more from berlin

31 Jul 2011

There is still so much to show you from Berlin. As I'd not been to Berlin before, everything was new and different. I collected the black and white film on Friday so later in the week I'll have some film shots to share with you as well.

I had a Berlin travel pass so I used it to hop on and off buses number 100 and 200. The buses leave from Alexanderplatz, where you'll find this sign and the television tower.

The buses takes you past all these sights but not in this particular sequence. Here is the restored Marienkirche.

The bus also takes you past Museum Island. I purchased a 3-day museum pass and visited as many museums as I could. On the island itself, I visited the Old Art Gallery, the New Museum and the Pergamon. I was blown away by the renovation of the Neues Museum and Nefertiti was as beautiful as I'd expected.

The bus takes you past the impressive Victory Column

as well as the Reichstag,

the Brandenburg Gate,

and the Holocaust Memorial.

I was staying close to the old Jewish area so I visited a cemetery that miraculously survived the war. 

The cemetery was a lovely peaceful place to visit.

I also visited the Jewish Museum one afternoon. The building was interesting but I don't know how well it works as a museum. I seemed to be running around in circles most of my visit.

I went to visit the now closed Templehof Airport. I was hoping to see inside the building but unfortunately, I had to be content with it's exterior.

On my last day in Berlin, I went on a tour of the Reichstag Dome designed by Norman Foster.

The weather that day was pretty awful, perfectly suited to black and white imagery, so I mainly shot film that day. The Topography of Terror was one of my last stops that day and the display was excellent. The display is housed under a small length of the Berlin Wall.

There isn't much left of the wall but this section was sufficient to give you an idea what life must have been like when the city was cut in two.

Another marathon blog post so I'll close here as I have a mountain of washing up to tackle.

I hope you all had lovely weekends,


pronto - chicken with red cabbage

29 Jul 2011

I thought you might be a bit over all my travel photos, so here's a food post for you. It was a bit of a shock returning to Sydney after a few weeks of summer weather. When I woke in Sydney on Sunday morning, it was a chilly 7°C. Instead of the light summery Vietnamese dishes I'd been eating in Berlin, it was time to think about casseroles and stews.

Here is another of my favourite Marcella Hazan recipes - chicken with red cabbage. It's a perfect winter recipe. The recipe only calls for a few ingredients and the longer you store it, the better it tastes.

I'm planning to cook this during the weekend, so the photos you see here are of one I prepared a little earlier.

It might not be the prettiest of dishes but it's very tasty.

On the home front, I've survived my first week back at work, but only just. I've just been to the lab to collect the film I shot whilst away. I need to edit those images, I'm going to see Belong by Bangarra and I really need to start thinking about doing my tax return so there'll be no time for baking this weekend. Perhaps next weekend?

See you all again next week,


schloss sanssouci

27 Jul 2011

A few months ago I saw a 3-part documentary on Berlin by Matt Frei. One of the locations featured was Schloss Sanssouci, built by Frederick the Great. I was fascinated and decided to visit Sanssouci when I was in Berlin.

The castle is located in Potsdam and is one of many in Sanssouci Park. I'd hoped to visit the New Palace as well when I was there but for some unknown reason, it was closed that day.

It was a long walk across the park to Sanssouci, but this is what I passed along the way, the Chinese Tea House.

It took 2 hours but eventually made it into Sanssouci. Let's just say the decorating style was not understated. It was all gold, marble, crystal and then a bit more gold.

 The final resting place of Frederick the Great.

The castle is surrounded by parklands and gardens of surprisingly bright hues.

I hope you enjoyed my little trip to Sanssouci. See you again on Friday with a pronto post.

Bye for now,


Berlin - part 1

25 Jul 2011

I don't do jet lag well, I'm the first to admit that. So staying up to watch Cadel Evans claim the Tour de France wasn't an issue but only getting 3 hours sleep afterwards, well that was a problem. My brain has turned to mush. I've managed to get to the post office to collect the parcels filled with goodies I sent home whilst on my trip. I've dropped 2 rolls of black and white film to be developed at my film guy's place and have put the dinner on. I think I can put a blog post together but thereafter I'll run out of puff, so the ironing will just have to wait for another day.

