Uta’s May 2017 Diary

1000 METRES

The Dapto solar heated swimming pool, that is the large pool in the Dapto swimming complex, has the Olympic length of 50 metres. Peter and Astrid had arrived in Australia on the second of April. On their last Sunday here in Dapto, which was the 30th of April, they went with me to Dapto’s open air swimming Centre. We were walking. It was a quick and easy walk. The last day of April had turned out to be a balmy, sunny day. Just beautiful.

Peter and Astrid both had carried their flippers along to the pool. It did not take them long to dip into the water with them. They had plenty of room in the pool, for there were only about half a dozen people in the pool. Each person had their own lane to swim in. Peter and Astrid thought that this was extraordinary. They could not imagine that something like this could have happened in Germany where they live. 

Astrid did not stay in the pool for as long as Peter. But she enjoyed her swim very much. And Peter? Well, he actually went for ten times up and down the pool. He was very proud that he made it. He said, the flippers helped a lot to achieve his goal. After his 1000 metre swim he came out to have a rest in the sun. The pool area is surrounded by beautiful lawns. 

Peter, Astrid, and I were stretching out on one of these beautifully kept lawns in full sun for about one hour. All of us were in high spirits on such a great day as this. We started talking, and talking, and talking. We had immensely pleasant conversations during this one hour.

After his long rest, Peter felt like going back into the water for a bit more swimming while Astrid went already into the change rooms. I had stayed outside in the sun the whole time. The wound on my arm where some cancerous growth had been taken out, was not totally healed yet. This was why I had chosen not to go into the water. None the less I did a have a very enjoyable morning and was happy to be outside on another warm day.

Before we left to walk back home we each had a cup of coffee which the friendly guy at the entrance made for us. Peter, who is able to make himself a bit understood in English, talked to this friendly Australian guy for a little bit. The Australian wanted to know, where they were from. And Peter told him that I was his sister having lived in Australia for a long time, and that he and his wife lived a bit north from Berlin and had to fly back on Monday, that is the next day, late afternoon. He said he enjoyed the swim so much that he would like to go for another swim the following day before they had to leave to go to the airport.

 

Before and after the Fall of the Wall (Memories)

 

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?

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday at Warburton

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After a 90 minute drive we arrived at Warburton. We had a very joyful family day at this peaceful, beautiful place with clear mountain air. The good weather lasted throughout the day. Only later in the afternoon as we were driving back to Essondon there were a few raindrops. We were so happy to see our lively, little great-granddaughters again. I think they could hardly remember us for it had been one whole year since we had seen them last.

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Kia knows how to open mini-coconuts!
Kia knows how to open mini-coconuts!

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Each visitor was given one of these decorated wooden ducks. The decorations were done by the two little girls before lunch with a little help from their mum.
Each visitor was given one of these decorated wooden ducks. The decorations were done by the two little girls before lunch with a little help from their mum.

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I am thrilled to get a beautifully decorated duck. The girls hand the ducks out very enthusiastically. They very much enjoy being able to give out some gifts.
I am thrilled to get a beautifully decorated duck. The girls hand the ducks out very enthusiastically. They very much enjoy being able to give out some gifts.
And this are the happy parents of these two lovely girls.
And this are the happy parents of these two lovely girls.

Visiting Röbel

My previous post was about Röbel. It was great fun visiting this pleasant little town at the Western edge of  Lake Müritz. We had a lovely lunch in a restaurant near the water as seen in the previous post. We stopped also in the center of Röbel where Peter was immediately inspired to take a few pictures.

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Back home
Back home
A view of the 'Dorfstrasse'
A view of the ‘Dorfstrasse’
Peter noticed this somewhere in the huge backyard
Peter noticed this somewhere in the huge backyard
Apple-Tree in November. Even this close to winter the apples on this tree still had a delicious taste.
Apple-Tree in November. Even this close to winter the apples on this tree still had a delicious taste.

Mecklenburg/Vorpommern

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DSCN5400I still didn’t publish anything yet about the Bode Museum in Berlin. But before I do this I want to finally start publishing something about Mecklenburg/Vorpommern where my brother Peter Uwe lives with his wife Astrid. We spent some lovely eight days with them just before it was time to travel back to Australia.

