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Chronicle Lover? Berlin Awaits You Part2

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Most Berliners believe that this is the most beautiful place in Germany and indeed in all countries in europe, its best known for the architectural trio which are the German (Deutscher Dom) and French Cathedral (Franzosischer Dom) and Concert Hall (Schinkel’s KonzertHaus) made this square the most magnificient and outstanding image that differs from all other places.

IMG_4396The French Cathedral (Franzosischer Dom) is built by a Frenchman and intended it to be a church for french protestants who had fled in Berlin way back 17th Century on the other hand the Concert Hall was built as a theater to replace that National Theatre of Berlin.

Gendarmenmarkt as french origin “Gens d’arms” which was a Prussian regiment consisting of Hugeunots Soldiers which literally the name of the square was derived from. It is now used for Berlins Christmas Market every year and season festivals.

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Concert Hall (Schinkel’s KonzertHaus)

Check Point Charlie

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Its name after the famous crossing point on Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin, it became the symbol of Cold War, Soviet and Americans tanks briefly facing each other on this spot during the year of crisis.

Its located at the junction of Friedrichstrasse and Mauerstrasse, the name Charlie came from NATO phonetic alphabet, the other check points were called Alpha, Bravo, Wannsee, and from the Soviet part they called it simply Friedrichstrasse, and East Germans name it Charlie.

To enter the museum its gonna be 14,50 euros per person, open from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm however to take a picture with this american soldier is 2 euros.

Great tips for those who want to walk less or getting the subway less for visiting tourist attractions. You can get a Berlin Pass for 1 day depending of what kind of access you would like, for example the Berlin Bus Tour for 1 whole day it cost 19 euros/person and you can hop in and off within the day for 19 different locations. Another great deal is the 3 days Berlin pass which cost 119 euros/person and you’ll have access to over 60 tours and museums including entrances fees of course.

Berlin Wall

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Before the day ended I have gathered sufficient photos of this famous Wall that is found often in the middle of the city. In 1961 the Communist Government of the East Germany build a barbed wire and concrete “antifascist bulwark”. The official purpose of the Berlin wall is to prevent Western fascists (the Soviet Union part) from entering the East Berlin and undermining the socialist state but it mainly serves as the objective of stemming mass defection from East to West.

Until November 9, 1989 the proclamation of East Government that people can cross the border freely the berlin wall was destroyed little by little by the people themselves, some of its ruins are still standing on the streets even to this year, the most memorable and enduring symbol of Cold War.

Panoramapunkt

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On the next day, the weather was pretty well the sun is up and the sky is clear, its the best time to see the panorama view of the City, among all of the choices I’m actually torn between the two that I’ve initially chosen either the Fernsehturm or Panoramapunkt. But I’ve remember that one friend of mine have posted some pics in Facebook recently with the panorama view from the Television Tower and honestly speaking I was a little disappointed cause it wasnt that good as I’ve expected. So I have chosen the Panoramapunkt 360 degrees panorama view to see what it can offer.

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At that day we walked 10-15 minutes from the hotel to Potsdamer Platz to look for the location of Panoramapunkt at the Kollhoff Tower, we entered the building and I thought it was a hotel it was very elegant and it looks cozy after went to the tour office to pay our entrance fee 7,50 euros/person, the opening and closing hours are seasonal when it is summer it’s 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and winter 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

The moment we entered on the lift  its says level 0 – 24th floor a 90 meter distance, the rapidity of the elevator was so incredible it took us less than 25 seconds, 20 seconds to be exact that was really quick like riding a roller coaster except that your head isn’t moving. its holding the title of the fastest elevator in Europe. On the top you will see a marvellous view of the City, a great experience that you wont regret.

This is a café/restaurant found on the top, you can relax and drink or eat while being mesmerised by the magnificent view of Berlin. Getting to Kollhoff Tower?  If your hotel is far from the area you can eventually take bus or metro it’s situated just meters away from Potsdamer Platz.

Sony Center

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After spending time meters above the city its time to stretch and walk a bit, while I was taking some pictures from the Panoramapunkt I’ve notice this thing a huge tent like that caught my eye it was actually the famous Sony Center, which is famous of its cinemas, IMAX theater and Legoland Discovery Center, the place is also filled with restaurants and shops.

