Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Berlin: A walk with Tour Guide Beth

The National Centre for Curry Wurst
 An uneventful flight except for a screaming child in 4D and we were soon on a bus out of Tegal into Berlin centre. 

A train at the Hauptbahnhof takes us to just outside the centre to the older eastern part of the city. The Michelberger Hotel is full of the fit and trendy so we are quickly at home. 

We unpacked and back on the train to Hackesher Markt and into arms of a Curry Wurst, delicious with 0.4l of Lubzer Pils.

 The balance of the day, apart from Lidl just across from the hotel, was the Walking Tour of Berlin. This is an arduous but a great way, in four hours plus, to get a real sense of the city.

Tour Guide Beth marched us gently from place to place. Her prologue delivered on the bank of the River Spee was an eloquent overview of German history; 1200 to the present, this was a colourful scene setter.  

Onwards with Beth, Museum Island and which museum contained what, the Cathedral and then a long perambulation down the Unter den Linden with various stops for enlightenment. This wide street is typical of the city's 'statement layout' with plenty of space for parades, marching and such. 

Berlin is a city where architects continue to have a go.  Across from the cathedral the new city hall is being build amongst much controversy. This is a city of contrasts, neo-classical, baroque and post-modern nudging against each other, interrupted of course by some glorious fascism-style buildings.

Cranes and such   Berlin
Beth gets us to the Brandenburg Gate, her informative narrative and dates still flowing. Turning sharp left we are we confronted with the monument to murdered Jews in Europe and given the run of the place for twenty or so minutes.

This is about an acre of dark concrete blocks of different heights from half to four meters high with narrow pathways between each. As a place it is profound and insistent. My drawing fails to capture the importance of the place.   

Afterwards Beth asks us to explain our feelings about the place. Several times across the tour we are interrogated about our reactions to things we see, a walking tour in not a passive experience with our Beth.

Brandenburg Gate Berlin
We are into the final leg of our trial by Strasse and both my legs are feeling in need of a Lubzer Pils. No matter, we are taken to a car park, underneath which was Hitler's Bunker and a little further to see a bit of the Wall and then to a cross roads, once known as Check Point Charlie, now a place for stalls selling replica East German Military uniforms and medals.

The point of farewell to Beth was a small square close to Stadtmitte U-bahn where two lovely churches face off against each with the Theatre House between them as if to separate them out!

Beth does a neat wrap up. The walk was an excellent experience and Berlin 101, as her card is handed out I look longingly at the entrance to Huasvogteil Plaz U-bahn and contemplate Check Point Lidl.
Jewish Memorial Berlin

Walks are at

Monday, 31 August 2015

Sailing home - Returning to pretty Emsworth

Getting home - Picking up the mooring in Emsworth – Making Rag Doll ship shape

Crews getting ready to race of Chidham

We left our berth in Itchenor with just enough water underneath us. It was a grey morning and blustery wind from the west. Already a number of crews and their dinghys’ were out in force, off Chidham, for racing; Each crew was limbering up and trying to figure out what course the Race Officer might be planning for the morning race!

There was still not a huge amount of water underneath us so we made our way gingerly towards the turning point into the Emsworth Channel, the Isle of Wight just visible in the far distance.  

At last we reached our mooring. Boat hook in hand, with some trepidation Chris and I picked up the mooring buoy for Rag Doll. We soon off loaded the kit and such into the tender and then devoted an hour to sprucing up the boat, partly in readiness for her racing in a few weeks time. 

Back on dry land there was the usual Sunday busyness around the sailing club. Out popped the sun and another voyage was complete. 

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Sailing in the Solent - Roman Shipping Lanes

Itchenor - Cocktails - Roman Shipping Lanes - A sunset to remember

Itchenor Harbour

Sharp right and we headed up the estuary stopping for the night in Itchenor, a small village on the Eastern shore of Chichester Harbour. Before cocktails we tidied and stowed the sails, adjusted fenders over the side of Rag Doll to make sure everything was set for the evening.

The Itchenor Ferry plied its trade between boats and the quayside. Close by St Nicholas Church stands out against the sun. The church contains a copy of the first chart ever made of the shifting sands of Chichester Harbour - the original chart was made over 200 years ago. Earlier still Roman shipping sailed up these waters to their major settlement at Fishbourne, the large palace was built in the 1st century AD, around thirty years after the Roman conquest of Britain.

Saturday Supper: I prepared a meal of entrecĂ´te aux pommes avec salad vert and the boys were happy. And before turning in we enjoyed the remarkable sunset.

Itchenor shown middle right on chart.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Solent Sailing - Heading back East

Back from whence we came - Racing ahead - Chichester Harbour
Sailing out of Yarmouth

Serious Sailing on the Solent
Saturday morning and we all enjoy a nice shower in the marina's facilities. I then prepare breakfast sandwiches of bacon and mushrooms (to finish them up). 

A breezy morning, five to six knots from the southwest and a grey sky as we headed out of Yarmouth.

Out back across the wide Solent after hugging the I-o-W's northerly coastline for a while, past posh Cowes that is readying itself for numerous summer festivities. On a Saturday there are so many more boats out on the water. Various classes of yachts with their spinnakers flying were stretching their racing muscles and they would be doing across this summer's racing season.  

By mid-morning it was warmer with the sun out as we headed east making good speed. A while later lunch was taken on the fly as we prepared to re-enter the waters of Chichester Harbour.

The tide was falling and we had to get across the bar. I took the helm; it was ninety minutes of hard sailing. Rag Doll bucked and reared, complaining of little water under her keel. She acquiesced when we were in calmer waters with a little more water. 

Four weeks later: Rag Doll racing - shown foreground right sail number 1965