Toughs Travels travel blog

Soderkoping Town on a Sunday Morning

Oskarsham Beach

Nimis "Living Sculpture" 1

Nimis and now you can see how big it is!!

Nimis again!

Sunset at Zislow, Germany

Floating drinks party at Malchow, Germany

Brandenberg Gate, Berlin

New Chancellery Building, Berlin

German weekend "pads" - caravans' are us!!

Holiday Notes June 2004 Part 3

Monday 14th June

Agh, that Monday morning feeling- but no we're in the caravan in Sweden, and for a change it's blowing hard and the sky is cloudy - what to do? Stay put or move on to scenery new?

We decide to stay put and have a day relaxing - well you, dear reader, may think that each and every day is relaxing here - but not so! There are always things to do - we shop every day (for food not drink) and once in a while do some clothes washing. Which you will know if you read the last epistle - takes a bit of time.

However, this morning we decide to go to the local Bibliotek (Swedish for the public library, you in the back of the class please try and keep up) and update the Lonely Planet journal. So we get the bikes ready and all the notes and pictures downloaded onto the floppy discs and CD Rom (which in itself takes a while) - BUT due to Carolyn rushing off for the town thinking I'd abandoned her (WOULD I do a thing like that??) - Neil leaves all the stuff for the journal sitting in the caravan and so when we get to the Bibliotek - nae stuff - so we just check the emails and stuff, do the shopping and return for lunch - that's how to pass a morning in Sweden!!

Neil, however returns to the Bibliotek in the afternoon and uploads all the stuff -How did we live before computers? While Carolyn remains chained to the washing machine/dryer and YES, the ironing board - have to keep up standards, don't you know!! However, when Neil returns from slaving over a hot computer - and not stopping for a beer on the way home - did seriously think about it though! He finds that as well as the chores, little Miss Teacher has been chatting to the new caravan park attendant (young Swedish male!) and one of the other motor caravan guys who is Australian (need I say more!!)

After dinner we take cycle in to town and eventually find where the Farquhar McDonald band are playing - but sadly they are almost at the end of their gig and we only catch the last two tunes - but they are pretty good - they have an album out on CD - The Ghost Shirt - go and buy it.

Tuesday 15th June

Rain forecast so we decide to head south to Oskarshamn where we might get a passenger ferry over to Oland (it's the long thin island just off the Eastern coast of Sweden - No, not Gotland that's further East- end of geography lesson.)

Carolyn's' bit - A couple of hours of easy driving (well it was for me in the passenger seat!) took us to a very pretty camp site at the waters edge - the water being the Baltic Sea. It lives up to its name so I don't think I'll be doing any bathing here! We got things organised then had lunch in the caravan. Neil had what has become our usual lunch- smorgasbord of herring, cheese, salami, apple, bread and crackers. I had yoghurt and coffee and just a teensy bit of the rest!

After that it was on the bikes and in to town. A lovely start through beautiful houses by the sea and I was feeling really good about this place. But once we got in to the centre it just didn't hit the spot. We found the Bibliotek and booked an internet slot but we had an hour to kill so thought we'd go for a beer. No luck! Ice cream cafes only! Neil had a coffee- and don't worry, Tricia, we drink lots of water too to flush out our livers!

Took an unintentionally circuitous route back home, but that's one way of seeing the sights! Then dinner, a walk along the seashore and a quiet evening planning where to go next. (End of Carolyn's bit!)

Now, listen up dear readers, Neil's plans have been thwarted - the twice daily ferry from Oskarshamn to Oland, does not start running until this Saturday, the 19th June (yet again the Swedish tourist system is strange). Though I suppose they would argue the ferry does not run until then 'cause nobody is here (that of course discounts those foreign tourists - especially some Scots, who are here), but then again maybe the tourists don't come 'cause there is no ferry!! A true case of Chicken and Egg!

However, the area just north of the campsite is really nice - little bays with attractive houses with their own jetties - nice boats and yachts (Thought for the day - I wonder if there are more boats in Sweden than Swedes?)

And another thing that's strange - some caravans have a different number plate to the car towing it - Is it that they have (a) just stolen it (b) borrowed it from their brother-in-law (c) it's that the caravan has its own registration - so easier to trace if stolen!!

Wednesday 16th June

Booze - now I know that thinking about booze first thing in the morning is a bad sign - but there is a good reason for it - Trust me, please. To most people booze is important, there are some DGP (he will know who he is!), to whom it's not - doesn't drink at all - now that's really bizarre.

