Saturday, November 08, 2008

compass notes


Big city, Legoland giraffe at Potsdamer Platz. Berlin, Germany. (2008). The giraffe was life-size, maybe about 15 feet (5 metres) tall. We didn't have time to actually go into Legoland, which is something I will deeply regret for years.

***
"That way," points Sarah, without even glancing once at the befuddling city map full of sidestreets, bus stops, and U-Bahn stations. See, the beautiful thing about traveling with a group of geographers is the uncanny sense of direction, the impossibility of getting lost. Now, this, is something I can get used to.

***
For a European city, Berlin sprawls like you wouldn't expect. In fact, the German capital covers nine(!) times more square mileage than Paris and, on this day, it feels like we've walked the surface nine times over. Not that I'm complaining though as, really, I wouldn't have it any other way. Transport on wheels is for losers.

***
We turn the corner at the British Embassy, and chase the setting sun through the Brandenburg Gate. Then it's up the elevator to the roof of the Bundestag, good for admiring night views and rubbing elbows with the moon. Nice.

***
"This way," motions Sarah. Double-decker bus to Alexanderplatz. U-bahn to Eberswalder Strauße. I shrug; the geographers, on the other hand, know the way. Let's run with it.

***
Classic gentrificaton? Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the inner city borough of Prenzlauer Berg has gone bohemian and upmarket. Pubs, cafés, restaurants, and boutique shops bracket the tree-lined streets. African is the choice for late-night dinner. Anna sticks to vegetarian. I opt for the ostrich. Joachim, who eats no red meat, does the same. I say nothing. Hehehe.

***
Last call is at a wine bar (still in Prenzlauer, I think?) where you buy the services of a glass for one euro and then help yourself to a wide selection white, red and rosé tipple until you're seeing double. The honour system applies: upon exit, you return your wine glass and make a "fair" donation. We're students, this seems like a good deal.

Skål!


One row behind the freshly renovated, street-facing facades of Prenzlauer Berg, lie apartment buildings more reminiscent of the pre-Berlin Wall period. Berlin, Germany. (2008).


Strange brew: urban geography students at an animal farm owned by squatters' in the inner city borough of Kreuzberg. Berlin, German. (2008). I never would have expected to see horses, goats, ducks and chickens in central Berlin. From left to right: Jan, Cécile, Ralitsa, Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Christophe.


Walking toward the setting sun behind the Brandenburg Gate at Pariser Platz. Berlin, Germany. (2008). From left to right: Kajsa, Sarah, Joachim, Anna, Kerstin, and Sean.


Joachim and Vanna over a couple of beers at a pub in Kreuzberg. Berlin, Germany. (2008).


Something of a rare shot of Sarah looking somewhat confused. Berlin, Germany. (2008).


Looking toward Potsdamer Platz from the roof of the Bundestag. Berlin, Germany. (2008).

5 comments:

  1. Hi! Just checking in on your wonderful life. So good to see you having so much fun exploring the world.

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  2. Love the pre-Berlin wall facade photo. Looks like you're still lovin' life.

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  3. Long Division ... Hi Kim! I'm glad you stopped by - it's just like old times. Hope you're doing well in your part of the world!

    Sohobutterfly ... Hi Tash! Can't complain, things here are well. And thanks, I like the photo too, it's one of those that you don't really think of much when you snap it but it turns out better than expected after you load it onto the computer.

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  4. I love the effects in the pic of Brandenburg Gate. Your pics keep getting better (which I never thought was possible - that's a compliment).

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  5. Thanks Donna! Some pictures just work better in monotone or black-and-white, and I think the Brandenburg shot was one of them.

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