Neptunbrunnen in Berlin

Neptune Fountain in Berlin

Berlin is a beautiful city. It is world renowned for its history and eccentricity, its dark past and colors. It’s hard to describe Berlin to someone who has never been to this important city because what you will see in this place needs to be experienced, or rather personally and visually perceived. Photographs doesn’t even do justice. But anyway, I am trying to document every memory that I had from my Berlin visits and this post is another story.

What catches your eyes from a place?

I love marveling through sculptures and statues and relocating here in Germany really paved way for me to see these wonderful works of art. I have high respect for artists who did Sculptures, and I admire the craft and creativity behind every piece, be it out of stone, bronze or ice and other material. Take for example the eye-catching “Bittersweet Marriage Carousel “, in Nürnberg , Trains to Life, Trains to Death, or the unique Cannons with Lion-heads , these are actually some of my favourites, not to mention that aside from their interesting story behind it that is worth telling, they are also built with a reason.

From our last visit to Berlin last Easter, I discovered another beautiful fountain with lots of statues in it and it didn’t only made me admire, it made me linger and stay a bit more longer.It is hard to focus when I keep on running after my daughter who keep on climbing the statues. The first time we saw it, the fountain was empty, but on the next day, there was water in it became more interesting. Also, it was busy and crowded. So many tourists, and everyone wants to photograph it.It was actually hard and I can’t get a good angle to photograph the whole fountain but I did try my best. One thing I love to to do while visiting a different place is to really get into details and not just the top sights to see.

Anyway, Neptunbrunnen or Neptun Fountain is so explicit beautiful. It has so many details it that it really invites me to linger some more. The facial expression and the allegory of the statues really made me think what does it mean. Common in many fountains, it has a great combination of two elements– statues (figures) and water, they have a great “flow” together. The sound of music beside art can never be beaten. The “Neptunbrunnen“(or Neptune Fountain) is located in Alexanderplatz, in the large square where the “Fernsehen Turm“(Television Tower) , St.Mary’s Church (Marienkirche) and the old Red Town Hall ( or Rathaus) is also located . The location is really a plus. Locals called it Forckenbecken which I don’t know why .

Stay a bit longer and linger in Neptune’s Fountain

We discover it by chance because our hotel was located just nearby Alexanderplatz and Nikolaiviertel but during our first visit, it was cloudy, windy and grey so I didn’t enjoy it much. Early spring in Berlin can be chilly and and grey so its also very good to schedule the time of your visit.

Tiny little details of Neptunbrunnen in Berlin

Neptun Fountain in Berlin was built in 1891 and was designed by Reinhold Begas but it was Architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel who suggested the construction of it as a gift to Emperor Wilhelm II of Berlin.If you know the Roman Gods then i’m sure you are quite familiar with the name Neptune, or Neptuno, the God of fresh waters in Roman religion.He is the counterpart of the Greek God “Poseidon“. In Greek mythology, Neptune was the brother of Jupiter and Pluto. These three brothers ruled over the realms of Heaven, the earthly world, and the Underworld.

Neptune Fountain , Berlin

This fountain is quite large that it took me two visits to fully see every detail. If you got a kid then don’t try to tell them to get off from it because you will not succeed. They will climb over it.Many times. All over again.It has sharp edges especially the horns of the animals so I cannot leave my daughter alone poking through the statues.

There are so many figures and interesting details that can be seen in this fountain like crocodiles, goat, fishes,octopus, giant turtles and odd looking little boys. With Neptune in the center, it’s surrounded with four women symbolizing the four main rivers in Prussia – the Elbe ( figure with fruits and ears of corn), the Rhine ( figure with the fishnet and grapes ), the Vistula ( figure with wooden blocks that symbolizes forests) and the Oder ( figure with goats and animal skins) . The Vistula is now in Poland where it forms the border between Germany and Poland. Its a good thing that it was not completely destroyed. It survived wars and renovations.

