Category Archives: Europe

The Moment of Truth Again

Partridge in a Pear Tree 2

Partridge in a Pear Tree 2

At last, the weather turned, it rained a bit and temperatures dropped. Time to find my jeans hanging in the wardrobe for the past seven months.

Would they still fit? I may have put on a leetle weight, and as everyone knows, clothes magically shrink when left unattended for any length of time.

They did fit – just! But only because Yes, they are s-t-r-e-t-c-h denim!

Happy day. Off I went in my jeans, and, oh joy, a jersey!

Half an hour later I was back and rapidly changing out of these warm clothes back into my summer things.

I guess it is not quite winter yet, and I’ll have to wait for the winds to blow in from the Arctic and snow to fall on Table Mountain.

Even then, it is rare in Cape Town for temperatures to drop below 10C!

 

Note: I may be alone in wishing for these things, as most locals (surprisingly) find winter cold. But they did not grow up in the north of England, where temperatures frequently fall below 10C, and often below freezing: even in summer!

 

The Golden Hind

The Golden Hind 1

The Golden Hind 1

The Golden Hind proudly stands, keeping sentinel.

The Golden Hind 2

The Golden Hind 2

Yes, he’s at my favourite local train station in Berlin; captured through the window.

Local Station View

Local Station View

And, as promised, the view of the station from the park outside.

 

The Golden Hind was Sir Frances Drake’s ship, used to circumnavigate the world between 1577 and 1580.

Of course, I was thinking more of the Deer: The Golden Hind that Hercules captured.

And so, as the mini train pulls out of the station for the last time, we come to the end of my European trip. I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of the places I visited.

 

Angels From the Realms of Glory

Little Angels

Little Angels

Stunningly beautiful statues in relief, high up on the ceiling, at the Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin.

I am sure you have all been listening to Christmas carols in the shops for weeks already, but since it is now December, I think I can talk about this one.

Angels from the Realms of Glory is a lovely Christmas carol. It has two versions, with the same words but different tunes, and we sang both as kids, in school in the north of England.

It was difficult to find a plain rendition of this classic carol, but you can listen to a version of it here.

 

On Guard

Statue 1

Statue 1

Here is a statue of Friedrich Wilhelm I – Frederick the Great.

He stands, in all weathers I might add, outside the Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin.

Statue 2

Statue 2

I’ve always liked horse statues: mainly because I like horses! And apparently there is no truth in the rumour of the rider having died due to battle if one or two of the horses hooves are raised. Sometimes it is the case, most often, not.

(You know, all four feet on the ground, death had nothing to do with battle; one foot raised, died due to wounds sustained in battle; two feet raised, died in battle; three feet in the air, the horse is a show off!)

Statue 3

Statue 3

Here’s a close up of the miserable guy at the bottom; forever waiting his turn to have a ride!

 

Statue 4

Statue 4

And here’s an unusual angle, shot from behind. I took this through the upstairs window inside the palace. Just look at that magnificent hair. I mean the guy, not the horse’s tail, though they do look very similar! (Yes, I know it is a wig – but still!)

Grounds

Grounds

And finally, a view of the grounds, also from the upstairs window of the palace. It looks like someone is having a go at ‘paint by numbers’. They’ve already filled in quite a bit of white on the left hand side. I must say, it does look better.

When you have finished touring the palace inside and out, you can go to the excellent gift shop and buy tons of great gifts to take back to your friends!

 

In the Lap of Luxury

Palace 1

Palace 1

Anyone for tea?

I toured inside Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin, last June with my daughter DD. The palace was built at the end of the 17th century for Sophia Charlotte, wife of Friedrich III, Elector of Brandenburg.

For the very reasonable sum of a few Euro I bought a paper wrist band that allowed me to take photos inside. The only drawback was that no flash was allowed. This explains the blurred quality of the photos.

Still I think you will get an idea of how beautiful and sumptuous this “summer cottage” really is.

Palace 2

Palace 2

Your entrance ticket includes a set of headphones, to tell you something about each room as you enter, in your own language. I thought this was a marvellous idea. I hate conducted tours, where they always spend ages at some relic that I have no interest in, and breeze past those I’d like to study. This way, everyone could go at their own pace, and it was surprisingly quiet.

Palace 3

Palace 3

This cup thing was actually massive! There were several around upstairs, probably about 50 cm tall, with intricately painted designs.

Though the double-storey palace was huge, with very long floors, many of the rooms themselves were small and interconnected. You reached the main bedroom through a series of other rooms; there being no hallway or passage.

There were many many treasures inside Charlottenburg Palace, but my little point and click camera just could not do them justice, without a flash.

I leave you with a portrait of Sophia Charlotte of Hanover –

Palace 4

Palace 4

– And suggest that if you are ever in Berlin, you should go and see this lovely palace for yourself.

 

Dance!

Charlottenburg Palace 1

Charlottenburg Palace 1

Dance –

Like no-one is watching!

Charlottenburg Palace 2

Charlottenburg Palace 2

Dancing a-top the dome, Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin; oblivious to passersby.

Charlottenburg Palace 3

Charlottenburg Palace 3

Renovations were being carried out at the palace (behind the white quilting) when I visited here with my daughter DD in June.

 

Dance like no-one is watching

Love like you’ll never be hurt

Sing like no-one is listening

Live like it’s heaven on earth

The above poem is attributed to many people. You can read more about it here.

 

Reach for the Stars

TV Tower 1

TV Tower 1

Reach for the Stars

Strain your Neck

Look Up and Up

Into the Clouds

And Send your Signal

TV Tower 2

TV Tower 2

When you see the Berlin TV Tower next to a building, you really appreciate its height: all 368 metres of it!

TV Tower 3

TV Tower 3

They look like little ladders going up to the very top.

Would you be brave enough to climb them?

I certainly wouldn’t!

No. I sat at the bottom with my daughter, DD, eating ice cream. Much more my thing!