Sunday, October 17, 2010

Full Day in Berlin

After breakfast in the hotel, we went for a comprehensive guided tour of Berlin. BTW, the Abba Berlin has the best croissant for breakfast among all the hotels that I stayed in Germany, it was soft and tasty just on its own, lovely.

Our local guide was very knowledgeable and we toured all the major sites in Berlin by our coach. The first stop was at the Berlin Wall Monument where the remains of the Wall stood. Actually it was not as formidable as one might have thought and heavily vandalised by souvenir hunters so it is fenced off.

In parts where the wall has been removed, in its place they have put in a metal strip on the ground marking the exact position so you can trace the wall all the way following the strip. A very simple and practical idea to keep the history of the Berlin Wall alive.

Next stop was at the Gendarmenmarkt square in the middle of which stands the Konzerthaus or the concert hall. On both sides, you'll find a church, one the French Cathedral and the other the German Cathedral like identical twins.

The last stop was at the Brandenburg Gate where you can take photos with actors dressed as American or Soviet soldiers and also a Red Indian, supposedly a real one!

Just next to the Brandenburg Gate is the American Embassy, surprisingly so close to the hot tourist spot.

Nearby is the Hotel Adlon; that's the hotel where Michael Jackson infamously dangled his son outside the window a couple of years back.

We learned from the guide that Berliners like to give nicknames to the many monument and buildings in the city. Some of them are

"Berlin", split links of a chain - constipation

House of World Culture - the pregnant oyster

The fountain in front - Jimmy Carter's smile

A kindergarten(?) near the museum island - Pamela Anderson's house, no prize for guessing why.

We were dropped off outside Marche Berlin in Ku'damm and free to roam Berlin for those who have not booked the optional tour to Potsdam. Since I'll be coming back to Berlin later, I chose to walk around Berlin on my own with my wife.

Among the some of the sites visited were the Kaiser-Wilhelm church

The fountain outside the Europa Centre

We walked mainly along the Kurfurstendamm and being a Sunday, almost all the shops were closed and it saved me some euros since the wife could not do any shopping. (Alas, this is only a delay since we came back to Berlin later on weekdays.) The famous departmental store, the Ka De We was also closed.

Today was also a "Bicycle Day" and there were thousands of bicycles going round the city. They were of all shapes, size and types just like all the different riders.

There was also a fund raising event with many vintage cars on show.

Lunch was a simple affair - the famous currywurst at Ku'damm 195. This is German pork sausage drown in tomato sauce and curry powder and served with big portion of French fries. The small shop is tucked in a corner of the building so you may easily miss it; just follow the smell.

We walked passed the Savignyplatz square before heading back to our hotel for a rest before the evening's activity.

This evening we attended a variety show at Friedrichstadt Palace, the largest variety theatre in Eurpoe. Luckily for us, we were able to catch the show as this was the final week's performance before the summer break.

The show (Qi - Berlin's Biggest Show) was very enjoyable being a mixture of song, dance, acrobats, flying trapeze, comedy, ballet, etc. The huge stage setting and colourful costumes were impressive with music provided by a live orchestra. Not to be missed!

Ronald Kwok


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