g o , g e n , g o

the persnickety pioneer!

Posts tagged travels

1 note &

Berlin, Germany

image

Berlin is one city I did not expect to love as much as I did. From what people say about it, especially from Europeans themselves, Berlin was cast as an “ugly” city. But I found it to be strange and kind of eclectic—a quirky metropolis built atop and over a war-torn city.

image

image

image

image

image

image

It may not be romantic like Paris or epic like Rome, but in a way, it is a city that has been rebuilt, and is still trying to find its identity, amid the aftermath of WWII.

image

image

image

image

Berlin also happens to be one of the greenest cities in Europe. A large percentage of the city is park area, so you are sure to stumble across a patch or two of trees and greenery wherever you go.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

We stopped at one of the landmarks of Berlin and of the war: the Berlin wall. A segment of it, at least.

image

It broke my heart to hear about all the stories involving the division into East and West Berlin. But I was fascinated as well with the stories of escape.

image

image

image

Now the wall stands as a memorial of sorts, a reminder.

image

image

Obligatory two-places-at-once shot: one foot in East and one foot in West Berlin

image

image

The remnants of the wall look as pained as its past.

image

After the wall, we drove around more parts of the city on the way to Checkpoint Charlie, another historic point of interest.

image

image

image

Checkpoint Charlie is known for being the gate between the east and west.

image

image

image

Around the checkpoint, souvenir items abound: coins, bags, shirts, whathaveyou.

image

image

image

image

Drove across town to the famed Brandenburg Tor (Gate), another monument in Berlin.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

The Brandenburg Gate at the end of the boulevard

image

The Gate!

image

It was rebuilt/restored after WWII. And since then it has become a landmark in Berlin—where presidents made speeches and other such acts.

image

Then suddenly, a bear and a soldier.

image

image

image

After we visited the Brandenburg Tor, we drove back through the city to stop again at the Kurfurstendamm or the “Ku-Damm”, Berlin’s main street for shopping etc.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

I love the Ku-Damm because there are at least 4 H&Ms within steps of each other (lol) and the energy there is just amazing and infectious.

image

image

image

image

image

Simply put, I just love Berlin! It may come across as rough around the edges, not as traditionally European or quaint as a lot of other capitals, but it has its own charm and undeniable energy. Some might say it’s sort of a hipsterish place, and I could agree—from the street art to the eclectic architecture to the youths you see in the streets.. There’s something definitely “hip” (not necessarily hipster) and fresh about the city, and I can’t wait to go back!

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

Filed under europe europe 2012 europa travel travels 2012 berlin germany deutsch deutsche deutschland wwII world war 2 world war brandenburg berlin wall city european metropolis hipster checkpoint charlie war cold war post war central europe 2012

0 notes &

Dolls by Cappadocian Women, Cappadocia, Turkey

One of my favourite arts & crafts finds in Turkey were these handmade dolls which are some of the main products of the Cappadocian women in the area, in addition to weaving, pottery, etc. They sew and make these gorgeous dolls with their own local fabrics, in the look and style of the typical Cappadocian woman—there are dolls with clay pots, yarn, etc.

Needless to say, I grabbed a handful to bring home with me! They’re pretty affordable, considering that they are handmade, but also quite fragile especially if you get the ones with clay pots (which I did). Outside Sarhatli, this stall sold plenty of dolls, as well as a whole slew of stalls across the street (I so badly wanted to buy at least one doll from each stall but we ran out of time and I was only able to buy from this one).

HOW CUTE are those dolls (not to mention the leaning tower of dolls)!

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

Filed under travel travels eurasia turkey 2011 turkey turkiye cappadocia crafts arts and crafts arts handmade dolls handicrafts turkish

2 notes &

Underground City of Sarhatli, Cappadocia, Turkey

In an area near the volcanic formations in Cappadocia, there are clusters of underground cities and settlements. One such city is Sarhatli.

These cities can typically go as deep as 13 storeys deep (!), but the safe depth for tourists was up to 3 storeys. It was pretty cool how ingenious the nomads were, burrowing air shafts and everything in the soft rock.

Here is my brother, playing around and going in and out of the carved doorways

The rooms are quite sparse and rough, but it was still so fascinating

We got to go down around 3 levels (not for the claustrophobic!), and the lower we got, the thinner the air was and the narrower the passages were. The steps were pretty slippery because the rock was soft and crumbly.

This is an example of their common room. Back then i think they probably used candles, with the smoke going out through the air shafts

One of the steep passages, now with a metal ladder so tourists can go through

One of the air shafts

Some of the passages were so low and narrow that you really had to walk sideways or duck your head! (That’s my mom down there btw)

Outside, the entrance to the city is blocked with boulders and the natural landscape

You can get souvenirs carved from the Cappadocian soft rock!

