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The Good, the Bad, and the So-So: England, Germany, Austria

The Good, the Bad, and the So-So: England, Germany, Austria

Sep 18th, 2009, 01:57 PM
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Ah, the Thanet. We stayed there in 1993 -- still continuing to disappoint 16 years later! £79 for a single, that stings.

Thanks for the description of the Bletchley Park tour -- sounds unchanged from 1998. Since the new stuff I want to see is in the National Museum of Computing, only open two (not convenient for me) afternoons a week, I'll give the Park a miss this trip.
ron is offline  
Sep 18th, 2009, 02:26 PM
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ttt 4 later
annhig is offline  
Sep 18th, 2009, 03:32 PM
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nevcha: Thanks for the link to the article. I knew that he had killed himself after a relationship with another man, but I wasn't aware of the chemical castration proposal. How utterly appalling!

How cruel we can be! As the loving auntie of a young gay man, I'm especially horrified by the treatment of Turing.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Sep 18th, 2009, 03:52 PM
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Hello Peg, I am so enjoying your trip report except for the fact that you broke your foot! I am so sorry. At first I thought you broke your foot while in Europe but after rereading I realized that happened after you returned home. Take good care and I hope the pain pills are helping you, dear one.
LoveItaly is offline  
Sep 18th, 2009, 04:48 PM
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Peg, delighted that you're safely home and reporting. As always I am laughing, crying and noting details for later travels. I am glad that the foot accident happened at home, where you can speak the language of your doctor, be among friends, and not be slowed down on your wanderings.

I have just read the article about Turing and am appalled. A 55 year late apology seems sort of empty to me. (I too have a gay nephew who is a delight as is his partner. The thought of him being treated this way makes me ill, though goodness knows, there is still plenty of prejudice and lots of closed doors.)

Sorry, I shouldn't have gotten on my hobby horse. Hope you can come out of your drug haze comfortably and continue your story!

Do they still let one climb the tower at Westminster Cathedral? I recall there was a terrific view from up there. I think I went up while I was killing time waiting for a late afternoon mass.
irishface is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 10:26 AM
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loving your report!
starrs is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 10:33 AM
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Interesting, Peg. Hoping for more!
Celiaanne is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 04:05 AM
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Re Turing: He is terribly overlooked. I believe the only thing in Britain named after him is a roundabout in Reading!
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Sep 20th, 2009, 09:45 AM
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Only if you don't count a building at the University of Manchester, a road and a bridge in Manchester, a road in the University of Sussex Research Park, and a blue plaque at his birthplace in London.
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Sep 20th, 2009, 11:36 AM
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After considerable worrying that something would go wrong, nothing did. I made my way to Luton, took Easyjet to Berlin and found the right train into town. I even got off at the right stop, but from there on, the situation deteriorated. I got lost AGAIN. I wasn't sure of the correct direction to go when I got off the train, and to complicate things further, my little map didn't include all the streets, which confused me even more. I even broke done and asked people directions to the street.

When I checked my pedometer, it said that I had walked only a mile and a third. That's a dirty, rotten lie! I think I must have clipped it to my waistband in the wrong place, so that it didn't register correctly. I know I walked at least three or four miles.

This experience confirmed that I absolutely have to get a little compass for wandering around in strange cities. I must add here that usually my sense of direction is pretty good, whereas that of my sister is abysmal. I get a good deal of evil enjoyment watching her invariably take the wrong turn out of the doctor's office when I take her there. Serves me right!

Anyway, I eventually did find Hotel Pension Bregenz. Especially after having experienced the Thanet, the Bregenz was a joy. My room was actually a double (for the price of a single), so I wasn't squeezed into a closet. It was clean, comfortable and spacious, with a high ceiling and a large window. Christian (I think that's the name of the man who runs it) is friendly and helpful. There is even an elevator, so one has to climb only a few steps.

