'친절한 상담원, 백기가'에 해당되는 글 2건

  1. 2011.08.08 Berlin Germany: What to See and Do during Your Berlin
  2. 2011.08.08 Eastern European Travel Discoveries with Michael Palin’s New Europe

Berlin is Germany’s largest and most multicultural city. More than 5 million people live in its metropolitan area and they hail from more than 190 nations.  Berlin is a very dynamic, ever-changing and progressive city that continues to transform itself.  No wonder it is the 3rd most visited place in Europe.

Throughout its tumultuous history, Berlin has transformed itself into one of the coolest destinations in Europe. Even President Kennedy was taken in with the spirit of this city when he said “Ich bin ein Berliner”. Berlin continues to leave its mark on many people from all over the world.

The city’s most renowned tourist attraction is, of course, the Berlin Wall. After the fall of Nazi Germany at the end of World War II, Berlin was divided into 4 sectors: the American, French and British sectors in the west, and the Russian sector in the eastern part of Berlin. During the course of the Cold War, tension increased between east and west, and residents of eastern Germany started to flee to the west. As a matter of fact, East Germany experienced a huge brain due to the mass emigration of skilled workers and professionals.

So in 1961 the East German government decided to build a barrier around West Berlin which effectively cut the city off from the surrounding areas in East German and East Berlin.  The much-hated wall came down around midnight of November 9, 1989, after days of demonstrations. This peaceful revolution laid the groundwork for the reunification of Germany. Not much is left of the Berlin Wall today, but what is left is still fascinating.

The Reichstag is another one of Berlin’s top attractions. Built originally in 1894 as the parliament of the German Empire, it burned in 1933 and the fire was used by the incoming Nazis as an excuse to suspend most constitutional rights. After the fire it was mostly used as a backdrop for propaganda events and for military installations. Since the reunification of Germany, Berlin has become Germany’s capital again and the Reichstag once again became Germany’s parliament building.

Star architect Norman Foster won a competition for reconstructing the Reichstag which now features a giant glass dome that provides a gorgeous view over the city and into the parliament building below. The Reichstag is now the most visited attraction in Berlin.

Berlin museums cover a very diverse group of topics.  The Museumsinsel (“Museum Island”) holds the Pergamon-Museum (ancient Greek and Middle Eastern / Islamic art), the Altes Museum (Egyptian art),  the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery – 19th century German paintings), the Neues Museum (New Museum – Egyptian, and prehistoric artifacts), and the Bode Museum (Byzantine Art).

Berlin’s turbulent history can be better understood by visiting the Jüdisches Museum (highlighting Jewish history in Germany), the Deutsches Historisches Museum, the Topography of Terror (located in excavated prison Nazi prison cells), the Mauermuseum at Checkpoint Charlie (commemorating the Berlin Wall and its most famous border-crossing checkpoint) and the DDR Museum (providing insight into life in the former German Democratic Republic).

The Story of Berlin is an interactive exhibition on the history of Berlin and features 23 theme rooms with animation and walk-through sets. It presents 800 years of Berlin history with a guided tour of an original nuclear bomb shelter.

Berlin has an excellent public transit system with subways (the U-Bahn Berlin), buses, trams and trains. A 7-day ticket will cost you between Euro 27.20 and Euro 60.00, depending on which areas of Berlin you want to cover. Make sure you validate your ticket to ensure you don’t get a Euro 40.00 fine.

Believe it or not, some Berlin hostels and budget accommodations may be had from 20 to 40 Euros a night, depending on the season. But don’t expect luxuries, and you’ll probably have to share your bathroom. Berlin hotels recorded almost 19 million overnight stays in 2009 and an estimated 135 visitors made day visits to Berlin. Business travel is also big contributor to tourism in Berlin: the city is among the top three convention destinations in the world.

One of the best ways for sightseeing in Berlin is to take a walking tour. There are many different tours out there with different themes, from traditional sightseeing to architectural to brewery and culinary tours as well as underground and alternative tours. Walking through the city with a local expert will give you a real insider’s perspective.

