Archives for the month of: June, 2013
Vollkornbäckerei Hartwich
Berlin

Last weekend while in France, I was able to indulged my appetite for croissants, but here in Berlin, trying to find a good croissant is difficult, if not impossible. So today, I tried my luck on the Internet. I typed, “Best Croissants in Berlin,” and discovered, to my surprise, that number 2 on Yelp’s best croissants list was Vollkornbäckerei Hartwich, just around the corner from where I live. 

Café Des Négociants

Clemont L’Herault
France

I had high expectations. The reviews seemed promising, the photos enticing, and the price reasonable. Unfortunately, Vollkornbäckerei Hartwich was a big disappointment. A good croissant should be light, almost feather-like. The crust should have a pale golden color that is crisp and flaky; and, above all, the ideal croissant should have a buttery and slightly sweet taste. The croissants at VH were dark brown, heavy, and bland! It just proves that if you want a good croissant, you need to go to France. 

Advertisements
Vollkornbäckerei Hartwich
Berlin

Last weekend while in France, I was able to indulged my appetite for croissants, but here in Berlin, trying to find a good croissant is difficult, if not impossible. So today, I tried my luck on the Internet. I typed, “Best Croissants in Berlin,” and discovered, to my surprise, that number 2 on Yelp’s best croissants list was Vollkornbäckerei Hartwich, just around the corner from where I live. 

Café Des Négociants

Clemont L’Herault
France

I had high expectations. The reviews seemed promising, the photos enticing, and the price reasonable. Unfortunately, Vollkornbäckerei Hartwich was a big disappointment. A good croissant should be light, almost feather-like. The crust should have a pale golden color that is crisp and flaky; and, above all, the ideal croissant should have a buttery and slightly sweet taste. The croissants at VH were dark brown, heavy, and bland! It just proves that if you want a good croissant, you need to go to France. 

Moment of Joy
Despite the controversy surrounding next week’s New Yorker cover, I love it! Inappropriate? Promoting a gay agenda? Trivializing an important moment in civil rights history? Nope. It’s just a sweet symbol for gay marriage and love.

Discrimination still exists and most states still forbid same-sex marriage, but the train has left the station and there’s no going back. Homophobia is losing steam, and this week’s Supreme Court decisions mark a giant step toward equality for all Americans.
Zerstörte Vielfalt Exhibition

It’s often said that you could visit a museum in Berlin every day of the year and not see them all. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. In truth, Berlin has 175 museums, including the famous Alte Nationalgalerie, the Pergamon, and the Gemäldegalerie. It also has a number of unusual ones, such as the Schwules Museum (Gay Museum), the Deutsches Currywurst Museum (dedicated to Berlin’s famous snack), and the Sugar Museum.


However, one of my favorite museum’s is, in fact, not a museum at all. It’s Berlin’s Open-Air Exhibitions, which are temporary installations displayed throughout the city. This year, the Open-Air Exhibition is Zerstörte Vielfalt (Diversity Destroyed). Located at 11 historic sites throughout the city, Zerstörte Vielfalt tells the story of the many Berliners that were persecuted, deported, or murdered under the Nazis. Zerstörte Vielfalt looks at Berlin’s lost artistic and scientific community of the 1930s. It’s moving, informative, and worth seeing. 
Zerstörte Vielfalt Exhibition

It’s often said that you could visit a museum in Berlin every day of the year and not see them all. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. In truth, Berlin has 175 museums, including the famous Alte Nationalgalerie, the Pergamon, and the Gemäldegalerie. It also has a number of unusual ones, such as the Schwules Museum (Gay Museum), the Deutsches Currywurst Museum (dedicated to Berlin’s famous snack), and the Sugar Museum.


However, one of my favorite museum’s is, in fact, not a museum at all. It’s Berlin’s Open-Air Exhibitions, which are temporary installations displayed throughout the city. This year, the Open-Air Exhibition is Zerstörte Vielfalt (Diversity Destroyed). Located at 11 historic sites throughout the city, Zerstörte Vielfalt tells the story of the many Berliners that were persecuted, deported, or murdered under the Nazis. Zerstörte Vielfalt looks at Berlin’s lost artistic and scientific community of the 1930s. It’s moving, informative, and worth seeing. 
The Millau Viaduct

Last week, Berlin experienced a heat wave. (This week, it’s cold and rainy.) On Thursday, the day after President Obama’s visit to Berlin, the city had a high of 36°C (97°F). Luckily, I had booked a mini vacation to the south of France and was able to escape the blistering heat. The trip was wonderful: good food, excellent wine, friendly people, and joie de vivre. (I had a croissant and coffee every morning. I was in heaven!)

