Everywhere Europe is possible by train

Traveling by train has always been loved by my mother. I never understood why as a child. I would always prefer flying than train riding. I just want to get to the destination fast and quick. Or so I thought. As I grew older, I began to compare a lot. To make the most of what I can with what is being offered. Usually, to travel to an airport, to be able to finally be on your comfortable seat on your flight, will take roughly around 3 hours. Especially nowadays after the nine eleven terror, most airports start to be very menacing about their policy. Harsh tones over reprimanding instructions like, ’Shoes off please sir,’, ’Madam, your metal belt’, ’Excuse me, you need to step back to the scanning machine’, ’Is there anything liquid in this bag?’ so on and so forth. At the end, once you are seated on your sit, with sweat running across your forehead, armpits, and your entire back, you started to think, is this what it is coming to nowadays, for one to be able to afford a flight ticket. Luckily in Europe, since they are banishing this border control, you are free to travel wherever you like with trains. Of course, sometimes it would cost a bit more, but most often it is the same as taking a flight, or if you are a computer or Internet junky, you can get a way cheaper price. Considering that most train stations are placed in the heart of its city, there would be less traffic to get to the station. Here in Berlin, the connecting train station is the Berlin main train station called, Berlin Hauptbahnhof. From Alexander Platz, only 10 minutes short train ride and your possibility of discovering Europe is opening up in front of you. And normally train never get delayed unlike our last long flights before. I am sure you had experienced that one! So what are you waiting for? I hope I managed to make you guys opt for more trains rides from now onwards. Mother, I am with you now 😀 I love train rides. I got to enjoy Europe’s best views even before I reached my destinations. Brilliant!

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Digeridoo

As I was walking down Alexander Platz, I saw this man playing a huge and long musical instrument. The first time I saw this instrument being played at was at its original location, Perth, Australia. It is believed to be introduced by its aborigines for their traditional performances. The wood is best made by eucalyptus tree, especially the ones that have been hollowed by termites. That is a pretty unique idea. Who would have thought, a wood that has been eaten by termites could make a unique sound. But back to this man in this photo, how did he travel from one place to another carrying that instrument around? Thinking about that alone, I thought, what a sacrifice he must have had to be sitting under this bridge and waiting for people to donate some money.

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Markthalle Neun: Street Food Thurday

When you missed your home country’s food, just go ahead to Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg, about 30 minutes pleasant walking from Alexander Platz. By public transportation roughly it will take you 20 minutes. If you have the luxury of a car or a bike, it would only take 10-15 minutes (based on the google maps) to get there. This hall is packed with activities each day, but I am just focusing on Street Food Thursday, which happens only on Thursday starting at 5pm till 10pm. This market placed up to roughly 30 stalls of International foods, placing in food from countries like, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Japan, Spain, India to name a few. Of course they have the local German food too. The place is always packed with the locals and the tourists. The mood in that market on Thursday surely is very vibrant and colorful. The long queues for most of the stalls are worth the wait as the food is special. Other than you fighting through your way getting your tummy filled up with international flavors at their food stalls, there are also, in between these food stalls, some delicatessen that sells cheese, meat, wine, olive oils and the likes. After coming back from Street Food Thursday, you would feel like cooking something special at home too. And with the selections of delicatessen that they are offering, I am sure you could come up with something that could make yourself feel like a new chef in town.

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They called it Karambola

One time when I was done with my German class and when there were nothing much for me to do, I decided to walk around Galleria Kaufhof, a mall that is in the vicinity of the Deutsch Akademie at Alexander Platz. The first half of the mall stores up clothing, perfume and beauty items but what attracts me more is the second half of the mall, where it caters the groceries that come from different part of the world. There are sections of foods from Brazil, Korea, Italy, India, China, Japan, Mexico and the USA to name a few, and a section of fruits from Africa, Cambodia, Thailand, Peru, Arab countries and lots more. My missing home syndrome was healed up a bit seeing one fruit type from my country. They called it Karambola here. What an interesting name. I left the mall feeling content knowing that I have a piece of what belongs to my country here in the heart of Berlin.  09

2. Stammtisch im November

Liebe Teilnehmer,

am 16. November findet wieder unser zweiter Stammtisch in der dritten Kurswoche statt.
Kommt gerne mit euren Freunden und Familie zum Café Berio, in der Nähe der DeutschAkademie
am Wittenbergplatz und erlebt einen lustigen Abend mit uns.
Wir freuen uns auf euch!

