Tag Archives: Berlin

Our first Sunday in Berlin

26 Jul

Above is the video that was taken in the Volkspark am Weinberg.

We had arrived on Saturday, the 4th of June. Ilse’s sons had come to Tegel-Airport to pick us up and drive us with all our luggage to our apartment in Rubensstrasse. It was so good to have the two cars waiting for us. Klaudia as well as Ilse and Finn had also come along and we took off on the Autobahn that took us from the airport to our apartment in just a few minutes! Once we were settled in our apartment, we were given huge amounts of food, especially Ilse and Finn had brought a lot of food along. So all of us stayed together for quite a while, talking about lots of things and having a nice meal.

Strangely enough we did not feel too tired to go out to the Brandenburg Gate after our Berlin family had left us. So it was the five of us from Australia, namely Martin, Caroline, Matthew, Peter and me, exploring Berlin on our own on our first day in Berlin after we had only just arrived on our very long trip all the way from Australia.

The following morning we went out for breakfast. Die “Wolke” was just around the corner. They were doing pretty good business on a Sunday morning. We noticed a constant stream of customers. So we had a good breakfast sitting down in the Wolke Cafe.

PETER LOVED THIS BUN

PETER LOVED THIS BUN

Steak tartare is a meat dish made from finely chopped or minced rawbeef.

 

This what I had

This is what I had

Streusel-Schnecke is what we liked too.

Streusel-Schnecke is what we liked too.

I did not take pictures of all the food, but here is some more of the food that was on offer.

I did not take pictures of all the food, but here is some more of the food that was on offer.

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I seem not to have taken any pictures from that afternoon we spent near Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) and where we had gone to by public transport.
But on Sunday the five of us did – also by public transport –  go to Alexander Platz and from there on the U-Bahn to Rosenthaler Platz to meet my niece Corinna and her son Carlos for lunch.

Am Alexander Platz

Am Alexander Platz

Martin, Caroline, Peter and Matthew

Martin, Caroline, Peter and Matthew

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The above picture I still took at Alexander Platz. After Alexander Platz we took off to ROSENTHALER PLATZ.

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Peter with my niece Corinna and her son Carlos

Peter with my niece Corinna and her son Carlos

I with Caroline, Matthew and Corinna

I with Caroline, Matthew and Corinna

This lunch is to my liking

This lunch was to my liking

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After lnch we went to this place.

After lunch we went to this place.

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When we left this interesting place we were heading for the park where – as Corinna promised – there would be some dancing on display together with great swing music from the 1940s. Carlos had made his good-buys in the meantime. (After all, it is only a certain amount of time a fifteen year old is willing to spend with the ‘oldies’!)

Corinna had been right, there was some dancing going on here.

Corinna had been right, there was some dancing going on here.

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Peter and I found the music quite electrifying. It reminded us of old times and the swing music that we used to like. During the 1950s, when we would often go dancing, swing was still quite popular.On that Sunday afternoon in the park inspired by the music  Peter and I actually tried a little bit of dancing of our own. To our amusement, somebody videoed us while we were doing this! (See video at the beginning of page) We found this absolutely hilarious. Later on we watched for quite some time the dancing of the very young people. They seemed quite familiar with this type of dance music and danced very well indeed. A lot of these young people had dressed up in the 1940s style. There was even one young guy who had dressed in something that reminded us of the post WWII period when the young Americans of our occupation forces looked in their  uniforms a bit like this guy did. Quite amazing!

I took a picture of our little group before we were sitting down for some drinks.

I took a picture of our little group before we were sitting down for some drinks.

It was a balmy early summer afternoon. We enjoyed our drinks, listening to the music and watching the young people dancing. The place is called “Volkspark am Weinberg”.

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Berlin in 26 Days from the 4th to the 30th of June 2016

22 Jul

This Berlin visit was a true family event for  Peter and me. I would like to tell about the 26 days in Berlin in three different parts. First there were 8 days with Martin, Caroline and Matthew, then 9 days spent just with Martin and the last 9 days in Berlin we saw a lot of Monika and her family who came  to visit Berlin from the 21st to the 30th of June.

When we arrived in Berlin on Saturday, the 4th of June, we were five adults from Australia, and we were renting a three bedroom apartment in Rubensstrasse, Berlin-Friedenau. Our rented apartment was just great, very spacious and well equipped.

