This serves as a photo-journal of the events in my life that occurred from February 22, 2012 to March 2, 2012. During this time I travelled to Germany, and it was quite incredible. This trip was especially valuable because it reminded me of what is important to me. To slow down. Watch the world. Enjoy what unfolds.
- Boeing 757-200 (SFO-EWR)
- Boeing 777-200ER (EWR-FRA)
I always get excited when I have the opportunity to fly, and usually when I fly internationally I get so excited I can't sleep. In this case, I got 4 hours of sleep and then made my way out to SFO from Berkeley via BART, and the awesomeness started to commence:
The United Club in San Francisco – a really nice place to chill out (and I thought SFO was nice in general).
On a 752 from SFO to EWR (Newark) – The circle in the clouds is actually a full rainbow created by the sunlight refracting through ice particles in the air. No photoshop.
After flying by the Statue of Liberty and landing, we taxiied to the gate in EWR, and were greeted by a beautiful sunset behind some FedEx freighters.
After a sleepy wait at EWR, I was really happy to find that Continental's seats go fully flat. Service was really awesome on this flight too.
Oh, hey, look what I found laying around at Frankfurt: ANA 787. Brand. New.
Adventures in Germany
The same day I get into Germany, I hop into a car and drive 3 hours to Düsseldorf for a surprise birthday party. My gift? Moustaches.
A beautiful Saturday morning walking around Heidelberg.
The Heidelberg Castle looms above this old and beautiful city.
This part of the castle was bombed by the French. It gives it an even more surreal beauty like this.
Panorama of Heidelberg
Traditional food of Belleheim. Lots of schnitzel
Typical Berlin architecture. So imposing and machine-like, it makes the human being seem insignificant. This looks like it is straight out of a dystopian/expressionist film.
While exploring Berlin, bikes are very useful. This is one of hundreds of automated bike rental stations, which integrate with smartphone apps to unlock the bikes and charge you for the rental. Way cool.
I like any city where tricksters exist. Regardless of whether I must beware of them or not.
About to hop on the Subway over to…
An intriguing visit to the Museum für Naturkunde. This building was bombed during WWII, and was originally built with brick but the bombed sections were reconstructed out of concrete.
Meme-worthy. I need a caption!
Eva is performing some recursive photography, walking along the last section of the Berlin Wall that is still standing. It has been turned into an incredible display of art known as The East End Gallery. If you go to Berlin, you must visit this.
The Holocaust Memorial near Potsdamplatz. I cannot explain with words how I experienced this, but the concrete pillars here even look like they are crying.
After an unexpectedly long train ride from Berlin to Hamburg (we became a rescue train!), I arrived at this hostel expecting some spartan living conditions. Nope. 10 euros got me a sweet setup here.
The Hamburg Train Station: Blasting classical music to keep the right people around and the wrong people away.
Really awesome emporium of steampunk curios, underground along Marketstraße. Their specialty: old typesets from printing presses.
A very vivid and colorful mural contrasts nicely with the grey sky.
Hamburg dissolving itself into oblivion, or so it seems.
Hamburg has so much beautiful contrast within itself. I absolutely love the blend of old and new, and the subtle use of color.
After a nice long walk, I found a small restaurant. It is actually leaning over, slowly falling into the water as the foundation is eroded away.
Inside this slanted edifice, I found probably one of the most common reasons why Americans know about Hamburg: A legit, proper, gourmet Hamburger. None of that $20 free range kobe wasabi aioli served with a side of Hollywood pretense nonsense here (I have philosophy that any burger over 10 dollars/euros is not good, because it should be simple, not complex). This is straight up delicious, locally sourced, and less than 10 euros.
Flying out to India
- Boeing Business Jet 2 (737-800) (FRA-PNQ)
At FRA, the security and immigration lines were extremely short. I witnessed an immense A380 pull up to the gate next to mine, and then realized what I would be spending the next 7 hours on:
This is PrivatAir's Boeing Business Jet, which is a specially modified 737-800. It is TINY compared to the A380 that pulled up next to it (comparison). It has been fitted with far fewer seats than a normal 737, and also has extra fuel tanks installed so that it can fly farther. This makes it the perfect plane to use for this flight, which is a 7 hour journey from Frankfurt to Pune. Pune cannot accept a plane larger than this-the runway was designed for fighter jets and is very short. About a year ago, I was on board an a320 which almost overran this runway. Scary. This flight is so unique-it is the only international flight in and out of Pune, and saves 7+ hours of time by avoiding the huge lines and the traffic mess of Mumbai. The service is immaculate due to so few people on board, going through immigration in India took me 5 minutes, my luggage was already out by the time i was done with immigration, and the taxi ride home lasted only 20 minutes. Win!
The PrivatAir cabin – 65% of the physical space is dedicated to business class, with a small economy section in the back. I think they hold the same amount of passengers though. This flight only had 50 people on board.
This was a fantastic trip-one of the better ones I have had. Thanks for reading friends