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for all my friends · germany 2012

germany 2012

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In short, our flight from Munich to San Francisco was delayed 4 hours because of an air conditioning problem.  We flew from Leipzig to Munich with no problem.  After landing and going through security in Munich, there wasn’t too much time left before boarding and take-off.  Our plane was smaller, thankfully.  An A340, which was basically half the size of the A380 that took us to Frankfurt just two weeks before.  But we sat on the runway and didn’t move.  After a brief announcement regarding the air conditioning, we were taxied back to the terminal where technicians looked at various parts of the ventilation system.  4 hours after we were suppose to take off, we were shuffled into another A340 that was brought in to take us to SFO.  Oddly enough, the 12 hour plane ride back seemed much more bearable than the 11 hour flight to Germany.  Maybe it was just easier to relax because it was dark the entire time.  We arrived back in San Francisco at 11pm local time, and by time we hit customs, it was already midnight.  Either way, it was nice being back home.  The first thing I think i noticed was the hills.

It feels good to be back.


Prepping to leave Leipzig.


Inside the Leipzig airport.


An empty Gate 01 – waiting to fly to Munich.


Sitting 4 hours on Lufthansa 458 while technicians tried to figured out what was wrong with the air conditioning.  12 hour flight back to SFO on top of that.

Oh well, at least we’re back, safe and sound.  Definitely happy to be back in San Francisco!  Now I’m off to work.

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My last full day in Germany.  We fly out tomorrow from Leipzig at 1pm to Munich, then fly back to San Francisco.  Something like a 16 hour flight because of the wind?  I’ve already packed up all my clothes and have my compression tights sitting ready for tomorrow.  Earlier today, we headed downtown to check out the Zeitgeschichtliches Forum Leipzig.  To my surprise, the entry into the museum was free.  The building was 4 stories tall, the top floor being a seminar area.  Initially, I thought the 2nd floor was just a gift shop, so we skipped over it and headed to the 3rd floor.  The third floor featured photography from one photographer, Thomas Hoepker, in Germany from before and after unification.  The other section of the floor was dedicated to freedom of expression after unification.  We walked down a floor to peer into the gift shop and realized that there was a whole other section right around the corner from the store.  Firstly, why is the main part of this museum, all the cool, informative stuff, hidden behind their store?  I mean, I almost passed right down the stairwell without even seeing the rest of the museum, thank goodness we went in.  Anyway, the 3rd floor was filled with history artifacts from after WWII, leading up to the wall, and then eventually unification.  So basically, we should’ve hit this floor before going up to the modern part, but oh well.

We walked over to the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst (a contemporary art museum), but again it was closed!  They opened at 2pm, but we weren’t willing to wait because there were other things we had to do before we left.  We headed back to the city center and eventually made it back home.  My last night here in Germany and I’m going through photos, haha.


Overlooking Naschmarkt.


Right outside the stairs to the 3rd floor.


Photography from Thomas Hoepker.


Starting to get into the permanent part of the museum.


Entering the 2nd floor.


A comprehensive history of everything.


Time line around a massive skylight.


Amazing museum on the inside, so many sections, so much information I couldn’t even read!


Heading towards more things related to the division of Germany.


Conrad Schumann and other famous photos.


Stepping into another massive space.



There were a couple more sections of the museum that eventually lead back towards the gift store, but there was too much to even photograph.  Definitely worth a visit, it was so interesting seeing the division and unification from a different perspective and so well documented.  There’s so much culture and so much history to take in.

This is my last post from Germany.  I’d like to thank everyone for following along, and for all the support.  I wish everyone a healthy and happy 2013.  Good night from Leipzig.  Speak to you back in San Francisco, thanks for reading!

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We drove around the city a bit, venturing outside of the city to see smaller towns in the area.  Only 1 more day before I fly back.




Headed back to the building for a little while.




Heading out of Leipzig towards the suburbs.


Looking out towards a man made lake in Kahnsdorf.  It used to be a place for strip mining coal – the government eventually stopped mining, drilled holes towards the water below, and allowed the space to fill with fresh water.


