A tale of two cities – Toulouse and Berlin

I just returned home from back-to-back stays in Toulouse and Berlin, two places where I had the pleasure to visit very good friends made in Montreal but who are now living in Europe. Small vs big, Southern vs Northern Europe, France vs Germany, wine vs beer, old vs new, these are some of the contrasts between Toulouse and Berlin that spring to mind.

Both cities are very enjoyable in their own way. As much as I like the human size of central Toulouse where everything is within walking distance, sprawling Berlin is easily accessible through its ultra-efficient mass transit system. Walking through the small narrow and randomly laid out streets in Toulouse to locate authentic Southern France restaurants is always a pleasure, as is navigating Berlin’s broad avenues lined with trees for a decent beer garden.

Toulouse definitely feels like an older city as it is best known for its churches and bridges, without much modernism in sight. Conversely, Berlin feels like a modern city; it really is since it was mostly rebuilt after WWII and again after the reunification. Berlin offers much to see and do so a week barely suffices to scratch the surface

Although weather in Toulouse and Berlin is quite different, both cities have something in common: sidewalk patios (or terrasses as we say in Montreal) are everywhere so essentially, for the whole month of September, I have taken the vast of majority of my aperitifs and meals outside.

As usual I traveled with my photo gear and had the chance to take a few pictures along the way. Comments are mostly inserted with the individual pictures in the gallery. I threw in a few pictures of Barcelona as a bonus city since we spent a weekend there. Barcelona is only a 4-hour ride away from Toulouse so it is a can’t miss opportunity. Although Barcelona is a beautiful city world-renowned for its Gaudi architecture, I found it difficult to capture satisfying pictures of buildings without the use of a wide tilt/shift lens. Wish I had one! Anyhow, what sticks to my mind about a weekend in Barcelona is the city’s life, not its architecture. The city revs on a schedule quite different that we Canadians are used to: breakfast around 11.00, lunch at 15.00, tapas at 20.00 and dinner after 23.00. I found it surprisingly easy to adapt to such a schedule: wake up late and stay out all night with a short power nap late afternoon (the infamous Spanish siesta), what is there not to like!

Equipment: Canon 5D Mk II DSLR, Canon EF 8-15 mm f/4 fisheye, Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L, Canon 28-70 mm f/2.8L, Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 EX, RAW conversion using Adobe Lightroom 3.6, HDR with Photomatix Pro 4.1.2, defishing using PTLens 8.7.8, tripod for night shots

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “A tale of two cities – Toulouse and Berlin

  1. Admiring the time and energy you put into your website and detailed information
    you provide. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same
    unwanted rehashed information. Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to
    my Google account.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: