Category Archives: 2019 Europe

Chemnitz to Sydney

Sunday 1st December 2019
Chemnitz to Dresden to Prague to Dubai to Sydney to Davistown.
Time estimate is 30 hours to Sydney, all going well.

Well it is time to travel home an only 1.5 hours sleep. I so could not go to sleep last night. In the end I just got up at 5.45am before my 6am alarm. Showered, dressed and packing finalised we were on our way to the station at 6.49am. It was very cold outside so I was rugged up. 2 thermal bottoms, jeans, thermal top, long sleeve tshirt, jumper, tortoise shell jacket and rain/wind jacket, woollen scarf and headband. Ready for a very cold day, in hindsight I wasn’t outside too much so I could have left some of the clothes off.

Benny walked with me to Chemnitz train station for our 7.30am departure and he is escorting me to Dresden to ensure I get on the right train to Prague. All going well, I think I have learned my lesson on jumping on trains without checking first. I didn’t chat to Benny much before we got on the train as he only had his coffee at the station. Lesson learnt – he needs a coffee to communicate. We had a pleasant chat and ride to Dresden, arriving on time at 8.50am for a 9.10am departure. All went well. Benny helped me on the train and I was on my way again. The first solo travel for me since 21st October. All went well on the train to Prague and I had decided at Ben’s suggestion t just catch a taxi to the airport as it only costs about 20-25 euro. When I arrived at the taxi rank I just checked with the driver before getting in the cab that he would take euro. He asked where to and when I told him the international airport he showed me a schedule of fares and said it was 72 euro. Playing on the unsuspecting tourist. I say “No thank you, it is only about 25 euro”. He immediately said well 50 euro. I also said no and walked back in to the train station. Another taxi driver followed me out and said he would do it for 30 euro. I had had enough so said No to him as well. He walked and I walked out to the front of the station. I could have caught another train for minimal cost 60CZK but they advised it was expected to be jam packed, standing room only for a 35 minute trip. So I decided on an Uber. I walked down the street for easy access to the Uber, booked it and it cost 373CZK which equals 24AUD, only 14 euro. Boy was I happy with that. It is so wrong that the cab drivers prey on unsuspecting tourists. But I am getting wiser. The Uber guy was really nice so I even tipped him as I was quite relieved to not be ripped off.

Arrival at Prague airport was then non eventful, checkin was smooth only 0.2kg overweight with no extra charge. Passport control had a long queue, but all in all ver smooth. I am now sitting at Prague airport, minus a couple of layers and ready for a little snooze.


Chemnitz – The Nutcracker Premiere

Saturday 30th November, 2019 – Part Two
Ready for the big premiere tonight. A quick pot of pumpkin soup for dinner and then off I went. A lovely brisk walk along Bruhl Boulevarde to the Theatre. I am really looking forward to seeing the Premiere.

Well It was amazing. Benny was stupendous, the rest of his friends and colleagues were also amazing. I really loved it. Following the show we went to the function which was great except I didn’t understand any of it. Then downstairs to the canteen to have a drink with his friends. We ended up getting home at about 1am and then I finalised the last of my things and hopped in to bed at about 1.30pm. Unfortunately sleep eluded me. I managed a little from 4.15am to 5.45am when it was time to get up. Oh well bring on the next day or two of travel.

A couple of images below but if you would like to see the full selection go to the two inks below.

Chemnitz, Germany

Saturday 30th November, 2019 – Part One
Another lovely day. A slight dusting of snow overnight. Just for me! It is very, very cold.

Today I have to pack. Eekkk! Will it all fit in and will it weigh too much. Thankfully Lisa took some stuff for me with her as I would definitely have been overweight.

After a little bit of organising, I set off to meet Benny to buy his washing machine. Then we had lunch at the Christmas Markets again. Then on our way home we passed the Chemnitz Parade. All the villages in the surrounding area parade passed the Opera House to the City Centre. Another great experience.

Then home again to pack in it’s entirety as we have the Premiere tonight, the function afterwards and then we have to leave at 6.45am tomorrow for the train from Chemnitz to Prague via Dresden. Finally done. Dinner done and getting ready to go out shortly to the Premiere of The Nutcracker. Really looking forward to tonight.