Quiet isolation.

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Dead quiet out here on a Sunday.  We set off this morning to go to Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig, a history museum of sorts, and then the Naturkundemuseum, a nature museum (I thought).  I had seen a couple ads around the city stating that the Stadtgeschichtliches Museum had a special exhibit about crime in Leipzig.  I was pretty stoked.  So we took street car 14 downtown, and walked to the museum, which was right behind the art museum in the city center.  Honestly, the museum was awesome, but definitely not as expansive as I was expecting.  There was a ground floor, where you walk in, and then 1 small room in the basement.  So after an hour (or less, I think), we were “done” – granted, we couldn’t read any of the signage because it was all in German, but even if we could, there wasn’t too much to see beyond the first floor.  The basement just had 4 walls of photos showing murders in the past, and current drug wars going on, or something like that.

We left in hopes that the Naturkundemuseum would be better.  After all, it was a building that had 4 levels.  We walked in, and took in an abbreviated first floor – nature photography from all over the world submitted for a 2011 competition.  Really amazing photography, some of the best nature shots I’ve ever seen.  But then that was it.  Just 1 floor of photography.  What happen to the other levels of the building?  It made no sense.  There was a family there, and the woman approached one of the employees there (1 of 2 present at the time).  I couldn’t understand what they were saying exactly, but it sounded pretty much like, “Uh, where’s the rest of the museum, this is it…?”.  The response must’ve been something like, “Sorry, but the other parts of the museum are closed on Sunday’s,” or “Nope, this is all you get, just half a floor of floor of photography.”

Okay…so now what.  I looked at the map and saw the Museen im Grassi.  It wasn’t too far away, so after walking through the city center trying to figure out what to do for the rest of the day, we set off for one more museum.  We arrived and bought tickets for two sections of the museum, art and technology.  There was a third section, music, but when we said we wanted all 3 sections of the museum, the cashier looked at us in disbelief, “You want ALL the section?!” (she didn’t actually say this, but probably said something like that in German).  What were we getting into…?  I asked if I could take photographs – the answer was yes, with no flash, and if you paid an additional 2.50 Euro.  I wasn’t too thrilled about the additional money, so I left the camera in the locker.

Let me just say that this museum is by far, one of the best I have ever seen.  It was absolutely massive, more than a day’s worth of content inside the place.  Each major section had a booklet guide in multiple languages that basically explained to you the era of art or technology you were looking at.  Asian art, art nouveau, art deco, funtionalism, Renaissance art, Classicism art, Christianity, African, Indian, American Indian, various tribal, everything, absolutely everything you could imagine.  We started skimming the last sections on the 2nd and 3rd floors because we were running out of time.  It was such a great museum, I could easily see myself spending 3 days going through the 3 sections each day.  Even 2 sections with the 5 hours we had wasn’t enough.  It was beautiful seeing such a massive space curated so well, it was so easy walking through, and not overwhelming at any point.  One of the best I’ve seen – so, so good.


Quiet out in the city center.


The big glass building on the right is the art museum.


Höfe am Brühl, a massive mall.  We went in the first day we were here, but haven’t been back since.  It was closed earlier in the day, but then opened up in the afternoon…I was a bit confused because there we no stores open at all.  So the mall was open, and the escalators were working, but you couldn’t go into any stores.  Awesome.


Walking to the Stadtgeschichtliches Museum.


Inside the museum.  All about crime for the time being.  I think they swap out exhibits every once in a while.  There seemed to be at least 3 floors in this building, but only 2 were accessible today.


The previous photo combine with this one is pretty much the entire first floor.  The basement had a room about 1/5th the size of this floor.  Cool insight, either way.


Half a floor of nature photography.  3.5 floors of nothing?


All the clear days have been windy as hell.  Here’s the canal I was overlooking after we got out of the nature museum that turned out to be a complete flop.


Heading back towards the city center.


