In my previous posts Berlin My New Home, I mentioned the do’s and dont’s after you move to Berlin. The necessary paperwork required, the bureaucracy you have to deal with, how to avoid waiting in the queue for hours just to get a stamp, etc. Now I’m going to write about the things that is required to exchange your expat drivers license to a German license. Coming from a country which forces you to have a car and drive everywhere even to buy simple things like bread and milk, I decided to change my Canadian drivers license and get a German license. At first I was a bit worried that I had to go through the written and road test all over again. I’ve already failed the written test in my native language before so I cant even imagine how I’d pass if it was in German. Therefore before I left Canada I made sure that I had my International Drivers Permit so I can drive anywhere in the world without a hassle. Although my dream had to come to an end. After living in Berlin for more than a year, I found out that after being a resident of Germany for more […] Read More
  How to get there The hospital can be accessed with train RE7 which stops in the major stations in Berlin. You can get off at the Beelitz-Heilstätten stop and from there you can choose which direction to go to. The hospital is located on both sides of the train tracks, so you can first start either from the right hand side or the left hand side. Here is a map How to get in There are plenty of buildings at Beelitz therefore every building has their own way of getting in. Most buildings are easy to get in with the doors being wide open whereas others you might have to jump over the fence and crawl through the door or window from the basement. Regardless to say you’ll still find a way to get in the buildings. What you’ll see Its said that there are around 60 buildings at Beelitz-Heilstätten although not all are abandoned. Most of the buildings are still in use since there is a rehab center and home for elderly. In terms of the abandoned buildings, there are 10-12 buildings that are worth seeing. You’ll need to start your day very early to see everything or split […] Read More
Morocco’s Imperial cities are the treasures from the many old dynasties that have settled in these parts of the world for centuries. The old capitals from ancient times are well preserved and as you are strolling through the medina’s, you’ll find yourself lost in time Morocco has four imperial cities; Rabat being the current capital of Morocco today and the Alaouites dynasty, Fes which was the old capital of Morocco and four other dynasties, Meknes being the capital of the Alaouites dynasty and Marrakech being the capital for three dynasties throughout history. I was very fortunate to travel to all four cities and plenty more. Casablanca the city, not the movie The only reason why people know Casablanca is because of the famous Humphrey Bougart movie. Most people seem to forget this bustling city in Morocco and don’t even visit it. To be honest there is really not much to see in comparison to other cities in Morocco. The must see is the Hassan II mosque, situated right on the shores of the ocean. Its minaret is like a beacon since its the tallest in the world. Even though seeing Casablanca and impressive mosque, there is something that really impressed […] Read More
If you ask someone what they know about Berlin they’ll give you answers like the Berlin Wall, Cold War, West/East Germany, Currywurst, Doner and Techno music. Some consider Berlin as the birthplace for techno music. Even if it wasn’t, it has the reputation to have the best clubs on the planet. I’m pretty sure the Metronom Club had its own history from the opening day till being left alone to its own faith. Unfortunately the records for this abandoned place is not possible to be found anywhere other than being closed since 2008, as if it had a last shot into its veins and died along with its name. How to get there The old disco is located in east Berlin at Blockdammweg 31. You can take the S-Bahn S3 in Erkner direction and get off at the Karlshorst S-Bahn Station and walk from there. Or if the weather is nice, just get on your bike and ride. Here is a map How to get in Although at first you think the disco is fenced off but there is a little gap in the fence behind from what seems to be a watch/guard house. Otherwise you can walk around the old […] Read More
Its been a long cold winter in Berlin for 2013. The darkest winter on record so far. Coming from snow country myself, I’m actually getting sick of it. That said, despite the depressing winter it still doesnt stop me exploring abandoned places.  The Bahnbetriebswerk (Train Yard) was built in 1893 since the Berlin – Szczecin railway connection was built years ago and there was in need of repairing and servicing the trains. Therefore the last roundhouse of its kind in Germany on a 250,000m2 lot would be built in Heinersdorf. The train yard afterwards was connected to the Berlin S-Bahn in August 1924. Towards the end of the 1990’s, it was farewell to the train yard. At first the main station, water tower and depot was closed and until 2009 the rail tracks have been dismantled. There are only two roundhouses left in Germany (One being this and the other in Rummelsburg). The whole lot has been bought by a private investor in 2009 to build a shopping center along with a parking lot. How to get there Not too far from the city center, getting to the train yard is quite easy. You can take the S-Bahn S2 and S8 north direction […] Read More
