Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Back from Berlin

Over Upstate New York, near Hudson-on-Hudson

As it happens so often, once I am back from a journey, it takes a few days to adjust, recover and then suddenly it feels almost strange to still post pictures of these days past.

Now I know, I am back...

The sun rises over the houses across the street and those early morning clouds remind me, that I am still a little on European time....

Here I am, back in the midst of things, there has been little time to linger over the events of last week, which have been manifold and rather intense.

I went to Berlin to see my sons and to work for the older one in a movie, he and his partner have been directing. Both have also written the screenplay and created the set design. It is the combined work for their finals at the film class, a part of their education at the UdK, the famous Art Academy in Berlin.

Me, recording in the sound studio

It has been an education for me, to witness first hand, how much work goes in the production of a movie, from the early concepts on paper to screenplay, set design and the actual scenes, the technical aspects from lighting to the sound track. I've been to a sound studio to record and have been acting in different scenes in the movie. It was not easy! To create a certain feeling, emotions and to behave in a directed way and still to 'act' natural was an amazing experience. What 'feels' right in my mind looks often different in the eyes of a director. We had enormous fun!
Since this project is not finished, I am, of course, not free to speak of details, but I am certain it is going to be very interesting to see the final cut.
I can't wait to see it!

On the S-Bahn at night

Apart from filming, we explored Berlin again, I was happy, the weather had improved tremendously from the weeks before, where 20 below zero had the city in an icy grip.
It felt springlike and we enjoyed sunshine most of the days.

Colorful two level buses, typical in Berlin.

Berlin was still under the impression of the Berlinale, the annual, most important Film Festival (in Germany) and what could have been better then to be surrounded by the spirit of movies and acting for me, while participating in the making of one myself.

Advertisement on a 'Litfass' column*, the classic German way...
The movie 'Extremly Loud & Incredibly Close'
First Litfass column in Berlin 1854

What I enjoy most in these short days is to experience the German culture, the food and to just be... It is hard to explain, since I do not feel like a tourist, rather more like a sailor, coming ashore after many month at sea....It is all so familiar and yet, new to me.

The timeless Berlin Coffee house: Hackescher Hof
The best part: Siting there with one of my sons...

There is the food, which I only realize how much I miss it, once I am there.
(Thank goodness, otherwise I would be rather unhappy most of the time)
My sons were laughing, since I declared myself a German Food Junkie, not missing a beat between Curry wurst ( a Berlin special kind of Bratwurst), Plum cake, the bread specialities and all the delicacies of my German food heritage. Perhaps you understand, these are not spectacular things, but the ones I feel deeply connected with and I marvel for a few days at all the things I remember from my life in Germany.

Dussmann's, The Culture Shopping Mall.

Now I have almost lived as long abroad as my life in Germany has been. Not counting the first years of my childhood in East Germany. I feel American, and I feel a distance to the old home country, and yet, because of my strong ties to Berlin and Munich I feel naturally German as well.
I raid the bookstores to get in touch with German Zeitgeist, writings, listen to music, the boys talk about.
In one of the largest and nicest bookstores in Berlin - Dussmann's - we listened by chance to a live band, which was free for all and literally rocked the house! An old, East German band - City - which, of course, I remember from days long gone, when I was a teenager!
These older gentlemen were quite amazing...
Office building at night

Wall art

Brandenburg Gate

Berlin is so lively, friendly and colorful. There is an easy going spirit and I felt always safe, crossing the city, often alone, with U-Bahn and S-Bahn, tram and buses.
The only thing I had to get used to again (and again) was the fact, that most of the smaller stores, apart from the largest shopping malls - and many restaurants accept no credit or foreign debit cards. One needs to be prepared to bring cash or run to a bank as often as once a day! Which of course is annoying and costly. There are fees and the exchange rate is not favorable for most foreigners with a different currency! The Euro is strong and Berlin therefore quite expensive. I still do not understand, why in our modern, technology driven time international money dealings are as complicated as they are.

But this did not really dampened my spirit and I enjoyed every moment of my time. The kids, my oldest, his future wife and the younger one filled my time with so much fun, attention and care. I had a wonderful time. We spoiled each other with love, that's what made it real.

I also spend time with one of my oldest girlfriends, with whom I stayed partially and we sat and talked deep into the night. Nothing can be nicer!
There was only one bad thing: The week was so quickly over!

There will be some more pictures in a few day from my visit to Potsdam, where my second son now lives.

: )

* The in Berlin born printer Ernst Litfass invented the use of a column to advertise and publish news for the public, in his honor the column was named after him.  It is until now used all over Germany.

All images private and courtesy ** of E.Braeunig and as indicated.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Berlin is bright and sunny, cold but welcoming as always. I spend time with the "kids"
and we have been roaming throughout the city. We watched a few really good movies at the Berlin Film Festival, which ended last Sunday and there are still enough days left so I do not feel the end of the journey coming. Not yet!

Entrance Chamber of Trade

Church in Berlin Mitte

Winter street scene

Berlin - Mitte

Berlinale Film Palace

Chocolate tower

Near Potsdamer Platz

Snow and orchids

Near Potsdamer Platz

Girls just wanna have fun...

We are having fun!

Images all private. Copyright 2012.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I am off

To Berlin, Germany. I am visiting my two oldest sons, who live and study there and I simply cannot wait to wrap my arms around them... 
I haven't seen them since August - September '11, way too long for any mother's heart!
They have assured me of a great program together, the film festival 'Berlinale' is in full swing and we have tickets to some of the last great premieres of this year's festival highlights.

I love Berlin and every time I go, I discover more exciting things to do, see and share with you!  
I might post the one or other picture, perhaps some time next week.
I'll be back by the end of next week!
Now I am off packing, which is something I enjoy as a part of the journey!


Be safe and well! Enjoy the winter break, for those out and about! See you all soon!


Top image by V.Zlotkowski, via google image and as indicated.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hudson supermarket

There is a supermarket in Hudson, NY, the sort I would not mind buying the daily needed things...Well, alright, it's not your average market for milk, butter and bread.
There are other yummy things, such as vintage pieces, furniture, old, really old and modern.
I love to browse there, finding so many things I would carry home or to share with you!
I love glass, and the way light plays with it, so here are some adorable pieces:

Beautiful blue & green vessels.

Light streams through a slotted shelf,

Creating a shadow play

Hard to ignore!

Walpole School of Art sign


And classic china!

And then I found a small diary, written in 1903 by a Milo Nellis, a tiny, tidily written account of sums paid and received! But so old and neat!

He might have been a farmer and he pays a certain Leila $3.55, this entry repeats every week. Maybe the girl to keep his home? Who was he?
He has had a wagon wheel repaired for $2.50...
There are entries on payments to different people, contacts to seed companies and dealers.
It says on the front page:

 Milo Nellis
 Railway postal blank (?)
 St.Johnsville, NY

And a small cut-out image of a Ginseng plant is glued to the page! Who would take the effort to do this, but a farmer? Or perhaps a plant lover? Exotic ginseng?
Or was he at the railway? Would be interesting to know!

Another link to the past! Now the small booklet sits on my desk, not too far from where it originally came from!
Reminding me how 'things' survive us! A memento mori of sorts!

All images byV.Zlotkowski

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heartfelt Valentine

For Valentine's Day I want to give you all my heart....

Much love! Viel Liebe! Beaucup d'amour! Dużo miłości!


Images  in order via Etsy sellers: yastikizi, motherdaughter139, theloveshop, stuffbylosyposy

Monday, February 13, 2012

Van Gogh and Hudson, NY

A weekend skiing trip for the family left me with time on my hands! I m not a skier. Valuable time to go to Hudson, NY across the river, window shopping, hunting for ideas, fresh inspirations and tea for one at my favorite tea shop in town, Verdigris!

This small town makes me feel good anytime I am there! It has gotten all the right attributes:
Understated, artistic, not overdone, great selection of shops for foodies, a lively selection of antique and design stores and diverse art galleries and studios. The town has a striking opera house! The last one of its kind. All this you will find in about roughly two square miles and with the charm of a quiet 19th century town.
It was a very cold and blustery day, so I was happy to slip into my favorite places....
Like LiliandLoo...

Just a few steps away is Shop 12, a sheer treasure trove. The not so large establishment carries exquisite antiques and vintage pieces. 

From the old pair of boots to a beautifully carved 15th century French angel I found most amazing things:

Delicate tables with more delicate jewelry

Mirrors, metal furniture and antlers...

Shadow play

China and a glass dome

Artwork on a lovely settee

A glorious chandelier

Mirror and vintage dress

Little precious somethings under glass

And a flowery plate

The friendly shop keeper, Anne McInnis let me browse and I took pictures to my heart's delight!
After a while I felt like this and needed nourishment!

Ladies in waiting at Shop 12
I took a pit stop at the earthy Swallow Bakery, where not only the coffee was very good, but also the delicious Quinoa bread, which I bought for the hungry at home. 
After this I returned to fetch my family in Hunter, a picturesque 50 minute drive from Hudson-on-Hudson.

Later that night, hours after I had taken the photo of the boots and worked around with Instagram, I suddenly remembered a painting by Vincent van Gogh, he had painted his boots, very  much like this pair and I was stunned by the similarities....

My original photograph
Playing with Instagram

VvG 1887 My boots.

VvG 1886 Boots

Life creates art and art creates life! This is how I feel!
Maybe, I had this image deeply buried in my memory when I saw the boots and took the picture....
A simple association through a pair of boots, lying on the floor! This time remembering Vincent, my Dutch hero!
The wondrous works of the mind!

There was more, another great shop, which I'll show you tomorrow!
If you ever happen to come close to this lovely town Hudson, NY, do not hesitate to visit! It's so worth it!

All images by V.Zlotkowski and as indicated. Copyright 2012
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