A Travellerspoint blog

Day 60

Potsdam to Bremen

semi-overcast 30 °C

We woke today to a slightly overcast day. The temperature was 25 C (77 F) as we loaded our car and said "goodbye" to Stan and Ollie.

We first drove to a nearby town with an island. The island is a popular destination for its cobblestone streets and pretty houses and restaurants, which make for a day retreat.

We drove to Bremen. We encountered some sun showers and high temperature of 30 C (86 F). We heard some thunder last evening but no lightning or rain and today we have the thunder again but some showers.

We had quite a time finding our hotel today. Our hotel was not easy to see and not on a street that you could drive up. We ended up driving a block on a sidewalk and parking in front of a restaurant so Art could go and check into the hotel. We then made a three point turn on the sidewalk and drove back to a street and up a back alley to a door to a parkade. When we drove into the parkade it was into an elevator which took us up three floors and we drove out into the hotel's parking spaces. We then had to unload our luggage and take another elevator down to the alley and into the back door of the hotel. Not an easy situation to go through.

Our room in the hotel seems neat and clean so we hope it will be a comfortable night. We might have supper/dinner in the restaurant we parked in front of and have the breakfast buffet supplied by the hotel in the morning.

Not a great picture day so no illustrations.

Our internet is not the best so we hope that this post will get out to everyone.

Posted by A-RPoulton 09:20 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Day 59

Berlin Zoo

sunny 30 °C

We woke again to a bright and sunny day. We decided to visit the zoo we had heard so much about on our Love Nature Channel on TV.

This time we told the GPS to try a different route into Berlin and so we drove through many quiet Sunday communities on our way to Berlin. It was really quite restful.

We found our favourite parking garage right next to the zoo and entered about 10 AM. The temperature at that point was 20 C or 68 F which is very comfortable

We started our tour at the elephant gate.

Zoo entrance

Zoo entrance

Another picture of the zoo from the street.

Another Berlin Zoo Building

Another Berlin Zoo Building

After just a few exhibits Reta found some squirrels that we had never seen before and went to take a picture only to discover that her memory card for her camera was in the computer back at our lodging in Potsdam and too far to go back and get it. We went to a zoo shop and found that they do not carry camera supplies, so this is the picture of the zoo animals you get if you forget your memory card.

Tickets to zoo

Tickets to zoo

We had bought tickets to not only the zoo but the aquarium. We ate our picnic lunch in the zoo at a bench watching the people wandering by. We spent about five hours walking around the zoo and the aquarium. We then had an ice cream break and drove back to our lodging.

We had a traffic jam to be patient through and got home about 4 PM. Our car told us that the temperature was 30 C or 86 F. It was very warm compared to what we are used to. We tried to include a PDF of the zoo map so you can see all that we enjoyed but had to settle for a picture of our computer screen .

Zoo Map

Zoo Map

Posted by A-RPoulton 09:49 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

Day 58

Berlin

sunny 25 °C

"Blue skies, smiling at me, nothing but blue skies, do I see" Ella Fitzgerald

We woke this morning to blue skies. What a treat!

We got ourselves into Berlin by 10 AM to catch the western Berlin bus tour only to discover that the bus would not be available until 11 AM. We took the time to purchase some postcards and get them addressed and stamped.

The tours started near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. "This church was originally built in the 1890's and badly damaged in a bombing raid in 1943. The present building which consists of a church with an attached foyer and a separate belfry with an attached chapel, was built between 1959 and 1963. The damaged spire of the original church has been retained and its ground floor has been made into a memorial hall." Wikipedia. Our tour guide told us the original spire was 113 metres tall but the spire today is only 73 metres tall.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Another view of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Another view of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

We spotted a number of Berlin's famous bears along the way although some of them were quite a distance from the camera.

Red bear and another bear

Red bear and another bear

Black Bear and White Bear

Black Bear and White Bear

White Bear

White Bear

Our tour took us past a number of Saturday markets. This is the only one we have a photo of. You can see they are very popular.