If you’re planning to visit Berlin and this is your thing then make sure to visit and take a closer look at this fountain and I’m sure you’ll not regret it.
The Neptun Fountain is located in the Mitte district, right on Alexanderplatz. The Berlin TV Tower is also in the same square with a height of 368 M and is the main landmark so when you spot the tower then you are headed on the right direction.If you want to see the Berlin panorama then you can go up the tower on a tour. If you walk a few meters you are at the World Time clock as well.Berlin has so many facets and I am hoping I have all the time to write every single detail that fascinated me. I am also happy that through this Blog, I could be able to share with you my thoughts about this place.

Address : Rathausstrasse 1, 10178 Berlin within the vicinity of TV Tower

Connections : S+U Alexanderplatz station ( S5,S7,S75,U5,U8,U2) By Bus : 100,200,248, (S+U Alexanderplatz station), N5,N65 (U Alexanderplatz station) By Tram : M2,M4,M5,M6 ( S+U Alexanderplatz Station)

Until then and stay tuned for more interesting sights in my Berlin trip! Tschüss!

The diameter is 18 m (59 ft), the height is 10 m (33 ft).[citation needed]

There was another well-known Neptunbrunnen in Breslau (nicknamed “Gabeljürge” or “Georgie Fork” by the locals), but it was destroyed during World War II and the city was later transferred to Poland

One for the kiddo : Tiergarten (Nürnberg Zoo)

IMG_0195
My daughter is mesmerized by the azure blue waters and swimming seals inside the Blue Salon 

Do you like going to the zoo?

I didn’t know that once you have a child, you will appreciate the Zoo! Second to  playgrounds, the zoo is a place that we have learned to enjoy with my daughter.

IMG_0188
Entrance to the Blue Salon where you can see face to face the graceful swimming Sea cows or Manatee!

I think I’ve only been to a zoo a few times, I can count them, nothing special, more like an educational trip for school, or when I visited the Kuwait Zoo to kill time . The fondest memory maybe is  when my husband is visiting the Philippines and I decided to take a quick look at the nearby  Manila zoo ( because it’s on our way ) but then, while I was busy with my phone, a bird suddenly drop a bomb on my head. Oh yes, I was completely covered with bird poop! What an amazing zoo experience indeed!

IMG_0220
It was nice to meet you Bears!

Anyway, we finally made it to Tiergarten Nürnberg last weekend. This is the first zoological Park that I’ve seen here in Germany.  Last Spring, my daughter had a blast in the Petting zoo inside the Keukenhof Gardens and she can’t wait to see much more. She’s very into animals and she knows each of them by heart, both in English  and Deutsch! From the central station in Nürnberg, we took the Tram # 5 going to Tiergarten and within 10 minutes, we are at the gate of the zoo.It was only 9:30 in the morning and yet the zoo started to get crowded. We decided to come early since she will have her  midday nap and I know she can be a handful when she is cranky.

IMG_0388
Tropical flowers adorn the tropical Manatee house inside the zoo

 

Nothing but nature 

The moment we stepped inside the zoo, I was amazed by how green it is. So many trees and its like walking in a wild jungle park. We had lots of walking to do inside so shades from trees are a heaven! I love that the park has a natural lay out inspired by nature and the animals are kept as in their natural habitat as possible. The zoo was well-kept, maintained, clean, and easy to navigate.

I love walking into their Tropical forest  ( Manatee House) where its a replica of a tropical jungle where you can observe the Manatees  ( Sea Cows ) swimming under your feet.They are sooo huge and seeing them under your feet is a bit creepy. It’s a first time for me to see such animal. I even saw some plants that only grows in tropical climate like what the Philippines have. So many mature stock of trees, idyllic mixed woods and natural landscapes make this zoo one of the most beautiful zoos in Europe, at least from my own impression. Exotic animals live in harmony right next to a range of local bird species and mammals, and the craggy sandstone rock formations make generous natural enclosures for many animals where they can climb and relax.

