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The train ride to Berlin was a long one. It was supposed to be about 7 hours, but ended being up a little over 8 due to an unexpected detour before we reached Hannover. Fortunately, I was able to find a great hotel room right after I arrived in Berlin. It's in a great area and I got a reasonable rate that won't sky rocket on Friday due to the local World Cup Soccer match.

After getting settled into the hotel it was time to find some dinner and after that I managed to squeeze in a bit of site seeing.

I didn't bother to take any photos on the train to Berlin. I'm getting tired of trying to get a decent looking shot through those the dirty train windows. Besides the scenery wasn't too exciting once we left the Rhine valley, it was either big cities (Koln, Hannover, etc.) or rural areas with plenty of farm land.

This is the Europa Center. It houses the main Tourist Information center among other things.

This is the bombed out remains of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. It's a memorial to the destruction of Berlin in WWII.

This is the entrance to the Zoo. My hotel is only a few blocks from the Zoo and the places in the two pictures above, as well as a university.

Berlin will be hosting the final match of the World Cup Soccer series on July 9. As such, this place seems to be the most geared up for local fans. They have a big one mile long area setup between the Victory Column and the Brandenburg Gate which they are calling the Soccer Mile. I walked the full length of this area tonight and they must have a least 12, if not more, jumbo TV screens set up for watching the matches. The following photos where taken along the Soccer Mile.

The was very near to the Brandenburg Gate. I don't have any details on what it is other than it appears to be a Russian monument of some sort, but I'm sure I'll learn more about this and many other sites here in Berlin over the next few days. Note the police officers hanging around. There was plenty of security on the Soccer Mile and you can't enter the area with going through a security check.

The Brandenburg Gate somewhat camouflaged by the jumbo TV and the World Cup soccer banners. The crowd got much bigger as I approach the Brandenburg Gate.

The Victory Column is at the end of the Soccer Mile closest to my hotel.