Berlin is a city with many parks and green spaces. Some of the most famous include  the Tiergarten, the Schlossgarten Charlottenburg (inside Charlottenburg Palace) and Wannsee with its two lakes.  The World’s Gardens is a collection of gardens from around the world with gardens from China, Korea, Bali and Japan.

Discovering Berlin by bike is another great way to see the city. As a relatively flat city, Berlin is a mecca for bicyclists. There are about 860 km of separate bike lines, and hundreds more of shared bike lanes. Locals love bicycling as well and use it as a major form of transportation. Bikes can be rented from about Euro 7.50 a day. Public bicycles provided by the German Railways are available in some locations as well.

Potsdam is definitely worth a day trip from Berlin. It was the residence of the Prussian Kings until 1918 and is Germany’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of particular interest are the palaces and surrounding parks of Sanssouci, the opulent former summer palace of King Frederick the Great.

Berlin is a fascinating destination year-round and it’s sure to captivate you
Posted by ralfowen

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Eastern Europe is one of the new frontiers of tourism. When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, a completely new world order came into being. Countries like Poland, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria shook off the iron grip of Communism. Nations like Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia split up into several new nations. The Baltic countries -  Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – became independent as well and developed their own identities.

Today, 20 years after the end of the Cold War, we have a myriad of countries in Eastern Europe that are part of the former Soviet Bloc or were ruled by Communist leaders: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Georgia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, and of course the core area of the former Soviet Union: Russia.

Prague's Old Town Square

Prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, most of these countries were extremely difficult to access, ruled by totalitarian regimes and with an extremely poor infrastructure. Over the last 20 years much of this changed. Some former Eastern European cities and regions have become extremely popular tourist destinations: cities like Prague, Budapest, Belgrade, Lubljana, Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Bucharest, Krakov, Kiev, Saint Petersburg and Moscow wow visitors with their history, their architecture and their artistic treasures. Interest in Eastern Europe food and music is increasing.

As a travel writer and as a person with a keen interest in the different regions of the world, I watch a lot of travel shows on television and read a lot of travel guides to expand my knowledge. Some of my best finds have been the Discovery World HD Channel, PBS and TV Ontario which have phenomenal programming for anyone with an interest in learning about the world. Every day I record several programs and one of my favourites has become “Michael Palin’s New Europe.”

Michael Palin, of course, is most familiar to us as a member of the Monty Python comedy group whose 1970s hits included “Monty Phython’s Flying Circus”, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, and “Monty Python’s Life of Brian”. Michael Palin himself is fondly remembered for famous sketches such as “The Lumberjack Song”, “Dead Parrot”, “Spam” and “Argument Clinic”.

In addition to his comedic talent, Michael Palin is also known for being “the nicest man in the world”. And this nice guy image comes across extremely well in his BBC television series “Michael Palin’s New Europe”. In the seven installments of this high-definition visual travelogue he shows a sincere interest in the locals, provides informative historical context and is a great sport, even when a woman in one of the Baltic countries puts blood-sucking leeches on his naked chest. Michael Palin always finds a way to relate to people and to convey knowledge in an entertaining and informative way.

Michael Palin has also done other extremely popular travel programs:

  • in the late 1980s he did “Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days”,
  • in 1991 he released “Pole to Pole”, a trip from the North to the South Pole,
  • in 1996 and 1997 he completed “Full Circle with Michael Palin”, an 80,000 kilometre circumnavigation of the Globe
  • in his 1999 “Michael Palin’s Hemingway Adventure” he retraces the footsteps of the famous writer
  • in 2003 and 2004 he finished “Himalaya with Michael Palin”, and
  • in 2006 and 2006 he released “Michael Palin’s New Europe”.

There is even something called the “Palin Effect”, where places that he has visited become popular tourist destinations. Michael Palin has had a big impact on the hearts and minds of many travel enthusiasts.

Travel is wonderful, but when I am not on the road, there are many different programs out there that bring the world into the comfort of my home. One of them is “Michael Palin’s New Europe”.

Posted by ralfowen

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