Posts Tagged Germany

Berlin

Berlin was our first weekender while in Norway, we traveled there in mid November, just in time for the tail end of autumn. Got some cheap flights with SAS to Tegel airport, which is very close to town. Kobe had organised a hotel for us in the western part of town. It was a funky place with great beds and an excellent breakfast buffet. Sara loves those!

Anyways, we had not done our fair share of planning, but Pete & Kobe had. Natasha & Mark came too, so we where all set for some touring! Our first stop on our way into town was an old church, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche. Its a church bombed during WWII, and left like that as a reminder.

Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche

Pete had his new camera, and was firing like there was no tomorrow!

Petes new enhancement

Next stop was the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. We walked around the concrete tombs for a while, a very sobering place!

Stiftung Denkmal

We also went inside the museum, and studied the exhibitions.

After that, we strolled over to the Brandenburger Tor. It was funny, because its a place I have always heard about, but never seen. Amazing though how long its been around for! Then it was on to the Reichtag building. The queue was very long, so we figured we would come back later. You only get let in in limited groups, and go through a securitycheck like you do at the airport. Takes a while!

Next up was Checkpoint Charlie. We walked there and found a nice restaurant on the way. We also stumbled over the Segway tours. I’m a bit skeptical to those, haven’t tried one, but it seems like the tour is more for the sake of the Segway, rather than the tour. We also stumbled upon the Ampelmannshop, much to Natashas delight. The Ampelmann is some kind of cult symbol, and apparently visible all around the old East Germany on the pedestrian crossings.

Anyways, there is a replica Checkpoint Charlie there now, Its actually Checkpoint C, with the Charlie coming from the phonetic Charlie for C. They also got some portraits of a Russian and American soldier, didn’t quite get the significance of them, but they where seemingly serving border guards. Next up was the Mauer Museum. It is a kind museum of creative citizens, and what they did to cross the Berlin wall. Most made it, but some didn’t. In any case they had some pretty wacky ideas some of them. From there, we headed to the Topography of terror. Its a open air exhibition of what the SS did during the WWII, with some pretty harrowing stories too

This first day was really all about the WWII and the Cold War. I think its pretty incomprehensible the atrocities performed of the governments at the time, and the scale of it. I think its easy to reflect on it now though, and condemn it since we have dealt with it through history. It was something that had a direct impact on all my grandparents, so I have always heard about it, and seen the pictures. Currently there are still conflicts going on in the world, but now the scale is smaller, and they are internal conflicts, so its easier to ignore it. We shouldn’t.

Ok, Ill get back onto the trip. Then, at the end of the day, it was back to the Reichtag for the nightscape view before dinner and beer.

Sunday Kobe had organized a Fat Bike Tour. The tour took us around to different sights, some we had seen the day before. Some were new.

Guardtower
2-man east German guard towers. 2 in case 1 decided they bolt.

Phat chicks on Fat bikes

Phat chicks on Fat bikes 2
Phat chicks on Fat bikes

Halfway stop on the tour was a forest cafe in one of the parks, where we had lots of nice beer. On the way back, Petes bladder was starting to feel the pressure. Every stop along the way just became more and more agonizing for him after we left the forest.

Museum Island
Museum Island, the second last agonizing stop for Pete

He made it back though, but only just….

East germany TV tower
East Germany TV tower

We had intended to go up in the tower, but it was expensive, and the queue was long.

At the very end here, I want to include some links regarding the fall of the Berlin wall. First, read this article about Günter Schabowski, then watch this video where he stuffs up, and this one with all the happy people!

Ok, I think that’s it! Berlin was great, very interesting place! I think the history overshadows the city a bit when you come there as a tourist. I wouldn’t mind going back, and seeing the more contemporary side of it one day.

Apologies for the somewhat distracted storytelling, but since its been a while now since we where there, some of the thoughts have matured a bit, and some are a bit vaguer, hence why I’m trying to get up to speed with all these stories now before its too late.

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Kiel

Farfar was turning 85, and had invited the family out for a Colorline cruise to Kiel! According to the Schleswig-Holsteiners, its Germany’s no 1 holiday destination!

This is a bit of a concept, and it goes both ways. Germans and Norwegians, both take advantage of this ferry to go for daytrips to either Oslo or Kiel. The idea is that the boat is kind of a floating partyship, you can dine, drink and party. And shop taxfree…. It tends to get a bit boganish, but I have to say, its more upmarket now than what it used to be.

We had only just taken over our new flat, and we weren’t completely organised, but managed to get down to the dock, with some clothes, were we all hooked up and took off!

We went down on the Friday, had an easy afternoon with all the cousins playing in the pool. Total we where 28 people. I think we where the whole family less about 6 people who couldn’t make it. Anyways, most of the family was there, and we got to have a great time together!

Kiel itself was nice, it had a conveniently located shopping mall within walking distance from the ferry, and suitable trolley ramps. It had kind of an older part of the city, and the modern city center. We went and got ourselves Bratwurst and Pretzels, and were pretty happy with that!

We got to celebrate Farfar proper on Saturday night, with an excellent dinner! The crew where compensating bit since they stuffed up the booking the night before though, but so they should. Later, we all went up into the loungebar after the dinner and the show. It was fun to watch the youngest cousins, 2 and 4 I think, where the 4 year old was trying to look after the 2 year old. It was not a love-love relationship!

Kristoffer had brought his DSLR, with empty memory cards. Some of our younger cousins loved it, and where very happy when they got to borrow it, albeit a bit haphazardly. I think they managed to shoot some 300 shots in less than a few minutes.

Another young cousin was so impressed with the pianoplayer, that he went and donated all the money his dad just gave him to by drinks with. Biggest tip of the night! We ended the night in the arcade, taking turns to trash the uncles in racing. They just cant drive… I think the best driver of the night was another young cousin, only about halfway to being old enough to get his license.

Good thing then, was that the beds weren’t too far away!

I forgot to pay attention to it going down, but coming up we sailed past Drøbak and Oscarsborg.

Rearend

Oscarsborg

All in all, an excellent trip! And very relaxing weekender. Sort of feels you never leave Oslo, but then at some stage wake up, step off into Germany, before suddenly being back in Oslo again.

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