The untold stories of winter
27 Mar 2016

The untold stories of winter

 

It’s time to tell the untold stories of winter.


Stories at risk of being lost to spring sensations like fragrant breezes across the face, or the flat-out denial of winter that will come when the weather turns to absolute rubbish again.

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Silvester (NYE). Berlin is known for its wild new year’s eve celebrations, with the reckless abandon of its impromptu firework celebrations commonly drawing war zone comparisons.

So naturally, we climbed onto our friend’s rooftop to watch it all.

The grainy photo reflects not only the terrible quality of my phone camera, but the thick soup of fog and gunpowder smoke that hung over the city in the first hours of 2016.

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Although I normally avoid Checkpoint Charlie like the plague, the city’s frequent post-Christmas snow dumps and fairy lights left it simultaneously cheery and eerie; devoid of the normal tourist masses.

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Breaking the ice on the Spree River. Berlin didn’t properly freeze over this year, but it did it’s best to make up for it with conditions encompassing a rich palette of greys, and nuanced cocktails of snow and sleet.

Although the risk of bike theft is one reason you don’t leave your faithful steed locked up in one place too long — at least in some parts of Berlin — here is another.

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While most of Berlin’s Millennial population was still slumbering or techno-raving one Sunday morning, my flatmate and I decided to hang out with jellyfish at AquaDom Berlin.

A little context: Berlin decided to open many of its museums and attractions for one day, as a ‘thank you’ for the city’s welcoming attitude towards refugees.

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A light oasis in Parròquia de Sant Pere de les Puel·les — a small church hidden away in Barcelona’s El Born district. Despite the blue skies and energy outside, calm and shadows reign within.

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My Barcelona trip last month was exciting for more reasons than just Vitamin D and sangria reunions; no, I also had the chance to stop by the Barcelona Impact Hub coworking centre — one of the many sister hubs of my Berlin coworking space! This is not actually it, but I thought this space also seemed rather amusing. Spot on.

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The blurs in this photo are people passing the Palau de la Música Catalana — the Catalonian Music Palace. Many people didn’t stop to pay any attention to it, which I quite liked, since that’s often a sign of a local who’s gotten used to such a gorgeous sight. And some parts of Barcelona don’t really cater to the locals much anymore.

 

Walk up to Montjuïc Castle, keep the Mediterranean Sea and Barcelona Port to your left, while skirting the castle walls, and you will eventually come to Cementiri de Montjuïc. Home of silence, statues, mausoleums and sepulchral burial niches; stacked up to eight high and stretching off into the distance.

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The final resting place of 152,000 people.

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Even if the name Špindlerův Mlýn still mocks my pronunciation attempts, I nevertheless grew very fond of this Czech mountain resort during the four days we snowboarded here at the end of February.

Highlights were the hearty alpine food in ski huts that was actually affordable for mere mortals, fresh powder on the last day, and the feeling of triumph from the very first times I went over a kicker (ski jump), despite the paranoia that can only come from being a freelancer not insured for loss of earnings…

Photo taken shortly before faceplanting, and growing a snow’stache.

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Bogner and the beast… We were sad to find that the cosy old pension we were staying in will be pulled down later this year, to make way for plush accommodation. I just hope that the adorable Czech grandma with whom we played communication charades every morning gets a cut, so she can afford the Bogner & co. high-end ski lifestyle.

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It’s a case of family reunion 2.0, as my third or fourth cousin, many times removed, uses virtual reality goggles to explore Niagara Falls at the ITB travel convention. VR is set to become a huge tool in travel marketing, even perhaps catering to the laziest of armchair travellers in the near future.

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Toshiba’s robot receptionist, Chihara Kanae caused a stir when she made her European debut at the conference. Her ability to speak 19 different languages definitely gave her the edge over her chaperone, Hitoshi Tokuda, but many people were still less than sold on the idea that she could one day be checking them in.

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And on the topic of new beginnings…

Happy Easter — Frohe Ostern — to all of those celebrating; happy excuse for eating too much chocolate to all those who are indifferent; and happy Sunday to everyone else!

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About the Author:Joe Dodgshun

Berlin-based Kiwi writer in innovation communication. Inspired by social enterprise, science and tech for good, responsible travel and climate action. Sharing the inspiration through journalism and brand storytelling.

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