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I took a picture around the vicinity, it was huge and a lot of people. I caught this fountain flow in the middle of the area it was great to see how this center has been welcoming people around the world and even hollywood stars.

After resting a little we directly get ourselves back to the track where in we need to go to Reichstag Dome, when arriving at the place a lot of surprises came to us to get an access to the Dome you actually need to present yourself at the counter area for inspection and presentation of you passport or ID, the entrance is free but you need to fill on the queue to get a scheduled visit or you can also visit their site to fill up the necessary information that you must give about yourself.

After waiting til our turn for about half an hour under the sun, finally we got our turn to be at the counter and got the scheduled visit in the afternoon and decided to continue to visit the rest of the tourists spots in Berlin.

Spree

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Spree is a 400 kilometers river that flows through the Saxony, Brandenburg, and Berlin States of Germany. the river is few walks away from the Cathedral and you can also take the 1 hour boat tour for 14,50 euros/person as for me I chose not to do it for this time maybe in my next visit.

Currywurst

20160529_133052As we all now Berlin is not just full of wonderful places to visit but also delicious comfort foods to savour, one of this is the Currywurst, I should not miss this one.

Germany is largely known for its sausages, currywurst is sliced sausages deep in tomato sauce with sprinkled curry powder it’s actually the most loved street food in Berlin. After a frustrated event from the Dome I got to forget it with this super mouth-watering street food semi spicy sausages, plus its super cheap you don’t need to go to some chic restaurant to spend 50 euros for a meal.

St. Mary’s Church

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For all the travels that I’ve done I never missed to visit a church or cathedral, this one is really special since it’s the oldest church in Berlin that is made of granite and bricks that’s why when you take a look of the color of this church it’s very bright red color. Situated right after the tram passage and next to the square of Fernsehturm TV Tower.

Unfortunately this area is also under construction and the access to the outside part of the Church is impossible, so I decided to get a look inside the church. Strangely I stumbled into this human like statues covered with ripped clothes, I felt scared and sad when I read the description saying that this is represents the jewish people victims from the war.

Red Town Hall (Rotes Rathaus)

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Is also one of the landmarks of Berlin located at the Mitte district near Alexander Platz where the Mayor and the Senate of Berlin seated. getting out from the church an enormous Red/Orange color building can be found. Its open on Mondays – Fridays 9:00 – 6:00 pm.

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The fourth tallest freestanding structure in Europe next to Moscow, Kiev, and Riga’s tower is Berlin TV Tower, the tallest building in Germany with a 368 meters tall, 203 meters above the ground, the only TV Tower existing in Europe.

It has attracted huge number of tourists through the years with a record of 1 million visitors per year this Tower is a steel sphere form that has a restaurant installed on its 207th meters above the ground and a platform panorama view on 203 m.

Located near Alexander Platz you can easily access here via bus, train, or tram. there are different kinds of tariffs for to visit here, normally is from 15,50 up to 17,50 euros depending if you’ll choose to visit early in the morning or at night, and if you wish to eat at the sphere restaurant on the top it’ll be 23,50 euros/person with a guarantee of a window table or 17,50 depending on the availabilities of the tables.

At the moment where I was in entrance building of this Tower, I really wanted to go up and see the restaurants view I was more curious of how will it be at 207 meters away from the ground but rather due to limited time that day I contained myself and save it for my next visit.

Alexander Platz

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One of the top visited places in Berlin is the Germany’s largest urban square where you can find many sights and attractions in the city including the TV Tower, “Brunnen der Völkerfreundschaft” (Fountain of Friendship amongst People) and the landmark World Time Clock.

It was named after the Russian Emperor who visited on 18th century Alexander I and became a traffic hub when a train station was built at that period and currently transformed into a modernized junction of transits and shopping area.

After visiting this place I was totally exhausted after walking since morning until afternoon, for about 10 kilometers of my stomach was complaining and luckily KFC is not that far from the place, we took a break and get some energy and started to walk again until Reichstag Dome for our scheduled tour.

Reichstag Dome

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Is a famous glass dome that symbolizes the reunification of Germany, it is located at the top of Reichstag Building where german parliament is seated, the main highlights of this place are its 360 degrees view of the cityscape and Tiergarden, and the dome and the mirror cylinder at the center. The glass dome reminds of the Flower Dome in Singapore which has the same form of jackfruit.

