The Bright Lights On Winter Season
The temperature was too cold for the one week holiday during winter (December 2015) in Berlin, Germany. Everyone in the city were expecting a bright sun at least a day or two in a week. And we’re quite lucky to have a nice weather on the second day at the historical city. The bright sun lasted for 6 hours (9:00 am to 3:00 pm) with an amazing colors of Berlin skies after the sunset. It’s truly a lovely city.
Early Bird At The Brandenburg Gate
After our breakfast, we took a train to Brandenburg Gate about 10 minutes away from Berlin Central Station. When we arrived, we noticed hundreds of people mostly tourists from other country gathering nearby the open space / street beside Brandenburg Gate. They all are coming for a free tour provided by few professional tour guides in Berlin city. And we’re among the big crowed who excitedly waiting to explore one of the most well-known city since WW2.
We were wondering why hundreds of people from all over the world coming to this place everyday. All the four of us were visiting Berlin for the first time and didn’t make enough research of interesting places in Berlin prior to our visit. The tour guide made his introduction and briefing starting at the famous Brandenburg Gate and his story strikes our attention which answered most of our curiosity.
It is told that the Brandenburg Gate, an 18th century triumphal arch that has become one of the most recognizable landmarks in Europe, has played witness to some of the most significant moments in modern history. From political speeches set against the backdrop of a divided city, to its role in the emotional reunification of a nation. He further highlighted that there were leaders of the world visited and made their important speech at this place. In June 2013, Barack Obama became the fourth U.S. president to deliver a speech near Berlin’s famed Brandenburg Gate, following in the steps of John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton
Horse and Carriage Ride
Travelling on a stylish carriage through the city is one of the rare experience for tourist in Berlin. The carriage has room for 4 passengers who can explore the capital city in a romantic way and enjoy champagne on the ride for about 35 minutes.
Berlin Holocaust Memorial
Just south of the Brandenburg Gate is Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial, with its 2,711 gray concrete slabs. Since its related to the true story of mass murdered of Jews in Europe during the cold war, the feelings of sadness and sorrows could have been in the mind of every tourist who head the briefing from the guide. Sitting down on the slab in a group of visitors on winter in Berlin is a moment to remember – though exposed under the sun but the temperature was still cool!
Holocaust Underground Information Center
Right after the briefing, our guide brought us to the Berlin’s Hitler Bunker without going to the information center at the underground museum of the Memorial. After our tour and while on the way back to our hotel at Meininger Berlin Central Station, we made a point to stop by at the memorial again where we have the chance to explore the tragic history exhibited at the museum until the end of the day. Though hundreds of people at the museum, there were quietness and silence atmosphere throughout the two hours underground tour. Everyone could imagined and emotionally inspired the terrible experienced those Jews had gone through during the holocaust. There are many sad stories and true experienced related by those young children separated with their parents and never met each other again.
This is the place to visit and to realize how a simple piece of paper with important notes could be very valuable and bring tears to those who read it again even after many years especially when imagining through the systematic mass slaughter and reckless destruction of life of European Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.
“It happened, therefore it can happen again:this is the core of what we have to say” is one of the old notes I manage to record with my cell phone camera and still pondering this message in relation to the life destruction that happening everywhere in the world today …
Taking Time To Read And Imagine
It was about one month after the Paris attack (November 13, 2015) when we arrived in Berlin and places like this will be given strictest security checking at the entrance which sometimes become a discouragement and visitors may forego their plan to explore interesting information at the center. We we’re very fortunate to have visited this place. It would be a regret if we didn’t make a point to go down to the underground museum that cold evening.
The Memorial To The Murdered Jews of Europe includes an information center located underground a well as an exhibition on the eastern side of the memorial. Part of the exhibition is a data center that holds the names of all the Jews that were killed during the Holocaust. The Underground museum aims to explain the process of persecution of the Jewish population in Germany before and during the war. It showcases the sites where some of the most terrible human crimes took place. The memorial itself is made of steal, which is empty of any inscriptions
The next stop was at the open space known as Hitler’s bunker where Hitler spent the final weeks of his life watching helplessly as the Soviet forces encircled Berlin. This site looks nondescript location, under this small patch of grass surrounded by parking lots and apartment buildings is where the Hitler finally came to an end on April 30, 1945 when he killed himself.
From the Hitler’s Bunker site, we walk again through the cold winter together with our guide to the Berlin Wall. Choosing Berlin city as one of our winter holiday destination could be much influenced by my old school memory on a world history subject particularly the World War II and its negative impact to human kind which of course could not abandon the “Berlin Wall History”. For 30 years, the Berlin Wall was the defining symbol of the Cold War, separating families and keeping the people from jobs and opportunity in the west. For nearly three decades the Berlin Wall divided a city, splitting the communist east from the western capitalist enclave deep inside East Germany.
When it was torn down in November 9, 1989, we’re watching the great news broadcastered through local television in our respective country. That was just pictures and information through the media then, and right now at the center of Berlin city, we could see how happy and grateful all the family in West and East Germany when reunited again after 30 years. Today, when we arrived and touched the hard iron of Berlin Wall with our own finger, as if the natural human freedom in this universe could be still endangered and threatened!!
The New Looks of Berlin In Canvas Oil Paint Photo
The free tour guide around central Berlin ended at about 1:00 pm and since we have another few more hours before the sunset at 3:00 pm on winter season, we took the opportunity to walk around and explore the Berlin city. Berlin is considered the coolest city on the planet.
About 27 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the capital city of German has transformed to a vibrant and lovely city. We’ve visited Paris and Rome (In Europe) and also Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Bath and of cause London (in United Kingdom) but Berlin is unique where the classical past and the modern future come together without you realizing it.
Berlin’s Main Characteristic
The vibrant city of Berlin is well-known of its urban lifestyle. While walking back to Brandenburg train station from Berlin Wall, we passes by luxury department stores, shopping centers and markets which are built and located in a very nice arrangement and well planned city.
German Christmas Market
Our best excitement in Berlin was visiting German Christmas Market every evening for lunch and dinner. In fact, while we were still in London and Birmingham two weeks before flying to Berlin, we had our first experience of the verity of good food at German Christmas Market which was open in the UK since mid November 2015. Ask my wife and my daughter why I’m quite obsessed with the German market and I’m sure they’ll revealed my favorite food and beverages : the fried white button mushroom with potatoes and burger is so sweet and what more if it is taken with beer. Mulled Wine too must not be missed during the winter, otherwise our physical body couldn’t stand with the cold weather at night!
It was quite late evening when we landed in Berlin but we’ve visited three Christmas Market around Berlin the first night. German is extra popular during the last months of the year because of its Christmas markets. The atmosphere is different with other countries where German people simply love to celebrate Christmas. And so do Berlin, its shines in a festive blaze of lights with decorations of all the streets, buildings and shopping centers. A lady taxi driver who brought us to this Christmas market told us that there are about 60 Christmas markets to wander round and enjoy in Berlin every year.
We also found that Berlin city has an artistic scene and beautiful environment which shows its strong creativity and standards as world-class city. Walking through Berlin’s gardens, historic park and relaxing atmosphere at the green space are among our sweet memory of the most adorable city in Europe.
Till We Visit Again, Goodbye for Now!
It’s hard to express the whole feelings and emotion while on one week holiday in Berlin but just as can be seen and maybe feels through all the pictures in canvas oil paint, and if it possible, we will always returning back to this city for her unique history, beautiful environment and lovely foods.