Berlin – Stasi and Templehof

The Stasi Museum is in one of the buildings where the Stasi operated out of during the years of the GDR, until the fall of the wall in 1989. Having read Anna Funders, Stasiland, I am a little bit familiar with the stories linked to the Stasi and in particular how they forced people into…

Berlin…art and memorial

Today was another massive day in Berlin. In contrast to Brussels which felt edgy and uncertain, Berlin feels edgy and certain, a city that doesn’t care what others think, a city where people can be themselves. A city that is comfortable in its dishevelled exterior. It has been rapidly rebuilt after the destruction of WW2,…

Walls of Berlin

We’re in Berlin so of course the first thing we do is see the infamous wall. We are in easy walking distance to the wall memorial where part of the wall has been retained plus other bits added to create an informative and thought provoking memorial site. Nearby is the Nordbahnhof, or north train station,…

Another serve of Brussels?

The ICE International train zooms, almost quietly, across the Belgium and then Germany countryside, heading to Frankfurt. We will get off at Koln (Cologne) to catch our next train to Berlin. I take the opportunity to read some more opinion pieces on Brussels, because I am still trying to process my feelings for this contradictory…

High art, low art and a cultural melting pot

I sit in our inner city Brussels apartment with the window wide open. From two stories down the sounds of the street echo up. People’s laughter and chatter, children playing, lads kicking a football, distant music, women’s high heels clacking down the cobblestones. I sip beer and munch on salted peanuts and reflect on my…

Back across the channel

We arise early to catch the Eurostar to Brussels. It is interesting how we approach a new and unfamiliar city. Many things are similar, but with subtle differences, like getting a ticket for the Metro to get from the main station into the city. There are only so many ways this mass system of human…

Heading south

On our way back to Europe from Scotland we took the opportunity to detour to the lovely lush Herefordshire, to visit an ex-work mate of mine. Tanya and I worked together for many years and we reminisced about our days at the farm when it was really quiet and we had hardly any visitors. We…

Ruthin, North Wales

The hills of North Wales almost make up for leaving the Highlands of North West Scotland. We spend the time here catching up with Jeremy’s parents, Mike and Mary, in their lovely house and garden in Llangynhafal, taking some walks and checking out a few local sites. The first walk we take is the regular…

Denbigh Mental Asylum

Broken views through shattered windows. Glass crunching underfoot. Risky, dangerous…definitely spooky. Hidden in the middle of beautiful scenery are these beautiful buildings hiding a multitude of ugly sins. Broken cells for broken people?…or for people who don’t confirm to a broken society? What used to be a place of confinement, labotamies and autopsies is now…

Stirling and Scotland statistics

We’re on the motorway from Scotland to Wales. Zooming along to the next section of our trip. The last few days stand as an interlude between the Highlands road trip and a week in the UK visiting friends and family. On the way to Stirling from Inverness we called into Aviemore to buy a pair…

Inverness

After our 10 day road trip up the west coast of Scotland we have two nights in Inverness to regroup, wash the dirties and re-pack the bags. We are staying at a great little studio overlooking the River Ness. I sit in the picture window in the kitchen, typing and people watching, sipping my beer…

Kyle of Tongue

We sit at the window of our B&B, overlooking this most amazing estuary, or Kyle of Tongue, complete with seals. The weather rolls across continuously changing the landscape, sun one minute, rain the next. As the backdrop we have Ben Loyal, the “Queen of Scottish mountains”…it’s been quite a day… ? We left our B&B…