After I got settled in, I went down the street to an Italian restaurant called La Vigna, where we had eaten on our last trip. It was just as good as I remembered. I had a little salad with all manner of leafy things in it and a pasta dish--long narrow pasta with a spicy tomatoey sauce. Very tasty.
I returned to the hotel and rinsed out a few things, as I'd been wearing the same two outfits for several days and I was feeling a trifle over-ripe. I then went to bed.

The next day I decided to take a hop-on/hop-off tour. The address of the company was in the 200's of the Kurfürstendamm. I decided to walk. Big mistake! I did not realize that the numbers on one side of the Ku-damm have no relation to the numbers on the other side, and I was walking the wrong direction for a couple of miles. I finally gave up walking and got on a bus. The driver told me it was the wrong bus, and I should take the one across the street.

I finally got my tour bus and stayed on it until the Museum Insel. I wanted to go to the New Nationalgalerie to see the paintings by Caspar David Friedrich, which I've always fancied. However, when I noticed that I was at the Bebelplatz, I began wandering around looking for the memorial to the Nazi book burning. Ever clueless, I missed it until I saw a group of young kids standing in a circle looking down. The Memorial is a piece of plexiglass sunk into the cobblestone, through which one can see a roomful of empty shelves. The kids were junior high age, and their teacher was telling them the name of authors whose books had been burned, important names with which I assume the kids were familiar.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 04:45 PM
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Still enjoying. Those lazy, lying pedometers!
irishface is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 09:15 AM
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It's a point of honor with me to finish this, even if no one else reads it.

I finally entered the National Gallery (not sure if it's the Neue or the Alte) and found the paintings by Caspar David Friedrich. They were wonderful! I'd promised myself that I was going to look at only his paintings because I feel like I've already seen too many paintings, having traipsed through most of the famous museums in Europe, but....what can you do? As long as I was there...

Afterward, I went to the Museum cafe for coffee and had a lovely chat with a young German woman, a teacher. Those meetings and conversations with local people are among the things that make foreign travel so enjoyable.

I wanted to walk down Unter den Linden, the street that was so famous before the war. That was easy, as I was already on it, so I sauntered down it until I came to a hop-on/hop-off bus stop. I waited perhaps half an hour until a bus came along, but it was full, including with people standing. Whereupon I was treated to a fine display of German phlegm, as a prospective passenger was outraged that the bus was full so he began yelling at the driver. His outrage was for naught, however, as another bus came along two minutes later.

I went back to the original Hop-on/Hop-off stop and began walking home, but....you guessed it! I got lost again. I'll gloss over the details, but as I was waiting for the light at a corner, I heard some people speaking English, and I commented disgustedly that I'd lost my hotel. They laughed and said that was okay, that yesterday they'd lost Budapest.

The next day I took a taxi to Charlottenburg Palace, as I had developed a blister on my foot. I took a tour of it...thought it was lovely, but I don't think I've seen a palace yet that compares with the Residenz in Würzburg.

The next day I took the tram out to Tegel Airport, where I picked up my car--a Mercedes! When I had called AutoEurope and told them I wanted their cheapest car, the clerk upgraded me to a compact, and when I picked the car up at Tegel, I was upgraded further. Bless AutoEurope and Avis!

As I look over what I've written, I realize it looks pretty thin; however, I have visited Berlin numerous times and have seen much of it on those visits. What I really like to do in a place like Berlin is to walk, drink coffee or an Orangensaftschorle, and find things I haven't seen on previous visits.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 10:37 AM
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Really enjoying the report, Peg. Don't know if it's your writing style or the pain pills, but it's certainly interesting!
bettyk is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 10:55 AM
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I was delighted with my Mercedes...until I drove out of the garage into a deluge and realized I had no idea where the windshield wiper switch was. The story of my life! I drove on, the rain streaming down the windshield, unable to stop In traffic, desperately trying every switch while navigating through the rainstorm. I finally stopped at the end of a ramp where I thought no one would smash into me and prayed that God would give me the knowledge to find the windshield wiper.

That didn't work. However, I decided to try every single thing around the steering wheel and finally happened upon the switch, which was right where one would expect it, on the turn signal thingy.

