Hello Prague!

I love traveling my train.  First and fore most...there is NO SECURITY!!!  I love the fact that i can walk onto a train and go to another country with all of the damn liquids i want!  No one has to pull my bag apart to make sure my phone charger isn't a bomb i've disguised as a phone charger; i don't have to explain why i bought fabric somewhere that is super cute.  Security drives me crazy.  I get the point and appreciate all of their hard work but it is soooo annoying to have to deal with each time i fly, which is pretty often.  Second they pretty much just leave you alone unless you need something.  Third they go different places and make those quick drop offs so you get people running up to the them and running behind them to say goodbye to loved ones.  Trains rock!

The adventure began Wednesday morning with a trip to Prague Castle.  From a distance it totally looks like a Disney Castle and i can understand where his ideas came from now better.  The main attraction at the castle is the Cathedral "St.Vitus Cathedral".  Beautiful!  There were many different chapels within the Cathedral each dedicated to a different saint or cause, crazy!

St.Vitus Cathedral   St.Vitus Cathedral   St.Vitus Cathedral From the South Side

Other parts of the Castle were cool, but i guess the Royal Family has not lived there for hundreds of years so it's more of a Medieval castle with all of the crazy bricks and arches.  Beautiful, but i was hoping from some more Rococo styled palace goodness like in Potsdam.  After walking around the castle i found an awesome park with fantastic views and some really nice stencil work, who knew!

Letna Park: Stencil Work Woman's Face   Letna Park: Tagging the many Faces   Letna Park: Stencil Work Pirate Skeleton

Today (Thursday) is beginning with Laundry and then its off to Kinsky Palace that is quoted as having "lusicious Baroque Interiors" so i should be able to get my over adornment fix today.  And then tonight it's over to "Bar Bar" that was recommened by some friends for dinner/drink, where ever the night has taken me.

The End of Berlin

"The Wall" ... An item that kept families, friends, and ideas separated for so long.  After seeing the wall in person it's hard to believe that something as frail, thin, and at maybe fourteen feet tall kept people apart for so long.  I guess it's more of what it stood for and it's strength was more in the people who built it then in the physical representation of the wall.  It's odd since as a child i remember the stories and the pictures having this enormous stone structure that looked impenetrable.  I remember in grade school hearing stories about the people and life on the other side and all of the celebrations, even in the states, when the wall came down in '89. 

As a kid i always imagined bulldozers running the length of the wall destroying all of it in one swift action.  In reality the wall came down in pieces.  Sections of the wall were moved to museums and another small section was left where it was and murals were painted on it...well not anymore.  I had read that the East Side Gallery, the wall where the murals and tagging were, was under going "renovation".  This was translated incorrectly as what's really happened is they painted over everything in white.  The whole wall was white except for a few new painted areas that people were working on.  I didn't see plans from the previous murals anywhere and the people painting didn't appear to be working from anything.  It's sad if the Germans truly lost the art that was created in such close emotion with the fall of the wall to replace it with artwork from a time where most working on the painting are too young to even remember it.  I get that the country needs to move on, but it feels like it has become more of something to bring in cash from the tourists then a memorial to the thoughts, ideas, and feelings that came from the end of the wall.

After the stroll along the East Side Gallery i headed over to the Museum complex Museumsinsel.  One museum had caught my eye, all Egyptian artifacts...Altes Museum.  I had a fantastic afternoon browsing the different finds from digs in the 1800's.  The Bust of Cleopatra is amazing in person.  I don't know how much restoration has been done, but the color is stunning and the piece truly shows off how beautiful of a woman and queen she was.  The entire museum complex is under going renovations and it appeared that they were building new buildings for some of them, Museum Island as they refer to it.

