saturday, december 15th, 2007
left in the early morning to go to the airport. the previous day i was talking to jenny at work and she mentioned that the denver airport (where i was going to have a layover) was weird. well, so i started reading about it and found out all of these conspiracy theories and freaky mural paintings they had on (half of which had been painted over). so, when i got to the airport, i of course searched for these paintings. the one with a stormtrooper-type guy with a gun (the most interesting and clearly disturbing one) had been painted over, although i didn’t see any remnants of it or anything. other people have photos of it, though. here are some of the pics i saw, which are, well, kind of disturbing too. lol. well, i’m only going to show the native american woman. there is also another girl, who used to be jewish but has now been converted to christian or catholic, and yet another, who is african. luckily i studied the map on their website a little bit before going or i wouldn’t have been able to find it. at this case, though, i just ran into it without looking too hard! yay!
had panda express. don’t remember the last time i purchased such a thing!!
sunday, december 16th, 2007
go to germany really early on sunday morning. let’s start this off with an average view at a collection of clothing one must wear to barely not freeze in germany (above).
got to germany and had to go stop by auntie ruby and uncle stewart (sherry‘s parents)’s munich church. while they had a meeting, sherry and i went to walk around and look for a coffee shop but a lot of them were closed and the other ones that were open were like, restaurants, so we didn’t want to go in. at night, we went to some bavarian restaurant (after getting lost a whole helluva lot). sick. had sausage with sauerkraut (of course), a fish dish (the only thing i really ate much of), some super salty potato soup and another soup, and veal. gross.
then we walked around for a while and tried to find a christmas market in munich. it was pretty cold. found one! it was very small and everything was about to close, though. got my first taste of a christmas market, with uh, many, many more to come. >_> i think we literally counted, like, at least 10-12 total. hahah. different ones. different ones, indeed.
found some cool-looking and well-decorated shopping malls and shit on the way… shown above. in minor detail. there wer some other pics but i didn’t get them uploaded.
monday, december 17th, 2007
in the morning, went to neuschwanstein castle (the castle that the disney castle is based off of). well, we almost got lost going there. i swear, i am soooo against navigation systems. we got lost TONS of times with TWO navigation systems. maps are way more efficient. die, technology, die. and like, people forget how to even get to basic places that they should know how to get to. it’s all just…… messed. but anyway, enough about the dangers of navigation systems…
sherry and i decided to walk up the 20 minute trail to the castle instead of taking the horse carriage (bus could not drive up that day because it was too icy). anyway, i got quite frozen because it was very cold that day to begin with, but what’s even worse is that i just wore regular velcro canvas shoes, so my feet were frozen. lol. we were like an hour early, so we had to wait in the mini gift shop, as i was hoping my feet would come back to life. they didn’t. i figured when we went into the castle, things would be better. they weren’t. the castle was freeeeeeeeeezing. >_>
photos within the castle were not takeable — they didn’t allow pics. it was largely incompleted anyways. there were only like, five rooms to look at or something. pretty weird. O__O and unremarkable. the place around it was nice because it was all snowy yet the sun was out that day — but as far as the actual castle goes, it was largely unspectacular. these photos above were actually taken outside the windows of the castle and such. the outside of the castle looked absolutely amazing, though, and the weather was fucking perfect. it was gorgeous. minus my feet falling off almost.
potato pancakes! hecks jeaaaa! i hate being american in foreign countries, though — americans seem to never try and learn other languages. i tried to speak german (limited) whenever i could to thank people and stuff, though, but i was the only one. i think it’s just rude to not even give an effort. maybe that’s just me, though.
tuesday, december 18th, 2007
the next day, we drove from augsburg (suburb of munich) to prague (prag, praga, praha), stopping along the way in plzen (pilsen). no one stopped us at the border. although it was only tuesday, the open borders rule was going to be applied in czech republic starting that friday. that was a little weird, though.
in pilsen, third largest synagoge i think in?? the?? world?? but it was tiny!!!!!!!!!!!! second xmas market here. it was a gran ol’ time. already only in one city that’s not in bavaria and the food is already 200x better. BAVARIA SUCKS. FOOD IN BAVARIA SUCKS. anyway.
went to go to the pilsner urquell plant and it was um, not open for us to tour at the time, unfortunately. it looked very nice, though, and was huuuuuge. instead, we went to eat things at their restaurant. i ate some spicy, cheese-stuffed potato tater tot thing with salsa. it was yummy nummy in my tummy!!
