Tuesday, April 21, 2015

" What to expect inside Germany's Parliament Building called Reichstag "

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[ REICHSTAG aka Deutscher Bundestag ]

Is the seat of the German Parliament.
The original version was built in 1880s, topped with a stone dome but was damaged by fire and war during the Nazi period.
It was restored in the 1960s, with a classic Neo-Renaissance style and added its Glass inspired dome that was designed
by Architect Sir Norman Foster.



- best to book in advance.
- register at this Website link , fill out the form
- or you can go directly, but must wait in line * for at least two hours/ depending on traffic *


From 8 am to Midnight * last admission 10 pm *

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the inscriptions on the front

How the Parliament looks like many years ago, dated 1914.
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Hallo Jungs! *hello guys*

Berlin: it was in 2012 the last time we were in this city, though much has changed since, this edifice remains the same.

The first thing we did was to make an online reservation in advance.
There are schedules for you to choose, fill out a form, where you leave your contact details and passport infos.
They will email you with their confirmation.

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a glimpse inside the Dome


The initial plan was to visit Reichstag during the night,
because of the spectacular aerial view and the glimmering lights, but decided otherwise,
given the weather in Berlin which proved to be foggy and misty during winter time.

We booked as early as 8:30 A.M. but still got there 10 minutes late! *blame it on jet-lagged and bad alarm setting*.
From our hotel, we took the Metro from Hausvogteiplatz to Unter den Linden metro stop.

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* hello! that's me on the right *

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up the stairs with these catchy shout-outs from EU


The morning walk was wonderful by the way.
From Parisier Platz, we passed the Brandenburger Tor, aka the Brandenburg gate.
The streets were quiet, the place was silent.
Apart from us and a few locals heading to work, the crowds haven't gathered yet.

The first sight of the Brandenburg gate with all the flickered lights beside a giant Christmas tree...

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*note: Left side building is the US embassy.

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On our way to the Parliament we saw a crocodile of small school children shepherded by their teachers.
They were cute! ^-^
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My guess was they were heading the same direction as we were, but I was wrong.
They crossed the other side of the street on the way to the garden.

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There are helpful street signs for you to follow, leading you to the side entrance of the building.
Once inside, there will be a bunch of security checks and scanners.
Strict securities are implemented.

One security clerk was cheery and had this "Welcome to Berlin" speech prepared.

SEC: Hello! welcome to Berlin!
Speak English? Where are you from ?

Me: Hello (smiled)

SEC: Are you from China?

Me: shook my head and said: No, (still smiling)

SEC: ah! from Japan?

Me: No...

SEC: so, where you guys from?

Me: I finally caved in and said from the Philippines.

Well, I think it only took him like more than 10 seconds to register where in the world is that?!
and surprisingly said, Oh wow! what a nice country. ^-^

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* this is the area where they officially check your belongings *


We were then ushered outside the building into the west side gate, where we took the lift up the dome.

[ It read: " DEM DEUTSCHEN VOLKE " which means To the German People. ]
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Once inside, Audio guides were provided with some brochures and newspapers in case you're interested.

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Inside the dome, the walkways are in spiral manner with what seem to be an upside-down pyramid shaped that looked below
the Parliament seating.

There are sensors along the way, with the audio guides included, you get a description of its history,
in and outside of the building as you walk along the platform.

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It is immensely spacious and airy.
In case you want to know...
It is made up of 800 tons of steel,
3000 sq metres of glass plus 360 mirrors.

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You can wander freely around the area, go up and down or take pictures outside.
At the top of the dome, there's a seating area, this was where we took lots of self-timed shots and yes, selfies included. ^0^

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On a clear day, it would've been great to capture lots of panoramic and scenic view.
But the dull-grey skies were all we could managed at that time, nonetheless... it was still worth it.

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the art read: [ Stimmen Für Den Mindestlohn ] that translates to : Vote for the minimum wage

More shots from the inside looking out.

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see the Brandenburg gate on the right?

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nice detail

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If the place was packed, we would've finished it in less than an hour, it would've been tedious.
Instead, we almost have the place for ourselves.
So, we took time to appreciate each and every detail down to its imposing exterior.
The audios were helpful especially, if you're into history,
As for me, I have a short attention span, I get bored easily, so I tend to shift my gaze from here to there.

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just look at how this was intricately carved.

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you have to look up once in a while

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Exiting the building

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Bare trees in Winter amidst the green

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Outside the Bus stop area
At the end of the trip, I can say that the Reichstag tour was pretty much satisfying.

If there is a next time for me in Berlin, I'll make sure to visit it again, only this time, it's going to be during the night. ^-^

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Monday, March 30, 2015

" My love ♥ for books and Agatha Christie "

It's no secret when I tell you that next to traveling, I love to read, but who doesn't right?
I'd rather spend my weekend afternoon with a good book, a cup of Jasmine and sit on my favorite spot.
There... I'm sold.

Although lately, I have been neglecting this habit and instead, have been watching
back-to-back Italian/Spanish tv series instead. *another love of mine.^-^

Still, finding a great read and can't put it down novel can be challenging.
If the book's just plain inane and boring.
The next thing you know, you're either putting the book aside or placing it back on the shelf.

Among my favorite writers that I never get tired of reading was Agatha Christie's.
I think I have collected all of the books that she's written and watched all of the ITV series as well.
Between Ms. Marple and Hercule Poirot though, I chose the latter.
The little grey cells and his moustache never ceases to amaze me, ~ n'est-ce pas?

David Suchet as Hercule Poirot
courtesy of Pinterest

But this post isn't about a book review.
I'm getting to the point, I promise.


