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Berlin

I went to a few ww2 memorials in Berlin. And after seeing all those, being moved close to tears by the personal tragedies of individuals and families in the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, I think I'm just reminded that evil exists. What happened to the Jews and other discriminated people groups was horrible. I don't know how the persecutors lived with themselves. It's a reminder though that we all have the capacity to do great evil, especially when it creeps up slowly like in Germany, and it seems like a norm when everyone around conforms. I mean, when everyone is doing something, it can be hard to think right. I guess the question is whether you can remember your own personal yardstick that you will remain true to, or perhaps you'll remember truth that must be adhered to.

Apart from that, I didn't spend much time in Berlin. Only 1 day so I just ran around seeing as much as I could. Focused mainly on history. My friend told me she went for the alternative sandeman tour, and that it was really good, she saw the soul of the city, etc. I could tell, a bit, that people were really artsy and fashionable.

For most of the day Berlin was almost underwhelming. I stood above the bunker where Hitler committed suicide, and outside where the arsenal used to be, but felt nothing. Until one point, when I was between the French and German churches, one of the churches began to chime. And I was finally transported back into the past. I could see Hitler coming down the road, and the masses alternately reeling in fear and horror, and ecstatically hailing the Führer. Music brings things to life.

One interesting thing that maybe describes Berlin is how the government occasionally tries to control graffiti by painting over a piece. But this only allows a new work of art to be created on this new blank canvas. The art isn't always great, but it's an expression of the people.

One really annoying thing is that these two Singaporeans desecrated Singapore's name by writing their names and sg really largely and uglyly on the east Berlin gallery. Apparently they're one year my junior in smu, Marc neo and Dominic khoo. Disgrace to Singapore.

I had a pretty interesting day because I met t and her 3 friends there. She'd travelled with them in Germany already, and it was their last day together. We actually went to play pool that evening, something I perhaps would never have done on my own. I really am a homebody. And have a different travel style. But it was fun, it was cool to meet them. 1 Canadian and 2 nus Singaporeans. And my friend.

Would upload photos but I'm still in Scotland right now. So I can't show you how annoying Marc neo is haha. But whatever, thought I should at least give a brief update.

Posted by seaskimmer 14:29 Archived in Germany Tagged germany berlin war singaporean Comments (0)

Pasteis de Nata

semi-overcast 14 °C
View SEP Pre-Trip on seaskimmer's travel map.

Random music reminds me of different people. Sometimes I hear some dance or electronica music, or whatever it's called and then I think of you climbing people! Once I heard Love Story (the old one) and I thought of my mum and her old jewellery/music box. And put your hands up, by that white rapper, that was P's song haha. And then imagine dragons, A introduced that to me.

After getting off the bus at 5pm Lisbon time (an hour before Madrid, we got a shock, thought the bus was an hour late) we dumped our bags in our hotel. It's a small hotel, not the best but totally comfy apart from being a bit cold. But the old reception guy, from Mozambique I think, is such a dear, and gave us extra blankets and towels, and when asked, showed us places to eat and the cheapest grocery store in that area (Chinese). And it's a hotel cos somehow the hostels are more expensive here. This was pretty cheap at about 10plus eur a night per person.

Went out searching for Bacalhau, the famous cod of Portugal. Apparently it's cooked in an unlimited number of ways, from grilled to cooked with cream to with egg I think. But anyway I really wanted to eat it. After walking down the whole of a famous road (rua portas de santo antao) located in the restaurades district (no points for guesses), we finally decided on a place to have dinner. Every shop on the street will have someone really aggressive (in a nice way) to come talk to you and pull you in to their restaurant. But you just have to check prices and be firm about it. We took it cos it had the cheapest bacalhau haha. Still not cheap (prices are pretty standard), we had the grilled bacalhau plus a Portuguese beef for the three of us, no drinks. It was nice, but not awesome, maybe we didn't choose the best place. Went back and had kit kat and Leftover pie for supper haha. Also went to a grocery store to get breakfast (bread and ham). The Bangladesh guy stayed

Woke up in the morning with the guys complaining that I talked in my sleep (I do that a lot haha), something about ordering a ticket. And I know cos I woke up when I said that. Some people will know of more violent events that happened overnight haha oops.

Famished in the morning, had tons of

Walked to alfama district, got some postcards and stamps. Waited for the sandeman tours, almost thought I'd got some info wrong cos they weren't there til 11 on the dot. Met 3 other sg kids on exchange or studying in Europe! So cool.

This tour guide was a youngish Portuguese student who spoke really good English and kept hitting on some Australian girls lol. Despite that he did try very hard to make it a fun tour, with lots of pictorial aid and he even wrote a skit about the very very cool double Agent Garbo. Garbo was a Spanish spy who tricked the Germans into thinking that cologne was a diversion and that they should concentrate their troops further north. Hence without him, the allies would likely have lost the d-day battle and the tide of history would have changed forever. He also talked about this author (name forgotten, will find later) who was pretty much unknown for most of his life and only published one of his many works. When he died they went through his stuff and discovered he was a brilliant possible schizophrenic genius who wrote many works as different authors with completely different styles and personal viewpoints. Very cool.

