Poznan in Poland

Poznań is a city on the Warta River in west-central Poland, in the Greater Poland region and is the fifth-largest city in Poland. It is best known for its renaissance Old Town and Ostrów Tumski Cathedral. Today, Poznań is an important cultural and business centre and one of Poland's most populous regions. It is among the oldest and largest cities in Poland and is a centre of trade, sports, education, technology and tourism.
But what made me decide on visiting Poznan was its vibrant street art. They even have a map exclusively for visiting all the street art on display. And then of course the fulfilment of a long time desire of driving in Europe, specially on the much read about and written about ‘Autobahn’. So we rented a car in Berlin, Germany and drove to Poznan, Poland and back to Berlin, Germany. It was an incredibly satisfying drive, especially the seamless transition from one country to another. It was the closest to realising John Lennon’s dream that he sings in ‘Imagine’…

A tale of 3 palaces and a park

You step out of Berlin and enter Potsdam – a popular tourist destination. It is popular for the palaces and parks. We visited Potsdam to check out the three famous palaces – Sans Souci, Orangery and the New palace, each one unique in its architecture and layout though all in walking distances from each other.

Our first stop was the Sans Souci palace, disappointing at first sight, not at all impressive as a palace 

ought to be. 

It was the summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia and despite its 

diminutive size was considered the German rival of the French Versailles. The palace was designed and built by George Wenceslaus von Knobelsdorff between 1745 and 1747 to fulfil King Frederick's

need for a private residence where he could relax, away from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court. Hence the cosy ambiance I suppose. As a matter of fact ‘Sans Souci’ in French means ‘without worry’ or carefree.
The palace was renovated during the nineteenth century by Frederick Willi…

Historic Berlin

This was our second visit to Berlin and hence we visited places that we had missed on our first visit a couple of years back. To check out what we had experienced on our first visit click here.
Old Berlin also called Alt-Berlin beckoned and we decided to check it out. The walk to the old town from Alexanderplatz had a couple of amazing giant murals.

Then the twin spires of Nikolaikirche appeared and lured me to Nikolaiviertel the Nicholas Quarter 

of Alt Berlin which is the reconstructed heart of Berlin. A few steps ahead and was confronted by this awe inspiring structure – the Old City Hall built in 

1902–11. Altes Stadthaus (Old City Hall) is a former administrative building in Berlin, currently used by the Senate. During World War II it was completely destroyed and totally refurbished in the 1990s. Turned my head to be awed by the Rotes Rathaus. The Red Town Hall (Rotes Rathaus), located in 

the Mitte district near Alexanderplatz, is one of Berlin's most famous landmarks. It is the se…

No presents please:Mumbai stories - Book reviewed

No Presents Please: Mumbai Stories by Jayant Kaikini
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wonderful insights in to the common man's life in Mumbai. In these stories he goes behind the masks of anonymity of the people who throng the city to realise their dreams. It helps the reader to understand the travails the common man has to undergo, the ignominy that he has to suffer, often at the hands of the high and mighty, in order to maintain his self esteem.

Kaikini also shows how Mumbai helps all those who are sincere in their efforts to succeed in life.

Would have loved it much more if the translation and editing was better. The translation is like Google translation and hence the subtle nuances of the original are lost. This book of short stories seems written essentially for the Kannada speaking people, to give them an insight into the lives of migrants to the big bad city of Mumbai. Am sure the original must have been a pleasure to read but unfortunately I do not read Kannada though am aware of…

Kafka on the shore by Haruki Murakami reviewed

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just returned last night from a fabulous journey through relationships, lives, timeless love and concepts, all woven beautifully into a surreal tale, giving flight to the readers’ imagination, by Haruki Murakami in his book ‘Kafka on the shore’.
It is awe inspiring fiction at a different level. Had never read him before and had only heard what a great writer he is. Now am part of his fan club! I only hope the next book I read written by him does not disappoint.

In Kafka on the shore, he deals with filial and sibling love, self realisation and delves into time and space dimensions to make it surreal.

He also touches briefly on the horrors of war and the justifications of draft evaders.

I like the way he has shown how literates and illiterates cope with life situations using the knowledge gained from books and or life experiences.

I will leave you with a few quotes that I loved from the book.

“…most of the books have the sme…

'One hundred years of solitude' reviewed

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One hundred years of Solitude. The title itself is intriguing and gets you to read what Gabriel Garcia Marquez has in mind. Once you start reading he takes you through a gamut of emotions and there will be times when you would wonder why you are still reading it. Almost feels like a hundred years. No it never bores you but it slows down the ambient time. You tend to read it very slowly, trying to grasp every nuance, a herculean task but in hindsight it was fun. It is a book that is Fantasy bordering on reality. All fiction is based on things the author has experienced some time or the other. But this beats it all! It is fiction but the thoughts are so real that it reminds me of the times I have sat thinking of ‘what if….’

It all begins in ‘Macondo’ ‘ …a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like pr…

Book review of 'The Sunlight Plane' by Damini Kane

The Sunlight Plane by Damini Kane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An excellent read. A well told story of the friendship of a couple of pre teens, based on the principle of 'The Sunlight plane' (solar powered plane). Just like how the aircraft completes a flight around the globe powered by solar energy, these 2 protagonists, Akash and Tharush power their pre teen turbulent world with energy drawn from each other.
The narration is simple as it should be but very insightful and despite there being no mystery involved, the author manages to hold your attention right through the book. The characterisation and the events are perfect with no added fat, slim and trim to keep you hooked.
It delves into the minds of the pre teen youngsters, their fears, their world views, the turbulence they face as they try to balance their lives as per their wants and as per their parents' wants.
It also gives an insight into how important parenting is and a reminder that the judgments of adults differs…