The Christmas Markets, Chemnitz Germany

Friday 29th November 2019 – Part Two
Then out into the cold, it is feeling like snow tonight. We walked around the stalls for a little bit and then Benny had a Gluhwein and I had a Heiss Schokolade with cream. Yummy! You have these to warm up your hands, so you are supposed to drink slowly but I forgot that bit as it was so yummy. We shared all different kinds of market food so that I could sample as much variety as possible. Handbrot, Spatzel and champignons, Knoblauchbrot and finishing off with a waffle with Nuss-Creme (nutella). Benny had another Gluhwein and this time I had a hot Apple and cinnamon drink. It was so cold. A very big day as we didn’t get home until about 9pm. i walked about 8.5km today.

Chemnitz, Germany – Week 3

Friday 29th November, 2019 – Part One
What a big day. Swim, Hair, Shop, Markets Cold cold cold!

First stop, my last swim at Stadtbad Chemnitz. It was sooo crowded. About 6-10 people per lane, mostly doing breast stroke. So difficult to pass them. The demographics in this city is quite old or university students. Therefore the swimmers are quite slow as it is unusual for me to need to pass many people at all.

Next stop, the hairdresser. Benny and I had already made an appointment earlier next week for when there was a hairdresser available that spoke English. It was a beautiful experience. Greeted at the desk, seated on the lounge, offered tea or a drink immediately whilst I waited. Then a little discussion on what I wanted done and then a pleasant chat with the hairdresser , her English was quite good. They are always so proud of themselves when you praise them. The hair wash and treatment was a treat, a reclining massage chair in a room with light music and a water screen on the wall. Then to make me beautiful. She did a really good job of my hair and they have made me up a card for next time.

Then a quick shop and home for a little rest before heading out again with Benny this afternoon. We left for the shops at about 3pm as Benny needs to get a new washing machine as it broke in the move.

Thursday 28th November, 2019
A balmy day today 8-11°C, it feels a lot colder as it is a little windy. A bit of painting again today and then off to the theatre tonight to watch the final dress rehearsal before the Premiere on Saturday night. Can’t wait. The dress rehearsal was fantastic. Can’t wait to see it again. Woohoo Benny!

Wednesday 27th November, 2019
A big day for me today. Two coats of paint on Benny’s bathroom, a 2km swim, 8.3km walk, shopping, dinner and a game of Scrabble. Only a couple of more days until the premiere of the Nutcracker. They had a dress rehearsal tonight and I will go and watch another dress rehearsal tomorrow night.

Tuesday 26th November, 2019
Today I am headed to watch the 2nd Act rehearsal. The dancers are just in training clothes and the orchestra will be there. It is a fantastic opportunity to see behind the scenes and how it all comes together. I love it. Then a swim again tonight but not until about 6.30pm as Benny’s split shift starts from 7-10pm tonight. Will I or won’t I. Hopefully I can motivate. A game of scrabble to try and even the score. Yay, after a week and a half of playing scrabble with Ben I am finally back to square one. We are Even. I enjoyed noter 2km swim tonight.

Monday 25th November, 2019
A very cold day, Benny heads off to work at normal time (9am) after a very late night/early morning. I have a rest day at home, a bit of cleaning, a bit of organising. He has a split shift today 10-2 and 6-10. Difficult hours. As it gets dark at 4.15pm I struggle to head back to work with him to go for a swim. It is cold, dark and damp. Not very inviting to go out. I would love to just snuggle under a blanket but as I haven’t really done much today I make the effort to go. After a lovely 2km swim I head to the grocery store and home to cook dinner for a change. Only has to be ready for about 10pm, very late for me but worth the wait. A yummy lasagne and salad.

Berlin, Germany

Sunday 24th November, 2019
HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY PAUL. Hope you have a lovely dinner XXX

What an amazing day. We set out early and caught the 9.45am bus from Chemnitz. A 3.5 hour bus ride to Berlin. This was a relaxing tie on the road, no comparison to the stress levels when driving the autobahn yourself. I am feeling quite comfortable on the wrong side of the road now, even crossing the street has become quite natural. We arrived at Berlin at about 1.15pm and caught an SBahn and a UBahn to get to the Japanese Restaurant Benny wanted to take me too. Unfortunately it wasn’t taking anymore patrons for today. So on to the next one up the street. We enjoyed a lovely Japanese meal of Gyozi – vegetable and chicken, Yakitori, Seared Beef and Tuna, with a little salad. It was a very enjoyable meal. Not to dally, as soon as we were finished we headed off and caught another SBahn to the Theatre.