that night we got to prague and stayed at the hilton. freeeeeeeeee! wooooooooo! i don’t think we did much — just walked around, watched some amazing ass tv (amazing power rangers and tetris game). went to eat, again, at some nice looking restaurant that didn’t taste so good. but, it was entertaining, because the couple next to us was arguing and we tried to dissect how well they knew each other. not sure, but the girlfriend could not make up her mind and the guy got annoyed, and the guy saw sherry’s food and wanted to order it, but was too shy to say anything. and she was like, “why don’t you just ask her?!” even though, like, shit, obviously sherry can hear you, she’s sitting like, 1 foot away from you, literally. lol. but yeah the girl was really whiny. didn’t know if she wanted soup or salad or both, and asked a million questions.
sherry’s parents ate big slabs of meat, as usual, and sherry and i made fun of them, because they weren’t supposed to eat that stuff because of their bad health. oh, well.
sherry’s mom is also very forgetful and kept dropping gloves and stuff sooo often haha. it was kind of amusing, actually. i thought *i* was clumsy. and i am. but evidently, i’m not the only one!
wednesday, december 19th, 2007
went to see the astronomical clock. it was interesting. not much to look at, though. not sure what each of the numbers means or anything like that, either.
walked up to the prague castle, and spent like, 4 hrs there, partaking in an audio tour and junk. it was obviously way longer than we had expected. :0 this is the view from the way up. on the way down, saw a beggar who had NO FEET T__T and like all the other bums in czech / germany, he was pretty much just huddled over. he wasn’t bent over, but most other homeless people were bent over at the waist, with their heads touching the floor. i assume it is because it’s so damn cold there (like, 20 degrees or so the whole time we were there — pretty solidly -5 or -2 celsius).
czech money, wooooo!
so, in that complex was a gothic church… along with…
… some castle that was formerly used as a parliament building.
this street right here is famous because of the way it looks and junk. sherry chose to give me the #22 house and she wanted the one next door. turns out #22 used to be the home of franz kafka, so i win.
torture chamber and jail!! all sorts of goodies there. but pictures tell more, but i’m too lazy to upload more to picasa. sucks for you. come over and look at my photo album.
as we were walking back we stopped by another restaurant, after much deliberation and deferring. we finally chose one and it was good and cute, and sherry’s mom thought we had stopped there on purpose and had planned it hahahaha. but it was very much not the case. it *was* a good choice, though, because all of the food was actually good!! absinthe!!! it is very interesting tasting, that’s for sure. i took a half shot, and sherry’s dad took the rest. he was very weird lol after drinking it. not sure if it was in his head or what.
crossing a famous bridge. prague is beautiful, isn’t it?
traditional czech food which is kind of like a cinnamon roll type thing.
sherry’s parents wanted to go home first, so they did and we explored the christmas market in prague (the big one), and then stopped by a museum for the salvador dali and mucha museum. good times, good times. it was apparently an awesome hangout place cause people kept hanging out there. lol. lots of imitations but we did get to see a collection of images he illustrated for dante’s inferno, purgatory, and paradise. some of those were really, really cool.
salvador dali looks like a fucking pimp, no? he has this interesting look in all pics haha. i must say i didn’t care for all of his stuff that much before, but now there is some really cool shit. his style is EXTREMELY versatile, which is commendable. looked like it was drawn by like, five different artists (at least).
the mucha exhibit was interesting primarily because mucha is a major, major commercial whore. all of his work was for magazines or for tin can covers, food lids, etc. he even made currency and stamps. what a whore. his style really is great, though — i bought a poster!
convenience stores in foreign countries are pretty much the best. this is a good one. this is a good thing.
some other good food finds, including but not limited to: bacon chips! we uh… bought a lot of food. ha ha ha ha ha ha hro ho ho.
then we went shopping at the mall. shopping was quite entertaining. sherry bought me things. terrible things. and made me try on something terrible as well. see pic.
as we were walking back, we passed a restaurant sherry’s parents were waiting for us in. they just happened to see us as we were walking by through the window. the food was quite good. i had a grilled eggplant stuffed with salmon? and stuff? i forget. they stacked it on the plate to look like mussels, though. hehe. which was fun because we ordered a plate of mussels (real ones!) right next to it.
thursday, december 20th, 2007
meine birthday! drove from prague to dresden, getting lost along the way.
at least the scenery was nice :/ crazy looking. had i been driving, i would probably have stopped 10,000 times to take pictures, but unfortunately, i wasn’t.
dresden had a very nice christmas market. except i was wearing my mathar russia hat and my scarf, and some old guy walked by, turned around, stared at me, and then said some shit. then walked away. now, it was so crowded they could only pass by single-file, but then four of his other friends walked by, one by one, and all of them turned around and stared me in the face. i could only conclude that my hat (and later, my scarf) was offending someone somehow. so i took it off and stopped wearing it, even though it was uber warm :/
as for the city itself, though — it’s pretty much boring as fuck. there was a lot of shopping (that was just okay) and then a whole lot of nothing. kinda sucks that we wasted a day there, but what can you do?
