Monthly Archives: May 2015

Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures), Berlin

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There are many festivals to look forward to in spring/summer in Berlin. One of my favourites is the Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures), held in May over the Pentecost / Whitsun weekend. There is a street festival in the area between Hallesches Tor and Mehringdam U bahn stations (Blücherplatz) where you can taste food and drinks from around the world, watch performers on the various stages and browse the clothing and craft items for sale. The last few years I’ve visited this on Friday evening and tried things like kriek (cherry beer from Belgium), mango beer from Ghana, baumkuchen, garlic bread, Jamaican chicken, and other treats. This festival is also famous for its very strong caipirinhas and mohitos!

On Sunday there is then a large parade starting at Hermannplatz and continuing for many hours. We heard that this year there were 110 floats, and we lasted for about 60 of them as it was a scorchingly hot day. The best floats seemed to arrive earlier anyway, with countries from all over the world showing their beautiful traditional costumes. As the procession went on it was more the party floats that were coming through, with many people following them, dancing with drinks in hand. It’s amazing how many different countries are represented, and it’s a reminder of how cosmopolitan Berlin is.

 

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Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände

There are many parks in Berlin, each of them with a slightly different character. Today we visited Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände, right next to Priesterweg bahnhof. Entry costs only 1 euro. This park is an example of how quickly nature takes over once a man-made place is abandoned. The area the park is in used to be a railway yard, and when you walk through the natural forest you can see the remains of train repair areas, buildings and railway tracks. It’s a fun place to walk around. Here are some photos!

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Minsk

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Minsk

Last weekend we went to visit a friend in Minsk, Belarus. Most people we have mentioned this to asked about the visa process, expecting that it would be difficult – actually, it only takes 5 days to issue the visa, at least for the embassy in Berlin, and they were kind enough to do it more quickly for us when we submitted our application a bit too late as we weren’t aware that the embassy is not open on Wednesdays. Continue reading
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Vilnius, Lithuania

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Market in Vilnius

This weekend we went to visit a friend and her family in Minsk, Belarus, and as we had left booking a bit late and prices were pretty high on the airline Belavia which flies directly from Berlin, we booked tickets with Lufthansa which flew via Frankfurt and Vilnius, then took a train from Vilnius to Minsk. The flight arrived late at night to Vilnius, but it was cheap and easy to book a taxi to take us from the airport to our B&B. The B&B was run by a lovely Lithuanian woman who stocks her kitchen with cookies and tea, so even though we arrived really late, we could at least have a little something to eat and drink before going to bed. Continue reading

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Ausflug to Heide Park

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On Sunday we and some friends made a trip to Heide Park (https://www.heide-park.de), an amusement /theme park which is about 3.5 hours from Berlin by car. It’s one of the biggest amusement parks in Germany and certainly the biggest I’ve ever been to (actually, the only other amusement park I’d experienced previously was Ratanga Junction in Cape Town – http://www.ratanga.co.za/theme-park, which was also a lot of fun). Heide park has nine rollercoasters as well as a variety of other rides suitable for many different ages and preferences. Continue reading

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