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9/16/12

Just one day in Berlin

I thought that allowing just one day and one night in Berlin would be a dumb idea so we almost didn't make the trip up at all, then at the last minute we decided we would. I'm so pleased we did — better to have gone for a day than not to have gone at all eh.

Train travel in Germany is easy. Travelling on the ICE train (Inter City Express) from Würzburg at speeds up to 300 kmh seemed effortless - the ride was gentle enough to sketch! We zoomed past hundreds of wind turbines and kilometre after kilometre of rail-side solar panels. Green energy is big here.





As usual train travel is great for people watching and people sketching.
This guy had a feast hidden in those bags, he ate constantly!

We made a full day itinerary which traversed the city several times - easily doable on our beaten up Electra hire bikes. The city is flat and the cycle lanes make negotiating the city really easy and safe.

Our hotel in East Berlin was very slick and comfortable but the exterior exuded eastern block brutalism. I felt like an extra in the 'The lives of others' - perfect.


Hordes of tourists around Brandenburg Gate

Löschwassereinspeisung;
basically an exotic sounding
fire hydrant.

Our impromptu tour took in Alexanderplatz, went past the Fernsehturm, Museum Island (no where near enough time to qeue for the Pergamon - that will wait next time!), Brandenburg Gate, a Currywurst stop, the Jewish Monument, Checkpoint Charley, the Reichstag, the Stasi Museum (spooky), then meandering through the Tiergarten - twice. Frederick the Great's hunting forest is huge, with lakes, monuments, formal gardens and some pretty wild forest. At times it's hard to believe you're in the middle of the city! We cycled past the brutal looking Soviet War Memorial, the beautiful Schloss Bellevue, and a bullet hole pocked yet luxuriously guilded memorial to the composers Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.  

Eventually past the Zoo, down Ku'damm street, got lost in the KaDaWe department store (a department store on steriods, I got stuck in the mind-boggling toy department). Outside KaDeWe to draw the ‘Berlin’ Sculpture on Tauentzienstraße outside. Eventually making our way to the excellent Schleusenkru biergartento meet Berlin Urban Sketcher Rolf Shroeter for Pils and flammkuchen until our day ended with us winding back through the city in the early hours to the hotel.




The 'Berlin' Sculpture on Tauentzienstraße. Those red bordered signs indicate the position of underground services.

9/10/12

Overindulgence, Bavarian style

Reception hotel in Buchenburg


My brother had his wedding in the Allgäu region of Bavaria. We had a great time experiencing a Bavarian style wedding and hospitality. 

We feasted on such delights as Leberkäse (meaning 'liver cheese' - much nicer than it sounds and actually containing no liver or cheese!), numerous bretzel, delicious flammkuchen, cakes, cakes and more cakes, and of course numerous varieties of Pils, Weisbier, Doppel Bock, Radler bier etc.

Rathausplatz Kempten


Then to Füssen to see the
famous Neuschwanstein castle
and battle with the crowds of
tourists. And battle with the
sketchbook - lots of trouble
fitting the front view of the
castle on my page!

A spectacular castle and stunning
setting though, and I did get
to try my first Currywurst while
in the queue - delicious! 
Leiberkasa, currywurst and flammkuchen
Neuschwanstein Castle