This is connected to my tumblr blog where I will be sharing news and updates on the Educate Me Project, Sashaland Productions, songs I want to sing, and general rambling thoughts as 1positivekat in this crazy world. Follow along if you want to and please share comments if inspired to. :)

@ positive kat

random thoughts from @positivekat aka the host of @greenestcitywalks  - greenestcitywalkingtours.ca  

Zoo to Brauhäus

Day 32 - Oct 9 2014

After some breakfast and hang out time, we caught the U-bahn to our field trip destination of the day.

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…at the Berlin Zoo.

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This was Sasha’s first time ever at a zoo, and I had hadn’t been to a zoo since I was much younger at the Metro Toronto Zoo. Since this is one of the oldest zoos in Europe with “the most comprehensive collection of species in the world”, we figured it would be worth a look see.

Perhaps we caught all the animals on a bad day (it was a grey day) as it turned out to be a pretty dismal place overall. Many enclosures felt small for the animals (especially the birds of prey, like the bald eagle, which had no room to fly at all), and our experience was that most of the creatures seemed bored/sad/anxious.

But we spent a good chunk of time exploring the whole site, and here’s pics to highlight a few bits, like the baby elephant as soon as we came in which was super cute.

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The giraffes had to stay inside as there was work being done on their outside space.

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Getting lunch ready for the primates and other creatures.

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This guy threw a carrot at the woman standing beside me right after I took this pic.

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Wanna go to the petting zoo over there? Naw.

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The wild cat house was a level of stinky I could hardly bear. Imagine the worst litter box smell you’ve ever smelled, then amplify by a 1000, and maybe you will have an idea of how bad this place smelled.

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We were drawn to the lions when we heard their roaring from the other end of the building. They got quiet when the wall between them was raised.

Can you spot the polar bears?

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This poor seal looked so sick. He kept hacking and spitting up foamy stuff, licking up the puke, then sliding into the water to swim around the rock, hop back up and start gagging again. :(

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The nightime creatures were all sleeping.

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And after a couple of hours of looking at sad animals, Sasha was done.

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So she got some time at the playground, which was actually an awesome play space, and these pics show just a fraction of the whole area.

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Once we’d seen everything on both sides of the river, it was time to go.

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Back near Alexander Platz in search of the Brauhäus for dinner, we stumbled upon this totally fabulous busker, Frederik Konradsen, who had us all singing and dancing along with him.

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Time for some om papa, food and drink at the Hofbräu Berlin.

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The beer lover, loving the litre sized beer.

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Dinner = Plates of meat! At least Sasha got some lettuce and a tomato slice. Ha!

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Before catching our tram we found a treat at Alexander Platz

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Donut!

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The day was full of creature and people watching, and we were worn out by the time we got back to the apartment for the night. Sasha never wants to step foot in another zoo after this visit, but we managed to find good in the day anyway. :)

Posted 113 weeks ago

A walk about town

Day 31 - Oct 8 2014

Our first full day in Berlin we decided to wander our way to Alexander Platz where we could get the Berlin Pass with discounts to transit, museums and more. It was fun to explore some of the side streets and other places along the way.

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I had read about this playground that was supposed to be totally awesome place to play, and it was…meh.

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But our imaginative girl was able to have some fun running around a while anyway.

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There was no info for this statue of Käthe Kollwitz, but looked her up when we got home and found she had been an artist who was well known for linotype and sculpting, and we actually saw an integral piece of hers on a tour a few days later. (you’ll see.)

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We chose a nice cafe to fill up on some lunch and rejuvenate for the rest of our walk.

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Loved this tree trunk library we found outside, which was titled “Bücherwald” - for “books on a journey”. :)

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Then we carried on our way again. Some views along the way:

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I spy with my little eye.

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Bikes!

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“Bauarbeiter” was created by Gerhard Thieme in 1968 as a memorial statue for the construction workers who have built Berlin.