potato dessert thing with curds and fruit inside?!?!!!! PRETTY MUCH DISGUSTING. i thought it must be tried and all because trying random, foreign things is a good idea sometimes, but it was pretty much… not worth it. :X
friday, december 21st, 2007
drove to berlin. didn’t get lost, amazingly. berlin rocks, i think, particularly if you’re into art and are young.
construction next to a park.
the new meets the old.
an amazing museum with a huge collection of islamic art. and reconstructions you will soon see.
a reconstruction (using mostly original parts) of a city in turkey?? this is the pergamon altar.
random art… they had separate little rotating exhibitions in addition to the permanent collection. the rotating collections were upstairs. these are pieces from one of them.
islamic art collection of edmund de unger. amazing, amazing. for you christians who do not know… muslims believe in the old testament. most of these drawings here are from the old testament, with the first being moses’ parting of the red sea.
also a part of the permanent collection, this is the last of 4 ishtar gates built by nebuchadnezzar II in babylon.
more islamic art. sorry, but it’s just so bad-fucking-ass.
finally, 10,000 years later, we leave the pergamon. this is the view from outside. oOooOo ahhh.
i like this building. so therefore, i like this pic.
KUNSTHAUS TACHELES. unfortunately, we had gotten there really late, so most of the artists were no longer selling things. it’s kinda like the 616?? 626?? 646?? i forget — building in seattle… but uh, looks a lot cooler. when we first were looking for it, i wasn’t sure i had gotten the right building because the painting on the side wall looked different. we walked past it and then decided to go back. the inside was kinda weird. there were two shady looking guys outside, and we walked around outside for a while before deciding to go in. inside, every surface and every wall was covered with graffiti. i tried asking some lady if there was anything upstairs (since that’s where she was coming down from), and she said no. we decided to try going upstairs (even though no one else was there and it was kinda scary) anyways. floors three and four were open. but four didn’t have anyone — three had like, five people. so that’s that.
it sure was cold T_T
saturday, december 22nd, 2007
the berlin wall, aka the eastside gallery, aka the section of the berlin wall that was moved to another place to preserve it, aka the old part of the wall that has since been destroyed by graffiti. it was near our apartment in berlin, so it was the first stop of the day.
reichstag. hello, it was cold. we had to wait outside for thirty minutes because they only let a certain number of people inside at a time. that’s not fun.
let’s talk about the way TO the reichstag. first off, we saw that cool lawn above. that’s cool, that’s neat. wait, there’s more. we were on the left sidewalk walking towards the reichstag, and another couple of tourists was on the opposite side of the street, looking at a map. we hear three honks from really far down the street. i pay it no mind, thinking that the guy was honking at the other tourists. he gets closer and honks again three times. we look up. he most definitely is looking at us and screaming his head off! a girl is in the car with him in the passenger seat, but she is not paying too much mind. he’s swinging his hands up and down, screaming!!! WHAT THE HELL? one would think he was racist but he wasn’t, because we were wearing scarves that came up to our eyes as well as hoods. perhaps it is cause we were both wearing black?? NO IDEA. it was truly perplexing. but now, not only could i not wear my hat, but i didn’t want to wear my scarf either, because the only conclusion we came to was that my rainbow scarf was offending him. WHAT ELSE COULD IT BE? NOTHING ELSE MADE SENSE (not that the scarf idea made much sense, either).
this is what you see inside. what? i thought i was seeing the actual building. what the fuck is this? oh by the way. they had these awesome ass holographic images on the way in hanging on the wall but since it was in the security area, i wasn’t allowed to take any pics because they’re lame. but man, they were cool. at least they didn’t require taking off shoes in the security area because that woulda been a bitch with my big ol ass moon boot snow shoes (which i made sherry take home for me, YAY!)
the neverending elevator. i think it’s cool. do you see me? HELLO!
leaving the reichstag and heading towards the brandenburg gate, we saw this monument put up by a prisoner of war who was saying the government did not want people to know that people had died. he said that people were trying to get rid of this installation he had made near reichstag. these are people who died trying to cross the berlin wall.
the brandenburg gate, which we visited on the exact date that it reopened to the public dozens of years ago. pwn!
a city park that is just a bunch of stone blocks. hah. hahaha. i climbed on a stone block to take the latter photo of sherry and some security guard came by and told me to get off.
