Sunday, 5 September 2010

Amsterdam 2 Berlin

For the last 4 weeks i have been hitch hiking, couch surfing and hostel tramping in the Netherlands and Germany, its been a fantastic adventure, many genuine friends have been made and i have plenty of inspiration to draw upon. I would like to be able to detail all the nuances of the trip but i doubt it would make for a very interesting blog post to people who didn't share the experience.

Here are a collection of some of my favorite photographs from my recent travels:

Elliots tobacco tin, my sunglasses and our final destination.

Take the free ferry to Amsterdam Noord, ten minutes across the water you get the feeling that this is where the hip locals really hang about, its mostly free from tourists and has a great abandoned industrial feel, there is an MTV headquarters oddly enough sitting between heaps of strange re-appropriated sculptures, an indoor skatepark, all sorts of old buildings i presume are currently being squatted, many many walls where local writers have battled for supremacy and an unusual bar restaurant named cafe noorderlicht. on the way there you may catch a glimpse of this old war sub that some absolute don has had the courage to put up a quick one. If you want to act like you know, know how to act.

There is tons of information on street art in Berlin by people who know heaps more than i do, so i wont be posting up all my lo-res shots of famous pieces. In addition the streets are usually dressed in mounds of fly posters that compete constantly for every little space available, some of them more sincere than other, i liked these, i doubt the artists are trying to sell me anything.

I was fortunate to be staying close to the TV tower so navigation at night was easy, it wasn't the darkness that made it difficult.

If you ever wondered why so many Germans are always looking through bins, its because for every plastic and glass bottle, they can make a certain amount of money, so for those who don't have any social superiority issues or may be hard up for cash it makes sense to collect. This guy was my personal favorite (notice the pot belly, kid rock t-shirt and hot pants),  there is also a man who cycles round the Kreuzberg district of Berlin with a tricycle that reads "kings of the bottles". No wonder Germany has such a fantastic environmental track record.

I doubt such a scheme would exist, or have the ability to exist in the UK. In Hamburg i noticed a few street bookshelves that are filled by the public with old books, the idea is that if you find a book you like, you can take it in exchange for an old book you might not want. Restores for faith a little to know that somewhere in the world there is property left on the street that isn't seen as an opportunity.

Ever heard about the story of the father who battered his son to death with a baguette? This man had the recipe for the best bread in the land, inherited it from his father and it had been in the family long before that. One day a wealthy businessman tried to bribe the recipe from the man for a large sum of money, in which he refused but once his son had overheard his father reciting the recipe he facebooked the businessman to negotiate over the price of the recipe behind his fathers back. Needless to say he got the dough in the end! 

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