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Once we found the tourist office and purchased our passes for the week, we found a large market area at Alexander Platz, which is a transit hub for various train lines, streetcars and buses, so there is a lot of people coming and going and plenty to see.

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A beautiful two level carousel lured Sasha and I on for some fun.

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This is not a thrill ride though - actually the slowest ride I’ve ever been on!

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Once we were ready to go, we stopped for a drink to rest up for the last of our walk back. The perfect place - Marcus Bräu! The display in the window is a meter of beer, which is something you can order if you’re brave enough.

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We found out from an artsy fella standing nearby that this is the “People’s Theatre” known for controversial performances, and the walking wheel is used as a logo on promotional brochures and such. (He gave us a box of matches with the logo to make the point.)

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We stumbled upon this great slow food restaurant in a shipping container and were going to stop here for dinner, but they were closing. :(

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Another place built from shipping containers right next door, with a very different vibe.

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And of course, many gorgeous old buildings too.

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By the time we finally got closer to home, the hangriness had kicked in for all of us, and we settled for a sushi place after suffering from choice overload, lol.

This is the store next door to our apartment. :)

After a good long day of walking we were done, and thankful for the fun.

Posted 113 weeks ago

Ready for Berlin!

Day 30 - Oct 7 2015

I woke up wishing we had another day in Bremerhaven to relax and explore the area we were staying in, but it was time to say “Auf Wiedersehen” to this lovely little place, and our super awesome hostess.

Sasha found new ways to play with a German game she found before we packed up and left, and here are some pics of our Bremerhaven home.

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The few days we spent in Bremerhaven was one of the best parts of the trip for me as I loved every bit of it! The house we stayed in, the host who welcomed us, the neighbourhood we stayed in, the Klimahaus 8*, the Deutsches Auswandererhaus , and our long walks through the green spaces, the town and the waterfront. :D

Now it was time to catch our train to Berlin! Train number one:

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Stopover in Hanover where we quickly made our way through the station to find food to bring on the next train, then waited on the platform. Only pic I took while we were there: train’s coming!

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A first class ride the rest of the way to Berlin, on a train that went even faster than this:

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Woot!

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Sasha was my saviour again when I experienced some sensory overload in the station, making it hard to figure out where to go next. She’s good at helping me remember to breathe, and on this trip became an expert sign finder! :)

We managed to get our selves organized, with some help from kind strangers, and rode the U2 train to our new ‘hood for the next week on Eberswalder Strasse.

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We made it into the apartment: Happy Dance!

Then time to explore and search for dinner. The sidewalk outside our building, the light on the right is above the entrance to the building complex.

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View to the left. Golden sunset time is a nice to time to walk about.

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Found a great fish & chip shop and enjoyed the first of many meals in Berlin.

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Picked up some groceries for the morning on our way back to the apartment, then planned our first day of adventure coming up.

Posted 113 weeks ago

Reflecting on Family Migrations

Day 29 - Oct 6 2014

Woke up to a beautiful day in Bremerhaven, and I was keen to go for a walk bright and early…others, not so much. Off I go: this is our house from the outside.

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I went up the road in search of money and food. Up the street we were near a supermarket and bakery, which is where I bought our food supplies for the day after finding the bank machine a little meander away.

View of our street from the corner. I wish I had taken more pics on the streets while we were here; as it turns out, Bremerhaven is a place on google maps that you can’t see in street view yet! I remember it all though. :)

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After returning with the groceries, we had breakfast and got ready to go out for another day of adventure. Our home was on the edge of this vast green space with trails around a little lake, along fields, and past about a dozen windmills.

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Once out of the more wild green space, we walked the tree lined road that crosses the freeway and then brings us to the border of this municipal park, which we walked through to get to the train station/bus loop area on the other side.

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We stopped at this bench in the sunshine to eat our picnic lunch and relax a while in a beautiful garden.

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Ready to go!

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We gave our legs a rest and took the bus, and soon enough we were back at the waterfront, just past the Klimahaus we visited yesterday.