Afterwards a brief nap on the grass in front of the Berliner Dom i decided i was done walking and wanted something else to give me a tour.  I decided on a really long boat tour to end the afternoon as the day was in the mid 70's and the water looked fantastic.  We went up and down the River Spree which gave me another view of the Wall from the water and a tour of the water lining sites of Berlin.  It's interesting how old buildings have been renovated and re-purposed for things like a TV Station for Comedy Central.  A working power plant in the middle of the city seemed odd to me...but i guess if you don't have a lot of space, and maybe didn't know how dangerous they were, you'd put it in the midle of the city center. A nice end to the day.

One of the sites on the boat tour was the Markisches Museum, Museum of Berlin essentially.  After putting everything back into the backpack i headed over to the museum for a few hours before my train.  Awesome things, and ok for pictures!  Lots of photos from the late 180's and items from the entire history of Berlin going back to 1200's.  There was a stereongraph from a worlds fair (i think that's what the sign said) that was showing stereo photos in a round booth with different viewing portals all around.  There were 40 different images in all from 1895 - 1910~ish.  Fantastic images of real people in the city of Berlin, oh the hats!  Nice end to my stay in the city of Berlin.

Here is a Link to the Set of Berlin photo's i took on my Flickr Page, enjoy : )

Now to Prague!

Potsdam, the Land of Rococo

I joined a walking tour for my exploration of Potsdam.  I couldn't find a map online and was hearing good things about it.  So to make sure i got to see the highlights i opted for the group thing.  The Group met up a bit before 10am Sunday morning.  We rode the train together to Potsdam and began the tour!  I've always wanted to make one of those Google Maps for myself... so here it is!  Feedback is appreciated : )

Berlin Solar and Aqua, Flora and Fauna...and a Palace

Friday began waking up way too early...4:30am...and doing a bit of photo updating followed by needing more sleep that lasted a bit longer then i had thought it would. I awoke at 9:40am realizing the time hopped up, dressed, and dashed out for breakfast, which the hotel stops serving at 10am. Breakfast at the B&B here is nearly the same as in St. Petersburg; cheese, sliced meat, bread, juice, and tea/coffee. The big difference is instead of fried egg(s) i am given a hard boiled egg. Well i'm not so big on how they smell, nor can i even get into one to try it out (i think the last one i has i was three). I've tried hitting the shell with a fork, squishing it on the plate, tapping it as if to open it to pan fry an egg, nothing works! I'm pretty surprised that a egg has eluded me on how to consume it for two days. Tomorrow will bring another opportunity and maybe success! At least at opening it to see if i'm still totally not a hard boiled girl.

I headed out very excited to see the Berlin Aquarium. After a bit of searching i found the entrance, paid, and promptly began taking pictures of fish. I think i've been spoiled with the amazing Monterey Bay Aquarium and the new Cal Academy areas as this was pretty unimpressive. Nice fish, don't get me wrong...the big new exciting thing here, a for me was all of the insects! I'm used to these being in the zoo, and in small quantities, so this was exciting to see Ants, Grasshoppers, and Cockroachs with their own room. The not so fantastic part was two great ant setups in open air in the middle of the room. Each was surrounded by water to "ensure the ants did NOT escape". This failed as there were ants crawling all over the bases of each of the exhibits, evolution for ya. Regardless it was pretty awesome to see the ants so close up and watch them work.

Aqua Fauna this way  Fishies  Sea Horse  Um...sleeping..yea...

I decided to venture into the Zoo, which is connected to the Aquarium. I had read and heard amazing things about the Berlin zoo. Again i'm spoiled rotten. I think growing up with the San Diego Zoo places my bar a bit higher than it should be. One refreshing and applaudable difference was the interaction i saw between the zoo keepers and the animals. I turned a corner to find a man casually playing with an ant eater in their habitat. Awesome! It was a warm day and everyone was out both and in and out of the cages. Europe isn't too different from the states as there were just as many idiots outside of the cages as back home. Why can't more people treat the animals with respect. They're already in cages, do you have to point and yell at them?!?!? "Other peoples kids"

