Wall on Wall

Wall on Wall Exhibition Israel | Occupied Palestinian Territories

One of the things I love most about Berlin is that every single time we go out for a walk, we discover something cool. The last time we strolled down to the East Side Gallery, we happened upon Kai Wiedenhöfer’s amazing Wall on Wall exhibition.

Kai, a photographer based in Berlin, traveled the world photographing the planet’s most notorious walls. From the DMZ separating the Koreas to the cement barriers of Baghdad to the vast stretches of wall that separate Mexico and the U.S., he’s seen and photographed them all.

But Kai needed the appropriate venue to display his photography. Where better than the world’s most beloved wall-gallery? The East Side Gallery, a living  Continue…

Further into the Reichstag

The Reichstag Dome

The Reichstag building with its massive steel and glass dome designed by Norman Foster is unquestionably the architectural highlight of Berlin. The building is also the ultimate symbol of German reunification and reconciliation as well as a profound architectural statement meant to symbolize the ideal of German governmental transparency. (Something we all need more of, right?)

Today most people make a beeline for the spectacular dome and never realize that there are several options for extended visits which include the interior of the main Reichstag building. Thomas and I took a 90-minute Art and Architecture tour of the Reichstag to delve a little further into this amazing piece of German history. I’ll admit that some of the modern art had me rolling my eyes, but the tours offer an incredible opportunity to access parts of the building that are off-limits to most visitors. Here’s a tiny sample of what we saw as well as tips on how to take an extended tour Continue…

Ten Ways to Experience Catalonian Cuisine

Catalonian Cuisine

Wild mushroom salads, cured meats and sausages, roasted red peppers in olive oil, wines, cheeses, salted cod, crema Catalana… the cuisine of Catalonia is every bit as rich as the artistic and architectural heritage of the region. In fact, the current “best restaurant in the world” is in Catalonia.  Whether you are indulging in stewed prawns on the coast or pigs feet in the mountains, there’s something for everyone. Don’t know where to begin? No problem. Catalonians are a sophisticated bunch, but they are also exceptionally down-to-earth and ready to share their food with you. The best way to learn is to start eating and asking lots of questions. Here are ten tips to get you going Continue…

Rafting the Noguera Pallaresa

Rafting on Noguera Pallaresa

Although most people probably don’t immediately think of Spain when they contemplate adventure travel holidays, Catalonia offers some serious opportunities for the über-active traveler: sailing trips on the Costa Brava, scuba diving in the Mediterranean, canyoning, skiing and snowboarding in the Pyrenees, climbing and via ferrata routes, long-distance hiking, and… drum roll… white water rafting.

We sampled the rafting potential on an afternoon excursion on the Noguera Pallaresa River in the high Pyrenees and, as you can see in the pictures, it was totally awesome. Organized through Rubber River in Sort, the stretch we did ranged from grades 3 to 4, which means there’s a bit of potential to be thrown from the boat. The run was incredibly fun and there is a very cool surprise Continue…

Re-Learning a Valuable Lesson in the Costa Brava

Llafranc harbor, Costa Brava

I’ll admit that before I came to Catalonia, I had a rather bad impression of the Costa Brava. (We all have our prejudices, right?) Having lived in Germany for many years, I associated the area with mass tourism, package holidays and overdevelopment.

So you can imagine my shock as we sailed the beautiful, rocky coastline between Palamós and Llafranc past isolated coves, golden beaches, cliff-top villas, weatherworn castles, lush forest, and picturesque fishing villages. It was NOT the picture I had in my mind. And the water in those coves was like liquid glass. Pure fantasy.

Descending in Llafranc, I hiked a portion of the perfectly manicured coastal trail that runs the length of Catalonia connecting its coastal towns and villages. It was all just so Continue…

Hooked on the Via Ferrata in Vallcebre, Catalonia

As I mentioned earlier on our Facebook page, I’ve discovered a new sport… and I’m totally hooked (pun intended). While we were in Vallcebre, Catalonia Tourism introduced us to via ferratas on an outing with CercleAventura, a Catalonian adventure sports company.

A via ferrata, also known as a Klettersteig in German, is an established climbing route that follows a secured steel cable as well as carved footholds, iron stepping rungs, ladders and cable bridges. Climbers wear protective helmets and harnesses and secure themselves to the cable using absorbers with carabiners. You don’t have to be an experienced mountain climber to do a via ferrata, and there are often several routes targeting different grades of difficulty.

Oscar, our CercleAventura guide on the outing, was incredibly Continue…

Berlin Festival of Lights 2013

Berlin Festival of Lights 2013

Today marks the end of Berlin’s spectacular Festival of Lights, one of the city’s coolest annual events. Although the 12-day festival was marred by fairly rainy weather this year (that’s always a risk in October), we still managed to get some pretty cool shots. Potsdamer Platz, with its pop art projections, was the clear standout this year. Hotel de Rome’s classical art projections were also quite stunning. There seemed to be fewer animations and more still imagery on the buildings, which was a tiny bit of a disappointment. Don’t get lazy Berlin, get those animations ready for next year.

We’ve added eight additional images from this year’s festival to our Festival of Lights pictorial, so check it out.