Friday, May 6, 2011

Berlin,My new love!!!

Well this morning the weather looked a lot better so me with my sister headed quite early to catch train to bussterminalen,oslo. The Flybussexpression took us out to the airport in time and got our cheap Ryanair flight over to Berlin.After 1 and half hours of hide and seek ,in and out of clouds ,finally the destiny seems clear and visible. Got a way to catch S-bahn to central station with a kind help from a lady in tourist information centre. Her service pleased us undoubtedly, making the first impressions of German .
After getting out from S-bahn we took bus to hotel. Suddenly it started raining. Obviously no one welcomes rain when they r ready to travel and so do we. We afraid if it’s gonna rain other days too, so asked a local .She smiled and said it’s the first rain of the spring and it welcomed you. We were pleased and it did not took us long to find our hotel, centrally located. By the time we reached our hotel it was almost 4o’clock, too much tired and on the top of the rain!!so thought it’s better to rest .
The following morning we were up ready for exploring. First we went to the Brandenburg Gates which was pretty significant as a sign of peace and very huge in size. It also had lots of information on plaque's around so we could learn a fair bit about events that occurred right here decades ago. I can only imagine the feeling it would of been when the Berlin wall was removed to reunite the east/west and everyone that had gathered at this point. It was very interesting being here. Then we got at the top of city safari bus as its really a quality time listening to our guide saying information’s about different place and their history. On our way observed many historical places like Reichstagsgebaude, Check point Charlie, Holocaust memorial, Humboldt Universitat, Zoologischer Garten/Aquarium,Topographie des Terror, Amerika-Haus, Alexander Platz......which certainly did provide us an idea to roam more .
After the bus left us to the same place where we get in we were now tired and i was quite worried for being sunburned . Went to lunch shortly after and had the biggest lunch I’ve ever seen for ONLY 2.50 EURO!!! Absolute bargain! It was so big and cheap that it deserved a picture :oP I left the shop very full as if i was pregnant (thankfully a lot shorter term though :oP) and went to some church which the name has slipped my mind, however it was half burnt down and restored from WW2. It's amazing to learn how much of Germany had to be rebuilt after the war. . From this we went for a short walk to see the Topography of Terror (a significant section and post of the Berlin wall that still stands in original state with a shroud of information). It looked so old and depressing. However unless you can speak German you won’t be reading the information there. Just down the road from this place was the infamous Checkpoint Charlie. Just a normal street now, but it still has the checkpoint station where the allies crossed over to East Germany.
After that, we were eagerly looking forward to see the Berlin wall. Berlin wall was a direct product of the cold war, , former barrier surrounding West Berlin. We expected of some huge walls but it’s now nothing than a two consecutive rows of stones depicting wall dividing east and west Berlin . The World War 2 historical sites were surprisingly quite limited on the tour but we were taken to Hitler’s Bunker. Or what remains at least, it is now just a patch of grass outside some apartment blocks with nothing but a sign to indicate the significance.
The Holocaust memorial is dedicated to the memory of the thousands of Jews murdered by the Third Reich prior to and during World War II. It is located close to the Brandenburg Gate and not far from the bunker where Hitler committed suicide. The memorial consists of austere rectangular grey blocks, void of any decoration

On the second day we took train from Hauptbahnhoff central station to Alexander platz and catch a U bahn to Freidrichsfelde , where Dr Rudiger clause was waiting for us to receive. He drove us to the IIJB. We had a nice time there talking about German history and many more. Fish, potato moss, mushrooms and some salad did make our stomach happy and satisfied. He also made us look at the institute and finally drove us to museums and other places where we can go once we r in Germany. We bid him goodbye with a little souvenir of lord Ganesha .
. From this we went to the Pergamon Museum which had some pretty huge architecture remains in there and provided a good walk, but we stayed for too long and got forced out due to closing time :o).The piece that really caught my attention most was a so-called "void" that was an empty space in the museum through which you walk and step on iron faces of the lost lives and memories.
I had the highest expectations of Berlin due to raving reviews from fellow travelers, and it certainly did not disappoint. Visiting the sachsenhausen concentration camp is a quality one. The camp does a superb job of demonstrating what the life was like for the prisoners held here. It is far the most emotional place I’ve ever been to in my life. It's one thing to read about in the text books, but standing on the ground where millions of prisoners, mostly Jews, were burnt to death, is history comes to life.
We learned about the crazy quirks of the city. For example, you can always know if you're in East or West by the traffic light guy. To my surprise, this is the first time i am ever seeing the different traffic light guy. The socially responsible red traffic light guy in the East is wearing his little hat and holds his arms out so as to block all the little kiddies from running out into the street. The capitalist red traffic light guy in the West cares not about the children, merely if he still has a job and way of life and keeps his hands in his pocket .These traffic light guys are booming souvenir industry, you can find traffic light guy marked t-shirts, pencil, erasers in souvenir shops.
It is said to be one of the fastest changing cities on the planet. It certainly has quite a bit to offer. It has over 170 museums... and enough history to fill them all. It was not even 20 years ago that Berlin was divided and drastically different. Berlin is exceptionally clean, incredibly friendly, has arguably the greatest transportation system in the world, and is intensely policed. We couldn't even jaywalk without being looked at strangely by the police that seemed to be everywhere. The efficiency here is incredibly impressive. People that committed the worst atrocity in the history of mankind, Germans are indeed embarrassed of their past. Many Germans I met didn't even feel comfortable talking about it. But after suffering decades of depression and political struggle, it is pleasing to see the resiliency of the people and therefore, creating Berlin of today. I'd highly recommend a visit here if you're ever in Europe and you'll surely enjoy it as much as I did.Truely Berlin!!!u r my New love!!!

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