Euer DeutschAkademie Team

 

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Biking is the new way of Walking

Back in my country, we don’t walk, or bike! Having lived here for over a month, I am embarrass to admit, the citizens of where I came from are not given enough facilities to walk and ride bikes. We only drive our way to everywhere we go. Even to the nearest grocery store, which takes about 5 minutes walk. I know because I did it once, and I received a lot of weird looks from my neighbors and a lot of questions from my parents like, ’Why do you walk?’, ’What is wrong with your car?’, ’You know it is dangerous to walk, what if there are some dangerous men out there following you?’ and lots more of the same kind. But here in this city, I am given the option to walk or ride my bike or drive! When I explained this excitement to the locals, most of them did not get my enthusiasm, just because they have not experienced the lack of this freedom. Until my husband, a local German who have been living in my home country for solid 3 years explained to them the real situation, then they understood. You guys are so blessed living in this country with such somewhat close to being a precise system, trying its best to taking care of the welfare of people as well as the growth of the country. Yes, I know there are still works to be done here and there, but the full chunk of what makes this country runs are in its foundation. I shared this piece of reflection to my friend back in my home country, and the first thing she said, ’You guys can walk and bike? That makes you all much healthier by nature!’. Yup, I would agree, you guys are forced to stay healthy. And that helps with the quality of the health-care and its governmental hospital. And this in a circle, creates a more happy people. My heart sank thinking back about the people with less of this fortunate blessings. I wish we all could walk and ride our bikes wherever we are.

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ForstHaus, Strelitz: Walk in the Woods

I am from a country that only has one season all year round. But here in Berlin, I got to experience somewhat the ’real’ autumn, with leaves turning from green to striking yellow, or striking red, before falling off. There are a lot of parks and woods around in the vicinity where you can enjoy a weekend getaway or just a short half day trip. For myself, I had the liberty to stay for a short weekend trip up in Neustrelitz near Wesenberg, about 2 hours drive North from Berlin. We convoyed with 2 cars, driving up there from 230pm and we reached there roughly by 430pm on a fine Saturday afternoon. The driveway was magnificent. I could see different colors of plants and trees, a chromatic spectrum of purple, ruby, golden and seaweed green in between light beige, yellow and light green. The air is fresher out in the open land. You get to see windmills too. Once we entered the area of Strelitz, we were welcomed with their cute small town arrangement- a lot of small roads leading to rows of small shops, cute roundabouts, and finally leads us up to a harbor and a lake too. After a few minutes, we made it to our destination. It is called, ForstHaus-  our friend’s small family owned property that offers a 3-star restaurant and about 8 rooms to stay for a night or two. The owner is a family that runs everything around that property, from maintaining the rooms to cooking for their guests. What makes this place so special is that they do everything from scratch. Everything on the menu is taken freshly from their farm around this property. They have free roaming sheep, chickens, pigeons, pigs alongside their kraeutergarten that  covers herbs like rosemary, basil, dill, leech, turnip cabbage, lemon mint, mint, lavender and a lot more! We were all impressed with Annette, Wenzel, and their family. Not just they know how to cook and serve their guests, they also designed each room with all having differently unique characters- in its theme of the room as well as in its layout. Impressive! and I have tipped my imaginary Chapeau hat to Annette during our last bid of farewell as my token of highest appreciation to what they are doing. If you my dearest reader would like to take a short weekend trip here and would like to know more about this place, you can visit this link http://www.forsthaus-strelitz.de/.06

