Month: February 2014

Berlin: Jewish Museum & Charluttenburg Castle,

Our second excursion was to the Jewish Museum in Berlin.  Most people would instantly think this is a museum dedicated to the tragedy of the Holocaust, but actually it goes beyond the piece of history that we are all familiar with and goes deeper by taking visitors through a chronological journey of Jewish history before and after the Third Reich. The museum aims to broaden our perception of Jews in Germany by educating visitors on their culture, lifestyles, and important historical figures.  The building itself is designed by the same architecture behind the Royal Ontario Museum – David Libeskind.  People who are familiar with the ROM should be able to see some similar styles between the two buildings.  One of my favorite rooms is this gigantic sun room near the entrance.  I remember it being a very hot day and the heat from the rays made this glass covered room feel like an oven.  Did I mention most buildings in Berlin do not have air conditioning?  One of my favorite quotes.  One simple sentence can …

Berlin: Mosque, Shopping & Outdoor Market

Our first excursion was to a Mosque.  This was my second time visiting a Mosque, the first time being a field trip for my religion course in high school!  We learned some very interesting things about the architecture and the religion itself throughout the discourse of its history in Berlin. Outside is a graveyard displayed very openly and unapologetically.  The interior is very colorful, adorned with different shapes and patterns all with its own symbolic meaning   There is a lot of symbolism around Earthly elements.  But the thing I found the most fascinating is this huge chandelier hanging in the center of the Mosque.  The opaque orbs are actually ostrich eggs. They have a very practical use; to repel spiders and prevent the accumulation of webs near the top of the dome where it would be hard to clean.   Observing prayers After that we took off on a nice little walk towards our lunch destination at a traditional Turkish restaurant.  Our professor took us on a little detour into a (restricted) neighborhood backyard. …

Berlin: Activities & Sightseeing – Flea Markets, TV Tower and mobs

One of the first places I visited in Berlin was a popular flea market in Mauerpark on Eberwalder str. (get off U-bahn Bernauer Str.).  It’s a great place to check out on Sundays when most shops are closed in Berlin.  The flea market is HUGE and complete with a large array of food trucks and every possible object you can imagine.  Everything from clothes to tribal jewelry to lamps and typewriters. Here’s a snack cart that was churning out freshly sliced and deep fried potato chips on skewers Rows and rows of STUFFFF I thought these old school cameras were kind of cool. While most stalls were nicely set up and attempted to be visually attractive, this corner just was the junk pile where one man’s trash becomes another man’s treasure.  I only really glanced at most of the stuff as I always had to keep in mind my limited luggage space but if I had spent more time diligently sorted through the boxes, I think I’d find some real gems. This is the view …

Germany: Good Eats Pt 2 (Restaurants)

Although Berlin has an abundance of street food, one cannot ignore the many restaurants the city has to offer for some quality dishes and tasty German beer. When I think German food, I instantly think sausages and pork knuckle.  One of the first proper places I ate at was a traditional restaurant recommended by a friend called Mutter Hoppe.  It was a beautiful day and we sat outside in the comfort of the lazy afternoon sunlight.  I tried a wheat beer which was pretty much overflowing with foam and it had a very interesting aftertaste.  It’s very difficult to describe the taste of beer using words but it’s very different your typical mainstream brews. Of course we had to sample their pork knuckle which came in a huge slab of meaty goodness served with traditional sauerkraut, potatoes and peas.  The meat was literally falling apart and it tasted heavenly with the caramelized saurerkraut. Their sausages were alright.  I’m not usually a fan of sauerkraut but I found myself reaching for forkful after forkful of the …