Saturday Market

Saturday Market

One of our major stops was at the Olympic Park site from 1936.

Olympic Park - Olympiastadion Berlin

Olympic Park - Olympiastadion Berlin

There was a motorcycle rally going on in the parade ground.

Motorcycle rally in parade ground

Motorcycle rally in parade ground

We also drove by the "Siegessaule" which is a victory monument regarding four wars that Germany was involved in in the 1800's. This monument is beautiful and a favourite of tourists.

Siegessaule - Victory monument from 1873

Siegessaule - Victory monument from 1873

Our tour ended and neither Art nor Reta could remember seeing the Brandenburg Gate so we drove over there on our own.

Brandenburg Gate with TV tower in background

Brandenburg Gate with TV tower in background

Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate

You can see the "TV Tower" in the background of both photos. This tower has a revolving restaurant in the top part of it. This tower was built between 1965 and 1969 by the GDR folks. It is 368 metres tall and is the tallest structure in Germany and second tallest in the European Union.

We then drove back to Potsdam to see the Sans Souci Palace (no worries or carefree) built by King Frederick The Great, King of Prussia. This palace was built between 1745 and 1747 as a retreat, a place to get away from the Berlin court responsibilities. We did get a glance at it but as usual, no parking, so we took a couple of pictures and moved on. The grounds are very extensive and house a park and many smaller palaces.

Sans Souci Palace - Potsdam

Sans Souci Palace - Potsdam

This horse and wagon was providing rides at the palace.

Horses and windmill

Horses and windmill

The high temperature today was 25 C or 77 F. It felt great.

Posted by A-RPoulton 08:44 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Day 57

Berlin Tour

semi-overcast 22 °C

This morning we woke to a very foggy day. By the time we had eaten breakfast and gotten ready to explore Berlin the fog had lifted and the sky was semi-overcast.

We set off and found a parkade right by the Berlin Zoo which was very close to the Hop On/Hop Off stop that we wanted to use.

Zoo entrance

Zoo entrance

We may go back again to visit that zoo as we have seen so many stories about it on the Love Nature Channel at home.

We found our sightseeing bus stop and started our tour of the city. One of the first things that caught Reta's attention was a man selling balloons. There were so many balloons that if this were a Winnie The Pooh story he would have floated away.

Balloons for sale

Balloons for sale

We soon came to the Berlin Wall constructed in 1961 and decommissioned and torn down in 1989. This first picture is of the wall basically as it was but it has suffered some over time from weather and vandals.

Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall

The next scene was of a museum of Check Point Charlie which was used by non-Berliners such as diplomats and military or employees at various embassies to cross from East Berlin to West Berlin or vice versa. The guide talked about the exact location of this sight but we could not figure out exactly where he was talking about. We did see the "Check Point Charlie Museum" and a spot on the sidewalk where there was a shed with two American flags and two men dressed up as American soldiers and tourists were having their pictures taken there. It could have been the real Check Point Charlie but who knows?

Check Point Charlie Museum

Check Point Charlie Museum

Near Check Point Charlie - what is this?

Near Check Point Charlie - what is this?

We saw more of the Berlin Wall later in the tour. This part of the wall has been used as an art gallery and is referred to as the "East Side Gallery".

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery wall painting

East Side Gallery wall painting

The painting we took a picture of shows a man escaping over the wall.

Ours was not the only way to tour Berlin. There was a beer tour. All of the people on the tour are sitting at a bar drinking beer and pedaling the vehicle. There is a person guiding the vehicle that you can not see. We saw many of these and the folks on the tour were having a pretty good time.

The beer tour

The beer tour

We also saw a group of people touring Berlin on Segways. They also seemed to be enjoying the ride.

