This is the last chain post of my long week-end in Berlin. Published earlier were the posts about the reason I visited this city & the call to save the Wall. It was my third visit there. Departing from sunny Eindhoven Airport with Spring temperature of 15 degree Celsius, I arrived at Tegel airport in freezing cold temperature of -3 degree Celsius. The whole week-end the temperature was below zero. Snow fell much also as you see on the outdoor pics I took.
Berlin has definitely more to offer than The Wall and traces of it. To me Berlin is underground and cultural. I’d like to share what I saw & experienced there.
The boulevard in the heart of Berlin is called Unter der Linden. It connects Alexanderplatz with Brandenburgertor (see first pic above). As you see Brandenburgertor is an arch, just like Arc de Triomphe in Paris only smaller. Approaching Brandenburgertor, on the right side there is Reichtag a glass dome where German Parliament is settled. It is open for public daily. Berliner dom, the big Cathedral, is situated at the begin of Unter der Linden. I took the pic on my last day when it was snowing with freezing temperature of -4 degree Celsius.
Museum Insel is a small island along the Spree river. This island houses 5 major Berlin museums: Altes Nationalgalerie, Altes Museum, Bode-Museum, Neues Museum, Pergamon Museum. Regular ticket is € 7,- to € 8,- per person for one museum, area ticket costs € 14,- per person. With an area ticket you are allowed to visit all five museums on a same day. The price is from 8 March 2013. I have been to Neues Museum and Pergamon Museum. Neues Museum is specialised in Egypt and Roman collection. The top of the collection is the bust of one of the most beautiful women in the world, Nefertiti, queen of Egypt. Unfortunately it is forbidden to take picture of this bust. Pergamon museum has ancient collections: Greek, Turkish, Mesopotamia and Islamic Collection. High lights of the collections are: reconstructed Pergamon Altar, reconstructed Ishtar Gate, reconstructed Mellitus market Gate and valuable holy Al Qur ‘an and carpets from Aleppo, Syria. They are breathtakingly beautiful. I managed to shoot some pics with my 50 mm prime lens.
Traces of history
Looking for the underground sphere in former East Berlin I love to stroll in quarters like Prenzlauer Berg, Pankow, Potsdam and multicultural Kreuzberg. However Berlin still breathes dark pages of its history. Do not be surprised if you see grey factories rising in the middle of the city. It was the area of the east. Besides The East Gallery, there are several places which remind the Berliners & show its visitors what the city had endured. This memorial for instance. Before seeing this I only knew 4 of Jewish concentration camps. Now I have learned there were more of them.
Memorial of Jewish transportation to work camps in several places in Europe. This board is located at Wittenbergplatz S & U bahn stop, in front of Kadewe luxurious department store. The text means: The places of horror, things which we may never forget.
Hip and trendy Berlin
If you are not into history and looking for fun go to the following quarters: Friedrichshain, Ku Damm, Mitte and Wedding. Those areas are situated in West Berlin. There are various bars, lounges & good restaurants. Funny though, I dined 2 times in a small Vietnamese restaurant in Mitte. It serves honest & delicious Vietnamese food, well priced. Rosenthaler platz & Schönhauserallee in the east are also worth a visit. I went out the first night and drank absinthe in a club somewhere in Warschauerstrasse. I thought this shot was forbidden, apparently not in underground Berlin.
Moving around in Berlin is easy. Public transportation is fast and cheap. One ticket is valid for the S bahn (tram), U bahn (metro) or the bus. All three of them operate within extensive network. Good to know: At week-end public transportation is available 24h. For the time-table, fares or routes planner visit BVG.
When you feel a bit more adventurous and want to experience more, take a Trabant safari tour. Trabant is a common car in former East Berlin. It only has 2 gears.
I have seen many German movies, most of them has Berlin as setting. One of my favorites is Das leben der Anderen (The life of others) from 2006. The story is about DDR secret service (Stasi) watching a writer and his actress girlfriend in divided Berlin from 1984 until the fall of The Wall in 1989.
Other movies about Germany I highly recommend to watch:
Goodbye Lenin: a comedy drama about a boy pretending communism is still alive in order to spare his ill mother from shock which could mean her death.
Der Untergang: Hitler’s last days in Berlin
Sophie Scholl Die Letzten Tage: True story of Sophie Scholl, a young student from Munich who joined White Rose the non violent resistance against Nazi. Sophie was together with her brother Hans sentenced to death by guillotine in 1943.
Der Baader Meinhof Komplex: a story based on a biography of Stefan Aust, a German journalist about the beginning and growth of Der Baader Meinhof Komplex or better know as RAF (Rote Armee Fraktion).