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Collectors beat Obama to Berlin

When I saw the news coverage yesterday of Sen. Barack Obama delivering a speech at the Victory Monument in Berlin, it seemed to be one more indication of the growth in importance of the German capital city.

I have visited the city twice. The first time was in 2005 while on vacation and the second time came earlier this year to attend the World Money Fair.

The monument is impressive. I made it a point to see it in 2005 and climb the stairs to the top. I liked it so much, I returned a second time. It was one of the least expensive tourist sites in the city. With the euro as expensive as it is compared to the dollar, that meant something to me, especially as my trip was coming to an end and I had made as much of a dent in my wallet as I wanted to.

I stood where the presidential candidate stood and the vistas shown yesterday are familiar to me. The difference is yesterday there were 200,000 people thronging the avenue that also leads to the Brandenburg Gate, while when I saw it, it was a pretty routine September day, traffic was light and the number of human beings around could fit into several average urban buses.

I hope to return to the city again someday, especially if it includes another visit to the World Money Fair. World politicians may be claiming the city as their own now, but it should be remembered that the promoters of the World Money Fair found it first and made it a capital of numismatics in a great nation at the heart of the European Union.