Street art from Melbourne

One cannot talk enough about Melbourne’s street art culture. It is vibrant, it is energetic and it is everywhere! Don’t be surprised if you stumble upon a gorgeous geisha staring you down, find a wall of multicolored squiggles when you turn the corner, walk alongside fantastical six-legged beasts or meet a monochrome gang of six-year-olds practicing graceful ballet moves. Although I’ve lost many photographs from my year-long stay in Melbourne, thanks to a broken hard drive 😥 I remember those long walks around town discovering a new scene almost every day and clicking away photos to my heart’s content. My favorite spots were Degraves Street & Hosier Lane in Melbourne, as well as the funky Fitzroy & Brunswick neighborhoods on the edge of town. I could spend hours looking at these beautiful expressions of art.

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Street art in Reykjavik

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A few weeks ago, I went on an awe-inspiring road-trip through Iceland with Mr.A and two of our closest friends in Stockholm. Although it will take me a while to recount all those breath-taking views and experiences we shared along the way, let me start with Reykjavik, our port of entry & exit. Like I do on all my trips, I tried to capture the spirit of the city through its vibrant street art. At least a few years ago, the authorities in Reykjavik were not very supportive of this form of art. Not sure where they stand now, but I was happy to find a lot of color along Laugavegur, Reykjavik’s hep main street, leading up to the beautiful harbor area of Gamla Höfn. Take a look 🙂

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Croatia Day 7, 8 : Zagreb

… Continued from Croatia Day 6: Motovun, Hum
We spent most of Day 7 on the road, stopping here and there, at no particular destination. The drive from Hum to the capital Zagreb was  about 200km, we finally arrived at our apartment hotel by sundown and settled in for the last leg of our awesome Croatian road-trip.

Highlights

  • Next morning the plan was to walk through Zagreb’s Upper Town. Mr.A and I started our tour at the Ban Jelačić Square & the Manduševac Fountain. Next, up to the Kaptol dominated by the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then onto the colorfully umbrella-ed Dolac Market where local farmers bring fresh produce every day of the week. Strolling through the happening Tkalciceva Street, we passed under the Gradec Stone Gate, dating back to the 1200’s. Here locals and tourists light candles to the Virgin Mary even today. Next stop was the colorfully tiled St.Marks Church. We toured Gradec some more, listening to piano music floating in from a ballet school, such a pleasant touch to our afternoon! And then ended up somewhere in the Lower Town. The final high-point was the fun funicular ride up to the Strossmayer promenade. At the top, we were enchanted by the bird’s eye-view of the city warmly lit by the setting sun.
  • Tkalciceva Street (pronounced tkal-chee-tseva) needs special mention when one is talking about Zagreb. This is the city’s hep street lined with scores of restaurants, cafes and fast-food joints that to satisfy any craving you might have. Of course, the cuisine is not limited to Croatian food, but a large variety from all over the world. This is where you will find the best dressed Croatians sipping on their coffee, meeting friends and family, hanging out with friends, and generally enjoying the good life. Mr. A and I happily joined the scene strolling through to the very end.We even witnessed some sort of horse procession! We rewarded ourselves with an excellent lunch and coffee 🙂
  • You might have noticed that I have a thing for street-art  😉 and Zagreb had lots to offer on that front. Zagreb’s prominently young population is owed to its universities that attract students from not only the rest of Croatia but also neighbouring countries. As such, it is not surprising that graffiti show up on its walls as an expression of the young voices. Also, there are several inspiring installations all over the city in the form of sculptures & statues.

And that brought us to the end of our amazing week in Croatia, the fascinating, versatile land of natural & cultural wealth. We could wish to stay on much longer, but it was time to head back to new adventures. And there is always a way back to places we love, isn’t that right?!

Berlin & remains of the Wall

When Mr.A & I visited Berlin, we wanted to see the Berlin Wall up close. I researched a bit on the internet and found the best suggestion on traveldudes.org. They talk about three spots where the Wall is best preserved. We went to each of them and at each spot one may experience a different feeling.

1. Topography of Terror: 

Websitehttp://www.topographie.de

Address : Niederkirchnerstraße 8, 10963 Berlin

I shared some pictures from this site in a previous post about exploring Berlin. Topography of Terror is a museum that documents the reign of Hitler through the years and how Germany, and the world at large, was affected by the Nazi era. In fact, the museum stands at approximately the same spot where the Gestapo once had their headquarters. A section of the Berlin Wall still stands before it, a grim reminder of the past. The studies and photos are very detailed and quite an eye-opener even for a well-read traveler. One might come off a bit overwhelmed by this visit.

On a separate note, if you want to rent one of the lockers, make sure you have a €1 coin, the cafeteria will probably not help you out. The closest metro station would be Potsdamer Platz.

2. Berlin Wall Memorial and Documentation Center: 

Websitehttp://www.berliner-mauer-gedenkstaette.de

Address : Bernauer Straße 119, 13355 Berlin

This memorial has a kilometer and a half stretch of the Wall. The events that took place here are documented through pictures and artefacts at the Documentation Center. There are a couple of floors, so allow yourself some time. A watch tower at the Center provides a wider view of the Wall and what used to be two sides of divided Germany. To reach this site, take the metro to Nordbahnhof. Incidentally, Nordbahnhof used to be one of the ghost stations on the Eastern side that were blocked away during the Cold War. The station also has images and stories of how these ghost stations came to be. Mr.A and I felt quite moved with our experience here. It is hard to imagine what it must have been for the people loving here not so far back in the past.

3. East Side Gallery: 

Websitehttp://www.eastsidegallery-berlin.de

Address : Mühlenstraße, 10243 Berlin

The East Side Gallery is often called the longest open air gallery in the world. Here, remains of the Berlin Wall stretch for over a kilometer along the Spree river. Once a symbol of separation, it is now covered with artists’ impressions advocating freedom for everybody. Some paintings have deteriorated over time due to vandalism and erosion, but some work is being done to preserve it, including fences to protect certain parts. To reach the Gallery, one could either hop off at the metro station Ostbahnhof and walk along the wall to the next metro, Warschauer Straße, or vice versa. Walking along the water is also very pleasant. I quite liked this one, given my love for murals, graffiti & street art.

There are, of course, several other places where you may see bits of the wall remaining, but they would be smaller in scale as compared to the spots mentioned above. Have you visited Berlin? Did you make it to any of these memorials? What did you think? I’d love to know!