Friday, July 25, 2014

Beware these Travel Scams

I've been the victim of expensive taxi drivers in Rome, Paris and Vienna even though the taxi or airport shuttle was ordered by the hotel. And I've been surrounded by gypsy children at the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris who I thought were so sweet and cute without realizing they were opening my handbag until a companion forcefully told them to go away. And recently in Italy, inside the train on our way to Rome from Padua, both of my cousins were pickpocketed as they were trying to put our luggage in the storage bins. No one is exempt from these scams, not even seasoned travelers. Just the Flight details 40 scams to avoid in various situations:
  1. On the street
  2. Travelling (by car, bus, train or taxi)
  3. Shops and Services
  4. Locals and Children
Check out this link:

www.justtheflight.co.uk/blog/16-40-tourist-scams-to-avoid-this-summer.html

Forewarned is forewarmed.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Random Berlin


Our flight route from Amsterdam to Berlin passed over these rich patchworked fields.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

The restaurant on the top floor of the department store, Peek and Cloppenburg, not only serves a selection of entreés prepared on the spot, it also has one of the best views of what remains of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church after World War II and the modern steeple beside it. Peek and Cloppenburg is on KÜrfurstendamm. The Memorial Church is under renovation hence the white structure surrounding it.

Berlin Wall

This fragment of the Berlin Wall says it all. The dates 61 refers to the year the wall went up and 89 when the wall started to crumble. At the bottom of this fragment are two hearts representing East and West and the words "l'amour tousjours" or love always. 

"All free men, wherever they may live are citizens of Berlin. And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words 'Ich bin ein Berliner!'." -- John F. Kennedy


Sony Center

The amazing roof of the Sony Center spans an area of 5,250 sq. meters and is made of steel, glass and self cleaning teflon coated fabric. This umbrella like dome covers a number of restaurants, shops, offices and condominiums. It is a gathering place. The Sony Center is on Potsdammer Platz.

Dali Museum

Salvador Dali never fails to amuse and challenge our imagination. There are 400 of his works at this museum, more than enough to while away a rainy afternoon and be thoroughly entranced by this artist! The piano fountain on a pool of water in the lobby alludes to Dali's "Fountain Flowing from a Grand Piano" where a tree is seen growing on top of it. The Dali Museum is on Leipziger Platz 7 and may be reached by taking subway S1/S2/S25 to Potsdammer Platz and is open Monday through Saturday from 12 noon to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Entrance fee applies. Please check www.daliberlin.de.

King Amenemhet III - 1840-1800 BC

The Egyptian Museum on Museum Island has an incredible collection of Egyptian artifacts including the bust of Queen Nefertiti from 1340 BC. She is surely the main draw. Taking pictures of Nefertiti's bust is not allowed. 

Where to stay:


I stayed at the Amedia Hotel which is on KurfÜrstendamm in the center of Berlin yet far enough away from the bustle. It's spacious and clean and a short walk to the Ubahn on Uhlandstrasse and bus stop for buses going to the train station (and from there to the airport). There's also a supermarket nearby. The room price is quite reasonable. I booked the hotel through Expedia.

Amedia Hotel
KurfÜrstendamm 203, Berlin (Charlottenberg)
http://amediahotels.com/english/Hotels/Berlin.html
www.expedia.com

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Images by Travel with Charie


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Market Gate of Miletus


The Market Gate of Miletus at the Pergamon Museum was rebuilt around 1925-1929 from hundreds of tons of fragments excavated in the ancient city of Miletus and shipped to Berlin by German archaeologists. The original gate dates back to the 2nd century AD and was at the northern entrance to the southern agora or market. It was destroyed by an earthquake in the 10th or 11th centuries and suffered damages during World War II.

On each side of the center door are statues, one of which is believed to be that of Hadrian (with a vanquished slave). The columns supporting the gate are Corinthian in style and the gate itself was originally constructed from marble. However, this reconstructed gate now consists of brick, cement, steel and the fragments from the excavation.


On the floor in front of the gate is a mosaic taken from a private home in Miletus. It depicts Orpheus with his lyre. According to classical Greek mythology, Orpheus could charm all living things with his music including wild animals which are found at the base of this mosaic.  The Greek key symbol forms a frame around these beasts and winged men.


Excerpt from To Heaven*

Great Heav'n, whose mighty frame no respite knows,
Father of all, from whom the world arose:
Hear, bounteous parent, source and end of all,
Forever whirling round this earthly ball;
Abode of Gods, whose guardian pow'r surrounds
The eternal World with ever during bounds


*From the Hymns of Orpheus as translated by Thomas Taylor, 1792

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Images by Travels with Charie