A Travellerspoint blog

Walking Lots Days 59 /60

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...

Posted by Billdeb 01:28 Comments (0)

Walking Lots Day 58 ??

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Weather forecast not great but we will push on regardless. Berlin is cool,windy & more drizzle ...oh well that's it. We started off about 9am walking as usual . I did glance & mumble at hop on off buses but according to Bill we see so much more walking the streets & yes I guess he is right but nearly 12 k's yesterday ! I mean really Bill is that fair ???
Walk on Deb ...Bill is a great map reader so I generally put my trust in him but this was a huge walk & would have been nice on a bus ,tram taxi anything.
We planned to see Checkpoint Charlie & The Jewish Museum .interesting we were supposed to see them in this order but for some reason we stumbled upon Checkpoint Charlie first .OMG what a horrible circus this has been turned into lots of tourists mainly I think Americans but obviously turned into a circus by the Germans .
There is even a supposed US guard house with flags etc presumably right where the original guardhouse was. People were going up to have pics taken with "guards" apparently once you have the photos taken they demand € for the experience . They are actors playing the part. Interesting I must say I was not impressed by the way things are taken on commercialism . This was a sad &horrific time in post war Berlin .
We didn't spend long there could have gone through displays but didn't want to encourage this objectionable farce. Kept walking I think at least another one & half k's to The Jewish Museum ...an emotional exploration of 2000 years of Jewish History in Germany . It really didn't answer many of my questions in fact I do have more now .How did my father manage to stay working as a scientist for the government right up until 1939 ... Most Jews were unable to work in civil situations after 1933 ...what the hell was he working on that allowed them to overlook him until 1939? He had managed to get the rest of his family out to US & England by 1936.
I do know he was trying desperately to hold on to there vast possessions in Berlin but but ....I need to find some answers. The Museum has no records on individuals & it was suggested to me to contact the Jewish Community here. I imagine there wouldn't be many alive still living in Berlin from that time. Oh well will be an interesting journey if I can do some tracking .
We traipsed back all the way to Alexanderplatz with me still looking longingly at buses etc.... Nup not for me. Bill did say he was very proud of me ...Right that made my feet feel a whole heap better.
Made it back to have a late lunch early dinner & eventually into our hotel room by 4 pm. We fell asleep around 6 & slept until 3am ....strange hours we are keeping & I had a massive headache which lasted the rest of the night . I should have got a coffee . I drink too much coffee & go into withdrawal when I only have one in a day.
Now into Wednesday & our last day in Berlin ...I did spy a UNOd 50 shop here in Berlin this is the eclectic jewellery I discovered in Granada last year . They are a Spanish company with no outlets in Australia . This is what I love things no one else has in Aus.... Off there this morning . Very excited almost as cool as Bvlgari in Rome but the difference is they have prices on their pieces . Bill says he gets shakes going past Bvlgari shops with me . Funny I didn't even get anything in there .He just bought a bracelet for Zkye . I do have some of their perfume though thanks to Ann & Peter .
That's me for now. Tomorrow off on first class train to Hamburg & our last day in Europe for now. I have decided as we only have one day in Hamburg we are going on a bus tour like normal people .I want to experience " a hop on off " tour. Right !!!

Posted by Billdeb 00:25 Comments (1)

Walking Lots Day 54

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Well the last two days in Bamburg I really think we may have over done everything . There is far too much to see & of course we wanted to pack it all into one & a half days ...well 2 sleeps. Have written first day as email because of issues with Travellerspoint but am trying it again in the hope that it may have sorted itself out.
Yesterday was really ,really cold perhaps 6 & maybe warmed up to 10 but I have my doubts. We started off at 9 am so it was damn cold but fortunately it didn't rain at all.
The city of Bamburg is divided up into areas like Iselstadt which is Island District , Domberg where the " bloody big " cathedral is situated on a "bloody big " hill & then Gartnerstadt Gardeners District. For some reason known only to my brain that was the section I wanted to see first yesterday . Oh my big mistake good 50 mins walk & then we couldn't find it till Bill realised we had gone too far & all the gardens are actually hidden behind the tall buildings. There is a Gardeners Museum but that we didn't ever find. Poo to all that then !
We did however walk on to the station & buy our ICE train tickets to Berlin . ICE are the really fast trains cost a bit more but very fast & exciting. If we went by regional trains we would have had 4 train changes with ICE it goes straight through with maybe one or two stops . Sometimes they don't stop at all. WOW looking forward to this one.
We went back to the tourist information because we wanted to sort out how to get to a brewery & museum . These breweries are often under ground & the one we wanted to see is under the Cathedral . Mmmmmm apparently my Lonely Planet ( purchased last year ) is out of date & that brewery has been gone for 5 years. Right glad we asked .
Got directions for a cool place for lunch ( Falconian food & smoked beer) & also directions to museum . Lunch was great we were so cold & the place was really warm & crowded. Bill isn't big on crowds & sharing tables but Falconian custom is to share tables with strangers. I didn't care I just wanted to be warm . Bill ordered a dark evil looking smoked beer & me just the normal red. Meal once again Bill ordered pork but this time pork belly with the accompanying dumpling & cabbage. I ordered a schnitzel with mushroom sauce & salad . The meal was too big but yum of course.
We stayed in the restaurant at least an hour having an interesting conversation with the fellow diners most of whom spoke English.
Then started up the hill to the museum. One of the steep hills we had walked the day before not realising we had actually past the brewery museum . Damn I could have been saved that uphill hike. The museum was really quite interesting lots of stuff all unfortunately in German but Bill seemed to be following it well enough.
We finally got back to our hotel around 4 totally exhausted I estimate we walked more than 20 k's in the last two days . The problem is that much of that 20 k's was up & down hills & lots of steps . Tired ,tired ,tired I'm sure I've said that a lot this trip.
So today we head to Berlin really wish my three kids were here to see what I may find of their grandfather ( my step father) who left Germany in 1939 with the SS hard on his heels. This time will be confronting I'm sure for me & would have been great to share the experience with them . He only returned to Berlin once in early 1980's & was astounded at how much had so totally changed.
Okay off to catch a fast train .