IMG_0428
Watching the Giraffes having their breakfast

IMG_0389
A camera-shy Zebras

Now I understand why they say that whoever has experienced the wide variety and idylls of Nuremberg Zoo will come back again. The elegant movements of the dolphins and sea lions in the dolphin lagoon, the tropical atmosphere in the manatee house and the feeding of the polar bears in the Aqua Park provide an unforgettable experience.Compared to the Sea Life in Munich where we see more varieties of sea life animals but then it was  in a close area and a bit claustrophobic for me.

As expected, my daughter enjoyed watching all the animals. Too bad that we didn’t have the chance to see all the others and the rest of the zoo. It is a spacious zoo, built on top of a hill, with lots of areas to wander,  so it means lots of climbing. We went to each animal’s places but they seemed to be hiding in their cribs. Maybe its the heat? or napping? I don’t really know why but I find it rather disappointing especially when we are all excited to see the Lion’s den. All we found in the cages are the meat. On the other hand, the Zoo was so large that I don’t have the energy anymore to explore it and see it all. My daughter starts to get cranky and needed to recharge.

IMG_0381
A bird sitting on its nest

 

A lovely Surprise : The Aqua Park and the Manatee House

We chose to go to Nürnberg zoo because we wanted to see the Dolphin and Sea Lion show, and that is something that we really enjoyed. The show runs simulatenously with   feeding times at 11 a.m , 2 p.m and 3:30 p.m . .The open area has wooden benches where viewers can have a full-vista of the show. I must say that the training for the dolphins & seals are incredible and that was one great show! Nuremberg Zoo is very well-known for its sea cows, the manatees and the Dolphin show.  In the Manatee House, these gentle giants can be observed under water. The generous dimensions of the tropical house provide a colourful and diverse environment for sloths, turtles, butterflies, monkeys and numerous tropical plants. Beavers, otters, penguins, sea lions and polar bears are also at home in the Aqua Park, an extensive water landscape interrupted by a variety of small islands.

IMG_0380
A very lively Dolphin show !

You need an ample amount of time to explore and see all 3,295 animals from 292 species that can be seen at the Zoo. Yes, that is a LOT. I read that the zoo moved from the Dutzendteich to Schmausenbuck to make way for the Nazi Party Rally Grounds and during World War II, more than 90 % of the facility was damaged, actually Nuremberg was heavily bombed during the war. I am glad that we were able to see the  Dolphin lagoon and show which is actually the first outdoor lagoon for dolphins and sea lions in Germany. Good thing to know as well that the Nuremberg Zoo participates in 46 international breeding programs and is a partner zoo of the Species Conservation Foundation.

IMG_0372
Dolphin Show

 

IMG_0379
Amazing Dolphin performance!

IMG_0223
Beer garden inside the Zoo

We took our break and had lunch in one of the Beer garden up in the hill. It has a play area beside it so while waiting for our food, my daughter was running up and down again. I find the food simple, nothing special but its a great place to have a breather from walking.

 

IMG_0400
Souvenir shop for the little ones.

There are many souvenir shops, restaurants and adequate bathrooms inside the zoo so I find it really convenient. We got a cute camel souvenir with engravings since it reminds us of the stuff toy we’ve got in the Scientific Center in Kuwait.

If you have an active kids like I do, I highly recommend to check out this place. It’s for all members of the family and a great way to spend the weekend, but like I said, just be prepared to walk and walk.

 

For Admission Fees, you can find more information Here .

Other highlights of a day trip in  Nürnberg :

The Ehekarussell or the Bitter Sweet Marriage Fountain

Kaiserburg ( Imperial Palace)

 

Trier : Rome of the North

 

IMG_0525
Set my foot in Trier!

