Sunday, December 28, 2008

Two Seasons In Berlin - Part 2

I am back in Malaysia! It has been 6 days since I've been home, and I would continue with all that I have left off before this. :)

We returned to Berlin for the second time on 23/11/2008. It was the third day which it has started snowing in Leipzig and also Thalheim. The first time I saw snow was on 21/11/2008, while being on my way to work. I saw white particles flowing wildly outside the window of the bus, and I was excited deep inside. Excited, yet too proud to let it show on the surface. I smiled with glee when we finally step down from the bus, experiencing the first snow falling on my head. On our usual routine, which is to grab a drink in the cafeteria before work starts, I was caught up admiring the scenery of snow flakes falling down on the mainroad of our plant.

I woke up with a sudden rush the next morning to see if the road outside was covered with snow. Armed with my camera, I excitedly took some shot of the first snow in Leipzig for 2008. It wasn't as much as I was hoping for, but good enough to make us eager Malaysians to talk about it at work later that day.

Snow layering itself on the top of a car. This was directly opposite my bedroom window, below my apartment.

Oh, coming back to Berlin trip. Well, what I can say is that snow totally changed the landscape of the city, and also our perception of Berlin. White Berlin was much more exciting than our previous visit. Probably perhaps this time around, we had the chance to venture out on ourselves rather than having to be forced to sit and listen to a good old tour guide.

Me in front of Berlin Hauptbahnhof. The train we took was a direct one from Leipzig Hauptbahnhof.

A Shift MEs. L-R: Me, Lee, Lingam and Chu

Me in front of a remaining original site of the Berlin Wall. This section is the less colourful compared to some of the other remaining walls.

It was a nice shot, a butt-freezing shot!! :D

A must-have shot of every first-timer collecting snow ball! Notice the crosses on the background. I am still wondering what it is about. Looks like a memorial site. This was behind the Reichstag, the Parliament building of Germany.

Me opposite of the stairs leading to Reichstag.

Up close with the Brandenburger Tor.

There's also a Madame Tussauds wax museum in Berlin. Unfortunately the price was a turn off and we did not enter it. Anyway, if you look closely, you cold see Wesley Snipes in the glass panel behind of me. That was the closest I've been to a wax figure. :/

We stumbled upon a really showroom called Peugeot Avenue. It houses several mind-blowing concept cars inside, and it's open for public viewing.

Concept car #1. The tyres are as small as those meant for bicycles, and tugged nicely underneath the car, almost hidden from view. I don't know the model names, so lets just call them by the numbers. :)

Concept car #2. This is a big mean machine. >:)

There's also this long classic Peugeot inside. There's 4 digits on the number plate. What are you waiting for? I-Box it in 4D races!!!! :D

Concept car #3. Looks more like a concept of a ATV. Perhaps this one would be too precious for dirt races.

Concept car #4. Uhh... It has a collection of weird coloured balls behind it.

Lastly, concept car #5. This one looks cool. Even in green.

Bears are mascots for Berlin. Anyway, this is not the typical Berlin Bear mascot. The Berlin Bear normally stands on 2 legs and throws his arms above its head. Rather kinky. Google for the image. :D

I spotted a nasty looking Buggati in a showroom. Sweeeeeet!!

An interesting monument in Berlin. Now a tour guide would be helpful to explain what it is all about. Pffftttt!!!

Interesting buildings around, and you can actually see the famous landmark of Berlin, the Fernsehturn (The Television Tower). It is 365 metres high and is the fourth tallest freestanding structure in Europe. There's a rotating restaurant in the middle of the sphere which rotates every 30 minutes!!

This is where the Berlin Wall once stood. seperating the East and also the West.

I've not much knowledge (yet) on the historical past of the Berlin Wall. Therefore, I stand in the middle of the history. ;)

Us at Checkpoint Charlie, the separation point between East and West Germany.

Another view of the other side of the famous board in Checkpoint Charlie.

