This is the personal webpage of Andie Gilmour.
I am a seasoned IT professional who together with my partner and cats upped sticks from the UK in 2008 and moved to live just north of Berlin.
Why did we make such a momentous move? Surely we must have been crazy? As the traditional song goes: Du Bist Verrückt, mein Kind, du musst nach Berlin, wo die Verrückten sind!
Well yes, we were crazy - crazy about Berlin. There is no city like it, and Land Brandenburg around it is also a beautiful thing.
On this page I have incorporated the most recent posts from my blog, which has chronicalled our move to Berlin and our lives and discoveries since. I hope you read it and can share with us our love for this crazy place.
Whilst overnighting in Dresden last weekend, we took a day-trip out to Bautzen in eastern Saxony. It is a historic hill-top town based around a fortress and complex of churches built high above the Spree on a rocky plateau. The old-town (Altstadt) still retains its mediaeval atmosphere and you half-expect to bump into a horse-and-cart bringing goods to market around each corner of the narrow, winding, cobbled streets.
Bautzen is also the administrative and cultural capital of the Sorbs living in the Lausitz region, which adds a further dimension of otherliness to its attraction. It is very Saxon in feel, with its mediaeval German architecture invigorated with a Slavic influence, and hence more eastern European than western.
The DDR era hardly seems to have touched it, except for instances like a social-realist frieze around the fountain in the market square; but in fact Bautzen was infamous in the times of East Germany for its brutal NKVD (Soviet secret Police) prison, which later became a notorious Stasi prison into which many political dissenters of the regime were disappeared.
I think it is a bit far from Berlin to merit a day-trip just to visit Bautzen, but if you happen to be staying in the area then for a taste of genuine Saxony (and a taste of genuine Bautz'ner Senf - mustard in a multitude of flavour varieties) Bautzen cannot be beat.
Here are some photos from the day. Shame the weather was a bit grey!
Posted on 17 October 2014 | 10:47 am
Last week we had a wonderful, long weekend in Dresden. We stayed at Ferienappartment LeMi, which is a clean, modern, well fitted-out self-catering apartment for one or two people. It is only a short walk to a tram-stop just one stop South of the Hauptbahnhof, and has supermarkets and other amenities nearby. I would definitely recommend it for visitors to Dresden who want a quiet location just a Katzensprung from the town centre. And I am not on a commission, honest!
One of the pleasures of over-nighting (übernachten) in a place is that you get to see it after all the day-trippers have gone home. Dresden is a beautiful city during the hours of daylight, but there is also something magical seeing the sun set over the river Elbe and making silhouettes of the buildings along the famous Brühl's Terrace.
Here are a few of my time-lapse photos taken over an hour as the sun went down:
Posted on 16 October 2014 | 11:39 am
The first thing that strikes you when you see Magdeburg's Green Citadel, or die Grüne Zitadelle von Magdeburg is that, er, it isn't green. The colour that first comes to mind is pink. As pink as the mad acid dream of a fanatical collector of Barbie doll accessories.
In fact this housing association complex was designed by the Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who as far as I know didn't have a Barbie fixation. And it is called the 'green' citadel from its roof garden which has designated 'tree tenants' (Baummieter) designated to, and looked after by, the human tenants.
The whole building has a marvelous organic feel to it, as if it was the product of a coral reef raised up into the otherwise conventional and somewhat austere Magdeburg town centre.
It was Hundertwasser's last conceived project before his death in 2005, and is a fitting monument to a truly original architectural genius.
I'm not saying I'd personally like to live in a piece of giant pink confectionery - fitting laminated flooring on an undulating apartment floor with curved walls would be one nightmare, never mind all the tourists gawping in through the windows - but I greatly admire the vision and drive that created it.
Posted on 4 October 2014 | 11:49 am
Lüneberg in Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) is a Hanseatic town, displaying all the usual elements of impressive merchants' houses, gothic churches, and a large market square. Like Halle in Saxony Anhalt it is also built above a dome of salt, from which its wealth derives.
We combined a visit here with a stopping-off at Stendal, yet another Hanseatic town, which made an interesting compare-and-contrast of otherwise cookie-cutter architecture between a mediaeval town that ended up in West Germany, with one that was in East Germany.
The most obvious difference is that Stendal looks like it was rebuilt yesterday (and is still being rebuilt), whereas Lüneberg is more settled in its post-war renovation and feels like there isn't a discontinuation between its modern incarnation and the middle ages Also Lüneberg is much more obvious about being a tourist town with many lively restaurants and bars and a bustling shopping centre and market. In Stendal meanwhile you get the feeling that commercialism and PR are recent introductions, and still considered a bit vulgar.
Both places are worth a visit, and within striking distance of Berlin, especially as Lüneberg is now on a speedy rail connection between Hamburg and Berlin on the cost-effective IRE (inter-regional express).
Here are some of my photos from Lüneberg to give you an idea what to expect:
Posted on 28 September 2014 | 4:00 pm
For more posts from Berlin, please visit das Blog!
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