Azhar Saad - My Life Travelogue
Memoirs of my journeys...
By: Azhar Saad

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Saturday, 21-Oct-2006 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
My Eurotrip -- Berlin GERMANY

Berlin Hauptbanhof
Tiergarden and Siegessaule
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Berlin definitely fitted my definition of coolness. The city succesfully blends in its rich history of turbulent past with the nation's well-known advancement in technology and modern architechture. The well-preserved historical buildings can be found together with the more modern, cool buildings. It could easily rivals the more famous and frequently visited neighbouring capital city, Paris that is. All in all, I was so unexpectedly impressed with the city that I wished I will have the opportunity to visit the city again in future, with longer stay of course!

20th Oct 2006

Arrived in the city from Prague, Czech Republic. Had to go through two immigration control in the train, a usual procedure of entering and leaving EU countries outside of the Schengen area. The two immigration checks were done each by Czech and German immigration. Luckily nothing happened to me, although it takes longer times for them to verify that Malaysia is one of the countries whose citizens are allowed to travel in the EU and Schengen countries without any visas for up to 90 days.

I was strucked by the modern glass building of Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station). Furthermore, it was at least five storeys high, each levels housed the different rails for the different type of trains, such as U-bahn, S-bahn and regional trains. It is, I was told, the most modern central station in Europe (or the world? I vaguely remember the fact ). After a few minutes admiring the building, I took the S-bahn to Zoologischer station, four stations from Berlin Hauptbanhof, where my hostel was situated (A&O Hostel, same as the one I stayed in Hamburg). After dinner in the area, I went straight to sleep.

21st Oct 2006

I started the day quite early today, most probably being woke up by a call from my dad. It's been quite some times after I last contacted him, so this was one of the concern call he had to make to make sure I'm in a good health. After breakfast in the hostel, I bought a day-pass for Berlin's transportation, which can be used on all mode of public transportation for the day.

My first destination was Potsdamer Platz. This is Europe's busiest square before the WW1. This square was occupied by the Berlin Wall which divides between Eastern and Western Germany for fourty years, because of the different political view. Eastern German formed what was known as the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR), occupied by Soviet Union, while Western Germany formed the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), and occupied by the the alliance of the USA, Britain and France. The remains of the wall in the square was still visible when I was there. The cool buildings of Sony Centre were also located here.

I then went to Tiergarten, huge city park in which stood tall Siegessaule, Berlin's unofficial gay symbol and the centre of the Tiergarten crusing area after dark. South of Siegessaule was Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of Berlin and once the boundary between east and west. Not far from it, I went to Reichstag, the home of German's parliament, and the place where the reunification of East and West Germany was enacted on 2nd October 1990.

Next, I went strolling along Unter den Linden boulevard, along which the greatest surviving monuments of the Prussian capital still stood proudly. Along this boulevard also I passed through Bebelplatz, the site of Nazi's first book-burning and Gerdarmenmarkt, and elegant square and cultural fulcrum containing a trio of magnificient buildings, which are the German Cathedral, the French Cathedral and Concert Hall.

After that I walked towards Alexanderplatz, where the World Time Clock was built, along which I passed by Berliner Dom. This square was named after Tsar Alexander 1 who visited Berlin in 1805. I also managed to catch a glimpse of Fernsehturm (TV tower), Berlin's best-known landmark.

The highlight of my visit to the city was when I arrived at the famous Checkpoint Charlie, a major crossing between east and west during the Cold War. It was at this checkpoint an immigration booth was placed, and it was here that the point of entry between people from East and West Germany was. The atmosphere here, together the remains of the Berlin Wall visible in the area, had made me compelled to visit the nearby Haus am Checkpoint Charlie. This is a museum commemorating the history of the wall, the hatred built together with the building of the wall, as well as all the failure and successful escape attempts by the people from the East into Western German. It was definitely worth the EUR9 I paid as the entrance fee.

22nd Oct 2006

I spent most of the morning walking around Kurfuerstendamm, an expensive shopping centre located in West Berlin. I also managed to visit Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedaechtniskirche, the almost ruined church from the bombing in WW1. Both are located in the Zoologischer Garten area, near my Hostel.

I then went to Hauptbahnhof, and took a train at noon to Amsterdam. I was going to celebrate Eid Fitr, a major Muslim festival celebration in Amsterdam, with my uncle's family. My Grandma has also arrived from Malaysia to celebrate the festival in Amsterdam, as well as my cousin Ijad who is studying in Nottingham University, UK.

Friday, 20-Oct-2006 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
My Eurotrip -- Prague CZECH REPUBLIC

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Thursday, 19-Oct-2006 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
My Eurotrip -- Prague CZECH REPUBLIC

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Wednesday, 18-Oct-2006 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
My Eurotrip -- Hamburg GERMANY

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Saturday, 14-Oct-2006 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
My Eurotrip -- Copenhagen DENMARK

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