Archive for January, 2008

Qype: Modelleisenbahn Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg

HamburgActivities & SightseeingKids Activities

Miniatur Wunderland is the world’s largest model railway, open to the public as a museum of incredibly small things in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt district. Spanning two floors, the museum makes an incredible effort to recreate some of the world’s most interesting locations at incredibly small scales. The vehicles and trains are all traditional model sized, which means that everything else is even smaller – the people (and there are a lot of them) are all 2cm tall, hand constructed and hand painted. Most of the vehicles around Miniatur Wunderland are actually moving, with magnets under the roads pulling cars along (EDIT: Not exactly. Jay16k explains this best here).

The attention to detail at Miniatur Wunderland is astounding – detailing on cars, people, trains… the most amazing detail of them all is the interaction between elements, like spontaneous traffic jams which clear themselves out.

Every 10 minutes or so they dim the lights to red to simulate sundown, then fade to complete darkness for about 3 minutes before gradually bringing up "morning" with blue lights and then turn the lights back on entirely. This gives you a good chance to see some of the more impressive installments in their "natural" surrounding which they are most famous for, such as Las Vegas or the Reeperbahn.

We went through the entire museum twice, and only discovered some of the "hidden" constructions, like area 51 and Atlantis, on our second round. There are a ton of these around the museum, like cities underground and trains running under the floorboards, so make sure you look both down and up when walking through!

At Miniatur Wunderland you can visit:
Knuffingen (Fictional German city)
Hamburg (Germany)
Harz (Germany)
Kiruna (Sweden)
Yosemite National Park (USA)
Mount Rushmore (USA)
Miami, FL (USA)
Las Vegas, Nevada (USA)
Cape Canaveral (USA)
Key West (USA)
Grand Canyon (USA)
Area 51 (USA)
The Austrian Alps
Tessin (Switzerland)
Wallis (Switzerland)

France and Africa are in the works and should be finished in 2012 (!)

Extremely recommended, a wonderful way to spend a sunday! Don’t forget to bring your camera (I did, which is why all my photos are horrible quality and taken with a cellphone cam).

See my photos in the Qype place gallery (or here on Flickr) and catch my video here.

Check out my review of Modelleisenbahn Miniatur Wunderland – I am liron – on Qype

Why do drugs when you can play Peggle?

I’ve never been much of a gamer. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a casual game or two more now than again, but it was never much more than that. I think the games that really manage to captivate me and reel me in are the ones which are wackier and zanier than anything imaginable. Games in which the creativity and randomness had you floored, bewildered, and made sure you were going to have a hell of a lot of fun. It was Day of the Tentacle when I was young, and then Total Distortion (game art here) a few years later (my mother should remember this phase extremely well).

My recent game addiction seems to come in the form of Peggle (hebrew here). I began playing the downloadable demo, and then purchased the just-as-brilliant ipod version. Peggle easily fits into the “they must have been on acid when they thought this one up” category, and do so rather brilliantly.

The gameplay itself is rather straightfoward – navigate a pachinko/pinball-like interface and try to hit all orange pegs on the board. Simple enough – but some of the boards are quite tricky, and eventually, it does take some serious willpower to exit the game and join the land of the living, instead of thinking to yourself “oh, just one more hit level”.

This “video review” probably explains this game better than I could, so I’ll pass the center stage (NSFW!):

Peggle is available for demo download for PC or Mac, you can also pick it up for your 6th gen. ipod from the iTunes store.

Qype: Absinth in Hamburg


It’s too bad that I’m not a big fan of Absinthe (it’s the alcohol content and the aniseed that kill it for me), otherwise I’d probably make this place a second home. There’s something mysterious and magical about the Absinth Bar, which reminds me of my teenage years, when we’d all dress up in black and run around the streets at night, hopping from bar to bar and listening to Within Temptation (I’m losing points for this, aren’t I).

The couple that runs this place are part of what makes this place a must-visit. The guy who served our table was extremely knowledgeable about Absinthe and it’s sorts. It was obvious that this place was built around their passion for the drink and it’s culture. The establishment itself is small, dimly lit and, well, green. It reminded me a bit of a bar you’d find in Narnia, after passing through the closet.

I didn’t have any Absinthe, but my friends did – the prices didn’t seem like they’d break the bank, but they weren’t entirely cheap, either. To be honest, if I would have ordered some Absinthe, I’d probably prefer to pay an extra few euros and get a quality drink. I’m following the age-old beer rule here: the cheaper the beer, the bigger the hangover.

Perhaps I’ll order a drink during my next visit, since it seems the folks who run the place will probably be able to suggest an Absinthe which my body won’t, err, reject. I will, however, take a star off the rating for the seating arrangements in the bar. They are somewhat uncomfortable (hard wooden bench-type arrangements) and I’d like to think that a good Absinthe is at least 40% general atmosphere.

Recommended to folks who’d like to try something different for a change.

Check out my review of Absinth – I am liron – on Qype

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