Trier (in Latin Augusta Treverorum ) is the oldest city in Germany, and was the largest city in the north of the Alps. With its prime location in the  Moselle Valley (Mosel) , not far from Luxembourg, the city is a treasure trove of Roman ruins. Known as the “Rome of the North,” Trier served as the key city of the Roman northern territories. Trier boasts not one or two, but NINE (9) UNESCO World Heritage sitesIt’s  also the birthplace of Karl Marx. For those of you looking for a great place to find Unesco sites in Europe then Trier is the best place to start.

Here’s more reasons  why a visit to this wonderful city should be in your Bucket List!

An experience of Walking Barefoot 

It was a wonderful day in Trier, and since its a very walkable city, after we parked the car, we head on with excitement. I was busy fumbling on my purse to get the cookies for my daughter when i saw this young lady walking barefoot on the grounds approaching Trier Haupmarkt. I have never seen someone like this on modern days, let alone in a city packed with tourists like Trier. Then i remembered that right in the heart of Black Forest in Germany, there is a Barefoot Park where one of attraction  is to have a extraordinary experience of walking barefoot inside the park. It’s no surprise that Germany is leading the way for having more than 30 Barefoot parks!

Also, as we approached “Saint George’s Fountain “after we toured the insides of the Cathedral, we saw this small park for children to stomp their bare feet on the ground with flowing water. What a brilliant idea! Especially during hot summers that a child needs to let out their steam, this is a perfect place. Children love to run around barefoot, and feel the different textures under their feet .I tried it myself while my daughter gasp in excitement while running around barefoot.

This is really one of the quirkiest sight i saw in Trier.

Splurge on the grandeur of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

What makes Trier an ideal destination ? It boasts of 9 UNESCO world Heritage Sites, all in one vicinity! INCREDIBLE right? Walking through the streets of Trier is like being into a time machine transported to the ancient times of Celtic tribes, Emperor Augustus & the Roman Empire with its fierce Gladiators and Romans walking the city square in ancient robes. The city was the main center of Christianity north of the Alps, and was the residence of at least 8 Roman emperors over time. As Roman power ebbed, the French took over the city in 459. Later the territory became part of Charlemagne’s empire. In the 12th century, Trier became an important center for the bishops and archbishops, who were also electors in the Holy Roman Empire.

There’s the Porta Nigra ( The Black Gate ) which is built in 180 A.D., still standing tall & proud.This is without a doubt, the most renowned emblem of the historic Moselle town and an imposing Roman construction in the north of the Alps.

IMG_1132
Porta Nigra : Emblem of Roman power

The largest construction materials used in Porta Nigra weighs approx. 6 tons, and in most cases,the stones were shaped using mill driven bronze saws.The Blocks were place on top of each other without using mortar. What an amazing structure! Next to the Porta Nigra is the City Museum (Stadtmuseum Simeonstift) and the Trier information center.

As we continued walking, we saw the “The Roman Imperial Throne Room” or the so-called Basilika, Constantine’s throne room, is the largest surviving single-room structure from Roman times. The Romans wanted the architecture to express the magnificence and might of the emperor.Its the first & oldest Protestant church with  a splendid organ answered by a seven-second echo.

IMG_0655
UNESCO Heritage- Konstantin Basilika

 

A trip to Trier won’t be complete without seeing the Imperial Baths or known as  Kaiserthermen , You can tour the large complex, including the underground areas. The incoming cold water was heated in altogether six boiler rooms, four of which are visible in the 19m (62 ft) high ruins which later served as a part of the medieval city wall. The 40° C/104° F hot water was then conducted into the three semicircular pools for the bathers.

Having a glimpse of the Roman Amphitheater gives you a picture where the cruel games of Gladiator with an animal becomes a sight of entertainment in the old times. The Arena, built in the 2nd century A.D. and had a seating capacity of about 20,000.Nowadays,with its crystal-clear acoustics, the Amphitheatre serves as a venue for the Antiquity Festival and is used today for occasional open-air concerts.