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We were here to visit the Deutsches Auswanderer Haus, a museum exploring emigration from, and immigration into, Germany since the 1800′s. Millions of people sailed out of Bremerhaven up to the 1970′s when it became cheaper to fly than cross the ocean on a ship.

As my family sailed out of Bremerhaven in the 50′s to live in Canada, this was a story I felt connected to, and a place I felt I had to see when we made it to Germany.

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When you have purchased your tickets you are given a boarding pass which has a card that will enhance the experience by making it multi-media.

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Your card also allows you to hear more details on two particular story lines. The first is someone who emigrated out of Germany; the second is someone who immigrated into Germany.

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Then you are in a holding space, where they have a display of how the harbour front has changed over the centuries. After a few minutes some doors open, and you find yourself on a pier next to a ship soon to leave port.

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Some luggage was open so you could see examples of toiletries and other things people packed.

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Then a gallery full of archives and artifacts sharing stories of many people who left the country over time, and the many reasons why they left.

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The emigration story I was following was that of Justina Tubbe. All 3 of us had different life stories we were following, which allowed us to absorb even more from this experience.

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I found examples of the paperwork for people leaving for Canada around the same time as my family.

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Then you go up the walkway into the entrance of the ship, looking down on the pier we passed when entering.

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Models of the 3 ships used in the museum to convey life on board for emigrating passengers.

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The 3 people we followed traveled across the Atlantic in 1855, 1872 and 1923.

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There were examples of cabins, dining areas and other spaces from these 3 ships, and you could hear stories from passengers and see artifacts common to travel in each time period.

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After exploring 2nd class life on board a few different ships, you land on Ellis Island in New York. This is a space that would have been full of travelers looking for permission to carry on the journey.

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After a long wait, this is where one wait to be tested on whether you can stay… or have to board a ship sailing back to Europe.

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After being processed on Ellis Island, many migrants moved on to other parts of the US, and beyond.

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A space with details on immigration rates over the decades, and brochures, books and other things that were used to help immigrants ease into their new country.

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In the Grand Central Station exhibit we found the modern day update to the stories of the people we had been learning about along the way. Displayed are tales from the grandchildren or other ancestors, along with pictures and artifacts donated to the museum.

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Justina Tubbe and her two sons settled in Texas, and there are still living relatives in the south.

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Martha’s life didn’t turn out as well in America, and she ended up moving back to Germany to live with her sister into old age.

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Ottmar invented the Linotype machine in Baltimore which revolutionized the art of printing.

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Having wrapped up the emigration experience, the focus now switches to the people who have immigrated into Germany.

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At this little convenience kiosk, we were given information and new cards to guide us through the search of the immigration stories we were following.

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We searched the 70′s style mall for clues to find more and more of the story for each of our people.

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Serife Seyitler immigrated into Germany in 1965 from Turkey.

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She is now in her 80′s and has raised a family in Bremerhaven, pictured here in 2009.

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Plenty of information on how the borders have changed around Germany over the centuries, and the bureaucracy behind people coming and going.

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Left this place with a few boatloads of things to think about. Not only about my family emigrating out of Germany, and Mark’s parents emigrating from England, but also thinking even more about the boat loads of people who have left their home lands to escape war and other horrors, especially the many thousands seeking refuge today.

Positively amazing experience, and I was happy I had planned our trip around visiting this museum.

With our minds full, we walked through a pedestrian plaza, found a place to buy a few postcards, and wandered til we found the bus that would take us home.

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We made dinner when we got back to the house and had a game night to end the day. One of the best days on this trip for me.

Posted 114 weeks ago

The day we walked around the world

Day 28 - Oct 5 2014

Time to move along once again! This apartment, though a challenge to find,  was a warm welcome space for our first few sleeps in Germany, and we loved it.

Sasha got in as much imagination time as she could before the toys had to be put back in their places and we had to go. And I had time for a few pics of the space.

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Walking to the train station once again.

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Somehow I neglected to take any pics/vid of the journey (what?!?!), but a couple of hours later we arrived in Bremerhaven. We had a place we wanted to explore before making our way to our home for 2 nights, so we put our luggage in a locker at the train station and then went for a walk.

