lunes, 23 de enero de 2012

How to visit Berlin in 48 hours and do not die in the attemp to...: First part

I have been always curious to step into the city that has  experienced everything. A city plently of fears, hatreds and from time to time, dreams. But definitively,  the place where all pasions are sinceres and faithful till the end reaching at some point, machiavelian extreme ways.
So, when my mum asked me to join her in her trip to Berlin, I didn't doubt it.  
My first touch with Berlin was around April in 2010 and my last date with the german city has been a month ago...

We decided not to lose time and  to discover every philosophy of Berlin till everything confess its secrets. 
And all these attempts in 48 HOURS...
I will be brief...
Our adventure started in: 
Accomodation (On the first trial)
I could not recomend you this place, not for been horrible but because the price is a little bit too high for student people. (You know what Im talking about...)
The hotel  was situated on one of the best Berlin's districts and I have to admit that it suprised me for good. Because at first I thought that Berlin was the typical city that sells you two stars hotel for 100 euros and in fact it seems more like a hostel, a very bad one. 

The hotel was a kind of an exquisite design touch combined with an amazing building. Also I would like to say that breakfast time was spectacular.  I will give it a grade of 10. 
ACCOMODATION (On the second trial)
At this point, we were looking for something cheaper and also a place near by the O2 Berlin Arena because we had a date with the the Red Hot Chili Peppers on that place. 
The place was a young hostel really really good. We have been in a double room that was enormous. The heating system was so warm, and we had free coffee and internet connection. The only thing that was not that good,is the fact that we had to share the bathroom. But it was not that bad. 

Here you have the place:  Hostel X Berger, Berlin


First step: Get a map but not a normal map, a map explained for "not clever" people (like blondies, people with orientation problems and the typical guys that say: yeah, yes I have been here once when I was little with my parents...)

Second step: Point your hotel in the map. Have a look and find some references places like subway stations, monuments, famous streets...

Third step: Divide Berlin like it was divided at the end of the WWII: Sovietic Berlin/ Alliates Berlin

Fourth step: Ask yourself what are you really looking for in Berlin.
Us: Just discover everything that has sourounded the nazism: Philosophers, jews, comunists, the wall,  the sausages, the eagles...

Fifth and last step: Be ready to listen to the wall, to listen to what people do not say, what is hidden by the guilty sights...
Congrats! your trip would be unforgettable.

Berlin, Germany 

First day:
Today is a good day for a walk. We are going to go the Oriental part. 
Many berliners used to say that Gendarmenmarkt is one of the most beautiful places in Germany and even of all Europe.
No care about what they say but the visit of this place is mandatory. The set of the German Cathedral and the french one, as well as the Concert Hall provides a good example of architectural armony. 
Visit Berlin
Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin, Germany

The square was built in the 1688 by the architect Johann Arnold Nering. In the early years the place was named as Linden Markt and later, known as Friedrichstädtischer Markt or Neuer Markt.  And after 1736 and 1782 due to the fact that was used by military people  "gens d'arms, and for that reason has became Gendarmenmarkt. 
Gerdarmenmarkt, Berlin, Germany

Französischer Dom

The Französischer Dom or French Cathedral is not a cathedral in the traditional sense of the word. The German name of Dom refers to the ‘domed’ tower later erected on the existing church in 1785, almost one hundred years after it had been built originally as the Französische Friedrichstadtkirche.
It was erected as a place of worship in 1672 for the Huguenots, members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France, also known as French Calvinists. Fleeing religious persecution and expulsion from France following the 1685 Edict of Fontainebleau, around 6000 French Protestants were granted asylum in Berlin by the Great Elector Friedrich III (King Friedrich I from 1701) who had responded swiftly to the French expulsion order with the Edict of Potsdam, granting permission to French Protestants to settle in Berlin. The Huguenots built a thriving community, preserving a French language church service for nearly a century. It was only in protest against Napoleon’s occupation of Prussia in 1806 that the service switched to German.

Deutscher Dom

The building is by Martin Grünberg and was given its galleried ‘dome’ (hence the name Dom) originating from the French ‘dome’ or cupola, in 1785 by Carl von Gontard. It was known as the Neue Kirche (New Church) and only later referred to as the German Church. It is considered remarkable because of its five-sided floor plan. In 1780 Friedrich’s grandson, Friedrich the Great (1740-1786) commissioned Carl von Gontard to build two non-functional domes for the existing churches to offset the Comedy Theatre next to them ensembles which were inspired by Christopher Wren’s and Inigo Jones’s domes on St Paul’s Cathedral in London. The French dome housed the Huguenot Museum whereas the German dome was the address for the Berlin Historical Association. 

Another victim of Allied bombings, the building was badly damaged during the war. The church and tower burned down in 1943, and were slowly restored between 1982 and 1996. Since 1992 a German Parliament exhibition can be seen here entitled “Wege, Irrwege and Umwege” roughly translated as “Paths, Loosing Track and Detours” or the development of parliamentary democracy in Germany – ways and roundabouts. No religious services are held here.

Konzerthaus (Schauspielhaus)
Berlin’s National Theatre, by Karl Gotthard Langhans had burned down and the building designed by Schinkel (1818-21) for Friedrich Wilhelm III was intended to replace it. Schinkel added a staircase of grandiose proportions to reach the portico and integrated features of the original building, spared by the fire such as the columns and outside walls. The innovative design for the times, replaced the traditional Baroque higher stage with a lower, broader proscenium, an arch separating the stage from the auditorium.

2) St. Hedwig Cathedral

Sankt Hedwigs-Kathedrale (1773) on Bebelplatz was the second building of the Forum Fridericianum - Friedrich the Great’s (1740-1786) visionary Athens on the Spree project for the area located near the former Royal palace and Bebelplatz - completed following the Staatsoper. Easily recognizable because of its impressive copper dome the church was Berlin’s only Catholic house of worship until 1854 and the oldest Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese.

It was named Hedwig after the patron Saint of Silesia an area in today’s Poland which Friedrich II had conquered in 1742. Friedrich indented this to be seen as a symbol of freedom of religious expression for the small Catholic community in Berlin in a territory which had been staunchly Protestant since the Reformation. The Cathedral’s design by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff drew inspiration from Rome’s Pantheon but it took years to complete from its foundation in 1747 to its consecration in 1773 because of Friedrich’s cash flow problems caused by the intermittent Seven Years War.
St. Hedwig Cathedral, Berlin, Germany
3) Under der Linden
The most pretentious street of Berlin beause it hosts in one of its shops, the most expensive car in the world: the Bugatti Veyron.
Bugatti Veyron Bleu Centenaire, Berlin, Germany

In less than 3 seconds, this wonder reachs 100km /hour and if you are ready for, you can achive the speed of 400 km/h. But no fears allowed thanks to 4 wheels- draw. This car wont hurt you at all. Meanwhile, its engine would whisper you that you can rule the world...

Bugatti Veyron Sang Noir, Berlin, Germany

Dont doubt to have a look on the Top Gear's episode about this car on the BBC: Bugatti Veyron
What else I could say? Friedrich Wilhelm in 1647 decided that the boulevard would be used as a horse way- The street starts in Pariser Platz and finishes in the Brandenburg Tor. But this would be in another post...

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