Sunday, August 25, 2013

Summer in Berlin

After about four weeks in tiny Neuchâtel, I started missing the big city life of London and Jo´burg and working hours in Switzerland turned out to be a lot more stressful than in London....:-)
It was time for a break!
Since my girls from Bordeaux were doing an internship in Berlin, it was the perfect time to book a flight and head over to Berlin for a reunion weekend! 

Berlin never disappoints - a modern art exhibition at the bunker, brunch  and gauffres at Prenzlauer Berg, flea market at Mauerpark, Saturday farmer´s market in Friedrichshain, more brunch, crazy nights (why again did we buy the Jägermeister????), some shopping and a lot of good food and coffee!
And compared to Switzerland, everything was sooooo cheap :-)

What a great weekend, can´t wait to see you girls back in Bordeaux in a few weeks!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Out of town: Kew Gardens

Want a little break from all the hussle in central London? Take the tube or, even better, a boat out to Kew Gardens - what was once the King´s weekend getaway, is now open to the public and offers enough little paths through flower beds and rhododenron bushes to forget the city for a while. 

King George III was living here with his family, hidden away from the public because of his manic behaviour. He suffered from recurring bouts of convulsions and talked until the foam ran out of his mouth. Researchers believed he suffered from porphyria, the blue urine,  which caused his madness. In an acute crisis, he would write sentences of around 400 words, over and over repeating himself. When he was taken by convulsions, his pages had to sit on him to keep him on the floor.
Today, researchers have thrown doubt in the hypothesis of porphyria causing his mental decline. Medical documents from the time have shown that he was given a plant extract as a tonic that had, most probably, affected the color of his urine. He would be diagnosed with a manic disorder by today´s criteria.
Anyway, it was at Kew Palace where, when he was still well, he spent glorious summer holidays with his wife Charlotte von Mecklenburg-Strelitz and their 15 children. 
One can catch a little glimpse of how it must have been to be the King´s child when taking a tour through Kew Palace. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Road Trip III: The Cathedral of Wells and Salisbury

With our little rental car we made our way down to Wells, on little curvy country roads lined by well-cut English hedges. My dad struggled with the gear and the left-hand driving so a lot of shouting was involved on that two-hour ride down to Wells. The cathedral was beautiful - majestic and serene, the landmark of the place. 
Once the sun came out, we stopped at a little pub and tried all their different ciders. Yay, we felt so English while sipping the cider and looking at those green slopes with sheep grazing quietly. 
The next day, we went over to Salisbury to visit an even more impressive cathedral where the Magna Charta is displayed. 
I was amazed by that water bassin that acts as a mirror to study the ceiling, the water was so still you wouldn´t even tell the difference between the original and the reflection in a picture!

Road Trip UK II: English Countryside

What a treat to have some greenery around you and enjoy a beautiful evening walk along the river...
and the cars, no ambulance or police sirens nor any drunkards in the streets...for a few days, it was good to take a break of busy London :-)