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Another day, another waterfront. :)

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The building with the rounded roof was our destination: Klimahaus 8* Ost

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This place is AMAZING! The museum is laid out in a way that has you traveling along the 8* longitude around the earth to experience the extremes of climate change in various areas of the planet. At every stop you meet a family from the region and see what life is like for the folks that live there. Begin in Bremerhaven and go south.

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In every area you feel the extreme of the local temperature. Here we are freezing cold in the mountains of Switzerland.

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The family featured here raised dairy cows that roamed free in the hills. The section on yodeling included a sound booth where you could record your own whoops and hollers.

They would whoop when feeling lonely sometimes, as they receive cheerful echos from all around them, and here’s a clip I filmed from the video of the experts:

Next was a small Mediterranean island that was larger than life and most fun to explore for Sasha. As you enter each area you meet the family of focus, and they have boxes to open to listen, touch and feel things from the region.

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Flying with a butterfly

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In the can you got to play weather god and influence rooms where other people were exploring by making it rain, or super hot or windy.

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Making it rain on the sheep in one room,

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and cranking the heat in the village area.

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By visiting the regions through the stories of local families, we also learned a lot about how climate has changed over many generations, and the consequences these changes are still rolling out.

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The Niger region was HOT. Sasha just got into beach mode

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Each region also highlights the human choices that have significant negative impact on local populations.

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Crossing a rope bridge in the humid jungle of Cameroon.

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Visiting an international research station in Antarctica, where they sleep in tents like this when collecting info far away from the station.

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Heading north on the Pacific Ocean, under the starry skies.

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Laid back in Samoa.

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Visited an Aboriginal territory in Alaska.

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Finishing up a little farther north in Germany, this is a wind cart that the woman featured has used to get around the flat land with high winds where she lives.

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Art that children created.

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An area where you can track your lifestyle footprint.

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Noting that many people have paid to fly and travel long distances, but few spend time traveling close to home.

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Fantastic roof top view! That waterfront, right there, is where my family sailed from on a ship to Canada in the 50′s.

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To this side is the emigration museum we will visit tomorrow.

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Where we were staying was bordering that big green space in the distance, on the horizon of the left side.

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Popped back in to explore the meteorology section where you can try your hand at reporting the weather, and learn about how meteorologists attempt to predict weather patterns.

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After walking around the world, and exploring climate change issues for a few hours, it was time to make our way back to the train station to collect our stuff.

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We decided we needed to eat some dinner before heading to meet our host at our place, so had some chicken shwarmas at a restaurant at the station.

Then we hailed a cab to our home for the next 2 nights. Our airbnb host for this place was the best host ever! She made us feel so welcome with big friendly smile, joyful hugs & kisses (Euro style on the cheeks), and after telling us the local store to buy beer & wine at was closed, came right back with a bottle of wine for me and a couple of beers for Mark! Sweet!

Posted 114 weeks ago

Cruising the ‘hood & the harbour

Day 27 - Oct 4 2014

After another nice relaxing start to the day, we got out the door to walk and explore!

First we wandered the neighbourhood a bit, and we found these light characters on a bridge over the rail tracks.

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Beautiful array of housing styles and tree lined streets.

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This water that branches off the canal on our route, turns out to be a moat.

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The moat runs around a medieval castle, which is now home to a museum of history for the Hamburg region.

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Nice to be a short walk from Schloss Bergedorf. The entrance to the castle, and the cafe within its courtyard. We were not in a museum kind of mood on this beautiful day though, so took some time to enjoy the views from outside.

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Then followed a path out of the gardens to find a spot for lunch.

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Happened to stumble upon an amazing farmers market!

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A quick walk through and back made us even hungrier for lunch, lol. Back to the pedestrian plaza area to find a spot to eat in the sunshine.

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Came upon this great cafe for brunchy lunch on a patio.

