Sunday, September 17, 2017

Europe 7/17 - Germany : Guten Tag, Berlin! I Had a Great Time with You!

"First, think.
Second, believe.
Third, dream.
And finally, dare."
- Walt Disney
Brandenburg Gate in the heart of Berlin, must see things in Berlin :)
Day 8 - Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Guten Morgen, Berlin!

It's Germany already and this country already on my list since long time ago. I decided to take Free Walking Tour by Sandemans at Berlin because I have no idea what to visit in Berlin beside the Berlin Wall. I put my trolley backpack on the storage and checked out. Someone from the Free Walking Tour team will pick up those who joins the tour at several hostel. She pick us up around 10 AM and we walked into different hostel before heading to the meeting point at Brandenburg Gate area. We took the bus and I bought Tageskarte for Berlin AB (1 day) ticket, 7 euro.
at my hostel, Pfefferbett Hostel
TV Tower spotted
inside the bus on our way to Brandenburg
Tageskarte for Day Pass, 7 Euro
The Bus will stop at Brandenburg area and you also can see Madame Tussauds Berlin, I've been to the ones in Hong Kong and Singapore so I don't think I will visit it again here, anyway I also found one at Amsterdam. It's really easy to spotted Free Walking Tour team, you can just look for the red umbrella and guides with red uniform. Register yourself there and you will get the ticket with number, usually it's their way to divide people into a group for the tour. My group were around 15 people. The tour guide didn't get paid so usually at the end of this Free Walking Tour, you can give them some tips, mostly people will pay 2 - 10 Euro, you can decide by yourself how worth the pay.
get off at Brandenburg
Madame Tussauds at Berlin
ticket for Free Walking Tour
it's easily spotted if you want to join this Free Tour just tell them
The tour will last for about 3 hours, they have several languages, so I choose the English one, my guide came from Canada. Our first spot to see is Hotel Adlon, this hotel infamous with an incident few years ago where Michael Jackson dangled his-9-month-old-son from a fourth-floor balcony in 2002. Some celebrities also stayed at this Hotel before like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Renee Zellweger and Penelope Cruz.

From this side of Hotel we are heading to Brandenburg Gate at Pariser Platz, a must see sight at Berlin, a landmark and symbol with over two hundred years of history. This site also came to symbolise Berlin's Cold War division into East and West. It is constructed between 1788 and 1791, the Brandenburg Gate was Berlin's first Greek revival building. Brandenburg Gate also well-known to be as meeting point, and there where I also start this Free Walking Tour. 
Hotel Adlon
Brandenburg Gate at Pariser Platz
there were running race at that time
Near the Brandenburg Gate, as we are heading there for next stop is a place of contemplation, remembrance or warning, located in the heart of Berlin which is in the middle of the city. There is Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe also known as the Holocaust Memorial covered with 2,711 concrete slabs on slopping path, covering 19,000 square metres. Here is the place where you can contemplate about what happened with the victims over World War II, in here you can have your own interpretation regarding this Holocaust, where I walked between those slabs place on slopping pace, you can feel that sobering experience, I was touched and moved.

Not far from that we were heading to the parking lot where apparently under this parking lot was a site of Hitler's bunker called Führerbunker (leader's bunker) which you will barely hard to notice if this was Hitler's bunker, they initially made it this way because  there is nothing worth to commemorate. Interesting fact that I found about this bunker was a highly sophisticated product of German war technology. It had 30 rooms on 250 sqm and several exits, you may find the information board placed there. I just watched a movie called Downfall (Der Untergang), in this movie you can picture how the bunker looks like at that time.
slopping path makes columns somehow going over your head 
Holocaust Memorial
Information board for the Hitler's bunker
Führerbunker was there under the parking lot
Upnext we were passing a big shopping mall at Berlin called LP12 Mall of Berlin or simply Mall of Berlin. Across this shopping mall we can see a big building named Detlev-Rohwedder House where known as the largest office building in Europe by the time of its construction between 1935 and 1936.

Along our way we also spotted an unique car, named Trabant, an automobile produced from from 1957 to 1990 by former East German auto maker VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau in Zwickau, Saxony, it's often referred to as Trabbi or Trabi.

