Friday, July 13, 2012

Rocking Your World Friday weeks 27&28

And it's another double helping this time around as I missed the boat again last week - soz!

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:

So the first thing that had me jumping for joy the week before last was, purely by chance, spotting a poster in the window of my local bookshop advertising this:

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 :)
And it was just as well that I was off on the Monday as the school, at stupidly short notice, required me to go in for a tour and meeting relating to Connor moving up to secondary school (which is over a year away! they're a bit keen).  They really annoy me when they do this, send a letter home on Thursday or Friday expecting me to attend something the following Monday during working hours - they don't have an awful lot of consideration for the working mother, who might have to ask her boss nicely for some time off and might have appreciated a tad more notice!  But anyway, this is a RYWF post, not a Wednesday Whine :)  So yes - the secondary school tour - was fab!  Connor is going to the same school that my older two sons went to, so it's not the first time I've been there, but it has changed loads.  Such a cool school with so many excellent resources especially in the arts and craft areas.  It made me want to go back in time and go there myself :)  I really enjoyed bumping into some of the teachers I remember from the first time around - especially Mr Gill the FAB art teacher - and having a little catch up.

The following day we flew to BERLIN!  Yay!  Photo overload starts here :)

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 :)
We got back to hotel about 1am with a delicious Apfelberliner each that we had bought at the station, tired but smiley :)

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
And that was that - the tour over ran a little so we had to race to the airport (luckily the plane was running about 20 minutes late so we got on in time!) and then it was back home :(  Too soon!  We barely scratched the surface of this AMAZING city - we must must must go back!

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)
On the following Saturday I got to spend some time just with my middle son Darby, always a treat, as I helped him move house.   His new digs in Bristol are super cool - right above a karate dojo and in an area full of fantastic street art.  I was super excited to see a big full colour piece by Sheffield artist Phlegm (one of my favourites) within spitting distance (see what I did there?  ha ha) of his flat.

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 :)

The next day, Connor, the lucky so and so, got an invitation out of the blue to go to the Royal Air Show at Fairford with one of his pals.  I was so happy for him as he had a brilliant time and even got to sit in a Red Arrow!

So, not to be too left out, the rest of us went to the movies to see The Amazing Spider-Man.  Which was beyond awesome! :)  (although probably not quite as far beyond awesome as getting to sit in a Red Arrow, not that I'm jealous or anything!)

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!



That was a huge post. Glad to read of a fellow Jasper Ffrorde fan, my dh and I make it our mission to introduce as many people as possible. My pre-ordered copy of the latest Thursday Next book arrived yesterday :) Love the painted bears my dh lived in Germany for 18 months and pained cows were a prominent feature :) glad to see you're still taking hockey photos.

misteejay said...

What a fabulous trip to Germany and you managed to cram soooooooooo much in.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Toni xx

Shirley said...

You have certainly had a fabulous couple of weeks Sarah, great to see all the photos and thanks for the Vasarely one.
Have a great weekend, I have a journal to work on and post on its way to Swindon very soon!
Loved your trainers BTW and your cards are looking good on your wall too.

Carmen Wing said...

I've never read Jasper Fforde, I take it I should check him out?

Loved this post. SO much eye candy - I had no idea Berlin was anything like that! Just looks such an amazing place to visit.

Fab, fab, fab, FAB post!

The Scrapbook Lady UK said...

Thanks for all the photos! I agree, I had no idea Berlin was like that too carmen. Do you know ds1 went to Berlin on his school german trip, didn't take a single photo and never told me any of this! I am def going to follow you! Love your photos! Have a great weekend. Jenx

ally said...

wow love your pics of berlin, It is on my list of places to go.

Sarah said...

Have just read this post through and realised how many times I use the word awesome....I think I need a new word :)

Luna Art said...

Wow, I am exhusted just reading everything you have been up to!!! Fantastic post! I also had no idea Berlin was like that, a whole culture of street art,amazing!
I have nevber heard of Jasper Fforde either, might have to check him out.
Great post this week Sarah and I have loved reading it and seeing all your fab photos! x x x

Claudia Hemmings said...

Your Berlin trip looks so fantastic, I am seriously jealous!

Antonia said...

What an awesome post - and certainly worth the wait :)

Looks like you have crammed into two weeks what some people fail to achieve in a year! :)

Virginia said...

Oh my - I'm exhausted just reading that - amazing and awesome post! Love it completely - you do much with all your time - you do sleep don't you? Berlin looks amazing from the gig and awesome buildings to the most amazing artwork! Giddy for you meeting your author and I agree secondary schools do really not give enough warning - we've found that a few times this year as said 11 year old starts big school in September in some instances we've only had a small amount of warning for meetings!

Didn't know Rancid were touring - don't know whether to mention to sis at mo mmmmmmmmmmmmm!

The street art in Berlin looks fabulous and loving the photo with the reflection!

The roller derby looks great and the artwork in Bristol is fabulous!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend and week ahead!

Joanna said...

Phew, what a FANTASTIC post!! I had no idea Berlin was so interesting - you certainly packed a lot into your few days there. Thank you for showing us all the photos, they give a brilliant idea of what it's like.

I too have never heard of Jasper Fforde - I will have to do some research.....

Have a great week, Sarah.


Irene said...

How AMAZING Sarah!!!!!what a fantastic trip you've had.I am going to read very slowly again now,you have whetted my appetite for a trip here!

Natasha said...

Oh my gosh...where to start...I am insanely jealous at the art you fot to see. Insanely, and when I finish this comment I am going to have another look. I love street art. It excites me.

Pearl Jam is my beloved's favourite band. We saw them when they came to Auckland a couple of years ago...Just seeing your photos brought back memories. Lucky you. :)

And Roller Derby girls! And street art visual senses are on overload... :)