Fell in love with Berlin.
Excitement and a bit of anxiety (or adrenaline?) got through as my wife, Tina, and I was trying our best to understand the German signages and directions in the Schonefeld airport. Travelling in a foreign speaking country can be a quick crash course on language, culture and law. We quickly learned that Ausgang is German for the exit, and not for the other way around. ;)
I have had an amazing opportunity to visit major European cities with Tina. And each of the cities we have visited has distinct characters and feel: London with posh and royalty; Paris with fashion and romance; Barcelona with the sun and the arts; but I couldn't seem to put a finger on what to expect in Berlin.
|'Berlin!' The open air art gallery of the preserved remains of the Berlin wall. The artworks were an expression of freedom from oppression and sociopolitical ignorance. There are many 'walls' all over the world. Tear them down. @manikreigun|
After getting our 4-day travel tickets which includes travel pass, maps, guide books and discounts on numerous shops and tourist attractions, we found ourselves seated on a train to the central heart of Berlin. And whilst I was looking at the window 1. checking and appreciating the sights and 2. making sure we were not heading in the wrong direction, a guy sitting beside me asked me a question.
'Is this train going to the downtown?'
Confused, I half-heartedly answered 'Yes, this train is.'
It was an amazing surprise. Correction, it was Wunderbar.
There are so much to see and feel and experience in this unique and special place. It is packed with history, culture, arts and at the same time, it was shockingly hip and cool. It's hard to forget about Germany's history when they were at the heart and centre of World War 2 up until to the erection and fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
(To understand that in perspective on how young Berlin is in terms of its rebirth and freedom: the band Nirvana, the film Little Mermaid and Nintendo's Game Boy all debuted in 1989!)
Spot the millenial-wannabe who tried dabbing in an old-school photobooth. 🤔😂 @manikreigun
|Public transport in Berlin consists of underground trains, trams and buses. It makes moving around the city easily, cheap and comfortable.|
|Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.|
|Berlin Cathedral, with the statue 'Three Girls and a Boy', and my co-traveller.|
|Reichstag Building, the meeting place of the German parliament, Bundestag.|
|The East Side Gallery, the international memorial for freedom. It is a section of the remaining parts of the Berlin Wall.|
|One of the fantastic views of the city while riding the train to the central Berlin.|
Guard: Where are you from?
G: Ah! Let's do Duterte! (Raises fist.)
|One of the many statues in the Charlottenburg Palace, the largest palace in Berlin.|
|'To the German people' can be seen in front of the Reichstag building.|
|Potsdamer Platz has modern architecture and structures, a union of the modern and tradition in the heart of Berlin.|
|The view from the rooftop of the Reichstag building, where one can register to get up to the dome for free of charge.|
|A preserved building with a coat of arms of Germany with the black eagle.|
|Jewish Museum Berlin. Architect Daniel Libeskind created angles, partitions, light and emptiness to symbolise the history of Jews in Germany.|
For all the priceless experience, learnings, sights, sounds and stories in and around Berlin: It has made its point clear that there shall be the remembrance and living memories of the pain and destruction; the war ended, the wall fell and Berlin stands so that we shall not forget and we shall say never again.
Danke schön, Berlin!