Heading to the one of the most important landmarks in Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie or Checkpoint C was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War and got it's name based on phonetic alphabet. Anyway the tour guide warned us to keep an eye to our belongings, well maybe since this place is so crowded.
Mall of Berlin
Detlev-Rohwedder House
wanna fly? :p
wanna have a ride with this Trabant?
Checkpoint Charlie or Checkpoint C
After like 2 hours we had a break for about 15 minutes at Starbucks nearby Checkpoint Charlie, where you can also find free toilet and free Wifi. And from there we were heading to the square where I am totally in love with the ambience there, Gendarmenmarkt, there was a park there where full with bunch of people enjoying sunny day. Gendarmenmarkt is one of the most beautiful squares in Berlin and the site of an architectural ensemble, with the Konzerthaus, Deutscher Dom and Französischer Dom (French Cathedral).

Bebelplatz is a public square in the central Mitte district of Berlin where Nazi once burnt books in 1933. If you go there you might find a group of people standing in the same spot and starring on the ground where it happened to my group. There you will see a glass plate set in the paving stones and you also can see it's actually an empty bookshelves underground, it's almost out of the sight. The books burned at that night in 1933 can't be replaced hence they built this empty bookshelves as the Memorial of that book burning by Nazi. 

In here you can spot 2 main sites like Humboldt University, one of the oldest university in Berlin, founded in 1811, that can boast having 40 Nobel prizes winners which has had famous professors such as Albert Einstein, Karl Marx, and The Brothers Grimm. Another main site is St. Hedwig’s Cathedral, a Roman Catholic cathedral on the Bebelplatz in Berlin. So, the free tour will ended up in Bebelplatz.
nice weather for picnic
such a nice square at Gendarmenmarkt
Französischer Dom
Bebelplatz, left side is St. Hedwig’s Cathedral
Memorial of Book Burning is there and across of it is Humboldt University
Continuing my way and I saw Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral Church), a magnificent building as the largest church in the city serves as a vital center for the Protestant church of Germany. I also found an exhibition where mentioned Free Admission, so why not going inside? I went inside to get some aircon since it's quite hot outside, you can also go to the toilet over there and see a glimpse of Berlin on the rooftop. Inside the building, you will also find a miniature of Berlin.
remind me with Amsterdam canal :)
magnificent Berliner Dom!
it said free so let's go inside!
miniature of Berlin city
woww look out the details
nice restaurant on the top
Berliner Dom from the top of the building
Next stop for that day would be Alexanderplatz, a large public square and transport in central Mitte district of Berlin. I want to check this place because they have Decathlon and Primark :D There were also Decathlon at Amsterdam and Paris but I haven't got any chance to go there when I was there. Decathlon is a big sports goods retailer, for those who love sports or traveling, you will love this place and I recommend to check this store. I already knew what will I buy there, which is a microfiber towel, I seen it when they had an exhibition in Jakarta but they didn't sell it at that time so yeah I think I will just buy it there and I also want to find a travel backpack, ohh I love this place. There was also Primark, a clothing stores where the price is soooo cheap! But at that time I didn't feel want to do a lot of shopping and I love the one in Amsterdam more! I'd love to come back again to Amsterdam someday haha.

For those who also looking for branded bags like Longchamp, many Indonesian girls love to buy this brand, well, you know what, I went to a store named Galeria, still at Alexanderplatz and I found they were having discount all item 25% so it's actually very cheap comparing the one in Indonesia or even Paris but I didn't buy it. Alexanderplatz is so big and personally I love this place, to do window shopping :p. 
TV Tower, Fernsehturm
found this restaurant behind Decathlon
forgot the name, it's potatoes with cheese by the way
welcome to Decathlon :p
those towels I was looking for! haha
nice yet cheap backpack :)
travel essentials :D
my hostel building
In the evening where actually seems like afternoon since the sun still shine that bright we explored the neighborhood around Südstern. The weather was very nice, you will find so many parks even some squares full with people or some people did performances like singing, playing music etc. After I walked into touristy attractions this morning and now seeing this was totally refreshing because it's a different ambience.

