Sunday, 30 April 2006

#1 Angel- Kindness. 11 to go!

Here is the 1st angel completed, (designs by Joan Elliot, from the World of Cross Stitching magazine). Now moving onto the second one called "Friendship".
We have finished watching all the 1st series of LOST. Now we are moving along to the 3 series of Kath and Kim..."Look at Moi" :)
I hope to get this next angel finished this week!

Tomorrow (May 1st) is a public holiday in Germany...perhaps we can go to the other Berlin zoo that we have not been to yet...depending on the weather!
I am keen to get hubby back to work and boys to school on Tuesday, so I can get the quilting started again!

All is right in the world...

After 15 months, we finally have the BBQ working again! After getting a German gas bottle, I realised that the connections were all wrong. I then had to find a hardware shop (like a Bunnings) where they had BBQ stuff - but no adaptor existed to fit the German bottle with either the Australian hose, or a German hose to an Aussie BBQ!

A friend offered to fix it for me - so I gave him my Aussie hose, a new German hose, and a description of how they should be connected. He had a mate who worked in the industry who could get it done. So at 'mate of a mate' pace, it was converted to fit - but being Germany, there was all sorts of concern about its use, and I nearly had to swear on a stack of bibles that it was for outdoor use only (Question - who BBQs inside?).

So, after 15 months, I got to fire up the BBQ. Beer in hand, warm spring sunshine, BBQ up and running... All seems somehow right in the world.

This weekend we had Lieven and Tina and Alan and Sonia over to give the BBQ a proper test run. Problem was the weather turned nasty and my breath was steaming as I was trying to cook lunch (about 5 degrees)! It all went well, and we had a super afternoon.

Saturday, 29 April 2006

4 airports, 4 countries, 3 different airlines and a full days work

For a work project, I had to visit Sofia in Bulgaria and Bucharest in Romania. My first day consisted of 4 Airports, 4 countries and 3 airlines (Tegel, Germany to Sofia, Bulgaria with Bulgarian Air; Sofia to Vienna with Austrian and Vienna to Bucharest with Tarom), as well as a full day's work in Sofia. It was incredibly hectic, especially when we had to pass through security twice in Vienna!.

This was my third trip to Sofia, but my first trip to Bucharest. Although I had no time to look around (except out of car windows on the way to and from the office), Bucharest looks like an interesting and fast growing city. The roads are awful, though!

Whilst I was in Sofia/Bucharest, there was a great deal of spring flooding of the Danube, with vast amounts of farmland and countryside affected. The Danube runs between Bulgaria and Romania, and I didn't see any direct impact of the flooding in either of the capitals.

I stayed overnight in Bucharest and in the evening went out to dinner and to watch the UEFA cup (soccer) semi-final between Bucharesti Steiua and Middlesborough on a big screen. It was a massive event in Bucharest to have a local team get so far in this comp, and there was great excitement (they won 1:0). It goes to show that no matter what the code, there is a passion for football all over the planet.

One of the things that is really different to Australia in Central Europe is the smoking policy. At our table, we had at least 60% smokers (and this is Pharmaceutical industry, with lots of qualified doctors on the staff!). Smoking is allowed everywhere, and there little chance for a non-smoker to avoid it. The thing is the volume of smoking - it is not just one or two cigarettes per person, but I think most on the table had between 5 and 10 cigarettes whilst we were in the restaurant. Left me smelling like an ash-tray.

Friday, 28 April 2006

Finally wadding has arrived

I ordered this wadding in November from a quilt shop in Berlin. It is a 30 metre roll, so it should keep me going for awhile! :)
They don't carry this brand in Germany. So the quilt shop here in Berlin ordered it from America for me. I have no idea why it took so long to get here.
It has been really frustrating, as I have really wanted to get into my quilting again, but have been reluctant to start new things, as I don't want to end up with heaps of UFO's (unfinished projects).
So I have a few things I must get done......mainly Dylan's 10th b'day quilt....sorry Dylan it is so late....but it will be finished now!

Tuesday, 25 April 2006

Anzac Day Memorial Service

My friend, Jocelyn, (NZ), rang me yesterday to ask if I was going to the service...I didn't even know that it was on!
So, this morning we went to the Berlin War Cemetery, not far from the school.
Beautifully kept gardens and lawns, with rows and rows of graves, a very moving place. Co-incidently, Jocelyn's husband's great grandfather is buried here, and she showed me his headstone. He was a pilot and was gunned down, age 35. (which is quite old compared to the ages of some of the other men in this cemetery, the 2 men either side of him were only 20!)
The Australian and NZ Ammbassadors both addressed the crowd, as well as a representative from the Turkish Embassy. The service was completed with hymns and the last post, and 1 minute silence.
Many wreaths of flowers were placed in front of the Stone of Rememberance. The flowers in some of these wreaths were spectacular....I would have taken a photo, but I didn't think it was quite the right place to do so!
Afterwards we went to the ANZAC function at the New Zealand residence, which was really nice.
sunday I made Anzac cookies, so will have some of these for afternoon tea!

