I’ve always had a strange interest towards Canada, as if I knew that I’d really like it, even when I hadn’t yet been there nor met a single Canadian. This Autumn I happened to get the chance to take some time off, so I decided to finally tick this country off my bucket list. And I am happy that I did. The three weeks spent on both coasts were beyond great. I did my best to document some of my trip, with my freshly bought GoPro. I manage to gather a good amount of footage, but as all of you who’ve ever dabbled with editing know, it takes a nice chunk of time to actually get the editing done (well at least for me heh). Nevertheless, now I finally managed to finish the 1st part of (hopefully) a more extensive video series, which I also thought I’d share here. So here you go. The short intro to my trip to the land of the maple syrup and Hockey.
Last year I befriended a lot of Irish people, supported Ireland at the European Football Championships in Poznan, saw Ireland get beaten by Italy 2-0, drank like an Irish man and yes, even sang like an Irish man (although mostly football songs). Having gotten to know the Irish culture a bit, I hadn’t had the chance to actually visit the green island itself, that is until last weekend.
It took me 2, not pleasant, hours on-board a Ryan Air aircraft to get my Finnish Ass to the land of Guinness and supposedly Leprechauns. Now, I could go on and on how much I dislike Ryan Air, but that seems to be rather pointless, but at least they’re affordable… What struck me initially as I got off the blue and yellow coloured “cattle” carrier, was definitely the weather. I as a Finn hear often that I shouldn’t complain about it being cold somewhere, but in Ireland I complained like Dudley in Harry Potter(which is a lot). I already had a bit of a cold as I flew to the birthplace of Bono and sure as Summer follows spring, my flu didn’t get better…even with the help of Guinness.
I had the pleasure of staying throughout my whole trip at my friend Daragh’s place as well as having him as my personal guide to the city founded by Vikings in the year 840. Having met Daragh basically the last time at the Euros in Poznan (and a bit after that in Berlin) we had a lot of catching up to do, so the first day went by fast, just talking about things that had happened in the past months. We had previously met in the Spring a couple of Slovenians who had now also traveled to Ireland to explore, like me, the Irish culture. It was no accident that I happened to arrive in Ireland on the 26th of September. The next day was a day that has in the recent years received a nearly national holiday status, due to excellent marketing, it was the birthday of Arthur Guinness.
On Arthur’s day we headed down to the downtown pubs to enjoy a drink derived from roasted unmalted barley, a drink that is almost synonymous with Ireland… Guinness. To be honest, before I moved to Berlin I wasn’t a big fan of the dark strong flavoured drink, but as I got to know the Irish, I got to know their drinks as well, and now I can honestly say that I am rather fond of the beer that is thought of as one of the original stout beers. “Sláinte!” Was heard on the 27th day numerous times as our Pints went up to knock on the pints of others as if to say “we’re in this together” and indeed that is how it was, from pub to club the dark pints found their way in groups onto our tables and as if by magic the content of the glasses vanished nearly as quickly as it had been poured into the glasses.
After a few “casual” drinks, we made our way to a bar/club called the Village, which had a nice atmosphere and seemed to be popping. Last year my friends had introduced me to an Irish comedy/rap group the Rubberbandits, whom I had been listening to also before I left for Ireland and as if by the luck of the Irish they happened to playing at the Village that very same night. I couldn’t have been more pumped, I was with my good mates enjoying Irish beverages and now I was even going to see the guys who’ve made songs like “Horse Outside” “I wanna fight your father” and more! (If you haven’t heard of these lads, at least peep them on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljPFZrRD3J8 , they’re grand!) As we walked up the stairs to the room, where they had just started playing, I could already recognise familiar lyrics ” …I wanna fight your faaaather…” and I knew that this was definitely a great night!
Those of you who might not know Guinness ,alongside having a strong taste, also contains alcohol, which can tend to cause “sluggishness” the following day after being consumed. Having slept a bit longer we decided to continue with the Guinness theme of our visit and head to the St. James’s Gate brewery, or as it is better known as, the Guinness Brewery. Our housing was rather far away from the brewery itself, thus it would take us sometime to make our way there, which meant we had to be swift with our moves and cut our “breakfasts” short and head towards the bus.
