31.05.2013 - 31.05.2013
Well this is the last blog for the trip ...I really can't quite believe it is all over though I definitely know we need to be heading for home.
Yesterday morning we both woke up thoroughly exhausted though we had slept well . Think the bodies are just starting to relax knowing they are on the homeward stretch .
I don't mean to sound as though I'm whinging but our adventures are not like most people's casual trips . This is not a European Holiday but a visual & fact finding mission for our enquiring eager minds.
Our train was leaving Berlin Hauptbanhof ( railway station ) at 11.12 so taxi at around 10 am because I need to be everywhere early . Just in case the train leaves early ! Bill says they never do but I don't believe him . He he
Berlin main station is enormous . Strange France & Italy can't manage to post the platform departure number until often 2 mins before departure .The Germans however can figure it all in advance & it's marked on your ticket. I am anxious enough with public transport & standing gazing at an electronic board waiting for your train number to appear is not fun. But oh I do like the German system.
We had booked our last train trip 1st class not really necessary in Germany unlike much of Italy but anyway we thought we deserved spoiling . Very nice our own stewardess , coffee served & newspaper if required. Not much point for us of course. Guess we could have looked at the drama photos of Syria etc.
Trip took a little over 2 hrs at speeds up to 228 / 230 k's ...think we did go faster in France last year but whatever the world wizzed by . Standing on some of the stations must be confronting although mostly the train races through but not next to platforms .
We had seen the forecast for Hamburg & it didn't sound encouraging ....cloudy , windy, rain & thunderstorm .Oh my ! BUT we arrived to warm sunshine no wind . Our hotel is only 250m from the station so I couldn't even demand a taxi. We were offered a room with waterbed but we decided we didn't need any "surge" problems only bloody decent pillows. Nup same strange German crap pillows but there were two each . Wow! Lovely room however apart from pillows
Settled in i.e. dropped bags & went out for lunch .Hamburg is a port city so much emphasis is placed on maritime . The restuarant was very interesting but not really old. We had done a little research on Hamburg & we vaguely knew it had been blown to hell by the Allies in 1943 . Many of the building have old bottom sections & newer roofs etc. The death toll of civilians was horrific but hey Hitler was horrific. He apparently refused to visit Hamburg after the bombing . Was he embarrassed or ashamed I wonder !
Bill had agreed as we only had one night in Hamburg we would do a " hop on off " bus tour. Very easy to do & with the sun shining we sat at the top of the bus. Most trips are in German with an smaller English content . Well the guy forgot & was all in German . When we mentioned this to the guide at the finish of trip he apologised & said he forgot . He did offer us a second trip but we were just too tired. We did see lots & could understand much of it . Like the red light district which is very large & seedy. There are parts of that section of the city where women are banned . Well nice women anyway.
Germany's second largest city & interesting some very beautiful areas. To note the rhododendrons are in full bloom ...have never seen so many. Absolutely stunning & a change from tulips & daffodils .
Finished our bus tour...back to the street our hotel is on . Think it is one of my fav streets in Germany it reminded us both of King St Newtown in Sydney ( where we stay with our dear friend Carol) lots of colour cool shops, bars & heaps of eclectic restuarants . We chose one on a corner & had a very nice bottle of Italian Vino . We weren't intending to have dinner after our late lunch but when we had consumed a bottle of red we decided on something small. Interesting the German version of croque Monsieur . Delicious very toasted roll mine with turkey & stuff & Bills turkey ,egg & according to him some vegetable matter. The best bit was the hot sauce . I haven't described this well but they were fantastic.
Well this is about all we are just heading to the airport. Summary of our trip . Amazing ,frustrating when problems are caused by others & out of our control & planning . Most enjoyed the fascination of Matera ( cave homes in Italy ) the wonderful week we spent in beautiful French Pyrenees Midi with Rob & Jamilla . Least liked for me was Berlin I found this very difficult & confronting something most perhaps wouldn't understand unless you know my history .
Ok we are off ....love ya all xxx
P.S....from Bill. Just another little funny one Deb couldn't mention. Deb keeps saying she is tiring and this was reiterated the other day in a shop. We were descending on an escalator and it is customary for people not moving, to stand on the right side to let those wanting to keep moving, to pass through. Well... the comment from dearest was we had to step aside for the people going the other way... I looked at her, nodded, smiled and mentioned that we really were all going down...then her penny dropped and I was able to laugh hysterically. Cheers...