Friday, November 23, 2012

Berlin By Boat

Over the summer one Sunday I got to go on a dinner boat cruise around Berlin with my job. It was a five hour trip and we went all the way from Moabit out past Treptow towards Köpenick in the former East Berlin. I had never been out on the Spree River and it was a really nice new perspective of the city and a beautiful day. Here are some of my photos, so you can see Berlin from this angle as well!

 Pulling away from where I work in Moabit.

 We say this old school ship on the way

 Berlin Hauptbahnhof, the main train station. I don't usually see it from this side!

 People chilling by the river. Once spring hits Berlin, every green surface looks like this.

My favorite bridge, the Oberbaumbrücke separating Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, the former West from the former East. I especially love that at night the sides are continuously playing Rock, Paper, Scissors against each other via light up signs.

This is also a regular occurrence. I am totally getting my own blow up raft for next summer. Love it.

 Insel, a venue on a small island where various parties are held.

 The view sailing towards Treptow.

 It's getting dark and we've turned around. The view of the Oberbaumbrücke from the other side.

 Here is the outside of one of the big clubs, KaterHolzig. This was funny to sail by as it was around 8 or so Sunday evening and the outside was PACKED with drunk dancing people. Oh Berlin.

Taking a break while they bring us back to the correct water level. Different parts of the Spree are at different levels, so sometimes they hold you in a small section while they add or take away water to level you with the next part of the river.

Berliner Dom

And that's that! One of the nicest boat cruises I've been on! I recommend everyone take a chance to see Berlin by boat if the opportunity ever arises!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Berlin Festival of Lights

Now that I'm back in America for a month with limited responsibilities (albeit limited electricity, thanks Sandy!), I can catch up on blog posts! A couple weeks ago a bunch of friends and I went to check out the Berlin Festival of Lights. We took a walk around the center to see a bunch of lit up things and it was pretty! Anyway, the pictures speak for themselves...

We decided anything that was lit up was for the festival of lights. Including this.

We also found this exhibit of lollipop things, which wasn't so much about lollipops as it was Berlin history. The lollipops were markers on a big map of Berlin, which was painted on the ground.

Okay, this was really for the festival of lights.

Found this during our wander.

More lights!

Then Vojtech and I got convinced to buy a touristy light up thing, so we threw that up in the air a lot until it fell apart. I guess we got our 2 euros worth of entertainment with it! Here is Nicole throwing it into the sky!

My favorite thing to do in any city is just to walk around and look at things, and I like lights, so all in all a good combination!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Manhattan Without Lights: Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Lower Manhattan

Yesterday Brian and I walked over the Manhattan Bridge to get to Lower Manahattan to visit some friends without power. All the subways were down (limited service just opened again today) and all public transportation, mostly buses at this point, is currently free. It was kind of crazy, as everything was closed and dark. Here's some pictures of our journey.

The line for the Fung Wah bus in China Town o get out of the city. This whole area is without any power. No elevators, sometimes no water, nothing.

 Bank is closed today.

Even though all the shops were closed, a few decided to start little take-out stands out front to offer food to passers-by. A bit of the entrepreneurial spirit to go around...


Make sure you follow on Facebook! Hah.

 No gas.

 Only SOME snacks...!

Watch out Dane, we need to talk about yesterday...

 Midtown has power, notice how everything close is dark, with the lit up buildings in the background.

The 3 lights are someone with a generator.

Normally all those windows would be lit up. If it wasn't cloudy, it'd be a good time to look at the stars in Manhattan.

 The Divide: To the right is lit up, to the left, Lower Manhattan is dark.

Once you get to the Brooklyn side of the bridge, the lights miraculously start working again. Notice the rapid change in lighting. Crazy.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy in Facebook Statuses

A summary in Facebook statuses of what Hurricane Sandy has done to my sanity and a rant about American Airlines....

- Well, guess I'm not going to America for a few days. Flight canceled. Stuck in a hotel in London, had to pay 15 pounds for WiFi because they think a 5 minute telephone call is long enough to rebook a flight. As of now my flight is rebooked for November 1st. Fuck. Could I maybe have gotten stuck in a city that's not so damn expensive? Let me downloading every TV show ever commence...

- This will be my night...and yes, I did open that beer with a DVD cover I found in the hotel room. And yes, I did have to walk across a highway in the rain to obtain said alcohol. #notanalcoholic

- Just going to dwell in the negativity a bit longer before I pull myself together. Today blows. I want to go back to Berlin.

