Thursday, May 31, 2007

An Evening @ Alexanderplatz

After dinner I went to Alexanderplatz with Ramesh and Lalit. It is a nice large open square and been to there before with Angelika(from IIJB) for a brief moment. It is one busiest public transport hub of Berlin and always in hustle bustle mode. It is located near the Spree river and the Berliner Dom. It takes about 35 minutes train ride from Hoppegarten. Alexanderplatz is also know as simply Alex.

It was once a cattle market and it was named in honour of a visit of the Russian Emperor Alexander first to Berlin on 25 October 1805. Later it gained a prominent role in the late 19th century with the construction of the station of the same name and a nearby public market, becoming a major commercial centre. One can buy all sort of good here.

It is surrounded by several notable structures including the Fernsehturm (TV Tower), the second tallest structure in Europe. We had to pay 8 Euro and 50 cent for the tickets to go to the tower from where we saw magnificient view of Berlin. There is a revolving resturant in the upper part of the tower and lower part is for public viewing which also has one small bar. Of course, I have taken lots of pictues from the tower and will share you soon. Because of its high profile, many newcomers to Berlin mistake the nickname Alex and apply it to the Fernsehturm instead. The Alex also accommodates the Park Inn Berlin and the World Time Clock, a continually rotating installation that shows the time throughout the globe, the 1932 Alexanderhaus and Berolinahaus by Peter Behrens, and Hermann Henselmann's Haus des Lehrers.

Following German reunification the Alexanderplatz has undergone a gradual process of change with many of the surrounding buildings being renovated. Despite the construction of a tram line and the addition of some greenery it has retained its socialist character, including the much-graffitied Fountain of Friendship between Peoples (Brunnen der Völkerfreundschaft). Some monuments around the square are breath taking and I have some pictures to share with you all.

There are also many historic buildings around Alexanderplatz. The traditional seat of city government, the Rotes Rathaus, or Red City Hall (the first picture of this blog), is located nearby, as is the former East German parliament building, the Palast der Republik, demolition of which began in February 2006. And can you believe that it was almost 8:30 pm when I took these pictures below. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Youths and Lifestyle

Youths are everywhere and Berlin is no exception. There are some remarkable things I find with them, which is totally different from Nepali youths. Of course they have more freedom to do what they want to do then we do back home. Independence is very vivid. But to some extend this freedom of independence is polluting their good images. Sp fare I haven’t seen those youths getting drunk even though drinking beer is a part of culture here. And most of them are smoker. One of our teachers told me that they start to smoke when they became 12 or 13 years old. Smoking is strictly prohibited here and buying cigarette is difficult but still you find youth smoking all the time. Railways are full of cigarette butts and some places butts outnumbered pebbles. I have some good pictures of them.

Punks can be seen but they are decent people like other youths. I don’t see youth so fond of their mobile phones but instead they love to read wherever they go. They don’t talked much with other people while in traveling in trams, buses, and trains but if they are in groups they seem so enjoying chatting. And yes every youth has ipod and listening music all the time. They are so fond of this gadget. Here are some pictures to share.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Carnival Of Cultures

Ever since I got landed to Berlin I was wondering how come such a big city could stay quiet and what I have seen yesterday completely changed my thought. ‘Carnival of Culture’ you can say, it is actual heartbeat of Berlin. This street carnival of culture festival takes place every year here in Berlin and it reveals positive sides of international, cultural diversity, friendship and it's lust for life. Music everywhere and people are enjoying, drinking, laughing, and dancing as if tomorrow never comes. I was almost dancing while taking pictures of this animated and colourful parade. This is 12th edition of the Carnival of Cultures and more than 80 countries took part in this hilarious parade of culture. I though there will be Nepali people too but I was little disheartened not to see even a single Nepali out there. It’s sort of Gai jatra festival back home and we too can promote such culture event as our Nepali Carnival. Music is big part of this festival and people were dancing in hiphop from Neukölln, Soca from the Caribbean, colourful masks from Bolivia and many carnival team from a far world, Italians send identities on a journey and people from Angola rap against racism: the street festival is much more than just folklore. Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand were also took part in the parade. Well there were people from many cities of the world and it’s an expression of Berlin's diverse lived-in worlds, it presents carnival art. At the same period of time, Berlin attracted a growing number of artists from all over the world and a new cultural off-scene developed, which added to the cultural richness of Berlin. Berlin developed into one of Europe's music centres with a focus on different styles of electronically generated music. All these street performance on their own is considered as a valuable gift given to the capital's inhabitants. The four-day street festival is a place where people of all ages and different national backgrounds come together. During these festival streets of Berlin becomes the stage where the participants show that they are a firm part of the city and it's cultural scene.

For me it was also experiencing the fascinating diversity of music of the world, which was represented by about hundreds of artists performing on various concert stages with a banner "Eurasia" that allures with Balkan beats, "Barrio Latino" where people enjoy a salsa party, "Bazaar Oriental" attracted with Türk-Pop and "Farafina" makes everyone move their feet to afro-reaggae. I felt that the whole Berlin is one big discotheque. I think occasional street festival of Kathmandu must be a copy of such gala activities from around the world. And you know we lack many reason for such festival back home. Especially organizing part is the weak one. Here it’s very well managed and by rules. There were all kinds of stall from food to product market like we use to have in Basantapur Darbar Square and food stalls attracted with culinary temptations as well as arts and crafts. Besides, what I like most is that in this carnival children were also seen actively participated. They were dress up to the theme of "free like a whale" and for such a creative and fulfill procession. Local children were happy and having good time with their family. It was so nice to see small children trying to imitate dance in the tune of music of carnival.

This year organizer expected about 1.4 million visitors but I don’t know actual data. With the concept of a carnival, which focused on the cultural richness of Berlin, also highlighting the often hidden treasures of its international cultural scene, the Carnival of Cultures was the concept that was a success from the start.
Well that was one hell of an experience and here I would like to share some pictures with you all. And yes can you believe this I also did Samba dance? Check the last pictures for a proof ;)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Beautiful Lady from Berlin

Let me share this pictures of a nice lady I met at Gendarmenmarkt. Her name is Vicktoria and she was promoting a classic concert that evening. Being a photojournalist what clicked me most is Vicktoria’s beautiful flowery custom, which definitely tells a story about Berlin. You can see her showing me a book regarding the concert.

Berlin is indeed a relaxed city, which has a few crazies and beggars. You can even see some punk lazing around playing musical instrument and asking for pictures. Of course they expect some money after you take their pictures. And it’s a casual and common site in many areas just as you’d see two lovers give a kiss or hug when parting or meeting other places in the world.

Frolicking Around

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