We paid a return visit to the Brandenburg Tor, a lovely sunny evening and everyone was being very good natured, even the horses who must be very tired of giving people rides around the streets, we saw one where clearly the girl had been proposed to so she was riding round with a group of friends and a sign saying “I said yes”. In the background you can see the famous Hotel Adlon where amongst others Bernie Gunter was for a time the ‘house’ gumshoe. Of course it has been mostly rebuilt now but you get the general idea.
Friday evening saw us making our way to “Honca”, a Turkish restaurant we had discovered on our previous visit. It was just as good, if not better. The food flavour combinations are simply exquisite, and all the little extras like the ‘amuse bouches ‘, the petit fours and the liqueur made it a perfect evening.
On Saturday morning we visited the very splendid natural history museum and saw the dinosaurs, but much more impressive were the huge collection of specimens, mostly fish as far as I could tell. Here is a taster…
It was starting to fill up with kids and their fathers ( were they all divorced or perhaps their mothers wanted some time to themselves?) and we had a very tricky journey to make across the city to meet up with Carl Ryan, who had worked with G.. in Taipei and was now working in Berlin. We only knew him through Facebook so it was going to be a curious meeting.it was really hot by now, so not the sort of weather you want to make transportation mistakes in. It took 3 underground trains and a tram ride but we got there with 5 minutes to spare (he was late!) On the underground I asked a guard for directions and the tramp who was speaking to him said “Brexit, it is a disaster”. Only in Europe do you get well educated “dossers”.
We met up with Carl in a Lebanese restaurant and had a wonderful lunch outside in the sun. He was very likeable and it seemed like we had known him for years. The conversation didn’t flag at all and afterwards, when we said goodbye I really felt that we had made a good friend.
By now we were fairly weary so we retraced our steps and headed back to our hotel for a lie down and some serious people watching, with a beer.
The first thing to say is that this is like no other Christmas:
1. The children aren’t here
2. We aren’t here
Matt has made the trip to Ireland with Mo…
“I must admit, I was a little worried about crossing the Irish Sea in storm force seas, luckily, the captain of the ship, while acknowledging that it would be “very bumpy” ( I knew what he really meant) signed off that it would be “nothing to worry about of course”. These are the words that all captains of all ships should sign off with.
So, we emerged from the breakwater and yes, it was instantly like being shot up 100 feet in the air and plunged down 100 feet and doubling your weight and all that. However, the boat didn’t rock from side to side, it only rocked front to back which was much better. I’ve been on boats where it does the side to side thing and it’s not nice thinking about capsizing for three hours.
Anyway, all in it was quite fun because the insanely large swell only lasted for half of the journey and after that it was just a steady rough journey with the occasional sound of screeching metal as the hull wrangled with the stormy waters below.”
This was as a result of Storm Barbara which mainly affected the north of the country just where Vee and Matt were headed.
VJ made the journey to Sheffield luckily in advance of Storm Barbara and the other two boys are in Taipei where they live with wife and girlfriend where the weather was bright and sunny. We travelled to Bexhill to visit my mum in her new apartment and Flora the cat came with us as I could not bear to think of her locked up in the cattery.
It was the first time that I haven’t cooked Christmas dinner and prepared like mad for 30 odd years so quite a big change but very relaxing, I recommend everyone should try it at least once.
The folks in Taiwan celebrating Christmas!
We left Bexhill on the morning of the 27 and mum went up to London for a drinks party and to stay with my sister. Matthew had an equally hellish journey back from Ireland as their flight was diverted from London City because of the fog and they had to catch a coach from Manchester, the entire journey taking 16 hours!
Well it’s almost the end of the year, we have Donald Trump to look forward to and Brexit will supposedly be triggered. Our house goes on the market and we will hopefully be in Scotland! A happy new year, it can’t be any worse than the last one.
October 3-7. 2016.
We booked a number of city breaks earlier in the year and the only thing we checked was that the dates didn’t clash, however, as it turned out, we were only back a couple of weeks from France and we were packing our bags again. A quick trip to Bristol airport on Monday and the next thing we knew we were in Venice. A lovely city, not like a city at all and much cleaned up since I was last there. Our travel arrangements worked like a dream and we were soon out and about seeing the sights and soaking up the sun. I don’t think I’ve ever taken so many shots in such a short space of time.
It wasn’t at all crowded off the beaten track, but you could mingle with the tourists when you so wished. We didn’t queue up to go in any buildings, rather we admired them from the outside and watched ordinary people going about their business. We took a train ride to Trieste on Wednesday, it was as the websights all suggested, past its sell by date, but the weather was a bit overcaste in Venice and Hyw wanted to go, at least the sun was out when we got there! I had some black sandwiches for my lunch!
We had some good meals out and we tended to go to our local cafe, near the hotel at the end of the day. We became quite expert with the vaporetto and really felt at home in the city. On the Thursday we did make an exception to not seeing any art by going to the Accademia to see the Boche paintings which were advertised outside. We hadn’t made it to the museum outside Amsterdam so now was a chance to make up for it. The paintings didn’t disappoint although the Accademia itself could have done with an imaginative curator.
I went up to Bath on Thursday to lend VJ my expertise, muscle and car! I didn’t arrive until 12 but the weather was good so we got straight to work lopping trees, cutting the lawn and removing a wire trellis. We had a break for lunch in a cafe in Larkhall which was very pleasant but the near vertical walk back home wasn’t so good! Rich and his father came round in the afternoon to deliver an over locker for Vee to have on permanent loan, it looks horrendously complicated but there is a video if you get stuck!
We had a Chinese for supper as we were too exhausted to cook, at least, that was our excuse. The next morning we went to Lacock for the garden centre and whilst it was dry to start with, it came on to rain very heavily. We did not let that deter us and bought plants, pots and sacks of compost. By the time we had driven home the weather was starting to brighten up so we quickly unpacked the car, had a bite to eat, then went into town to admire Vee’s window displays and spend her credit note at Gap.
We took a taxi back as by this time we were feeling pretty tired out. Saturday morning was spent planting out, generally tidying up (including the bench we had demolished) and then we set about reseating all of the paving stones in the garden steps. I was more than ready to go home by the time we had done all that!
We arrived yesterday, having got a lunchtime flight from Bristol. We had set off in good time as there was no way we were going to have a repeat of our abortive trip to Berlin!
The transfer from the airport to the central station was very smooth but we couldn’t find the metro anywhere so we took a cab to our hotel. I must say it was worth it as there is nothing worse than arriving worn out.
We went out once we had freshened up, as the sun was shining, and it was a nice evening. We went to an area on the canal, not all that far away, that had
many bars and eateries. Everyone was out enjoying the weather, we stopped about half way along and had the most delicious beer. We walked on a bit and found a restaurant, off the main drag but still very popular as it turned out. We were treated to a free glass of champagne, had champagne in our soup starter and a bottle of red wine so by the end of the evening we fairly rolled home.
I had a pea and fromage frais cold soup, with champagne, with scallops and prawns for my starter, duck, which was a bit disappointing, for my main and a carrot cake for dessert, delicious.
Today the weather stayed fine so we were off out fairly promptly. After some faffing around with the transport system we took a train over the Bridge to Malmo in Sweden. Fans of Nordic Noir will be sad to learn that we didn’t see any well known film stars although I did see a fellow who looked a bit like Torben from Borgen! Malmo was surprisingly nice, we walked around a bit, then had lunch out of doors, they eat very early here and all arrived at the restaurants in a space of a few minutes ! Lunch was very good and tasty, we then took the train back to Copenhagen and visited the Grand Magasin du Nord. After some retail therapy we went back to the hotel to rest our weary bones.