Berlin Festival of Lights

It is delightful to enjoy my city in the dark thanks to this festival, running for 10 days in October every year. The buildings and monuments get a new shape, thanks to fantastic, recreational lights that tell a story, a music, facts and events connected to the city.

This year, like last year, shame that the city centre and Unter den Linden were still sacrificed and closed due to the construction of a new underground line but I found incredible the show at Posdamer Platz.

I leave you a generous amount of pictures (WordPress quality permitting) to judge yourselves.

 

Gendarmenmarkt

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Alexanderplatz

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Berliner Dom

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Brandenburger Tor (and its Microsoft-ish Powerpoint-ish show in a sea of admiring tourists)

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U.S. Embassy

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Potsdamer Platz – Yay Pop Art!

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See you soon..

Macau

You know, it’s like Macau in May.

A text, right after another one, beeped. I imagine the classic ‘Welcome to Macau! Make a call for billions/min and receive a call for other billions/min.” The standard text you really don’t want to get, because it’s always better you don’t know.

Only this text says “Hey darlin’, welcome in da house! Casino Golden A-hole is waiting for you with a free cocktail after the first 5 slot machines you will use”. My general feedback? what the beeeeep. How did they get my number? Where the hell I am? And this is just the beginning of disbelief.

We took a taxi. LOL, it was a rickshaw. Traffic, smog, casinos and us cycling to the city center, in a constant mix of excitement and fear. Our chaperon, still unknown which language he was talking, or how he managed to spare our lives from the homicidal run through cars and bus.

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Still shaking, the major square is wonderful, it’s Portugal all over it. The pastel walls, the stones on the ground and catholic churches and shops with pastels de nata..tears on my eyes. The flood of people brings you to the famous facade, ruins of a cathedral.

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The following 45 minutes are a hideaway of misplaced stupid actions! Who knew it’s pretty easy to smoke with chopsticks and to jump around mangroves? It’s May, it’s +30 degrees, it’s 99,9% humidity, it’s Macau.

We visit the fortress, at 1pm with some other tourist in desperate need of water, and from the roof we see glory and misery of this heartrending city. My camera lense along with my eyes fight the hot steam. Are we all crying in front of this fascinating decadent view? I reckon I have never seen richness and misery so melted in one another.

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Back to the humans, it’s time to take a deviation from the main street and find the most bad-ass buddist temple. Ace.

Time to fall in love with it that we visit the last point on the map, a lovely christian colony.

Macau in May is so tiring but intense that we forged a neologism “Like Macau in May” … suor e saudade, sweat and melancholy. Are we dead yet? We don’t know, but we are satisfied with everything we just survived. On the boat again, another travel is awaiting.

Please visit an extended selection of the picture I took in Macau on my Flickr page, just click here!

Dresden

I don’t have a bucket list.

I have things I want to do and see, but I tend to keep myself pretty open to what can come by accident and fate, so I have never been keen on pointing out on paper my desires. Desires changes, like your favourite song or city. Or better to me, desires duplicate, multiply, and sometimes you forget some of them for a while too. I prefer this state of mind, where I embrace everything I want, remember and look up for new stuff, so to keep my soul always on the chase.

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I went to visit Dresden on a quiet Sunday this early Fall. It has a very sizeable city centre and it’s possible to enjoy the trip in a day. I really adored the possibility to stroll along the river, to enjoy a piece of quiet on the city Brühl Terrace, to mingle with the people on the tables outside the restaurant.. There was a general atmosphere of lively joy thanks to Oktoberfest celebrations and Autumn street market, so the surroundings were simply lovely.

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When I was visiting the Gemäldegalerie in the afternoon, for my surprise, I was projected back 10 years at University.

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During my first year I took lots of classes, all art-related. I spent one entire month studying a “Camerino delle Pitture’, a room designed for the eye’s pleasures of the owner. To be specific, I studied Alfonso I d’Este’s Camerino and its five paintings, now around the world. I usually pay a visit to the National Gallery when in London just to have 10 minutes with the superb Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne that literally takes my breath away every time I see it, moreover its Ekphrasis (key-word in modern art, here’s the wiki page in case you’re new to it’s meaning in Renaissance Art) . That Camerino and its paintings were a triumph of glory, technics and meaning. It was a well paid investment for mind and body. You cannot imagine the utter emotion when I saw one of the paintings once in the Camerino on the wall of the museum. I forgot it was there and I must admit I felt so, so good just watching at it. Arts give you something more in your ordinary life and I am thankful every day to have chosen cultural studies as Bachelor, even if now this crisis have lead to mistakenly forget about it in favour of more effective by short-term solutions or jobs or interests. There in a room full of strangers and other paintings, I felt the fire in my veins again like -to steal Bloc Party’s lyrics-“a silent smile, a private kind of happiness”. After the visit, I didn’t celebrate with wine as Bacchus would suggest, but the smile stayed upon my face quite a long time.