So even though it's important I've not mentioned before the bizarre way they sell drink here. If you just want light beer, well that's available from the local supermarket or corner shop. BUT if you want wine, strong ale or spirits then you have to go to a special shop that the Government run. Boy that's strange - it's like the UK Government were only allowed to sell Tobacco and then complain about the cost to the National Health Service of people getting Lung Cancer.

Anyway this shop, run by the government is called the "Systembolaget" - yes that's Swedish for "Thou shalt not drink". So these shops are dotted here and there, no fancy advertising in the window to help strangers spot them! You have to be lucky and spot them, or ask at the Tourist Information - (God they must get sick of that question), or, there is a Third more subtle approach.

In Sweden, at supermarkets you have to pay for plastic carrier bags - good for the ecology - so people bring their own along. HOWEVER, at the Systembolaget (lets shorten that to SB) you get free GREEN carrier bags (sometimes) for your nasty alcohol "you naughty boy", with no symbols/lettering on.

So to track down an SB, you just look for people carrying the green plastic bags and reverse where they came from and then spot someone else and so on. Did you know that the name Tough is Aboriginal for "Him great tracker Chief"

So enough about booze in the morning. No one last thing. The only really good alcoholic drink in the morning is a Bloody Mary - well that's my opinion!

(PS from Carolyn - anytime I worry about how much I drink I console myself with the fact that I never want to drink in the morning - especially not a Bloody Mary - Yuk!!)

So, back to the travels. As we are not over enamoured with Oskarshamn we decide to go all the way across the country from the Baltic to the North Sea. Sounds a long way but it's only about 160 miles. For the first part of the journey the quiet roads are almost deserted, at least going West - though quite a number of motorcyclists are heading East - Carolyn suggests that maybe it's an International meeting of the European Chapter of the Hell's Angels in Oskarshamn - I must remember to ask her how she knows about Hell's Angels Chapters - then again maybe I'd not like the answer - so best to let sleeping Chapters lie!

We stop at the airport of a town called Vaxjo, just to check out if it has international flights - Neil has to return home within the next two weeks. It does, but only to Copenhagen, so we move on.

We end up in a campsite (well it's more of a Holiday Camp, with space for caravans) near Halmstad on the Swedish Riviera. Fortunately it's pretty quiet at the moment, so quite nice - but I think it would be Hell come the busy period.

The town itself has some nice quaint alleys and streets, and if it were not for the bitingly cold wind, it would/could be really pleasant, but it's not!

Thursday 17th June

A cycle along the beach (it's very hard sand), thinks Neil is the business first thing in the morning. So off he sets suitably wrapped up against the chill Nor'wester coming in from the North Sea, or is it the Staggerack, or the Kattegat? However, at the very end of the beach, after having a little paddle (just a child at heart); Neil discovers that the back tyre of the bike is flat!!

So he tries to ride it for a bit, thinking that the sand will help not to damage the tyre and rim. But the tyre soon separates from the rim. So he gets off and pushes the bike, then, because the tyre is off the rim it starts rubbing and jamming against the frame, so rather than turning the wheel is skidding along the sand - making it really difficult to push. So, nothing for it but to up end the bike and take the back wheel off and then get the tyre and tube off, right there at the bloody waters edge. Once all this is accomplished it's back to pushing the bike (tube and tyre draped elegantly over the handlebars) with the back wheel rim leaving a nice parallel track across the sand. AND ALL THIS BEFORE BREAKFAST. (Carolyn had meanwhile sensibly stayed at home, having her breakfast and getting her morning body and head together1)

The day does get better with breakfast, but the service (toilet, loo etc) block here needs money for you to shower. It requires 3x1kr for what is supposed to be three minutes - but it's a damn short three mins. Why bother? All the other service blocks have had showers with a push button on the shower that gives you about 30 seconds of water before it cuts out - so some toe rag - (Scottish for yob) can't leave the shower on all day. BUT the 3x1kr is a nonsense - it costs money to collect and I'm damn sure the company's bank will charge to bank all the bloody coins. What a waste of effort and three minutes is not a long shower - go on time yourself next time you have a shower and see how much you get thoroughly washed - AND NO, we don't want to know - though any Webcam photos will be viewed with interest!

Here's a strange thing - one of the service blocks is arranged in a U shape. Gents and Ladies showers and loos on one complete side. One side is a sort of day shelter - open on one side but roofed, and the third side has separate little rooms for; - kids nursery: launderette; baby room; place to empty the chemical toilet (not the best job in caravanning!!) AND two other rooms that I've never seen in caravan sites before.

