Monthly Archives: September 2016

Lorch to Bad Peterstal-Griesbach (The Black Forest), Germany

Well we were exhausted from a huge day yesterday. Finally hitting the sack last night at midnight. I had a lovely birthday. So as the weather was inclement we were slow to get organised and unfortunately had to cancel our planned hike as with the rain it would have been too tricky and we thought it might be dangerous as well. So it was time to drive to our next destination about a 4 hour drive. A small town in the middle of the black forest called Bad Peterstal-Griesbach. It was a lovely drive once we got off the motorway. DB changed his course just to get off the motorway sooner as it takes enormous amounts of concentration and is very tiring as the speeds are phenomenal.

As in most small towns the language barrier and use of credit card is usually a problem. I had little issues in the small supermarket because I didn’t weigh the veggies and put a sticker on them, this happened in France but we had stopped looking for this as we hadn’t had to do it so far this holiday. The lady was quite pleasant about it and decided it was easier to go do it herself than try to explain it. We had a little giggle about it with her.

Our first home cooked meal since we left Benny. It is so lovely to just have a basic stir fry and stay in rather than find somewhere for dinner and translate the entire menu.

I am now lying in bed listening to the hymns from the church service next door. Might go to mass one day whilst I am here.

It is nice to be resting as we have had a very tiring few days. The plans are to have a couple of days here to rest a little and recover from our hectic schedule so far. I don’t know how DB does all the driving because every time we have a long drive to do I jut can’t keep my eyes open.

Lorch (Rhein), Rhine River, Germany

Its my birthday today. After a couple of birthday calls we headed off for the day. Our legs were a little weary from yesterdays hike. Todays schedule was for a drive to Braubach then a train ride to Koblenz followed by a 20km hike back to Braubach. The track today headed away from the river along a very well graded track for about 19km, it was a pleasant walk but nothing special scenery wise. At about the halfway mark we followed a creek through a rainforest type walk with a few tricky bits. It would have been very interesting had it been raining lately as we were virtually walking in the creek. At the 19km mark, the next 500m went straight down and was a little challenging with weary legs. There was support  railings which were helpful. Once down this section we thought we had to just follow a track down to the town but it headed straight back up and then indicated we had another 3km to go. So much for 20km. We kept going up on our weary legs but were glad we did as we finally got to see the river and our first castle of the day. It was a beauty. Then we walked down to the car, another km or so. The walk ended up being about 25km. A long day. As we had left at about 11am we took the walk at a nice pace with quite a few leisurely stops. A very unusual thing for us as we are usually racing the daylight. As a reward we decided to treat ourselves to an ice cream. Now you would think you could choose ice cream safely from a picture but today we were foiled again with out lack of Deutsche. What looked liked 2 scoops of vanilla one chocolate and cream unfortunately for us was the sauce was an egg liqueur sauce. Yuk yuk yuk. When I am breaking out I want to love it but this time left it for DB to suffer. He said it burned his throat but wouldn’t waste 4.50 euro. My motto now is if you don’t like it don’t eat it.

After our big day we got changed in the car and went back to Koblenz to find somewhere for dinner.  Our first choice we were rejected by an arrogant  head waitress when we asked for a table, she replied “absolutely not!!”. She was quite rude and upset DB as the restaurant had a nice feel and he wanted somewhere nice for my dinner. We found another restaurant and had a lovely meal. One of the best for the holiday.  Heading home now after a very big day.

Fachbach to Lorch (Rhein), Germany

We left Fachbach as this was just an overnight stop and headed in to Koblenz to visit the tourist information to get some hiking trail information. Then a trip to the station for train timetables. The plan was to hike part of the Rheinsteig walk. (The RheinSteig is a 320 km trail on the right side of the Rhine River that links Bonn, Koblenz and Wiesbaden on mainly narrow paths with steep climbs and descents, leading walkers and hikers to forests, vineyards and spectacular views). Once this was sorted we headed towards our accommodation to see if we could walk from there. As it was getting late and we were nearing Lorch (Rhein) i thought i would see what time the train went to Kaub, the shortest hike available. As it turned out we had 10 mins to park, buy our ticket and be ready on the platform for the train. Decision time. Believe it or not, when given minimum time to make a decision i am very good. Decision made. We will go for it. We threw stuff in our backpacks, i bought tickets through ticket machine.  A challenge in itself and had to change platforms. All done in about 8 mins which gave a us a minute or so to be ready. We caught the train a couple of stations and were ready to start our walk about 3pm. A 13km walk along the ridges, through vineyards with a view of the river and a few castles along the way. A 3.5 hour walk and most enjoyable afternoon. The hike was very well signposted. We then headed out for dinner which was another really nice meal.

