Posts Tagged With: Street art

My Heart, My Soul, My Berlin

Where A Wall Once Stood

Where A Wall Once Stood

As I continued making the rounds in Germany with my travel weary soul, I never in a million years would have suspected that I was about to set foot in a city that would turn my world upside down.  Truth be told, despite all the rave reviews, I had yet to find a city in Europe that I felt an instant connection with.  The moment I took my first step in Berlin, that all changed as the love affair began at first sight.  It was gritty, vibrant, and all-encompassing while being entrenched in history at every turn that left me wanting more.  As quickly as I expressed my fondness of Berlin, I had someone tell me that I only liked it because I had an appreciation of street art and they themselves disliked the city because it was dirty and ugly since graffiti was everywhere.


Great Work On A Street Sign

Great Work On A Street Sign

Turns out beauty is really in the eye of the beholder as one of my favourite daytime activities during this trip was a street art tour.  The tour that I’m talking about is a free tour given by Alternative Berlin Tour.  After a little difficulty locating the meeting spot (truth be told, an issue with the 3 people looking for the meeting spot and had very little to do with the location itself), we soon discovered there were 2 guides and an army of people looking to go on the tour.  With a bigger group than usual, the 2 guides divided the group up at random and me and my buddies wound up in David’s group.  He’s a street artist from Berlin who had taught himself how to speak English (rather well I might add) and was now our fearless leader.  Before long, we were off at lightning pace to see what he enjoyed the most about the city and being a Berliner.  It was here that I was introduced to Alice and El Bocho’s Little Lucy.  As we walked up and down streets, it was easy to get absorbed by the art that was all around us and then David would point out something small that would remind us of the WWII legacy that is ever-present in Berlin.

Chipped Brick Not Paint

Chipped Brick Not Paint

Portrait Of His Daughter

Portrait Of His Daughter

A Reminder Of The Past

A Reminder Of The Past

We ducked in and out of alleyways and took quick peaks into galleries before hitting the streets again.  We jumped onto the U-Bahn/S-Bahn to cover more ground and be able to hit some of the cultural neighbourhoods and artist squats that were a must on this tour as well as being able to see some of the murals done on buildings out the windows.  At an alarming pace, we worked our way around the city and managed to see places like the Bethanien House and YAAM beach despite it not really not being fake beach weather in the middle of winter.  As we moved from place to place, David shared stories and legends that existed in each of these places as he pointed out his favourite parts and pieces of work throughout the city.  As the sun began to set, we continued winding around the city to just that one last location.  After spending all day pounding the pavement, my body was starting to feel the toll of the wear and tear but yet, I couldn’t resist soldiering on and following him every step of the way as my camera battery slowly died from overuse.

Bethanien House - Amazing Inside and Out

Bethanien House – Amazing Inside and Out

After about 4 hours, it was time to bid adieu to our large group and I stood there with the 2 buddies that I had begun the day with when we abandoned the rest of the group at Checkpoint Charlie to make our way to the TV Tower for this tour.  Despite the exhaustion that was setting in and the big evening ahead of all of us, there were no regrets.  This was amazing and was just the icing on the cake to a city that was already completely fabulous.  What I do know for sure is that the next time I’m in Berlin (plans are even being tossed around as I write this), I will retrace some of these exact steps so I can keep exploring the raw art and culture in the detail it deserves and then continue on to see parts of the city that I never made it around to during this visit.  Until then I can just dream of the next time I’ll be able to wrap my arms around Berlin again.

Little Lucy

Little Lucy

What Is Art Anyway?

What Is Art Anyway?

Categories: GERMANY, germany: berlin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Throwing My Hat In The Ring!

Back in the day when I was young and impressionable, I worked with this lady who was an absolute contest whore.  No matter how much she won, she would insist that it was just a numbers game and only possible if you threw your hat in the ring.  Everyday she’d be entering everything in sight and after months of careful observation (and no, not of the stalker variety!), I started to think maybe she’s right.  Her winnings went from little prizes such as a movie ticket here to a gift certificate there all the way to a rather impressive celebrity studded trip to the Grammys.  And somewhere between that and munching on a year’s supply of free bread she won for the office  – I became a believer.

Despite the fact that I morphed into a contest whore just like her, she hadn’t crossed my mind in years until I stumbled upon Nomadic Matt‘s latest contest.  I saw the headline, Win a 12 Day Trip to Europe!  and held my breath as I clicked the link.  Yes, I realize that holding my breath is more likely to guarantee me passing out than winning but some habits are hard to break – DON’T JUDGE!  Anyway, like her, I had won a lot of little prizes such as a digital frame here to a gift basket there but nothing came close to her Grammy trip.  As I read the details of Matt’s contest – it became obvious this was my equivalent to a celebrity studded Grammy trip!  I totally understand that on this 12 day trip there wouldn’t be any celebrities or red carpets but what I get is a self customized Budapest, Prague, Vienna trip that allows for all the shits and giggles that an odd little lass like me could handle.  That in my eyes is worth just as much as going to the Grammys and being amongst all the a-listers a girl like me could barely handle.

Granted I’ve already relocated to Europe to execute on my mission of no stone unturned which will eventually include visits to Budapest, Prague, and Vienna but what winning this contest affords me the opportunity to put my Tour De Street Art into action a lot quicker than originally anticipated.  Even though Europe is full of history, culture, and stunning architecture, what really gets my engine roaring is all that lies just beneath that surface and in my humble opinion, street art is the eye candy of this realm.  There are many different ways of approaching my Tour De Street Art but my plan is to have a few must-see items on my agenda and then just go where the winds blows me.  The things on my list to date are exploring the old Jewish quarter in Budapest for all its works of art, paying my respects to the John Lennon Wall in Prague, and using and abusing the urban art guide map in Vienna until my little heart’s content.

The winner for the contest will be chosen on October 1, 2012 and until that time, I wait with my fingers and toes crossed.  Hopefully lady luck will be on my side and I’ll walk away with my version of a celebrity studded Grammy trip.  Wish me luck!

Categories: *PRE-DEPARTURE | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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