Friedrichstadt Palast was a beautiful building inside and out, it was elegantly appointed and very sophisticated. The lights and stairwell were beautiful. Benny picked up our tickets and then organised our interval drinks all in his very good German. He is communicating so well now. He prefers to still do it in person but is also managing quite well on the telephone as well now. In we go to the theatre, our seats were amazing, 6th row from the front on the side. Fantastic. It was a full house and the show was spectacular. Apparently it changes every two years and costs about 1,000,000 euro to set up each time. The costumes, the performances of acrobatic, singing, dancing, acting, rope hanging/twirling was an extravaganza to say the least. I would go again in a blink. Thank you to my wonderful children and their families for the birthday present and thank you to Benny for sharing this joy with me for a change.

After the Vivid show we then headed on another train to the Berlin Botanical Gardens to see the Christmas Lights. This was beautiful. You follow a trail through the gardens looking at many different light displays. It would have been lovely if we had a little more time to enjoy the stroll through the park instead of the double time we walked through. But all in all it was a very lovely experience.

Next two more trains back to the bus stop for our 9pm train home. The day was a day of timing, getting on the many forms of transport, walking and scheduling everything with precision to enable us to see everything. Well done Benny, you did a fantastic job. I just followed your lead. We had a pleasant trip home on the bus and arrived home at 1.15am. Straight off to bed as Benny has to go to work tomorrow.

Chemnitz, Germany – Week 2

Saturday 23rd November, 2019
Today I will be watching the Matinee of Nutcracker which is a short excerpt of the ballet which will premiere next Saturday. I am looking forward to it.

It was wonderful to watch the dances do their warmup class. For anyone else that would be it for the day, worn out. But they do this class for 1 hour and then perform. I have enjoyed a great day with Benny afterwards. I am a loser in Scrabble though, I am down by 4 games now. Ouch!!

Friday 22nd November, 2019
Today was a beautiful sunny day with a light breeze and very fresh air temperature. A nice 6-8°C. I had a pleasant 6km walk, 2km swim and 4km walk before lunch. A chat and a fun game of Scrabble with Benny, he is getting too good. We are even on the tally at the moment. Then tonight I have been to watch the first dress rehearsal of Nutcracker. I love watching the ballet develop from the first stage rehearsal until I see the final moments in the Premiere. A great week ahead before the Premiere next Saturday night. I love every stage!

Thursday 21st November, 2019 
Well, I start each day with exactly the same word. So today I had a nice day. I walked to Sachsen-Allee (Shopping Centre) and bought some of Benny’s Christmas present. Then headed back home for a quick lunch and then went for an exercise walk around Schlossteich, then headed to the pool. After swimming 2000m slow, finishing at about 4.15pm I came outside to darkness. I so can’t get used to how early it gets dark here in the winter, especially as it only gets light at about 8am as well. I met Benny and we went to the Galleria to have a look at Christmas things. Another day has gone by now and it is only 10 days until I start my long journey home.

Wednesday 20th November, 2019
Well it is cold and gloomy today. Top of 4°C today. Eeekkk!! And I have to go out to see Benny’s performance of Winterreise. I am looking forward to it, just not the cold. We had a quiet morning inside out of the cold. The performance was amazing. A contemporary piece with a pianist and singer. It was quite dramatic with dynamic movement. I loved it!!

Head to the link below if you want to have a look at the Winterreise pictures

Tuesday 19th November 2019
Well in two weeks time I will have had my first sleep at home in my own bed. Can’t believe 4 weeks has passed so fast. Maybe not so fast for DB but it won’t be long now. Today is a lovely, bright sunny day, cold at only 3-7°C today. I head out for a walk at about 11am and it is only 4°. At home you would hesitate to go outside but as this is the best it will get for the winter. Off I go. I am going for a long walk to explore the Küchwald forest today. I will walk past the Schlossteich, and then towards Benny’s old apartment to the forest. It is a beautiful day for it and the autumn colours in the forest are beautiful. I head into the forest and just meander through it, coming across an ice skating rink. wanting to see the ice I tried to walk around the rink but was unable to get any closer. I reached the Botanical Gardens but will leave that for another day. Back into the forest and I thought i the correct direction for home, but alas, my fantastic sense of direction has failed me yet again. I end up behind the colourful energy stack that you can see from the lake. I decide it is time to let technology to the work for me to get e back on track. Oops, heading the wrong way, I turn around and have about a 25 minute walk back to the lake. It has been a lovely walk. I return home 11km in total over about 2.5 hours. Well that takes care of today as Benny will be home at 2.30pm. Just enough time to do some groceries  for dinner and a quick shower.  I few nice hours with Benny and I thought I would go for a swim, but as always the early dark (about 4.30pm) and the cold deters me again.

