Author Archives: milai

About milai

a spirited free spirit

Out and About in Germany

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From the above photo, can you guess the specific city where I had been to the past weeks thus the lack of update on this blog?  To Berlin, Germany, yes!  And yep, this is just another teaser post as I still have tons of catching up to do at work.

I was in Berlin, Germany mostly for work and only had a few free days to discover this historic city, but I tried to make the most of my stay by seeing and experiencing as much of Berlin as I could.

Brandenburg Tor
Known as Brandenburg Gate, this 18th century neo-classical monument is easily one of Berlin’s most renowned landmarks.  In fact, when  I booked my hotel, Booking.Com’s app has this as its identifying photo.

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We were here twice.  The first time was on our second day in Berlin.  It was cloudy and cold and because we wanted to see how it looked like at night, we came back and that’s when I snapped the main photo for this post.

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Berliner Dom
Berlin’s Cathedral is located on Museum Island and is not really a cathedral because it has never been the seat of a bishop.

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Marienkirche
Originally a Roman Catholic Church, it is now a Lutheran Protestant Church. Along with Nikolaikirche, this is the oldest church in Berlin.

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Neptunbrunnen
Neptune’s Fountain is of the Roman God Neptune.  It wasn’t functioning during our visit as it was winter.

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Fernsehturm Berlin
Did you notice the tower on the right corner of my previous photo?  It is Berlin’s Television Tower, which is the tallest structure in Germany and the second tallest structure in the European Union.

The tower has a viewdeck and because I always have this goal of seeing cities from viewdecks, I decided to come back on a sunny day for better visibility.  I finally got to do this on our last day.  Yey!

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Here’s a snapshot of my views from the Berlin Tower.

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Schloss Charlottenburg

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This is the largest palace in Berlin.  Unfortunately, it was under renovation during our visit.

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Right outside the palace is a statue of Friedrich III and it was his wife who commissioned the original palace.

Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche
The original church on this site was built in the 1980s and got badly damaged in a bombing raid in 1943.  It is one of the famous landmarks of Berlin and is nicknamed “the hollow tooth” by Berliners.

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Reichstag
This is the meeting place of the German parliament.  Visitors are allowed inside, but we weren’t able to secure an appointment as the available slots were at 6PM and we had to leave for the airport by 5:30 PM.

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Potsdam
While in Germany, we also took a day tour of Potsdam, the capital and largest city of the German federal state of Brandenburg, and I fell in love with its scenic views, lovely architecture, and palaces.

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I was especially thankful that the sun finally shone when we visited Potsdam as on our first week in Germany, we never experienced being out in the sun.

Here are more some snapshots of the sights and sites I saw in Potsdam…

A panoramic shot of Alter Markt or the Old Market Square, which formes the historical center of the city.

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At Potsdam University, which is Brandenburg’s largest university.

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At Sanssouci, the the summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, and the largest World Heritage Site in Germany.

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While I enjoyed all these, my trip to Germany wasn’t just defined by its sights and sites, but also by its history.

Berliner Mauer
This open-air exhibition narrates the history of Germany’s division.  These markers show where the wall stood.

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It also has pieces of the wall’s border fence and exhibits of the wall’s elements.

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We also visited the documentation center and this is just one of the many photos in the exhibit that moved me.

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Pardon the photo quality as the exhibit’s lights and glass casing, plus the horde of people moving around made photography very challenging.  (I snapped this photo was soon as a group moved out).

Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas
This is the memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and I will write about this in detail in my future posts.

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Till here for now as I still have to catch up on my work, crafts, and Netflix. Heh.

Mesmerizing Sunrise at Monument Valley

Wow!  It’s been a very busy month that I wasn’t able to blog for weeks!  My apologies, as I took more responsibilities at work…

Anyhoo, I’m starting my 2017 in WordPress with a sunrise post.

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Isn’t it lovely?  I took the above at the Monument Valley, and it’s become my favorite because the colors remind me of a lot of things.

Indigo reminds me of introspection and meditation.  I’m an introvert, and I always require an alone time to ponder on things or recharge.

The hues of red caution me to keep my temper in check.  It speaks to me too of passion and love.

Black reminds me of what’s uncertain in everyday life.  Of my pride and faults and weaknesses.

My hopes and optimism are best conveyed by the color yellow.  It speaks to me of joy.

