Chapter Wanderlust II: Berlin

Berlin, one of the last few cities that I would really love to visit in Germany! The one major city that have been missing out from my list in the country before I checked off the whole country. As it turn out, Berlin also became one of my last stop in the EU as I decided to cut short my trip and head back home. The World War and history classes definitely tip my interest in the city as the conflict and so much stories that we learn about West Germany and East Germany. I am glad and fortunate to be able to be living in a generation where I could see them together as well as the historical side to this fine city. I am also interested to see the mixture of influences, the blend of modern buildings with the cultural ones as well as the differences between the East side and the West.

I checked out a couple of places in Berlin since I have quite a long stay, furthermore I am also delighted to meet a friend in Berlin and we went out sightseeing on a couple of days out in the city seeing that both of us are new to the city. It was sure lovely having some company and we definitely took lots of pictures while sweating in the warm weather. Thanks so much Erin! I will surely visit you in chicago soon. First up in Berlin got to be the famous Gendarmenmarkt. This can be said as the most central area of the city. Right in the heart of Berlin, it is always busy and popular with tourists. Surrounding the square is also many prominent buildings in the city from churches to opera. You can find the Berlin Dom as well as the French church. The opera house is also here. There is also a monumental statue of Germany well known poet Friedrich Schiller.

Berliner Dom is one of the biggest and most impressive church in the whole of Berlin, it is built at the turn of 19th and 20th century. The façade of the church is extremely symbolic and impressive. Check out the Dom. The area is nice for pictures.

Most of the people who visit Berlin would be interested in the story behind this city and how integral the place is towards the war and the subsequent separation of the world into two side, East Berlin as well as West Berlin. While not going too deep into it, I have to say that I admire the character of the city, to build on the history and not erasing it. There are memorials all over the city and heck, bits and pieces of the Berlin Wall can be seen throughout the city. One of the memorial and museum that I went to was the Topography War of Terror. It is built on the site of what use to be buildings from the Nazi Regime. The building largely host an exhibition that tells us the story of the wall as well as the information behind the Nazis as well as how Poland was affected by all this.

It is a very solemn place and people should be respectful when visiting here. Towards the south side of the building also ran the longest extant segment of the outer Berlin Wall, standing till today, it was never demolished. While walking along side here, I greatly felt the stress and the seriousness of how life is during those years. The walls are towering and intimidating. It also allow you to get close and look at the wall, the scribes on it as well as how they are partly worn out over time. A literal “Iron Curtain”! We really have to be thankful for the world peace that we enjoy now as is the calm and ease of access.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is another one that you really have to go. This is by far my favourite out of all the memorial. It is a series of concrete slabs built on this huge site, with 2711 of them. They are built of different elevation and on the ground which is uneven when you are walking in them.

They are design such that you feel like you can see anything else when in them and how obstructured you are. To produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason. It is also said that it look like a cemetery.

Checkpoint Charlie is another favourite of mine. This is probably the most well known checkpoint and access routes between the East side and the West side of Berlin. One governed by the Soviets and one by the American. An iconic passageway as well as a place of historical significant. In the past, this is the only way where people could legally cross over to the other side. The guardhouse and signage could still be found here. Although right now it is more touristy than anything. I also find it super funny that you can find KFC and McDonalds on either side of the checkpoint. Oh well, Americans then!

If there is one palace that you have to go in Berlin, it gotta be the Charlottenburg Palace and Gardens. A baroque palace, it is built in the 17th century and an absolutely beauty. The internal decoration is super lavish. You do need to get a ticket to see the rooms and I would say that they are rather worth it. Erin and I had a nice time. The center room on the second floor is also super gorgeous with drop down window facing the lush gardens.

The gardens however are free to explore and it is a nice place to stroll around. Probably better if the weather is cooler. Erin even help me with some pictures and of course nothing goes without the iconic lying or sitting down on grass post.

Tiergarten is Berlin most famous inner garden in the city, it is also one of the largest in the whole of Germany. On the weekends and especially in the summer you would be able to see many people spending time here with their families. I was just nice here when there is a huge Pride Parade where there is a huge parade passing through the Tiergarten. Furthermore it is the time where people come out for a tan or even grab some drinks at the beer garden right when the weather is this “good”. Not the nicest park or garden that I have ever been to but still a nice place.

Brandenburg Gate definitely got to be the icon of the city. An 18th century neoclassic monument in Berlin, it is built in the 18th century and is one of the greatest example in the town. It has 12 columns and is one of the greatest photo spot in town. Furthermore there is more than 200 years of history over here. An instagram worthy spot.

Berlin turn out to be one of my favourite city in Europe and definitely the most in Germany. It might just be my choice to be if I had the chance to migrate to Germany. You have everything that you need in this city. Furthermore it is also much cheaper to live in when compared to Munich. The mixture of influences as well as the cultural difference between the old east and west side. Berlin is a city that never dissapoint.

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