Monday 18th November 2019
Another drizzly day with single figure temperatures. Maximum of 8°C. Final day of deliveries, Benny’s table arrived at about midday. Benny only had to work this morning today, so after he built his new table we headed out to TK Max. A discount department store, Benny thought I would like to go shopping, not sure that he knows me very well. Anyway, he picked up a  few things for his house and I looked through another shopping centre. They are just starting o put up there Christmas decorations. The shopping centre looked lovely. I still can’t get used to the darkness at 4.30pm but I still have a couple of weeks to adapt before coming home to daylight savings time and the heat. That will be a big shock to the system.

Sunday 17th November, 2019
Well we went out for a lovely brunch this morning of traditional German food. A buffet of sausages of many different kinds, scrambled eggs, has browns, boiled eggs, chicken nuggets, soup, hams, cheeses, salami, salads, smoked salmon, breads, cereals, croissants, dried fruit, pannacotta and that is just the breakfast menu, then as we were leaving at about 11am they started to bring out the lunch buffet of fish and more. We were heading home to prepare for Benny’s little house warming gathering with his closest friends – Jean-Blaise, Isabel, Alejandro and Soomi. It was a lovely afternoon.



Chemnitz, Germany – Week 1

Saturday 16th November, 2019
Happy anniversary to Gavin and Kristy. Hope you have a lovely day.

Well Benny is off to work today till 2pm, so with  the inclement looking weather I will enjoy a relaxed morning in his lovely apartment. I received a call on his home phone and thinking it was his delivery as I didn’t understand anything I said, I indicated the 4th floor in German and opened the door. This wasn’t a delivery but a couple of Jehovah’s who offered me a business card and in limited english suggested I look at their website. Oops!

Tonight I am heading to the Opera to watch 10 of the dancers from Benny’s company and the Opera Company perform in “Mefistofele”. This was spectacular but last time I saw it I was too tired and slept a lot of it. Photos in the link below if you want to have a look.

Friday 15th November, 2019
Well another really good night sleep again. Followed by a lovely walk around the lake, a 1500m slow swim and a walk home. A quiet afternoon with Benny waiting for another delivery. A top of 11°C, a balmy winter’s day.

Thursday 14th November 2019
Another quiet day at home, just chatting on the phone, computing, reading and waiting for another delivery for Benny. Sorry DB for your manic life I will be home soon. The weather today looked beautiful, the sun was shining on to Benny’s bed, it was a lovely spot to enjoy the warmth and quiet. I almost missed the delivery as when the phone rang I told the guy the fourth floor but then forgot to unlock the downstairs door. Not used to apartment living. When he didn’t arrive I realised but he had already gone. I had to chase him up the street to get him to come back with Benny’s furniture. Another night of building Ikea stuff.

Wednesday 13th November, 2019
Well another quiet day. A lovely cooked breakfast with Benny before he heads off the work at about 9am. I am sleeping a lot better now. Getting about 7-8 hours sleep and sleeping in until at least 6.30am. Yay! Hanging at home this morning hoping Benny’s delivery will arrive before I head out. Oh well. It wasn’t to be. I headed out about 12pm for a walk around the lake, it was beautiful and still although a little rainy. After my walk I headed for my first visit to the Chemnitz Stadtbad (City Bath). It is just a few minutes walk from Benny’s work. Well as always the first time doing something in a foreign country without their language is always a little challenge. After paying my entry 3.50€ I was given a token and directions to the ladies. It is a lovely facility. I struggled to get my token to work in the turnstile but managed it eventually. Then to get a locker, in the end I had to ask for help from a girl just leaving. It turned out it wasn’t my ignorance just some lockers were missing the key. Then I went for a swim and managed 1km slowly as directed. Then struggled with removing my token from my locker, again asking help the lady just pulled it out and indicated in body language that you just need muscles. Haha! It was really nice to be back in the water, albeit a little slow.

I then met Benny and we did a little shopping in the town centre before I headed home and Ben went back to work for another 4 hours. It was almost dark by this stage and it was only 4.30pm. Benny’s new apartment is only a 15 minute flat walk from his work.

Anyway. Another day almost done and dusted. Counting them down slowly.

Tuesday 12th November, 2019
Today I am just hanging at home waiting for another delivery, it is a little gloomy out today, no sunshine and only 2°C to 6°C. A little chilly, but inside and under a blanket it is all good. Time to catch up a little with family and my husband on the phone, a little blogging and relaxation. Sorry DB your life is a little more hectic than mine now. Won’t be too long and I will be home again.

Monday 11th November, 2019
Another lovely day of sunshine, but a little cooler due to the wind today. We managed a walk around the lake again and then a little shopping before heading back to the respite of warmth in his new apartment, which by the way is very lovely. Light, roomy and clean. He is now on the fourth floor so it is also a little more private. We spent a lovely afternoon just looking through our family’s photos from the last year so he could enjoy the growth and feel a part of everyone’s life. It was a most enjoyable afternoon as we waited for his furniture delivery which arrived at 6pm. After a flurry of activity building his Ikea shelves, 2 x outdoor chairs and armchair, we headed out for Isabel’s birthday dinner at a German equivalent of our Grill’d. Fancy burger bar where we enjoyed an interesting, varied language (English, German and Spanish) conversation with Isabel (German), Jean-Blaise (French), Soomi (Korean), Alejandro (Spanish), Benny and I (Australian). I didn’t follow it all but it was lovely to be included in Benny’s German family’s celebration. A very special opportunity. There time clocks are very different to mine though as we headed out for dinner at 8.10pm and only 1°C, almost my bedtime, and didn’t get home till after 10.30pm on a night before the start of a full work week. Lucky for me it is recuperation time now.

Sunday 10th November, 2019
Well I managed a good nights sleep at last. I think the lack of air-conditioning and heating  and maybe the 2.5 weeks of manic pace assisted me tonight. We went for a lovely stroll to the Schlossteich as it was a beautiful sunny day albeit only 6°C. whilst walking in the sunshine it was quite pleasant, although a little cold in the shade, as long as you kept moving it was OK. This afternoon I have been to watch Benny’s matinee performance of Swan Lake again, it was fantastic and I even managed to see the whole show without any micro sleeps. Yay me!! I love watching him and his friends, they are so talented. We then went for dinner at a nice Vietnamese Restaurant. Time for a few vegetables. It was a lovely dinner and wonderful to spend some time with Ben.


Frankfurt to Chemnitz Germany

Saturday 9th November, 2019
What a day. All went well early, we checked Lisa in at Singapore Airlines and dropped off her bags. We then went back to the Starbucks near our hotel where Lisa ordered breakfast and I went and collected my bags from the hotel. After a quick breakfast Lisa went with me to the train station which was located in the Terminal 1 of the airport. Very convenient. All was going according to plan, it was 9am, I was at the correct platform, at the right spot for my assigned carriage and seat, when with 2 minutes till my train’s arrival there was an announcement in German and all the people started to move towards the elevator. I stopped lady who explained our train was coming in on Platform 7 now. So off we went, to a waiting train on the platform, in haste I jumped on the wrong train and the doors closed. I asked an off duty train guard was this train headed to Leipzig, her reply was No. I then said well I need to get off the train then. She said you can’t, you will have to catch the train to Mainz 12 minutes away and catch one back. I was quite distressed as I obviously would miss my train to Leipzig. She showed no sympathy, just saying there was nothing I could do. So I stood looking out the window at the station I could not get off at for another few minutes. Oh well, just go with it I must. When the guard came to check my ticket, the off duty guard explained in German what had happened. Even though I had a Faresaver (unchangeable, non-refundable) ticket, he showed me what to do when I arrived at Mainz (I took a photo of the train numbers and route I would be taking) and was very understanding. He couldn’t guarantee another guard wouldn’t make me pay but said as it was a genuine mistake I should be OK. Oh well, another lesson learned, take your time (even wen you have none), ask questions, and as Benny would say “Check the App”, which when I calmed down and sat down for my 12 minute journey in the wrong direction, it explained my train was delayed 9 mins. Oops.

