9 Oct
03
 

As Arnie gives interviews in German, it took a New Zealand website for me to work out he is now the governor of California. That coupled with shopping with Anne and seeing some of the stiff people actually sell here, I am convinced the world is going mad. Berlin has worn me out and I am satisfying myself sending parcels and getting photos developed etc. Tomorrow I go back to England and drink more beer.


best wishes from
   Bronwyn
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  7 Oct
03
 

Two posts in two days, it's pretty impressive. Berlin is cold. I had to buy a woollen coat, and before you say how are you going to get that back to New Zealand, I decided I would rather carry a coat than lose my arm to frostbite. Today I went to the Deutches Technik museum. I once again got tricked by the German lady who said the exhibits were in English, what she meant is some of the exhibits are in English and none of our staff speak English. It was a pretty cool museum though with lots of buttons to press and noises and flashing lights. They had a huge exhibit on Hair and I really had no idea that hair was that interesting (it may have had to do with the exhibition being in English). I saw lots of trains and they had a couple of windmills on the grounds, it was fun. I also went to Potsdamer Platz and to the Sony Centre. I was gonna play with things but then I decided that it might be hard to carry something home from there and I would be tempted. So today's been so far so good, hopefully today I will be able to leave the internet cafe without being hit on by some short, black, african man who rants about Berlin. His name was Kenny and I think he meant well but I was coming out of the loo!!!


best wishes from
   Bronwyn
Wish you were here?     (1 replies so far)



It's long but really interesting

Bronwyn
Germany
October 06, 2003

I made it to Berlin which in itself a small accomplishment. Without knowing, I picked the day before a public holiday that fell on a Friday and the start of the school holidays to travel to Berlin. The Innsbruck train man advised me that it would be no problem to get a seat, but when I booked all I could get was a smoking seat and the train was full. I met the worldwide software manager for Mercedes Benz on the train. He was giving me Berlin tips and drives a BMW Z3. He travels 500km to go to work. He lives in Köln and works in Stuttgart. He works a 50 hour week in 4 days and lives in a hotel when he isn't at home. Work pays for the train each way and the hotel. Apparently a number of people so this if the job is right for them.

Anke, a friend with history with my family, met me at the train station and I am staying at her apartment. She has gone to Bavaria with Antje (same relationship to me as Anke) to meet a man they met on Ibiza who owns a restaurant there. Antje had been living with her family in their garden house (like a garden shed with bunks, a kitchen and a loo) and they fed me and I got a sunflower (my favourite flower). They also detailed what they have planned for my Dad next time he visits, I hope he survives.

Berlin has always been a mythological city. Through my life I have heard lots of stories about it. The usual ones like the Berlin Wall, but also where Anke and Antje lived, where Dad got sick and it seemed like a different world. Getting here and seeing parts of these stories i.e. Anke and Antje's homes, the Victory Tower where Dad had chest pains and Anke decided he needed a doctor, and photo's of places my parents had been 14 years before, makes the couple of days travelling with Anke and Antje a bit emotional.

Anke, Antje, Klaus (Antjes husband) and Anne (Antje's daughter) took me for a day of sightseeing before Anke and Antje went away. This helped me to find my way around and we went to Sanssouci a castle in Potsdam. We went past a whole lot of sights but the weather was pretty bad and I couldn't take photos. I bought a 3 day pass and it lets me travel all the travel networks (Sbahn, Ubahn and buses) and gives me a discount into museums. Berlin only has about 175 museums so I'm a bit spoilt. In the last three days I have been to Checkpoint Charlie, The Brandenburg gate, the chunk of the berlin wall left, the museum for world cultures, the berlin cathedral, the natural history museum (there was a giant dinosaur skeleton), Schloss Charlottenburg and the list goes on and on and on. I still have another day left of my pass.

There is a lot to see and do here and I'm glad I have a fair bit of time here. I would definately recommend Berlin to anyone althhough they do have an annoying habit of saying things are in english and then they hand you a piece of paper to read instead. The totally best site I been to so far is the Reichstag (German parliament). It pretty much got destroyed in the war but has been rebuilt with a new dome which you can climb. It's free to go in and because the Reichstag is in the middle of the old east and west you can see old and new coming together (with lots of new where the berlin wall was) from the top. There is a bulletpoint history display at the top which has photos and calls the Third Reich a sham parliament, it's really quick and easy to read and gets across the main points. The Checkpoint Charlie museum needs to take a leaf from their books. Adolf Hitler never ruled in the Reichstag, it wasburneddown before he gained power. The only downside is a really, really long queue due to a security check. All the staff that were in Bonn have apartments built for them and discounted travel each week home.



best wishes from
   Bronwyn
Wish you were here?     (1 replies so far)



  2 Sep
03
 

Today we left Munich. Craig and I called New Zealand and then I finished my sighseeing while Craig was at his second home (the internet cafe) using up the rest of my time. I went to Marienplatz and saw the Glockenspiel. It's a clock that does a ten minute play on the hour (only 11am, 12pm and 5pm) which involves a joust, dancing figures and of course a cuckoo. The cuckoo was named Hans. I went and had a look at the Viktualien market which was a huge food market and I wished I had my camera with me. I wanted to take a photo of the Wurst Shop (Sausage store). All it had was sausages, big ones, small ones, some as big as your head (you can only buy a slice of these). I then went at looked at Birkenstocks (very trendy german shoes, well mostly sandals) and as cool as it would have been to buy some, it's getting cold here and I realised I would have regretted it later. So Munich is a great town, everyone should go there because aside from the beer there is sooo much to see and do. Art museums, toy museums, BMW museums, Science museume etc etc. Now we are off to Fribourg to meet Mike and Sandra.


best wishes from
   Bronwyn
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  2 Sep
03
 

   Yesterday we went to Füssen. Füssen is a small town which is lucky enough to be the home of two castles. One by the name of Neuschwanstein and the other called Hohenschwangau. Füssen is about 2 hours by train from Munich and then you catch a bus about 15 minutes to get to the castles. For the directionally challenged the bus is even labelled 'Castles'.

