Highlights from Alaska Trip

The trip is done March 2016.

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On our way to Seward

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It was late March and the weather was pretty warm. Although all national parks were still closed at the time.
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Alaskan Halibut chunks for lunch

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Bay view @ Seward

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watching sea creature yawning at Sea Life Center @ SewardDSC04558

.. and they take care of baby otter as well!

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An octopus made of clean-ups from the sea to remind us of protecting ocean environment.

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stung by one of these :-/

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Group picture on our way back

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Anchorage from our hotel window. The whole city is a major transfer hub of all the traffic along Alaska oil pipeline.

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Heading to Fairbanks the next day!DSC04737

Spectacular ¬†view (one of the greatest road trip route that I’ve been). And it was not that cold.

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glad I brought my tripod.DSC04704

Dog sledding (you are basically just sitting on the ground and it was really bumpy) —

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and you get to pet them as well ūüėÄ
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Drinking at an ice bar. No pictures for enjoying a night swim in the hot spring near by.

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Ice sculpting
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University of Alaska and there is a small museum inside

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Heading to Dalton Highway the next day

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Dalton highway is one of the most dangerous highways of all, with extreme weather almost all year round and minimum services. ¬†Trucks dominates this road. Can’t imagine what would happen if the a car breaks down along this road.

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Mighty Yukon river.

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We made a tiny snowman.

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Looks like the snow is about to melt (look how close we can get to the ice surface of the river!)

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Arctic tundra, we are close to the arctic circle. All trees become tiny version of themselves. It was said that all plants can only grow up to 3 times of the thickness of the soil underneath.

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Arrived arctic circle

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The grand pipeline (it grows and shrinks with temperature!).

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Stopped along the way for Borealis but with no luck. We saw faded green light the other day but didn’t take any pictures. Maybe it’ll be a perfect reason to come back to Alaska.

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Highlights from Alaska Trip

A design full of colors

Among all the museums/galleries I’ve been to, the building of Museum Brandhorst has my favorite design (with¬†great Cy Twombly collection inside too, but I just love the building too much).
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So I looked up the designer, Sauerbruch Hutton. Apparently, he designed a lot of other buildings (Cologne Oval Offices, Office for Urban Development and Environment, Kew Westarkade and many more, //all links from archDaily) with this same style. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE this theme!

It’s probably not a very good idea to start with putting all the colors on your palette. But¬†that just means I have lots to learn from the beginning.

A design full of colors

Weimar and Eisenach/Wartburg

Back to Weimar at night.

A giant chair outside of Bauhaus University library.

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Liszthaus

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Goethe house in Weimar Рlater I came to know that there are more than one Goethe house  in Germany. This is one of his residences and now it becomes a museum.

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Inside of his house there’s a small library and a lovely garden. Apparently Goethe has interest in ¬†LOTs of things outside of poetry and literature. The museum has displays of his collections including¬†paintings, animal skeletons, fossils and so many more.

…he’d also lived in many different places (must be a fun guy to talk to)

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In the afternoon I headed to Eisenach. Took a taxi to the foot of the hill. Wartburg is a short climb away.

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Wartburg is a culture heritage site. It is known for being the place where Martin Luther translated the Bible.

The castle offers tour in both German and English.

Outside of the castle you can get a view of the town. I vaguely had the impression that Wartburg is approximately located at the geological center of Germany. But I couldn’t remember the source so I can’t be sure.

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There was some distance between the castle and the town. I still have some time before the the train arrives. So I decided to walk through a forest downhill to enjoy some natural fun. Great decision.

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I love forest!

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And you read stories about Martin Luther along the way. I think he came as the second place in the 100 greatest German poll. Later I found out his contribution was not just in the reformation, but in German language as well.

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It turns out the road I just passed is part of natural park route of Thuringian forest.

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It was one of those memorable moments in my life: as I walked out of the forest and entered the town, I found the place¬†was magically quiet. I walked into the town center through a residential area full of houses and cars but didn’t encounter a single person for a good 15 minutes (I think). For a moment I thought the time has stopped and I suddenly have all the time and space to explore, until I see a car with its blinkers on. But overall it was quite magical.

Bachhaus was close to the center of the town. Like the Goethehaus, it turns into a museum.

There are places in the museum where you can sit down and listen to his work.

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If you accidentally get into the wrong part of the train, then you might end up in a different place.

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Weimar and Eisenach/Wartburg

Cologne and Ruhr district

Next day I came to Cologne to see Cologne Cathedral

According to wikipedia Cologne Cathedral is the most visited tourist site in Germany, which may not be surprising. The size of the Cathedral also proves the importance of the city during Medieval period. The spikes of the church are the second tallest church spikes in the world. Behind the alter there are shrines of relics that are said to belong to the Three Wise Men.

A modern-style stained glass window that looks so unique among others. Later I found it was actually built by a modern artist, Gerhard Richter.

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Performance artist chasing a biker lol.  Poor guy.

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The old  town was full of shops and markets.

Chocolate and almond. yumm!

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Gross St.Martin Church, surrounded by lovely colorful spiky houses!

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Hohenzollern Bridge: I wonder if all these locks prevent the bridge from load-balancing

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From the other side of the bridge: The old town and River Rhine. (River Rhine, River Danube and Rive Elbe — I think I’ve finally seen them all!)

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Came to Dusseldorf for dinner. The train is way too convenient (and because the cities are super close).

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Had a great Japanese Ramen with salted half-cooked egg I love, not in Japan, but in Dusseldorf haha. Dusseldorf has one of the largest Japanese community in the country. Great place to find Ramen places  of course.

Arrive in Bochum for the night.

One of my favorite thing to do while traveling is visiting local supermarket. And look what I’ve found!

I heard Dortmund has the most passionate fan throughout the country (it certainly says so based on my supermarket visit, and it was not a supermarket in Dortmund). It looks so happy so I had to get one!

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Ruhr University of Bochum. Nice campus with (really) great view. It doesn’t feel very “industrial district” for me.

visited Essen in the afternoon: really like the design and color of the train station

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Zollverein coal mine industrial complex: a world heritage coal mine industrial site. Along with many heavy industry sites close by, it used to support the backbone of German industrialization back in the old days. The winding tower has almost become a brand of Ruhr district.

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Inside the complex: I thought I could smell machine oil but since the factory has been put to stop in the 90s so it might just be imaginary lol. I started to wonder about these places since we learned about Ruhr district from middle school Geography textbook.

You can also get on top of the building and have a peek at the entire area.

Some of the factory buildings have been converted to Ruhr Museum.

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I kept thinking if this is strawberry-flavored.

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Cologne and Ruhr district