I then had an uneventful trip back to Frankfurt airport, then on the Leipzig, changing trains and then on to Chemnitz, where Benny met me at 4.25pm, 2 hours later than expected but still in time for Swan Lake that night. The ballet was amazing again, this time he played the role of a soldier. It was a most enjoyable night.

Lisa had an uneventful, although very lengthy journey through customs and immigration, she said the crowds were extreme. Lucky she had plenty of time as her boarding time was 10.40am for an 11.40am departure. There were many stressed people rushing to try and get through a process that cannot change. She was very grateful that she was not one of them. Unfortunately she still had 24 hours of travel via Singapore to Sydney. Thanks Lisa for a fantastic few weeks.

Bacharach to Frankfurt, Germany

Friday 8th November 2019
Well it is Lisa’s last day in Germany today. We will jam pack another day full of sightseeing before heading to Frankfort Airport hotel.

So we started today at Bacharach in The Rhein Valley, a quaint little town of mediaeval style buildings and are continuing down the left bank of the Rhein River to Koblenz just enjoying the scenery, looking at the many castles and the beautiful countryside along the way. We were going to stop at a few castles but decided to just look at them in the distance as getting to them was a bit of a challenge. We stopped at Koblenz which was our turn around point. We went for a walk around the waterfront where the Rhein meets the Mosel and Lahn Rivers. We had a walk around the old town and into a shopping centre. Here I managed to buy some make-up so when my buddy leaves tomorrow I don’t look too much like an old hag as I forgot to bring mine.

After a quick lunch we repacked our bags in the carpark ready for our drop off at the airport. We then headed up the other side of the Rhein River towards Rudesheim. This side wasn’t quite as nice as the other, the towns were a little larger, not as quaint or old world charm and the view a little blocked by the trees. It was all still lovely in parts and we enjoyed the views. We finished off at a Panoramic viewpoint above Rudesheim which overlooked the Rhein Valley and was where the Niederwalddenkmal monument was built.

“In the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley there is a castle to be found every 2.5 kilometres on average, with over 40 of them still more or less intact. Many can be seen along the riverbanks and hilltops, and a lot of them are open to visitors. The vast majority of these castles, however,are relatively recent constructions of the 19th and 20th century. Most medieval castles had become ruins due to destruction and abandonment, and had fallen into disrepair. During the age of Romanticism in the 19th century, many ruins were then rebuilt and remodelled, e.g. Rheinstein, Reichenstein, Stahleck, Sooneck, Katz and Maus, and Lahneck. Stolzenfels Castle, which can be seen just across the river from Marksburg Castle, too, is a significant Romantic creation – but at the same time, it is not a proper castle anymore. There are very few exceptions such as Pfalzgrafenstein and of course Marksburg Castle that have survived the centuries without destruction and which today provide us with a glance back into previous centuries.”

It was about 3.15pm when we left the Rhein Valley to head towards Frankfurt Airport. An hour drive on a couple of autobahns. Help Me!!

It was very busy but all went well until we got close to the airport, the in car navigation went to sleep and was woken in German (OOPSS!) and google maps didn’t quite give as much information on lane guidance, therefore I took a wrong turn and headed 3km away from the airport. Oh well, luckily it can navigate me back. On finding my way back to the hotel I dropped Lisa with 2 large luggage bags, 2 duffel bags, 2 shopping bags and her back pack. I was stopped in half a taxi spot so couldn’t help her. I then had to try and find the Europcar rental return, supposedly at Terminal 1. I managed to find Terminal 1 and as I took the turn towards it I saw a sign for the car rental return at Terminal 2, luckily I couldn’t get to it as when I drove a bit further the Terminal 1 Car Rental sig was there. After dropping the car off I made my way back through the airport to the hotel with just my back pack to meet Lisa. We then sorted our bags and decided against a 20min train ride into the city for dinner in favour of doing a reconnaissance of the train station and airport check-in for tomorrow and a leisurely dinner in the hotel.

A good decision. Our last night together was very relaxed and we were ready for our separate journeys tomorrow.