Current cross stitch project

Here is the project I am currently working on. These angels (12 in all)are being published in the World of Cross Stitch magazine throughout this year. They are designed by Joan Elliot, the designer who did the Angel of Cross Stitch many years ago. Cross stitch friends may remember that was the design that used all the DMC range to celebrate the 100 year anniverasy of DMC threads...of course I had to do that pattern, just for the challenge of using every single colour! ;)

The design was to be stitched on an afgan blanket, but I am working them on a piece of evenweave that was in the far stitching up quite quickly!
We have borrowed the 1st series of LOST DVD's from a this gives me lots of stitching time each evening!

This is where I am up to at the moment

Sunday, 23 April 2006

Scissor Keeper

Here is the finished scissor keeper that I began on the train down to Munich last week. This design is a freebie from the Drawn Thread company. My friend Sonia, has got the itch to do some cross stitching, and bought a frame from England. She has a couple of kits and is going to begin soon. So I thought I would make her this to put on her scissors. She loves snowmen, so I think she will like this one. She comes back from a holiday in Egypt on Wednesday, so I will give it to her then!

Finished cross stitch for March (a bit late)

Well, if I put a positive spin on it, I am 11 months ahead for next year! Here is the March series of cross stitch that I am doing. The first 3 are from Lizzie Kate, the next 2 are from Rainbow Gallery and the last one is Bent Creek designs. These one took a bit longer to do that I thought (with Munich and Legoland in between). Still I am happy with how they turned out!

Friday, 21 April 2006

Britzer Garten

We took the kids to this park... a really lovely area with a great amount of play equipment and lovely gardens.

We found a hill....of course you have to roll down it! Even 2 of the mums thought they would relive their childhood and give it a go.

Remember how much fun it was a child??? Well, both mums said they felt sizk and dizzy afterwards...definitely a childhood activity only!
Me? No way, I just took the photos! ;)

Saturday, 15 April 2006

and last but not least....

Lots of other characters in Legoland....can you tell we had a great time????

The kids had such a great time in Legoland.....We think they may be ready for Disneyland Paris????

Animals in Legoland

Of course there were lots of animals in Legoland too.

A life size elephant! Wow, now that is a lot of grey Lego!

Cameron was eaten by a lion

Alexander was eaten by a shark

There were quite a few giraffes for Cameron (also a few zebras in the safari ride, but not accessible for a photo with Alexander standing beside them!)

More Mini Legoland

Here are some of the other buildings and things in Mini Legoland

The Neuschwanstein Castle which we visited 2 days before...see previous posting for Thursday.
They had a set up of Munich airport. For Alexander, the most exciting part was seeing this model of the new Airbus A380, and a cut through model on the inside....he cannot wait to take the photos to school to show his teacher!

Here is the Brandenburg Gate

Mini Berlin

In the middle of Legoland were heaps of replicas of cities. The one that the boys were able to identify quickly was Berlin. They were able to pick out all the main tourist buildings of Berlin...and they didn't do too bad at some of the other cities that were on display

The Reichstag

The Fernsehnturm (TV tower)

The Gedaechtnis-Kirche. (The old one was left as a reminder from the war,in the walls of the actual church, you can still see bullet holes) the Lego replica, there are bullet holes in it as well! The grey building beside it, is the church that is used now.

and even more rides

Well, we did spend 2 days there! :)

Cameron on the horse ride

Alexander and Phil on another ride...don't you love all the lego circles on every ride;)

Alexander flying an aeroplane

Alexander and Phil in the front of the "Mad Mouse" type ride

Friday, 14 April 2006

Legoland rides

Here are some of the rides we went on....

On the boat rides...Cameron is getting better at steering, we only got stuck twice!

We saw 2 4D movies....the 3D glasses, and the 4th dimension was snow falling from the ceiling, streamers, blowing wind etc...the kids were amazed. They kept reaching out to touch the things that were popping out at them

This one, we all went on, and got soaked through (about 6 degrees that day), they had a big hay bale dryer nearby that you could get into and get dry in 3 minutes!

Welcome to Legoland

From Munich, Legoland, Germany is 1 1/2 hours on the train. We had a sensible time to be at the station, and we were at Guenzburg by 11.30am. Enough time to check into the hotel, get ready for Legoland, and be at the gates by noon.

The boys were overwhelmed as we approached the site, and saw large Lego blocks on a roundabout as we turned off the main road. The gates to Legoland and the music that was being played was pretty impressive...they couldn't wait to get inside.