The empty Höfe am Brühl.  Open mall doors, but no open stores…?  McDonald’s was open, as was the Starbucks down the road.  No surprise there, I guess.


One more shot from inside the Höfe am Brühl – this better illustrates how empty it was inside.


Open mall, but closed stores, goodbye.


I think this is the second lowered car I’ve seen in Leipzig.  Definitely not as many as I was initially expecting.  Maybe there are more that come out later in the day, or drive in other parts of the city.


Wall clocks on display at one of the stores in Speck’s Hof.


Knitted bike lock poles.


These are very good pastries.


Augustusplatz, looking towards the Universitätskirche St. Pauli, now part of the University of Leipzig.


The start of a group ride…?


Standing in the courtyard of the Museen im Grassi.

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We headed to the Messepark for a look at the flea market today.  It occurs on the last Saturday and Sunday of the month, and holds venders (and food) in and outside of a pretty large warehouse.


Outside the flea market.  No cost to go in, which was nice.


Huge space for vendors.


More rows of vendors.


Another section, farther back.


Some of the vendors outside had to cope with massive puddles in front of their goods.  Not ideal for selling stuff.


The inside area, one warehouse.


The other warehouse.


Cool lamps made with thin sheets of white plastic.  Kind of reminds me of the ones we have at work, from IKEA, but better.


Velodrome poster!


After taking street car 11 back into the center of the city, we walked into a place called Pylones that had colorful, interesting home goods.  I finally came across the solar powered waving Queen of England, the same one my co-worker has.  Sick.


Finger football, for 3 Euros.  Unfortunately, it didn’t come with the grass.

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We took a drive to Berlin to spend the day there.


Right lane on the Autobahn.


Scenery on the way to Berlin.


With only a day to take in as much of the city as possible, we opted for a short bus tour.


Short loop.  We ended up getting off at Checkpoint Charlie, and eventually walking to the Hauptbahnhof, only to catch the bus back again and loop through the whole thing once more.


The open roof of the double-decker bus was covered today because it was a bit chilly out.


At the checkpoint.


Checkpoint Charlie museum.




A car museum…?


Outside the Topografie des Terrors, a large piece of the wall.


Looking towards Potsdamer Platz.


A shot from the intersection, still a lot of construction going on in the city.  The metal pipes that run along side construction zones pump out water from the construction zones.  There’s water underneath the ground in Berlin.


Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.


Then we walked to the Brandenburg Gate.  They were in the midst of prepping for the New Year’s Eve festivities.


Outside the Parliament of Germany, still walking – I was actually surprised how close everything downtown was to each other, in this section at least.


Paul-Löbe-Haus, Parlaiment in the background.


Spreebogenpark with the Hauptbahnhof in the distance, and lots of construction cranes up.


Hauptbahnhof.  Absolutely massive train station, much larger than the one in Leipzig.  It had a feel like an airport and shopping mall all in 1 building.


From the inside.


Many levels.


Front seat on the tour bus, heading back.

Berlin is an amazing city, but I think a month would be needed to take everything in.  It’s nearly 3 times larger than Leipzig, and has 3.5 million people in it – definitely the biggest city I’ve been in.

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Only one goal today.  To visit the art museum.  Unfortunately (or fortunately…?), no cameras were allowed past the front entryway of the museum, so that’s when the pictures stop.  It was a really stellar place though, definitely worth a visit.  A large amount of the art there (16th century all the way to present) were created by German artists.  An amazing permanent collection, with a stellar exhibition in the basement.  Pop art, rock and roll, and a few documentaries.


One of the passages, looking towards the Hauptbahnhof.


Here’s the bikes I was talking about.  They’re actually mail delivery bikes.


A big construction site.


Inside Mekong, an Asian market in the city center.  Who would’ve thought…


Corner of the Stadtgeschichtliches Museum.


One corner of the Museum der bildenden Künste, the main art museum.


The entryway to the museum.


The last 2 photos I was able to take before the guard way in the back came up to me.  No photos allowed.