After that, all went well. I found my next stop, Lübbenau (about half way between Berlin and Dresden), and the Schloss Lübbenau without difficulty. The Schloss was lovely. Elegant in an understated way, but not what I'd consider very expensive--78 euros for the first night (a Thursday) and 88 for the second.

The young lady at the reception desk complimented me on my German, which always embarrasses me because I know my weaknesses so well--one of them being a too-small vocabulary. I always fool people about the quality of my German because my grammar is good.

After I settled in, I wandered around town for a while. (Luckily the town is too small for me to become lost.) I found der Hafen, from which the boats leave to go through the Spreewald and found a restaurant where I had a cheeseboard.

The history of the Schloss is interesting. It was/is owned by the Counts of Lynar. During WWII, it was used by the Nazis (I forget in what capacity), and until the fall of the East German govt, it was apparently used by the govt. After the fall of Communism, it was returned to the Counts of Lynar. As I was wandering around the grounds, I found a placard that told of the Count during WWII who was involved in the attempt to assassinate Hitler and who was hanged.

The next morning I took a tour through the Spreewald on a flat boat called a Kahn, which has a "captain" on the back, poling the Kahn through the still waters of the Spreewald. Briefly, the Spreewald is a formerly swampy area that, over a thousand years, has been shaped by inhabitants, the Sorbs, into a series of canals and lakes, with houses and other buildings built on higher ground.

The Spreewald is absolutely fascinating, one of the highlights of my trip. The canals are shaped by logs; they have smaller canals leading off the main canal; often there are side canals--sort of water driveways, where inhabitants park their own Kahns. The area truly is a Wald (forest), as above the canals are huge trees, often arching high above in the middle to form a sort of green tunnel. It's lush, lush, lush greenery. It's peaceful, calm, mysterious.

The houses on the higher ground are distinctive, not typical German houses, which is logical because the Sorbs are Slavic people, not Germans. On the roofs of many houses are snake symbols--crossed snakes to form a sort of inverted V. The snakes are a symbol from Sorb mythology and are supposed to protect the house.

If you're in Berlin or Dresden, it's absolutely worth seeing the Spreewald.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 11:05 AM
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I'm sort of bookmarking this for myself to savor later.

Just wanted to say when my daughter and I were touring Barnard/Columbia last spring, stylish Wellies were the latest NYC thing. I thought it looked kind of silly as how much rain is really falling there, but my daughter loved them...

Sorry about your foot and I will be back for a long read next week.

Also for yk you will find good reading and info on Berlin here:



gruezi is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 11:32 AM
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Peg, of course we're still reading!

gruezi, thanks for the links.
yk is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 12:21 PM
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Definitely still reading! And enjoying it very much! I love your style and your humor. Got a good chuckle out of the folks who lost Budapest!

The Spreewald sounds very interesting indeed. Don't know if or when I'll ever get to Germany, but if I do, that's an area I'll definitely keep in mind.
CAPH52 is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 12:27 PM
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Greuzi, Thanks for the links. I'll come back to them this afternoon.

I'm impressed with your daughter, by the way.

Betty, Maybe you're onto something here, and it's the pain pillsthat is making me so garrulous.....Nah, that's the way I am all the time.

I went to the orthopedic guy yesterday. He told me I had only one break--not two--and he gave me a smaller orthopedic boot and said I could walk on it. What a relief! The crutches and walker were a pain. I'm trying to stay off the foot today, as the boot seems to rub against my leg and is very uncomfortable.

How great that I'm retired and don't really have to do anything!
Pegontheroad is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 12:30 PM
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Found your wiper story funny!
But it happens to all of us, so dont feel bad.
Please continue, I like the details you have been capturing and sharing so well.
Hope your foot is better.
ileen is online now  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 03:31 PM
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I've played the "button, button, who's got the button?" game in a rental car, only it was the lights I was looking for. Fortunately a rest area appeared as the sun was setting, and after pulling, pushing and twisting every button, found the lights and the dimmer switch.

love your report. Laughing at your observations and comments!
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