Posted by Billdeb 22:11 Comments (0)

Walking Lots Day 51 & 52

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We did enjoy our very quaint room /suite in Dinkelsbuhl well that is except for the "bloody " pillows what the is with Germans & their pillows ? Absolute crap & ruined my sleep .We were continuing up The Romantic Rd but the bus wasn't picking us up until 3 pm so really had another almost entire day. We saw more of the half wooden houses , corn barns etc then tried to refind the damn hedgehog ( igel in German ) we had seen the day before ( when the shops were closed for a Religious Holiday ) " Bloody hell " we retraced & retraced our steps never did find the silver one . Sorry Zkye xx
Three o'clock arrived & we boarded the bus bound for Wurzburg with a little stop in Rothenburg . Kinda wish we had stayed the nights there instead Wurzburg . Smaller more interesting town & unlike Wurzburg was saved from bombing so consequently not re built . You just don't really know & many people had said Wurzburg was fantastic ....mmmmmm ok perhaps we are getting fussy !
Today we got going only about 10 am after speaking for a while with some Aussies from Sydney . We walked through the town to the Wurzburg Residence Palace & Gardens . We knew there was an English Tour at 11 am so makes it easier than my limited German translation. This is a UNESCO heritage building originally designed for Prince- Bishop Johann Philipp Franz von Schonborn .
Interesting they explain that there was severe fire in 1945 .... More correct the American incendiary bombs blew it mostly to hell. It was however saved from total destruction by a US commander who realised its importance & got the roof covered before rains destroyed frescoes . The Germans realizing they were going be trounced did remove all the amazing irreplaceable tapestries & furnishings before the US invasion .
The place is even more astounding than the Residence in Munich
. Sadly no photos were allowed ...Crap , crap etc all in our heads though .
We left there still looking for the elusive hedgehogs found a Subway had a respectable lunch really quite healthy & without wein or bier. Lunch over we thought we should get to the River Main ...bloody cold 10 degrees breezy & drizzle ...why didn't we bring our down coats this year . We would have cursed them all the way till here. Oh well just " toughen up princess" We started across one of the specky bridges but I gave up half way too cold & windy . Bill stayed at least 15 mins watching a large barge working it's way through a lock . I just looked at the pics ...you can too. We then had coffee / bier in a cool Resturant attached to the bridge. Modern but in a very old setting with a water wheel below it.
Wended our way back to the hotel & having " bed picnic" rolls with smoked salmon ,eggs , salad etc oh and a bottle of Italian Red tonight. Don't get excited our bed picnics simply mean we are too tired to go out for dinner so eat in the hotel room .
Booked our tickets for train to Bamburg tomorrow . Wurzburg ok but really wouldn't recommend it as a must see town .

Posted by Billdeb 09:26 Comments (0)

Walking Lots Day 50

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Day 50 wow! Wish we were 50 now instead of whatever the damn age we are. We left Fussen on The Romantic Rd bus bound for Dinkelsbuhl which is midway along the road. Fantastic idea being able to get on & off a bus as many times as you like. We only had the one over night stay but time permitting you could take a week to go from one end to the other. The road is approximately 460 k's long & winds it's way through the iconic German villages & towns . We had a few stops along the way to check out various sites generally the ever present churches but hey churches are always mind blowing architecture anyway. People do hike this road too but Bill figures it would take about 2 mths with me wanting to stop in every village.
We arrived at Dinkelsbuhl about 2.15 found our hotel. Everything you have ever thought about German quaintness is in the room . Painted stencilled wardrobe ,four poster bed with voile curtains ,feather quilt & odd,mirror in the middle of the canopy roof or whatever that is called.. Mmmmmm strange goings on in this village .Whatever we slept very well in this bed.
The Germans organise everything extremely well as many would know & the plan of this old city is fantasticn& easy to find your way around. We started by walking the perimeter following the walls of the town .There are 18 turrets every so often & because the walls are so wide at these junctures people now have delightful homes in them. Every so often there are sections open where you can walk across bridges over what used to be the moat. The smell of the whole town is amazing masses of flowering bushes ( lilacs ) numerous chestnut trees & of course plantings tulips ,hyacinth etc.
So we walked & walked once again although the weather was not great every now & again showers which meant we had to duck into a pub .Just to protect ourselves from the rain . Note : Bill drank beer I drank Fanta.
Finally around 6 we gave up just too tired. We had a reasonable lunch ( German version of a hamburger ) so really were not in need of big dinner. We found one of the delicious pastry shops & dinner was this fantastic pastry with almond paste ,nuts & filled with lemon .Oh washed down with a really really nice local red. Somehow I think the red would have been better with a streak . Totally knocked our socks off. We had intended to do the Night watchmans tour but that wouldn't be happening. It would have been fascinating as he re-enacts the days of yore ...shutting the city gates etc for the night. We were in bed & asleep by 7 pm ...very tired & another long day.

Posted by Billdeb 22:47 Comments (0)

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