The other family group from Australia had booked an apartment in Prenzlauer Berg which is a bit North-East from the centre of Berlin, whereas Friedenau is South of Berlin’s centre. Monika’s group stayed in Berlin for 9 days after already having visited London, Paris and Zuerich. On Thursday, the 30th of June, they travelled back to London to stay there for another four nights and then to fly back to Sydney, Australia.

Thursday, the 9th of June was my brother Bodo’s 78th birthday. Peter, Martin, Matthew and Caroline went on that day to Kreuzberg (Cross-Mountain). Peter wanted to show them the place where he had grown up. My brother Peter Uwe came to go with me to visit Bodo.

Bodo is being looked after in a home for the Aged.

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We walked along here to get to the home where Bodo lives.

 

 

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This place, a Memorial for the Berlin Wall, is not far from where Bodo lives.

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Peter Uwe and Bodo

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Uta and Bodo

Charlotte mit ihren drei Kindern 1948

Mum with Bodo, Uta and Peter Uwe in 1948

 

Below a few pictures I took one morning in our apartment. Matthew is in the background, Martin is on the left, and Caroline and Peter on the right.

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Something to look forward to

14 Nov

I have never been to Frankfurt/Oder. We found out now that there is a beautiful Cafe in Slubice in Poland which can be reached from Frankfurt by crossing the bridge over the river Oder. From Berlin to Frankfurt/Oder is only a short trip. When we are in Berlin next year we may have the opportunity to go into Poland to the little town of Slubice and pay the Szczerbisky cafe a visit. Apparently they have yummy dumplings and cakes!

Welcome to the Confectionery Szczerbińscy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
See also: Słubice, Masovian Voivodeship
Słubice

Website http://www.slubice.pld
Słubice [swuˈbʲit͡sɛ] (German Dammvorstadt) is a border town in the Lubusz Voivodeship of western Poland. Located on the Oder river, directly opposite the city of Frankfurt (Oder) in Germany, of which it was a part until 1945 (as Dammvorstadt). At the 2011 census, the town had a total population of 18,000 (urban agglomeration Słubice-Frankfurt 85,000).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_(Oder)

International relations
Frankfurt (Oder), being located on the border to Poland, plays a special role in connection with German-Polish relations and European integration. The European University Viadrina has one of its buildings in Poland, in the neighbouring town of Słubice. The university also has a number of projects and initiatives dedicated to bringing Poland and Germany together, and offers its students pro bono Polish courses. Another project that contributes to German-Polish integration in Frankfurt (Oder) is the fforst house, a German-Polish student project, which has been granted support by the town’s administration[7] and by the Viadrina,[8] having been described by the former president of the university, Gesine Schwan, as the place where “Europe begins”.[9]
Twin towns and sister cities[edit]
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Germany
Frankfurt (Oder) is twinned with:
Poland Gorzów Wielkopolski, Poland, since 1975
Poland Słubice, Poland, since 1975
France Nîmes, France, since 1976
Finland Vantaa, Finland, since 1987
Germany Heilbronn, Germany, since 1988
Belarus Vitebsk, Belarus, since 1991
Israel Kadima, Israel, since 1997
United States Yuma, United States, since 1997
Italy Scandicci, Italy
Bulgaria Vratsa, Bulgaria, since 2009

Cake, balloons and fireworks One of the many surprises we have prepared Slubice to celebrate the 750 birthday of Frankfurt, was a huge cake, which on Saturday July 12, during the fair partner cities, residents distributed Mayor Richard Bodziacki.

Uta’s Diary, 3rd of September 2015

3 Sep

In September 2013 my blogger friend Linda wrote in a comment to one of my blogs:

“As I grow up🙂 I discover that families the world over and through the centuries have been weird. Just plain weird! It’s a good thing to know. More kids should recognize this fact so they wouldn’t feel so isolated by the facts of their families.”

And my reply was:
“Quite amazing, Linda, isn’t it? What exactly do you mean by ‘weird’? Families that are somehow ‘dysfunctional’? What about divorce? Hasn’t this been on the increase in our time? Maybe it has partly to do with the increase in life expectation? In any case I believe it is important for children to know who their parents are. Whether they stay through all their growing up years with one, two or none of their parents this is a different matter. Some parents might not be the best option for a child, but the same goes for some institutions. It all depends. I did get to know during my growing up years some very well functioning families. I am talking about our extended family and about the families of some of my friends. I also saw examples of desperately struggling war widows with for instance four children and a bone breaking job with very little money. When I was a child a lot of people seemed to blame WW II for the increase in dysfunctional families.”