Besides the art embedded into my brain, this is all I was able to take with me.


Back outside in the city center.


Inside Mäc-Geiz, an affordable home goods/office supply kind of store.  Pipe cleaners, shout out to my co-worker, Christina.


Makes life easier.


This is the sunshade you put on the outside of your car to prevent frost and ice from building up on the windshield overnight.  2.50 Euro.


This place had a lot of stuff in it.


Inside ALDI in Plagwitz.


This is all you really need.


The clearance section in a nearby Pfennigpfeiffer (kind of a random accessory store of sorts).

Off to Berlin for a day tomorrow.  The train was a bit expensive, so we’ll be traveling there by car!

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Street car 14.

A longer video while on street car 14, Plagwitz riding towards the Hauptbahnhof here in Leipzig.

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Yellow bike as a mini billboard ad.


There wasn’t too much to see in the zoo today.  I’m assuming it was because of the cold weather.  It’s a pretty expansive space though, a lot of specialized areas, really an amazing place.


Sleeping with 1 leg down.


Standing near the aquarium building, looking out towards…everything I could see.  It’s a huge zoo.


Petting a Koi fish was an interesting experience.  Very friendly fish.


A circular tank on the 2nd level of the aquarium.


Reptile area on the other side of the building.


More red birds resting with 1 leg down.


Another open area.  The gridded dome on the right side is an artificial rain forest enclosure.  Lots of neat stuff in this zoo, and a lot of money invested in it to make the exhibits really cool.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t too much to see today.  It’s technically the 2nd day of Christmas, and winter, so things were pretty quiet.


Inside the dome.  It was a pretty cool piece of engineering, there were air pockets between the grids that pumped air between the plastic shell to maintain the proper temperature within the space.  Wasn’t too much to see though.


The outdoor African portion of the zoo was pretty much empty.  Nothing to see.


Ah here we go, some birds.


Another empty space.




Red panda.

So there were probably only 30% of animals out and about today.  It was also deceptively cold out, so I guess that makes sense.  Pretty cool seeing what they had to offer, though.  I haven’t been to the zoo in years, that’s for sure.

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Starting Christmas day on the right track.


There’s a lot of cool murals in the city.


On the other side of the mural there was a lot of graffiti.


Another big mural just down the block.


Abandoned buildings are usually bricked up to prevent people from breaking in.  Occupied buildings that sometimes get broken into are bricked up as well, to prevent people from occupying places illegally.


Bird out of cage.


A big name out here.


Quiet on Christmas day.


A massive abandoned building taking up the entire edge of a block.  It used to be a former automotive paint factory, and is presumably being occupied illegally even in it’s current condition.


Another part of the abandoned building.


Reset and Kaos all over the place out here.


One more shot of the building.


Looking down the block.


Decals are popular.


Bus and street car routes.


Abandoned building with a couple trees growing from the floors and walls.


Double headed eagle.




These pulleys helped leverage the weight of street car electrical lines that ran over the street.


Duck formation in a canal.


SNOW has to be one of the most common tags in the city.  Pretty much every single neighborhood has multiple all over the place.


See what I mean?


A big empty lot in front of Musikpavillon Clara-Zetkin-Park.

Johannapark, a little bit past the photo above.


Park path.


Federal court house.


Spending Christmas night at a family friend’s loft.  It used to be an abandoned warehouse.  He’s an architect and designed his own loft himself.  Still a work in progress.


These were on the counter – there was an orange fruit berry thing inside of the leaves, and it tasted like a cherry tomato (but obviously wasn’t).  Really unique taste.


Prepping the rouladen.


Ornament cheese.


Really cool kitchen backlighting.


Rouladen, pre-roll.


Peugot pepper grinder.


Another shot of the loft – very cool space.


You could actually manipulate the aluminum fins on this light to change how it disperses the light vertically in the space.


Rouladen, kartoffelkloesse, and red cabbage.

Celebrating Christmas in Germany.  Hope everyone had a stellar holiday.

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