First Stop - Berlin

Trip Start Dec 07, 2005
Trip End Dec 18, 2005

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Friday, December 9, 2005

When I was told that I could attend the World Cup Draw in Leipzig, I was more excited of the prospect of making a stop in Berlin. When I did my exchange internship in Bremen many years ago, I had a housemate that raved so much about Berlin. However, I never did visit this city that Kennedy loved - Ich Liebe Berlin because I had to give up my passport for a French visit. It was either Paris or Berlin and I chose Paris.

So, here I am just an hour and half away from Berlin so naturally, I booked to fly into Berlin, stay two nights before going off to Leipzig. I arrived early in Berlin so was quite jet lagged but still determined to see the sights.

First stop - Checkpoint Charlie .It was for me - nothing as I couldn't relate to the east - west Germany and all I saw is a place for people to put flowers.  In fact, I nearly missed it. and on the next stop - The Wall . Whilst I've seen and read books about the airlifting of food into Berlin and Hollywood's many accounts of family escaping from the East to the West,  I couldn't feel that segregation and the wedge the country within a city. Probably because its been more than 10 years now and the city is pretty much assimilated. Perhaps if I had visited it that many years ago when the Wall was still up - I could see and feel what Heather had  once described to me
Next was  Bandeburg Tor and the Reichstag. The walk up the huge glass cupola  roof top  of the Parliament is beautiful example of old and new architecture.  Whilst I can imagine how beautiful it can be in the summer, the draught inside the building was freezing and I ended up running down to take a cab to somewhere warmer like Portsdam where there were plenty of people and a good old gluhwein to warm the body. The Christmas markets were all over the streets and it was beautiful to enjoy watching people, snowboarding, ice-skating in a nice warm tent next to a hot fire drinking gluhwein. If there is a takeout on Berlin - it would be two - one of  the dome of the Reichstag and second the drinking gluhwein in a nice warm tent . It was a fight for the fire but they saw a shivering Malaysian who is not used to the cold and gave me space to warm my hands.  Ich liebe Berliner...
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