a "Schwarzbier" (dark beer, sweeter than other beer; or drink "Pils" (you should know it, if you know Beck's; then try another Pils). You may also want to try a Hefeweizen (; I don't like it at ally
f. drink: "Berliner Weiße mit Schuss" (it's a kind of beer, but there is sirup [woodruff or raspberry] in it and it's just a nice trink when it's warm outside) (

Sights in Berlin: these things are close together, you can walk from one to the other and are a must-see in my opinion:
a. Reichstag: (building of the German parliament, you can go into the glass dome and have a great view over Berlin)
b. Potsdamer Platz:
c. Brandenburger Tor:
d. Holocaust Mahnmal:

Other things that are recommended:
a. Jewish Museum (
b. Museumsinsel ( there is i.e. the Pergamon Museum (
c. go to S-Bahn station "Zoologischer Garten": there is the Ku'damm
( & Gedächtniskirche
(, there is also some
places for shopping
d. And if you like modern art: Hamburger Bahnhof
e. have a look at the wall that separated Berlin and Germany:
f. museum at Checkpoint Charly
( documents the
separation of East Germany and West Germany and how people tried to escape
from East to West
g. Berliner Dom: (great view
over Berlin)
h. Fernsehturm: (great view over

Or just walk through some boroughs that are popular right now:

a. Prenzlauer Berg (
b. Mitte (
c. Kreuzberg (

You should also go to Potsdam ( It's a city close to Berlin, you can use public transportation to get to it (i.e. S-Bahn). There you should visit:

a. Sanssouci (a palace with a big garden): (entrance to the garden is for free, you only have to pay if you want into the palace)
b. the inner city with cafés and stuff, there's also the Holländisches Viertel (Dutch Quarter,


In Berlin, don't eat German food. It's terrible. Eat it once. We ate it once and ate Italian the rest of the time I think. Do go to the Reichstag. It's amazing. Also there is a wonderful bombed out church in the middle of the city that's been turned into a very moving memorial. Just about any guidebook ought to have the name of it.


Go see the Hackesche Hoeffe in the former East; it is a great area with culture, bars, small shops. Friedrichstrasse and Kudamm have several things worth seeing (Check Point Charlie is by the former, the bombed Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächnis Kirche at the latter) but a little too shopping oriented for my preference.

For food, we always go to Loretta's at the Wannsee, which is a nice Biergarten. There are so many lakes and parks, so if the weather is nice you should try to have a picnic on any of the million parks that will probably be littered with Berliners doing the same. The thing I miss the most from Berlin is the baked goods-- there are tons of bakeries, and the best thing is a Laugenbrötchen or Laugenstange, and they make good picnic items.

Finally, while you're in Berlin, definitely get a Döner Kebab (I recommend Effe's in Zehlendorf, but there are vendors and little restaurants basically on every street). Berlin has the second largest Turkish population (Istanbul is still number 1), so Döner here are basically the world's best, and probably the cheapest food in Berlin.


There is a walking tour of the city that I can't recommend enough - I forget the name, but it leaves from outside of the Starbucks by Brandenburg Tor pretty regularly and is heavy on the advertising - you can't miss it. You get to see all the major sights and a lot of the history behind them, plus sights that you would never know existed and have no major monuments to distinguish them - Hitler's bunker, the last remaining Nazi building, and a few others. The best part? Its a FREE walking tour - no charge. I would advise trying to make the tour that leaves in and around 1pm - you'll get a guy named Kristian, and he's fantastic with real passion for the history of it city.


I'm sorry if it's going to sound vague, but this is the best I can remember right now.... There's a guy named Terry (an American ex-GI) who gives the absolute best walking tour of Berlin. He goes through both the Eastern and Western parts of the city, and knows just about everything (he was stationed in Berlin, I believe). Anyway, it's a walking tour, and he does it most days. What he does is pick up people at a couple of hostels in the morning, and then you spend the day walking around - seeing everything. You're exhausted at the end, but it's definitely worth it. I don't know where you'll be staying, and I can't remember which hostels he picks up at, but you could probably ask someone and they'd know (he may even be in the Let's Go guide). Unfortunately, everything I have is in boxes right now, otherwise I'd attempt to find out more to tell you. Hopefully you'll find him - i'm sure someone else has recommended him, and can actually remember exactly how to find Terry. I hope he hasn't retired.