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Until the wasps came out! Then we bolted inside to finish our food in peace. We were not expecting to have a bunch of wasps come to the table in October!

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Ready for action once again, we hopped on the train to the waterfront, but one more stop than the day before. Time to explore the Hamburg harbour.

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We randomly selected a boat cruise and climbed on board to see some sites.

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And enjoy a drink with the view.

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The tour was actually in German, so Mark & Sasha didn’t understand any of it. However, I understood just enough of what the guide was saying, combined with what people around us were saying, to pick up a few points of info.

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This is a Soviet sub turned museum. It was in action from 1975 to 2001 for patrolling borders and espionage.

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The building with the dome roof on the left is a popular fish market and auction house, plus where everyone comes to buy fish, fruit, veggy and more at a huge Sunday Market..

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The cruise centre, and ferry dock for people who want to get to the fish market.

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An office building called Dockland. There are stairs up the other side that lead to a roof top garden and harbour view.

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Beaches.

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Cranes and windmills for days.

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Back up the other side, more unique architecture to check out.

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The Elbphilharmonie is a concert hall under construction, that is being built on top of an old warehouse building. Every city has its piece that makes the locals crazy from cost overruns - this is it for Hamburg.

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Would be really cool if this end opened up like the miniature model we saw the day before. Then you could enjoy the symphony under the stars!

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A long way from home paddle wheeler.

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A family that lives in Dad & Liz’s co-op, who visit Hamburg often, had recommended we get on board the Rickmer Rickmers ship, but we opted not to after being on a boat for a couple of hours…and we were hungry again!

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We followed their advice on a place to eat though - in their opinion this was where we had to try a Fischbrotchen.

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The long line moves fast, The sandwiches on display empty and refill again before it’s our turn to order. A sandwich for every fish lover: roll mop style, stuffed with mega amount of shrimp, breaded filets, and grilled.

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These sandwiches were totally worth the wait! Scrumptiousness.

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Back to the train to catch our ride home again.

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A view on the way was “The Stairs to Nowhere”

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Once off the train we shopped for a few ingredients to enjoy a leisurely meal cooked at home. Enjoyed the golden hour walk back to the apartment.

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Sasha created a tour around the apartment to take us on, then patiently waited for us to come for the fun once we were finished eating.

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You can get a decent bottle of wine for only a few euros in Germany. :)

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Cheers to another fun day, and grateful for all the good times we had in Hamburg. One more sleep and we’re ridin’ the rails again!

Posted 114 weeks ago

Delight in the little things

Day 26 - Oct 3 2014

The best thing about staying in homes while far away from home is the ability to have lazy mornings to lounge over coffee and breakfast, read & write, do crosswords, or have imagination time before getting out the door for a new day of adventure. This apartment was such a warm and creative energy inspiring place to be, and our host was clearly a musician with great taste in music, so we enjoyed listening to local talent she had in the CD collection while we relaxed.

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This is the #1 apt #1 we were looking for, not 11. :)

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Along the beautiful tree lined road we found this: holy random graffiti Batman!

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The lovely Italian restaurant where we dined on our first meal in Germany.

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Has a downstairs patio overlooking the canal.

Across the road from the restaurant is this windmill that was build in the 1830′s.

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We followed the path along the canal a little bit.

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Then turned up the road that would lead us to the train station for our ride into the city for today’s adventure.

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I loved that is was only a 20 min train ride into the city. We hopped on this one, and then had one transfer onto another train for a few stops.

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Just before we got to our destination a couple of guys got on and started performing, one of them rockin’ the sax. (Video volume has a loud lead in, so careful if you choose to listen to the short boppy clip I captured of their song)

Once off the train we made our way to the waterfront, and here’s a few images along the way.

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This was where we chose to have a quick bite before going any further.

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Mark wanted to try the curry wurst…not so awesome sauce at this place. Basically a ketchup with some curry power added to it. Well, Hamburg is actually known for its seafood, so maybe he’ll try again later.