As we made our way to the brewery, I could see a clear change in scenery, from pubs and houses to more industrial style buildings with a main colour of gray. After numerous walked blocks, we made our way inside the brewery area, where we were greeted with the surprisingly friendly ticket staff. I have to seriously tip my invisible hat off to the whole Guinness brand for doing such a great job of ensuring that each and every guest felt welcomed to the brewery, as most transactions started with the phrases “where are you from?” following the staff small talking and even in my case switching to German to serve me (after which I did say that being a Finn, English’ll do). As mentioned earlier, I had a ongoing flu which basically took a lot of my energy out of me and at times it was really hard to stay concentrated during the tour of the home of the dark nectar of the Irish. Having survived to the end of the self-guided tour my energy was restored by seeing the amazing view over Dublin from the Gravity bar on top of the brewery (whilst obviously enjoying a complementary pint of the Arthur’s world famous stout). We spent a good while taking pictures and enjoying the view from the extraordinary glass bar packed with other tourists after which we headed home like boring old men to heal up so as to still be able to do something the following days.
The last day we decided to go check out the seaside of Dublin (to be honest can’t remember what area it was), if I had thought the inner areas of Dublin were windy, boy was I in for a treat. Yes, I should know that on the shore of any sea it is going to be windy, but still, you never really are prepared for it. I felt like I had someone pointing a hairdryer at me constantly, blowing out nothing but chilly seawind, nevertheless I had a nice day with my friends and was able to take a couple of nice pictures as well, before heading back with the DART train to the city. As it was our last night in the Irish capital, we decided to go out with a bang and head to the clubs, ensuring that my flight the next day would be one of the worst in my life… I did indeed survive the flight and am now happily back in Berlin writing this blog. I will for certain visit Ireland again in the future, but I will first have to rest for sometime to recover fully from this trip to the island that is Éire.
In the modern world work is often associated with stress, however for me the past few months have been everything else than stress! I have enjoyed my work a lot to be honest. Now even though I cannot say I share the stress phenomenon with my fellow workers in the world, I can still say that I have become a nine to six worker, meaning that most of my days are spent at the office. Those rare days, sometimes referred to as the weekends, when I do not find myself drinking coffees at the office, I try to make the most of my free time i.e. spend it with friends and perhaps enjoy the night life of Berlin. This is a rather fun lifestyle, have to admit, however the lack of spare time has led to my camera feeling (if it felt anything) lonely on these cold autumn nights. Like a bad lover I had neglected my camera for a long time, but luckily for my Sony, I had enough energy on Sunday to actually go and take a walk in the city and try to take some decent memories of the darkening September nights.
After meeting a couple of good friends for a Sunday drink at Alexanderplatz and having a must have Döner at Mehringdamm (Mustafa’s to be precise), I took the U-Bahn towards the RingBahn which I would normally use to get home a bit quicker. This time however as I reached S-Bhf Tempelhof, I decided to walk outside the ring (funnily enough probably the first time in a month that I step outside the ring) and see if there would be anything of interest to take images of.
Having walked for 15 seemingly long minutes, I hadn’t seen anything that would have sparked my interest…that is until I saw a van, an old neglected delivery van. Perhaps it’s the fact of seeing too many shiny things that made that rusty old van seem like a cool target for snapping a couple of quick photos, or then it was just the fact that I wanted to photograph just basically anything so that I wouldn’t have to go back home empty carded (see what I did there..) . Snip Snap went the shutter and back went the camera into the bag, I was done with the van and moving forward like a determined bargain hunter at post-holiday sales destined to find something cool.
I came to a seemingly normal looking crossroad and just for the fun of it took a couple o’ images to go, before continuing to the normally crowded, but now what was like a wasteland, parking lot of Ikea. There wasn’t a lot of things to take photos of, since the tumbleweeds were moving too fast for me, but I managed to get a couple of pics of the empty lot that belonged to the Swedish Adult-Lego store.
