One day I will summon the energy to upload some of the photos I've been meaning to upload for the past 2 years, and to create all those individual travel pages. We can but dream...
Anyway, this is where I have been since 2000:
September 2001 - 1 week in Antwerp. Overdosing on high culture. Plus mussels in season - brilliant! Only spoilt by news of events in New York the 11th...
July 2002 - A week in Gent with excursions to Brussels, Mechelen, Kortrijk, Ieper. Fun in Flanders on 700th anniversary of the Battle of the Golden Spurs (1302). First visit to the Menin Gate for the Last Post ceremony.
July 2002 - Long weekend in Brussels (Thank you Ryanair for the 1p flights)
October 2003 - A week based in Gent - with excursions to Tongeren, Kortrijk, Ieper and Lille. Second visit to the Menin Gate ceremony, with my brother in law.
July 2004 - 1 week in Berlin, staying in B&B in Friedrichshain. Glorious summer weather.
November 2004 - 1 week in Cologne. Based in a lodgings in Stammheim on banks of the Rhine. Excursion to Bonn.
March 2005 - 1 week in Katowice and Krakow.
Nov 2005 - 1 week in Berlin, staying in hostel in Moabit. With excursion to Dresden.
May 2006 - 3 days in Brugge and Gent, plus 2 days at sea on the Rosyth-Zeebrugge ferry.
September 2006 - 2 weeks near Desenzano on Lake Garda, with excursions to Milan, Brescia and Verona.
March 2007 - 1 week in Salzburg, Munich and Augsburg. Included a pilgrimage to Brecht's birthplace in Augsburg. Highlight: the Fuggerei (a community of almshouses) in Augsburg.
September 2007 - 1 week in Norfolk(UK)
Nov 2007 - 1 week in Berlin based in Kreuzberg. Included a pilgrimage to Brecht's grave. And I got to see Die Dreigroschenoper at the Berliner Ensemble! Visited Potsdam and Wannsee.
April 2008 - 1 week in Bremen with excursions to Farge (Valentin), Worpswede, Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven
September 2008 - a 1 week tour of Northern Italy: flew into Milan, then 3 nights in Mantova and 4 nights in Padova: excursions to Cremona, Vicenza and Venice. Highlight: Giotto's frescos in the Scrovegni Chapel. Added to collection of 'tall medieval structures that I have ascended' (I must list them one day) by climbing Il Torrazzo in Cremona.
November/December 2008 - back to Bremen, with my wife, for Christmas markets and shopping
April 2009. Taking advantage of a Ryanair special offer, flew to Weeze in Nordrhein for a long weekend. Stayed in Weeze village itself and in Duisburg. Highlight was a day in Xanten, looking at the Roman remains (and reconstructions); next best experience was sitting in 'Diebels am Innenhafen' in Duisburg, consuming lots of excellent Altbier whilst watching World Cup Qualifiers football on the big screen.
March 2010. Flew in to Bremen. One night in Bremen - very pleasant watching Valencia - Werder game on TV whilst drinking and dining. Then off by train to Luebeck for three days. Luebeck fantastic. Tested the extent of my German comprehension skills, by seeing a production of Hedda Gabler at the Stadt-Theater. Went to Travemunde to dip a toe in the Baltic. Made an excursion to Schwerin - took in the art gallery (fantastic collection) and Schloss Schwerin. Schloss looked even more spectacular when it started to snow! From Luebeck, back to Bremen to catch flight home. In fit of curiosity/madness, consumed a final meal of Grunkohl mit Pinkel on evening before flight.
September 2010 - a holiday with my wife in the Veneto. Flew in to Milan, then train across to Vicenza, where we were based for a week. Saw sights of Vicenza, plus climbed Monte Berico. Excursions to Cittadella, Padova, Venezia, Bassano del Grappa and Treviso. On way home, spent a day in Milan. It was heaving - Fashion Week in full swing, plus a big political rally in the Castello.
May 2011. Back to Berlin. Rented an apartment on Weserstrasse in Neukoelln. Showed friend and former workmate 'TC' around Berlin. My first visit to the Neues Museum, the Hamburgerbahnhof gallery, Nico's grave in the Grunewald, and the Luftwaffemuseum in Gatow. Highlight: Union Berlin vs Energie Cottbus, good game, great atmosphere.