One is a special room to gut and fillet the fish you have just caught!

The other is a special room to wash your pets. Yes that's right pets - those dogs and cats and things that people have to cuddle up to and have to take for a walk in the pissing rain. So here we have this room with a raised, shallow bath with five steps up to make it easy for the little darlings to get into. It's shallow, only about 9 inches deep, perhaps no deeper just in case you get the urge to drown something.

But the strangest thing of all is that the pet shower is FREE. Whilst we humans are expected to pay 3 kr for a short shower. Rover (by the way - all dogs should be called Rover - I'll explain my theory on that later) gets a good long soak, a nice wash, with time for a lounge and a good look at Miss Topless Celebrity Poodle on page 3 of the "Doggie Times" and the "Play Bitch" of the Month in the centrefold. There's something way wrong about it being free you know.

We then go off to the local shopping centre/mall to buy, bike tyre and tube, essential provisions (White Wine and Gin- I'm sure there are fairies in this caravan that slurp away whilst we are asleep) and some food (got to have some nutrition). By the way - we bought some Caviar yesterday - now that's nutritious!

And so the day passes to lunchtime and now the sun is out so we decide to stay put here for at least one more night, catch a bit of rays and see what happens. Well you know what happens, the sun does a disappearing act and we have to resort to plan B.

The hastily thought up plan B is to take a wee jaunt to a nearby peninsula and have a look at a little resort called Bastad. That's right without an R!

This little place is supposed to be the tennis centre of Sweden, with more than 60 courts. So we take along our tennis stuff just in case we fancy a wee go. Now this place is little, we are talking North Berwick size, and 60 courts, gosh. When we get there, there is a full scale youth tournament in place on the four grandstand clay courts by the harbour. Pretty impressive playing too. So needless to say we abandon the idea of playing and guess what? We go for a wee drinkie at a nice little café by the harbour side. Very pleasant but would be much nicer with some sun.

Friday 18th June

We both try a cycle ride before breakfast this morning - the theory being that if one of us has a puncture, or a problem with the bike - the other can cycle back and get the motor to recover the situation. BUT needless to say nothing happens and we have a nice cycle through the quaint little holiday shacks (no, shacks is too belittling, some of them are really picturesque and have nice balconies looking out over the sea, and some are set amidst the pine forest and so are really charming!).

But we decide to head to the Kullen peninsula, so up sticks and head South - not far though just over 90 minutes later we pull into the next caravan site, this is number 9 on our travels so far.

This site is next to the Kullaberg National Park and a couple of other sights that I'll come on to later - with some pictures. Now I'm going to quote EXACTLY from the tourist brochure to give you a flavour of the place.


"Wanderings - There is a path system on Kullaberg. The main path, red coloured, leaps from the Lighting House in the West to Arild in the East. The blue path leaps from the Lighting House along the Northern coast, over Hakull and Sadelin to Himmelstorp where it connects with the red path going East to Arild"


Now, from all of this you will have gathered that (a) "Wanderings" is "walking" (b) The "Lighting House" is a "Lighthouse" and (c) Arild is a pretty important place.

And after you have paid your 35 kr to get into the park, it is nice - its even got a golf course in the middle of it (aren't National Parks supposed to be unspoilt by commercial development - but it probably helps to pay for the upkeep). There are also two café/restaurants, one called Ransvik, which is, even I have to say, really quaint and nice, Charming even. It's down off the main track and right on the coastal rocks and has been there since the early 1900's - Little swimming jetty and tables out side - just fantastic for a summers day (pity its overcast with little rain showers today).

One of our main reasons for visiting this part of the country (it is a little off the direct route from Stockholm to Croatia, you know) is that the Rough Guide lists one of the must see items as a wooden structure built by an eccentric sculptor - Lars Vilks (Gordon F. take note - he's the brother-in-law of that well known Swedish barman -Larst Orders) that you can actually climb all over. But this is no ordinary climbing frame - the largest is about 60 feet high and there are four of them in a little group in this remote'ish bay. To get an idea of the scale, please see the photos entitled Nimis no7 and no 8. They are constructed from bits of Driftwood and cast off bits of wood all just nailed higgledy-piggledy. You have to ask why bother - but then that's like a lot of art, in my humble opinion. Take Tracy Emin's "Unmade Bed" for example - that's just a lazy bitch who has conned the Arty-Farty's into thinking it's really special and symbolic. Remember the story about the Emperors New Clothes? No, it's not art; it's just an unmade bed stupid! And another thing about art and symbolism while we're on the subject. I once had this long discussion with an intelligent guy, greetings card designer amongst other things, about a pair of hands "in Prayer" on a Christmas card. And he suggested that this was representative of a church steeple, but No, I think, it should be the other way round - Church steeples are designed to represent Hands in Prayer - 'cause I think God designed hands before steeples came along. Well actually, I don't think God designed anything - but that is another subject altogether!!

