Wednesday, 31 March 2010

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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

More Food, A Horror Museum and Some Night Shots

Hey guys, here's the last part of our Berlin adventure:

Jingyi's favorite place in Berlin: Mehringdamm. A cozy little corner in Berlin where life moves at a comfortable pace. People watch people while enjoying gastronomic delights in cafes like we see in the movies... The food on their plates makes my mouth water...
Blackforest cake! One of our must-try foods on our trip! :D I think I preferred the cherry flavoured coke... can't seem to find it in Prague ><
While wandering along the streets of Meringdamm, we spotted an adorable ice-cream shop with bright pink walls! Oh! What a long queue there was! And there were so many kids happily tucking into their ice-creams! I wanted one too, but the queue was too long, we had to rush to the next musuem... Such a pity!
Only famous people wear glasses! Are you one of them?
And then, it was time for lunch! Another amazing doner kebap!
Smile when you're in good company! Smile when you're with great food!
And we left Mehringdam by metro...
It looked haunted... with its imposing aura... we stumbled inside apprehensively
Is that horror or glee on my face? You be the judge!
The entrance to the Berlin Chamber of Horror... enter at your own risk
Brave soldiers off to explore the unknown... what horror awaits them?
Adolf Hitler's last breadth.
The resident ghost haunts the place... Don't stare at it for too long... it might just follow you home.
And with that, we left the horror museum... I was a little sad to go for I enjoyed the scares so much! But I think JY and JC were a little traumatised by the part where we were chased by the resident "ghosts" (actually the museum staff in costimes) around poorly lit rooms. Fun, fun, fun!
Brandenburg Gate at night is way more beautiful than in the day! Although it was getting a little chiller, the view was spectacular!
The tv tower in Berlin which houses a revolving restaurant... we didn't go into it though.
The Bebelplatz (formerly Opernplatz) is a public square in Berlin, the capital of Germany. The square is on the south side of the Unter den Linden, a major east-west thoroughfare in the centre of the city. The Bebelplatz is best known as the site of the book burning ceremony held on May 10, 1933 by members of the S.A. ("brownshirts") and Nazi youth groups, on the instigation of the Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels. The Nazis burned around 20,000 books, including works by Thomas Mann, Erich Maria Remarque, Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx and many other authors.
Today a glass plate set into the Bebelplatz, giving a view of empty bookcases, commemorates the book burning. Furthermore, a line of Heinrich Heine is engraved, stating "Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen" (in English: "Where they burn books, they ultimately burn people"). Students at Humboldt University hold a book sale in the square every year to mark the anniversary.

A moving pub serving beer that's powered by cycling! Lol... one of the guys on board even waved and invited us on board! I love them crazy Germans!
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, with only the shell of the old neo-Romanesque bell tower remaining. In striking contrast is the new church, constructed beside the old tower in 1961 and nicknamed "lipstick and powder box". Can you see the resemblance to a lipstick? It was the very last attraction that we visited... I was exhausted!
Off to the bus station!
A pot-luck party while waiting for our bus-ride back to Prague! We had chips, cookies and milk (which smelled strangely of fart) for dinner! Dinner was an hour long affair. Eventually, we couldn't bear the chilly winds, so we scrambled into the heated rooms and waited for another two hours to pass. And finally, we were homeward bound! I missed our apartment in Prague!

It's good to be back!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Checkpoint charlie, and a German Concentration Camp

It was a bright and early morning when we arrived at Checkpoint Charlie, on the second day of our Berlin experience.
Checkpoint Charlie "Checkpoint C" was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Germany and West Germany during the Cold War.

The Soviet Union prompted the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961 to stem the flow of Eastern Bloc emigration westward through what had become a "loophole" in the Soviet border system, preventing escape over the city sector border from East Berlin to West Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie became a symbol of the Cold War, representing the separation of east and west, and—for some East Germans—a gateway to freedom. Soviet and American tanks briefly faced off at the location during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
After the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc and the reunification of Germany, the building at Checkpoint Charlie became a tourist attraction. It is now located in the Allied Museum in the Dahlem neighborhood of Berlin.
Off to a German concentration camp!
Distracted by the vending machine yet again!
We bought Chicken-candy! Whee~
Hey look! When you bite the chicky in the ass, it shits chocolate in your mouth! :P
JC slurping up Cherry juice! Look closely, he hasn't shaved for two days! The weather was getting warmer, and consequently we were getting more dehydrated by the minute >< thirsty!