After a tiring day of walking it was almost 6:00 pm that we arrived at the expected place where the tour will formally start, the entrance to the building is pretty cool it was actually closed with a transparent door then automatically opened and we pass through and took an elevator to get to the top.

Right on the entrance hall of the topmost part of the building which is the terrace, there you can find an office where in they’ll give you and audio device as a vocal guide information of the places that you will see during every step that you’ll take until arriving at the top part of the dome furthermore you can choose whenever you want to start your tour, you’re the absolute master this tour, you can walk all over the place get to the open terrace part, take some pictures around and when you feel that you’re ready just go inside the dome and click the start button and follow the instructions.

Its super easy, step by step listening to the voice guide thoroughly you will learn more and more about the history of the city and at the same time you will see the beauty of the city from above, this is really a must spot to visit.

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After this great tour this time to pack the things and go home but before that I wanna say 4 days and 3 nights are not enough to totally visit every single corner of this City, I would love to go back and continue discover some hidden treasures that it hides.

 

Conclusions/Suggestions/Opinions

All I could say that this one is a mix emotion sentiments that I have felt from this experience, a twist of sadness and happiness about the story of the people’s struggles, their survival, and the unity of its country.

In regards with the City’s touristic spots to explore, there would be more than 60 sites to see it always depends on your preference, your willingness and surely your patience.

In terms of tour prices it’s true that you must pay every time you enter a site or museums except of those places that I’ve been where I haven’t paid anything. It is more likely better than Barcelona, cause there almost every corner to visit are with entrance fees on the other hand Berlin is innovated, I salute the German Government for keeping their facilities available to those sites that are free entry its rare to find this kind of service.

If you looking to be thrifty while in this city bringing your own food will be perfect, however if you want to taste some of the food speciality you can definitely do that also with street foods and desserts will be considerably enough to fill your curiosity.

Parking in this City is expensive so if you’re travelling with car better get a hotel parking reservation to make sure not to pay excessively. To keep from buying tickets of bus and train or metro you can always walk the distances, one or two stops are not that far from each other, in that way you can save and as well enjoy the weather and the surroundings.

Driving on the road to Berlin is a hard thing, you must be very wise in terms of the time cause from 7 am to 8 am the highways are filled with cars. About the hotel I would say everything was flawless except of two things first is the problem of different schedules of their buffet breakfast in weekends and weekdays because of this I lost my breakfast opportunity and second is the poor wi-fi connection, it was a complete deception no connection at all, and when I ask the receptionist what can they do with this situation the person didn’t know what to say I’ll give a 3/5 for the Hotel.

Verdict : 8/10

 

 

 

Chronicle Lover? Berlin Awaits You Part1

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The Capital of Germany located at the northeastern part, Its worldly known for its beloved country’s emblematic history which until now has its traces that can be found in the City. It’s the largest among all of the cities of Germany  it’s also covered with numerous parks, forests, gardens, rivers, and lakes it also has a temperate climate like Lugano, a bit glacial in winter and warm in summer.

This City as a lot of variety of foreign residents although German is the official language apparently locals can speak different languages, since they have foreigners migrated in here such as Turkish, Russian, Arabic, Polish and English of course and a many more.

Germany the country itself is full of history not just from medieval ages but up to 19th  century, the famous happenings after World War II, Cold War, Berlin Wall and the well-known person all over the world Adolf Hitler.

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It’s a 3 days plan in Berlin and I have prepared this two significant and helpful maps to guide us in our brief tour. “Le guide du routard” and “Cartoville Berlin” both in french version, you can also find your own map guide as I always say everyone has their own preference. Again I do not follow all the guides that are indicated in these books I only choose what I prefer or I can do considering the time and of course the fees.

The distance from Brussels to Berlin is quite long around 8 hours it’s almost the same as Lugano and Geneva by car, 3-4 stops on the road includes coffee break, breakfast in-car (with homemade food), gassing up, and necessary rest from severe fatigue of driving. We took a hotel from IHG as usual with buffet breakfast, wi-fi included while parking is excluded. It’s a walking dinstance to Potsdamer Platz which is likely the city center.

After hours of driving we finally arrived at Berlin, the first thing that I noticed was there were a lot of “travaux” roads in construction, there were roads that are closed and deviated that makes us 9 hours of travel in total.