Animal entertainer  No matter what language you speak don't do it  Polar Bear 

From the Zoo i headed over the Schloss Charlotten . Such beautiful rooms! They reminded me of the palace apartments in St. Petersburg, very ornamental and lavishly decorated. Two rooms stick out in my mind. First was a room on the back of the Palace on the ground floor with deep dark hunter green Silk Damask fabric on the walls and large mirrors running the length of the room. It truly looked like a "Garden Room" where someone would want to entertain royalty. The second was a room on the Second Floor decorated in light calm shades of Green with all Silver adornments. Amazing to see how it all worked together...and it's how i've always wanted to decorate a Dining room, go figure (well i really hadn't thought about silver plating reliefs on the wall...yet). Most of the rooms that had been destroyed in WWII were very plainly restored. This is an area were the Germans could take a cue from the Russians, "make it as beautiful as it was before, and maybe a little bit more"...and while you're at it let them take pictures!!! Plain white walls, no ceiling adornments, the rooms were so out of place with the rest of the palace. Oh well, what had survived mostly was restored beautifully and i really enjoyed the tour.

SchlossCharlottenburg: Front of the Palace  SchlossCharlottenburg: Plans  SchlossCharlottenburg: Let there be a poind..right about here!  SchlossCharlottenburg: Wide Shot of the Gardens

Behind the Palace were the Schlossgarten which contained the Baroque Garden, the Belvedere, and the Mausoleum. I made it through the gardens and made a quick run through the fine dining and tea china sets before the Belvedere closed. The rest of the afternoon was spent strolling the gardens and enjoying the beautiful weather.

The afternoon ended with a fantastic glass of wine and more pizza. The restaurant said it was authentic German cuisine...flat bread baked with veggies, sliced meat, and cheese...that is pizza and it's *not* from Germany. Oh well. Saturday WILL include some German food, it should be easier as i booked a guided tour of Potsdam and think we might stop for lunch.

A Starry Night at Chabot Observatory

Some how in two weeks between two trips i managed to cut, fit, sew, and partially trim an entire outfit for a GBACG Event at the Chabot Observatory...A Starry Night of Steampunk.  I love how everything turned out.  THe polonaise was a nightmare to fix the fit on (no one's shoulders are *that* wide) and the hat was my second ever attempt at millnery.  Some day i need to cut, fit, and sew the underthings so that i can wear these outfits properly, more excuses to knit lace!

A couple of things did not make the cut off time.  The Hand knit lace was not applied to the polonaise, nor was the trimming for the edge (to hide the lace attachment stitch yet to be done).  The hat was quickly done and may need to touchups in the future.  Lace cuffs need to be knit for more then just this.  Things that were completed were the awesome big black satin bows on the back of the polonaise along with the "Snap-up" tucks along the back side seams to cause the shirring.  I decided in the design phase that all costume pieces must be packable and iron able...easily.  This means not sewn in tucks and no sewn on trims.  So far this is fun and extremly practical as i can drive and exchange trims as i desire, hopefully it will stay as cool sionce it's totally extra work.

The next costume, without checking the calendar, will be for the Sweeny Todd ball in the Fall.  I *need* one of the dresses that Helena Bonham Carter wore in the film, the one with the black and white stripes?  No, i can't find a picture and although i can sing every song on the soudtrack nearly perfectly i've only seen the film once and can't for the life of me remember which sceen it's in. But...that's the next challenge.

Here are the pictures from the event.  Enjoy : )

Beginning in Berlin

I began my Eastern European trip a few days ago getting on a plane and heading to Berlin. This is now my second full day in Berlin looking at museums and things that used to be owned by royalty.

Friday began with the Wall Museum, Haus am Check Point Charlie. The museum was in a building where it began as two rooms while the wall was still up (crazy!!!). Now the museum has grown to encompass most of the building with winding rooms here and there and all sorts of randomness about the wall and the happenings at the time. It's pretty crazy to think that such a place existed. A place where people who could go and come as they pleased could look over a fence and see those you one night by a couple of men without asking them decided that they woulod become part of the great USSR communist experiment. It's sad to think that such an idea as the equality of men could have ever been warped and much les endorsed by leaders of the world ever in history. Not all leaders should be leading. The museum had some amazing exhibits and a real strong impact, don't take freedom for granted. I forget some times just how other people have it. Well a rant for another day.

