Baroque jems in Dresden

By Noah – Today was our first day exploring a new site on our way down south, Dresden. Famed for its old churches and beautiful architecture, this is a wonderful city that just needed to be explored by my mum and myself. Our first stop was the Albertinum, an old building that hosted a very strange exhibition that my mum didn’t really enjoy. Our next stop was the Frauenkirche, or the Church of our Lady.This very tall cathedral was completely destroyed in 1945, during WW2 and then completely rebuilt from 1994 before opening again in 2004/5. This reconstruction cost about €182 million and was partly funded by the U.K.. Coventry, for example, gave the church its gold cross that is perched at the very top. This is because the church was destroyed by the Coventry blitz but is now twinned with the English city as a show of friendship and forgiveness.

Our next stop was Zwinger. This was a huge, grassy courtyard with four fountains that was totally surrounded by baroque style buildings that held galleries and exhibitions. This is where e we sat down for a while to take lots of photos and have a bite to eat. Next, we walked along the river Elbe that runs all the way to the Czech border. This walk is called Brühl’s Terrace and there is another very old building on the waterfront. Our last stop today was Dresden Castle. Built in the 13th century, but then reduced to rubble during the war, this building contains the more treasures and valuable items that any other location in the whole of Europe. We looked through every single room we could and must have seen in excess of many millions of pounds worth of items.

On the way back we got back to old roots and did a bit of geocaching  near where we are staying. We found it with ease as another family was there when we arrived at the location. A bit of disjointed German halted us along  and we returned home with lots of photos to look over. Tomorrow we venture over the Elbe to see yet more sights in Dresden…

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Lübbenau to Dresden

Steps: 13,276

Distance: 9.25km

By Noah – We have now arrived in our next destination, Dresden, and have Wi-Fi which means I am now able to share more of our stories with the world. We had a very quiet day today with nothing planned other than a train trip so decided to take a short walk around the town of Lübbenau and try to find hidden excitements. Despite doing this, we still had over an hour to wait at the station. We arrived in Dresden just after five and found our Air BnB with little hassle which meant we could easily settle down and have dinner. We have a city apartment with a great view of the old town which is made even better by foreign sweets. Neither of us can wait to explore another new destination in the following few days…

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Missed a Bit

By Noah –  A more alert and attentive of our readers will have realised that I have missed out two day’s worth of posts. ‘How can this be?, what could have happened?’. But don’t worry, all that has happened is that we were temporarily in a Wi-Fi no-zone and so were unable to post any blogs about our most recent adventures. As usual, we have trying new things and going to new, exotic locations and the past few days have been no different. Our town was Lübbenau, in the UNESCO world heritage site that is the extensive network of canals that run through Spreewald. Naturally, me and my mum had to test the waters and so we went on a full day excursion of the canals. It was great fun and very tiring despite a few minor problems: our map was totally wrong, and our kayak had a rudder that was foot operated by me. Never, never, ever in a million years choose a kayak with a rudder over one without one as it made for very difficult turning despite what we had envisioned. We’ve just arrived earlier today in Dresden and can’t wait to look around tomorrow. I will post another blog in a few minutes about today so stay alert. 

Lübbenau. A place of canals, wildlife,  and aches and pains in the morning.

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Another day in Berlin, another 14.5km

Steps:20,807

Distance:14.5km (9.01miles)

By Noah – After visiting pretty much everything of interest in Berlin over only two days, our third day was put together in the morning with the help of a map. After ruling out one location, due to it being miles away, we were left with the German Historical Museum, Bebelplatz, Gendarmenmarkt, and a by late entry: Prenzlauer Berg.

We had passed the museum the day before and were interested in what might be displayed within so we were happy to know that we would soon find out. It hosted a large array of wartime relics, both from the WW2 and after it. There was also a very lengthy film about how Germany and the land it owned had developed since the 2nd century. The next exhibits concerned medieval times and the rule, and eventual collapse, of the French occupation of Germany. Although we didn’t quite understand all of what was being said about the objects on display, we still gained a thorough insight into the history of Germany.

Our next stop was Bebelplatz, a square depicted in many famous films for its reputation during the war. This was the square where the Nazis built towering pyres of books before burning them as a show of not supporting freedom of speech. We then moved onto a square that was full of architecture and history. Gendarmenmarkt hosted two amazing buildings that were completely set apart from the surrounding apartments and flats.

After browsing through what little we hadn’t done already, my mum found a small neighbourhood just east of where we were staying and we decided to go home via this area. Also, today being a Saturday, there was a large market on down the main avenue where many local jams, jewellery, and fresh fruit were to be bought. We then continued on home with a soya milk ice cream each to cool us down.

I can safely say that Berlin has been a great city to travel in and explore, despite what many say about its size. We have both thoroughly enjoyed our time in this wonderful city and can’t wait to see what else Germany has to offer. Our next stop, Lübbenau…

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Ich bin ein Berliner!

