Of a weekend in Berlin

The end of September was coming closer, and with it, my travel to Berlin. Here is a short report…

Friday
Alarm goes off at 5:00breakfast, last check-check and off to the bus station. Our bus to Berlin departed at 7:07, was still dark and the first lights of the sun were just appearing behind the buildings ahead. The journey took about 3 hours, circa 290km of fields and more fields.

Arriving in Berlin with a bright sun up but still quite chilly, we walked to the nearest S-bahn and learnt our way to the centre. For someone who is not very used to using subways and trains (a.k.a. myself), the S-bahn and U-bahn can be quite confusing at first, but with a little time and effort (and perhaps, a helpful iPhone app), things get less complicated.
Brandenburger Tor station was our starting point, from there we walked around most of the well known places but also the small weird looking streets.

Walking around Berlin and seeing all those things i have studied about at school, seen in books, watched on documentaries or films was quite an experience…

Brandenburger Tor

Unter den Linden

Berliner Mauer

Berliner Mauer

Checkpoint Charlie

Berliner Dom

After around 6 hours walking and seeing things, legs were asking for a little rest, so why not take a nap on that nice and green grass in front of Berliner Dom? We still had 2 hours of waiting until we could check in at the rented flat through Wimdu, so we took the Berlin Bus line 100 which is the Berlin sightseeing tour for €2.30 and hoped to see some more things we haven’t before, but for some reason this one bus had to go a different way due to some traffic problems or something, still was a a good tour.

Back to the S/U-bahn and iPhone app, finding our way to the flat wasn’t so difficult.
Arrive > Eat > Shower > Sleep…

Saturday
More interesting walks, posters for some amazing upcoming shows and nice street art…

Berlin Street Art

Berlin Street Art

Berlin Street Art

Berlin Street Art

Berlin Street Art

…And a stop for some nice Falafels…

And well… Time was coming… Time to head to Wuhlheide to see some band called Radiohead and Caribou as supporting…
Getting there in good time so we could get a good spot. All in all, we stood up for around 5 hours, there was rain, rainbows and full moon… And Radiohead… Bloody hell. Was i Hyper?

Kindl Bühne Wuhlheide

Radiohead

Radiohead

Radiohead

Woah! What an amazing concert… And setlist…

Radiohead Setlist @ Wuhlheide Berlin 29-09-12 from setlist.fm

Sunday
Waking up still in disbelief, got things ready and left the flat at the check out time. Back to Berlin’s centre, we dropped off at Potsdamer Platz station and walked around that area…

East/West Division

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Just as you leave Potsdamer Platz station you can’t help noticing some quite high buildings around, and one of them is the Kollhoff tower. Paying a fee of €5 you get to go inside, use the fastest elevator in Europa, which goes 90 metres or 24 floors in 20 seconds, visit the cafe and have a really amazing panorama view of Berlin…

Kollhoff Tower

View of Berlin from Panoramanpunkt KollHoff Tower

And as the sun was going down, we decided to spend the last few hours we had left at the cold shore of the river Spree.
Hopefully i will see you again Berlin.

Sunset by the river Spree

-Maha

Grayscale São Paulo

This past weekend (20th to 22nd) i was visiting the city of São Paulo to attend to Steven Wilson’s last concert in south america for the Grace For Drowning tour. The last time i visited São Paulo was in 2004, for a tattoo festival, but somehow i don’t have many clear memories of those few days i stayed there, apart from seeing a lot of nice tattoos, great tattoo artists and meeting Derrick Green from Sepultura.

Arriving on late friday night didn’t give me much opportunity to walk around, instead, me and my travel mate Sapo, just hopped from one metro to another until we reached the house we were staying.

The next morning, woke up and looked outside the window to be greeted with a nice Paulista Sky…

Grayscale São Paulo

Grayscale São Paulo 2
Under that sky and a nice temperature of 17ºC, we decided to go out and have a look around at the few shops that remained open even though it was a holiday. We didn’t walk very far until our first stop to grab some coffee and head to Livraria Cultura. That’s where fun begun and that’s where we spent many hours of our day. Only there i realized it was Record Store Day and all records were on discount price, so i went on a hunt for some desired albums. An hour later and there was i, holding all these nice scented CDs, knowing i would have to leave some of them behind otherwise i would’t have any money left for the rest of the weekend. Ended up with these two gorgeous albums.

Treats From Record Shop Day

Opeth's Heritage & Radiohead's Amnesiac

Our next stop was at Apfel, a cosy vegetarian restaurant that offered many varieties and a friendly price. With our bellies filled with leaves and veggies, we went for a quite long walk at the Avenida Paulista seeing all sorts of things and people while a light rain poured on us. This same rain kept us company until it was time to head to the venue where the concert took place.

Walk, metro, walk, walk and walk a bit more, and there i was, seeing THE Steven Wilson and his amazing band performing a brilliant show a couple of metres from me and a not so crowded venue.
As i entered the venue, Bass Communion’s 16 Second Swarm was already playing through the quadrophonic sound system while Grace For Drownings photographs were being projected on the curtains just before the band starts…

Steven Wilson 1

They performed many songs from both, Insurgentes and Grace For Drowning albums, including the 23 minutes long Raider II, Abandoner, No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun, Harmony Korine, Postcard, and my Grace For Drowning favourite, Like Dust I Have Cleared From My Eye. Also a brand new track entitled Luminol. As for the first encore they played Get All You Deserve wearing these really cool masks. And for the second encore, Steven came back alone to have a little chat with the crowd and perform Lazarus and Trains to leave me even more euphoric and in a state of disbelief.

When he definitely left the stage and the curtains went down, we listened to more Bass Communion to clean our ears, this time with A Grapefruit in the World of Park. Amazing concert.

Steven Wilson 2

Sunday. More rain. Long wait for the bus. And fly back home. A great weekend.

Grayscale São Paulo 3

Sapo e Yo

Sapo e Iolanda

Thanks Iolanda for hosting and taking us around, was great seeing you and Sapo for making me realize i shouldn’t miss this concert and for the great company.