Part 1 : Europe Escapade

The International Tourism Bourse, ITB Berlin is the leading B2B-Platform of all tourism industry offers. In addition, the world’s largest tourism convention Market Trends & Innovations provides unique opportunities to benefit from the leading think tank of the global tourism industry which seen the participation of 11,163 exhibitors with Malaysia for its 37th times. This year Malaysia has proudly won two prestigious Golden Gate 2011 awards, The Malaysian My Second Home video won the Best TV Travel Magazine award and Malaysia Truly Asia posters secured 2nd price in the print campaign category. Datuk Haji Azizan Noordin, Acting Director General of Tourism Malaysia who led the Malaysian delegation received the awards. WTR was given the opportunity to promote Motorcycle Holiday in Malaysia for the very first time that took place in Messe Berlin last March 2011.

The Journey

Kuala Lumpur – Frankfurt via Malaysia airlines.

Travel distance: over 6000km, Time travelling: 14 hours

Weather: -5 degree

This is your first time in German? Paused and looking through my passport. Is this a business or a holiday trip? Paused, did the same thing. How many days will you be in German? Paused, going through it again. Where will you be staying in German? Paused, same. After they are satisfied with my answer they stamp my passport and let us go. What a huge relieved. Not everyone have to take more than 15 minutes of question before you are allowed to cross the immigration line. It was one of those days, but at last all are well. That was my first few moments the first time I step on the land of Germany.

There are three choices mode of transportation to go to Berlin, train, bus or plane. After 14hours in flight, train is the best option. We went to search for their tourist information centre DB BAHN (written in red) is the tickets and information centre. There are variances in price. Do ask for package, from Euro 238 for 2 pax one way we bought a package of Euro 258 for 2 pax, 3 ways (in our case Frankfurt – Berlin-Berlin -Munich-Munich –Frankfurt) which valid for 30 days.

We took train from Frankfurt (M) Flughafen Fernbf at 9.03 am (yep, they are seriously punctual) and arrived Berlin Hbf (Tief) at 1.20pm and once again we look for the red sign DB for directions to our hotel. When we found out that our hotel is quite far from city centre we opt for cab which cost us Euro 25

Let me tell you about the hotel or inn we picked through internet via

Pension Fährhaus Rahnsdorf located next to the Müggelsee Lake in the Köpenick district of Berlin owned and run by family, Stephi and her father the chef. Internet rate: Euro 30 per person for single room without breakfast. Room is incredibly clean with own private hot and cold shower, comfortable bed, wardrobe, TV, free wi-fi, bedside table and heater. My room has the old church across the Inn and neighborhood view while sham got the room with the lake view. Both views have it takes. Both are for a Malaysian like me very European and gorgeously different.

Pension Fährhaus Rahnsdorf is also a restaurant which I would strongly say here the breakfast even though just bread is absolutely delicious. With only Euro 4 per person per day you get freshly oven baked bread every morning. Bowls of fresh jam, big bottles of nuttella which drives sham crazy, several types of cheese, yogurt, fruits, choice of eggs either hard or soft boil or even scramble, juice and coffee/tea last but not least slices of breakfast beef bacon, chicken and beef pepperoni.

Service and hospitality that without any doubt makes you feel overwhelm. They are aware that we are to be in Messe Berlin by 10am every morning. The train from Rahnsdorf station takes about 45 minutes and the distance from Fährhaus is about 10 minutes drive. They routinely sent and pick us up from the train station for free. All we have to do is ‘holla’.

Train is an important mode of transport here. They allowed bicycle and well, even pets especially dogs here. I was shock to see a Rottweiler entering the train one night on our way back and once during rush hour where the train was pack entered a German Sheppard with its owner. It was just inches away from where I stand. What a fright. Make sure if you are in a pack train do not stand near the door. They have several choice of per trip to whole day ticket from Euro 2 to Euro 6. The machine is quite simple to use. Once you purchase you have to validate the tickets yourself at a validate machine near the ticket machine. Do not think that there is no train officer to check if you have a ticket or not. Here the officer will choose the train at random. If you are caught without a ticket you will be fined Euro 30.

Train to take and its destination are differentiated by colors. The only problem at first maybe the language but once you get the hang of it you will be fine. The Germans are very accommodative and friendly. If you ask for direction or places they will try their best to assist you. If they do not understand you they ask around for those who can speak English. We even have been approached when they see we are looking at the map. Are you lost? Can I help you?

There are several types of traveller. Traveller like me didn’t go thousand miles away to buy things that I can find back home. That is why I go for flea market. My luck when on our way to ITB on Saturday we could see flea market in several town that we passed. Even though I get to go to only one it is alright. Basic rules of any flea market is bargain and don’t make up your mind too easily. I bought some nice hook which cost Euro 10 each at one stall for Euro 10 for 3 hooks at another. Small town is the place you should visit. The rows of shops looks nice and the ambiance are definitely different. Somehow I feel Berlin is really lay-back, relax and just simply nice. Town like Kopenick , Karlshorst, and Friedrichstr is the kind of town you should go.

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