Sunday Diaries-7

17 Jun

This was a week of lovely, touristy, travel. My family was visiting for a short European holiday (it was so good to see them!) and after seeing them off from Gottingen, I joined them in Berlin from where we went together to Prague. On Sunday the 7th of June, we parted; I went back to Gottingen and they went on to Austria.

It felt surprisingly great to ‘be back’ in Berlin. The familiarity of a repeat visit makes a place feel like home. There were moments of recognition as I passed stations that I had frequented so many times last year, around this time, when I had come to Gottingen to present a paper. I love Berlin. It may be touristy, but it is beautiful, warm and full of character. And cheap!

DSCN1116DSCN1150The Berlin Konzerthaus was grand, as was the rendition of Mozart and Beethoven by the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra.

DSCN1201WP_20150603_21_21_11_ProSome things had changed from last time. Bloch was missing.

DSCN1187Rosenthaler Strasse is like a secret garden in the midst of urban normality. It is close to Hackescher Markt, and amidst pricey brands there is a little alleyway that takes you to the very definition of ‘alternate’. There is graffiti, there are hipsters, there is the Anne Frank museum as well as Otto Weidt’s workshop. This is kind of what it looks like-

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Where Berlin-and Germany-is classy to my mind, Prague is shabby chic. Buildings with plaster falling off but oh my! Grand buildings! Quirky, and full of attractions almost made to cater to tourists.

DSCN1204 DSCN1206 WP_20150605_13_08_47_Pro WP_20150605_13_13_14_Pro WP_20150605_13_22_33_Pro WP_20150605_13_35_20_Pro WP_20150605_13_37_39_Pro WP_20150605_13_38_35_Pro WP_20150605_14_09_27_Pro WP_20150605_14_19_48_Pro WP_20150606_14_25_35_Pro WP_20150606_16_43_57_Pro WP_20150606_21_28_29_Pro WP_20150607_10_22_49_ProHistory jumps at you in the face in Prague, whether or not you are into history. It is old, it has many stories. Such as the fact that parts of the old town has an ‘underground city’. Old town was prone to getting flooded so when the new town was built, soil was dumped in the old town to raise its level. Consequently its ground floor became the new basement and the first floor the new ground floor. You can still see it, if you take a guided tour, or chance it out and scope out pubs and restaurants and shops.

Prague has public toilets everywhere-never to be under-appreciated!-cheapish accommodation and food and enough sights to keep anyone happy. For all its awesomeness, my personal vote still goes to Berlin. It is the right size for me.

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