Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Too Many Pictures

I love Berlin because it isn't all about tourists. I felt like I was visiting among people who are living real lives there. There are still lot's of places to visit, though. The Berliner Dom was built by Kaiser Wilhelm in the late 19th century and is beautiful, but a bit overwrought. The inside of the dome is decorated with scenes of the beatitudes, which seems ironic in the context of a place where rich and powerful people worship.

Interior of the Berliner Dom

The Berlin Zoo has all the usual zoo attractions right in the heart of the city. Knut is a polar bear born at the Zoo who was abandoned by his mother, so he was raised by hand and is a celebrity.

Knut, the Star of The Berlin Zoo

The train station and the tram show the whole spectrum of the public transportation system. It is very impressive; you can get to most places in the city by at least two, and often three transportation options. There are the U-Bahn(subway), S-Bahn (surface trains), busses, and trams. Between cities there are regional trains and Deutsche Bahn, with lots of high-speed (250 kph) trains.

The huge, beautiful new train station

The tram, a holdover from the divided city. The trams only go east.

I found only one yarn shop in Berlin, but I wasn't looking too hard. It had swatches of every yarn for sale there, including information on how much yardage was used to make each swatch. It made it easy to imagine something actually made from from the yarn, and how many skeins you would need.

LaLaine, a yarn shop near Savigny Platz

Yarn from the yarn shop. I'm going to knit myself some armor!

We took day trips to Dresden, Hannover, and Leipzig. Each is less than 2 hours away by train.
The Armor Museum in Dresden, inspiration for knitting armor.

The Baroque Gardens in Hannover.

The J.S. Bach window in Thomaskirche, Leipzig.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Back in my Own Time Zone

It's good to be home, but it was a great trip! Five days in Copenhagen, eight days in Berlin, and 2 more days in Copenhagen. I'll start with Copenhagen, and report on Berlin later.
Here are things I loved about Copenhagen:
1. The weather was cool and breezy, just what a girl from Tallahassee wants in July!
2. The public transportation system is a dream come true, especially the Metro, where trains come every few minutes.
3. There are few hills, which makes long walks very appealing.
4. Outside the city center it is serene and peaceful with little traffic and wide sidewalks.
5. Hollyhocks grow out of cracks in those sidewalks!
6. Elsinore (called Helsingor) is a short train ride away.
7. You can see Sweden across the Baltic Sea.
8. There is a little mermaid.
9. There is a tree in the Frederiksberg park where parents hang pacifiers that their children have given up, many with fond notes and pictures.

On the downside:
1. Denmark hasn't embraced the idea of clean indoor (or outdoor) air, and the smoke is omnipresent.
2. The area around Tivoli and the Radhus is incredibly congested.
3. The knitting options were limited. The yarns were the same as I can buy here (only more expensive) and the interesting patterns were all in Danish.
4. One knitting shop that looked interesting (in the neighborhood of our hotel) had the sign below in its window. I don't know Danish but I know it means "Closed for July."

There wasn't much knitting time, but I did mke progress on the Diagonal Triangle Top in Bamboo, and a mindless diagonal scarf.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Thoughts on Shawl-Wearing

There is nothing new to show you all, so I want to share some musings on shawls. The yellow mohair one in the picture was made so long ago I don't remember exactly when. It was sometime after I moved to Tallahassee (1980) and started my current job (1990). I keep it at my office for those days when the air conditioning is way low. I keep a lighter woven stole for the sorta cold days. Recently I was working on a project that required long hours in an extremely cold conference room and wore both shawl and stole, held in place with a large brooch. I felt like a character from a Dickens novel, or one of those museum models that show how the Vikings lived. It made me appreciate fitted garments, and glad to have shawls and stoles as options, not necessities.
Shawl/stole wearing seems to require a certain finesse to avoid the extremes of Drama Queen and Jemima Puddleduck. I have read other knitters' comments about the potential frumpiness of shawls, but how about the affectation of stole-wearing?
I would love to read anyone's thoughts on this issue, especially since I keep making shawls and stoles, but have trouble wearing them.
BTW, I'll be out of town for a few weeks and may have limited blogging opportunities, but I'll be back with pictures after July 22.