Anyway, back to the Wooden structures. It's called "Nimis" and the authorities don't like it because it contravenes the protected status of the surrounding area. Which is a little odd, given that they're happy to have a commercial hotel, golf course and two cafes in the area!! So there are no "tourist" signs directing one the correct route. But the kind natives have painted big yellow "N's" on some trees and boulders to guide the unknowing the correct way, but even then you do have moments thinking "is this the right route?" But eventually you come to a wooden arch made up of the little bits of wood and you enter a wooden corridor of driftwood and planks (it's difficult to explain in words - do look at the pictures) then the whole thing is revealed. Apparently he started this "living sculpture" in 1983 and keeps adding to bits of it - really quite bizarre!

So, as I said you can climb all over it. So we did, up one of the tallest towers, and then you think. Oops - here we are 50 feet or so above the ground, trusting our lives to some arty guy and his ability to construct this with wood and a couple of thousand nails!!

Though, I have to say it's remarkably sound. Well that's with just two of on it - the place was deserted (late Friday afternoon, maybe most people are straight out of the office into the local hostelry) but I'd not like to be on it with several dozen overweight Germans or Americans. In fact some of the corridors and climbing bits are really quite narrow - so perhaps that's a design factor to keep the heavyweights off it!!

Neil went off to see the Sweden v Italy football game on one of the three TV screens available - one permanent and two specially set up for a the game along with an outside beer trailer - good game, but I think that the Swedes should have won.

Saturday 19th June

Rain most of the night - no prospect of topping up the Tan this morning then!

What to do with the day? - Housework, sort out the digital pictures taken so far or just laze around? Well, the morning just sort of passes and we get a chance to go on the internet here, for free, at the campsite. And the weather forecast for the next week, in Sweden and Denmark does not look good - so another plan evolves.

Go straight from here, down and through Malmo, over the new Oresund bridge, into Denmark (do not pass Go and do not collect £200) get the ferry to Germany (Gedser to Rostock) and then on to Berlin. There, easy, sounds like one of Napolean/Hilter's battle plans, I think! Who shall we invade/lay siege to today?

Or is it an American Express travel plan - "if it's Sunday it must be Berlin"?

However, later in the day it does brighten up and we take a little cycle to the village (Molle) - it's not much different from yesterday - pretty quiet, but a little sunnier. Then home to the caravan to count our Swedish Kroner, because if we are moving on to Euro land, then we need to make sure we don't have much left. This however

poses a slight problem - we need to pay for milk for the morning, the caravan site, the bridge toll (600 kr - we think - about £50.00 - yes £50.00 - so Skye and Forth bridges think yourselves lucky), a round of the dreaded "mini golf" and our meal out tonight. Yes, we have decided to splash out on a Saturday night and "gan oot" - it is our last night in Sweden!

So after the calculations are done we are able to buy the milk (8Kr), play mini (crazy) golf (50kr), pay the caravan site and bridge toll with cash (just) and tonight's meal with a credit card. This international high finance is a chore. Though at this time we have no Danish Kroner or Euros, but heh, that's tomorrow's problem.

The meal out at The Captains Table Restaurant, Grand Hotel, Molle is just fine - not really ethnic Swedish fare, but pleasant filling and a nice view. The entertainment was provided by a wedding party in the hotel, as they had to traipse down through the restaurant to go to the loo - thought that a bit strange - but fun for the diners!

Oh yes, back to the "crazy golf" We said that before leaving Sweden we would have to try it, to see if the Swedes knew something we didn't, well they don't - they just have more time to stand about playing a silly child's game - and what a rip off - 50kr is about £4.00, so £2.00 a head, for a daft game that's played on a bit of ground that needs virtually no maintenance, the putters (if you could call them that) are centre shafted and covered in plastic, the balls are shrunken "lake balls" - not Top Flite Pro 100's - that we normally use "don't you know"!

