A Travellerspoint blog

August 2015

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig.

After three days of travel under my belt from Berlin to Auckland, I was really pleased to have made it back to a sunny but coolish 14 degree Auckland afternoon. Everyone working at the airport managed to give a smile and a friendly word, and even the dogs who were smelling the luggage for God knows what, were happy at their job and wagging their tails. This year, the place felt like a really good place to call home. Coming back to.It is a good feeling and I hope the euphoria lasts for more than a few days.... This may or may not be ......................the end.

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Eighteen hour layover in Guangzhou

After a managable 11 hours sitting in the plane, it was a relief to walk around again in the Guangzhou airport. The immigration officers were so slow to work through the queues that I was stood in line for over an hour waiting to get my passport stamped. Eventually I passed through and got directed to a shuttle bus which took us through the city of Guangzhou for a long drive to our hotel accommodation. The neighbourhoods we passed through on the way were very third world looking with rubbish on the roadsides and neglected rundown tennement housing everywhere. It was with a sigh of relief that we pulled into a small side street which lead to a newish looking hotel where we were to stay for 12 hours until we had to return to the airport for the last leg of the trip to Auckland. Breakfast was included so I ate what I could of the chinese buffet and after a refreshing shower managed to get about seven hours sleep. My room was on the 20th floor so I was able to get a good view of the area around the hotel. Some places look better from on high, this wasn't one of them. It was a warm 30 degrees but the sun didn't appear through the heavy layer of smog ( probably industrial air pollution ) that lay over the place. The blocks of ugly concrete flats that made up the streets were badly streaked with black marks from the roof down, and later that evening as the sun set, there were very few lights to be seen anywhere. As we left for the airport the sky was lit with sheet lightening and it started to rain. I made a note to myself that there are some places in the world I didn't want stay for a week and live like a local. This was one of them.

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Overnight in Amsterdam

Took the train from Berlin at 10.30 and by 5.30 I was eating an expensive piece of lasagne for my dinner at a food outlet at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. I had booked a night at the Ibis Budget hotel which had a free shuttle to and from the airport, The room was good and it was fun to spend a couple of hours watching television before going to sleep. For some reason I have managed to stay in homes where there was no television or in some cases no television station with an English channel. The next day after breakfast I shuttled back to the airport went through all the airport dramas and waited around for my plane to Guangzhou ( which was another two hours late in leaving) At long last I was on a plane heading back home.

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

On wasteland, and through the barricades....

The title today comes from a Spandau Ballet song whose chorus goes " We made our love on wasteland, and through the barricades" They could have been writing about the location of my next visit to a famous Berlin art gallery. I got off the U2 at Potsdammer platz and walked up the stairs to the surface not knowing what to expect. Potsdamer platz from the end of WW2 to the fall of the Berlin Wall was a wasteland which the Wall bisected. It was a place of barbed wire, watchtowers, and barely concealed hostility between the factions who divided the spoils of the city of Berlin, as soon as the war had ended. Pink Floyd, in 1990, held their "Brick in the Wall" Concert in the emptiness that was Potsdamer platz (yet it is only a kilometre south of the Brandenburg Gate) Twenty five years later it is a vision of a shiny future with extensive glass and steel skyscrapers, shopping complexes, high end hotels and eating establishments. It is also home to several cultural landmarks like the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra centre, and the Gemaldegalerie. It was difficult to find the entrance to this amazing gallery. It's almost like they are trying to hide the fact that it is there. The building disappears into the background with only a flat roof and a set of stairs leading to a blank glass facade. On a hot summers day it was a blessing to finally step inside to an airconditioned coolness. I paid my NZ$16 but got free headphones with a really interesting commentary on several of the works on display. What a wonderful layout. There is a central gallery. To the right of the central gallery are the Northern European paintings arranged from the 13th to the 19th centuries. They contain works from German, Dutch, Flemish, English and French artists such as Van Eyck, Bruegel, Rubens, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, and Joshua Reynolds. To the left of the central gallery are artists from the Southern European Countries Italy, France, and Spain. Artists such as Caravaggio, Velazquez, Raphael, Titian, Botticelli, and Giotto as well as many others are shown here. Each room contains one or two masterpieces, which have been looked after so well they look like they could have been painted just a few years ago. This is especially true about the works from the 13th to the 17th century. You are able to get an idea of which artists were painting at the same time and how they often influenced each others work. I took three times as many photos as I am showing here, and it would take me forever to find out who painted each one of the ones on display. As I said the audio commentary was very interesting. For instance one of the paintings is of an older couple standing and eating a meagre meal of peas or corn. I found out that the French artist who painted this picture became very popular after his death. This caused the owner of the painting to have it cut down the middle into two individual paintings, which he sold at a large profit. The Gallery managed to buy them both and returned them to their original condition as one painting. Another painting done by Joshua Reynolds was originally of a mother and daughter with their Indian servant. The husband and father Lord Clive of India was painted at a later date on a spare strip of canvas which was then added to the painting. The reason was that the daughter died a year after the first painting and they wanted to create a full family portrait as a keepsake in her memory. Many of the paintings in this collection are turning points in the history of painting styles, and it was a treat to hear the inside stories about them This gallery was one of the finest and easiest to walk round that I have seen so far, and I would like to do it again next year because I have a feeling I missed out many of the rooms..

The wasteland today

The wasteland today


Potsdamer platz

Potsdamer platz


The Sony Centre

The Sony Centre


a series of towers with a central plaza

a series of towers with a central plaza


and legoland

and legoland


and fountains

and fountains


and 30 picture theatres

and 30 picture theatres


The Gemaldegalerie

The Gemaldegalerie


The home of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

The home of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra


Petrus Christus 1470

Petrus Christus 1470


Unknown #1

Unknown #1


Queen of Sheba and Solomon 1437

Queen of Sheba and Solomon 1437


#2

#2


#3

#3


#4

#4


#5

#5


Jan Van Eyck 1440

Jan Van Eyck 1440


#6

#6


#7

#7


Raising Lazarus from the dead

Raising Lazarus from the dead


#8

#8


Grab the apple and run

Grab the apple and run


#9

#9


#10

#10


#11

#11


Royalists in exile in Germany

Royalists in exile in Germany


Close up of the gown

Close up of the gown


#12

#12


#13

#13


Hello do not cross ze line

Hello do not cross ze line


#14

#14


Frans Hals 1620

Frans Hals 1620


#15

#15


They were cut in two then rejoined

They were cut in two then rejoined


#16

#16


#17

#17


#18

#18


#19

#19


Rembrandt

Rembrandt


closer look

closer look


#20

#20


Vermeer 1662

Vermeer 1662


Vermeer 1661

Vermeer 1661


Joshua Reynolds painting with a story

Joshua Reynolds painting with a story


#21

#21


20 rooms done, only 40 more to go

20 rooms done, only 40 more to go


I been there and it looked the same 300 years ago

I been there and it looked the same 300 years ago


Gainsborough

Gainsborough


#22

#22


nicely painted angel

nicely painted angel


the eye of the beholder

the eye of the beholder


titian

titian


titian

titian


Titian- portrait of Clarissa Strozzi 1542

Titian- portrait of Clarissa Strozzi 1542


closer look

closer look


Botticelli

Botticelli


Botticelli

Botticelli


Botticelli

Botticelli


#23

#23


#24

#24


study for venus

study for venus


Botticelli

Botticelli


Buddy bear

Buddy bear

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

We can be heroes, just for one day....

In 1987 David Bowie did a concert in Berlin where his stage was placed up against the West side of the Berlin Wall, which was still standing. The sounds of the concert filtered over into East Germany where thousands had gathered to cheer and sing along as an act of rebellion against the communist authorities. When he sung "Heroes", which is a song about two lovers who risk being shot by meeting at the wall to steal a kiss, he said it was like singing an Anthem in which everyone on both sides joined in. Looking from the outside ,it is not possible to imagine living in a city which had been divided, for so many years, by an impenetrable wall. It seems today that it must have just been a bad dream, a nightmare that the city awoke from. It seems today that it never happened, because on the surface the city has been seamlessly reconnected. How lucky are those born into a Berlin that is undivided. How painfully real must be the memories of those who experienced the long years of living in the shadow of The Wall. When they tore it down, they were all heroes, just for one day...

Gallery on the wall established 1990

Gallery on the wall established 1990


#1

#1


#2

#2


#3

#3


entrepreneur stamping passports for a fee #4

entrepreneur stamping passports for a fee #4


#5

#5


#6

#6


#7

#7


#8

#8


#9 My favourite

#9 My favourite


across the road

across the road


#10

#10


a deep river Spree by the wall

a deep river Spree by the wall


#11

#11


#12

#12


#13

#13


#14

#14


#14

#14


Part of a long painting #15

Part of a long painting #15


The other end #16

The other end #16


#17

#17


one of the purely abstract #18

one of the purely abstract #18


#19

#19


#20

#20


#21

#21


#22

#22


#23

#23


dfgyi

dfgyi


#24

#24


#25

#25


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#26


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#27


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#28


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#29


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#30


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#31


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#32


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#33


#34

#34


#35

#35


#36

#36


#37

#37


#38

#38


#39

#39


#40

#40

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Germany Comments (0)