Sunday, 30 November 2008

Berlin Wall Walk Part 2.

From Warschauer Strasse to Köllnische Heide S Bahn.
Here are our eager walkers for the day!
The Oberbaumbrücke was built 1994-96 and included a viaduct for the subway line that was being planned. The first subway line was opened February 1905. This bridge was heavily damaged during the war. When Soviet forces advanced on Berlin ,Hitler ordered the bridge to be destroyed. The bridge was restored in 1995.
On one tower of the bridge is a statue of a Berlin Bear, the other tower has an eagle. Inside the globe which the bear stands on is a message that reads
"Today we hope the bear's strength and the eagle's vision will protect the Oberbaumbrücke from senseless and arbitary destruction by human hand so that ths bridge may long stand as a link between people"
There is always interesting graffiti to look at. These Brazilian Football players have been here since the World Cup in 2006.

Along the Lohmühlenplatz, where the wall once stood, is now a nice wide walkway and a park...This slide was lots of fun (and some of the adults even had a turn too)

Treptow Park is the Soviet Memorial.

It was built in 1949, in honor of 5,000 Soviet soldiers who died in the battle for Berlin. It is Berlin's largest war memorial.
This statue of Nikolai Ivanovitch Masalow is 12 metres tall. He was a Red Army sergeant who saved a 3 year old girl at the Potsdamer Bridge in Tiergarten, in 1945. The statue show him holding the child in his left arm, and detroying the Nazi swastika with his sword with his right hand.
Our weary travellers at the end of our 7km walk!
Our walk next month will start from here, and we will walk to Schöneweide, about 10kms

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Charlottenburg Schloss Christmas Market

The 1st weekend of Advent, and the markets are in full swing. The Charlottenburg Schloss Market is in its second year of running, and it was a lot larger than last year.

There are lots of food stalls, but this year there were also some lovely handicraft stalls as well. Sorry, I don't feel comfortable taking photos of other people's's a copyright instead you get to see these photos!

"MUM, take a photo of me with this man with me picking his nose"

"MUM, now take a photo of me while I make him eat his booger!"

(Note.....that Cameron doesn't seem to realise how disgusting it is to have someone else's booger on his finger)

Yummy, bread being baked in the wood fire ovens
Lots and lots of different Lebkuchen (gingerbread)

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Music Concert

Music Night at school, the boys had been practising their piece for months with David their Guitar teacher! The boys are obsessed with Star Wars and Dr Who at the moment. They thought the Dr Who theme was too difficult to learn on the guitar, so they asked David to help them with the Star Wars theme.

They introduced their song, and had to talk a little bit about the composer of the music, John Williams.
They played really well, and we were very proud of them. The boys thought they had done a great job too!

Now, the boys are working out what they will do for the next Music Night!
A big Thanks to Olga who took these amazing photos! She has a fab camera and a g reat photographic eye. I should take lessons from her!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Beach walk

Saturday night we arrived at the Youth Hostel and met up with the rest of the group. It was dark and we got a fair amount of snow in Berlin on Friday, and Usedom did too. The 4 kids made this snowman on Saturday after dinner. It was cold out, but they were all rugged up.

Being the first snow of the season...the snowmen tend to be really filthy with all the autumn leaves catching into the snow as you roll the balls along the ground...but the kids didn't care.
The Youth Hostel we stayed at was really quiet...They took our booking as there were quite a few of us, and then they closed the next day until after Xmas. It was a magnificent Youth Hostel....
This was our "house", the rooms were really large, and we had a large sitting room to spend the evening drinking wine and beer. The kids had a separate lounge room, which pleased both them and the adults.

After breakfast we all put on our warm clothes and set out for a beach walk. It was about 2 degrees as we walked along the beach.....but it was really lovely. There were heaps of other people out doing exactly the same thing. Can you believe it...snow on the beach! How fantastic!!

Below is Kirstin and Cameron looking for shells
Duncan got a new gadget and we tried to do some Geo Caching. He had the coordinates to 2 treasures near where we were staying, from the Geo Cache Website. (click on this website and type in your's amazing what is hidden not far from your house!) It was fun trying to look for them.

Alexander had the tracker to begin with, and he counted down the metres and walked in the direction of the arrow.

The first Geo Cache was on this pier, right on the front right corner. We looked everywhere for a little box or film cannister that was our treasure. Anne thought she could see something sitting on the beam underneath the pier.

So Phil lay down on the pier, with his arm underneath trying to get hold of the box....while Anne and Sonia yelled out directions for him to get hold of the box....his arm just wasn't long enough.