And it's only 12 holes, but boy are some of them tricky - no wonder there were queues at the Backen Mini Golf I talked about in an earlier epistle - not read it - SHAME on you - say 50 Hail Mary's, beat yourself about your naked body with Birch twigs, forfeit that £200 and go back to square one!

So you might have guessed that Carolyn won the mini golf by 3 holes, and she says she has not been practising - I'm not so sure! (Actually, its quite good fun, as I'm sure Neil might have said if he'd won! But it's not as good value as putting at North Berwick and would be a real pain in the neck if there was some slowcoach in front of you or Speedy Gonzales behind you .Once was quite enough!)

Sunday 20th June

Weather dry but with lots of shower clouds - so it's off to Berlin - well Germany possibly.

The run south is good and the Oresund bridge crossing (Malmo to Copenhagen) is

interesting, (sixteen Km long) and at one point you think where the **** does the road go - and then you see the tunnel under the strait!

We only stop once for fuel - no Danish cash - good job they accept the well used Visa card and we decide that the 13.00 ferry will be too much of a rush and accept that we will get the 15.00 - as it looks as if we will just get there by 13.00 and it's at least 15 mins checking in time.

However, we arrive in Gedser, and at the roundabout we are straight into the ferry terminal and up to the booth that says next sailing at 13.00 (this now is 12.54) - we pay and get straight on and the rear doors are closed and we are off!! - Now that's a great result!!

The crossing is pleasant - Lobster Bisque, Butter Mackerel with salad, a cheeky little bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and a Cappucinno - that's just what Neil had!!

So we arrive in the Fatherland at 15.00 - why is it called the Fatherland when it's Mother Earth?

The nearest caravan sites in the "Club" are not in the correct direction for us so we press on down the E55 - that's perhaps the only benefit of the EU - continuous road numbers in Europe!

The site is described as near the main road - well yes in a sort of way - we end up going down little single track lanes that would not be out of place in Devon, and then along a bumpy, sandy track to the site. - So this is now 4.30pm on a Sunday, and the guy at reception (whose English is only marginally better than our German) asks for the dosh for the nights stay and a 5 Euro deposit for the key to the barrier. - Problem - we have no Euros - and my trusted Visa card is not accepted by his machine. So he lets us in anyway and we park up - have a drink - always the best thing to do in a crisis - and then go in search of a bank in the nearby village of Malchow - no it's not full of Chinese - but we have to be back before 6.00pm - 'cause that's when he goes off duty and then we could not get the car back into the site.

So, off we set for Malchow at a rate of knots along unknown, single track roads, - and we only meet one maniac coming the opposite way on the wrong side of the road at a tight corner - However, driving a big 4 X 4, with headlights blazing, and bearing foreign plates, gives one certain "rights" - the best of which is the uncertainty that it creates in the other drivers mind - "what's this crazy foreign bastard going to do?"

But we don't crash and arrive in this cobbled street - (let me espouse later about the state of German roads) in Malchow which is not a big place and you'd think that the bank would be fairly obvious - Well it's not!!

We drive around the one way system, then we do it again! - time ticking away - so we stop at a hotel and ask about the bank - oh, yes, up that street there - but it's ****ing one way. So up and round we go, then down another cobbled street - Great for traffic calming, if they are really uneven, more time ticking away.

Result, the bank's machine likes my Visa card and gives us funds. But it's now 5.45pm and the likelihood of us getting back to the site for 6.00 is remote - so we park on the pavement - like everyone else (more of this later) and Yes, go for a drink - at this really nice modern hotel/bar on the lake with external decking, well Neil has 2 drinks, but we're not counting.

The bar is nice and the views good - see photo of the floats and the garden furniture - bizarre. But, back at the car we find a note from a "kind" local native informing us that "here parking is NOT ALLOWED! Park at the end of zee street in zee bays."

WELL PAL, the parking signs say that the bays are for use Mon-Fri, 08-18.00 and this is SUNDAY - But in the interests of the EU and not getting our tyres slashed, (you know how tetchy these blonde Aryan types can get!!) we move the vehicle.

But I'll keep all of this in mind the next time there are German Towels on the best Sun Loungers by the pool. Oh, Yes - they might just disappear-I'm Paul Daniels that's magic. - There's a good joke about that punch line. If you want to know the rest of the joke you'll have to email me a request - This is interactive publishing at it's best!!!

