The week of business visit/sightseeing is over and I am glad to be back home once more. While the first few days of our trip were pretty much dominated with work related meetings, I got to create some quality time with my wife and an old friend for the remainder of the week. I also made a much needed visit to a certain place, but I’ll spare you the spoilers! Find out the highlights of Berlin after the jump (image heavy post!).
As said, I wasn’t able to freely roam the city for the first half of the trip, however starting with Friday morning we went on a Spree (see what I did there?) to visit as many landmarks as possible. We’ve covered what’s considered a must by most trip guides available in quite a short amount of time. My buddy residing in the city kindly let us to all the nooks and crannies that are worthwhile and we filled the rest of the itinerary with our handy travel guide. I even managed to get to Saturn for some nice apparel shopping and took pictures with some virtual celebrities! Here’s what we’ve got for Berlin (all shots courtesy of my wife, the photographer, and the random Berliners that happened to pass by!):
The trip begins with my wife arriving in the city center after landing in Schönefeld airport. This here is Bode Museum.
An efficient and sleek S-Bahn system helps getting around the city.
Brandenburger Tor at night. We’ll get to this another day!
Reichstag at night.
We had the IFA event going on during our visit. This was the spectacle on Samsung’s side.
While my wife toured Berlin I paid a stealth visit to Reichstag with the First Solar team.
Visiting Norman Foster’s famous cupola.
The next day my wife took a guided tour of the city while I attended a sales event. This is the New Synagogue.
Impressive columns line along the Museum Island.
A first look at Berliner Dom.
The Old Museum in Museuminsel.
The city concert hall.
Here’s what’s left of the wall, a tribute.
Checkpoint Charlie. Not much to see here.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
A side view from Brandenburger Tor towards the Reichstag.
The chariot atop Brandenburger Tor.
Here’s a better look at Reichstag. You can only enter by reservation or face long queues. Luckily we had one for the next day!
Gotta love street performers!
In another place, I was busy learning how to sail. And a proper boat with a crew and a skipper that is!
… and Herr Humboldt himself.
A favorite artist of mine, Käthe Kollwitz. I used to study her work at college. Check her out for realistic portrayals of negative emotions like despair.
Back to Berliner Dom. I have a feeling my wife really liked the place!
United at last! Here we are at our scheduled visit to Reichstag.
“To the German people.”
They are, rightfully, a proud people.
The plaque next to this states that the soil used under “Der Bevölkerung” is from all the federal states of Germany and they let vegetation grow freely.
Much of the building is modernized, including the dome.
The dome has mirrors lined up inside that reflect light towards the parliament hall.
German engineering at its best!
A “selbstie” from the top of the dome!
Next up we went through the Brandenburger Tor towards Alexanderplatz.
This is a novel idea for a clock. The center ring rotates to show local time around the world. The solar system on top is just a bonus!
The red municipality building, or Rotes Rathaus.
Now THAT must have been expensive to build.
The famous Fernsehturm, or the TV tower of Berlin.
A statue of Poseidon across Marienkirche. Reminded me of Bernini’s work in Italy.
Work out, go sightseeing and drink beer at the same time? Yes please!
An excited and not so excited visit to Altes Museum! With me is Can who was kind enough to show us around.
Here’s the full group shot.
Obviously I had to find a reference for the pun in my blog’s name. Wasn’t disappointed.
Moving on to the Pergamon Museum. The Germans took a lot of artifacts from Turkey for display but I did not expect them to dislodge the entire Ishtar Gate!
A full display of the Miletus Market. I have a hunch that this place isn’t entirely original.
Frescos on the Pergamon Altar, restored. This wall is massive.
A miniature of the altar. The full front area is on display here. Be sure to drop by when you have spare time.
Assyrian (or was it Sumerian?) gatekeepers. Way too cuddly if you ask me.
The statues around really lend themselves for nice photography opportunities.
Fast forward to Saturn in Alexanderplatz! Gotta love the Lego Batman from the Lego Movie.
Still have to play Demons’ Souls first but I know where this is going…
A tribute to Dovahkiin.
And of course, gotta take a picture with Ratonhnhaké:ton!
Die Gedächtniskirche. This is one of the few landmarks I remember from my last visit a decade ago. Left damaged after the shelling of Berlin.
A quick visit to the local supermarket and some love for Kinder Surprise!
An impressive display of palace guards at the gate.
One last look at the Berliner Dom, before our flights the next day.
During our stay we planned a visit to Potsdam, accessible easily by train, which took pretty much the bulk of the day but was very fruitful. It seems my German is not completely gone and I was able to freely interact with our tour guide and other residents. I must also mention here that I’m pretty much in love with how efficient and fast the S-Bahn and the U-Bahn network operate. It didn’t take us more than an hour to traverse the entire length of the city to arrive in the outskirts of Potsdam. Coming up the highlights for Potsdam and the countryside:
The adventure begins!
This was my first time taking a guided tour on a bus, so I grabbed myself a plan for the road ahead.
A façade that was never complete as a palace.
This Moorish Mosque is apparently a water pump station, disguised.
The new palace. They call the city “fake” as there are lots of illusions around. For example…
… the bricks on this building are not inherently red, but painted on. Frederick was a stingy guy apparently.
People were really glad that we brought the sun with us!
Royal orange orchard.
The windmill next to Sanssouci with a medieval musician. Or is it colonial era?
Palace Sanssouci. Has 12 rooms but looks huge when observed from below.
You see what I mean? Perspective is everything.
A look at the royal gardens. Has some vineyards too.
Frederick is also called the Potato King, for introducing potatoes as a food alternative to unwilling Germans.
The back view of Palace Sanssouci.
This is where the Potsdam conference was held to seal the fate of the third Reich.
A Soviet star greets us.
A playground for little princes and princesses.
Here sat Truman, Churchill and Stalin. You can barely see the flags in there.
Potsdam seems to be a very lush city with many gardens. The largest one is as large as 290ha, or 500 football stadiums.
Before the day was over, we had a few more hours to spend before the shops closed. And here I made one last visit to a special place: the Games Workshop hobby shop in Europacenter! It’s probably nothing much for those of you who have local shops but since I do not have direct access to a proper GW shop in Turkey but only authorized stores, this was quite a treat, with people painting models and boards, rows of models on sale and locally painted models to showcase. I was looking forward to this visit as I wanted to pick up a box of Nagash, Supreme Lord of the Undead for the painting pleasure (and I did get one!) along with a few other goodies for painting. I added a Slaughterbrute to my collection which I’ll model and paint as a Vortex Beast as well as a Dark Elf Assassin model. All three models look really sweet and are totally worth every cent paid for them. I’ll touch on the new kits at a later post, for now, take a look at the goodies in the shop:
‘ere we go!
A Blood Angels grunt welcomes us.
This was a great rendition of the Goblin Town event.
This is pretty much one of the best Transcendent C’tan models I’ve seen, too bad the pic is a bit blurry.
Most boards are open for people to pinch in with painting,
Orky vehicles are always fun!
Nagash at last!
I wanted to have a visit to a local Revell shop as well but time constraints and the tendency for Germans to not work on Sundays kinda defeated that plan. Oh well, I guess the Solo Turk model can wait until my next visit.
“Next time, Gadget!”
Gotta admit, I meant this post to be for Monday but already I see that all the work that piled up since my absence will prove to be difficult to erode. I’ll try to get an update in between for Friday, just to have a scheduled posting for the blog and if all else fails, I’ll see you folks around beginning next week.