IMG_4056IMG_4051When we arrived at the hotel first thing comes to my mind is to search the nearest grocery store and buy some stock of food for the rest of the days that we’ll gonna stay, asking from the receptionist about the weather, the nearest subway stations, and restaurants, and a City Map.

The hotel is actually situated where there were restaurants in the vicinity and a grocery store which closes at 9:30 in the evening, it’s the first time in the history in my life that I have seen this hours of opening and closing from grocery stores in europe.

Potsdamer Platz

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Walking around until city center, It was not so crowded not like other cities, large space for people to walk, and  really nice view as I have seen the cloud formation and the color of the sky that time it was fascinating, after a quick walk Mall of Berlin was the next to visit and at the same time we need to eat also kinda late lunch, after that a little bit of window shopping then walk around the area.

Pavillon Der Einheit

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No I’m not in Korea I’m still in Berlin amaze by this structure house build in the middle of the wall of berlin, sadly on the part the wall is already gone you can see only this few pieces of wall including this here in the picture. Its called “Pavillion of Unity” found near Potsdamer Platz.

Wall Watchtower

 

The last kind of tower that is preserved in Berlin situated near Potsdamer Platz from the border of Erna-Burger-Strasse, you can definitely access inside and go on the top to have a panorama view of the city, open 11:00 am to 3:00 pm entrance fee of 3,50 euros/person

Personally I didn’t wanna go up cause it seems not to hight for my taste, I prefer higher than this tower and plus Berlin offers a lot of Panorama View and I’m looking forward to it.

Spy Museum

IMG_4124IMG_4120Next stop for Day 2 is The Spy Museum, 5 minutes walk from the Wall WatchTower. The experience was really great from the entrance of the Museum a high technology portal passage like, a color changing stairs, various kinds of gadgets displayed and a lot more treasures for spy collectors.

Berlin is believed to be the Capital of Spies, for more than 1,000 pieces of exhibits exposed in the museum you will learn when and where it all started, very interesting to know this kind of stuffs that will surely awakened your imagination and probably to be more vigilant on how simple objects can be used as a weapon.

IMG_4179IMG_4130Unfortunately for you I won’t show that much of photos this is really  a must to go Museum if you love history, Spies history, from Sci-Fi and Spy Movies to Agents and Fakers, Secret Weapons, Coders, and Gadgets these are unbelievable creations, however the entrance fee cost a little bit higher than expected its 18 euros/person and the Museum is open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.

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The Ottobock Science Center in Berlin featuring its eye-catching modern facade also known as “Muscle House” it actually offer viewers to learn more about their own body in an interactive and playful manner.

There are mostly concentrated on inventing new gadgets to help those handicapped persons, here you can test the wheelchairs, bicycles, and other stuffs that are innovatively created for handicaps. They are open everyday and the entrance is free of charge so you can freely enter in and discover their wonderful exhibits.

Holocaust Memorial

IMG_4216IMG_4215IMG_4212Also known as Holocaust Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, I presume that It’s particularly clear the name of the place itself explains everything, it is located at Cora-Berliner-Stasse.

Before the Second World War begun the City of Berlin has one of the largest population of Jewish habitants, the creation of this memorial place has vividly caught attention from the media, resulting of some speculations about the information of victims and etc.

The Entrance is found in the other side of this place from where we were, we walked around having no idea what’s inside of this blocks, trying to find the logic of how come they made this form.

Honestly when you see the list of places that you must visit in the area you literally ignore to read the information you just follow what the book says and be discovered it for yourself, after a few moment we decided to do a tour in the inside.

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The moment I entered the place I felt something, I felt a lot of chills this place is so touching, there are different stories of life mostly struggles I can’t imagine how they have lived their lives, hearing their story makes me feel helpless if I was in their shoes that period. I felt sympathy and hate at the same time how come the authorities let this happened how did the world turn out to be hell for this innocent people.

Moving on, I don’t want to specify more to go on details, let’s just leave it that way its the past and we’re happy that at least some people survived. I have learned a lot from this tour, I would never forget this one.

To visit the Holocaust Memorial is free open from 10:00 am to 8:00 in the evening, you will receive an audio guide for this tour (for free) you can make a tour for about an hour or more but surely bring some tissues with you cause you’ll be moved and might shed tears unintentionally.

