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The Exciting Restless Berlin-Mitte: Magnificent Alexanderplatz

June 18, 2010

I have travelled before to Europe but Berlin has not only shocked me, it captured my heart more than any city I ever visited.  When I started off at the Denver International Airport (DIA), I was having mix feelings and well lost if you may. Since I last read that the city of Berlin was almost reduced to ashes during World War II, I didn’t know what to expect in Berlin, however, reality and excitement hit me when I safely arrived in Berlin. Hopping off the Lufthansa cool plane at the Tegel airport around afternoon, I was welcome by warm sunny weather and above all gorgeous vegetation surroundings. While in the air I could also see buildings that look alike: military complex or GDR’s communist neighborhood, perhaps! 

There is no question I deeply felt in love with this fascinating city from day one, distinctively its public transportation system that work quite well: the S+U-Bahn, trams and buses all helped me really navigate within the metropolitan area in a very convenient and efficient manner without getting lost in the wilderness. More interesting, they are available everywhere you go; I mean Berlin public transport offers 24 hours services a day. Thus, getting around the city alone wasn’t problematic since Berlin public transportation network is fantastic. I vividly recalled using this great public means of transport for more than a week, and realized that I never or rather forget to validate my ticket at the beginning of my first trip whatever that is, I’m lucky for having not been caught by the ticket checkers. Thanks to our caring and experienced Berliner resident, Professor Christoph who came to my rescue and helped validate my ticket once, otherwise I might have ended in STATSI’s “U-Boot” interrogation cell in East Berlin-Building # 7? statsi Van

I have to confessed though, that Germans specifically Berliners are loving people and every time am strolling and wondering in Alexanderplatz or Potsdamer Platz , I always felt part of Berlin city as oppose to foreigner, per se. Whenever we showed up in the city center around zero hours, we often found comfort and safety in public transportation on way back to the sunflower hostel. Besides, Berlin never went to sleep; and this proven to be true every time I/we hop of the S-Bahn at the Alexanderplatz railway station as a transit connection to city center, this important locale bustling with bars/beer garden, great restaurants and clubs really impressed not only my attention but heart as well. No doubt, Alexanderplatz is youthful historic multicultural complex center where ordinary people including tourists find peace of mind at night and day hours.

 Not to mentioning the magnificent rotating World Time Clock with its numbers of world’s cities in different time zone, the TV tower known as toothpick with its revolving restaurant at 207 m, shopping centers, crowds, squeaky machines and motion of Alexanderplatz all stimulated my cultural experience as well as interaction with this unique great city. No wonder more than one million ordinary Germans congregated at this particular historic locale on late of 1989 to staged largest anti-GDR demonstration in the history of Germany.

The most hilarious of all was seeing/meeting people everywhere and anytime holding and drinking beer on the train, tram, buses, and streets without any major problem whatsoever. At the beginning, I was not convinced that drinking beer or alcohol in the public transport/areas is commonly accepted and legal as well. Could it be that the beer price is more expensive than water in Berlin or it is just part of the German unique culture? Indeed, this is what set Berliners’ culture very unique and fascinating, and I believe everyone in the group including myself who participated in the program will never remember this wonderful unforgettable experience for years.  

Definitely, the contrast between Alexanderplatz and Potsdamer Platz is still very distinguishable, despite the fact that the two cities namely east and west are getting more integrated and closing up the gap very fast, written history marks still noticeable, and this makes Berlin a unique place and city under the sun because it has succeeded in forging ahead and leaving its dark past behind. It is a positive remarkable step and determination spirit of Berliners who survived not only the big wartime destruction of their historic city, but also post-Cold War partition by the so called great powers, and this has made it all possible for what Berlin is today.

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