Die Kristallnacht: Synagoge Kleine Auguststra

Today I decided to cook some spicy pumpkin soup. It is the month where pumpkins are harvested, so I figured that is a good enough reason for me to take a walk to the nearest REWE supermarket here in my neighborhood area and get some of the ingredients for the soup. I know the soup can last me for my entire weekend. And the thought of bundling up in a warm blanket for the entire weekend while having a hot home-made soup in a cold autumn season is enough to warm up my feeling at the moment. As I was walking home after getting all the ingredients from the supermarket- with the warmth feeling still lingers down my belly while thinking of that delicious soup I will be making, my vision caught a few rather sad looking stuccoes laying on the side of a small dingy road. When I found out what these stuccoes were commemorating about, the warmth inside of me had just been stolen away. It was a representation of a long lost synagogue that was built with a donation money from one person’s savings in 1905 and it had served about 550 worshipers. The synagogue was, like many other synagogues on the 2 nights in November 1938, was broken down to pieces, on what the Nazi Germans would call ’Pogromnacht’ (The Pogrom Night) or simply referred to as the massacre nights. The 2 nights of the 9th and the 10th of November 1938 marked the organized massacre of the Jews as well as the smashed down of all of their houses, synagogues, and businesses. The massacre left a lot of littered streets with shattered shards of broken glasses from the smashed windows that the event is simply referred to as the Crystal Night (die Kristallnacht). Looking at these stuccoes today remind me of how blessed my life is , as I realized that I can still afford to have an imagination of a hot delicious soup inside a warm heated house and fully knowing that my imagination is not a far fetched for me to acquire, unlike those
whose life were threatened and taken away.
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Fotos vom 1. Stammtisch im November

Liebe Teilnehmer,

gestern war wieder unser berühmter Stammtisch und es war ein sehr lustiger Abend mit euch.
Wie immer gab es ein kniffliges Quiz zu lösen und dafür tolle Preise zu gewinnen.
Vielen Dank, dass ihr so zahlreich erschienen seid.
Der nächste Stammtisch findet bereits am 16. November im Café Berio statt.

Euer DeutschAkademie Team

 

 

Bikini Berlin: The View from the Monkey Bar on the 25 Hours Hotel

Have you ever thought of having an experience where you can combine going through a spiced-up, glass-windowed, raw and original designed shopping mall next to the most species-riches zoo worldwide and a view of 360º rooftop terrace? The place is at Charlottenburg, about half an hour from the central Mitte by train. It is an experience that you cannot forget. The mall that is called Bikini Berlin is perhaps a name that is derived out of its concept- strip to its bare minimum that is not too repulsive for a common public to view. It has artisan cafes, few electronic and games stores and a lot of boutiques. The stores’ tenants must have gone through some artistic screen test to be able to open their business in Bikini Berlin. The boutiques storing collections either from a new start up individual who are the self-made boutique owner that owns a strikingly unique identity through their lines or from those who have made their brands known that have their own niche and character. Once I was done walking around the mall, appreciating the minimalist architect of the building, I decided to have a coffee and to read a book at a cozy corner at a rooftop cafe on the 2nd floor called, Super. But before that, I thought, I might as well make a short trip up on the 10th floor of the 25 Hours Hotel that is connected to the mall. There is also an elevator from the street level, but you need to go out from the mall in order to access the entrance. What is on the 10th floor of this hotel is another new experience. On this floor sits a restaurant and a bar. But what stole the limelight of this level is that the bar comes with a 360º rooftop terrace, offering a bird-eye-view of the entire Charlottenburg. Such is a Monkey Business! When I was there, the whole terrace was packed with people. And it was only at 3 in the afternoon. So I guess if I want to try to visit this place after dusk to enjoy its sunset, I have to expect a lot more traffic, but I guess it will be a worthwhile experience. Before I head down to the Super cafe for my Latte Macchiatto I guess I would just take a peak at Level 10 restroom. And again it was a grand experience. You know what, I am not going to tell you what I experienced, but why don’t you go and check it out yourself. And yup, all of this peaking and visiting this level are all free.So I head back down to Super. This is a concept cafe (like the rest of the other cafes here) but this one proudly brand themselves with a tag ”Shop.Meet.Eat” kinda cafe. It stores funky collections of home decor, children’s picture books, assorted olive oils, self-made (I have to tip my imaginary Chapeau hat here) perfumes and the kinds. While seated on the couch, having my back to the awesome grandeur view of the Zoological Garden, with my cup of Latte Macchiato, I let myself be immersed in this astounding experience. And for this, my highest thanks go to each and every individual from the top designers who came up with these brilliant ideas and designed the concepts and to the coolies altogether who have made it come to live!

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