Posts tagged ‘Germany’

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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July 29, 2014

Exploring Potsdam

I had a fun time exploring Potsdam today. I wandered along the cobblestone path, through the castle-like city gate and was on the Main Street dotted with shops. Buskers’ music sounded here and there and all around me people were looking inside the quaint shop windows or sitting at cafe’s people-watching. The sun beat down so I ordered a mango ice cream in 100% German which I was very proud of. I also bought a pretzel, a Potsdam fridge magnet, pink European sandals and a blue handbag. I rested a while, sitting on the rim of a water fountain surrounded by a pool with other people. We dipped our feet in the water and gazed at our surroundings. I looked up to the top of the water fountain which was cascading down with some speed, towards the Brandenburg arch, to shady trees with benches underneath and back towards the shops. I made my way back through the shops and bought some traditional German Black Forest Cake/Torte’ and some red Johannesburg berries: delicious- the sweetness of the cake was complemented by the sourness of the berries 🙂 Lovely day in Potsdam.

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July 28, 2014

A Visit to a Park

Today we visited a park in Potsdam. We walked past silver birch trees and past an old red-brick wall: we were inside the park! Great fir trees stood together overlooking us as blackbirds hopped here and there on the grass and then flitted between the trees. A majestic Marble Palace (not all 100% real marble apparently) stood at one end, flanked by gardens and water fountains. A Great Lake was before us dotted with swimmers, waterbirds and a little boat. Sunbathers and bookworms flanked the shoreline, basking in the summer sun. Apparently a couple of weeks ago the grass of the park was filled with white flowers. We found an Egyptian-looking cafe’. Beside this was a garden with big black and yellow bumblebees busy collecting pollen from the kaleidoscope of flowers. We wandered along the path by the lakeside and I gazed up to the tops of the poplar trees and across the lake to the willows. I remembered such trees from living in Canberra, Australia as a child from exploring the surrounding banks of Lake Burley-Griffin. We wandered along the path further and went home.

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July 27, 2014

Sightseeing Tour of Potsdam

We had a great day doing a sightseeing tour of Potsdam. From the line of the Berlin Wall on the road which had separated East from West, what used to be Russian soldier barracks, a red-brick Dutch Quarter which is now shops and accommodation for all nationalities, gardens, parks, lakes and palaces-Potsdam has a bit of everything! The tour bus had headphones and all I had to do was plug mine into the side of the bus and select “English” as my language. We had approximately three stops on our hop-on, hop-off tour of this historic city. We wandered amongst majestic palaces, sprawling vineyards and colourful gardens. Water fountains soared above us and trees formed a leafy canopy above our heads as we walked over the cobblestones on our adventure. We took the sightseeing bus back to the city centre and had chocolate and marzipan torte’s with apple mineral water (apple juice mixed with mineral water) and a Fanta. We huddled on our bright orange cushions under the great umbrella as rain drops fell and thunder clashed above our heads. An adventurous and thrilling day in Potsdam!

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July 26, 2014

Potsdamer Erlebnisnacht

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We wandered over to Potsdamer Erlebnisnacht which was a selection of markets, street performers, buskers and activities for children. My godmother Kerstin’s daughter Norah and her friend had fun on the jumping castle, making bubbles and walking
on tight ropes. Kerstin even gave them a precious porcelain doll each to look after. The Potsdamer Erlebnisnacht was along the main cobblestoned street which is lined with quaint stores. The architecture is magnificent and the buildings are varying shades of peach and cream. They weren’t too brightly-coloured or neutral but just right. Tall, leafy green trees lined the pathway and we found a musical metal object that made a different sound when you stood on a different square of it. This was a lot of fun. I bought a wrotbrackwurst traditional German hotdog which was delicious. I then had a lime cocktail with ice which was refreshing in the summer sun. The heat shone down but we armed ourselves with sunglasses and hats and snacked on ice creams. I had a mango one with smarties. They mix fresh mango and smarties in front of you. Licking my ice cream contentedly, I made my way towards the church at the end of the Main Street. We found some people salsa dancing and Norah and her friend danced too. A lovely day in Potsdam.

 

 

 

July 26, 2014

In Germany!