   The area is sooo pretty and there are lots of mountains, waterfalls, trees and a couple of castles too. You have to walk up a big hill to get to Neuschwanstein, all the time watching





Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle

for horses and their carriages (they use the same road) but when you get there you get a great view. Neuschwanstein inspired (or is thought to) Sleeping Beauty, Disneyland's castle and Chitty Chitty bang bang was filmed there. The castle, as Craig puts it, is exactly where he would put a castle if he built one. You can even climb the hill further and cross a bridge and look down on the castle and if you are a nut like Craig you can climb even further and look down with the second castle behind.

   Hohenschwangau we didn´t go to but it is bright yellow and looks like it is made out of Lego. Craig and I walked back to the buses by the waterfall which was really pretty and the water was really cold. I managed to hold Craig back this time, not so in the middle of the night in Munich however. Today, I am going to look at shoes Birkenstocks in particular and look at the Glokenspiel before heading to Switzerland.

Bronwyn and her castle
Bronwyn and her castle

best wishes from
   Bronwyn
Wish you were here?     (3 replies so far)



  1 Sep
03
 

   What better to do in Munich than to hang out at the biggest beerhall in town (and thus pobably the world)? Yes we have been to the Hofbrauhaus and sampled the fine foam ale, more on that later.

   The Deutsches Museum is a massive building of technical and mechanical displays. All sorts of bridges, engines, physics and chemical experiments, old scientific and musical instruments and even a sundial garden on the roof. We were in there for 6 hours and still missed stuff. Right at the beginning we watched a live show on electricity, in which the two old fellas in charge shot sparks across the room and blew up bits of wood with high voltage blasts. We had no idea what was being said and had to take our queus from the audience as to when we should cover our ears.


Craig floating around the space-lab exhibit


   The Hofbrauhaus was once the producer of beer exclusively for the royal palce. Now open to the public it attracts tourists in huge numbers as was witnessed by us on Sunday night. Bronwyn and I joined a group from our dorm and soon the 1 litre jugs were coming to the table and we were singing along like locals.


Craig and new friends


Bronwyn's giant drink



Craig, Sarah, Jenny, Ashwena and half of Sally

The group we met were mostly from Newcastle, though the 4 girls had not previously known the 5 guys so we weren't the odd ones out. When I was up in the norwegian hills I had no music, so I started singing to myself. Among my small repetoir was 'Country Roads' by John Denver. For some unknown reason that has been adopted by the inhouse band at the Hofbrau and I was finally able to complete the last two verses, at top volume in a German beerhall. Not really what I expected but most welcome.

Watch the singing(4.2Mb)


   After the bouncers dealt with a streaker (by knocking him into the table with the stacked empty glass jugs) our party of 11 left, along with two jugs. Between the hostel and the beerhall is a large low fountain. One of the northerners (Mark I think his name was) suggested a fountain dash, to which most of us agreed. It was cold, it was wet and it was just what I needed. I have video to upload too :-) The walk home was a little painful, hands slowly loosing feeling, but back at the hostel in the warm it once again seemed like a good idea.

Watch the video (3.7Mb)


   I'll be going to Newcastle sometime in October/November to see a friend from my previous life in England, one Rory Padfield, so I might meet up witht he northern girls again which is cool coz they were a laugh.


best wishes from
   Craig
Wish you were here?     (1 replies so far)



Deutschland

Bronwyn
Germany
August 13, 2003

From Luxembourg we headed to Germany. In specific we went to Köln because we heard it had a pretty impressive church. We did go there and it was impressive but now we are a bit spoiled and we stood in the Dom and said 'Sagrada Familia was better'. We ended up staying the night in Köln in this weird hostel by the Rhein. The hostel was a set of apartments above a pub (reception) which were filled with beds in the lounge area. We met an odd Canadian who kept trying to fill our heads with facts about Canada. Craig wants to verify all of these because he is sure that some aren't true. Craig and I wandered around the city that night and onto a bridge which looked over the Rhein to the Dom, it was pretty amazing.






The Dom (cathedral) of Köln (Cologne)

From Köln we headed north to Kiel (the capital of Schleswig Holstein) which is a major shipping centre for Germany and where manners were a little lacking. Not much English here although they do seems to be trying to make this into some sort of tourist centre with new walkways etc. We left here pretty early keen to get on our way to Odense. We didn't really get a huge chance here to fill ourselves with German culture but we will be coming through Germany again later.



best wishes from
   Bronwyn
Wish you were here?     (1 replies so far)




Art work and site design by Craig Stanton. Entries written by Craig Stanton, Bronwyn Leak and Nina Lindsay. All rights reserved. © 2003