I experienced my growing up years in Berlin, Germany. During my teenage years I was always dreaming of living in some other country with a different family. I feel, having lived in Australia since 1959 I grew more and more apart from Berlin. Over the years I have been back to Berlin for some family visits. But I am always glad when I am back in Australia. It is quite amazing how Berlin has changed over the years. I can understand how a lot of young people feel now

A cafe in Berlin, where we like to go to when we visit Berlin.

A cafe in Berlin, where we like to go to when we visit Berlin.

The cafe is right at the Gendarmen Markt.

The cafe is right at the Gendarmen Markt.

attracted to living in Berlin. However, I definitely want to spend the last few years of my life in Australia. Even my husband Peter, who has still very strong attachments to Berlin, prefers to live in Australia for as long as he can still afford to go back to Berlin for regular visits!

My parents separated soon after WW II. Then, around 1950, my mother demanded a divorce. During 1948/49 Peter’s mother left Peter’s father and got a divorce from him. Peter and his two sisters moved along with their mother. Both our fathers, Peter’s and mine, died long before our mothers. Both fathers had suffered badly due to war experiences.

All my cousins seem to come from very stable families. The generation of my nieces and nephews is different though. Whereas Peter’s nieces and nephews seem to come from rather stable families. Of course, Germans these days have very small families. Some people point out,  the increased influx of migrants to Germany could be a blessing,  for there are too many old people in Germany and not enough young people. Still, this enormous influx of refugees, that is taking place right now,  does cause major upheavals. I hope, all this can be settled in a humane way, and a lot of effort will be directed towards avoiding outbreaks of violence.

 

 

Before and after the Fall of the Wall (Memories)

23 Jul

 

Sunday, the 16th of September, 2012.

On that day we were travelling by public transport to Borgsdorf visiting Ingrid and Erhard at their summer place. Ingrid is related to Peter’s family. Over the years we were always happy to visit Ingrid and Erhard whenever we happened to be in Berlin. On the phone Ingrid wanted to make sure we would come on Sunday. When I mentioned I still had a bit of a cold she said, not to worry, it was going to be a lovely, sunny day. I could just sit outside in the sun and this would do me good. I didn’t have to do anything. She was going to cook lunch for us, she said.

She did serve us a wonderful lunch. She loves to cook with healthy ingredients and lots of herbs and vegetables from her garden. I really felt all right sitting in the autumn sun for hours and hours, being served a lovely meal and later on coffee and cakes. Before the coffee break we all went for a walk to the close by river. Borgsdorf is a very secluded little village. In people’s gardens we could see fruit trees with hundreds of red apples on them.

This is an extract from a blog I wrote after our visit to Berlin in 2012:

https://auntyuta.com/2013/01/28/visiting-peoples-gardens-on-the-fringes-of-berlin/

 

My brother Peter Uwe had dropped us off at Berlin Tegel Airport. It was already afternoon, so he wanted to drive back straight away to his place in Mecklenburg/Vorpommern, where we had stayed with him and Astrid for the last few days of our holiday.

We checked in and then had plenty of time to have a drink with the six family members  who had come to see us off:
Peter’s cousin Ingrid, Peter’s nephew Daniel, Peter’s sister Ilse, and all their partners, all had come to farewell us.

It turned out, the flight to Amsterdam was delayed. Because of this,  we got into trouble with our connecting flight in Amsterdam. We had in Amsterdam actually less than one hour to get to our connecting flight. When I pointed this out to a cabin crew member he inquired about my age and whether I could walk all right. I told him I couldn’t walk as fast as younger people. Voila, a drive on a buggy was arranged for Peter and me.

Being driven through the immense airport with passengers roaming about and making way for the buggy, we felt like in a movie. It was a long, long drive to the departure point for our connecting flight. I doubt I could have made it in time by walking. We were extremely grateful for the lift and were able to board on time on the long stretch to Kuala Lumpur.

At Kuala Lumpur Airport we had a seven hour rest. From there we took off  on a seven hour flight to Sydney.  The longest non-stop stretch was from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, namely eleven hours! During this long flight Peter got sick. After that he had hardly anything to eat anymore.