Nov 2011. Long weekend, trying out Ryanair's new Manchester-Memmingen route. Stayed in Memmingen and Ulm - visited Stuttgart, Tuebingen, Ravensburg and Friedrichshafen. Also visited Romanshorn in Switzerland (but taking excursion on a bargain ticket, and not allowed to get off the ferry).
May 2012. Flew to Bremen. Train to Hamburg. 2 days in Hamburg getting to know the city - Kunsthalle, absolutely fantastic gallery! Excursion to Luebeck to visit friends made on previous trip there. Then 2 days in Hannover, with an excursion to Celle. And back to Bremen. Pleased to have located all Stolpersteine targeted in Hamburg, Celle, Hannover. (Also found memorial to Celler Hasenjagd, profoundly depressing reminder of man's inhumanity to man.) Came home with half a ton of Niederegger marzipan as gifts for friends and family.
November 2012: Flew to Basel, then coach to Freiburg. Based in Freiburg, with excursions to Breisach, Colmar (France), Titisee, Sankt Peter and Glottertal. Overdosed on medieval art, esp. Isenheim altarpiece in Colmar, plus baroque masterpiece (Klosterkirche in Sankt Peter). Took in Bundesliga game SC Freiburg vs Hamburg SV (0-0), and stand-up comedy (Patrizia Moresco) in German. A great trip, despite the persistent rain and fog!
November 2013: Flew to Hamburg for 5-day break. Made excursion up to Luebeck to see friends: finally visited St Anne Museum to see the Hans Memling altarpiece; and made it to the Jacobskirche, a fine church with a memorial chapel for the victims of the Pamir disaster. Ran out of time so still haven't seen inside the Heligen-Geist-Hospital!. In Hamburg: walked through the Elbe Tunnel; went to the Laeiszhalle, Marriage of Figaro as 'opera in concert format' - brilliant, especially Valentina Naforniţă. Day-excursion by high-speed catamaran to Helgoland; beautiful weather; inspected extensive 'bomb-damage' on island. Day trip to Kiel and Laboe on Kieler Ford: more glorious weather; bus from Kiel to Heikendorf, then walk to U-boat memorial, then walk up to Laboe for U-995 and Marine-Ehrenmal; ferry back to Kiel; interrupted train journey back to Hamburg with stop-off at Ploen to see beautiful sunset over the lake.
March 2014: a week in Freiburg im Breisgau, which ended with me seeing SC Freiburg triumph 3-1 over Werder Bremen. Excursion to the Schluchsee (where water levels were at an all-time low); walked along lakeside from Schluchsee to Seebrugg. Excursion to Konstanz and Insel Mainau; gardens and glasshouses of Mainau especially impressive - and not too crowded. Excursion to Karlsruhe to visit the State Art Gallery (one of the biggest and best in Germany); Schloss undergoing restoration and covered in scaffolding, town centre being dug up for a new U-bahn, Karlsruhe one big noisy building site! Excursion to Donaueschingen; visited Faustenberg Brewery visitor centre and chatted with staff; explored town - most impressive structure was the beautiful Baroque church, with memorial to a courageous priest who 'spoke out' against Nazi policies amd died in Dachau. Saw comedian-singer Tobias Mann on stage at Vorderhaus (venue in Freiburg); very funny, but had to work hard to keep up with his German! Also visited Basel - without a Swiss Franc on me, but found plenty of free attractions; nipped back across border to take a look at Lörrach.
November 2014: back to Freiburg to see SCF play Schalke 04. Had a good time with friends on the Nordtribune, and SCF won 2-0! Travel options limited by DB train-drivers' strike, but visited Schauinsland, Rastatt and Breisach.
If anyone thinks my travels are slightly Euro-centric...well spotted!
All I can say is that I have a degree in European Humanities. I started off as a classicist (Latin, Greek, Philosophy and Ancient History) before switching to Renaissance and Reformation Studies. And I really enjoy learning and using modern European languages.
Also, I am trypanophobic, or maybe belanophobic... anyway, I'm afraid of injections (and by extension of nurses, doctors, clinics, hospitals), and so won't fly anywhere that requires any sort of inoculation!
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