The Millau Bridge as
compared to the Eiffel Tower


One site that I visited was the Millau Viaduct near the charming city of Millau. The Millau Viaduct is the world’s tallest bridge (270 meters or 890 ft), and it’s absolutely amazing. The two visitor centers detail the engineering feats that went into its construction, which took just 4 years to build. The surrounding countryside and the city of Millau reminded me of Switzerland. All that was missing were the snow covered alps.  

On the negative side, my plane ride was less than ideal. Air France has succumbed to the nickle and dime approach to revenue generation. My ticket (not cheap) did not permit a checked bag and my total carry-on items were subject to a 20 kilo weight limit, which Air France strictly adhered to. I was stopped two times on my way to the boarding gate to have my bag and small satchel carefully weighed (11 kilos). 

Millau on a quiet Sunday afternoon




The Millau Viaduct

Last week, Berlin experienced a heat wave. (This week, it’s cold and rainy.) On Thursday, the day after President Obama’s visit to Berlin, the city had a high of 36°C (97°F). Luckily, I had booked a mini vacation to the south of France and was able to escape the blistering heat. The trip was wonderful: good food, excellent wine, friendly people, and joie de vivre. (I had a croissant and coffee every morning. I was in heaven!)

The Millau Bridge as
compared to the Eiffel Tower


One site that I visited was the Millau Viaduct near the charming city of Millau. The Millau Viaduct is the world’s tallest bridge (270 meters or 890 ft), and it’s absolutely amazing. The two visitor centers detail the engineering feats that went into its construction, which took just 4 years to build. The surrounding countryside and the city of Millau reminded me of Switzerland. All that was missing were the snow covered alps.  

On the negative side, my plane ride was less than ideal. Air France has succumbed to the nickle and dime approach to revenue generation. My ticket (not cheap) did not permit a checked bag and my total carry-on items were subject to a 20 kilo weight limit, which Air France strictly adhered to. I was stopped two times on my way to the boarding gate to have my bag and small satchel carefully weighed (11 kilos). 

Millau on a quiet Sunday afternoon




There’s always something to see on the streets of Berlin. 

This temporary art installation just appeared overnight. It’s located near the Schlesisches Tor U-Bahn station
in Kreuzberg. 
A bronze face located near the Foreign Ministry
in Mitte
Beautifying a parkway on
Libauerstr. in Friedrichshain
Located on Karl-Marx Alle and
surrounded by Stalinist style apartments
this kiosk is in the shape of a baby bottle.
It states, “Finally Grown Up”
On the corner of Warschauerstr.
and Friedrichsstr. this street light
is the victim of too many posters

There’s always something to see on the streets of Berlin. 

This temporary art installation just appeared overnight. It’s located near the Schlesisches Tor U-Bahn station
in Kreuzberg. 
A bronze face located near the Foreign Ministry
in Mitte
Beautifying a parkway on
Libauerstr. in Friedrichshain
Located on Karl-Marx Alle and
surrounded by Stalinist style apartments
this kiosk is in the shape of a baby bottle.
It states, “Finally Grown Up”
On the corner of Warschauerstr.
and Friedrichsstr. this street light
is the victim of too many posters

Want to insult a German? Tell him he’s “typically German.” In truth, Germans don’t seem to like themselves or their country. For example, Germans shy away from displaying their national flag. In the USA, Canada, and Britain, the flag is displayed everywhere. In fact, it’s almost unpatriotic for an American elected official to be seen in public without a flag lapel. Remember when President Obama was criticized for failing to wear the obligatory flag lapel during his first run for the White House.  

But in Germany? You’ll find the flag on only a few government buildings. But elsewhere? Forget it. Nearly seventy years after the end of World War II, German patriotism isn’t evident. German patriotism gave rise to two World Wars and the Holocaust. Ask a German whether he loves his country and you’ll generally get a “no” or an awkward silence. Even the newly erected German monuments are really anti-monuments like the Memorial to the Murdered Sinti and Roma (Gypsies). Germans are still troubled by their past and avoid anything resembling patriotism or nationalism.