"You've all gone completely insane," was the reaction of Nazi architect Albert Speer's father to the designs for the colossal buildings planned for the führer's seat of power. That Berlin never saw the light of day, but you get a sense of what it might have looked like by cycling around the airfield at Tempelhof, the gigantic airport -- and site of the famous Berlin airlift -- rebuilt under Speer's direction in the 1930s and closed in 2008.
Today, the airfield is Berlin's biggest park and a perfect destination for a summer ride. Start in the heart of the city at the Brandenburg Gate and cycle through the layers of Berlin's history, including the path of the former Wall (a row of red bricks marks it on Kommandantenstraße); through funky Kreuzberg, shaped by waves of Turkish immigrants and German drop-outs; and finally, past the cemetery walls of the Luisenstadtische Kirche, on Golzerstraße, whereupon you hit the aerodrome. Make way for kite-flyers and picnickers, but there?s plenty of room here for everyone.
HOTEL DE ROME
This converted bank, built in 1889, serves one of the best breakfasts in the city. Located on Bebelplatz (where the Nazis made their bonfire of books), just off Unter den Linden, it's wonderfully central and the rooftop bar offers fantastic views of the dome of neighboring St. Hedwig?s Cathedral. If you?re a guest, the concierge will provide bikes for the day -- plus, you get to unwind in the spa when you return.
Behrenstraße 37, Mitte
One of Berlin's best fashion and design boutiques -- housed in a beautiful, airy 11,000-square-foot space -- is the central destination for everyone, from Maison Martin Margiela junkies to nesters looking for that elusive porcelain skull and Clemens Tissi floor lamp.
Potsdamer Straße 81, Mitte
There's plenty of history -- two millennia, in fact -- packed into this museum, but the real draw is Daniel Libeskind?s incredible extension, a twisted zig-zag that plays on the idea of a warped Star of David. You will cry.
Lindenstraße 9-14, Kreuzberg
'SEEROSE VEGETARIAN BUFFET
Cheap and cheerful, on an undistinguished street, but with a great salad bar. Pile a large plate for only five euros and grab an organic beer or freshly squeezed juice. Our money?s on the rhubarb. And the outdoor tables when it?s sunny.
Mehringdamm 47, Kreuzberg
A classic bric-a-brac market, where you can find an old Dean Martin record, original Winterling ceramics from the former German Democratic Republic, or a pair of secondhand shoes.
East Side Gallery
A bit of a detour east, near world-famous techno club Berghain, the longest remaining section of the former Wall resides alongside the River Spree. It?s also the world?s greatest outdoor art gallery and includes the famous painting of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev kissing Erich Honecker, the last leader of the GDR.
Mühlenstraß 1, Friedrichshain
An oldie-but-goodie, this classic Kreuzberg bar is a magnet for gays and their friends, and a veritable shrine to the neighborhood?s grunge roots. Don?t believe the jaded queens who say the pink shag walls hide bedbugs (you have those anyway, right?).
Oranienstraße 18, Kreuzberg
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