Haus am Checkpoint Charlie: German Soviet Propaganda  Haus am Checkpoint Charlie: Book Pillar and Me

Next was a walk through Riehmers Hofgaten and a stroll through Viktoriapark. In the latter there was a beautiful waterfall framed with a monument for an awesome photo (Flickr set below). Once i got up to the top of the "tallest hill in Berlin" i was very happy to see come good tagging in the midst of my view. Yes... someone had tagged "Vader" into the perfectly framed view of the city of Berlin. Nice!

Viktoria Park View up to National Denkmal   View From top of Viktoria Park with some Star Wars tagging

The strolling continuted through Chamissoplatz and then off to a bit of shopping! First was a poke into Spacehall records with a fantastic selection of Electro and more. This may have been a left over April Fools Joke...but there was totally a sign that said "Faith No More in Berlin June XXX 2009" I don';t remember the date, but OMG are they playing still just not in the states? i *did* think about what it would cost to come back in JUne...ad a few minutes later talked myself back down to reality. Damn do i love them.

Next a poke into a Yarn Shop in Berlin! Can't believe i managed to shove in a bit of crafting. The yarn shop was your standard rull of the mill items. Noro, a bit of felting wool, and some nice hand painted. I think since i started spinning i've become something of a yarn snob. I really expect places to have hand spun or at least some of the more exotic yarns. How many different sock yarns can there truly be?!?!? Fadeninsel had you covered for the basics, also they had you comvered for tights, leggings, and socks. Awesome stuff that you don't find everywhere. I managed to control myself (most everything had a high wool count which would have cause mass uncomfort on my part and thus was skipped).

Fadeninsel, yarn shop   Fadeninsel, yarn shop

Leaving the yarn shop i headed over to a "Art Center" - Kunsterhaus Bethanien. The place was originally a hospital in the 1800's and has since been turned into a artist in residency/exhibit hall. The AIR's work for their allotted season and then in the summer everything is exhibited. Very diverse and definitly worth the stop. I love old hospitals, now image it full of new media art installitions with lots of video and interactive media. Awesome! One piece was about the US boarder potrol and their relationship with their dogs...and how this corresponded with their relationship with their mothers? Random. Good work both audio and visual about the subject. Next was a image of the US constitution and all of the "points" represented. This was fantastic as it used Sweatshops, Taco Stands, and other realistic images to illustrate what the outcome was of the original dreamers of the US nation.

One final stop to a fabric store i'd read about in my guide book, of all places. Upon arriving i fell in love. Beautiful prints on undyed linen and other goods of animals, flowers, and different scenes. Some Russian inspired, i felt like i was playing in the perfect land of quilting, now if i could only afford it *and* have room in my already full backpack to bring some home. I settled on to 1/4 meters, one of elephants and one of purple and natural stripes. The perfect goods for a bag for my new Netbook (which is keeping me company on my journey and totally awesome). The fabric is small and i really wanted something to remind me of my trip that would be functional, score!  Pictures of the Fabric to come...

Frau Tulpe

Lace Update!

150" of lace has been finished!!!  Currently looking like enough to trim the Polonaise, now i just need to cut and sew the polonaise so i have something to attach the lace to ;p

One Awesome Costume

I'm SOOOO excited!  I finished the stitching of the bias along the top and bottom of the Black and Green Corset while i was in NY.  A Hat Pin was made quickly Saturday morning and the outfit was complete!  Here are some pictures...



By far this is now the best fitting corset i own.  It's super comfortable.  Also 1st try at millinery with good success!  Multiple hat boxes were procured this week to store all of the amazing hats i will be working on over the coming months.