Any day on tour with swimming is a good day.  I had two swims (though there were also great opportunities in Ostrava and Wismar):

  • With Erik, in the Øresund, the strait between Copenhagen and Sweden.  Quite a lot like Fremantle.  It was one of the best tour swims ever, exactly what i needed that morning.  But i lost the photos in a hard drive crash.
  • With Birta and Michael, in the pool at the power station in Wuppertal.  A lovely outdoor pool with a waterslide for kids (and me) heated by the power station boilers.

Any day on tour with a Castle (that’s Hrad in Czech) is a good day.  Mic and Robbie didn’t actually play in any castles, but we saw dozens of them out the car/train window and visited a few:

  • The Prague castle, which is really a conglomorate of churches and palaces and monestaries.  We began our journey by searching for an ATM, which took us eventually on a long long walk through the lesser town, up the hill with the orchard, through the forest, along the ridge, past the monastery, and finally out through the front gates of the castle for a glass of wine at the vineyard.  Cathy and I each had a bar or restaurant we were desperate to go to… another day.
  • Hrad Střekov, the best-looking of all the castles along the Labe/Elbe.  Wagner began the Tannhäuser here, and I was reading An Equal Music, so everything fit.  Of course we arrive after the opening time, but there was a wedding on so the gates and the bar were open and there were beautiful people peering down at us from the balconies.
  • The 15th century Neurathen Castle, over the 19th century Bastei bridge near Dresden – it’s amazing that such a solid and beautiful bridge can take you across such precarious heights to such a old old ruin.  cathy didn’t pay her EU2 to visit the actual ruins because she doesn’t like high heights.  And the heights were pretty high.


Credit cards are not accepted. Hardly anywhere. Not the petrol station, not the expensive clothes shop, not really anywhere. I wonder whether it’s always been like this, whether Australia has become credit dependant and I haven’t noticed, or whether the GFC has made everybody stop taking credit from banks.


Rob Rayner from The Beez says that all the mean German stereotypes (they’re annoying travellers, Germany has lots of rules, Germans are really strict about everything, some economy thing which I forget …) are no longer true about Germans, but they are true of Americans.


I wish you good hat” – a benediction from a lady at a busking festival. I want to try to use it in more situations.


Random Swedish fact : Mr Celsius originally set 0° as boiling and 100° as freezing. After a couple of years one of his colleagues persuaded him to have it the other way around.


A proper Australian accent is really hard to understand. We don’t pronounce our Rs, we say D instead of T, and we cut off the end of lots of words.


After spending three or more days each in Berlin, Dresden, Copenhagen, Prague, Wuppertal, Ostrava, Wismar, our easy two best meals were both surprises : Sankt Pauli in Dresden, which we just stopped by for a while drink on a sunny afternoon and discovered that it’s a bit famous ; and San Leo in Wuppertal, where we had a lucky second – sitting booking because our friends said “should we go to the little Italian place after we pick you up from the train”. Both unassuming and fantastic.


Random joke about Poles : when Russians come to Germany to steal a car they have to steal two, because they’re driving home through Poland.


Actual travelling time, Berlin to sydney, on the fastest possible route:
Carrying things to the car in lausitzer platz -> handing in the hire car keys: 2hrs
Checking in and waiting at tegel: 2hrs
Berlin -> Abu Dhabi : 6hrs
waiting at Abu Dhabi (for a very slow transfer desk and two very slow security scans) : 4.5 hrs
Abu Dhabi -> Sydney : 14hrs
Getting through customs and driving to lewisham via breakfast (thanks Allison!) : 3hrs
Total travelling time : 31.5 hrs


The virgin in-flight entertainment has one album by Silver Chair and two by Silverchair… And one Geoffrey Gurrimul Yunupingu album under G, and a Gurrimul Yunupingu album under Y. They’re both Australian !
Etihad had the best film selection, air Berlin had the best television, and virgin had the best music. Gonna buy Beck’s Morning Phase and Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas.