Berlin

We left Warsaw central Station mid morning and it was raining at the time. The journey took about 5 hours and included many stops in Poland. We crossed into Germany at the river Oder, where a couple of armed police entered the train and walked through the train. We continued onto Berlin and arrived at the new central station about mid afternoon.

Berlins-main-railway-station

The Berlin Central Station was opened in 2006. It has several levels of track and includes a shopping centre.

Kay-in-front-of-our-Berlin-Hotel

Our Hotel in Berlin, a 10 minute walk to the station and a further 15 minute walk to the Brandenburg Gate. A very comfortable room with a kitchen and a balcony.

Model-of-lady-looking-out-window-on-the-street-near-our-hotel

We passed this lady looking out onto the street every time we walked past on our way to and from our hotel.

Richstag

This is the German Parliament house called the Reichstag and houses the lower house of the government called the Bundestag. The upper house called the Bundesrat represents the 16 federal states and meets somewhere else.

 

 

Kay-&-Wally-near-the-top-of-the-Glass-dome-in-the-Reichstag  At-the-top-of-the-glass-dome-above-the-reichstag

This is us at the top of the glass sphere on top of the Reichstag. From here you can look down into the chamber and see the members sitting at their desks when parliament is sitting, which wasn’t the case when we visited.

Sculpture-representing-the-union-of-the-former-4-partitions-of-Berlin-after-WWII.   Bombed-ot-catheral-in-Berlin

One of the main shopping streets in west  Berlin is Kurfurstendamm. It has all the big brand names and the major store KaDeWa, a 6 level superstore loaded with expensive and exclusive goods. The sculpture by Brigitte Matschinsky & Denninghoff Martin Matschinsky consists of 4 tubes reaching upwards but not touching and symbolises the closeness and yet isolation between the then 4 partitions in Berlin. Next is the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtnisirche, a church but the builders left the ruins of the old one which was destroyed in the war as a reminder of the destruction caused by wars.

 

A-path-through-the-Tiergarden

Part of the Tiergarten in Berlin. A 270 hectare inner-city park. Similar to New York’s Central Park and London’s Hyde park.

 

 

Part-of-the-pipe-network-that-removes-water-from-under-Berlin-because-of-the-nature-of-the-underlying-soil-structure

Situated around Berlin are series if these pipes. Apparently Berlin is built on a soil substructure that has lots of water and this water is continually pumped out of the sub-soil in building sites. There are also pink pipes that do the same job but by another company, All pipes empty into the many canals in Berlin.

Part-of-the-former-Berlin-wall-in-the-former-region-of-East-Berlin

Part of the Berlin wall in the former East Berlin. The wall was started in 1961 and destroyed in 1992 after reunification. There is still about a km of the original wall left in Berlin. The image is one of the soviet leader Brezhnev kissing the East German leader Erich Honecker.

Pedestrian-and-shopping-area---galeria-in-Berlin

This is one of the many shopping plazas’ and squares in Berlin. This one is the  Alexanderplatz under the Berlin Communication Tower.

Part-of-the-aftermarth-of-a-major-downpour-we-were-lucky-to-be-on-a-bus-during-which-it-occured.

On our second day in Berlin there was a tropical like downpour that lasted several hours and caused some disruptions to the traffic and subways. Kay and I got rather wet that afternoon. The next day the weather was great.

Couple-of-organ-grinders-in-costume-on-street-corner-in-Berlin  BMW-test-vehicle

While in Berlin we passed a section of Kurfurstendamm where there was a gathering of portable organ grinders having a demonstration. The array of organs and costumes was very colourful and noisy. We also saw again the BMW test vehicle we saw on our very first trip to Berlin with Pam and Don at the start of our holiday. Seemed like they hadn’t advanced much on the original design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warsaw

We left Don & Pam in Helsinki and via Riga in Latvia, took a plane to Warsaw. Poland has a history going back to 1025 when a kingdom was founded. It has an area of about 313,000 sq km and a population of around 40 million. W e all know that Germany invaded Poland in 1939, and Russia shortly after when it formed a pact with Germany. After the war the Russians established a satellite state. Lech Walesa, a welder from Gdansk lead a revolution called Solidarity in 1989 and Poland became a democratic republic. The unit of Money is the Zloty, and 1 Australian dollar will buy about 2.6 Zloty.

I had a chance to practice my Polish, but generally the poles English was far better than my butchered Polish, but we got by.

Polina-Palace-Hotel

This is the Poloina Palace Hotel where we spent our time in Warsaw. Close to the centre of town it was very convenient. This picture was taken from just across the road in the 1956 building that Stalin presented to the residents of Warsaw. Its about 230 metres without the antenna, and the viewing platform is 120 m above the ground. Both the Rolling stones and Leonard Cohen have performed in the 3000 seat auditorium.

Starlins-gift-to-warsaw-called-the-palace-of-culture

This is a photo of Kay taking a photo on the viewing platform of the Tower.

Kay-taking-picture-at-top-of-Starlins-gift-to-Warsaw

This is one of the many public squares in the old town in Warsaw, which most are surrounded by old buildings. When I say the “old town”, I have to remind you that during the second world war the poles rose up against the German occupation and held out for a while. After the uprising was put down the Germans levelled the area. Most of Warsaw was rebuilt after the war to the former specifications. A lot of Warsaw’s old town is about 70 years old.

Street-in-the-old-town-looking-towards-the-palace

This is a photo of one of the roads in the old town looking towards the former palace, now a museum.

Part-of-the-square-in-front-of-the-former-Kings-palace-now-a-museum

This is the square in front of the former Royal palace, which is now a Museum.

Houses-around-a-square-in-the-old-town.

This is one of the many public city squares, most of which are surrounded by lovely 4-5 level buildings. Many of the buildings in the old town are shops selling Amber, which is found mainly around the shores of the Baltic ocean.

One-of-the-dozens-of-shops-in-the-old-town-selling-Amber

The river Vistula flows through the city of Warsaw, and is Poland’s longest river at about 1027 km in length and effectively cuts Poland in half. The building in the background is the National Stadium.

The-river-Vistula-and-the-National-Stadium-in-the-background

Below is a photo of Kay half way through a plate of one of the Polish national dishes, in this case pierogi, a dumpling with  an assortment of fillings, both savoury and sweet.

Enjoying-a-snack-of-Polonds-famous-Pierogi

And finally a pictire of yours faithfully enjoying a cold one, in this case a Zywiec after a hard 6 km walk down the old town and onto the river. It was a nice day.

Having-a-stop-in-the-old-town-after-exhaustive-walk

We left Warsaw at its central rail station and travelled first class to the central station in Berlin.

It was pleasing to hear on the TV news that the police finally going to charge the alleged paedophile George Pell, and nice to hear that Tony Abbott is still making life difficult for Malcolm.