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This building has at least a few floors that are devoted to the Miniature Wunderland, otherwise known as:

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One of our first views inside was a corner of the workshop.

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The first exhibit has vignettes of Germany over the centuries. My fave was the celebration of the fall of the Wall.

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Another cool exhibit was the “Utopia”, 6 square meters of future - party models for the Federal Election 2013. Leading up to elections in 2009 and 2013, they had offered all parties represented in parliament one squre meter of land, and invited them to show the people what Germany would look like if the were to shape it. They were all laid out so you could compare how the party visions changed over 4 years. Wish I could remember which party created this block which showed 2 drastic paths combined in one square. One path a life that is sustainable, green and built around community; the other path one that focuses on banks, oil, military and a culture of fear.

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The rest of the Wunderland is simply room after room of vast landscapes from various countries around the world, that have been planned and laid out down to the tiniest of details. From Greenpeace balloons in the air,

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to dead bodies found in the river,

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the giant gods watching over the game,

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the nights life of music festivals.

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The airport was one of the best parts, with planes taking off and landing, and everything else you could think of.

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Animated scenes all over the place, like this fire being put out.

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This building from the Hamburg waterfront, still being built, which shows the concert hall and apartments it will house when it’s done.

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One of the best scenes: Pippy lifting her horse!

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This area shows elements of Vegas, Miami and Cape Canaveral, which was extra cool when the night time lighting kicked in. Take off!

We were done with miniature world and keen to get back outdoors, so we meandered on an exploration walk of the area, and then walked a different path back to the train.

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“Ich liebe dich!”

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View from the platform while waiting for our transfer train.

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Back in Hamburg-Bergedorf we made our way to the pedestrian plaza in search of some dinner.

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We were super hungry and exhausted by the time we found the Block House, and settled in for a full on German meat and potato meal. Wunderbar!

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Sasha captured a pic of all of us:

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This day was a great way to kick off our 3 weeks of family fun in Germany!

Posted 114 weeks ago

Bye Bye Britain - Hallo Deutschland

Day 25 - Oct 2 2014

Our last morning in London Sasha got in as much play time as she could before the kids went off to school.

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After Ben left with Thomas, we walked with Diane to take Alice to preschool.

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Then our hostess-with-the-mostess, and lovely London guide, brought us to the river front for a stroll and morning coffee in the sunshine.

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Getting to hang with this special friend while in London was the best, and I was a bit sad to go as it will be a long while til I can see her again - so long for now MDB! Big hugs and many thanks to Diane and family for everything!! xo

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Back up the road to transit our way our way to the airport.

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Checked in at the airport and made it to our gate, just in time for the last bus across the tarmac to our plane! Ready to get onboard our flight to Hamburg! :D

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Off the coast of England we looked down to find a wind farm below.

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Coming in for a landing above Hamburg somewhere.

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Woohoo! Made it safe and sound to Germany!

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Now to find our commuter train and ride to the borough of Hamburg-Bergedorf.

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This was the area where we would be staying for 3 nights.

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Hailed a cab from outside the train station.

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The address, as I understood it, was number 11…which turned out doesn’t exist!! Across the street from these doors was green space leading downhill to some train tracks and no homes to be found. Ummm…try calling our airbnb host to find out what has been misinterpreted in the address, only to find out our cell phone can’t seem to connect to her! Ack!  What do you do when you’re lost, don’t speak the language, have no technology to reach anyone, and don’t know anybody even remotely close to here?

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Walked up and down the street a few times, trying to find someone who knew where #11 was and encountering many friendly folks who don’t speak any English. Managed to convey that we were looking for #11, but none could help us.

Finally, a super kind woman who spoke enough English to make the conversation easy, called our host and left a message to let them know we couldn’t find the place. Then she walked us to the end of the road where she lived and said she’d drive us around looking for it if we didn’t find it by the time we reached her house.

When we arrive at her home, the friend that was watching her kids offered to pack all our stuff into the van to start our search, but at that point our host called, and our helper determined that the house we were to stay in was actually across the street from her!