Alighting at the Oranienburg train station where the concentration camp was.
But first, a visit to the public toilet: City Toilet. Three euros for a one time use! JY and I squeezed into it together while JC was left outside filming the entire ordeal >< lol... he didn't get to use the loo... By the way, no change is given, so it's best if you could pay the exact amount... which we didn't (T-T)
On our way to the concentration camp, we came across a shop selling guns and weapons... 0-0 coolz...
Almost there... it's just a twenty minute walk from the train station!
Someone's backyard! The garden was adorable!
And we arrived...
Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg was a Nazi concentration camp in Oranienburg, Germany, used primarily for political prisoners from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May, 1945.
After World War II, when Oranienburg was in the Soviet Occupation Zone, the structure was used as an NKVD special camp until 1950 (See NKVD special camp Nr. 7). The remaining buildings and grounds are now open to the public as a museum.
Sachsenhausen was intended to set a standard for other concentration camps, both in its design and the treatment of prisoners. The camp perimeter is, approximately, an equilateral triangle with a semi circular roll call area centered on the main entrance gate in the side running northeast to southwest. Barrack huts lay beyond the roll call area, radiating from the gate. The layout was intended to allow the machine gun post in the entrance gate to dominate the camp but in practice it was necessary to add additional watchtowers to the perimeter. The standard barrack layout was to have a central washing area and a separate room with toilet bowls and a right and left wing for overcrowded sleeping rooms.
Executions took place at Sachsenhausen, especially of Soviet Prisoners of War. During the earlier stages of the camp’s existence the executions were done in a trench, either by shooting or by hanging. A large task force of prisoners were used from the camp to work in nearby brickworks to meet Albert Speer's vision of rebuilding Berlin.
Sachsenhausen was originally not intended as an extermination camp—instead, the systematic murder was conducted in camps to the east. In 1942 large numbers of Jewish inmates were relocated to Auschwitz. However the construction of a gas chamber and ovens by the camp commandant Anton Kaindl in March 1943, facilitated the means to kill larger numbers of prisoners. The chamber used liquid Cyclon B which was placed in small glass bottles into the ventilation system next to the door. The bottle was broken with a spike and the gas mixed with the air and was forced into the chamber.

Lunch, Museums and the end of our first day in Berlin

Our growling bellies were filled with these golden deliciousness! Fries and curry wurst, the perfect lunch :)

"Currywurst (German pronunciation: [ˈkœʁiˌvʊʁst]) is a German national dish consisting of hot pork sausage (German: Wurst) cut into slices and seasoned with curry sauce (regularly consisting of ketchup or tomato paste blended with curry) and generous amounts of curry powder, or a ready-made ketchup-based sauce seasoned with curry and other spices. It is frequently served at German 'Imbissbuden' and from food trucks."

My smile's genuine when I'm confronted with great food :D
I love this place so much! We couldn't resist going back for lunch here the very next day!
Cannabis tea anyone? An all-natural high to your life...
And then lunch was followed by a quick visit to the Museum of Homosexuality. Nothing impressive... except the few scandalous images... and the little historical tidbit about John x Jesus and Zeus x Ganymede... which were probably speculations by bored historians ><
Our next must-see destination! The Pergamon museum - a museum highly recommended by our Biosignals professor.
"The Pergamon houses original-sized, reconstructed monumental buildings such as the Pergamon Altar, the Market Gate of Miletus, all consisting of parts transported from Turkiye. There is controversy over the legitimacy of the acquisition of the collection. It was suggested that the collection should be returned to Turkiye (original country of the excavations).

The museum is subdivided into the antiquity collection, the Middle East museum, and the museum of Islamic art. The museum is visited by approximately 850,000 people every year, making it the most visited art museum in Germany (2006)."

Taking a break on the steps of the Pergamon altar while tuning into our idea guides :)
A lesson in anatomy and physiology!
It was getting dark as we left the the museum. Exhaustion was starting to take its toll on our excitement! So dinner was a quick affair - a gianormous Döner kebab from Max & Moris, a food stand near our hostel.
Döner kebab, a Turkish dish made of lamb meat cooked on a vertical spit and sliced off to order. Just one of these babies was enough to feed three hungry Singaporeans!