Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Berlin part 2 - What we did

  In front of the Berliner Dom

We were in Berlin from Monday to Friday. Our hotel, Maritim was beyond awesome. We paid about 70€ / night for a 4* hotel cos of a promotion and it was absolutely worth it! In fact, we so loved our stay that we tried to extend one night but was unable to do so cos hotel was fully-booked. 

That left us with essentially only 3 full days in Berlin since we drove back to Stuttgart on Friday. 

What does one do in Berlin for 3 days? We didn't want to jam-pack our schedule cos we were travelling with a baby and hubby has had very long and stressful days at work, so we opted for a very free and easy 3 days.

Our first day was spent meeting up with a friend of ours who happened to be in Berlin in at the same time. We enjoyed superb and absolutely delicious dim sum from Aroma - an original Cantonese restaurant at Kant street.

Kantstr. 35, 10625 Berlin-Charlottenburg
Tel: (030) 37 59 16 28

On our second day, we decided to go for a free 3.5-hour walking tour by New Europe Tours. We had tried both their tours in London and Paris and found them extremely informative, funny and interesting. Our tour guide in Berlin certainly didn't disappoint and we ended up giving him a huge tip. This tour is so highly-recommended for anybody going to Berlin.

I went for a compulsory 2-week Integration course when I first moved to Germany in 2006. During this course I learnt about the major events of German history, which included WWI and II. Even then, I had forgotten a lot about the origins of the country that I live in.

The tour guide had such a captivating way of making history come alive. And he did it with such a huge respect for German history such that the Germans on the tour didn't feel uncomfortable about Germany's past. The German culture is so rich and many Germans contributed significantly in making the world what it is today - and I'm not just talking about cars, even though its certainly a big part of it! :)

There were so many stories of how Eastern Germans tried to escape to the West. One family even built a hot-air balloon in their own backyard! A pole-vaulter managed to pole vault himself to freedom. Isn't that so innovative?

And guess how many Germans have won the Nobel Prize? Humboldt University in Berlin alone produced 40 Nobel Prize winners! Wow.

Yah, so there were so many positive things that I learnt about Germany, which unfortunately are usually overshadowed by its Nazi past. But that's also one thing that the tour guide said. Germany has really done such a humble job in making atonements for mistakes made in the past. History books depict the real reality of WWI / II and the government does not make light of its gruesome past.

Another noteworthy thing is that hubby mentioned that before World Cup 2006 in Germany, it was "Nazi-ish" to fly a German flag in public. However, the world cup has removed whatever remnants of guilt / shame such that an average German is able to fly the German flag publicly with pride.

And oh boy, coming from Singapore where our National Day is filled with many blocks of flats flying the national flag in one accord, I felt so sad that hubby had to live through a time when it wasn't a good thing to be proud of being German.

My hubby's German and my baby's German. I'm Singaporean but sorta like a German rojak. So yeah, I do like Germany. It's not perfect, but the health system is crazily amazing, it's safe and people are punctual. Hah.

Our third day was spent going to German historical museum and walking the shopping street where Ka De We is. I hardly did any shopping except for some necessities for the little one since we have most of the same stores in Stuttgart. That took a lot of "pressure" off cos I didn't feel the need to check out stores for bargains. :)

That's all the touristy stuff that we did during our trip! We met up with a fellow Singaporean and her family who came to visit from Iceland on our last day. It was cool.

 In front of the victory column near our hotel. It was just beside the Tiergarten (animal park) which was within walking distance from our hotel.
Blending in with your green environment. That's another cool thing about Berlin. It's flat and there's so many places to go for a walk with your young one
In front of the Brandenburger Tower which is a symbol of a reunified Berlin.
 A close-up of the Branderburger Tor
 In front of our favourite fresh fruit juice place at Kantstr. The only thing is that he could put ice into the juice on a warm day
 Not a bad self-taken shot
 That should be the opera
This was at the Holocaust memorial in memory of the Jews who perished during the WWII. It was very sobering to walk through the monument
 Part of the Berlin wall with a very famous painting on it
Our tour guide explaining the significance of Checkpoint Charlie which has become a tourist trap - hence the funny-looking cow painting on the Berlin wall
 Had to put this pix, cos the little boy seemed to be having an imaginery audience of his own!
 At Checkpoint Charlie which was the only place where the Americans and Russians shared a border during the cold war. As such, it was a popular hangout for drop-dead gorgeous female spies on both sides. Due to its historical significance a couple of movies were filmed on-site here.
 The Konzerthaus at the Gendarmenmarkt
The French and German Cathedrals are both located at the Gendarmenmarkt. They look like mirror images of each other but the German Cathedral is a little bit higher just to outdo the French
 Humboldt University that has won 40 Nobel prizes!!!
Sammy loves playing with his Daddy and vice versa too. We took him out of his stroller whenever we could to prevent boredom
  My lovely munchkin!
At the Deutsches Historisches Museum (German historical museum). It's very worth a visit but unfortunately I'm not one for too many words. Hence, I preferred listening about the history of German during the free tour rather than reading about it. We had only 2 hours so we only managed to cover the ground floor.
This was the beautiful lobby of our hotel

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails