missJeweLz in Berlin

Mention the name Jan Ulrich, Michael Schumacher, what comes to mind..? No idea..okay, how about Boris Becker? Still no idea..humm.. okay, Oliver Kahn and Michael Ballack? Still not a clue.. ?uhmm.. * scratches head.. If Heidi Klum and Claudia Schiffer doesn’t ring a bell, what about Adolf Hitler?..  Yes? Familiar..? Aaaa. missjewelz applauds you if you can at least recognize the last name in the long list above. What all the names *silent Duh* have in common?

 While there’s a super long list of famous German citizens spanning from back when monarch used to rule German-speaking territories in Central Europe, all the way till today, (oh yes, poor Heidi Klum + Seal..thought they were the most adorable cover ever), there are definitely a lot more to discover about Germany.

Thanks to my inclination towards civilization history, Germany wasn’t a difficult one to choose when my husband and I planned our little post-wedding trip. And Berlin it was. We were there for 3 days, it was still spring then, but man, it was blistering sunny and hot ! Sky was BLUE I had tan lines on my feet after a long day of cycling round Berlin with the Fat Bike Tour, an eco-friendly tour guided by historical laden inputs from the tour guide.

Group photo in front of Reichstag – seat of the German parliament . *spot me!*

It was interesting to experience Berlin first hand. Food was not a problem as there were plenty of halal eateries (Doner Kebab is 1 of them !!) run by 3rd generation Turks whose ancestors came to fill the labour gap experienced by West Germany in the 1960s when the nation split into the eastern and western half. In fact, the taxi driver who greeted us at the Berlin airport was of Turkish descent. No surprise about that (later I found) as there is an estimate 3.5 million Turks (about 5% of the nation population) currently residing in Germany. But of course the Turkey-Germany history goes way beyond the 1960s. Turks have arrived in Germany during the Ottoman empire (17th century). Alrite, I won’t turn this post into a journal. 🙂 Allow me to proceed.

Mesut Özil is a 3rd generation Turk German 🙂 His grandfather , Duran Uzunur moved to Bismarck ( a town in Sachsen- Anhalt state , eastern of Germany) from his native Turkey 40 years ago.

Hitler is one of the powerful historical figures I have been attracted biographically to. Well, apart from Margaret Tatcher, Churchill, Queen E and Bob Marley of course. =) Highlight of the 5 hours bike tour was the Fuhrerbunker, an air-raid shelter used by the Hitler, made famous by the publishing of numerous books and accounts of where and how the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler died on the 30th April 1945 after delivering a gun shot to himself. The site has been turned into a parking lot, marked only by a plaque erected in 2006 for visitors during the World Cup.

Apart from the historical attractions, I am very amazed with the public transport system in Berlin. You can get to almost anywhere just by train. It doesn’t take long to get familiarized with the integrated railway map. Came in very handy that my husband and I didn’t have to ask around much at all when getting around. Staff at the hotel (we stayed at the Mercure Hotel) in Mitte were friendly and were very helpful whenever we asked for directions. 

Siegessäule or the Victory Column was built in 1871 to mark the Prussian army’s victory. The column is made of 4 solid blocks of sandstones,  each signifying the number of wars won by the Prussian army. The column was relocated to its current location to serve as the axis and centre of Hitler’s Welthauptstadt Germania ‘World Capital Germania plan to renew the capital.
Inside the Berlin Museum entrance. Fixing the audio guide before the tour ! Almost 2 hours in there – helping myself with a couple of history lessons. Germany is 1 country which relates very well to its past. No harm to study and reflect on past history.

Berlin being a super flat city is very bicycle friendly. Bicycles everywhere, with dedicated lanes too. Mostly on the side walk which is divided for both pedestrians and cyclists to utilize. 500,000 cyclists – accounting 13% of the daily traffic in Berlin. Berlin aside, KL has a longggg way to go. Policy makers and leaders should open up their eyes and pay chancellor Merkel and her government a visit, instead of allowing infrastructure development to go out of hand (it has already hasn’t it..).. Look what has happened to the Pudu Jail..? Historical site (except for the main entrance) reduced to rubbles to give way to development, businesses, and of course, traffic jam. No wait, there are LOTS of other attraction in KL.. oh yeah, the newly built ones..? KLCC, KL Tower, KL Central, KLIA. Thank God Ampang Park is still around and ehem, Convent Bukit Nanas. BBGS (Bukit Bintang Girl School) which was build in 1893, the first all girl school in KL was demolished some 13-14 years ago to give way to a new shopping mall, Pavilion..

I can’t help but wonder if I can take my children and grandchildren (insyaAllah) to visit my school in Bukit Nanas. The school which was founded in 1899, still stands gracefully on top of the hill, together with St John Institution, against time. A friend just uploaded a photo of the Maxell floppy disk. Something as ‘recently-old’ as this brings back memories. What more structures which you’ve lived your life by and in, or even pass by for several years during your childhood/ teen ? Well, the hypermarket which mom or pops used to take you when you were 5 may or may not be so relevant to a nation or event its capital history, but hey, what about the OTHER historical structures. While some still stands today, I would say most said their goodbye long time ago.

I have listed below some historical sites and street that you may want to visit, here in KL, each of them with their own little story to tell 🙂

  • Masjid Jamek

  • Sultan Abdul Samad Building

  • Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman

  • Central Market

  • Carcosa Seri Negara

The few other places I got to explore in Berlin –and getting more in-depth understanding of its history thanks to the explanation from the tour guide :

  • Checkpoint Charlie

  • Berlin Wall

  • Fuhrerbunker (Hitler’s Bunker)

  • Brandenburg Gate

  • Reichstag

And on our own, we visited the Berlin Museum ,Sanchenhausen Concentration Camp in Orenienburg and a few other attraction sites (too many to list!)

I wish to write more ( a little much more ! ) but missjewelz needs catch some sleep now ! Gute Nacht !Till my next post !

Bright blue sky 🙂

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