In my previous posts Berlin My New Home, I mentioned the do’s and dont’s after you move to Berlin. The necessary paperwork required, the bureaucracy you have to deal with, how to avoid waiting in the queue for hours just to get a stamp, etc. Now I’m going to write about the things that is required after moving into a rental apartment. Moving to a new flat with no furniture, electricity, gas, water and internet would be something of course no one would want. Assuming that you have already registered yourself to the Bürgeramt (if not do so) the next steps will be followed below; 1- Electricity – There are plenty of companies that provide electricity in Berlin and Germany in general. All of them have several packages and discounts that would make you overwhelmed. The biggest provider in Germany is Vattenfall and probably the most expensive one. Although there service is good when it comes to the fact. You can also check out the these links and do comparisons of which one to choose; http://www.check24.de/ http://www.verivox.de/ 2- Gas – Just like electricity, there are many gas providers in Berlin. You can either get your gas privately or through your Hausverwaltung. There are […] Read More
On a snowy cold January afternoon the Alte Bärenquell Brauerei couldn’t look more fantastic than it is. Whether its my love of snow or not I believe this was the best time of the year to explore the brauerei. The snow gives this mystical feel and already chill abandoned building which adds extra excitement to it. The Bärenquell Brauerei was built in 1882 although founded under the name Kampfhenkel Borussia Brauerei. Later in 1898 the brewery was bought by Schultheiss AG and expanded to its current state today from Schnellerstrasse to the river. After the war, in 1954 the brauerei was again renamed to VEB Bärenquell and kept the same name until its doors closed in April 1994. How to get there Since the brauerei is in city limits, getting there is quite easy. You can take the S-Bahn S8, S9, S45, S46, S47 and get off at the Berlin-Schöneweide station. From the station, its a 10-15 mins walk and the address is Schnellerstraße 137. Here is a map How to get in I noticed a couple a openings to get into the abandoned brewery. Of course the easiest is going through the hole in the wire fence just next to the main entrance. […] Read More
I’m pretty sure the GDR Iraqi embassy has seen better days. The time when Saddam Hussein in his “glory” times supporting the GDR and being a great ally to East Germany. The times when his posters were flourishing the walls of every Iraqi owned building and his control over the people. Eventually that all came to an end after the collapse of the wall and the Gulf War in 1991. The GDR Iraqi embassy was built in 1974 based on the fact that Iraq was the first non-socialist country to recognize East Germany back in 1969. Of course this meant a lot for the East Germans considering that they chose and preferred the east over the west. Although things didn’t look good after the collapse of the wall in 1990. At that time there were rumours that weapons and explosives were being smuggled into Berlin and stored in the embassy. This was the during the Gulf War. There were also reports confirming the weapons and explosives being hidden in the embassy. After the reunification of Germany and new established government, the GDR Iraqi embassy staff were “kindly” asked to leave in January 1991. Currently Iraq still has the rights of the […] Read More
The Alte Fleischfabrik (Old Meat Factory)  was owned by the Konsumgenossenschaft (KGB)  and was established in 1899. The KGB is a consumer association that would sell and trade retail goods to its members for very inexpensive prices. Up to 1990 it was the largest consumer cooperative in the GDR and fourth largest in the world. The KGB still exists today although the old meat factory and bakery have been sold to private investors due to the operations of the factories went bankrupt in 1993. The KGB office buildings, meat factory and bakery were built before WWI in 1909 by architect Otto Wettstein. The factory also has a industrial railway track which shows that it was well connected to transport the goods. The bakery was producing more than 4000 breads daily. The buildings have survived for over a hundred years and two world wars. Currently its part of a private tour company which books tours to visit abandoned sites around Berlin. How to get there Since the Fleischfabrik is within Berlin city limits, it is very easy to access the site. You can take the U5 to Magdalenenstr station, walk up the Ruschestr. and once you are at the Netto you’ll see the […] Read More
In my previous posts Berlin My New Home, I mentioned the essential tasks I did when I first arrived to Berlin. Opening a bank account, what paperwork is required for renting an apartment, getting your tax number, health insurance and social insurance number. Now its time to write about one of the most complicated and important process for Non EU citizens to get a visa/permit to stay in the country. Being a Canadian citizen has many perks. I’ve traveled various countries and seen many places around the world and by just showing my passport has opened many doors without questions raised. Although German bureacracy is strict, excessive and paperwork is overwhelming, I still consider myself lucky and fortunate to get my work and residence permit without a hassle. Booking your appointment with Ausländerbehörde (Immigration Office) This is the first step you must do. Regardless if your getting a student visa, work visa or freelance visa this should be the first thing you do. Otherwise you’ll most likely have to get up at 5am and go to the Ausländerbehörde to queue up for the very limited amount of waiting numbers. To book an appointment, the link is here. Keep in mind that you must […] Read More