Europe / Germany / My Travels

Berlin: Tear Down Your Walls

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
A famous speech of Ex-President Ronald Reagan (West) to challenge Gorbachev(East) to destroy the Berlin Wall and end the Cold War.

2010 Annual Berlin Marathon at Brandenburg Tor

2010 Annual Berlin Marathon at Brandenburg Tor

Berlin is the largest city and the capital of Germany. Now, 20 yrs after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, it is called The Millennium City. After strolling around the city soaked, wet and freezing, I have noticed the difference between the once East part and the once West part, other parts are modernized with all the glass and curves, other part is old with all straight lines and has more space to develop. it clearly describes the two millennia: “It’s a once-and-future symbol of a once-and-future world”

We arrived Berlin at midnight from Munich via SBahn train for almost 6-hour travel. We slept through most of it and play Uno Cards. We hoped to go out and experience what Berlin is so famous about, the premium nightlife and party destination in Europe, but after a tiring train trip, we just grabbed some Doner and a bottle of beer (of course beer :P) nearby Johannes (Henning’s brother) place.

The next day, we meet up with Lea, my friend from highschool who have been residing in Berlin with her husband and baby Arwen for years now and as it turned out, even if we are travelling with my German friends, she became our tour guide coz she knows more! lol!

The rain didn’t stop us from going around, but of course, there were more places that we missed to visit coz we were freezing and can’t stand the cold air flashing our faces argh! So most of the time, we had to stop and “defrost” ourselves ;(

Empty streets of Berlin coz of the marathon road closures.

Empty streets of Berlin coz of the marathon road closures.

These are the places that we went to:

1. Brandenburg Tor
– This is the iconic landmark of Berlin, this is the venue where popular speeches or concerts by well-known politicians and celebrities are being held. Lea told me that even when US Pres Obama were still running for presidency was not allowed to hold his speech, and yet U2 just had a concert there few months back :P I don’t know if I have to be happy or not that we have witnessed the Annual Berlin Marathon there, (which is part of the World major Marathon along with Boston, Chicago, London and New York) coz the roads were blocked, too crowded and we can’t take a good picture! Haha!

Brandenburg Tor

Brandenburg Tor

The marathoners

The marathoners

2. Hotel Adlon
– Germany’s most prestigious and most expensive hotel which is just opposite the Brandenburg Tor (this is where Michael Jackson dangled his baby last 2002 :P)

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Hotel Adlon just beside the Brandenburg Tor

3. Reichstag
– the seat of the parliament of Germany that was fully damaged during the WWII, it was restored after the reunification in 1990, having the large glass dome on top of the building. We didn’t go inside coz of the very long queue that doesn’t seem to be moving hehe!

Reichstag

Reichstag

4. Alexanderplatz with the view of the Fernsehturm (TV Tower)
– we didn’t walk around that much in Alexaderplatz as this was already the time we were freezing :P And from the city square, we could see the Fernsehturm, but it was too foggy so we didn’t really actually “see” it haha! It was too tall I guess, it is the tallest structure btw in Germany!

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TV Tower at Alexanderplatz

5. Berlin Dom (Cathedral of Berlin)
– it is actually a Protestant church and not Catholic where a bishop should be.

Berlin Dom

Berlin Dom

6. The East Side Gallery (Berlin Wall)
– the longest open gallery of painting in the World by some famous artists. This is the remaining section of the Berlin Wall. Every painting has a story and expresses hope and freedom not just in Berlin but for the whole world.

Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall

where the wall was used to stand

where the wall was used to stand

7. The Jewish Museum
– museum that covers the history of the German Jewish designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind. This museum will let you experience how it feels to be a Jewish during the time of the Holocaust, the Garden of Exile and the Holocaust Tower to name a few.

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Metal plates inside a concentration room at Jewish Museum

8. Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
– this is not a real grave of the victims but just concrete slabs designed in such a way to create confusion while walking around it. It was built to commemorates the murdered Jewish during the Holocaust. But how true that the company that produces the chemical they used for anti-graffiti here is the same company that used chemical to murder the Jewish in the chamber then? how ironic huh? hmmmm….

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Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

9. Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
– a church with a broken roof caused by the bombing in WWII and has never been repaired in memory of the incident, so they just build a modern bell tower beside it.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

10. Breitscheidplatz (Ku’ damm Street)
– the shopping area in Berlin, this is where I bought my snowglobe :)

friends with on this trip

RH, Henni, Basti and Fritzie at Ku’damm Street

I don’t really mind going back to Berlin. I liked the city and it has so much to offer, if I have to choose where to live in Europe, I don’t really mind settling in Berlin.

I wonder why people (especially Germans) are always surprised whenever I say that. They say it’s too populated, dirty and not so safe, but what can you expect from any other big city? Maybe because I grew up in Manila, all my life I have been living in a big city, and before I relocated to Singapore I had so many fears and doubts too, no matter how they say it is one of the safest city, but now I feel like I’m home.

If I hadn’t broke those barrier (fears and doubts) I don’t know if I will ever have the chance to visit Berlin if I just stayed in Manila with my low compensated job, just for my case I guess.

Sometimes people will just need to take the risk and break those barriers so you can totally be secured and free. People have their own walls somehow…and they just needed to tear it down :)

Stop it Stops! :)))

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