#taretravels: Die Mauer

Hi. I’m back. I did say I was very eager to post about Perth, didn’t I? Hahaha. Oh dear, why has my motivation to blog about Berlin turned into my motivation to blog about Perth? Does this mean I need to travel more to ensure I post all the time??

Mom, you know what to do. 

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We visited the infamous Berlin Wall at two locations in Berlin – along Bernauer Straße and then at East Side Gallery. The Berlin Wall, erected in 1961, divided the capital into East and West for close to three decades. We heard stories of how families were torn apart overnight, and how people died trying to get over the wall. Fallen, mauled or shot, no one was allowed to cross the wall.

Bernauer, I feel, is slightly more sombre than East Side, although the East Side is much more visually appealing, what with the political intonations along the Wall. R1008402 R1008405 R1008407And we found a random plot of wild grass, so… photo opportunity 😀

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The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer) was a barrier that divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989, constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off (by land) West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin until it was opened in November 1989. Its demolition officially began on 13 June 1990 and was completed in 1992. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the “death strip”) that contained anti-vehicle trenches, “fakir beds” and other defenses. The Eastern Bloc claimed that the wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the “will of the people” in building a socialist state in East Germany. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that marked East Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period.
– from Wikipedia

Continue reading “#taretravels: Die Mauer”

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#taretravels: Neighbourhood – Charlottenburg

So. School’s officially started. Not that is makes much of a difference to my schedule anyway, because it’s already so packed (IHG, div 2 competitions, trainings, dance practices…) If I were my own daughter I’d smack myself upside down – I don’t know why my mother hasn’t already tried to shake some semblance of sense into me.

Anyway I’m aching to post about Perth, but the perfectionist in me is disgusted with my lack of order and absolutely refuses to blog about the amazing light down under until I’m finally done with Berlin. Hehe. Therefore, BERLIN IT IS, and what a convenient way to relive those glorious weeks in Deutschland. Sehr schön. I miss Berlin, still.

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Ladies and gentlemen, today we will take a trip to western Berlin, to a quaint little neighbourhood overpopulated with Chinese tourists which exudes the most sophisticated charm.

Charlottenburg is perhaps like the Sixth Avenue of Singapore, housing the affluent and the opulent. What I love about the palace is that you are allowed to stroll about the gardens as and when you wish. It was a magnificent garden. For that short hour we were there, it was so easy to visualize the garden bustling with life; princesses with tea and cookies in hand, little children running about the manicured lawns… oh for that short hour, it really felt like I was royalty in the beautiful Charlottenburg Gardens.

Now if only my fellow tourists didn’t decide to talk loudly and ruin my daydream.  Continue reading “#taretravels: Neighbourhood – Charlottenburg”

#taretravels: Neighbourhood – Tempelhof

I’ve three more papers to go as of today, but I already have friends celebrating the end of Semester 1. Already?? I cry in anguish, but said friends are halfway out the door.

This semester hasn’t been particularly easy, what with the truckload of projects. Also, as with all things I do impulsively, I took German this semester on a whim, and till today I still cannot decide if it was the single most brilliant module I have taken yet, or the most test-every-week-homework-everyday-wake-up-at-8am horrifying module I have taken yet. A bit of both really, and while I sighed with relief when I was finally done with the last class of German (Endlich!! Ich bin müde!), I also have crazy thoughts of taking German 2.

Another semester’s worth of Deutsch Vokabular tests, frustrating listening comprehensions and memorizing foreign words like my life depended on it? NO! My brain says. But the foolish Cheryl has already started looking up German 2 on CORS.

But I digress.

I’m finally back with the first of my many, many, many posts on Berlin!! Today we will be exploring the wonderful Tempelhof, a sprawling area of lush, lush green and long, long runways. Tempelhof used to be the old airport in Berlin, but they decided to close it down – now they’ve got the one at Tegel and are also expanding the one at Schönefeld. Instead of tearing the place down to make space for bigger developments, the government decided to keep it as it is. Lots of urban projects have sprung up since then, and Tempelhof is really the perfect place to do just about anything; biking, gardening, picnicking, running, relaxing…. my summer class headed down for some learning one sunny, windy afternoon.

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My teacher is this really cool guy from Cologne. He speaks with an insane German accent and it’s actually quite fun to listen to and imitate (he says German like JERMAHN). He is also damn good at stories and created his summer module (Urban Geography) such that his students would go on excursions around Berlin for every single class! And he took it upon himself to explain to us the backgrounds and stories of each of the neighbourhoods we visit. Did I say German in NUS was the best module I’ve taken yet? Scratch that. Dynamics in Urban Geography in Humboldt Universität was the best module I’ve ever taken.  Continue reading “#taretravels: Neighbourhood – Tempelhof”