as we were walking away, i guess i was walking fast and sherry was trailing behind, and a group of russians caught up and was flanking on my right. i wasn’t paying attention. they were talking to each other, and suddenly a guy talks really loud right next to me. he was talking to his friend, of course, in russian, but he was right next to me, so i looked up at him, and he looked up at me. and i laughed, embarrassed, and then i trailed back to sherry while they continued to turn around every so often and laugh at me some more. lol.
then we headed to potsdamer platz, and of course, they were there also… i waved at him and was like, “HELLO!” and he did the same. i would have talked to him but i wasn’t sure how his english was (i think it was fine, though) and didn’t know what to say anyway, other than, “oh, you’re from mathar russia?!”
there was a snow hill in potsdamer platz, and on it, people were riding down tires. woooooo!! there was also a portion of the berlin wall (since that was where it originally was), some guards selling stamps in passports (i would have bought one, but sherry’s mom had my passport because our parents still treat us like we’re fucking five years old). BOOOO.
so sherry wanted to go to the museum of musical instruments, and on the way, we passed this national galerie and they had on display, a labryinth. what the fuck is it? good question. some kind of contemporary art installation with steel walls and such. every turn led to some weird ass shit. does it make sense? not really. because everything is a collection of his works throughout his life. kind of egotistical, as it serves no real purpose other than to serve as a ‘timeline of his past works’… but uh, yeah. that last pic is cool, eh? totally accidental. but it looks trippy!
do you see me?! DO YOU? probably not because i’m fucking ninja, but still.
this is the outside of the national galerie. i have to make a note of this because this same exact sculpture is in UW’s red square. isn’t that funny? it’s like the large orange abstract statue in seattle center — i saw it somewhere else too (i forget where, though). mass-created giant sculptures… how lame is that??!?!!?! there should only be one. pfft. and they’re not even SLIGHTLY the same — they’re EXACTLY the same. someone mentioned before that the UW sculpture was supposed to stand for the inadequacies of man, but i don’t know about that anymore.
so, i don’t know if mcdonald’s has a deal with the german government or what, but mcdonald’s signs are literally everywhere. this is on the top of a building and says, over 50 mcdonald’s in berlin. OH REALLY. what’s worse is… this wasn’t a mcdonald’s. there wasn’t a mcdonald’s anywhere in this building or even near it. so what the fuck? there are these street signs everywhere too, showing mcdonald’s… and then 500 km away, or whatever, with arrows pointing in different directions.
the museum of musical instruments. today was a busy fucking day. i mean really.
love sex and dreams — two story sex shop!
this is inside the largest department store in germany, second largest in europe. called kadewe. the whole top two floors are dedicated to food. i laiiiikeee. we got inside and immediately took a seat because we had been walking so much. anyway, as we were seated, we saw that there was some mom writing something on her little toddler son’s arms (he could barely speak). sherry was like, “i bet she’s writing her phone number on his arm in case he gets lost!” and we’re like, “hmm, yeah, that’d be a good idea!” later, they walked by, and that was indeed the case. amazing!!!!
“buffet” only it’s not a buffet — it’s a restaurant that operates like a cafeteria, where you get to pick out what you want to get.
train station. damn this shit was confusing at first, but no longer. the overground subway stations are confusing. this is better. feels more like a subway. but it’s still a train. damn you, germans, for being confusing.
more pointless wandering led us to checkpoint charlie, which used to… be an american checkpoint. didn’t go to the museum cause it was supposed to be lame. surely i do not believe we missed out on anything.
we were crossing through this random building cause it was cold outside. the entire building was heated. errr. and there were restaurants and bars and things, but nothing was locked up. no one was there. we’re like, wtf, we should steal shit. but instead, we decide to jump up and down and take pics. after pic #50 or so (jokes, more like #14), some security guard walks in and coincidentally we leave.
walking around that night, after paying 1 euro to enter the ‘upscale’ christmas market (aka the only one you had to pay for), we went to the lowscale carnival. timing was perfect because had we stayed at the other christmas market another ten minutes, the carnival would have closed. but we got there right in time to see them shutting everything down and all that jazz.
this is the carnival.
hypnotic yellow block. i had to see it and go to it.
sunday, december 23rd, 2007
nuremburg. yeahhh. didn’t really see it much as it was just a drive-through but they had a big christmas market that was EXTREMELY crowded and was back to having nasty bavarian food (aka nothing but sausages). but yeah, nuremburg definitely had the most tourists out of anywhere in germany and czech republic at this time of year. it was actually kind of weird because we hadn’t seen many the whole time.
what happens if you leave liquids in the car overnight! yay!
