Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Travel Notes: Germany (Berlin)

Late September of last year, me and my best friend Dominic together with his wife, Cielo, decided to go on a 7-day holiday in Germany. I must admit, that I wasn't excited to go given that I'm still recovering from a break up and to be honest, I was on a tight budget brought about by my last minute decision to go back home to the Philippines. However, since I've made a promise to Dominic and Cielo, I had no choice but to oblige and join them on their trip.

1st Stop: Berlin

We've boarded an EasyJet flight from UK to Germany's capital, Berlin. First impressions of Germany? I love their "honesty policy" in their subway train station. Unlike in the Philippines and other countries, there are no ticket barriers going to the train platform. Of course you have to keep your ticket with you for any surprise inspection. They say that the fine if you get caught travelling without a valid ticket/pass is 40 Euros equivalent to 2,000 Pesos.

We joined a free tour around Berlin city on the first day of our trip. The meeting place was at Starbucks just 15 steps away from one of Berlin's well-known landmark, the Brandenburg Gate.

The Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is a former city gate originally built in 1791 to symbolize peace. Ironically, the gate was incorporated into the Berlin wall during the years of the communist government dividing East and West Germany. This gate was damaged during the World War II and has only been fully refurbished in 2002.

Our tour group
Our tour group was comprised of different nationalities. There were a handful of Americans, a Briton, a Canadian, a couple from Australia, a couple from Brazil and of course us, Filipinos. I took a stolen shot of the loner Canadian boy.

He's the guy in the middle. I wanted to make friends with him but I was a bit torpe.
Our tourist guide is the guy with the red ID lace. Although the tour is free, he asked for a tip from everyone of us at the end of the tour which for me is just about right given the amount of knowledge he shared to us.

We went from one tourist spot to another all by foot.

The Holocaust Memorial
The Holocaust Memorial looks like a cemetery but actually, there are no remains inside or underneath the nicho-like structures. Our tour guide was quick to warn us not to step on these. He said that the last thing in the world you would want is to be shouted at by a German police speaking in German.

Berliner Dom
Checkpoint Charlie
And of course, what is a visit in Berlin without seeing the Berlin Wall.

The remains of the Berlin Wall
The structure itself is not spectacular. It's not comparable to the Great Wall of China as one may expect. But it is the history behind this wall that makes it interesting.

This how the Berlin Wall used to look like
Families were separated by this wall for years. Can you imagine yourself not being able to see your loved ones who are just on the other side of the wall? The area between the two walls was called no-man's land as there were an order to the East German guards to shoot anyone who attempts to climb over the wall.

We also went to Reichstag building which serves a parliament building of Berlin to get a good view of Berlin at night.

I still like Makati skyline better kahit polluted
The following day, we went to Potsdam, which is considered as one of the most beautiful cities in Germany because of its palaces and gardens.

Before anything else, we had German sausage for breakfast. There's a whole lot of variety to choose from. 

Note: Most of the pictures were taken by Cielo. Unfortunately, I'm a rubbish photographer.

No comments:

Post a Comment