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I spent 7 Euro for the privilege of going inside the Berliner Dom. Money so well spent.

 

So… This happened. I walked into the hotel and there’s this giant aquarium about 25 metre tall in the middle of of the lobby.

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Aqua Dom. I found this extremely amusing. Spent $15 Euro so I could get this pic.

 

A room with a view.

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What happens when a German, an Italian, a Dutch, an Asian Indian, an American and a Chinese walk into a traditional German cafe/bar/restaurant?

Have beers, lots of beers of course. Then make fun good-natured of each other’s country and other European countries that were not represented at the table.

#ProTip: For a greater does of fun, shout into the table “How about football?!” when with a European crowd and watch them ribbing each other.

When in Berlin. Muss man Bier und Schweineschnitzel haben.

When in Berlin. Muss man Bier und Schweineschnitzel haben.

We really enjoyed the food and atmosphere at Schwarzwaldstuben, a great, casual bar/restaurant specializing in Swabian food. Rothaus beers are really good. I don’t usually enjoy beer (gasp!) but I happily had 4? 5? I had Schweineschnitzel at almost every meal on this trip and none tasted as good as the gigantic one I had the luxury of polishing off on my own my first night in Berlin at Schwarzwaldstuben.

Of course, I paid the price of having Schweineschnitzel (basically fried porkchop) and beers at every meal for three days…

 

The Berliner Dom at night.

Berliner Dom & the moon

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Flying home from the Berlin airport was a very interesting experience. I marveled at it while at the gate area…

PSA: you’re to find out which gate your flight is departing from on a huge billboard while driving into TXL, ordered by departure time. Each gate has its own custom (2 windows) and there is always a long line. This is when status makes a huge difference. Once you pass custom, you’re in a tiny room with everybody. One pretzel stand. One tiny duty free shop that looks like it’s from the 70s. That’s it. No bathroom. I’m sitting here wondering what do we/they do when someone needs to go?!?!

When boarding came, a shuttle took us on a LONG tour of the airport and deposited us in the middle of the airfield, next to the runaway. My jaw dropped.

 

Thank you for the tour of the runway Air Berlin

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There you go…

Oversharing on the road.

p.s. Will continue until I get home and start the long winding road of unpacking and adjusting to time zone and crying myself to sleep because I don’t want to go back to work…

 

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Shoot

August 8, 2011

in through the looking glass

A couple of weeks ago, I was in downtown Chicago with my family. We do that from time to time: using the hotel points we racked up from business trips for a weekend in downtown Chicago. A Staycation. (Sorry for using the stupid buzz word) After a most satisfying lunch at Berghoff where I was surprised by one two of the best Tom Collins I’ve ever had.

Berghoff is billed as a historic restaurant in Chicago. A classic. A landmark. A local gem. You know what that means. That (usually) means it is a tourist trap and therefore I was not expecting much. Following the theme of Lowered Expectations, I was absolutely blown away when I took a sip of the Tim Collins. I have been looking for a good, old, solid Tom Collins for a while now, and I have been to quite a few places where the bar tenders actually asked me, “What is a Tom Collin?”  Not making this up. Little did I know that I would have found The Perfect Tom Collins that one afternoon when we sort of gave up and walked into Berghoff because it was still open for lunch at 3 pm and was not crowded.

After lunch, The Husband announced that he needed a nap. (Don’t say anything. I know. Ugh)  I looked at the boys, “Well, mommy is going shopping. Whom do you want to go with?” “Dad!”

*Cue evil genius laughter on my part*

That’s how I got two hours of Alone Time wandering around the Chicago loop area by myself.

The streets were mostly empty.  I took my time, walking slowly, deliberately, yet aimlessly.  Occasionally I would stop, whip out my phone to take a picture of something that struck my fancy. Lamp post. Intricate carvings on a building. Wrought iron works. Brass decor on top of an elevator door. Of course, my idea of me being a great street photographer trumps my actual photographic skills and that is why none of those photos are featured here. Believe me when I say that the images are whimsical and beautiful and fascinating when I have them framed like this with my mind:

Click. Click. Click.

Of course, while I was taking my leisurely stroll, I had no idea that the pictures were coughcoughcough so I was walking around with the aura and euphoria of a street photographer exploring the beauties around me.

At one point when I stopped to take pictures of a wall scone outside one of those gorgeous Chicago buildings, a guy doubled back to ask me whether I would like a picture with the wall scone. I laughed and explained that I was simply taking random pictures of random objects. “Because I am crazy like this.”

Oh, yeah. I do say things like that to random strangers. I am indeed crazy like this.

“If you like Chicago architectural details, you really should go into this building over there,” he pointed at a building not far from the crosswalk where we both stopped at the light. “It has an amazing lobby with all the original details intact.”

Alas. (See above).

But all was not lost because when I came out from the building, I spotted a bride and a groom being led by a real photographer towards a deserted intersection. I ran. I was shameless. By god I was going to get that shot of the photographer taking a picture of this couple standing in the middle of a Chicago intersection.

I had just watched the trailer to the documentary Bill Cunningham New York and I might have been mistakenly inspired…

How ironic would that photo be. How awesome!

But when I got to within the optimal (photo) shooting range, I could not raise my phone. I was shy. It felt awkward even though there were others taking pictures of them.

I couldn’t help but smile because it was a lovely sight and walked across the street away from the trio, trying to look as if I meant to cross the street all along. As soon as I turned my back toward then, the little voice piped up,

“God damn it! You need to get over this! Chicken!” I thought to myself. “They won’t mind. People gawk and take pictures of brides all the time.”

“FINE!” I turned around to snap a picture and then quickly walked away, as if I had done something wrong.

 

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Happy Monday. Or not.

July 18, 2011 through the looking glass

In case you are wondering what the hack is happening to this blog. “I did not sign up for a PHOTOBLOG! (not that anything is wrong with it…)” My dear readers, my most sincere apologies. (And if you are actually happy about not having to read my ramblings, you are absolutely welcome!) Just got back […]

12 comments

The Perfect Meeting

July 14, 2011 through the looking glass

 

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Vegas Baby

July 8, 2011 through the looking glass

Anybody interested in listening to more of my drunken tales? This time in Vegas? Well, no matter. I need to write this all down so I can relive my glory days when I am in my 80s… I sure do hope the Interwebs are still going strong “50” years from now… We had never been […]

13 comments

Homebody

December 29, 2010 random

Less than a year after we started dating, my husband brought me home to meet his parents during the winter break. Ever since that year, we have been spending Christmas at my in-laws in Maryland. The fact that my folks are not in the U.S. simplifies things since we don’t have to fight over which […]

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Sundays in My City – So This is Christmas

December 20, 2010 random

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Getting into the Holiday Spirit

December 10, 2010 a picture is worth a thousand words

Work. “Single mother” for two weeks. Business trip. Sick. Child hurting his foot by doing backflip on concrete floor. Suspicion of a broken foot. X-ray. Orthopedic surgeon. Good news: Not broken. Bad news: No other cure but time for the pain. Advent Calendar = Sweets first thing in the morning. Over-purchase of cookie doughs from […]

22 comments