The famous Turkish “evil eye”—to watch over and protect you!

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

Filed under turkey 2011 turkey turkiye sarhatli underground city ruins history site ancient archaeology travel travels cappadocia

1 note &

Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican City, Italia

St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most visited and popular pilgrimage/tourist sites of the Catholic world. Over the course of my four or so visits to the place, I still haven’t quite gone around the entirety of the basilica. With hoardes of tourists bustling about all day, not to mention the long lines filing into the basilica, sometimes you’re left with not that much time to really explore the inside.

Usually, if you join a group tour, a visit to St. Peter’s is a staple when Rome & Vatican City are on the itinerary. But because there is just sooo much to see and do and eat in Rome, there often isn’t much time devoted to a single place, St. Peter’s included. We actually had about 5 minutes inside the actual basilica (after a 2 hour or so wait in line) running around taking random photos like maniacs. These photos are when we went back after our tour (since we stayed in Rome for ten more days after) and gave ourselves ample time to really look at the artworks, walk (not run!) around and just absorb everything. Albeit, we still weren’t able to see everything, but at least we had more time than we normally did.

(Photo Above & Below) The famedPieta,depicting Mary cradling Jesus’ body after his death and crucifixion. The details, especially the lifelike flow and movement of the cloth, is just one of the awesome aspects of the works of masters of yore.

All around the basilica, little “chapels” line the halls. Marble columns, gold, and religious (and some might argue, masonic) iconography abound!

Cool emblem things like these are also to be found

This roof thing is the altar, and where the Pope is at when he holds mass here

Sewage type grates, also in gold

Statues of past Popes and their surrounding saints, angels, etc.

I love this metal wallpaper-like pattern. Kinda baroque ish.

Lots of light gorgeously filtering into the hallowed halls.

Everything here is just so ornate and rich. It’s actually ironic that the beautiful (and very very valuable & expensive) artifacts and architecture and properties of the Catholic Church that pilgrims and tourists all visit and revere today are the result of the manipulations, conquests, blackmail, bribery and other shady deeds of past popes, who used taxpayers’ and religious devotees’ money to amass incredible wealth and expand the Church’s reign. (Saw that on the discovery channel haha)

Makes you wonder how extreme the Church’s propaganda was in the olden times when Twitter and Facebook and the internet weren’t in existence yet. Ha.

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm + 24-70mmL

Filed under roma rome italy italia europe europa travel traveling traveler travels euro church catholic basilica cathedral saint peter st. peter's basilica di san pietro san pietro christian pope history italy 2010

0 notes &

Agzikarahan Caravansery, Cappadocia, Turkey

The place that I was most excited to visit during our trip to Turkey was the region of Cappadocia. Based on books I’d read and photos I’d seen online, it was this strangely awesome, almost alien-like region full of gorgeous landscapes and unique formations.

When the day finally came that we would be driving east to Cappadocia, I was beyond psyched. After an ice cream stop in Mado, our first excursion was to the Agzikarahan Caravansery.

Back in the old days, this was used as a rest stop of sorts for caravans (as the name implies), where merchants and their horses and wares could stop for the night. Today it is in ruins, but still fascinating and filled with character.

Look at those stairs! We actually climbed up to get to the roof of this structure, and man were they narrow and crumbling!

Inside, the stables and halls for horses

A pattern of rocks on the wall where stairs used to be

Courtyard lined with arches

Inside, the ground and rocks are covered with bat and pigeon droppings

Looks like scenery right out of the Prince of Persia or something, doesn’t it?

Feathers

Oculus

Up the stairs we go!

And there’s me and my brother, the two tiny heads sticking out over the structure. A challenging climb, it was.

View from the top—that’s my sister down there, who didn’t want to risk the lives of her precious camera equipment with the teetery climb

The caravansery was really a cool, adventure-film-setting sort of place. I definitely can see haute couture shoots or action films here!

The caravansery is located in “Agzikara”, Cappadocia :)

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

Filed under agzikara agzikarahan caravan caravansery cappadocia turkey turkey 2011 turkiye travel travels eurasia prince of persia adventure action

2 notes &

Weimar, Germany

Guten morgen, from Germany! I just had to keep this cute breakfast napkin from our hotel in Frankfurt. This day—it was a long drive from Frankfurt to Berlin, stopping by the town of Weimar (Vay-mahr), home of the school of Bauhaus.

It’s a cute little town, and it was freezing too. We had a few hours here, and most of it was spent snapping photos and blowing on our hands for warmth.

I love this building—so vintage/antiquey cool!