I found an unique habit to walk around with a bottle of beer on your hand while walking and chatting was such a new experience for me. And if you finished your bottle you can just put the bottle near the trash bin or pole where someone will pick that up to earn some money. There was sort of music performance on the stages, well, I love seeing live music actually so I guess it would be really fun to see these things, maybe I will go out very often then haha. 

Heading into the market which also interesting to see, Marheineke Markthalle, believe me I am easily pleased especially to see new things. Because it's evening already so they almost closed and not so many people inside this market. Marheineke Markthalle, is an indoor market where you can find fresh goods and couple items under one roof inside this market hall like fruits, vegetables, deli items, meat and cheese, herbal, flowers, coffee, baked goods, restaurant, etc. So many street performances even outside this market, I spotted on the street there was a vocal group with Asian faces and I was guessing right, they are from Philippines and there was one song caught my attention, they sang Traditional Indonesian songs called Manuk Dadali, it's in Sundanese language, from West Java.
Marheineke Markthalle
vocal group singing Manuk Dadali :)
Trying out Berlin snacks where really, don't miss a chance to try Currywurst in Berlin, Curry 36 at Mehringdamm. I found out later that Currywurst is all over in Germany and you can find it like wherever. This place is so popular and when we were there, the line was pretty long but they served pretty quick maybe because basically it's sort of junk food. It's a sausage with curry sauce and you can have french fries or bread. It's tasty and I like it, tender juicy, quick served and not too pricey. At some point I still can't believe if this curry thing is famous in Germany but well it's true though. Now I feel like want to eat one again :p

Along the way we also craving for some coffee and heading to this little Coffee Shop, I love Coffee! so having a cup of coffee will be good idea even though it's not a cup but glass instead. Sitting on the terrace where remind me with Paris where most of the cafe sitting area would be on the terrace, actually most of Europe countries would be like this. Apparently it's normal for Italian having couple cups of Espresso in a day, wow, I can't imagine for having espresso that much.
did you see the line over there?
at Curry 36 :)
currywurst by Curry 36, yum!
nice coffee shop :)
sit outside and enjoying our coffee, why mine so big? haha
I can say there are a lot of park in Berlin, which is totally great because it's hard to find one especially in Jakarta because they care to build buildings so much nowadays, if you go to Jakarta, mostly you can see shopping malls and buildings haha but no worries we always could find a place to be away from those buildings :) 

We went to Viktoria Park, there was percussions and we were passing the park where bunch of people doing picnic on that day. Viktoria Park is an urban park, located at Kreuzberg, Berlin, opened in 1984 and on the top you can see a National Monument for the Napoleonic Wars, from the top you can also see waterfall and Berlin from the top in a glimpse. There was a musician playing his instrument on the top, we just sat there, enjoying the breeze and music, what a lovely day! So, this is life in Berlin would be especially during summer and I think I choose a perfect time to come on Europe.
performance by percussions
waterfall, very nice, it's almost dark
still having picnic on the park haha
some people will pick up those bottles
a National Monument at Viktoria Park
from the top of monument, Viktoria Park
enjoying music while you can spot the waterfall and city of Berlin
There was also an interesting thing that I found out, long time ago, I joined an exchange cooking class between Indonesian and Spanish cuisine, at that time Indonesian cuisine only took about 10-15 minutes until get done while it took almost 3 hours for Spanish cuisine to get done, they said it's part of culture, so you cooking, chatting and drinking wine. And yes, I experienced those things, I feel like now I get the idea of what they were talking about. This Italian that I met before in Japan and can't believe we met again already :), cooked pasta for me, Italian and Pasta, looks perfect. During cooking time we chatted, while he did preparation and cooking, also not forget the wine and cheese, so it's true and I enjoyed that, what a delicious pasta made my tummy happy! shame I forgot to ask the recipe but I don't think I can cook it because it needs brocolli and I had bit trauma with broccoli hehe :p.
Thank you Gabriele for this delicious Broccoli Penne Pasta!
me and Gabriele enjoying our coffee at Berlin :)
Thank you very much for reading my blog and I'll see you on my next travel diaries, still at Berlin :)

Have a lovely day!


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