BERLIN 2013

Hooray for my first entry! I have to go backwards here, as this blog came 4 years late. Oh well, as the cliche goes…better late than never!

My travel mantra is never go anywhere without a FULLY CHARGED camera. Immortalize every memory, capture it in a photo. Every picture tells a story. And as I don’t keep a journal, if unfortunately dementia strikes, I’d have all my lovely photos to remind me of how awesome life had once been. 😀

Now let’s begin with my last travel destination – Berlin.

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Berlin has been one of my dream destinations. I have been very intrigued with the Holocaust and the WWII, and it’s the perfect place to learn more about it. We visited the German city at the end of September. Bright and sunny with temperatures at an average of 15 degrees Celsius.

Here are my top 7 worthy time-wasters in Berlin:

1. Visit Checkpoint Charlie

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This is the most popular border crossing between East and West Germany during the Cold War. The area is complete with a replica of the guard house (the original is in another museum) and a museum detailing the era when the world was divided into Soviet-led East and US-led West. A portrait of an American soldier can be seen when facing east, and a Russian soldier when facing west.

Photo op: For a euro, you can have your photo taken with the “guards” at the checkpoint. Oh, snap!

2. Have a Currywurst

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There should be no problems finding Berlin’s most wanted streetfood. Currywurst is made of sliced German sausage with curry powder and lots and lots of ketchup! You can have it plain or with a side of fries – both equally good.

Tip: Right across Checkpoint Charlie, there is a stand called Checkpoint Curry.

3. Run into the maze that is the Holocaust Memorial

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Okay, running is probably not the most appropriate thing to do here. But when you see it, your first instinct will be to run and play hide and seek. The place is like a maze – perfect for make outs and what nots – just kidding. This memorial deserves genuine respect. Murdered Jews all over Europe are remembered here.

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Underground is a museum showcasing letters to loved ones, journal pages, and Jewish family stories at the time of the Holocaust.

Fact: The Frank family (popularized by Anne Frank’s Diary) is not included in any of the accounts in this museum.

4. Go through the Brandenburg Gate

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The rollerbladers do, so why won’t you? Haha. We happened to be in Berlin at the time of the 40th BMW Berlin Inline Skating Marathon and there was a massive crowd cheering for the participants as they speed through the gate.

Well, Brandenburger Tor (its German name) was not really built for sporting events like this. This is one of the most iconic landmarks in Berlin history – Hitler going through the gate during a parade in the 1930’s and US President Ronald Reagan delivered a speech here back in the late 80’s asking Soviet leader Mikhail Gobrachev to tear down the Berlin Wall (to be mentioned in this list too, of course).

Tip: If you are visiting in October, make sure to drop by in the evening to witness the gate illuminated in all colours during the Festival of Lights!

5. Go ’round and ’round inside the Reichstag Dome

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Want to have excellent views of Berlin? Yes, please!  The Reichstag dome is situated on the rooftop of the German Parliament building and offers a 360-degree view of the city.

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Inside the dome is a mini-museum that walks through the construction, destruction, and reconstruction of the Reichstag. The dome top is kept open during good weather and people can lie and cloud-gaze.

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Tip: Book your dome visit online to avoid queueing outside the building. Checkout Reichstag Dome Online Registration.

6. Be in awe at the Topography of Terror

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Everything that I had come to Berlin for is right here. It covers the period when Hitler reigned as dictator, the Fuhrer, as Nazi Germany called him. The place has both an outdoor and indoor museum – history junkies can spend hours here!

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A section of the Berlin Wall remains standing here, where they built the outdoor museum. And for the rest of the wall that was demolished, a mark was placed instead to trace the former location of the wall.

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Trivia: Do you know that you can get arrested for doing the “Heil Hitler!” salute? Yeah, so don’t even think about it. 😉

7. Shop in Kurfurstendamm

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Coming from Norway, I consider German shopping a bargain. “Ku’damm” is where you want to be if you are a woman! I don’t think this needs convincing, just go there and shop! I did!

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Yes, I have this growing obsession with Longchamp bags. I’ve been trying to buy limited edition styles from every country I’ve been to. More on this in a separate post.

There you have it! My top 7 things to do in Berlin. If you have more time to spare, I suggest going to Benderblock to see the memorial of Team Valkyrie (Tom Cruise movie, ring any bells?). And if you have more cash to spare, then why not have some fun at the Spielbank Berlin Casino? I’m not promoting gambling here my friends, just promoting fun. 😉

Until my next post, Auf Wiedersehen!

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