We had a drink in front of The Cathedral (DOM ) or Trier’s St. Peter’s Cathedral (Hohe Domkirche St. Peter zu Trier), like the city itself, is the oldest in all of Germany. Destroyed and rebuilt many times, the cathedral, built on the foundation of a Roman building, was once much larger than it is today. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the cathedral was damaged by WWII bombing raids and underwent an extensive restoration from 1960 to 1974.

IMG_0543
Splurging on Architecture with the DOM in the background.

IMG_1222
The lush garden with the tombs at the side of the Dom

Exploring the St.Peter’s Dom in Trier is a wonderful experience. One of the highlight is seeing The High Altar where the Holy Robe or (Der Heilige Rock)  is placed. When you see the Hanging Pipe Organ, it could take your breath away. I was wondering how awesome it is to hear it playing. I felt so blessed knowing that I had the chance to see this church.

IMG_1206

This is far by one of the most beautiful Cathedral I have ever seen. Inside, adorned with so many relics and religious pieces carved in beautiful architecture.

A visit to the Crypt and the Treasury Room is a must too. I had the chance to light some candles inside.

Children flocked outside where there is a man blowing bubbles which adds so much fun while we marvel at the beautiful church in front of us. Other highlights of our trip were marked by seeing the majestic Church of our Lady,we have learned that this is the oldest gothic church in Germany, built in the 13th century. A special feature is the cruciform floor plan.

 

 

IMG_0724

Embrace the Striking City Market Vibes

This place is full of beautiful monuments, open squares & Markets which is adorned with beautiful Statues and facades. The Market Fountains and Steipes are all rooted from 300-year struggled for supremacy in this city. So much history in every structure.

IMG_0461
Half-Timbered Houses in Trier

Another fascinating Architectural detail i found is the existence of  the Half-Timbered Houses.  If you visit the largest plaza in the city, locally known as Hauptmarkt (Main Market). Interestingly enough, Trier has very few half-timbered houses which are so typical for German cities. The building style of the Romans was quite different; they preferred stone over wood. At the Hauptmarkt, however, you’ll find many more of the typical German wooden facades.

IMG_1123
Trier’s Haupmarkt

Finding our Paths to the Secret Garden 

This is my first trip with a baby so we had to do so many stop overs along the way. What a relief to find a place to just breathe and enjoy some peace & quiet within the city. What i appreciate in Trier is that it’s totally  Baby-Friendly. I saw tons of babies in stroller, and i love how the city is so pedestrian friendly. Many times we crossed the street that cars are stopping. We felt so welcomed. Another highlight is when we find this  secret Garden (Palastgarten) just after the Constantin Basilika. Right in front of The Electoral Palace which is considered one of the most beautiful Rococo palaces in the world. This beautiful palace serves as a perfect backdrop facing the garden.

IMG_0708
Flowers in the Palace Garden

The Palace garden was intricately adorned with benches, with a pond in the central, with statues and with a beautiful fountain settled in the sprawling green with summer blooms. I have learned that the garden was designed by Johannes Seiz and the sculptures were crafted by Ferdinand Tietz. People lazily lying on the grass &  basking out in the sun .A perfect secret garden experience!

There is so much more in this vibrant city along the banks of the River Moselle.Having a taste of the delicious &  succulent dishes from the wide srrays of restaurants sprawled in the city will for sure satisfy your gastronomic appetite. Nature and leisure goes hand in hand while you feast your eyes on its rich Historical sights. Make sure not to leave Trier without sampling on its best wines & bread.

There is so much more to tell about Trier but im not gonna write that here. It’s up to you to create your own memories when you visit this place. If you want to plan your next Europe destination particularly in Trier, then this might help you. Check Here.

Do you want to know more why Moselle Valley should be in your list for Top places to visit in 2016? My post  Why I fell in Love with Moselle would give you more ideas how to enjoy yourself in the charming wine region of Rhineland Palatinate.