Segway tour

Segway tour

Another thing we thought you would enjoy was to see the "walk" and "don't walk" symbols at the traffic lights. There is a store called "Ampelmann" where you can buy all sorts of souvenirs with these symbols on them.

Walk and Don't walk

Walk and Don't walk

We saw so many beautiful buildings, most of which have been rebuilt since WW II. Most of them we can not remember the names of. This was the last major building we saw and we did remember the name. It is the Bundestag or Reichstag building which is Germany's version of a Parliament Building.

Bundestag Reichstag building

Bundestag Reichstag building

We saw a lot today and learned a lot today but we did not get all of the tours done. We had good weather. We think the high temperature for the day was 22 C or 72 F. We will go back to see more tomorrow.

Posted by A-RPoulton 13:16 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Day 56

Dresden to Potsdam

semi-overcast 22 °C

Reta had always heard about Dresden China - well, it should have been Dresden porcelain. We looked up information about this porcelain and found that there was a museum located in the Zwinger Palace in Dresden.

We drove over to the palace and were immediately impressed with the beauty of this building or we should say, collection of buildings. We were unaware of their existence.

Dresden had been part of Poland at one time and the Polish kings built beautiful buildings in Dresden. These same kings were interested in Japanese and Chinese porcelain and in the 1700's imported many stunning examples of this art. Over the years Polish/German tradesmen created equally stunning porcelain pieces.

These pictures show the best of the palace exterior.

Clock and glockenspiel at Zwinger Palace

Clock and glockenspiel at Zwinger Palace

Gargoyle Fountain

Gargoyle Fountain

Zwinger Palace

Zwinger Palace

These pictures show just a minute sample of the beautiful Dresden porcelain.

Centre Piece for royal table

Centre Piece for royal table


Kakadu or cockatoo

Kakadu or cockatoo

Of course, here comes Reta's potty humour, across the hall from the Men's and Women's WC (washrooms) was a display of porcelain chamber pots or as Reta calls them, "thunder mugs". She could not resist.

Thunder Mugs across from the WC

Thunder Mugs across from the WC

WC

WC

Out on the street in front of the palace, we found a new method of sightseeing. This is a bicycle with room for two guests. This is sort of a new version of a rickshaw.

New tour vehicle

New tour vehicle

We spent about two hours touring the porcelain museum and looking at the exterior of the palace. Dresden was a hidden surprise for us and, had we been aware, we would have planned more time to explore their buildings, museums and parks.

We then drove to a nature park on the border with Poland called Muskauer Park at Bad (bath) Muskau at Gorlize, Germany. When we got there we could not find the park although there were plenty of signs. We gave up and drove to a suburb of Potsdam where we have arranged to stay for four nights and three days so we can travel into Berlin to enjoy that city.

Our buddy, the GPS, which we really would be lost without, took us on an unusual route and we ended up taking a ferry that held about six cars over the Havel River, which was about 150 feet wide at that point. We discovered later that this is the Caputh Ferry. There are many bridges on other roads so we have no idea why we needed that treat. The price of the ride was 2.5 Euros. We thought the warning sign was worth sending along - put on your hand brake or you will roll off the ferry.

Warning on ferry

Warning on ferry

Water ferry was crossing

Water ferry was crossing

We eventually found our lodging and were charmed to find statues of Laurel and Hardy in the front yard.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in our front yard

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in our front yard

Our landlord tells us that Potsdam is a centre for the German military; he called it the Pentagon of Germany. We also learned that Potsdam was the home of the Prussian kings and the Kaiser until 1918. There are palaces and gardens to see here as well. We will have to see how much time we have. Our landlord and his wife are off tonight to see the first evening of a series of dance concerts that will go on for two weeks starring performers from various places all over the world. The concerts start at 10 PM which is a little late for old stubble jumpers like us.

We had a warmer day than usual today. The temperature reached 22 C (72 F) at one point and there were periods of sunshine. This was a welcome day.

Posted by A-RPoulton 13:52 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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