I got distracted again. Searching for some pictures of Ingrid and Erhard,  I finally found the departure pictures that Peter took at Berlin Tegel Airport. You can look at them here:

https://auntyuta.com/2012/11/21/resting-at-kuala-lumpur-airport/

 

All the above happened in 2012. The wall had come down already in 1989. We were still thinking about it and all the changes it had brought. Berlin was an undivided city again, East- and West-Germany were one country. But we could still remember what it was like before the Fall of the Wall.

BACK IN AUSTRALIA

I wrote the following on the 19th of November 2012:

Peter and I  landed safely back in Australia. Yesterday morning our daughter Caroline picked us up from Sydney airport and drove us to our home (100 km south of Sydney). So we’ve been back home now for nearly thirty hours and are gradually getting rid of our jet legs. Everything is fine at our place. Our lovely daughter is going to stay with us till tomorrow (Tuesday).

Six people had come to Berlin Tegel airport on Friday to see us off. We found the perfect place to have a drink with them. This was very relaxing for us. We knew already that our plane to Amsterdam was going to leave somewhat later than originally planned. My brother had driven us to the airport from his place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. He had only dropped us off,  for he wanted to  be  back home before it got too dark.

In Amsterdam we had scarce time to catch the connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur. We made sure we’d get some help by the airport people. Just as well! It turned out we had to go  right to the other end of the airport. This would have meant a tremendous walk for us. We were very grateful for being driven to our departure point. I doubt that we could have made it on time by walking.

In Kuala Lumpur we had close to seven hours to catch our Malaysian connecting flight to Sydney. This meant we had no problem with being on time for boarding at the departure gate. It also gave us the opportunity to stretch our legs a bit and then take a break in a beautifully furnished cafe with French songs playing in the background. The toilet facilities were also very welcome. We couldn’t take a walk through the airport’s beautiful open air jungle walk since it was closed for renovations. What a pity!

Near our departure gate we found some stretch-out chairs.  To be able to stretch out on these chairs we welcomed very much.

Some pictures of these stretch out chairs you can actually find in this blog:

https://auntyuta.com/2012/11/21/resting-at-kuala-lumpur-airport/

I wrote in this blog further on:

We were grateful for the long break at Kuala Lumpur Airport. It gave us ample time to recover a bit from the previous eleven hour non-stop flight. In Kuala Lumpur Peter even enjoyed the coffee and cake we had at one of the airport’s coffee-shops. At some other establishment we had a large glass of iced Chi tea. This tasted very good and was very refreshing. On the next seven hour stretch  to Sydney Peter refused food again. However he had lots of drinks all the time: Mainly water, but also some juice and coffee. He just didn’t feel like eating.

 

My main purpose of looking up all these posts was actually that I wanted to be reminded what experiences we had on previous visits to Berlin when the city was divided by that Wall. There was a lot of confusion going on about currencies in East and West, lifestyle changes dividing East and West, crippling shortages in the East. a lot of spying going on in the East, West-Berliners making nasty remarks about the “poor” East-Berliners and so on.

And after the Fall of the Wall? To this day these parts of Germany that had previously been GDR territory are still a bit less prosperous than their cousins in the other parts of Germany. Yes, it is one country again, but you do find differences. People in the East seem to be somewhat different from people in the West. The unemployment rate is much higher in the eastern parts of Germany. West-German companies seem to prefer to go to a neighbouring Eastern country where they can pay lower wages.

For some time low cost housing was available in East-Germany. In areas where there is work or tourism, housing prices are on the up. In some remote areas, where there is no work, low cost housing is of no use to the people. It is unbelievable, but people who cannot afford any more to pay for housing and live on the streets for most of the year, these people are on the increase, while other people gentrify their places, and they invest in places they can let for more and more rent. How about this attitude that “the Market” regulates all?

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections on Travel

29 Apr

Recently I reflected a lot on our past two overseas travels. One trip to Berlin we did five years ago and another one two and a half years ago. When we travel we always try to economise, meaning we are not out to stay in expensive hotels or visit restaurants that are well above our budget. The greatest extra expense we consider to be the air-travel ticket plus insurance. Since both Peter and I are going to be past eighty when we travel next time the insurance is going to be sky high! We usually book a flight well in advance and look for special offers. The last two times we did fly with Malaysian Airline from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur and from there we had connecting flights with KLM. We thought these flights via Kuala Lumpur were pretty good. Soon we want to find out what’s on offer for next year.

