Photo of the Week: Freedom

IMG_4979Dachau, Germany

Standing at the entrance of the Dachau concentration camp, it’s impossible to remain unemotional. This place in particular, brings to life the inhumanity of Hitler’s regime. This was the first of the Nazi concentration camps opened in 1933 by Gestapo Chief Heinrich Himmler, and was used as a prototype for the many others that sprang up around Europe.   Over 200,000 Jews and other political prisoners were imprisoned here until the camp was finally liberated on April 29, 1945. The the iron gate with the ironic motto “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work will set you free”) belied the horrors that happened inside.  Once you entered, the only freedom was death.

Every Monday of each week, I’ll share a photo with you from my adventures around the world and at home.  Most of my photos have little or no post processing.  If you would like to see more, please click the ‘Follow’ button.

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Photo of the Week: Walkway

IMG_5971Dresden, Germany

Last year, on our whirlwind trip around Eastern Europe, we visited Dresden, a small town in Germany with an interesting history.  It used to be the capital of Saxony before getting completely destroyed by bombers during WWII.  Most of the historic center has been reconstructed over the years to bring it back to its former glory.  

One of my favorite places is the Zwinger palace, the most beautiful structure you’ll see in Dresden or perhaps even Germany. The buildings are connected by a series of walkways that are lined with an interesting mix of Rococo sculptures and statues.  This particular path passes right over the Crown Gate, the well-known entrance into the interior courtyard.  

Every Monday of each week, I’ll share a photo with you from my adventures around the world and at home.  Most of my photos have little or no post processing.  If you would like to see more, please click the ‘Follow’ button.

Photo of the Week: Towers

IMG_2368Cologne, Germany

From the the other side of the Rhine River, you can clearly see the towers of Cologne Cathedral.  They are visible from every point in the city center, dominating the skyline. Not only is this magnificent structure the pride of Cologne, it is also Germany’s most visited landmark, attracting tens of thousands of people every day.  

Every week, I’ll share a photo with you from my adventures around the world and at home.  Most of my photos have little or no post processing.  If you would like to see more, please click the Follow button.

A Day in Dresden

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On our way to Prague, we took a small detour and spent a few hours in Dresden. Stepping out of the train, we could see that it was going to be a dreary day and we were clearly not dressed warm enough since the sky was overcast and threatening to rain. I was sick like a dog, fighting a cold that I had since our first day in Europe and couldn’t seem to shake off, so our first stop was the pharmacia to see if we could get some good ole German medication. Through some stilted communication on my part, the pharmacist suggested some lozenges which were supposed to help me sing. I don’t know about singing, I’d settle for just talking.

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Dresden was the capital of old Saxony.  It was home to many Saxon princes and kings for hundreds of years, the most famous of them being August der Starke (Augustus the Strong), whose kingdom included Poland. But it is best known for the controversial blitz attack by Allied forces in 1945 when the entire city center was razed to the ground, killing over 25,000 people.  Dresden had weathered the war, and since then many of the destroyed buildings have been painstakingly reconstructed and restored to their former glory: the Zwinger was rebuilt in 1964, the Semper Opera house in 1985, and most famous landmark of Dresden, the Frauenkirche was completed in 2005. Today, the city has regained much of its original charm, and hosts over 10 million tourists a year.

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Photo of the Week: Fairy tale

IMG_5180Hohenschwangau, Germany

Neuschwanstein, one of the most famous castle in Europe was built for the famously reclusive Ludwig II as a retreat.  This castle, was where the misunderstood Swan King withdrew into a fantasy world of his own creation. The romantic architecture combined with the idyllic surroundings evokes images of fairy tales, so it’s no surprise that it was the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle.  This picture was taken from the nearby Marienbrücke where you can get the full view of the castle set against the clear lake.

Every week, I’ll share a photo with you from my adventures around the world and at home.  Most of my photos have little or no post processing.  If you would like to see more, please click the Follow button.

11 Things to do in Berlin

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With its unique history, Berlin is a city like no other.  A broke metropolis at the end of the First World War, Berlin began to thrive in the Twenties leading the way in avant-garde art, music and literature.  With Hitler’s rise to power, the city became the base for the Third Reich.  After the Second World War, Berlin found itself occupied by the Allies and embroiled in the Cold War. The city was further divided with the erection of the Berlin Wall that cut it through its heart. From a crumbling city after the Cold War, Berlin rose from its ashes as the Wall fell in 1989.  The iconic images of Berliners celebrating the reunification are famous around the world representing the dawn of a new era for Germany. Continue reading

Berlin: Street Arts

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Art critic Emilie Trice has called Berlin “the graffiti Mecca of the urban art world.”  In addition to the artwork of the East Side Gallery, Berlin is rich with lots of beautiful street art throughout the city. Everywhere you look—from the walls of buildings, to doorways and even garbage cans—you’ll find murals, stencils, paste-ups, and many other artistic experiments staring back at you. The colorful public art helps to brighten the cityscape and inspires Berliners and visitors. Evolving trends result in an evolving art scene.

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Berlin: East Side Gallery

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I love street art. So when I was in Berlin, I couldn’t pass up a chance to explore the stirring art of East Side Gallery that has come to represent Germany’s turbulent history between East and West. This large open-air gallery is an international symbol of freedom. It is the longest remaining part of the Berlin Wall at 1.3 km long and located along the banks of the river Spree in Friedrichshain borough. After the Wall was brought down in 1989, artists came from around the world to transform the gray barriers into 105 paintings, each a testimony to victory of the human spirit. Continue reading

Berlin: Free Walking Tour

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The best way to explore a new city is always on foot.  Based on prior trips to Europe, I knew that Sandemans offers great walking tours.  So while in Berlin, we made it a point to reserve a spot on their FREE city tour.  The tour is the perfect introduction to Berlin and helps you orient yourself to navigate the city.  The tour is offered in English and Spanish at four different times daily, each one lasting about 2.5 hours. A lot of people sign up, so make sure you book in advance to ensure a space.  On our tour, about 100 people showed up and we were quickly divided into smaller groups of 20-30.

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Eating in Berlin

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Germany is a country known for its food — from massive schnitzel to juicy currywursts to giant steins of beer. That was what I had expected to eat for the entirety of my trip to Berlin, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that this German capital is a full-fledged culinary metropolis with amazing diverse food from all over the world.  Shows how much I know!  It’s true that these are not your typical “German food” places, but Berlin has become an international city, and its food reflects that status. It’s going to be a long post, so let’s get started.  Here are a few of my favorite places to eat in Berlin: Continue reading