monday, december 24th, 2007
errr, had to attend church something or other tonight. it was a potluck. the food was pretty sick. this latter pic is of this bread thing (flattened bread on the outside), and the inside was pickled vegetables and bbq pork or something, but the pork tasted like charcoal. SICK. dammit, i was expecting good things from that shit too.
don’t sit on folded ping pong tables!!!!!!!!!!!!
the whole thing was in chinese with a bunch of chinese exchange students, and they kept thinking that sherry and i couldn’t speak chinese. argh. that was annoying, but they soon got the idea that we could. we played a game of telephone and uh, we basically had to repeat bible verses. three teams. mine won, and i was the last person. i had to recite it! soo basically, i did better than a bunch of native chinese speakers. pwn. i don’t know what i said but i just blindly repeated it (even though they had told me the wrong thing to begin with, it was still more correct than everyone else’s).
there were also some skits and things……………. of the corny variety. but it was briefly amusing. i should get better at chinese. and spanish. yeah.
when i was first introducing myself in my small group of like, 6 people, one of the girls asked me, “are you christian?” and i said i used to be. and she’s like, “are you trying to become christian again?” and i said, “not really.” and she’s like, “yue lai yue xing zhi ji shi bu shi (more and more believing in yourself, are you?)” and i was like, “i don’t know?” because it was such a weird thing to say. she mentioned a similar thing in a bigger group too, but she meant it in a rude way — i’m pretty sure. because the context in which she said it in the big group was that people who aren’t christian are more selfish because they believe in themselves more and not in god or in others. i don’t know. it was weird. but yeah. i would have said more but i didn’t because i didn’t feel like it was my place since again, sherry’s parents were doing missionary work with those kids.
towards the end of the night there was some pretty ignorant talk about how believing in the christian god makes countries better and shit, even though on the flipside, sherry’s mom mentioned a story of a jewish girl who made it out alive because she believed in HER god, who is obviously not the christian god. lots of ignorant christian talk that is completely unaccepting of other religions. sherry’s dad talked about how he wants to talk to a muslim guy they know about why he believes in his god because he thinks that the muslim guy doesn’t really know WHY he believes, and that most muslims are like that. i think that’s ignorant. muslims have just as much a right to believe as christians do, the belief is just as rational or irrational. it’s just not fair. religion is so divisive. i can’t stand it. during the group conversation, i was just quietly seething because i did not want to misstep my bounds and sound ungrateful for my stay there, but man, i definitely did not agree with a *lot* of the stuff that was said. there was one girl, and it was her first time there. there were some general comments about how western countries show love more than eastern countries. new girl said she disagreed, and it wasn’t that eastern countries couldn’t love, but because they were still developing countries and therefore could not concentrate as much on these things because they were so busy worrying abotu surviving. i don’t necessarily agree, but i can see her point, and she is entitled to it. everyone else shut her down, though — HARD. and that’s terrible. you shouldn’t do that to a newcomer. it makes people feel unwelcome. just let them have their opinion. you and your 80 friends don’t need the last word against the 1 girl. i dunno. it’s just not cool, man.
tuesday, december 25th, 2007
concentration camp on christmas. i think the thought is just hilarious. this sign here is the doorway to enter the concentration camp. it ironically says, “work sets you free.”
sculpture designed by a former camp person, and this is the maintenance building behind it. the second pic shows the maintenance building with an asshole inscription. read the text to see what it says.
propaganda posters. i love it.
different badges the people were forced to wear.
never again… :/
reconstructed sleeping bunks, one of like, 34 or something. all the other ones no longer exist and all that are left are the block numbers. there is a story somewhere about how these guys run out of energy and just poop and pee all over the people below them. sick. sometimes people would smell so bad that they’d have to drag them to the bathroom to wash them off, but then it’d just start all over again. that’s probably why so many people were naked — because they were just filthy.
there were some churches and nunneries within the complex. this is within the nunnery area.
gas chamber. built but never used — at least, not largescale executions. why, no one knows.
a large room with many cremating ovens. >_> this is the large crematorium; there’s a smaller one as well.
augsburg. few pics taken there. blahblah.
expensive restaurant; supposedly the ‘best’ in augsburg. had monkfish. it was rubbery, but tasted good… like a crab-textured cod or something. does not flake. had pictures of nudes all over. AWESOME. SUPER DESSERT, with a firework in it!~!! it was a buncha shit in one. too much contamination from one dessert to another if you ask me, but it had all sorts of crap, from pistachio ice cream to weird jello type thing to dragonfruit to chocolate mousse. yeahhhh.
and the next day was to the airport and the trip home! WOOHA.