So you will have gathered that we do not make it back for 6.00 pm and so have to park outside the site. However, the guy comes around later and tells us he will let us in - also in his broken English, he says that the football is on the big screen in the pub now (it's 8.45pm). So, Neil has to go and watch - but stupidly buys the guy a drink, and guess what - Yes, the guy feels obliged to buy one back - Now guys, you will have all been here before - you feel obliged to reciprocate if someone is kind enough to buy you a drink - and that's a difficult cycle to get out of - with any degree of sobriety anyway. So this drink he bought is called Kummerline and it's Fire Water

I take a sip of mine straight from the bottle and he DOWNS his in a one-er. So I have to try -but it's not easy!!

Monday 21st June

I traipse into the service block about 10.00am for a shave, having checked last night that the cleaning times were 5.00 to 6.00am during the week and 10.00 to 11.00am at weekends. And I'm in mid stroke when this Frau bussels in (mop in hand) and says something to me - now it was either "whose a lazy boy then, not shaving till 10.00am, too many beers last night watching the football?" OR "dear sir, so sorry to disturb you shaving, but I had too many beers last night watching the football and overslept". But I've got no idea which one -so I just smile - say "nae problem pet" and go back to my ablutions!

Then heh-ho it's off to Berlin - only about 100 miles to the centre and a little bit round to the East to the site we selected near the Schonefeld airfield . Easyjet fly from there to Newcastle - see the plan developing?

The journey is good - except for a couple of points (1) crazy German drivers that drive in rainstorms with no lights on, then come right up to the back of the caravan before pulling out to overtake - JUST as I'm planning to pull out to overtake an even slower - German "umpteen" wheeled juggernaut and (2) crazy paving on the motorways - well that's what it feels like - judder, judder, shake, rattle and roll!!

I think the authorities got it laid on the cheap - by a gang of Irishmen who had a "load left over from doing a job - nudge, nudge, wink, wink, "

Then we almost run out of fuel -the filling stations on German motorways are far apart - about 50 miles - but we don't, and at the petrol station when paying - the girl asks if we'd like a free cup of coffee - nice!

We then follow the directions to the site and travel along country lanes (with more trucks) bumpy, cobbled streets and get to the site just about 1.20pm and guess what - gates closed from 1.00 to 3.00pm - great country, 2 hour lunches! But, older chap on a scooter turns up from within the camp, opens one of the gates and zoom's off down the road - So, moral quandary, do we wait patiently? (Don't like waiting!!) or just drive in and park at reception like you would normally? The dilemma is solved when a nice young man (we'll call him Fritz) arrives on another scooter with a little dog in tow, and speaks to us rapidly in German - so we shout back at him that we don't understand - Shouting does help when you are speaking to foreigners - it's a well know fact! - Though, who is the foreigner in this case - technically speaking that is?

Then he motions that we should drive in - well, foolish to refuse. Which does give us a chance to have a good look round the site and select an appropriate pitch for the caravan - this pitch is important - because if Neil gets a flight, he'll be leaving Carolyn here for 3 days on her own!!

At, 3.00pm a couple appear, don't acknowledge our presence, unlock the reception and go in. So we wait a few minutes and go in also- they are actually quite friendly and helpful, giving us maps of the area and telling us how to get public transport to Berlin.

After booking the flight we visit the supermarket - see what's half price today for tea, buy more provisions - yes, that means White wine, then back to sit in the sun.

Tuesday 22nd June

Public transport to Berlin - efficient, on time, but not so nice as Stockholm's service. And I make a discovery - I now know why Hilter wanted to take over the rest of Europe - he wanted to find somewhere better to live than Germany and to get away from the Germans.

No, just joking, but there are parts of the city when seen from the train are not appealing at all. Lots of graffiti, some of it quite artistic, but it's still graffiti. AND the train seat covering material is a fabric with a multi-coloured graffiti pattern on it - so that if someone scrawls on it - it will not show!!

Berlin is a flat city and whilst some of the buildings are quite grand and impressive - a lot of it is, well, boring - but they are constructing a new Chancellery Building beside the River Spree, just over the river from the Reichstag. It looks about double the size of the new Scottish Parliament, but probably only cost half as much!

All the Europeans seem to be keen on their holiday/weekend places. The Icelanders have cabins in the country. The Swedes have attractive wooden lodges set on achingly beautiful islands and the Germans - well, they have ancient caravans cramped together in a pine forest - yes really, look at the photo entitled "German weekend pads".

And so ends another journal entry - That's all for now folks!!!

Except for this quotation "Travel, for the younger person, is part of education; in the elder person a part of experience".

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