Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Nocturnal research

Last evening turn into some hardcore fieldwork for my bar guide to Berlin. Started off at the cosy Bötzow-Privat and continued straight across the street, at Schwarzwaldstuben, where I also had a delicious starter platter.

Then off to the oddball Russian bar CCCP, where an ancient pinball game enlightened my evening. Rounded it up at the cocktail bar Greenwhich together with two tipsy Danish girls.

On my way home, I happened to stumble over Keyser Soze, where the bartender Dylan looks like an Italian film star from the 30’s, while the bargirl Claudia would fit better in a French movie. The fun thing is, I recognized them and the bar – last time I was in Berlin for a story (at least two years ago, probably more), I stumbled into the same bar a late night. It seems that I have surprisingly regular habits in this city.

Oh yes, nearly forgot. I popped in to Club 54 (or something similar) next to my hotel as well. Odd mix of people and fire-sprouting dragon.

Now, I am off to the next hotel, Melia Berlin, and then to the Natural History Museum to admire the worlds biggest dinosaur skeleton.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Museum-spotting in Berlin

Still snowing in Berlin. In other words, a perfect day to check out the museums. Started at CO Berlin, a private photo gallery. Unfortunately, they were in between exhibitions, but will soon host photos from Annie Liebowitz.

Next stop was the Bode-Museum. Statues and altar-pieces are not normally my cup of tea, but this palace is worth a visit in itself. And some of the objects are nice as well.

Then a walk over to the modern and very interesting Deutsche Historische Museum, where I spent a few hours pondering the violent history of this powerful country.

Now it was after three and high time for food. I opted for Konnopfkes imbiss, world famous for their sausages. But alas, they were closed just today for some maintenance. So I walked down to Prater gaststätte & Bierstübe. They didn’t open until three hours later – is somebody trying to starve me here or what? In the end, I found a little café where I got myself some sausage and beer. Puh.

Right now, I'm back at the hotel for a bit of rest, then out again to check out bars. It’s hard work but I feel obliged to do it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Arrived to Berlin

Just arrived to Berlin. It is snowing, which gives the city a very central European feeling.

I checked in to Aircotel Velvet. So far, it looks nice. The room is peculiar - the bathroom is open with just a thin curtain separating it from the bedroom. And the window to the street is from floor to ceiling.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friends and Family

The icy beach Ribersborg, with the
Turning Torso in the background

Jesper, Anders and Kimmo

Malmö greeted me with fantastic winter weather - clear blue sky, lots of sun and a crisp quality to the below zero-temperature air.
Together with Anders, who as always kindly hosted me in his sofa during my Malmö visit, I took a walk along the 3 kilometer long beach Ribersborg. I once worked here as a lifeguard, in the days when pastel pink was cool and all the girls tanned topless.
We were contemplating these matters while walking down to the city center, when Kimmo, another friend who recently moved to Malmö, joined us.

Micke called, an old friend from the freelance office in Malmö, and suggested lunch at a Lebanese restaurant, Meze. They have a delicious and very affordable buffet which almost made me want to go back to the Middle East. Martin, a photographer from the same freelance group, joineed our meze feast.

Later on, Kimmo invited Anders and me over to his place for a game of poker. I haven't played poker since I left Sweden, almost four years ago, so this was very welcome. Of course, Kimmo (who is almost a professional player) one most of the time, but it was still fun.

In the evening, I met up with my Mother, Sister and her husband Bo-Arne for dinner at Krua Thai. Now, when I lve in Europe again, I can meet them more often, and that is such a sweet thing. The food was good as always, although the service even slower than normal.

Another game of poker with Kimmo, Anders and now also Lucas followed, then we went to the popular bar Brogatan for a drink. Here we met Jesper and Puvve as well - it's great to be in Malmö again!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Belgian beer tasting in Malmö

After the successful day in Stockholm yesterday, I took the train down to Malmö to arrange a Belgian beer tasting. Almost 40 happy gentlemen greeted me welcome to an association where my sisters husband Bo-Arne is a member. And I returned the favour by introducing them to the world of Belgian liquid gold in the form of six different Belgian beers.
They seemed to appreciate it, and I had lots of fun, sharing my well-researched knowledge in the subject :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Meetings and friends in Stockholm

Brian, me and Fredde

Now and then, I go to Stockholm in Sweden to meet my customers and pitch new ideas and coming stories. Today was one of those days. I had productive and positive meetings with three customers, then headed for my inofficial office in Stockholm, Soldaten Svejk, where I had the great pleasure to meet several friends I haven't seen for a long time.

First to arrive was Fredde, once my paraglider instructor and now an avid contributor to Hypoxia (the paragliding magazine I produce). Then came Susann, a Swedish diplomat who I got to know in Jerusalem. Next in was Brad, an American aid worker and also a fun friend from Jerusalem. He is now studying in Uppsala. Lotta came as well, yet another Jerusalem friend working for SIDA, and this evening "on leave" from her cute little baby.
The Jerusalem gang grew with Åsa, former UN and TIPG staff member, and Lotta, freelance journalist soon moving to New York.

We had a beautiful evening full of laughter, good food and Czech beer :-)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Sailing on the canals

Today, the sun showed is warming face, so I walked down to my boat to take it for a spin on the canals. When I was ready with everything and slipped the mooring, it started to hail. Well, well, I sailed a bit down the canal to the local beer brewery and stopped there for a beer. They were full (a tourist group) so I sat down at the nice café next to it.

When the sun came out again, I went out to the boat and continued my little tour towards Entrepotdok and Artis. Within a few minutes, it was snowing…
I had a great time anyway. All the houseboat people waved to me, and I waved to two zebras and a pelican. They didn’t wave back. Probably, it’s no fun living in a zoo.

The boat worked excellent, and is now ready for the next sunny day. And I had a good afternoon :-)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Wonderful paragliding in Switzerland

Came home from a nine day-paragliding trip to Switzerland the other day. Brilliant weather, mesmerizing views and lovely flying. In the end, it will become a story for the Swedish paragliding magazine Hypoxia.

You can find a selection of photos here.