The house number was 1, and the apartment was number 1, and the way the address had been shared (__ Strasse 1 1.) made this look like 11 to me. I didn’t notice the space in between the ones. Thankfully our confusion led to a positive experience overall.

After clarifying things with our host, she then made sure we found our key and got into the apartment alright before going home to her kids. Words just can’t express how lucky I feel to have met this generous soul who helped us settle into the German experience with such kindness. :D

The apartment was perfect for us! A cozy family space, and Sasha instantly got into imagination time with the toys which lived here in the room of two girls. This was our first airbnb place that really felt like a full time home rented out now and then for some extra money. In this case it was perfect for our child who had an inviting place to play and we were thankful to the girls who lived here for sharing their room. :)

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After some time to decompress, we walked back up the road to the restaurant that our new friend mentioned was the closest place to eat. This Italian restaurant by the canal was a great warm and inviting place to have our first meal in Germany. The server had very little English, but I had just enough German to stumble through enough to get by. When we paid the bill, and left her a nice tip for her excellent service, she actually came back and told us we tipped too much! We said in Canada this is what we would tip for such amazing service and left it at that.

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Having a delicious meal in our bellies, our stuff settled into a beautiful and cozy space, and finally having lost the feeling of being lost, we strolled back to the apartment and then soon were all asleep and ready for a new day of adventure in Hamburg!

Posted 114 weeks ago

Reflecting on War & Royalty

Day 24 - Oct 1 2014

We had one more day of wandering around London to experience, and two places we wanted to see. We had no guides for today’s journey, but now we knew where we were going and easily found Imperial Wharf station to carry on our way.

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View of new developments changing the landscape of this neighbourhood.

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Exiting at Waterloo train station.

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This time we were walking in a different direction. Pretty sure this place isn’t a very quiet place to sleep.

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First we were looking for a bookstore as Mark and Sasha needed something to read. Somehow don’t have a pic of the actual bookstore, but a couple of snapshots along the way.

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Next stop, the Imperial War Museum.

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A piece of the Berlin wall outside.

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Big guns outside.

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First view inside the newly renovated space.

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A car that was destroyed by a suicide bomber in Iraq, which has toured the world as part of an exhibit on the horrors of war.

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The first floor has an in depth, and very well curated exhibit on World War I. There was a huge amount of detail on the timeline, and what life was like on the ground for soldiers. One portion tries to convey the experience of having sound and flashing of bombs going off around you, as well as gun fire sounds. Not overwhelming (given a heads up that it will happen), but combined with the artifacts and stories it has a great impact.

I didn’t capture any shots that really show how well the exhibit is laid out, and how much you see, but here are just a few things that left me thinking.

Imagining how hard it must have been for these soldiers to pick up their weapons in the trenches the next day.

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This hands on activity was all about getting supplies to the front line, and covered the politics of some supplies (like fuel, of course), what happened when stocks were low, and other things that could go wrong when supply chains broke down.

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A variety of gas masks, all of which look terrifying.

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There was an exhibit called A Family in Wartime, which was about one family in particular, the Allpresses, and their experience living on the home front in the city during the war.

An example of the bunker they had buried in their yard. There is an identical bed and shelf on the other side with about 3 feet between them.

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A model showing bi-section of a shelter buried in the yard.

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A snapshot of the road a few blocks away from them that was mostly reduced to rubble. Wonder when will we stop making families live through this kind of chaos.

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The gallery for World War II was more structured around larger items, with lots of text details, making it feel more of a showcase of objects, instead of the story line shared to curate the earlier war.

Probably the biggest game changer in war history was the technology that led to this bomb.

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And the exhibit covering conventional war had things like a piece of steel beam from the World Trade Centre, along with things created by artists to comment on war over time.

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Certainly look imperial from the outside.

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Done with weapons and reflecting on war for the moment, we had a nice long walk as we explored our way across the river to our final destination. Plenty of sights to see! A beautiful community park,

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Looked like a street that would have lots of food options, but nothing open we could agree on.

