Wasting no time in our effort to dive back into the Berlin atmosphere, we got up early, ate a quick breakfast and walked to the East Side Gallery to check out the hundred plus murals that line a 1.3km section of the wall that’s still standing.
Then we made our way to Checkpoint Charlie and took a tour of the museum there. All super fascinating stuff! (Although no photography allowed inside the museum!)
We then met up with Sonja and Nina for a Berlin special: Currywurst. Yum yum yum! Before walking to the original airstrip where the allied forces operated the Berlin airdrop supplying West Berlin with all the supplies they needed to run the city for over a year!
Mind you, today the Tempelhof Airfield has been turned into a park (complete with a baseball diamond!), and lots of places to rest to grab a beer and relax… (I *may* have taken a nap at this point)
The girls did a bit of train surfing on our way to dinner…
Before we we found an incredible location on the water to enjoy the ending of a beautiful day in Berlin.
On our second day, Alex and I really started to settle into this (admittedly very touristy) Parisian way of life.
We ate slow meals along the busy streets, cruised the walls of the Seine, enjoyed the modern and contemporary art at the Pompidou Center, treated ourselves to an amazing steak and frites at a local institution, and found the time to really soak in two amazing cathedrals… Including the Notre Dame while a Sunday mass was in session..
We started our first day in Paris with a roundabout walk from our hotel to the Musee D’Orsay… Passing farmers markets, the Notre Dame, Hotel De Ville, Centre Pompidou, Les Halls, & Pont De Arts bridge.
After a few hours at the museum, we walked to the Eiffel Tower and took more than a few obligatory photos there.
Then we walked along the Seine to the Champs-Élysées where we enjoyed some of the world’s best ice cream in the most perfect setting.
More walking… Through the Louve and on to a wonderful cafe where we spent a few hours enjoying good food and drink while waiting for the sudden summer downpour to pass. It never did, so we took the metro back to the hotel.
After my mother hopped on a bus for Český Krumlov, Alex and I decided to spend the day wondering Prague, eating ice cream, taking photographs, and staying hydrated with lemonade, coffee and beer… And it was wonderful!
We crossed the Vltava River multiple times, enjoyed the spectacular views from the Vyšehrad castle, took the metro, ate dinner near old town. And then hopped on a late night flight to Paris where we’ll spend the next three days!
With my mother, a most wonderful professional photographer, joining us in this leg of our adventure, it’s safe to assume we spent the majority of our time playing with photography. I came away with a much better appreciation of how to work my new camera including some things that are probably basic to most photographers, but were all new to me.
My favorite example is that I learned how to blur the background and/or keep it in focus when taking portraits. Here’s an example of each:
However, while in such a beautiful city, I think I’ll keep my writing to a minimum and share the stories through photos.
Alex and I woke up this morning with a wonderful breakfast of coffee and pastries in the quiet of old town Dresden… We then headed off to the former residence of the Saxony royal family that’s now a museum called Residenzschloss loaded with incredible artifacts from the spoils of hundreds of years of royalty.
The most popular part of the museum is the historic green vault that includes jewelry, vases, statues, etc… Although my favorite area was the section with ivory mechanical clocks, where I learned my new favorite word: wunderwerk. Sadly, there are no photos inside the castle/museum as we had to check our camera at the door.
Next, we hopped in a train to Prague!
Funny, but after a few days in Berlin and Dresden, I hadn’t realized just how much Germany felt relaxing and stress free (and non-touristy) until we landed in the Meyhan of Prague… In the middle of a Jazz fest!
Of course the highlight of our entry into Prague was meeting up with my mother, who had reserved a most wonderful AirBnB unit in the heart of Prague. Definitely lots of adventures ahead!
Alex and I woke up early in order to catch a morning tour of the Reichstag. Although a temporary downpour put a bit of a damper on our ability to capture photos of the Berlin skyline, the views were amazing and the audio guide gave a ton of fascinating insights into the history, architecture, growth and rebuilding of Berlin.
Right after our Reichstag tour, Alex and I rushed to the train station to catch an express train to Dresden, where we spent the afternoon soaking up the amazing blend of old and new world architecture.
After picking Alex up from the airport, the three of us took a tour of Berlin that involved buses, subways, streetcars and a healthy dose of walking from Plenzlaur Berg to Alexanderplatz to the Brandenburger Gate. We ended the day with an entertaining (and only slightly wet) meal in the Gesundbrunnen neighborhood.
Walking between the formally divided West and East Berlin throughout the day, the most striking element for me is just how much it feels like we were passing right through major historical events at every turn.
Still feeling the love of a new toy, Peter and I took an evening walk around Santa Monica that ended up lasting more than three hours. I could barely pry the camera away from him as he took photo after photo.
This morning, we went through the photos and these are his favorites. Except for the few that I noted as taken by me, all photo credit belongs to Peter!
At Santa Monica City Hall
As a bonus, Peter also spent the day hanging out with me and took some great photos from our the Dun & Bradstreet office (and our home!). Here’s some highlights.
Fresh with the new DSLR in hand, Sonja and I took a trip up to the Griffith Observatory where we knew the views would be amazing… and conveniently, we found the Berlin Forest less than a 1/4 mile away!
We made it! (Not one of the more stressful hikes around…)
Checking out Hollywood from the Berlin Forest
Sonja in the Berlin Forest
Sonja in the Berlin Forest
She was so patient with me as I played with setting after setting…
Yes… Holding the (comparatively large) Nikon for a selfie can be a bit awkward… but think we did good! 😉
Views of Downtown from Griffith Observatory didn’t disappoint
Not always so easy to give up the Nikon
Alex says we look happy here… I’ll take it.
This is where the extended lens really shines
Ghetto Bird Flying High above Los Angeles
Sonja captured this wonderful photo of the balloon floating over Downtown Los Angeles