Berlin In Canvas

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.

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View of evening skies above the Berlin Central Station @ Berlin Hauptbahnhof (partly hidden building at the left hand side). The  River Spree is also seen at the right hand side and the Berlin Television Tower is right in front. This is the view from the 5th floor of the Meininger Berlin Central Station where we stayed for one week. We also had the opportunity to see a huge gathering  for a peaceful debate between two groups of the Germans who have different opinion on “Muslim Immigrant” in German at the open space in front of the station.

 

 

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.

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Lovely mother and son having happy and enjoyable time together beside the Brandenburg Gate Berlin Germany. They’re among hundreds of people from all over the world spending holiday with family in Berlin. Everyone have their own way of expressing and recording the best moments with loved one and the most common is of course through self photography @ Selfie!  The big building with blue roof top at the background is Aldon Hotel Berlin. Our tour guide told us that this hotel used to received VIP guest from all over the world and among them are Michael Jackson and Barack Obama  from USA.

 

Brandenburg Gate

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

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Built between 1788 and 1791 by Prussian King Frederick William II as a key entry to the city of Berlin, Brandenburg Gate was topped off with a statue known as the “Quadriga,” which depicted a statue of the goddess of victory driving a chariot pulled by four horses.

 

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.

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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!

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Based on the Wikipedia updates, The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial, is a memorial in Berlin to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, designed by Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000 meter square (4.7 acre) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or “stealae”, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The stealae are 2.38 m (7ft 10 in) long, 0.95 m (3 ft 1 in) wide and vary in height from 0.2 to 4.7 m (7.9 in to 15 ft.0 in). They are organized in rows, 54 of them going north-south, and 87 heading east-west at right angles but set slightly askew. An attached underground “Place of Information” holds the names of approximately 3 million Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israel museum Yad Vashem. Building began on April 1. 2003, and was finished on December 15, 2004. It was inaugurated on May 10, 2005, sixty years the end of World War II.

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 …

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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.

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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

Hitler’s bunker

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.

Berlin in Oil Paint

Based on Wikipedia updates, after the war both the old and new Chancellery buildings were leveled by the Soviets. Despite some attempts at demolition, the underground complex remained largely undisturbed until 1988-1989. During reconstruction of that area of Berlin, the sections of the old bunker complex that were excavated were for the most part destroyed. Fearful that the site would become a shrine for neo-Nazis, the site remained unmarked until 2006, when a small plaque with a schematic diagram was installed. Some corridors of the bunker still exist, but are sealed off from the public.

 

Berlin Wall

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!!

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The Berlin Wall was erected in the dead of night on August 13, 1961. In the 28 years of its existence some 5,000 people are thought to have successfully escaped across the wall. The number who died in the attempt is disputed but it is believed 136 deaths have been recorded, the last being shot in February 1989, about 9 months before it was torn down.

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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The Weihnachtszauber am Gengarmenmarkt is the first market we visited in Berlin. It is one of the best and popular market in the city especially for its unique handmade products like origami, ivory and many different sorts of art besides many  other special delicacies of German and European cuisine like white chocolate-milk, fried apple, fried mushroom and special cheeses from different part of the world. This market is also located not far from Brandenburg Gate.

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Berlin’s Culture

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. Berlin-0299

 

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.

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