Thursday, May 21, 2009

20090516 Berlin

Car Pooling
Learned an alternative traveling mode in Germany economically. I traveled to Berlin last Sat with car pool from Frankfurt, a service I had not heard of in my country. There are agents coordinating passengers to join those drivers who are heading to the same destination and wanted to share cost. It’s cheaper, I paid EUR 30 one way for this trip, instead of approx. EUR 110 by train or EUR 135 by flight. The driver even dropped me in front of my hostel, saved me time to search around.

Was excited to travel to Berlin, to fulfill my dream to see the Berlin Wall, though greater part has collapsed and come down. The 2 and half days trip was far too short to have a fine look, but roughly scratching surface of this charming historical city. Due to the last minute organization, I didn’t have guidebook with me. This visit was solely satisfying visual excitement.

The famous landmark Brendanburger Tor was not grand as expected, but its location weighed in the history. The original walls on the west had all been run down and the Pariser Platz was reconstructed.

The adjacent Reichstag was my pick, though was only allowed to access to the Cupola (the dome). The dome itself and the surrounding views were unbeatable. Helplessly I dropped my jaw…The sparkling glass and mirror structure was beautifully designed, tourists were excited to catch their reflection on the mirror pillar. The thoughtful design of the spiral walkways ensures smooth flow of traffic.

A short distance away was the Holocaust Memorial. The 2711 different dimension stones were laying tidily on the uneven ground, intentionally designed to give a sense of insecurity. I was hopping from 1 to the other, the higher I went up, concern of falling down was looming. The psychological trick of the design worked on me. Young kids and teens were playing hide and seek in between the blocks, cheering up the dead souls.

Only a stretch of 1200m of Berlin Wall remnants remain standing, lots of tourists’ improvised remarks and graffiti smearing the original murals. A large part of it was being repainted and new murals were being drawn.

The Berliner Dom was attractive and well maintained. Was possible to climb up to the dome, giving a surrounding view of Museuminsel. I prefer the smaller roof-damaged Kaiser-Wilhelm church, which was being served as memorial hall. The upper floors had been close for visit, for safety sake… what a pity for not allowed to climb upstairs.

Had dropped by to visit Scholsspark Charlottenburg and the Sansoucci Park. The time was too constraint for me to visit these palaces. Just snapped some photos… in fact I had no intention to see the interior decoration.

Yet To Do
Many more sites had been neglected during this trip, like Museumsinsel, Jewish Museum, art gallery etc. BERLIN, I’LL BE BACK!