While this was all happening, we were all laughing, and the looks from other people walking past us made us laugh even more! Phil couldn't reach the box that the girls were directing him to - It was a good thing, because lying on a wet pier with your hand in an electrical junction box would not be recommended by Hector the Safety Cat!

So Duncan decided to take off his shoes and socks and try and reach it from the beach. Remember it was 2 was one way for him to get over his jet lag quickly anyway! (He had been in America for the week) Note...this caused the locals to give us even stranger looks.

Duncan still couldn't reach up onto the beams from under the pier, so he grabbed Cameron and hauled him onto his shoulders for extra height, which then made the locals stop to look at what the "Auslanders" were doing under this pier.
The black box was holding some cables, and was part of the pier...not what we were looking for at all. Perhaps the Cache had already been taken....or it was taken by "Muggles" who do not know what a Geo Cache is?? I guess in this era, a small box taped to something would cause all sorts of questions to those not in the loop.
The only other thing we could think of was perhaps it was buried near the pole, but the tide wasn't out far enough, and it was too cold to be digging in the sand. After a couple of minutes Duncan's feet were frozen, so we gave up on that Cache, and went in search of some Milch Kaffee , Hot Chocolates and Cappachino's.
The second Geo Cache we tracked down we managed to get to as close to 2 metres from it, but it was in the Thermal Baths gardens, which was closed. We would have probably climbed over the fence, except for the thorny branches in the garden! So, not a successful game, but we had fun trying! You can do this with any GPS locator, and it might be a fun thing to do when out for a walk anywhere in the world!
Some of the houses and hotels along the path behind the beach were just fabulous! No wonder this is a popular tourist spot in Summer. I can just imagine all of the towels covering the beach at 7:00 am in August (and probably lots of naked bodies too)!

We had lots of fun this weekend, and the kids did too! Lots of snowballs being thrown, trees to climb, running around, fossicking on the beach. Here are three boys (BJ, Alexander and Cameron) up a tree, and probably up to no good....
We had a great run back to Berlin after a late lunch. A very successful weekend away, and we look forward to the next one, sometime after Christmas.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Peenemünde/Insel Usedom

We had planned (before it began snowing) to have an overnight trip with some friends of ours - the Ramsay's, the Allan's and Alison and Peter. This time we headed North East, to the Baltic Sea, only a few kilometers from the Polish Border to Insel Usedom. It is about 3 hours north of Berlin. With the snow, I had an idea the trip may be a bit longer than this...

We picked Alexander up from Theatre club and hit the road; As we drove out of Berlin, the temperature dropped and it began snowing again. However, once we cleared Berlin, the roads were quiet and it was late enough that all the snow had been cleared from the highway. It was a great trip up - quiet and fairly quick. We stopped at a little grill in a small dorf on the way for an exceptionally tasty hamburger - there was nothing on the A20 highway from the edge of Berlin until the turnoff!

When we reached Usedom, we headed straight for the Peenemunde museum that contained all the history regarding the rocket technology development (think the V1 and V2 rockets, as well as all the technology that put the Americans and the Russians in space!)

The Peenemünde Historical Technical Information Center.

We arrived with 50 minutes before closing, and I was told that we couldn't enter because "it would take 2 hours to see everything properly!! After a brief discussion (that we had the capacity to see some of the exhibition without slashing our wrists because we missed some..), we paid our money and spent 45 minutes looking at the 2 floors of exhibits. We had to move fairly quickly, but we got around all of the internal and external displays - no problem!

This was the military Testing Site for rockets and weapons for war. It was used during 1936 - 1945. The 1st missile was launched here in October 1942. It was destoyed in 1945 when the Allies found out about it. The museum was then set up in a nearby power station, which had been decommissioned.

There were some very famous rocket engineers working here, their main aim was developing military equipment.

Workers were concentration camp inmates and prisoners of war, and they were put to work to construct the test site areas, and then worked on the manufacturing of the rockets

A model construction of the test site

Some of the old planes

Wanna play chess?

One of the rocket components

Rockets that have been launched in Oz

The "daddy" helicopter

The "baby" helicopter

A naval Ship

A tow-along torpedo.

It was an interesting site - the boys loved seeing all of the rocket components and the outside displays. There was lots of interesting information to read and understanding the importance of the people that worked here on future rocket programs all around the world was very interesting (there were photos of which rocket scientists ended up in which country - Russia, USA, Britian or France!)
We then left the museum and headed for out overnight accommodation at Heringsdorf.