Saturday, September 26, 2009

A mixture of Worlds

It is a city with numerous world war memories.
It is a city with skyscrapers, a rarity in Germany.
It is a city of embassies and consulates.
It is a city of politicians.
It is a city for tourists.
It is a city for marathons and triathlons.
It is a capital city with a low the cost of living (as compared to Stuttgart or Munich).

The city is always alive, Berlin is always alive !

I was in Berlin for the 5th time last week and like every other time, I took the bus tour again because I never get tired of Berlin. The tour begins in the Potsdamer platz that I remember vividly (because the Canadian and the American consulates are here) and although I know exactly what the tour guide is going to say, as I take my place in the upper deck of the bus after buying the ticket from one of the students (working part-time), I am not bored.

As the bus drives through the extremely familiar Zoologisher Garten, I know we are going to reach the row of embassies/consulates, after a few minutes. I always grin when I suddenly spot the Ashoka Chakra among them :)

When we get to Checkpoint Charlie (Berlin Wall crossing point), I know I am going to start thinking of the war and how futile and meaningless it seems to lose thousands of lives just to prove a point or ascertain who is right.....and there looms the remnants of the Berlin wall, giving a shape to my thoughts. A portion of the wall is retained and there is a museum with extremely disturbing photos and equally disturbing facts. The entire wall is marked in the city, along the sides of the road, by a dotted line.

While on one the side you get a glimpse of the Nazi Germany with Hitler's Bunker (where he committed suicide), Gestapo headquarters, the memorial church (the tower was bombed and it remains so until today to remind everyone what a war can destroy), on the other side you have a view of the Prussian glory in the form of the Opera house, Schloss (Castle) Charlottenburg, Brandenburg Gate and the goddess of victory (Siegesäule).

Then there are the medieval remnants like the Marienkirche (Church) that one can compare and contrast with the modern Reichstag (German Parliament).

As the twin Churches, the deutscher Dom and the französicher Dom comes into view, I know the guide is going to the explain that although both look alike, the former was purposefully made a few inches taller than the latter.

The tour ends in the Potsdamer platz where the Sony Center looms large and makes one wonder about the changes in Potsdamer platz given that it was reduced to nothing after the heavy bombing during the World War.

As I was standing there trying to make up my mind about a quick visit to the mall (KaDeWe, the largest in Germany) or a meal in the Italian restaurant,.....I was woken up by the air hostess asking me to adjust my seat as we were landing in Munich. Then I ruefully realised that I had been dreaming and I sighed about missing the bus tour (something I always do while in Berlin !) because of my schedule.

If you felt this post was frustrating, then you should stay away from Sillunu oru kadhal where the whole movie turns out to be a dream ! In my defense, I did dream of the bus tour even if it wasn't this vivid, I just used the opportunity to list what I love about Berlin :D
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Website Hit Counter I had decided to have a counter only after I hit a 1000 views and since it happened last week (as on 14 Dec 2009), now is the time to see some stats :)