Quedlinburg to Fachbach (near Koblenz), Germany

We packed up early and went to head out and explore Quedlinburg but were stopped down the stairs by the owner sshooshhhing us and scooting us back up the stairs, we had no idea why but she seemed very agitated. We think she was undergoing an inspection but we really had no idea as she only speaks German. She closed the door to the downstairs and we stayed in our room. After 45mins when she hadn’t come back to tell us we could leave DB went down the stairs again. He came across the daughter who was removing a sign and tape across the door. He tried to find out by using Google translate what was happening but she just said we could leave now. We spoke to another guest once we got out who said it was an unscheduled safety inspection and she turned them away until tomorrow. This doesn’t explain the taped door and notice on the stairs.

TRANSLATION of the note left on the stairs of our accommodation this morning.
“DANGER –  This Constructional plant is officially sealed. Do Not Enter Germass 136 of the Criminal Code shall be punished with imprisonment up to 1 year or a fine, who ablost damaged the employer’s seal or renders unrecognizable, which is close sets to things to monopolize, business to close or to designate, or whoever caused by such a seal makes closing completely or partly ineffective Note The offense of breach of seal is also satisfied if the system is used or worked on her without causing damaged the seal, is superseded or covered”

Anyway, we were out so we just had a giggle and went on our way to explore the town. It was a very quaint town of cobbled streets, colourful buildings, churches and castles. After a few hours of exploring and an gelato, we headed back to the car to drive to our next destination. This changed from this morning as we were due to head to Bamburg which we think would be the same as here but bigger, so we decided to head straight to Koblenz (a long 4hrs drive and over 400km) and the Rhine Valley in the hope of heading out to nature tomorrow or the next day. It is time to leave the city behind for a day or two.

We had one of our nicest dinners tonight at Lahnterrazze. A recommended Italian Restaurant. It was also one of our cheapest meals. Mains – Pasta and Risotto only 7 euro & 7.5 euro. Dinner was had for only 19.50 euro.

Berlin to Quedlinburg, Germany

Today we are leaving Berlin but before we do we will head out for a short Broadbent tour of murals (art on buildings) on our way to the East Berlin Gallery – which is a 1km stretch of the Berlin Wall. On the east side of the wall there is continuous street art unfortunately it was fenced in, which affected some of our pics, and on the west side was graphic pictures and stories of refugees who have survived their war stricken countries. We really have no idea how lucky we are to live in a free country not a war zone. The murals on the way were very good and covered some entire buildings.

Packed up and ready to go on our next adventure. We are heading to south east Germany over the next couple of days. First stop Quedlinburg, a little town near the Harz National Park. But first a stop at the Sanssouci Park which was enormous. Its history begins prior to 1744.

Following a myriad of pathways through the gardens are some amazing palaces – Sanssouci Palace with it’s tiered terraces, fountain and statues. There were so many statues on every pillar throughout the garden. Then we walked to Neues Palace (the front of the palace had 50 windows over two levels) and then the Orangeries Palace with its own botanic garden. It took us over 2 hours to take a brisk walk through some of the grounds. DB said it would be great to play hide and seek but you would need to play on bikes and I would need a compass so I didn’t get lost as the paths went off from each point in sometimes 8 different direction.

Then off we go to our new destination Quedlinburg.

We arrived in Quedlinburg and encountered a few language challenges. There was no-one at our accommodation, just a phone number to call. When we called it went to voicemail in deutsche which I did not understand, so we asked a guy who came out of there to call them, which he did. They then came and spoke no English, only took cash which we did not have enough of, so DB went looking for a bank while I tried to pass time with the 4 or 5 deutsche words I know. Was challenging. DB couldn’t find a bank that took our card so I left and found one to use our EFTPOS card. Lucky we had that one as well.Once checked in we headed out for dinner to a local pub. Also no English, lucky menu had english description. I have spoken the most Deutsche today than I had in the last 3 weeks. No internet tonight so I will get an early sleep.

Berlin Germany – Day 2

First few words from Benny today – “Compared to the towels at my place, these towels are like drying yourself with a tissue”. My response – “More like sandpaper”.

After a lovely breakfast in with Benny we said our farewells as he headed back to Chemnitz on the bus. We have shared a lovely week with him and it was very sad to say goodbye.

DB and I then headed out on our walking tour and came across the course of the Marathon. We found the 15km mark at 11.15am and they had been going since 9.15. It was a constant, hectic stream of runners. Quite an unbelievable sight. We then headed to the 40km mark and watched as people running 2.5 to 2.75hour pace ran past. It was amazing the amount of support trackside and the number of runners at this speed was amazing. DB was in his element. We then headed to the finish line at Brandenburg Gate. An amazing atmosphere and great experience. The winner finished in 2 hrs 3 mins and 3 secs. Only 6 secs off the world record. The first girl was 2 hrs 20 mins. We went for a walk along the river and came back to the grandstand at the finish line and watched from about 4.5 hours to over 5 hours, it was still an amazing atmosphere with cheering and celebrations still going strong. It made DB very emotional to watch such a variety of runners complete this amazing course.

