My lame excuse is that I really like to include a lot of photographs in my posts, as I think they bring it all to life, but sometimes it takes me so long to get all the photos off the camera and cropped and prepped, that I am nowhere near ready when Friday comes around.....But anyway - better late than never - here goes:
Jasper Fforde is one of my absolute favourite authors (as anyone who knows my Yahoo Groups ID - fforde_freak - or Flickr account - Thursday.Next - could probably guess!) - and now I get to go and tell him that in person, in a suitably gushy fan-girl kind of way :)
Oh and on the same day, I got Rancid tickets for Bristol in December - woohoo!!!
I had this entire week off work - which was wonderful! I'm lucky enough to actually like my job (at least when we're not crazy busy) - but that doesn't mean that I don't LOVE time away from it :)
|This will be Cons in a couple of years :)|
So, where do I start? This was a long awaited two night getaway (tickets booked before Christmas) for just myself and Jay - to a city that neither of us had ever been to before, but we knew we would love (I didn't realise HOW MUCH though!)
We didn't arrive until around 5pm on the Tuesday evening but we didn't waste any time and got tons done on that first night:
|This one of the Berliner Dom made|
me giggle when I got it out of
the camera as I hadn't spotted Jay's
lil head down in the bottom corner :)
- we went to Alexanderplatz and checked out the huuuuuge TV tower and the gorgeous Neptunebrunnen fountain
- we went on a one hour boat tour up and down the River Spree and saw loads of landmarks and stunning architecture:
|The Bode Museum|
- We walked the length of the impressive 16th century boulevard Unter Den Linden (one of the few bits we didn't bomb to smithereens in the war, thankfully!) down to the Brandenburg Gate, which looked spectacular in the evening sunshine:
- We found our first of many Buddy Bears
- We visited the Holocaust Memorial which is suitably striking, taking up a whole block to clearly make the point. Never again.
|(and that's just a fraction of it)|
- We found a geocache nearby at the site of the Fuhrerbunker - the Nazi HQ in the final moments in the war and where Hitler and Eva Braun comitted suicide. Glad to say that this site is handled very sympathetically - ie they have built a car park on top of it and pretty much left it unmarked save one small information sign that you'd never notice unless you were specifically looking for it.
- Next we took a trip on the tube train out the the former East Berlin where there was a Pearl Jam fan club partay in full swing at the very cool YAAM beach bar
- And finally, after meeting up with our friends and having a few beers (Jay) / vodka cranberry cocktails (me) we decided, at gone midnight, that it would be fun to walk the entire length of the East Side Gallery (the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall, now one of the largest open air art galleries in the World):
(zillions more photos over at Facebook here)
The next day we had a bit of a lie in (perhaps we tried to get a bit too much done in one evening the night before??? ya think??? :) ) but we still got a ton done:
- we saw the coolest puppet ever roaming the streets and being a perfect gentleman....
- we went on one of those hop-on hop-off open topped double decker bus tours, which was ace
|one of my favorite photos taken from the bus with the reflection of the statue and sky behind me over those lovely old windows|
|the Victory Column in the Tiergarten|
- we hopped off at two modern art museums (which Jay kindly put up with!)
|Lichenstein (the painting, not the unimpressed chappie in front, that's Watkins :) )|
|Warhol (and a rare glimpse of my Pearl Jam tattoo - it's very rare I bare my legs!! :) but it was so HOT in Berlin!)|
|one of my very favourite artists - Robert Rauschenberg -they had a whole room full of his stuff - squee!|
|and just for Shirley - Vasarely|
- and the Checkpoint Charlie museum (where we also found another geocache):
And there was a ton more we had planned to do on this day but we ran out of time, and we were hot and sticky, and things started to shut, so we went back to the hotel and had a shower and changed before heading over to the Pearl Jam gig (which was the main reason we were in Berlin at all) a little earlier than we had planned....
It was still boily hot when we got to the venue, and I was worried the gig itself inside would be like a sauna, but it was actually a lot cooler in there with 10,000 people crowding around than it was outside!
We collected our special fan club wristbands and tickets and headed in for what turned out to be an AWESOME gig!
|we had a good view despite being too middle aged to go right down to the front - here's one of our photos|
|and here's somebody else's who clearly a) had a real camera with them and b) got a bit closer :)|
And then Thursday was our last day, we had to leave the city by half past 2 to get back to the airport for our plane home, so we had a bit of a rush about morning.
We had a lovely brekkie and checked out of the hotel, and then headed across town to an ice hockey shop that we had spotted on the first night (but after closing time). We bought a pile of Eisbären Berlin ("the Berlin Polar Bears" - sounds so cute in English!) merchandise and vowed to come back again to Berlin one day in hockey season so we can actually see them play!
Then we went back into the city centre to meet our tour guide for a 3.5 hour walking tour of Berlin street art and alternative culture. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, it was awesome. Our guide - a tiny little Australian pixie called Victoria - was an artist herself and very much a part of the anti establishment squatter culture that is so strong in the city. Her investment in and knowledge of everything that she showed us and told us about really shone through. To the extent that when she was getting all worked up and upset telling us about how badly the eviction of one of the main artist squats has been handled, I thought she was going to grab one of the security guards and punch him! :)
Again, LOADS more photos on my facebook, but here's a tiny flavour of what we saw on our tour:
|the Baumhaus an der Mauer - google it, it's a cool story :)|
|at night, the garage across the street projects the image of a flag into the astronaut's hand, which must look pretty cool!|
|the lovely building in the background is one of the artist squat / studios|
|inside another squatted studio / cinema complex|
|by Otto Schade, one of my favourite street artists|
|from inside the Kunsthaus Tacheles|
So - obviously that trip was the main thing rocking my little world this past fortnight, but we're not finished yet!
|(not my picture, there was a big fence in the way so I found this on t'web)|
I also saw this fab caravan :
To me, these are the signs of an awesome neighbourhood! (YMMV :) )
And the day just got more awesome as it went on, as in the afternoon I had a photo gig taking pics for my local roller derby team WRD at their closed scrimmage vs the Portsmouth Roller Wenches. It's so good to see them back in action and I can't wait for their first public bout!
|WRD looking fierce :)|
And that's pretty much everything really, as the rest of last week has mainly been me back to work, and having early nights to recover from my fun week off :)
Even in the quietest of weeks though there are always some Rockin' moments, like:
- getting back to work to find that everyone has coped beautifully while I've been away, there were no crises to greet me, and I didn't even have too many emails to trawl through
- drawing a pair of Converse for my ICAD on Wednesday and being immodestly super proud of it :)
- finally reaching the end of my Town Called Eureka seasons 1-4 marathon, just in time for the start of season 5 :)
- delivering a presentation to a room full of senior marketing people at a client company, and getting a hearty round of applause at the end - I don't think in 20+ years in this business anyone has ever clapped one of my presentations before! (to be fair a few of them were American and Canadian, maybe it's the done thing over there?? it was surreal but kind of nice, I now want applause every time :) )
- my friend at work giving me a huuuuuge pile of music and gaming magazines for collage fodder
- and last but not least, heading out this lunchtime to a cool exhibition in a local gallery, put on by the Bath Artist Printmakers. Some really lovely and inspiring work. I do like a bit of artistic eye candy to set me up for the weekend....
And that's a wrap!
I'm going to go and quickly link this up at chief Rockette Virginia's fabby blog, and then hop in the bath, will visit all the other RYWF blogs later when I'm not so smelly :)
have a great week y'all!