Peter Uwe picked us up from the Hansa Viertel in Berlin with all our luggage. This was on Thursday, 8th November 2012. They live in a small village in Meck/Pom. In my post about Berlin-Borgsdorf I published a sign near a street in Borgsdorf which indicated that this street was a bike-track leading right through to Kopenhagen, Denmark. Well, this bike-track leads actually also through the little village where Peter Uwe and Astrid reside.

If people want to take a week’s rest in beautiful Meck/Pom they can book in at my brother’s place. Peter Uwe used to have a number of units available for holiday makers. But most of them he has rented out now to permanent residents. The unit, where Peter and I stayed, is usually reserved for holiday makers.  A board indicates when it is vacant.  One day we noticed the ‘vacant’ sign was still up. We pointed this out to Peter Uwe. It took him just a sec to turn the sign over indicating ‘occupied’. Peter said, that they had made sure anyway that the unit would be reserved for our stay with him and Astrid.

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Remembering June 2010

This is getting serious now, namely our departure for Berlin. Just now I looked at all the photos we took in June 2010 while we were over there. There’s very good public transport in Berlin. We traveled by suburban train, bus, underground or tram.

A Berlin underground-train

and this is a Berlin tram

You can also travel by boat. Berlin has many, many water-ways.
On the right is a suburban train, on the left an inter-city train (Regional-Bahn)
Wall-Decoration at an underground train-station
Waiting for the underground, usually between two and three minutes!
Entrance to an underground station
Peter at Brandenburg Gate
Concert Hall at Gendarmen Markt
Peter at Gendarmen-Markt
Uta at Gendarmen-Markt
Still the Gendarmen-Markt
A sign for an a Italian Coffee Shop
Here we had some very good coffee.
Sculptures to remember the children who had to escape Berlin during WW II
Peter on balcony of holiday flat
Humboldt’s Home, may be open for visitors on a Monday

In 2010 we stayed in Berlin for about one month, and for one week we stayed at my brother’s place ca. 100 km north of Berlin. On our next trip we’re going to stay in Berlin for two months and also for one week at my brother’s place which is in a very secluded little hamlet surrounded by wonderful waterways and wooded areas. I hope I’ll be able to walk a lot. Peter is planning on doing some running.

Looking at photos from Berlin from 2010 brings back memories. I wonder how many pictures we’ll be able to shoot on our next trip! In about 15 days there may be some postings from Berlin. So stay tuned for this!

Sussex Inlet December 1993

In June 1992 Martin’s and Elizabeth’s baby girl Justine was born. Little Justine was 18 months when Martin and Elizabeth came with their children Tristan and little Justine to stay with us at Sussex Inlet.  Monika’s twins, Troy and Ryan,  were with us too and of course Caroline. We and the three children spent already Christmas in the holiday unit, Martin came with his family a bit after Christmas.

For us it was  tradition  to have ‘bunte Teller’ with sweets and some fruit for Christmas Eve. The kids loved to have this special treat for Christmas. So ‘bunte Teller’ had to be made up for all of us. As you can see from the picture, we also had candles, and for  Peter and me there was wine. I think I felt already somewhat tired by the time we were ready for the celebrations. There’s so much to organize moving into the unit! And it looks like it that for Christmas there was some extra organizing to do.

I’m afraid I don’t look my best in the picture. And maybe the kids were getting a bit tired already as well. But I wanted to show what the ‘bunte Teller’ looked like. It’s possible the drink after an exhausting day gave me the rest. I think we had booked the unit for two weeks for the summer holidays. All the units (fourteen of them) were booked out. For New year’s Eve the manager had a roasted pig organized . All the holiday-makers celebrated New Year’s Eve together on the tennis courts. Outside tables and chairs could be brought to this venue and the roasting pig wasn’t far away. There was plenty of drink available too.

I remember at this holiday place I always like to get up early  To go for an early morning walk was immensely enjoyable. I am still like this, that I like to get up very early. Even when I go to bed late, I like to get up early. To have a two weeks holiday close to the water and the beach in the middle of summer is wonderful. It’s so good to have close family to spend the holidays with. For sure it was another great holiday at Sussex Inlet.

Christmas Eve with the ‘Bunte Teller’

With sunflower seeds you can always attract a few lorikeets

Caroline with kangaroo

Little Justine loves the kangaroo

Martin is the one in the red top, I am in the background with a red hat

The young ones gather around the sign (tradition!)

Little Justine for a bit of a rest?