We then headed to look at a few more historic sights. Another exhausting day.

We had our first taste of Turkish food tonight. I had a lamb, capsicum, mushroom, onion and tomato dish with rice and DB had lamb cutlets, rice, salad & yoghurt. Followed by a baklava with pecans and ice cream. Yummy. Will definitely try some more Turkish food when we come home.

Berlin Germany – Day 1

Off to Berlin with Benny. We packed up and left Benny’s early , our earliest start yet at 6.45am. A tough start as we went to watch Benny perform last night, then came home for dinner and packed, meaning we hit the sack at about 1am. We had a 3 hour drive before a bike tour of Berlin city starting at 11am. The roads were pretty quiet but still driving at amazing speeds.

The day started well with DB seeing his first deer as we headed to Berlin. He has been looking for a couple of weeks as there are signs everywhere we have travelled so far. 🙂

On our arrival in Kreuzburg (an outer suburb of Berlin) we were amazed at how dirty and the amount of graffiti there was everywhere. It was very much the outskirts of the inner city and like little Turkey with Doner Kebab and Felafel shops everywhere. Once we made our way in to the city centre the streets were cleaner and there was less graffiti.

We arrived at our accommodation with plenty of time to spare to get to our tour. We then walked from accommodation to city centre. The tour was 4.5hours riding around the city. We saw many monuments, historical sites and parklands including Reichstag Building, Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Television Tower, The Holocaust Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin Cathedral, Museum Island, Potsdamer Platz, Site of Hitler’s Bunker, Deathstrip Watchtower, a ride along the River Spree and through the Tiergarten Park, passed the Zoo, the Victory Column and the site of Nazi book burning. It was a very interesting day of history. We learned why the statues on many on the buildings are black, this was because during WWII Hitler had them buried in forests and lakes with their locations recorded so they could be dug up after the war, this was because the bombs weren’t dropped in the forests just where the most damage could be done. So after the war the buildings that had been bombed and/or destroyed were rebuilt and the statues dug up and put back in their place. So the buildings are new and clean and the statues have been left in their original condition. This was apparent throughout the city.

The history of Berlin and the Nazi regime was very interesting. The number of Jews killed was Incomprehensible – it was over 6 million. One way it was explained was at the Jewish memorial there is a recording of every Jews name who died in WWII and it takes over 6 years of continuous play for their names to be read out.

Another bit of German irony. The Nazis ordered all crosses be removed from the churches and then later they built a TV tower (which as always had to be big) that when the sun shines on the silver ball it forms its own cross.

We had a great lunch with the tour at a pub in the city and got to know a few of our fellow bikers. It was great to share our last day with Benny.

Went shopping with Benny to get his winter coat. The shop was in the most unlikely building for a designer shop.

We headed out for another traditional dinner at Max & Moritz. The food was very nice but DB not too keen on half raw ham sausages but he ate most of it “as an experience”.

We found out today why I struggled so much to find accommodation for Berlin the weekend as the Berlin Marathon is on this weekend. Today was the rollerbladers race and tomorrow is the runners. With over 20,000 bladers and over 40,000 runners plus their support crews I think Berlin was pretty well booked. 97% when I started looking last Thursday night. We were lucky to find somewhere.

Benny’s words – “Well if you did a little research you would have known about it”. Hahaha!!!

Sorry I have missed a couple of names on the photos but don’t have time to check their exact names. Will do next time we stop.

Chemnitz to Oberwiesental, Germany

Today we were to drive to Oberwiesenthal but ended up at Olbernhau instead. DB awarded himself the award for dumb and dumber today. He hates German spelling he is always getting it wrong. Today he put the wrong location in GPS. After an hours drive we were still an hour from our destination. Hehe. Which made for a very entertaining conversation with the Tourist Info guy. We asked for hikes near there and he said there weren’t any. We were supposed to be in a skiing location with at least 8 hikes. We eventually made it there.

Whilst driving throughout Germany there have been cornfields everywhere, today was no different. We have seen lots of cows but they eat pork a lot but we haven’t seen any pigs yet. We travelled the cutting edge of Czech border today. It follows the smallest creek.

As we were driving to the top on the side of the road was a couple of beavers carved out of tree trunks.

A couple of poignant phrases from DB today.
“I hate these places that you can drive to the top.”  Lucky for us today though a drive was all we wanted. It was an amazing view at the top. Finally saw a pig this afternoon but it was carved out of a tree stump.
” This is far removed from the tourists of yesterday.” He really does like to get off the beaten track. A bit further  today than intended.

We went to watch Benny’s ballet again tonight which was really good again.

Tomorrow we are headed with Benny to Berlin.