Lee and me opposite the American Sector's guard house in Checkpoint Charlie. Notice there are people dressed up as American soldiers ready to pose for you, for just a little token of appreciation. :)

Pieces of the Berlin Wall is scattered everywhere within the city. Commonly seen along the streets in front of shops.

A smaller piece of history mounted on the beam of a shop nearby Checkpoint Charlie.

I guess this is all I have about the second visit to Berlin. We spent almost the whole day walking around. I learn that it was not fun after all to be walking in snow-filled grounds. I slipped around 4 times whole day, and was lucky not to fall during each slip. It was enjoyable to sum it up, and it was worth the pain in my joints which I had for the next few days!! :D

I will be writing a little on the Christmas market we had in Leipzig next, and would wrap up this chapter of my journey soon. Till then, take care and Happy Holidays!! :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Two Seasons In Berlin - Part 1

I was fortunate to experience Berlin in two seasons. The first time we went to Berlin was on 8/11/2008, following the company trip. Berlin was in Autumn. It was a relatively boring outing, as 70% of the time we were in the bus. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the city, but it was definitely too much information to know. After being amazed time and again over her explanations regarding the historical sites and buildings, I felt more and more irritated for the fact that we did not get the chance to come down and walk around to snap photos. I am very particular about snapping photos (I guess I have mentioned this before in the earlier post). If I can't get a good angle, I'd rather not shoot.. After some time, I grew tired of explanations, and nothing that our tour guide mentioned actually went into my head..

Brandenburger Tor - The first point that we were allowed to step onto Berlin grounds. It was the symbol of a divided world when the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961. Apparently, this is also where the US President; Ronald Regan delivered a speech in 1987, urging Gorbachev to tear down the wall.

Germans somehow fancy still-life performance. Except for the big huge near, the two dudes in the soldier outfits are breathing human beings! :D

This is the huge train station, the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. You can either take the ultra fast ICE train or the normal red DB train from Leipzig, or anywhere which connects you to the station. Not a very flattering shot, as it was taken from inside the bus.

Reichstag, the Parliament of Germany. It was originally built in 1894. We only managed to pass by this building. No stopping. How annoying! >:(

Siegessäule (The Victory Column) stands 61.5m tall and was constructed to celebrate the military successes of Prussia over Denmark. Over the top is the statue of victory goddess Viktoria.
The Swissotel, an awesome structure which houses the C&A shopping mall as well.

Hard Rock Cafe Berlin. This is where I start to fall in love with those guitar-shaped pins exclusively from Hard Rock Cafes. :D

Daniel and me inside of Hard Rock Cafe Berlin. It was bombarded with herds of eager Malaysians buying souveniors back home. I guess most of us have not even been to Hard Rock Cafe in KL. But heck, there has to be a first time for everything! And I am loving it! :D

Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche (Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church). It was built between 1891 and 1895, and was bombed during the World War 2, in November 1943. The damaged tower now symbolise Germany's strive of rebuilding the city, and is a reminder of the destructions of war. This is what I gathered after doing some readings over the Internet. Beside the damaged tower you could see a modern hexagonal bell tower, which is the new church.

Me, lighting a candle after a little silent prayer inside the old damaged church.

Intricate paintings over the ceiling.

Another shot on the ceiling.

A bigger view of the paintings on the ceiling. It was impossible for me to have it all in the frame. Maybe this is a calling for me to get an ultra wide lens (11mm wide or a fisheye lens would be a great Christmas present!) :D

Me with our German colleague who accompanied us for the trip. Stephanie is from the Technology group.

I will be posting on our Berlin trip covered in snow soon. Till then, have fun! :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Little Bit of Something

I have not been able to write anything since the past few weeks due to tight obligations on my assignment write ups. There's 5 more days to go before I bid farewell to Germany. I will write up on the amazing experiences I had since the Dresden trip tomorrow. I am just too tired right now. Tune in soon!! :)