Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Running out of space and planning to resize your images smaller to save on space?

Don't ever do it....  Seriously.  Worst decision ever from my part.  I was running badly out of space but was too lazy to transfer all my images to our main drive and decided to save all my images into the smallest format.

Then, a few days later, when I tried to open up the images and re-enlarge them, I realised that the damage is done. Once you resize smaller, there's no way you could change it back to a bigger size without dire consequences.









Even to save space...

Thankfully it's only 2 folders or so..  I've been uploading them onto flickr but of course I forgot to upload these 2 folders anywhere..  Now, everything in there are ruin.. RUUUUIN..

Not a very happy May

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

4 different types of herbs for different meats

Was in London recently and was at the flower market with a friend when I saw this sign.  Took a photo of it as I thought it'll be extremely informative and useful.  I get confused with what meat I could marry some of the herbs to.. =)

Herbs herbs herbs....
A close up version
In case you still can't read it, here's the written version ;)  Keep in mind, this is for the Western palate.  I'm sure the Asian palate has loads more! =)

Fish - Dill, Bronze fennel, Bush basil, Parsley Giant Italian
Chicken - French Tarragon, Sage, Orange Thyme, Lemon Grass
Lamb - Mints, Rosemary, Oregano, Winter Savory
Pork & Beef - Lemon Coriander, Parsley Curied, Horseradish, Common Thyme

I find lemongrass goes pretty well with beef too.  I've cooked beef with lemongrass for my Vietnamese Bun Bo Xao

Eating in Berlin.. Burgers? Kebabs? Steaks? Nom.. Nom...

Berlin is definitely a place to eat and drink without going over your budget!  We had a late dinner at a shack opposite our hotel on our first night and checked out a popular kebab and burger joint.  The only fancy place we actually ate was at the hotel for breakfast and veal schnitzel on our last day =)

Alcohol is so unbelievable cheap, I was so tempted in just drinking them instead of water. Unfortunately, that would have ruin our trip =(

Romanisches Cafe, Waldorf Astoria Berlin
Romanisches Cafe
Waldorf Astoria Berlin
Hardenbergstrasse 28BerlinBE  10623Germany 

The Romanisches Cafe is simply quite gorgeous.  We had breakfast here everyday.  It's nice and quiet which is perfect to start the day.  They have quite a lovely selections of cakes and cheese as well as daily lunch special.

I love how I had a sand timer to advise me when it's time to start drinking my tea..  Fancy, much?
Poached egg.  Runny and gooey, but unfortunately the vinegar taste was too much for my liking ;(

One for you, one for me <3 td="">
Our Berlin platter (fruits, cheese and cold cuts)
Comes with croissants and bread rolls
Love the fresh fruits..

Lunch:  Veal schnitzel with potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers and cranberry sauce
Lovely selection of cakes
and cheese... 
Snuck a lovely blueberry cheesecake with gold flake into my room =D

Mustafa's Gemuse Kebab
Mehringdamm 3210961 BerlinGermany (Kreuzberg)

Doner:  €3.20
Vegetarian:  €2.80
Durum:  €4.80

A friend of mine from Stockholm suggested we should try out this kebab place while in Berlin and not surprisingly S has already had this place in mind to take us to (He loves his kebabs and burgers =P )

The queue didn't look very long.  We were warned it'll take us around 30minutes and I actually thought maybe it was just an exaggeration.  Unfortunately, it ended up taking us over 1 hour as people queuing up in front of us had friends coming and going throughout the time we were waiting ;P

S was tempted to just try out the Curry 36 which is just a few steps away as it's quite popular as well. But we ended up just waiting for our kebab as we did come all the way here for the kebab!

Just outside of the Mehringdamm station.  Opposite a hostel
Queuing up
Queue didn't look very long... 
Curry 36 is just down there 
I like how the meat are not sliced until they are nice and truly brown
Check out the prices at the top..  Not very expensive is it?? 
Range of condiments for your kebab
S's kebab - minus all the cooked vegetables.. What a bad boy!
The kebab consist of salad (cucumber, tomatoes, onions, lettuce etc), feta, meat and vegetables (potatoes, eggplants, zucchini etc) and 3 different types of sauces.  S refused the vegetables as he hated eggplants and zucchini *sigh*  According to him, he had better as he wasn't keen on the feta in his kebab.  But the price is unbelievable and the serving is HUGE!  I could only eat about 1/2 of mine... ;x

Quite tasty =)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Museums and markets - Doing the touristy thing in Berlin =)

Firstly, before I go on about markets in Berlin, let me talk about train stations!

Train stations hold a fascination for me..  When I used to live in London, sometimes when I was wandering around during the weekdays and there's less people, I'll sit in the underground (or overground), at the platform (on the chairs of course) with a book..  Mind you, it's usually for about 15-30minutes.  (Unfortunately, it's a hazard to sit too long in the underground.. not much air ventilation!)  Sometimes, I just sit there and watch the passengers piling in and out and the trains whizzing by.  It's quite fascinating, really..  Seriously.. Honestly =)

Bye bye train...
Peering from the bridge.. Walking to the Under the Berlin Wall tour...