I flew into Berlin, Germany a couple of days ago and it was brilliant! We came in over giant, IMG_5894 IMG_5893 IMG_5892 IMG_5891 IMG_5890 IMG_5889 IMG_5888 IMG_5887 IMG_5886 IMG_5885 IMG_5884green pine forests and over green landscapes. It was raining a bit but it was a nice change from the heat of England during the summer. England is currently experiencing somewhat of a heatwave. After landing in Berlin, I found my godmother Kerstin, my mum‘s dearest childhood friend, and together we caught a bus, train and taxi to Potsdam. I could not see much as it was nighttime but what I could see on my journey was exciting. Peering out of the taxi window, I spied old buildings, green, leafy trees and cobblestoned streets. I felt the cobblestones as we drove over them.

Yesterday we went to a giant shopping centre which is connected to the main Potsdam HBF train station. Again, it was rainy and fresh so it was nice to be inside and looking at interesting things along with all of the other people. There were lots of colourful European clothes and I bought some myself. I got some black shorts, a white strapless dress with a floral print near the hemline, a green, tropical top and some blue three-quarter trousers (or “pants” as we Aussies like to call them) with a nice brown leather belt. I passed black forest cake looking tempting through a glass baker window and the scent of big, square pizza slices drizzled with cheese wafted through the air in my direction. We did some grocery shopping, then caught public transport back starting with a tram. You buy your ticket from a machine once you are on board and there are German and English languages displayed on the screen. I could see Potsdams‘s castle-like towering city gates in the distance…And we were gone…

July 23, 2012

The Chocolate Museum

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July 23, 2012

The Boat Ride on the River Rhine

July 22, 2012

A Boat Ride and the Chocolate Museum

Today we began a sunny day with a walk to the River Rhine, past the large gothic Cologne Cathedral towering above everything. We decided to first have lunch (it was lunch time) and then catch the next boat ride on the River Rhine. We went upstairs to a German Brewery/restaurant and had lunch. I had spaghetti and sauce with a Sprite 🙂 Then we got seats at the top deck of the boat we had purchased tickets to earlier for our tourist boat ride. The ride was great with first a German and then an English explanation of the buildings and other things we were seeing go by. Kerstin and I ate hot pretzels, yummy! We passed the Chocolate Museum which we would visit later.
We walked off the boat and to the Chocolate Museum which is a kind of giant boat on the River Rhine with great glass windows looking out over the river. We also passed Noah‘s Ark exhibition in the form of a giant ark on our way there to our right and a castle like tower on our left. Once inside the museum we bought our tickets. I was reminded of Roald Dahl‘s famous children‘s book I had read to me in class in year three and later on read to myself “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. I felt like I was walking into Willy Wonka‘s chocolate factory just like Charlie did along with the other children in Dahl‘s book. The Chocolate Museum gave much information of how chocolate is made, who makes it, their working conditions, how their working conditions are improving with companies like Lindt helping to improve them. I read that most people who make the chocolate never get to actually eat the final product which I think is sad. The museum showed how chocolate is made from the cocoa beans mixed with sweet white pulp to give it the chocolate flavour, after which much is done to it to achieve the chocolate we know so well. My favourite chocolate is milk chocolate, followed by white chocolate and lastly bitter dark chocolate which I believe is most of the time used in cooking. We saw machines making chocolate. We saw Lindt chefs taking the chocolates from machines and preparing them for people to buy. There was a giant golden chocolate fountain out of which a chef was handing bisuits dipped in chocolate to us hungry chocolate lovers. There was also a part of the museum which was set to hot and humid conditions and showcased Cocoa trees and other trees including Starfruit and the flower Orchid which I thought was wonderful. The hot humid climate reminded me of the temperature in Darwin, Australia which I went to for a holiday a couple of times before.
The museum also showed how chocolate was considered a luxury product and was labelled as to where it was intended to be eaten like a train station. There were fancy boxes on display in which chocolate would have been sold in the past.
After the wonders of the Chocolate Museum I, like so many others bought chocolate from the conveniently placed chocolate shop just outside the exit of the museum but still within the building. They even had baskets, but I didn‘t take one. I bought a mixture of different Lindt small chocolates and a bar of strawberry yoghurt chocolate too. Kerstin bought her daughter Norah pink wrapped princess chocolates which was sweet 🙂 Then we walked to a bridge where lovers left locks engraved or written on with both lovers‘ names and a year. There were so many locks spanning probably the whole fence of the side of the bridge we were on all in different colours. Little children felt the locks and read the names and years on them. Seeing all the locks there was so romantic and made me feel there is so much love in the world.