While most of us keeps magnets or figurines as souvenirs from our trips.
Me, I collect books and magazines.
I like the crunchy smell of a paperback or a newly printed magazine,
or sometimes even the musky smell of an old book. *addict-much*

I am always drawn inside quaint book shops and news stands.
I could spend quite sometime leafing a few pages and browsing each section, even if language is a barrier.
And so my baggage allowance is always an issue, expect to find more than two mags and
a handful of books inside my luggage. ^-^


Livres are in french as Books are in english.
Spotted along the 5th arrondissement.
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Gibert Jeune and Gibert Joseph bookstores seems to be everywhere in Paris.
You shouldn't miss it if you're a book aficionado.
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Right outside the store of Gibert Joseph, I noticed a crowd gathering, where I first thought was a small Christmas Market of some sort.
To my surprise, It was anything but books! Paperback novels to be exact and a few coffee table books, Manga comics and travel books as well.
That immediately brought a smile to my face, luckily we were still early, because when we went back there during the evening, the place was packed.

Paperbacks for as low as .50 cents euro and with a wide range of good titles.

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Some of the books that we bought and I haven't even shown you the other half yet. ^0^
and mind you, I was already in my "tipid" (thrift) mode and worried as to how am I going to fit them all inside my luggage.

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Now this one was from another bookstore, also near the Latin Quarter area, I forgot the name of it and can't seem to find them on my file.
This particular bookshop only sells BD (: Bande dessinée ) comics and was so happy when I finally found Penelope Jolicoeur's books.
I stumbled her blog some years ago and have been following her until recently.
I love her drama, the sketches, the sort of sex-and-the-city inspired dialogues, and her wandering adventures.
- Here's the link - if you like quirky and funny comic strips.

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The minute our train landed at Santa Maria Novella Station.
I was already looking at the nearest Newspaper stand.
Books like Idelfonso Falcones, Breakfast at Tiffany, Jeffrey Deaver, Stephen King and more are quickly translated.
In stark contrast to what we have here, where only a few mainstream newspapers and a few tabloids are available.
In other countries, books and magazine stands have a wide, wide, wide range of choices, I meant to emphasize the word "wide".

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and yes, we bought a few mimeograph comics as well. I think they were between 3-5 euros.
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National Geographic with a compliment 12 month calendar for only 4 euros.
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But this cart stand got my attention. It was silently parked in front of the church, along with the souvenir stands.
It would've been easily snob by any passerby except for me. ^0^

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The book vendor was so lazy to even tell me how much these comics were.
I think if I stole a book from his stand he wouldn't even notice!
They were One euro each by the way, The old Linus edition comics.
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Madrid was my magazine hubbub, to say that I hoarded their December editions was an understatement.
It was a feast browsing through any magazine stand because the glitzy and girly mags have lots of freebies. ^0^

This is Casa del Libro - one of the major bookstores in the market.

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And a movie poster calendar featuring Federico Fellini's - La Dolce Vita plus a free DVD western dubbed films.
Both of my dad's favorite as he likes collecting them.
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and here's what we bought.: ^0^
The Tricot Facile that teaches one the basics of knitting. It was on sale for only 1 one euro!
It was also where my sister first learned how to knit and up to now still does, thanks to this.
Sadly, when we tried to contact them, their main market was in Spain only.

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and because I love Poirot, I couldn't pass this magazine without buying the free re-printed edition of Agatha.
For only 3.95 euros.
I chose Lord Edgware dies, one of my fave books.
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But this unique store got my attention.
It's called : A different life bookstore along the Chueca area in Madrid.
Why, you might ask?

This poster said: los libros infantiles sobre sexual e igualidad = children's books about sexual and equality
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Well, Because, it is literally different!
It is a bookstore where you can find inspired Gay and Lesbian theme novels, magz, dvd's and such.
What a great alternative!
But we didn't went inside though,
And here I am thinking, if that bookstore were to open a branch here, exactly of the same kind.
I doubt it if the Catholic heads won't react to that. ^-^
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And here we were at the heart of Rome, already too beat to walk back to our hotel,
our stomachs were already rumbling and then out of the blue, we saw a small flea market stand, almost oblivious again to passerby.

along Piazza Benedetto Cairoli : ROMA
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But my eyes were already glinting when I saw these hard cover Agatha Christie's edition and in Italiano!
Oh my freakin! I was silently shouting Hallelujah inside, and If only I could buy them all... I really would.
They were 10 euros each, a collection of stories from these detectives.
Based from the smell, it was already dated and probably a bit moist from the changing weather.
I don't mind though, and I still regret why I wasn't that impulsive.

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I did promise myself that *if ever* I have the chance to visit any Italian country again.
I am SURE to buy at least one home. definitely! ^0^
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On my recent trip to Turin,
with no exact whereabouts and destination,
We found ourselves right along this alleyway and this bookstore called : L'asino d'oro - Libri scolastici
As usual, I was casually looking at the window display and this one caught my eye!
This time, I know I had to ask the owner inside, with my crappy Italian phrase and please Signor.
The owner charged me for 5 euros.
Yup, It was a bit pricey for an old 2nd hand book.
But how can you argue with The Mystery in the Blue Train?! ^0^

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Here were some of the hefty books as well... find anything you like?
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Raconti di Padre Brown - Father Brown series from GK Chesterton.
The owner checked a few pages front and back, I guess to check the book's condition.
It was 15 euros, and again, my dilemma with the suitcase thingy.
Thanks to BBC detective dramas, I'm learning a lot. ^0^
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and more from Pier Pasolini's Autobiography...
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So there you go, just one super long post about my love for books. ^0^
till my next post...

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