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The House of Commons and Big Ben.

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More big and fancy looking buildings across the street.

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St. Margaret’s Church.

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Westminster Abbey.

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We entered St Jame’s Park and enjoyed the gardens and greenery, especially around this cute little Duck Island Cottage by the end of the lake.

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A couple of big impressive looking buildings across the road.

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We had a nosh in the cafe by the lake, and then carried on along the path, heading to the other end of the park.

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And finally we arrived at Buckingham Palace. We weren’t there for any changing of the guard or tour, so we just roamed around outside the gate and around the fountain for a little while, and we tried to answer all her questions about the royal family and its influence here, and in our own country.

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I ran out of battery power for taking pics, and would have loved to be able to take some photos as we followed the path through Green Park to the tube and transit home. A lovely park, and trees full of parrots was not something we expected to see!

For our final night we wanted to treat our hosts to a dinner out, but we all decided to have convenience of take out instead. Ben and I took a nice stroll to the local Thai place, and enjoyed a drink while waiting for our food to go.

The meal was great, and so was another evening of hang out time with friends.  One more sleep in London, and we were most grateful for our friends who let us use their home as a landing pad while we traveled around the UK. Our time in London with Diane, Ben, Thomas and Alice was absolutely fabulous! :D

Posted 114 weeks ago

Strolling through Shrewsbury

Day 23 - Sept 30 2014

Chris and Bob had a particular town in Shropshire that they wanted us to see, so after a quiet morning hanging about (here Sasha is curating a museum of wonders she has spread around the living area for us to visit) we got ourselves ready for another afternoon exploration walk before catching the train back to London later in the day.

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Out the door and ready to go!

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Our road trip to Shrewsbury included a couple of stops along the way. We pulled off the road at the Wroxeter site. This is the partially revealed ruins of Viriconium  which was once the 4th largest city in Roman Britain. You can see a fair bit from the road side, but if you pay entry there are exhibits and other things to do along with walking through all the exposed ruins.

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The next stop was Attingham Park, a National Trust site where Chris used to volunteer in the book store. Pictured here is Attingham Hall, and the wall that borders it. Looking out from the building all you can see is lawn, and it keeps out the cows that graze on the massive lawns around this property. 

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When we arrived at Shrewsbury we parked across the way from the Shrewsbury Abbey.

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The first marvelous place we came upon walking into town was a community garden that was full of info on the plants and insects found in the garden, which had been painted by garden club members young and old.

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Shrewsbury is basically wrapped around by the River Severn, and there are two bridges to cross into town on the main road that cuts through it. This is the English Bridge which crosses on the east side of town, and the western bridge is the Welsh Bridge.

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A few blocks along after we crossed the bridge, Chris told me we were reaching the corner where everyone starts going “click click click” with their cameras. And this is where the post card town really comes into view:

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This place maintains a street plan laid out in medieval times, and has hundreds of buildings that still have the timber framing from 15-16th century design. I’m just going to share some of my highlight pics from our walkabout town, so you can see a few of my favourite views, architectural buildings, off the path alcoves and passages, and the all around loveliness of this town.

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Had lunch in their regular spot, the Off the Square Cafe Bistro. Sasha really loved touring around with Bob. :D

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Another castle to see, but we simply enjoyed the gardens outside. For people who are into flowers and gardens, the Shrewsbury Flower Show is one of the best in the country, and this town is in permanent floral display mode. :)

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Charles Darwin is the most famous local, born and raised here, and this statue is found outside the school where he was a student.

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Back over the English Bridge on the other side.

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Time to share many big hugs with our wonderful Auntie Chris before hopping on our train.

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The train was slightly delayed and arrived right at dinner time, so chose to find a restaurant near the station. The place we ended up in was a 50′s themed burger joint that served a wicked milkshake and wine in mini bottles.

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After enjoying our burgers we made our way to Diane’s once again to sleep our final two nights in the UK. One more day in London to fill with exploration walking time!

Posted 114 weeks ago