The first thing that was recommended to us was to book the kids into the Lego/Audi driving school. It was only for kids between 7-13. So unfortunately Cameron missed out, but there was a junior driving school for him. Alexander had to get his photo taken, and then sit through a 15 minute video on safe driving (all in German). Then a15 minute driving practice on the mini roads. The kids were brilliant, they were all very sensible, all kept on the correct side of the road, and there were no accidents. After their test, they were given their license. Cameron had a mini track that they went around, he still got a license, but no photo...but both of them were thrilled about it!

Next were lots of rides, lego boats, lego cars, trains, horses, and so much more. There was so much to do, and the kids are just the right age for Legoland. There were a couple of roller coasters, and a mad mouse. Alexander wanted to try them, and was scared on each one, but he had a go, and after the shock of it, was happy he tried it...but once was enough. Cameron surprisingly didn't want to go on those rides...and I thought he would be the one who would want to.

More Legoland rides

Well...we did spend 2 days there! :)

Phil and Alexander in the front seat in a "Mad Mouse" type ride

The mini planes....don't you just love the lego circles on everything??

One of those spinning rides that go really fast (not Phil's favourite)

Cameron on the horse ride

Thursday, 13 April 2006

The world of Crazy King Ludwig II

Today we decided to take an organised tour and see the famous Neuschwanstein castle - the one that Disneyland castle is based upon. The tour also included a visit to the Winter palace of Ludwig II (who had Neuschwanstein built) and of course some gift shops....

The first stop was the Winter Palace, which is quite small but fantastically designed and decorated. After a short tour of the palace, it was back on the bus and off to the gift shops, in some remote village in the mountains. I always wonder what percentage the tour guide and the driver gets. Given their efforts to 'help' you in the isolated shops make expensive purchases, I think they do quite well.

Nicole was quite annoyed... As we drove out of the little township, she spied a Christmas shop that she has thought about mail-ordering from. (This large Xmas shop had a few stalls at the Xmas Markets in Berlin last year). She was spewing that she didn't spot it earlier and get the chance to visit it rather than cruising the local dust-collector shops. On the other hand, the credit card was probably quite happy...

When we arrived at the base of the castle (at a pre-determined restaurant for lunch, you know how these tours go), we had lunch, then set off up to the castle itself. It was a good 30-40 minute walk up the hill, and quite steep. It was possible to get a horse and cart ride up about 2/3 of the way, but the line was about 100 people deep (and with 8 per wagon, it was going to be a while). It was a nice walk, and we got up to the castle in plenty of time for our designated tour.

Ludwig was as mad as a hatter. He did, however, build a pretty decent castle. Heavily inspired by the operas of Wagner (by the sounds of it, his only mate), he designed and decorated Neuschwanstein based upon these themes. Although only 30% of the interior was finished, it was very impressive. The interesting thing is that the castle is so young - only 150 years old - and hardly lived in (he only lived there for 175 days) - so everything is really well preserved. It all looks like it was painted and decorated last week compared to the other palaces and castles in Europe. The government of the time realised Ludwig was spending too much money, and getting into so much debt (he had plans for another castle as well, that never got built). The only way the government could stop him building and getting into more debt, was to have him diagnosed as mad. He was declared mad by a doctor, and he was removed from the castle. The following day the doctor and Ludwig were found dead in the lake. To this day it is not known how they adds to the mystery of the castles.

The boys loved the castle - in fact, they were right up the front with the tour guide, looking around whilst Nicole and I were stuck in the middle of the 'herd'. They were off looking at everything having a great time, and although we could see them, it was good to see how well they went being independent and being able to discover and see the stuff for themselves. They were obviously listening to the tour guides as well, as they were able to rattle off facts about both castles afterwards!

After our castle tour, we headed back down to the bus and a drive back to Munich. A quick dinner and back to the hotel... getting ready for LEGOLAND!

Castle photos

mmm...must be loading too many photos for Blogger to is a separate post

The boys in front of the Winter Castle

The boys waiting to go into the Neuschanstein Castle

In the front of the castle

The castle as seen from the town.

Wednesday, 12 April 2006


Hofbrauhaus is the famous beer hall in Munich. With long trestle tables, Oom-pah music from guys in lederhosen old enough to know better and great beer. This was certainly a welcome place to visit on such a cold day.

We had a afternoon tea here - German Sausages and beer for Phil (must try the local specialities...), Apfelstruedel for Nicole and ice cream for the boys (I don't think it is ever too cold for these guys to eat ice cream!). It was nice and warm, and a lovely atmosphere. A good place for a break from touring for a while.

We finished our day with some more touring, finding a nice Italian place for dinner near the hotel, then back for an early night.