About Me

I have done a lot of things in my life and have also worked in many different jobs to make a living and to experience life. This blog is just some of my musings, sometimes funny, sometimes inspirational, sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes simple but all the time, it's just me.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekend in Berlin

Saturday 14 April
Arrived at around 5am in Berlin. Dark and cold but as soon as I got into Berlin main station Hautbanhof, it was a mecca of activity.

Got directions to get to my hotel, just 2 stops down to the east. I stayed in the center of what was East Berlin near between Hackescher Market and Alexander Platz.

As I get out of the Hackesher Market train station around 5:15am, I see my hotel already. And I hear this loud music from 2 bars at the bottom of the station. I peep in and see a really large crown still partying away.

I get to my hotel and decide to leave my luggage there and as I cannot check in so early, I take a walk out. And I find restaurants and deli's still open - this is at 5:30am.

I grab a hummus sandwich and a drink and eat with gusto. Then I look for things to do and see that there is a Insider Guide walking tour available but starts at 10:30.

So I head back to the hotel and sit in the lounge to charge my phone as well as a quick snooze to charge myself. Barely 30 minutes into my nap, the nice hotel staff allows me to have my room early, at 7am or so.

I go to the room and continue my snooze until about 9am. Get up and freshen up. Then go out, eat some more and get to this meeting point for the tour. The weather is fantastic, nice and warm with sunny skies.

A five hour tour for €12 is fantastic. We go walking and see the most interesting sites in Berlin. The walk takes us from Hackesher Market to the central station with all the main sites covered. Our guide is a Scott who has been in Berlin for 10 years and knows a lot about this place.

The museum island is just a stones throw from my place and our guides tells us about all the museums there. Of course if we want to go in, it would have to be at out own time. The we head down to see all the building around east Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie, Hitler's bunker / aka car parking lot, Brandenburg gate, the Berlin Wall, the Jewish memorial, the parliament and the Chancellor's washing machine.

There is quite a lot we did in the 5 hours that my writing would likely not do justice to it, so, I will not try to describe it in detail. But I had a great time.

After the tour, I take my personal guide (my Garmin GPS device) and head to the west. Hard Rock Cafe, Sony Center, Erotic Museum etc. After being in the East, the West just seems a little too modern but nevertheless nice enough.

I head back to my hotel, freshen up, eat something nearby and head out again for the night bar crawl with Insider guides starting at 8:30pm.

Berlin allows drinking on the streets, anywhere including smoking everywhere. We first go to a cheap nice Soviet relic bar near the train station.

The temperature starts to drop and the rain starts but the crawl continues.

Then to another modern clean cocktail bar, then to a live Reggae music bar. Finally we head to a club. All these places are only frequented by few tourists, so mostly local hangouts.

I had worn this cool t-shirt and got the attention of everyone in pretty much every place we went. Basically this shirt has a synthesizer on it that reacts to music, so, I was sort of lighted.

Sunday 15 April
By the time I come out of the club, time has passed, I don't feel tired nor drunk because I did not drink too much. It is 3:30am. It is still raining.

I stop by a deli to have a meal and some juice and water and get back to the hotel around 4am and go to bed.

I get up by 8:30am, have breakfast and head towards the direction of the Star Wars Death Star. Well, basically the TV tower which has an observation area that looks like the Start Wars Death Star and even has a nickname as such.

But on the way there, I end up in a Anglican church - among the oldest in Berlin. It has a service so I sit in for the service and leave when they start a baptism ceremony for a new born.

On my way out, I remember I left something in the hotel and rush back to get it.

Then I head to the Death Star .... I wonder if Lucas was inspired by this East German TV tower when he made his movie considering that some of the bad guys were uncannily similar to the Nazi's.

On my way down, I buy some souvenirs and come out with this German rickshaw guy greeting me and offering to take me places where I have been. So instead, I ask him to take me to the East Side Gallery, where I have not yet been.

The East Side Gallery is a part of the Berlin Wall still intact and was used as a canvas. Renowned artists worldwide were invited to paint something on it. I tried to look for some Lat's cartoon on it but alas to no avail, guess he was not invited.

It is close to 2:30pm when I head back towards the hotel. A few more pics around the place.

You will see a lot of Bear statues in Berlin because it is named after a Bear. Frederick the Bear. Well Birl also means a swamp which Berlin was at that time. But the bears statues you see everywhere are basically in regards Frederick.

I headed to the central station and bid goodbye to Berlin, a city that has changed so much in 20 years, once divided and now united.

Take care and be well.


Ser said...

Who is 'We' in the paragraph concerning your bar-hopping?

Ser said...

Just publish a few pictures instead of a scrap book lah.

Nil said...

We are the few bar hopping friends I made on the trip, 3 Canadians from the Canadian Navy, 1 German guy and 1 retired marine from the USA.

Ser said...

Must have been fun. Who was the most sporting (or more than one)?

Nil said...

THe 5 mentioned were the most sporting. There were a bunch of American guys and girls that just pretty much stuck with themselves and some German girls that disappeared after a while.