Sunday, October 25, 2009

Just Out of Town

Park Gate
Originally uploaded by pschwarz.
Potsdam, Germany

I took me a while to get out of the city. I haven't really figured out much of the surrounding areas, to know what to visit or where to go. Perhaps I've been preoccupied with the newness of my circumstances.

There's some pretty spectacular sites around here, as it turns out.

Potsdam is a relatively close city, under an hour by train from Berlin. Close enough that it's part of the Berlin transit system, actually. I headed out that way early on a Saturday morning.

Historically, it was the capital of Prussia, during the reigns of the Prussian kings. Here they had built the seat of their power. While the main palace of the kings was destroyed in 1945 - one with a not-surprisingly Louvre-like layout - the summer palace of the kings remains.

Schloss Sanssouci is a remarkable piece of roccoco architecture, dating from the mid-18th century. It was built by Fredrick the Great to serve as a summer home for the royal family and their entourages. It was a center of art and theatre for the family, and played host to numerous parties and official functions.

The palace itself is surrounded by a beautiful park, peppered with smaller palaces and outdoor venues. There are ponds and fountains, both of the obviously man-made designs, and some natural (or, at least, designed to appear so). The trees that line the roads give the park a more pristine and natural look. This wealth of trees seems to be a hallmark of German parks.

Just beyond the park lies the Altstadt, or Old City, which is a surprisingly modern grid layout of a two or three story buildings. Here there are shops and restaurants, both small and independent or larger high-end chain stores. It is quite pleasant to walk the streets.

As for my day of it, there was much, too much walking. Having been traveling about by foot and subway, I've been neglecting resting up my legs. I'm enjoying a day off, with only enough walking to go find a place for dinner.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Hardware Failure

Berlin, Germany

I've gone into great detail about my recent hardware failure here. All is resolved now, and I should be able to post, upload pictures, communicate via Skype regularly.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Move Somewhat out of the Blue

Berlin, Germany

Right, so I've moved to Berlin. Not necessarily a shocker for most friends of mine, but if I still have any readers that I don't know, well, that's the scoop.

The question is, what brought this move about?

Hawaii was, well, a nice place to visit - for a year, mind you - but I couldn't see myself living there for a long period of time. Work life was unsatisfying, travel life was extremely limited, and the tango scene, while friendly, was not very exciting.

Berlin, on the other hand, certainly has all three of those things: interesting work, potential for travel, and, by all accounts, a great tango scene. This are certainly reasons why I ultimately chose Berlin as a destination, but it was not the reason why I chose it in the first place.

It really comes down to Jobs at Joel on Software. The job board is frankly, incredible. The number of interesting positions there is surprising, given the size of the list. That being said, all of the replies and interviews I've had in the last two and a half years have been as a result of said job board.

I was looking in Europe as a whole, and New York as a US fallback. My current employer just happened to respond to my resume. That they are in Berlin is merely coincidence, in my opinion. It wouldn't have mattered if they were in France, Spain, or Norway. I would have gone, just to be able to go.

So here I am, getting myself both immersed in the city, the culture and the bureaucracy. I hope to produce more on all three subjects in the coming weeks and months.