Berlin Cathedral

Berlin Cathedral

Architecture is everywhere

Architecture is everywhere

The oldest church in Berlin

The oldest church in Berlin

Steps: 20,624

Distance: 14.37km

 

By Noah – On our second in Berlin we were ready to go and see some more famous sights. Our first stop was the famous Alexanderplatz, which was a cattle market before becoming a centre for tourists and businesses. Today, it hosted a large market where you could buy everything from liquorice to key rings, woolly hats to phone cases. There was certainly something for every one. Next, we ventured into the old part of Berlin that hadn’t been rebuilt since the end of the war in 1945. It was there that the oldest church in Berlin still stood strongly to this day, with its twin spires dominating the sky. However, it wasn’t impossible to see the modern influence on the city with the television tower shooting into space behind. The very different design of the church was very unique and even I haven’t seen one like it anywhere else around the world.

The next place on our list was the garden surrounding the television tower. Here, there was large fountain dedicated to Neptune, the God of the oceans. The four Prussian rivers were also depicted in the sculpture as amphibious humans. Here there was also a church which had a very interesting piece of artwork depicting the emigration of women from the surrounding area. The next place we went to was arguably the most impressive piece of renaissance architecture in the city: The Berlin Dome Cathedral. This enormous structure is visible from all around the city and it’s iconic green dome is a marvel to look at. We also went on a tour of the dome to get a better view of the city around us from above which was a great place to have a camera.

Our last stop today was the Topagraphy of Terror museum. The name is given due it being based at the location of the infamous Gestapo and SS headquarters. The free exhibition delves into the lives of those in the time of the wall and how the differences between the East and West sometimes led to violent riots. It also explains how minorities such as Jews, Homosexuals and East Europeans were treated by the GDR. It was a very powerful and moving show on a site that was the very centre of bad deeds and discrimination in the east of the city.

Like the previous day, this route had taken us a long way from home so another train ride was undertaken to return to our Air BnB tonight.

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Busy in Berlin

The Bradenburg Gate

The Bradenburg Gate

The Reichstag Building

The Reichstag Building

 

 

 

 

Steps:20,243

Kilometres:14.11

By Noah – We’ve re-ignited our travelling sparks to go on a two week journey from Berlin, Germany to Prague, Czech Republic. My mum thought that this unusual way of organising a summer holiday would be a great way to change our routine. We flew out of Birmingham  International Airport at about 5 O’clock in the afternoon on Wednesday, glad to see the back of gloomy weather and cats and dogs from the sky. We landed and took a local bus towards the main train station before going to our apartment on foot. This was surprisingly difficult seeing as I had written down the address wrong. I got 31 instead of 60;  not my finest navigational hour! But at half ten at night we were greeted and led into a cosy room where we would stay for the next few days.

Today, Thursday, was our first day exploring the city. Despite warnings about the size and scale of the capital of Germany, we continued on foot. Our first stop was the Palace of Tears, a museum in the location of the main meeting point between East and West Germans during the time of the wall. It gave us a valued insight to the lives of those who lived around the wall and their struggles and hardships when trying to cross the now infamous structure. Our next stop was the Brandenburg Gate, as seen in the image above. This spectacular architectural feat has inspired many forms of media to take it in and use the iconic image over and over again. It’s so amazing that I hope to recreate it in block form using mine craft later tonight.

The next stop on our list was the famous parliament building of Germany, the Reichstag (Bundestag) but unfortunately you have to book in advance online to go there and we hadn’t done that. We looked later that day online but there were no available times until we left Berlin 😦 . A quick adjustment to the plans meant a trip to the Führer’s bunker. This was the bunker that was specifically made to protect Adolf Hitler from air raids during the Second World War. It was also the place where he committed suicide and is hardly advertised elsewhere in the city. The next part of our journey was a long walk through the Großer Tiergarten towards the Berlin Victory Column. At more than 350 steps to the top we kept our tired feet firmly on the ground.

Our next destination was the Berlin Underworld tour which led us through a restored air-raid shelter from WW2. Due to this stop being so far away, we decided to save our legs and take a train. This was a very good way to get around the city with stations near most of the  popular attractions. The tour showed us how difficult the conditions were for people in the shelter but also how the nazis put the Germans at risk by not making a single roof bomb proof.  Finally, many steps later, we walked back to our air bnb after finding a great spot to have a pizza which we will go back to right now…

 

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Home Sweet Home

By Noah- We have finally made it back home and are enjoying this unseasonably warm weather! We are both happy to be out of the car and the tent and into our own comfortable beds. Putting the tent up every night and taking it down every morning has tired us out a lot. However, we are very proud of ourselves to have made it 2417 miles from Lands End to John O’ Groats on yet another epic adventure. If you haven’t explored the UK yet then I strongly recommend that you do!

End

End

 

To End

To End

 

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