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Citadel Cruz

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Built grandiosely in Italian Renaissance style in 1894, the Berlin Reichstag went up in smoke after being mysteriously burned in 1933.  It fell into ruins during World War II and was almost forgotten by history.

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and it was decided a year after that the German capital will be transferred from Bonn to Berlin, it then became definite that the Reichstag building will be brought back to life.  

It was the prestigious architectural firm of Sir Norman Foster,  Foster + Partners who was commissioned to do the renovation.  In 1999, the new Reichstag building was unveiled to the public.

The building still retained its Classic architectural design but with a modern twist.  It is now topped with an ultra-modern Cupola (dome).  The Cupola is made of a metal dome and transparent glass. It has a sleek swirling walkway which offers an amazing 360 degree perspective of Berlin.   It also offers visitors an opportunity to take a glimpse of the Parliamentarians in action when the Bundestag is in session.

Another outstanding feature of the Reichstag is its use of passive design.  Passive design means it uses natural conditions like climate and daylight for its lighting, ventilation and temperature control.  The designers studied the route of the sun so its transparent glass dome brings in natural lighting into the space. An additional energy source is locally produced rapeseed oil as biofuel for the building’s energy needs.

The Berlin Reichstag is not only an architectural feat but it is ecologically sound as well. As a result, it was certified as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver building.

Visitors to Berlin can take the opportunity to marvel at this building free of charge.  One must only pre-register online at least two days before.  Or for those people who want to do it spontaneously, one can go directly to the service center on Scheidemannstraße to see if there are available slots for visiting.  It is definitely worth your time.

Living in a big city like Berlin is exciting and fun.  There are just so many events happening and so many sights to explore.  Be it  the cultural scene, sports, fashion, food, you name it, Berlin has it and more.  The dizzying array of activities in a bustling city like Berlin can take its toll on its residents, and like in any big city, ever day life can be stressful and most oftentimes toxic. This is definitely not good for one’s health.  It makes us tired and vulnerable to sickness.

Luckily, I discovered Stadtsaline which literally translates to Salt City.  Tucked in the west side of the city, Stadtsaline has two rooms called Salarium, made from pure Himalayan salt, where salt therapy takes place. I bring my youngest daughter there regularly so we can enjoy a bit of girl bonding while doing a wellness activity together.

People undergo salt therapy to strengthen their immune system, to treat skin and respiratory problems, or simply to relax.  As salt naturally contains negative ions, exposure to it increases our serotonin levels, relieving us of stress and putting us in a good mood.

Since salt is perfectly safe, children of any age can be exposed to it (just think of the many children lying on a beach!) In the small Salarium, parents can stay with their child.  The walls are made of pure Himalayan salt cut into rectangular bricks with soft lighting behind it, the heat of which activates the salt’s healing properties.  The floor is covered with two to three inches of Himalayan salt granules.  A large basket of toys is placed at the corner of the room to let the little ones have fun.  The treatment lasts approximately 45 minutes, during which a nebuliser sprays a very fine salt solution into the air.  This way, the salt is better absorbed by the body.

The bigger Salarium is reserved for adults and can accommodate up to 8 people at a time.  Here each person is provided with a reclining chair and a blanket.  Himalayan salt bricks make up the inner wall as well as the floor tiles!  To add to the relaxation, you can see and hear the sound of water trickling down a fountain from the side.  The sound helps generate a calming effect and matches perfectly with the piped-in ambient music.

At the end of the session, the nice ladies of the shop would then offer you a refreshing cup of filtered water or a warm cup of invigorating ginger tea.  The shop also sells different salt-related products, and one would surely be tempted to buy one of the different kinds of salt condiments being sold. I can attest to that.  They also have a diverse selection of Himalayan salt lamps which can be ideally placed at home or the office.

Bring one home, and you can have a sense of therapeutic calm in your very own private space.