Berlin is a big city and the transport system is much more complicated. Yep, transport was indeed the first thing I noticed from Berlin; that was because I arrived there late at night and all I wanted to do is heading to my friend’s place. Thought it would be easy and straight forward but I got lost in no time; I relied on saved google instruction from when I had access to internet last. Because the instruction given was wrong, I relied on a kind Berliner to show me the way. Berlin has S-Bahn, U-bahn, Tram and bus. It cost me Є2.7 for a single trip and Є6.9 for a day trip
Germany is one of the biggest and most influential country in Europe. The dark time of Germany during Hitler time and cold war are recorded in museums and the historical spots such as Berlin wall and concentration camp. Those places are kept to remember what happened in the past. Germans have big heart for admitting the bad they have done in the past and moving on from the past trying to live a better life. Amazing country with amazing people! Most of these memorial places are free for visitors.
The atmosphere in Berlin is certainly different. Big city, more people, more places to visit, more food to eat and more things to do. I was staying with a friend who is a student in one of the university in Berlin. Here, university is free both for domestic and International student. The living cost is much lower compared to The Netherlands and more events are happening around town.
My trip to Berlin were spent visiting:
- Berlin wall at East side gallery – the longest leftover of Berlin wall filled with murals.
- Holocaust museum – community’s initiative to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust.
- Brandenburger Tor – a big gate which use to symbolise the separation of East and West Germany but now is the symbol of it’s reunification. I also attended festival of light here on my last night in Berlin.
- Reichstag (Deutscher Bundestag) – where the supreme constitutional organ of Germany works. It is open for public by appointment. You can see Berlin city from the top.
- Checkpoint Charlie – one of the checkpoint where people who wants to go from East Germany to West Germany can get their stamp and cross the border. Numerous stamp is required to cross the border. I and my friend got our passport stamped with the stamps they used to use in the past
- Alexanderplatz – The biggest shopping area in Berlin. This time they have market to celebrate October fest. The market is filled with wurst (sausage) stall, beer stall and other souvenir stalls.
- Topographie de Terror – The building used to be the base for Nazi police squad which is now filled with photos and stories of Germany under Hitler. Through reading the displays, people were taken back to time of Nazi.
- Norbahnhof train station – located between East Berlin wall and West Berlin wall and was closed during Germany cold war. Now it is called Ghost station.
My trip in Berlin was filled with conversation with my friend and our host about Holocaust, Nazi, Germany back then and now and how we can learn from Germany history. I learnt a lot from history during my stay in Germany and my mind and heart were certainly touched by it. Thank you Germany for your big heart, it certainly set example for the world to learn from the past and be better.
Some tips that I learn traveling in Berlin:
- Get a day pass ticket! Berlin is big and you would need to use their public transport to go around and it is not expensive.
- There are many historical places that is free to visit, very eye opening – spend sometime going through them.
- German has lots of nice bread, cold meat, sausages, pretzel and cheese! Make sure you try them along with good cold German beer.
From Berlin, I had few days stop at Czech Republic, then to Munich. I did not explore Munich much, just a stroll to Marienplatz admiring how nice the place is. Our main purpose is having a day trip to Neuschwanstein castle. We took train then bus that took us about two and a half hours. Start early to beat the tourist traffic.
We started by taking train from Munich Hbf to Füssen, continued with half an hour bus to Hohenschwangau village (because the connecting train was not running during my time of visit). We took our time exploring the village and hike to both Hohenschwangau castle and Neuschwantein castle. We did not take any tour, instead we bought a Є3.5 book that gives us history of the castles. I won’t say much about the place, I will just share the joy of my eyes being in Hohenschwangau Village.
If you like castle – Spend more time in Germany and explore some other castle in other regions! Good walking too!