Tour done, with even a sg photo taken (check it out on fb), we headed on our half hour walk to the national museum of ancient art, which was actually a collection of paintings by Dutch and flemish artists. I'm still not very sure why they're displaying artists from there but okay haha. It was fairly interesting, I think I learnt a bit about how artists think, like sometimes they do works just to sort of improve their skills? Like there was a period where they painted lots of winter scenes so they could investigate the complex interplay of blue and pink in the sky.

Walled to the castle of St Jorge, so named after the patron saint of England because of something the English did for Lisbon. I don't remember. But the castle itself was built as a military fortress by the moors sometime in the 11th century. The moors! Cool. Later on when they got overthrown the Portuguese changed it into a bit more of a palace than a military place, and even later it became a bit of both. This I felt was somewhat similar to Gravensteen in Belgium, since it was primarily a military fortress, but it was built with the characteristic simple elegance of the ancient Islamic empire. Unfortunately not as much info on the place so couldn't enjoy it as much. But still cool. The winds up top on the walls and the courtyard outside were crazy!! Super strong, I had to angle my body a little against the force of the wind. But somehow it wasn't cold, just be very shiok. Really nice view of the city.

Walked to a place we'd seen along the way that had a full set for 8eur person, the cheapest we'd seen so far. Considered buying 2 sets then were like whatever let's do 3 sets. We couldn't understand the main menu at all though, so we didn't know what kind of main we'd get (out of 4) And the old couple came over and set down this huge plate of beef stew with potatoes and carrots. We began to o cheer immediately and I was about to cry because IT LOOKED SO GOOD and I was hungry and that was a HUGE HUGE pile of meat. We tucked in, had the bread, had the beer, the soup, even the espresso at the end. Multiple times along the way we actually checked if we'd gotten the right things because we couldn't believe all was included in the set and we were afraid that they'd charge us more for things we hadn't ordered. But no, all inclusive. That was our budget blown for the day but it was rationalised away as a 'welcome to Lisbon' meal haha. So happy so full so good so yummy.

Walked to the Chinese grocery shop again then back to our room. The guys went out for some beer, I stayed behind in the room cos I couldn't be bothered. Had a nice long hot shower then an orange. Attempted to use the bad bad wifi then went to sleep. Had some trouble because espresso!! Haha.

Let me end off this long long post by saying WHEEEE PORTUGESE EGG TARTS aka Pasteis de Nata! I had three from segovia, ate 2 yesterday. I'll eat two today and one each day til Saturday. Limiting myself because I need to try the other portugese speciality desserts and pastries as well. One thing is that the custard us much softer this in sg which is not a bad thing. Just different. Haha.

Posted by seaskimmer 03:06 Archived in Portugal Tagged food lisbon portugal singaporean eggtarts Comments (0)

Land of green

semi-overcast 10 °C

S and I took Ryanair from Paris Beauvais to Dublin. They almost didn't let my 500g achar through, thankfully the picture on the packet looked very dry. So despite the very watery feeling packet, the picture and my "Vegetable! Legume! Very little water!" pulled the achar through baggage check haha. Don't celebrate too soon, I have two more flights to get through. How could I have forgotten. I did buy some toffee in a pretty tin for her (AM) though so should be okay?

Spent a cold night in Dublin airport, huddled in my thick winter jacket (yay), curled over my small bag and lying on my large one. With the hood up and my eye cover thing it was relatively comfortable, though cold.

Four hour bus ride as mentioned previously, got to Cork. Had a lovely picnic at some little island in the middle of River Lee. Saw a bit of UCC, went to the English Market (so awesome) and had a nice dinner.

In the morning (this is Friday morning) we met E at the bus station and had a nice lamb pie for lunch! Mmm. walked around for a little while, met this awesome local, J, who pointed out on our map a bunch of great places to eat and see on Cork for us.

And and and, I accidentally met Z at our hostel!!! That was so cool. She was with three other Singaporeans, A and K (climbing) will know A from Geog haha. They were going to kayak in the evening to try to see bio-luminescent plankton, which unfortunately didn't work out because of the bright moon. Oh well. Made plans to maybe hang out in Dublin. What a happy coincidence!

In the evening we tried to eat at Tony's which is a cheap place that doesn't serve great food but they have okay Irish stew, which J said we could try. But it was closed! For some unknown reason so we just ate something random and chilled at a bar for a few hours. J said that there would be an awesome band playing that night, and yeah the band of 4 was cool and played maybe bluesy rock, very chill, but with wailing guitar and all.

The bartender was super nice. We got there early at like 8pm, when the band only starts at around ten, so it was empty when we arrived and we got to ask her about drink recommendations. Each got a drink (2 stouts and a cider) and she came over a few times to tell us things about Cork, and she even gave us 2 packets of chips free! So nice. Wanted to take a photo with her but in the end no chance to.

Good night's rest, and today (Saturday) we're off to the feeding of the five thousand city council event today where hopefully we'll be able to stuff ourselves with good food Hahaha. Then to Kinsale for the afternoon, and tomorrow morning we're off to Dublin.

Cheers!

PS sorry there aren't any photos, the ones in my camera won't be getting out until I get a computer, and the ones in my phone for some reason don't want to be uploaded. I'll see when I can get something up.

Posted by seaskimmer 02:11 Archived in Ireland Tagged ireland singaporean Comments (0)

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