- Also...there was an earthquake in Canada today? What the hell, is North America exploding?

- There are two beds in my hotel room. I am going to sleep on both of them. Nevermind that there is a gap inbetween. #shitbetterbelux

- Just encountered problem #1 with the hotel room: the ceilings are too low to jump on the bed. #wtf

- Apparently this is a four star hotel. That explains why there are no beer vending machines. #fuck

- I wonder how I can make friends with all the hundreds of other sad, canceled flight to NY people in the hotel. Is it inappropriate if I just walk around the halls carrying wine? That's how you make friends, right?

- There is a new wireless network that just popped up at the hotel called "Unicorn". It is not password protected. If I find them, we will date.

- Yesterday I was visited by a toilet ghost. The End is Nigh: 

- Day Two of Hotel Prison: The Hotel Gods have appeased me and fed me veggie sausage and coffee with soymilk. Some people I talked to yesterday gave me a Wall Street Journal and it said the storm won't even hit in full force until late tonight or tomorrow morning NY time. So now I will try to be a productive human and work for a few hours, then begins the day drinking and re-calling of the customer service. If anyone wants a free place to sleep in London, hit me up. I seem to be on a bus route.

- Just waited 25 minutes on the phone to be told they only handle domestic flights, and am now re-put on hold for 30 minutes to speak to an international rep. #someoneisgettingbitchslapped

- No hotel paid for after tonight, not possible to sort on the phone (after being on the phone over an hour, mind you), means I'm heading back to the airport to sort it out in person. Wish me good not sleeping on the streets luck! Why do I always have such bad travel luck?

- New Plan: Fly to Boston tomorrow on stand-by. Hey Boston, how's the weather over there? If I get stranded there, can I sleep on your couch for one night before renting a car or something to NY.

- On the bright side, this hotel room has the most powerful shower I've ever experienced. Downside, didn't bring any razors or toiletries with me as I thought I'd be stealing my parents' stuff. Lesson learned.

How will the story end? Let's hope I catch that flight, my friends, or I won't even have internet to make Facebook statuses. Wish me luck and hope to see you on the other side of the pond!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Abandoned Eisfabrik (Ice Factory)

A couple months ago while waiting for a Volksküche at Köpi to start, we walked across the street and explored this abandoned Eisfabrik (Ice Factory) on Köpenickerstr. The factory started producing artificial ice in1896. Since no electric or gas powered refrigerators existed in private homes, the ice was supplied in rods of about 20 × 20 cm, with up to 1.50 meters in length to breweries, pubs, homes, fruit dealers, etc.

The factory continued in GDR times after the Wall went up, under the VEB Kühlbetrieb and was officially abandoned by the Berliner Kühlhaus GmbH in 1995. One of the residential buildings was destroyed by bombs in 1945, the rest managed to somehow make it through more bombs and several fires. Though the building is apparently under protection of the treuhand Liegenschaftsgesellschaft, the old cooling houses have since been ripped down due to the fact that the area is now caught in the Mediaspree project, which wants to put up luxury apartments, office spaces, etc. along the Spree.

Quite centrally located at Köpenicker Straße 40/41, 10179 Berlin in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg section of Berlin, it was a cool urban exploring trip and easy to get to...while it lasts. Nevertheless, on to the photos:

We just walked in through the fence here.

Part of the floor in the building with the ice machine.

The actual machine that made the blocks, I believe.

Some artwork on the walls.

More artwork.

Marion and Erin meandering their way through the courtyard.

This door upstairs has seen better days...

Wall of the building in the courtyard.

Upstairs room turned into swimming pool. There were also people squatting/living upstairs with some dogs...not in this room though.

The roof! It was quite nice up here and you could see a lot of Berlin. Had it been a nicer day and had we had some beers, this would've been a good spot to drink them!

Carly taking a photo...I think.

More roof.

Karla and her sister visiting from Australia.

If you get wet.

Carly made it!

Karla's sister, Ella, Karla and Carly on the roof.

And out we go again!

In the abandoned lot outside the building we found someone had planted this garden. There was also some corn planed and some other things not in the photo. Urban guerilla gardening...yes! As we were leaving there were some people sitting in the lot at tables with white tablecloths preparing to eat as well...I wonder if this was their garden. I kind of loved it.