I always like to visit new places when I go away and although I've been to Germany before, Berlin was new to me. I really didn't know what to expect. I stayed at The Circus Hotel, which I found after it was featured in the travel section of the local paper.

It always takes me a while to get my bearings but the Circus Hotel was in a really central location. It was really easy to get around Berlin using the bus, train and tram network plus lots of walking, of course.

As soon as I arrived, I went for a walk around the area and this is what I found.

Lots of shops, bars and restaurants. 

Abandoned buildings and loads of graffiti.

Last Sunday, I visited 2 local flea markets at Arkonaplatz and Mauer Park.

Each market had a very different look and feel. I preferred the smaller Arkonaplatz flea market which was filled with primarily 50's and 60's treasures, though I saw some lovely scrubbed pine cabinets.

The Mauer Park flea market was very busy and much more trash than treasure. I found a sweet organic stall, loads of food stalls and a busy flower and plant nursery.

I had a laugh at these young men who didn't appear too fussed about actually selling any of their ice cream.

I'm having trouble keeping my eyelids open, so I'll close here. There are plenty more Berlin images to come though.

There's been lots of sadness during the weekend. My heart goes out to the people of Norway trying to make sense of the senseless.



21 Jul 2011

I thought I'd leave you with some photos of Split, the last place I visited in Croatia. I was only there for a day so I don't have many pictures from my time there. Our hotel was within the walls of the Diocletian Palace, a UNESCO heritage listed site.

It took us a little while, but soon we were able to navigate the little alleys like seasoned pros.

We had a view of the impressive cathedral from our hotel room.

I was up early on my last day in Split, so decided to visit the local fish markets.

I was there so early, I think I arrived before half the vendors had.

Next stop was the vibrant fruit and vegetable market - the biggest and best I saw in Croatia. Lots of tomatoes, cucumber, beans, capsicums, fresh herbs, peaches, plums and grapes. In the small side stalls you could buy bread, eggs, meat and cheeses. I bought some beautiful peaches and raspberries for my breakfast.

Most of the stall holders were ladies of a certain age, as were their customers.


Today is my last day in Berlin. Tomorrow I make the long trek home to Sydney and the holiday will be over. It's back to work again for me on Tuesday and a thousand domestic chores to attend to between now and then, so it will be a few days before my brain and body will be able to put together a post.

See you all again next week,


the croatian islands - korcula and hvar

20 Jul 2011

When I looked into visiting Croatia, I knew I wanted to sail around the Croatian Islands. Somehow that morphed into a week long trip which involved catching ferries between the islands. The 2 islands we visited were Hvar and Korcula, only 90 minutes ferry ride apart.

The 2 islands may be close but they were very different in character. Korcula seemed more relaxed and family friendly whilst Hvar was a party island all the way.

Korcula is a walled town similar to Dubrovnik but much smaller in size and without the killer hills. It's a tiny little place and it didn't take long to see the sights in the old town.

I visited a few of the little churches just off the main square.


In my travels found the local fruit and vegetable market and came home with some peaches and blackberries.

It was as hot in Korcula as Dubrovnik so we caught a bus to Lumparda to visit the beach, which involved a walk along a dusty road. Apart from the grape vines, I could have sworn I was in Mexico.

We had our best meal of the trip in a little farmhouse restaurant in a small village outside Korcula. I can still taste the slow cooked lamb and potatoes and the cheesecake. I'm trying to get a copy of the recipe so I can try making it at home. All too soon we were up with the sun to catch the boat to Hvar.

We arrived in Hvar a bit tired and completely unprepared for the hike up 162 stairs to our accommodation. It was as hot in Hvar as Dubrovnik so finding ways to keep cool was our prime concern.

The main square of Hvar is made from white marble and an old fort keeps watch over the city. 

The most glamourous looking yachts I've ever seen were docked at the marina or in the harbour including one belonging to a Russian squillionaire.

Despite the heat we had a visit planned to see the lavender fields. The terrain was incredibly barren - rocks, olive trees and lavender but not much else.

To cool off we caught a water taxi to the nearby Pakleni Islands for a swim in a rocky cover followed by a fish bbq before catching the last taxi back to Hvar.

I'm running late so I better dash.

See you all later,

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