Berkeley – At the Pulse of Time

It’s always fun to travel up north and visit San Francisco, but also nearby Berkeley is an adventure. We love to visit Berkeley. The town is full of life but different from what one expects from cities like San Francisco. Here at Berkeley, controversy lies in the air. One can practically feel the pulsating discussions about ideas that might one day change the world and the rebellious attitude towards pressing political questions affecting the nation but also the world.

Not pretty at first sight perhaps, Berkeley seems to be a bit run down almost reflecting the present state of American economy with homeless people making their way through the streets asking for a bit of support to meet living expenses.  But allowing yourself to dive into the mentality of the town and breathing in the politically charged air, Berkeley grows on you and you will love it for what it represents. It’s an intellectually charged place where even the homeless guy at the corner recites his own poetry on “Weltschmerz” or joins in a heated political discussion.

Sure enough also this time we witnessed a friendly demonstration against Wall Street. Since it was Homecoming weekend and the football game of the Cal Bears versus the USC Trojans had just taken place, quite a few USC students were in town representing the more conservative standpoint on political views. Dressed in suits and formal gowns, they were carrying signs that read, “I love capitalism”. I must admit their group stood there a bit forlorn and some onlooker just shouted at them “Go back home…!”

The end of our weekend trip marked a visit to the new California Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. What a fantastic museum! It’s impressive how the museum combines a natural history museum, an aquarium and a planetarium all under one roof. And what a roof this is! It’s a living roof with 2,5 acres of native California plants that provide insulation and it “…reduces the urban heat island effect. …It features an expansive solar canopy, an extensive water reclamation system, and walls insulated with recycled blue jeans!”        This is sustainable design and green architecture right at its best, and  “…it just may be the greenest museum on the planet.”

Enjoy impressions of a weekend trip to Berkeley & San Francisco…

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