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Friday, May 31, 2013

DAY 35 – German Family, German Food, German Fun! - in Oosteebad Wustrow

April 23 – Seeing Liisa at the Baltic Sea
 
The German RR system is great!
Our first German train experience on the Hauptbahnhof was relatively a breeze...beautiful landscapes up to the sandy shore of the Baltic Sea to a small village of Oosteebad Wustrow.  Liisa Werner, a German foreign exchange student had come to Idaho Falls the year previous and I had gotten to know her as I accompanied the Skyline HS choir.  She had invited us to stay a night with her family at Haus Sonnenhauf.  It was a cute little inn they had owned and ran for years.

 We arrived at the village at the top of Germany around 1 p.m. Liisa, her boyfriend, Chris, and her dad, Achim, picked us up at the train station. This stay was to be one our favorite places.  We had our own room and bath at the top of their own home. It was so cute! On our pillow lie a box of candy, my favorite - Almond Roche. 


Chris & Liisa








Do we look like sisters?  HA!
















Liisa, Chris, Anna (11 years old) took us on a walk around the village, where we saw the most adorable houses!  Many of the roofs were grass - so interesting!






Liisa said a so-called "witch" used to live here.
We then went to the Baltic Sea where it was COLD COLD COLD!  Liisa must be used to it - the way she was dressed.  I gathered some sea shells and we all posed for pictures.
What a cute couple!  They want to come the the USA to continue their studies.

Liisa, Chris, Anna

Here I am....edge of Europe at the Baltic Sea!

Brrr....need our big coats next time we come!


 We enjoyed an amazing German meal that Achim had cooked for us. Rouladen (Meat pounded out and bacon, cucumbers, and onions inside after which he rolled it up).  Potato Dumplings (1/2 grated and 1/2 cooked put through a ricer - smooshed into small balls and boiled) Cooked purple Cabbage.  The meal was so tasty! 

They served cheeses after the meal.
We had great conversation and Liisa and I sang a song for the family, both in German and in English. The younger daughter, Anna, played the accordion, and we laughed and talked until quite late.   Although there was a bit of a language barrier, we became friends very easily!

OK....Tyler, the next few pictures are for you!  I took them of the Werner's kitchen.  It was so organized and totally amazing, especially since the kitchen was rather small.  ENJOY!


Morning brought the best breakfast buffet I've ever seen.  My mouth waters as I post these photos.  YUM!!






This was packed with rolls and croissants before I got the photo taken.



The whole experience was a whirlwind!  Ute slipped a beautiful ring on my finger as we were leaving and with tears in our eyes, we parted, hoping that one day we would meet again.
 THANK-YOU Werner Family for a FANTASTIC day near the Baltic Sea!

Thank-You Werner Family!  See you in Idaho someday soon!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

DAYS 33 & 34 – How to See Berlin in 2 Days

April 21 & 22 – Can we ever understand Hitler and WWII?

 We arrived in Berlin about 11 p.m. on a small airline. We had to be careful and make sure our bags were only 22 pounds and that they were the correct measurements or else we would have had to pay 70 euros to check them. Thomas, our wonderful host, picked us up at the airport in his 2012 black BMW. 
Our Berlin CS host's fancy car

He had a nice flat on the top floor (nearly 100 stairs up four flights with no elevator). It was one big room with a bath/laundry lock-off room. There was also a balcony patio where we had a BBQ to introduce us to some of his friends.




I had fun singing "The Lonely Goatherd" song to this 3 year old.  See our bed in the back.
 Katrina, his friend's daughter, was staying with him for a few days while she re-located and got a job.
Katrina in her authentic German outfit
Berlin was a shock for us - #1 because of how busy the city was and all the tourists . #2 -such a crazy transit system and #3 – because of the colder weather. We managed to see some of the historical WWII sites and to do most everything for free. We did a ton of walking because we would get lost using the trams. Thomas gave us a quick city tour in his BMW, but to do it on foot was another story! 

Since 1997, a monument in the centre of Thessaloniki, the Jewish Holocaust Memorial,commemorates the city's murdered Jews. Only a few hundred members of what was once the largest Jewish community in Greece lived to return home after the deportations to Auschwitz-Birkenau, which took place in a matter of just a few months in 1943.
 Very interesting architecture - Each block represents a deceased Jewish family


Entering this room was very sombering as each lit-up place was an excerpt from  someone's story

Topography of Terror is located on the site of buildings which during the Nazi regime from 1933 to 1945 were the headquarters of the Gestapo and the SS, the principal instruments of repression during the Nazi era.  The cellar of the Gestapo headquarters, where many political prisoners were tortured and executed, were found and excavated. The site was then turned into a memorial and museum.  The Berlin Wall (1961-1989) ran along the south side of the street by where the site was built in 1987. The wall here was never demolished. The section adjacent to the Topography of Terror site is the longest extant segment of the outer wall. 

Entrance to "The Topography of Terror"

The largest section of the Berlin Wall still standing

The yellow dots are sites of extermination camps during WWII
German Children from Nurnberg all learn to salute

A plaque in the Museum of why everyone started hailing Hitler, the Fuhrer - all his promises

Checkpoint Charlie was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War.  It became a symbol of that war.  I still remember when news came that the wall was coming down.  We all couldn't believe it!


Picture of Berlin Wall coming down


This couple painted in silver would freeze on the sidewalk and not move a muscle.  They expected tips.

The famous Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is a former city gate, rebuilt in the late 18th century as a neo-classical triumphal arch, but is now one of the most well-known landmarks of Germany.  The gate is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden, the renowned boulevard of linden trees, which formerly led directly to the city palace of the Prussian monarchs.
Atop the gate is the Quadriga, a chariot drawn by four horses driven byVictoria, the Roman goddess of victory

Children having fun popping giant bubbles.


The German Reichstag Building that houses the Budenstag or German Parliament
 The Reichstag is the 2nd most visited attraction in Germany, not least because of the huge glass dome that was erected on the roof as a gesture to the original 1894 cupola, giving an impressive view over the city, especially at night. The reconstruction was finished in 1999.  It is a free attraction, but you have to wait in line a long time to get the tickets.  Then there is a careful security check to go in, but what a fabulous place to visit.  We spent a couple of hours in there.  The architecture alone is incredible and view of the city from on top is spectacular!






The top is open - see the clouds?


We're at the top basking in the sunshine. 
Berlin at night is beautiful  We heard a violinist who was playing the famous Czardas....all I could think of was how Janelle had played it so much better.  Then he played Kol Nidre and I heard Carlene and Toby on his cello playing it.  I MISS MUSIC!

We found different modes of transportation in the city that we probably should have taken since we were always getting lost on the subways.
I don't think there is room on here for us.

Don't really like beer - plus we'd have to pedal!

Another beer bike!

Sure....I'd love to go for a horse and buggy ride!  Too expensive, though!

OK!  I'll settle for a crowded subway, but these men won't even let a lady sit down!  :(







Thomas, Katrina, Rich, and I enjoyed some good conversation and a wonderful Thai meal on the 2nd night.


What a lot of time it must take to fix the carrots!

Kohlrabi that is cut into a flower

The Thai food was wonderful and so was the company!