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I hope you liked my story about the Gemäldegalerie…. If not, I leave you also this short view from the city of Dresden, Sachsen, Germany I recorded. Bis bald.

P.S. If I have some comments or many likes I might add more lovely picture of the city…Just let me know!

Temples

Temple comes from the Latin word “templum“, a structure dedicated to religious and spiritual activities.

We all feel the need to feel connected or meaningful in this beautiful crazy life, and it’s really fascinating, sometimes overwhelming to enter in a place considered sacred by others. I put together a collection of pictures (click here!) I took of temples in HK and Macau; there were too many to publish here, so I used you can find them on Flickr.

I hope you can see the beauty and the interest I saw through my eyes and camera.

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Strangers

I now admit the fact that, whenever possible, I take pictures of strangers. Is it weirdo-material? Maybeeeee.

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Or maybe not, let’s say I am just an enthusiast of all I had/have around. But please, promise me that if I turn my blog in a cats and dogs sanctuary you are going to call somebody very competent to cure me.

This is a little collection (click here!) of people, faces, actions I saw in Hong Kong and Macau back in May. Enjoy.

And remember that “people are strange when you’re a stranger

P.S. The freak in white skin is me…

Potsdam

Get on Sbahn S7 and cross the city centre, from East to West. Buildings, monuments, politics graffitis, Tiergarten, houses, railways and then BOOM: the forest. One of the best part of the trip to Potsdam is the ride, indeed.

The forest and its calm, then Potsdam and its glory.

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It is really worth a day there, even if – unlucky me – it was raining all the time.

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The city centre shows pretty little houses, delightful shops and bistros: the vibes are so amazing. And there is the Dutch neighbourhood, with its tiny red-bricks houses, ivy and flowers at the windows. LO-VE-LY.

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You can be well impressed just by the centre, and then you walk into the royal park. Oh my days. Gardens, creeks, flowers and centenarian trees. Sanssouci Palace is announced by a very beautiful fountain and stairs along the terracing hill full of fruit plants. I really like the effect of this hilly terrace with the one floor yellow castle because I think it’s a superb way to exhibit the power without being pompous at all.

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The garden then takes you to the other castle, in a delightful space: the general feeling is a very pleasant well being, without being ‘too much’.

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The tourist touch is, however, present and vivid, I saw a man playing a flute dressed up like, dunno, 1600 century gentleman. The local mill I guess it’s the most visited thing in Potsdam too. I am not a big fan of tourist stuff and queuing up activities, but this royal park offers so much space also a grumpy lady like me can’t really complain at all.

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General feedback? Go and visit Potsdam.  Really. Choose a late Spring or Summer day, enjoy a picnic, dedicate some time to the centre. And later, when you will take the Sbahn back feeling so regenerated you will feel the urge to thank me. You’re welcome.

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Apologies for the piccies, my mobile camera gives not its best during grey rainy day.

HK – take four

There was a song about Aberdeen, right?

I don’t remember the melody, nor the lyrics, but someone sang about that Scottish city, up there in the green. Before HK I didn’t even know there was also Aberdeen down there, to be honest. But it’s just at the other side of the island, one bus, a tropical forest in the middle, you’ll find it.

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Places of interest? Not so many, especially during monsoon.

Tourist stuff? Dunno, There is an aqua park, but in Summer.

Remarkable things to see? Nope, at least not in my knowledge. A science centre, maybe? I saw some traffic signals. But we saw a very big cemetery.

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Are you asking yourself why on Earth I went there?

Because so.

Because why not.

Because from the moment I got off the bus, I, a very white gal, realised I was the only white one among locals. It’s an incredible, beautiful, humble feeling.

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Tin Hau Temple

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Because I had an authentic Chinese food in a tipsy-wipsy smelling damn good tavern; everything tasted so bloody good and I could enjoy also a local soap opera on tv with all the people there. They were extremely kind with us, non-speaking hungry aliens. It was a great communion of sharing.

chinese food(sorry, I don’t take pictures before eating, I usually just eat and then remember to take it)

Impressive experience, just 30 minutes away from HK financial centre.

P.S. my travel guide smelled of fry for weeks.