As I came closer to the highway, I already knew that I wanted to take a couple of images having the shutter open for a longer time, and even though it is in nooooo means original to take pics like that… I still think these few highway photos turned out to be the nicest of the bunch, making my Sunday worth while. Having no other pedestrians bothering me as I set up my camera to capture this chilly September night in the form of a couple of flashing photos; it was perfect.
I could now simply put my camera back in my messenger bag and head home, knowing that I at least had one decent pic to take with me. So as to not overwork your imagination, I have attached the photos of the night in a chronological order below so that you too can take a short virtual walk between Tempelhof and Südkreuz on a fresh autumn night.
I found myself on Saturday evening feeling a bit tired after a going away party for one of my Finnish friends. The scorching heat of 30 degrees Celsius did not aid in anyway to get me up and going to actually do something on a Saturday night. As I sat at my desk, browsing mindlessly through different sites, I glanced at my camera and turned my attention towards the beautiful, nevertheless hot, outdoors and decided that I’d take my chances with the hot weather and go walk around the neighborhood to see if I could catch anything interesting onto my memory card.
I felt the heatwave immediately hitting my face as I walked out of my building and I could not help but think that this was not the Germany I was used to. Like an explorer in the Sahara desert, I walked for sometime without seeing anything of interest. I had long planned to go and take pictures of the old Tempelhof Airport, basically next door to me, and seeing that the sun was starting to head under, I ran to the nearest train station and took a train….the wrong train. I ended up back where I had started from, at Schöneberg, only to enjoy a 20minute wait for the next train to Tempelhof, needless to say with the ongoing sleep mode and the oven-like climate, I was not happy.
After fighting my way out of a train that felt more like a cattle transport, due to the amount of people fitted into a single train, Iwas happy to be at my destination, the former airport of Tempelhof, now one of the largest parks in Berlin. Recently, I’ve been trying out creating HDR picture, with success and at times with no success. This Saturday was to be yet another chance for me to learn a bit of HDR photography. As I traveled towards the old Hangars and Terminals, I was excited by even the mere thought of walking on a runway that had once received at peak times a plane per minute and had helped the people of Berlin enormously during the Berlin Blockade.I mean, I know I am a history nut, I get it. On my journey towards the terminal building I also stopped to take pictures of the usage of the airport nowadays:People having picnics, parties and doing different kinds of sport activities.
Even though I had envisioned that I would get cool pics from the Airport itself, I have to say, the Terminal building was rather hard to photograph, being that you couldn’t really get too close to it and thus the angles for pictures were rather limited. Nevertheless, I took a couple of photos and continued my way along the runways, running into an old reminder of the time when the U.S. Army was present. Some plane enthusiasts probably know the model of this troop carrier, but for me it was merely a nice shiny plane accompanied by some stairs belonging also the U.S. Army. It’s sometimes really interesting to think how much of U.S. influence Berlin has throughout the times had, having so many troops stationed here during the Berlin Brigade times, the Americans also partly brought parts of their culture into the melting pot of Berlin.
For most Europeans Baseball isn’t that familiar, which is why the two rather old Baseball fields (ok, one was a softball field) caught my attention. Wearing often baseball fan apparel (especially Redsox gear, go Boston) and having tried to understand the sport more and more, I have to admit that this was my first real encounter with a real Baseball field. Now when I say real, I have to clarify that I had seen these fields earlier this year but not yet looked at them more closely. I couldn’t get too close now either, seeing that both fields were fenced thus making it understandably hard for non baseball players to access the fields at night time. I walked around the fields trying to find a place to get my zoom on and perhaps try and take a couple of nice pictures. I managed to stick my camera through a couple of holes in the fences, so as to have a less obstructed view of the diamonds and the field itself.
Having managed to take a couple of decent pictures I left home in hope of trying out HDR editing on photoshop during the late hours of the night. I know that Berlin has a couple of Baseball teams and seeing that I want to learn more about the sport, I have to definitely look up some of their game schedules. Funnily enough, I left my place in hopes of getting a couple of pictures of old historic places and I managed to do so, however I had not thought that the most interesting place to take pics would not be the old airport, but the sport facilities of the people who used to work there, a long time ago.