Brandenburg Gate

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One of the best known landmarks of Germany is the Brandenburg Gate, located west of Pariser Platzone it’s an emblematic symbol of its major historical events and also a symbol of Unity and Peace.

In 1945 after world war II Berlin has lost almost all of its infrastructures, buildings, and apartments and the city was then divided into four sectors administered namely  USA, France, Great Britain and Soviet Union.

Due to the unification of Soviet zone and East Berlin, KPD and SPD to form a Socialist Unity Party severe conflict risen between Allies and Local party organisations and Berlin Wall was built to divide the city into two East and West Berlin.

Access to West Berlin through the Soviet Occupied Zone was difficult, travel is only permitted on transit routes until the war has ended Berlin Wall was demolished on 1989 and reunification on 1990.

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I recommend you to read the whole history of Germany especially the period of Cold War where Germany is divided, the Berlin Wall is created and how Berliners went through this situation, It will help you understand more the story of what I’m saying about the victims and the people’s wound.

Bear of Berlin

As you visit the City, Statues of Bears are all over from key chains to stuff toys to souvenirs mugs, post cards to t-shirts you’ll find it everywhere.

The figure of Bear has been used as a charge in the “Coat of Arms of Berlin” shows a black bear on a white shield and on top of the shield is a special crown “people’s crown” which is the state logo, sometimes interior and sports logo which features the arms shield without the crown and its used in Germany to denote republic. The popularity of bear begun in 17th century it now called as Berlin’s Mascot.

Ampelmannchen

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Means “Little Traffic Light Men” this is the Germany’s symbol of pedestrian Signals, you will notice it usually when crossing roads in the traffic lights instead of normal human figure like its gonna be like this as you see in the picture.

This symbol is very popular in Berlin when the time where the City is divided since then they have already different symbols a figure “woman” in red color in west and the green color “male” wearing hat in east.

There was a time that this images was prohibited to be on the streets but East Germans made a successful nostalgia movement which made the Ampelmannchen return to pedestrian crossing from then on it has become a Virtual Mascot.

We passed by on this Ampelmannchen shop where all various types of pedestrian symbols around the world are shown, and souvenirs.

Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom)

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Located in the northern area of the Spree Island is the Berlin Cathedral short term for Evangelical Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church. from the name itself it has never been a cathedral since it has never the seat of a bishop. However it’s definitely a crowd pullers.

I haven’t personally entered the Cathedral since we arrived there a little bit late but I have gathered some info of the 90 minute tour if you’re interested.

It offers to see the ministry church and it impressive cupola, different chapels, the imperial staircase, Hohennzollern crypt (100 coffins) and its Museum and an access to the top of the dome. Entrance fee is 7 euros/person opening and closing hours are from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm from October 1st to March 31st closing time is 7:00 pm. Admission is 1 hour prior to the closing time.

Altes Museum (Old Museum)

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Can be found just few minutes walk from Berlin Cathedral is the Altes Museum, is the oldest museum in Berlin. known for it Classical Antiquity collection, It has several exhibitions from vases, sculptures, crafts objects, jewelry, and its main highlights are the statue of Berlin Goddess, The Praying Boy, Amphora of Berlin Painter Throned Goddess from Taranto.

Its main floor provides a panorama view of the ancient Greece from 10th to 1st Century BCE, also has the coin collection from Roman Empire crisis years in the 3rd late century about 1300 are exposed. There are a lot more to look forward for however for me I have already seen this kind of exhibits, from several Museums that I went in Athens, Rome, and Paris I would rather skip this one and give way for other interesting spot to explore.

The Museum is close on Mondays, its open from Tuesdays to Sunday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm entrance fees is 10 euros per person.

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As walking through this filled of “in construction” roads I have seen a corner where a woman was exposing some paintings, they were really attractive and ended up buying one of it. As she was explaining about the purpose of her selling them for a school project of from an Art University, she said that those more or less 15 paintings are made from different artist including her.

There was one that really caught my eye, it was with lamp figure ballerina like with a sheer of vivid colors, astonishingly the one that I chose was her creation and she was very happy and pleased and even sign the painting on the back of it.

We continue to walk around and look for a spot to go next, not that far from where we are. Well this is all for now but I still have a lot to show you and don’t forget to check out the next part of my journey in Berlin.