Crossing the Baltic

March 4, 2012 § 1 Comment

Looking out the window as the bus pulled away the terminal. ZOB Berlin. Dec 25, 2011.

To save money on transportation and a night of hotel stay, I traveled from Berlin to Denmark on an overnight bus on the evening of Christmas Day. I made my way to the ZOB bus terminal after the museum hopping and a light dinner. The bus terminal was a bit far out, but easy to get to. I guess it could be a lot busier, but when I got there on Christmas, there was only a few travelers. Some waiting for the bus traveling south to Eastern European cities, some were waiting with us to get up north. « Read the rest of this entry »

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5 days + Berlin = love

March 3, 2012 § 7 Comments

Graffiti found on the Museum Island, Berlin. Dec 25, 2011.

Before my trip began, I was so excited about Berlin and couldn’t wait to feel the soul of this Germany capital. This was my first visit, but strangely, I felt very at home. I lived a few unforgettable years in New York, and these two places have one thing in common: you don’t need a car to survive! On top of that, you get to enjoy tons of world class shopping within the reach of the public transportation. Whatever’s hip, fun and in style, you can find them in this two places. However the resemblance doesn’t stop here.

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Museum hopping in Berlin

March 2, 2012 § 5 Comments

Pergamon wasn't flooded with tourists on Christmas. Berlin. Dec 25, 2011.

On the day of Christmas, there was one topic particularly popular in the breakfast room: “Oh, it’s Christmas, everything is closed. What can I do? …and what are you going to do?” Then you would hear: “I’m going to visit the Museum Island. I heard it is open today.” So right, if you’re “stuck” in Berlin for Christmas with no friends to visit, it seems that museum hopping would be one of the very few choices, and that’s exactly what I did. Surprisingly, the museum wasn’t flooded with tourists.

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Life in DDR

March 1, 2012 § 8 Comments

It was a popular car. DDR Museum, Berlin. Dec 24, 2011.

Located right across the Berliner Dom on the River Spree, it was the playful DDR Museum where visitors can have a hands-on experience to see how life was under dictatorship. I’m sure this museum isn’t interesting for someone who lived through his childhood in the East Germany, but for me, it was a really fun place to spend a few hours… and it was also one of the few places that opened for business on Christmas’s Eve. « Read the rest of this entry »

A Bunch of Concrete Blocks

February 29, 2012 § 8 Comments

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin. Dec 23, 2011.

I’m sure they could have picked a more… elegant name, as I always think of the TV show American Horror Story, and how the tour guide of the haunted house tour said “muuuuurder house”. Anyhow, it is what it is: the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. 2,700 concrete blocks covering an entire street block in a uniformed grid pattern, the result is a stunning world of geometry. Each side of the blocks reflect the sunlight from a different angle, so every single shape and contrast can be seen vividly. For me, it’s a visual wonderland. Seriously, where else can you see a 19,000 square meters of geometric pattern? « Read the rest of this entry »

A Polish factory in Berlin

February 27, 2012 § 10 Comments

Gallery view of Pawel Althamer's 'ALMECH' exhibition at Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin. Dec 23, 2011.

There wasn’t much about the German Guggenheim on the website, but it’s a Guggenheim, I got to visit it. So I marked down the location on my not-so-precise map and headed over to the Unter den Linden, which was the boulevard that led up to the Brandenburg Gate. I circled around the block for 2 times, and didn’t see any artistic building such as the Guggenheim in New York or Bibao. I asked for directions from a bunch of people, everyone pointed to the same way, which I’d already walked by. Right when I was going to give up, I noticed a sign board at the street corner with tiny words that read “Guggenheim cafe”. I looked up to the entrance, the green sign was written “ALMECH” not Guggenheim, but this has to be the place, so I went in to find out. To much of my surprise, the German Guggenheim was a small gallery space with only one exhibition in. The staffs even specifically informed all visitors that: “this is all it is”. It’s totally fine with me, as I was very captivated by the eerie display in the room already!

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Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin

February 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Main entrance of the Charlottenburg Palace. Wait until you see it at night! Berlin. Dec 22, 2011.

It was a little painful to get to the Charlottenburg Palace after a visit to the Bundestag, but I managed and pretty proud of it. I then arrived at this only royal palace in Berlin. Perhaps it was due to my lack of knowledge regarding the German Kings and Queens, I didn’t find the Charlottenburg Palace as thrilling as the Versailles or Hofburg. Apart from the fact that most of it was damaged during the WW2, there weren’t any stories as intriguing as Marie-Antoinette or Empress Sissi. So, visiting the Charlottenburg was pretty much just like visiting a beautiful historic building: lots of paintings, antiques and furnitures. I did enjoy walking through all those elegant rooms though , and I must say they got some really dainty chandeliers.

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