2016 is going to be a huge family reunion in Berlin. Our Australian family is already planning for all this.  Some members in our family have never been to Berlin yet and are very keen to get to know a bit about the city and the German family members who live there. Especially Peter’s sister Ilse is very hopeful that a large family meeting can take place next year in Berlin. She and Finn are already thinking about all the arrangements that can be made. One of our grandsons is busy making plans about all the destinations where he and his family intend to travel to. He worked out that a nine day stay in Berlin could be included. They also want to stay for a few days in London and maybe some days in Switzerland, and I think there was also talk about Paris.

When Peter heard that they plan on staying for nine days in Berlin,  he  soon thought about a number of places he could show them in Berlin. Peter knows Berlin very well, partly from personal experience but a lot he knows because he keeps himself always up to date on the internet about what is going on in Berlin. When it come to history, he can tell you a thing or two about Berlin’s history as well. The past few days he published memories about the last days in Berlin before the end of World War Two. You can look it up under:

https://berlioz1935.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/tuesday-24-april-1945/

The memories start already here:

https://berlioz1935.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/berlin-the-last-battle-in-europe-during-world-war-2/

There are diary entries of Peter’s mother which he translated.  Also, Peter’s own comments about these eventful days continue for several days.

It is amazing how much Peter remembers about this time seventy years ago. This was just a few days before he turned ten! He also likes to read up on official records about the last days in Berlin before the end of the war, and he is also always looking for relevant pictures from that time.

Our Five Weeks Holiday in 2010

27 Apr

From Sydney we did fly with Malaysian Airline to Kuala Lumpur. Our connecting flight was with KLM to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. From there we had another connecting flight with KLM to Tegel Airport in Berlin.

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Gaby, Caroline and Matthew had come to Sydney Airport to farewell us.

Caroline took this photo.

Caroline took this photo.

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Peter took a few photos in Kuala Lumpur at the airport.

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We enjoyed the Tropical Garden in the midst of Kuala Lumpur Airport.

We enjoyed the Tropical Garden in the midst of Kuala Lumpur Airport.

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When we arrived at Tegel Airport there were Daniel, Ilse and Ingrid waiting for us.

When we arrived at Tegel Airport there were Daniel, Ilse and Ingrid waiting for us.

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They took us first of all to Scharnweber Strasse, where Ilse lives. It was Spargel (Asparagus) time in Berlin. Ilse served us a sumptuous Spargel lunch. Soon after lunch, Ilse’s son Daniel drove us to our holiday unit in Bastian Strasse. We stayed in this unit for fifteen nights. On the morning of Tuesday, the 15th of June we were picked up by Peter Uwe, my brother, and his partner Astrid. They took us to their home in Neu Canow in Mecklenburg Vorpommern where we stayed for nine nights. On Thursday, 24th of June, they drove us back to Berlin. Peter’s sister Ilse accommodated us for the rest of our stay in Berlin

On Friday, 2nd of July, Klaudia, my brother’s ex-wife, drove us to Tegel Airport for our departure back to Australia. Several family members farewelled us at Tegel Airport.

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For Saturday, the 26th of June, our last Saturday before our departure, Ilse had organised a family meeting. One cousin came from England, another one with his daughter came from Frankfurt and Peter’s sister Eva came with husband Harald from Windischgarsten in Austria. And of course Ilse’s sons and family, who live in Berlin came also as well as Eva’s daughter and granddaughter. Ilse’s partner Finn made a great video of the occasion. A copy of it he sent to us to Australia. There were also some photos taken of this family gathering. I show some of them here:

We met at this restaurant in Scharnweber Strasse.

We met at this restaurant in Scharnweber Strasse.

Peter with his sister Eva who came from Austria.

Peter with his sister Eva who came from Austria.

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Another photo in front <a href=

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Ilse und Finn

Ilse und Finn

Ilse and Finn invited us for another farewell meal at the same restaurant a few days later.

Here Ilse talks to Daniel, the manager of the restaurant.

Here Ilse talks to Daniel, the manager of the restaurant.

Finn took this photo.

Finn took this photo.

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