Archive for August, 2014

August 29, 2014

A Journey to 1066

Today I had a cream tea at Mrs Burton’s Restaurant and Tea Room which had all of these little square tables with blue tablecloths with lace coverings and real flowers in the centre. There were cakes in a stand too. I ate my giant scone and drank my tea from a dainty teacup and saucer whilst gazing out the window at Battle. Then I entered Battle Abbey and began my tour to the year 1066 and the Battle of Hastings with William the Conqueror of the Normans. Entry for an adult cost about £8 and came with a complimentary audio guide and map. It started with a timeline leading down through the centuries until the year 1066. Then there was an exhibition room filled with one side information, armour and weapons of the Normans, and on the other of the English. There was a film playing too showing a re-enactment of the battle. We could touch real swords, shields and armour which was fantastic. I held the handles of Norman and English swords in my hands! They were bolted to the wall though. Then I did the Battlefield Walk with my audio guide where you walk through what appears to be green, idyllic English countryside but was actually once a bloody battlefield where at least 7000 lost their lives. The walk is on a path which winds around the Battlefield perimeter with lots of information signs and posts for you to key in numbers on the audio guide to hear more information. I tried to picture the English on the hill and the Normans below on their horses fighting to the death! It felt really wild on that open field with the wind blowing fiercely across the grass and through the trees. Then after exiting the Battlefield I found what reminded me of Mary’s “Secret Garden”: a walled orchard garden! I also found hedges forming a sort of maze, an old ice dairy and a high wall to walk on back to the entrance! As I exited the abbey, musicians had begun to perform outside Mrs Burton’s Restaurant and Tea Room: magic. IMG_7851.JPGIMG_7855.JPG

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August 17, 2014

Schlossernacht in Potsdam

We went to a special event in Potsdam called Schlossernacht. This translates as something like “palace night.” It was set at Sanssouci Palace, surrounding palaces and the great gardens between them. This included a Chinese Palace adorned with gold with a friendly dragon by it. Opera and classical music filled the air, and as the sun set, the statues became silhouettes. The twinkling lights illuminated the statues and palaces and lit people’s way through the gardens. Some people wore period dress with fine suits and flowing gowns and grey and white curly-haired wigs. It really felt like we had stepped back in time. The Potsdam orchestra performed before one of the palaces. There was a giant windmill and our ticket price included entry to all palaces. Our tickets were about 50 euros but were well worth it. For close to 100 euros you could get a buffet as well. Meandering through the twinkling gardens, gazing at the palaces and listening to the tinkling music, magic was all around us.

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August 9, 2014

A Day in Berlin

We had a great day in Berlin. After looking at some markets and having a lunch of Turkish food (a kind of bread and sheep cheese for me!) we caught the underground train to a station near the Brandenburg Gate. This impressive archway adorned with statues is a sign of peace and was built beside where the Berlin Wall once stood, separating East from West and guarded by Russian soldiers. Walking through the Holocaust memorial called “The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe” was a sombre experience. You walk downhill with the ever-increasing concrete slabs soaring above your head and then walk uphill, with the ever-decreasing concrete slabs until you come out the other side. I did a sightseeing tour of Berlin and saw “Checkpoint Charlie” where the American soldier checkpoint of the Berlin Wall once was, Berlin’s famous television tower called “Fernsehturm Berlin”, the Government building called “German Bundestag” or “The Reichstag Building” with its impressive exterior and glass dome which people were walking around on various levels within and many more sights like the Berlin Zoo, town halls both old and new (when they needed a bigger building they built another, larger one,) and the famous German shopping centre called “Galeries Lafayette.” Kerstin and I went inside this shopping centre and found the Eiffel Tower and many more wonderful things! We paid particular attention to the food court which was filled with many a delicious confectionary. I bought a caramel macaroon-delicious!

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