Saturday, December 24, 2005

Xmas Eve

We're in the UK with Sarah's family in London. It's a beautiful day - about 8 degrees and feels like summer. We just walked down to Broadway markets after breakfast. Lots of people were out buying fresh food for their Christmas feasts. Sarah's mum is wrapping presents and I'm being handed slices of Christmas Cake.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


We caught the overnight train from Krakow. We had heard of various dangers associated with train travel from Poland. According to our guide book, some passengers had claimed of being gassed while sleeping and then having all their baggage stolen. The sleeper itself was very dusty and pretty dirty. We strengthened the lock on the cabin door with Sarahs belt but still didnt sleep much. We were woken twice in the night to have our passports stamped. It felt like more times than that though since we had to be stamped for exiting Poland, entering Slovakia, exiting Slovakia and entering Hungary. The passport control guards just kept on coming. It was an enormous relief to finally arrive in Budapest. We are staying in a comfortable and well equipped apartment in the centre of Pest, near the river bank. The city is very vibrant and my initial impression is of a city on the crossroads between East and West but more oriented towards Europe. Today we are going to check out Pest and its sights. Its pretty rainy and cold out.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Snowing in Krakow

Big, white, light flakes snowing down on rooftops, cars and squares. Krakow is beautiful in the snow. We are rugged up like michelin ladies, wobbling through the narrow cobblestone streets, slippery from the slush.

Today we will visit Wawel Castle. Yesterday we went to Auschwitz-Birkenau. A very moving experience. Birkenau was a city, designed for people to exist on the edge of life only long enough to extract some labour before being killed. I am so moved by the fact that people survived. I would like to read more survivor narratives now.

Tomorrow we catch the train to Budapest over night. We have a sleeper.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Prague to Krakow

Tomorrow we're catching the train to Krakow. Eight and half hours. We didn't think we'd get there for various reasons but mainly because we stayed in Berlin for a few days longer than expected. We'll hang out in Krakow for a few days and visit Birkenau and Auschwitz then take the long train journey to Budapest. Ten and a half hours.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Sarah at Checkpoint Charlie

Check Point Charlie
Originally uploaded by Juzza.
This could be our only day of good weather but boy was it fantastic! We made the most of it by walking to the Jüdisches Museum close by to Checkpoint Charlie you can see in this photo.

Sarah in Miniloft

Sarah in Miniloft
Originally uploaded by Juzza.
Sarah experiencing a bit of jetlag after 26 hours in the air. Gee it's hard recovering in an architecturally designed loft in Berlin...

Designer Miniloft

Designer Miniloft
Originally uploaded by Juzza.
We are staying in this amazing flat in what was East Berlin, and is now known as North Mitta. Its near the Natural History Museum and Zinnovitzer Underground Station

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Jüdisches Museum

Yesterday Sarah and I emerged from our miniloft architecturally designed heaven to peruse a bit of Berlin. It was a beautiful day! Yes, Bono pun intended but it was - crisp, clear and sunny. Unfortunately, as soon as Sarah arrived in Berlin my nasty cold relapsed and I had to lie low for a day after a failed attempt to get to Brandenburg Gate. Yesterday I was feeling a bit better so we spent the afternoon in the Jüdisches museum. It is a great museum and full of interesting stuff. Sarah and I do museums at quite different speeds but even Sarah, who moves through very fast, didn't get to see every room. I saw the first two floors and most of the third. The museuem was organised with the early history of German Jewry dating back to the Medieval period on the top floor, moving through to the last few centuries on the next floor down and the one below that was on World War II. The museum raised many questions about German-Jewish history and Sarah and I spent some time discussing our perspectives last night. Well worth the visit.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Just arrived in Berlin

I´m in Berlin and arrived at the Zoologischer Garten station. It is quite apt to call this the Zoo station. It seems very chaotic. I have taken refuge in an Internet cafe for a few moments to check my email. I am experiencing some culture shock being out of Scandinavia where everything appears to be quite organised and just about everybody speaks English. I can tell I am going to have to brush up on my high school Deutche. What´s more, I have to adjust to a new keyboard. I was just getting used to the Danish one. The Y is in the bottom left hand corner, and the Z is in the usual location for the Y. I´m guessing this is to accomodate all those extra vowels - ü,ö,ä.

OK, now I am going to launch myself into the Underground and try to make my way to this hotel I´ve booked and know nothing about, but it is close to the apartment where I´m to meet Sarah tomorrow. Here I go...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Berlin by train

I have a 7:50am train to Berlin to catch tomorrow morning from Copenhagen Central Station. I haven't actually booked a hotel room in Berlin for Saturday night. I should probably do this this evening. Sunday I will meet my girlfriend in the apartment we have booked for the week. Yes, I'm getting pretty excited. Two months!

Two of Helene's friends I got to know in Stockholm are in Copenhagen. They texted me yesterday and have invited me for a drink this evening. Excellent, I'm really looking forward to seeing them again.