Anyway, markets.... I have to say the markets in Berlin are definitely one of the better ones. Unfortunately, they are only open on the weekends, which made our weekends very rushed!  We managed to squeeze in a couple of markets.  We did a couple of tours and planned a market visit at the same time.  Killing two birds with one stone!  Not once, but TWICE!  WooHoo!! ;)

I love crawling through flea markets.  There's always some bargains to be had (sometimes).. Other times, they are utter rubbish, filled with more junk than treasures.  Next to sniffing out a bargain, I love art/designer/handcraft markets...  So many creative souls out here in Berlin!  Unfortunately, I feel really bad bargaining if it's a handcraft stall as I know how hard it is to make money when you make the items yourself... =x

On the museum island, on your way to check out the museums located on this island, you should really checkout this art market.  The stalls here are run by designers who are selling their wares.  Some even take credit cards.  They include items like photography, art, jewellery, bags etc.. Definitely worth a browse

Art market at Zeughaus  (The market is usually closed if there's bad weather)
Am Zeughaus 1,  10117 Berlin
Opening hours:  Saturday 11:00 - 17:00
                       Sunday 10 - 17:00

Beautiful sunny day in Berlin
Bullet holes..  So many buildings with these marks... A reminder of Germany's past...  The blue pipes on the right are for construction

A mix of old and new pillars in the corridor of one of the museum

There are 5 main museums on the museum island.  They are:

*  Alte Nationalgalerie
*  Neues Museum
*  Bode Museum (at the end)
*  Altes Museum (across the road from the rest of the museums)

We decided to check out the Pergamon Museum as it was due to close from September 2014 onwards for five years.  That's right.. FIVE years!

Don't you just love wandering around in museums.  So much treasures stolen from other countries ;) One of the more interesting feature on display here is the Pergamon Altar.  Other items on display include antiques, Middle East objects - specifically items found from the Assyrian, Sumerian and Babylonian culture and Islamic Art..

Alte Nationalgalerie
(R) Alte Nationalgalerie, (L) Neus Museum, (M) Pergamonmuseum (Far Back) Bode Museum
You should really pre purchase your tickets beforehand.  It was torturous, waiting for over 1/2 hour to purchase our ticket to the Pergamon Museum in the hot sun
Berlin Cathedral 
Walking on the bridge connecting museum island and Anna-Louisa-Karsch-StraBe
The Berlin Cathedral 
Museum Island

Under the Berlin Wall Tour
One of the tours we did of Berlin was the Under the Berlin Wall.  It is through a company called Berliner Unterwelten E.V.  Unfortunately, they only run the tour a few times a week and you can't buy the tickets in advance.  You have to buy the ticket on the day and there's a limit for each tour run in English.  So, go in early and grab your tickets an hour + before your tour starts.  We came one of the days, 1/2 hour before the tour starts and the English tour was all sold out...  So, the next time we went, we made sure we were at least 1 hour early =)

The only picture I took of the 'Under the Wall' tour as photographs were not permitted =(
The tour itself was quite interesting and runs for 2 hours.  The berlin wall is long gone but there are still reminders of it everywhere.  The story of how the wall was built overnight (with no warning) which separated a lot of family and friends from each other for many years was quite heartbreaking. Imagine how horrible things must be for so many people to risk their lives trying to escape East Germany to West Germany.  This tour provides a stark reminder of the lengths people will go, to escape East Germany.  The tour brings us deep underground, so, if you are claustrophobic, you might skip this tour altogether.

We finished the tour close to another flea market.. Yay!

Flea Market at Mauerpark
Bernauer StraBe 63
10435 Berlin
Opening Hours:  Sun:  07:00 - 17:00

This one is quite massive and is only opened on Sunday and finishes at 5pm. When we arrived, some people were just starting to pack up.  Boo!  This market was recommended by our hotel as it's very popular with locals as well as tourists.  To be honest, I was quite impressed with how big it is.  Lots of stalls with 2nd hand goods and there's a huge tent with furniture which seemed quite popular with lots of people browsing in there.  Apparently,  there's a karaoke session at the amphitheatre which starts at around 3pm!  Pity we missed it =)

The best part for us are the cafes and snack bars here.  We spent a couple of hours just sitting back and enjoying a nibble..
Rows of stalls
Lots of people and sellers

Jewellery made from cutleries
We shared a delicious cheesy jalapeno pizza thingie from the oven

There were places to sit, eat and chat
We decided to chill out on one of the many sun chairs on the sand 
My bargain buy.. €10 for 2 second hand dresses

Phew!  What a long post and I haven't even started on the food yet! ;)


Wandering the streets of Berlin in summer..

Berlin..  Not exactly what I imagine.  What a fascinating city with so much things to do and see and food is so much cheaper than the rest of Germany and definitely parts of Europe.

My first view of Berlin.. at the airport..  Sunset =)
I can now understand why this is S's favourite European city.  I've always thought it's because of the night life, but surprisingly, while we were here, not once did we venture into a single club or bar.  We were so exhausted by the time we get home every night (at around 9 - 10pm), we just collapsed on the bed and enjoy the air conditioning.

We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria while in Berlin, which was just a few steps away from the train station (Zoologischer Garten) and the aquarium but seriously, who wants to be indoors when we could be outdoors, exploring the city?!

Waldorf Astoria Berlin
Hardenbergstrasse 28BerlinBE  10623Germany 

I have to say that this hotel is seriously one of the best hotel we have stayed in.  Our room was in the corner up on the 15th floor.  The sunset view from here is quite lovely.  Reception staff were really friendly and they have quite a few restaurants worth checking out here.  

180 degrees view of the city, from "The Library" at the hotel, 15th floor
The memorial church

Train station
City view
The Library
Yep!  It's called The Library for a reason.. ;)
The view at night, just after sunset.. at around 8.30pm or so from our room