And of course, the rising sun reminds me to always be grateful for each day that grants me the chance to live, learn, laugh, and love.

Missing Maya

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Maya is my friend’s Australian shepherd.  It wasn’t really love at first sight between us as typical of shepherd dogs, she was very protective of her humans and did not immediately warm up to me, a stranger.  She was barking rather madly (the kind that’s sure to scare anyone) when she met me, but I’m such a dog person I just stared her down till she quieted and let me pet her.

Eventually, I became her constant playmate the whole week that I was in Manila.  Each morning before and after breakfast, we’d play games in the garden.  She’s such a sweet giant of a dog.

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And oh, so active.  There’s no rest where she’s concerned.  She would go to my room with her toy and insist that we play.  Sometimes, she’d chase me around the house too.

Maya’s also very intelligent and stubborn.  She loves disobeying her humans, and it’s funny how she has this look whenever she doesn’t feel like following someone’s instructions.

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And yep, she loves displacing me and hogging the bed to herself.

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Despite her stubbornness, Maya’s really sweet (especially when she wants food, te he) and can easily charm someone’s socks off.

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Isn’t she adorable?

Oh, Maya, I so miss you and can’t wait to see you again next year!

Gold Coast: Hinze Dam

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While this vast embankment and ungated spillway across Nerang River’s primary function is to provide water security and flood mitigation to Gold Coast, it has also become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike because of its stunning views as you can see from the above photo.

This Open Space was my first view of it as seen from the coffee shop that’s above the parklands and the lake.

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While my friend waited for our breakfast, I headed to where the walking trails were and was utterly charmed by these views.

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So pretty.  And the weather’s perfect for walking.  (I was in Gold Coast during winter, so it was still cold despite the sunny weather.)

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I lingered here for sometime to read a couple of signage that tell the history of the place, and found out that the dam was named in honor of the Hinze family who lived in the valley that got flooded by the dam.

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Don’t get confused by the Little Nerang Dam in the above signage as this forms part of Hinze Dam.

When I felt my tummy grumble, I headed back to the café to eat.  I’ll share more details about my dining experience at View Café in a future post.  In the meantime, here’s a teaser photo of my latte.

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After my filling breakfast, I headed to where the dam itself was.  On my way there, I got sidetracked by the information center, which was still closed when we arrived.  I spent some time here too learning about Hinze Dam’s design and operations.

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While the views by the circuitous pathways were lovely, the views along the top of the dam wall were just as pretty.

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The views were so picturesque I felt it’s worth a selfie shot.  Te he.

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I was so in love with the views I have dozens of photos from this spot.  Here are some of my favorite pictures.

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Blue happened to be my favorite color, and it was just so relaxing to watch the tranquil vivid-blue waters against the paler blue sky and the cottony white clouds and lush mountains.

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From the same spot, I could also see the village and parts of the dam.

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I’ll end this post with a panoramic shot of the dam taken while I was on the bridge.

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It’s definitely one of the prettiest sights I enjoyed in Gold Coast and among my many travels, so if you do find yourself in GC, make sure to include Hinze Dam in your itinerary.

Today’s Sunrise, November 25, 2016

I usually do my morning walk at 5:30 AM, but today, I decided to head out early as I was afraid it would rain that I’d miss my daily exercise. Tropical Depression Marce, after all, was due to make its landfall in the province this morning.

It was drizzling when I went out. I expected cloudy skies, but I didn’t expect streaks of light among the clouds hovering over Plantation Bay’s saltwater lagoons.

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Pardon the photo quality as it was still dark, and my smartphone isn’t really good at taking pictures in low light. I was too lazy too to come back to my room to get my camera or GoPro. Te he.

When I reached the resort’s Galapagos Beach, I was sidetracked by this view.

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So pretty. And the sound of the crashing waves was therapeutic to hear.

I took this photo on my second lap. The weather was kind of crazy. It was drizzling, and the wind was strong, but the sun was emerging too.

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On my fourth lap, I noticed that the sky was looking all golden, so I headed to Xanadu Lodge as it’s one of the best spots for sunrise-watching in Plantation Bay.

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I loved how the clouds looked wispy and golden and almost moving. The views were so lovely that I stayed for almost fifteen minutes, just when the color of the clouds changed to lighter shades of yellow.

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Isn’t it pretty?

All photos were taken using a Samsung Galaxy Note 5.