Sunday, 28 April 2013

See Mona Lisa at the Louvre

I chose this because it seemed like the most challenging thing to do in Paris with the rumored two hour lineup just to get in, the astronomical size of the Louvre and my crowd impatience.

Adding to the pressure was a swollen knee for a week leading up to my visit that I couldn't stand on for long, couldn't bend and had trouble just walking let alone dealing with stairs!

All that taken into account from when I got to the entrance to being front row at this renown painting took all of twenty minutes! I even got to push my way through the crowd from left to right just to make sure her eyes followed me. Yes, they did.

The real challenge turned out to be the Eiffel Tower. I did not make it to any level of the tower, on both occasions I visited the lineups were at least three hours.

But! On the first evening I was there I was treated to an incredible sight when just after sunset and just before the lights came on, a huge yellow full moon rose behind the Tower, an incredible sight I will not forget and unfortunately is not conveyed in the photos.

Of course a visit to Paris would not be complete without paying my respects to Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison at the Pere Lachaise Cemetry.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Hansa Tonstudio

I saw a documentary years ago on Bowie and Iggy and their Berlin years (76-78 when the wall was still up for the recording of Low, Lust for Life and The Idiot). The thing that caught my attention was the studio, in particular the room and technique used for the vocals on Heroes.

My good Berliner friend Ganesha, set me up for a special Bowie tour seeing the studio and Bowie and Iggys old apartment, cafe, restaurant and favourite clubs ending with a Bowie exhibition.

Bowie nicknamed the live room in the studio the "big hall by the wall" because the room is huge and at about 400m you could see the guards in the towers on the wall from the control room window. In a huge list of other artists associated with Hansa are Depeche Mode, Nick Cave and U2.

Berlin Wall

So much to do here but the main piece of history I wanted to see was the Berlin Wall.

This is the last stretch of the wall still standing in its original place (they've relocated some other parts elsewhere) it's about 500m long with a watchtower and secondary walls with the dead zone in the middle.

As well as a few lesser known icons of course I also had to see Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, the Hall of Tears and the Ramones museum.

Also thanks to Ganesha for a personal tour through Kreuzburg the area known for activists, hippies, artists, punks and squatters - my kind of town!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Auswitch and Birkenau

It may have had something to do with the time I arrived but Krakow was stunning. A late winter means I arrived with fresh green grass after the snow cleared but all the trees were bare. The people out in parks, strolling the streets were so happy enjoying the sun and blue sky after the winter months, it was infectious.

So much culture and history it reminded me of Prague but even more laid back. Punk and metal posters, castles, ruins and churches. Everything was cheap, and the girls, again, were stunning!!

I wrote that because I don't have much to say about Auswitch and Birkenau, it is a personal journey.