Outside a cafe, we spotted these three chilling with ice cream cones in hand

Quaint walking street

Bright yellow building

Another bright yellow building with salmon accents

The Bauhaus museum

Town center

Statue of Goethe and Schiller

Quaint street with shops

Flowers!

Hotdogs!

Cute pink apothecary building

Important-looking building

Huge shaggy black dog

Can you guess what this is? a GYM!!! How cool is that.

Another hotdog stand

About town

My brother goofing around on the benches. Composite of 5 photos.

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

Filed under bauhaus deutschland europe eurotrip german germany quaint town travel travels weimar europe 2012 central europe 2012 central europe

0 notes &

Mevlana Museum, Konya, Turkey

Before turning in for the day, we stopped by the Mevlana Museum in Konya, Turkey

Photos were not allowed inside, unfortunately, but it was a pretty boring stop.

Outside, the museum is of a typical mosque architecture

As usual with mosques and other places of Muslim worship, there is a set of water taps where people can cleanse themselves before going in

The most interesting items on display were these ancient books that featured a style of art called “miniature art” which isn’t what you’d imagine—not the Where’s Waldo type of miniature art, but detailed little oriental illustrations which were carefully inked and painted in. Really really gorgeous.

Parting view:

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

Filed under turkey 2011 turkey turkiye eurasia mediterranean mevlana museum konya travel travels muslim mosque worship holy pilgrim pilgrimage

1 note &

Frankfurt, Germany

Last April, my family joined a tour of Central Europe which began in Frankfurt, Germany. The last time I’d been to Germany before this year was ten years ago, in 2002! I was thirteen O_O

We were mostly in the black forest/rhineland area, stopping by Cologne, Heidelberg, and some other places I can barely remember. So I was glad to be able to visit some more cities this time around.

We had nothing planned for the day we arrived, but since we got to Frankfurt early in the morning, we decided to just wander around the area near our hotel, which was outside of the old town.

It was Sunday, so in European fashion, practically everything was closed. We spent a good two or so hours just looking for a place to eat!

We found a Chinese restaurant nearby, but it was pretty deserted and expensive too! Not to mention the spelling on the sign wasn’t too encouraging…

One of the things I love about Europe are the quirky signs!

The streets were pretty empty.

Finally, a ways off from the area of our hotel, a strip of tiny establishments were open! And naturally, where do we gravitate but towards Italian food!

Fresh from the oven!

Looking at these now is making my mouth water! Nothing like freshly baked pizza & pasta, even if it’s Italian food made in Germany!

After lunch, we came across this area of town which looked like a mini beer/pub town. The entire place was fashioned after traditional German houses (with those criss-crossy wood things), although everything was closed!

Signs like these confirmed our suspicion that this was an after-hours sort of place ;P

It was a cute area though, still picturesque and full of oddities and curious signs!

My brother took the opportunity to have profile pics taken, of course! How could he not, with such awesome graffiti backgrounds?

What cool, colorful graffiti—modern but somehow still classic German!

I love this step!

And how strangely colorful are these cigarette butts and confetti against the cobblestones?

My brother trying to copy the graffiti sticker’s face

A pub called “hot” had these funny cartoony tablecloths in scorching red and yellow!

And a cool Irish pub on the corner, too! I’ve always been a fan of Celtic prints and designs :)

Don’t you love the streaming light effect? Makes it all the more legit.

Adorable little pubs and establishments abound.

See the Filipino words in the photo below? I swear, I always come across at least one fellow countryman when in Europe. One day Filipinos will definitely rule the world.

One of my favourite pubs was this Snow White/ Fairytale-like one!

Tumbling vines, stone walls, towers and turrets? How cool is that!

The lighting here was kinda horrible though. We caught it at the harshest point of the sunlight! That’s why the shadows and colors in the photos are kinda whack.

After going around this mini town, we decided to try to find a McDonald’s, which according to a local was open on Sundays. Man, were those street signs WRONG! Hahaha we must’ve followed those arrows leading to Mickey D’s for over two hours! It led us one way and another, and we walked endlessly up and downhill, around in circles, to deserted neighborhoods, and whatnot. Not a great start for our feet especially for a month-long trip!

Finally we found ourselves at a train station! Suburbia! Definitely not Mickey D’s.

We finally did manage to ask another local for directions, and we eventually found the glowing golden arches. Forgot to take a photo, but at least we got dinner!

Another German thing? Mezzo mix! It was recommended by a friend, and it’s basically a fizzy mix of Coke and Fanta. Pretty addictive! We had it with practically every meal we ate in Germany, since it’s so readily available in convenience stores, groceries, and whatnot. Definitely a must when in Deutschland!

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm + 24-70mmL

Filed under beer deutschland europe europe 2012 eurotrip frankfurt germany travel travel blog travels german central europe 2012