Buses, Trains, Horses, Cars and Sausages

April 15, 2008 -

John Heald

Yesterday in Berlin we saw the famous sights that represented the Old Eastern Germany in Check Point Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate and the remnants of the wall. This morning I visited one that is very clear in my mind thanks to the Harry Palmer cold war spy films starring Michael Caine.

In one of his movies there is a Spy exchange with a British and Soviet Spy walking down a mist laden bridge…….the movie whose title embarrassingly escapes my memory was based on a true story and the bridge was the scene of many famous such spy swaps. The bridge is called The Glienicke Bridge and American, British and Soviet spies walked that bridge…..some to a hero’s welcome and some walking to the Russian side to receive the good news from a Luger and given the OBE……one behind the ear.

I am fascinated by modern history and while ancient history is amazing I personally am addicted to history as I experienced myself today. After the visit to the bridge we went to a beautiful small village which still has many memories of the former GDR. For example there are watch towers built along the coast line where the East German soldiers would make sure nobody was getting in…….or out. These towers stand today as a frightening reminder of something that until 1989 cast a huge and dangerous shadow over the German people. There are other reminders in Warnemunde including the old Soviet style houses where the workers lived.

These old grey ghost like houses now sit amongst the more modern houses and once again act as a reminder of how these people used to live and thankfully how they live now. I mentioned also in a previous blog about the car that was made in Eastern Germany. It was called the Trabant and it was called the “Car Of The People.” It was probably called this because it took 1 hour to build and had a steering wheel, an engine and four wheels……..that’s it. No CD player, no electric this and electric that and you know what…it did exactly what a car is supposed to do and the Trabant became a symbol of Communism.

Today, I saw some of these cars and in fact we are offering a tour of Warnemunde in a convoy of these cars. I drove one today and although I could feel a spring or two making friends with my bottom …east meets west…..the car drove perfectly and was lots of fun. The tour gives you a real taste of those bad old days and the good old Trabant becomes your personal time machine.

If old cars are not your scene then maybe visiting a farm, learning the art of thatching and then seeing Warnemunde by horse and carriage then we have a tour just for you. I will start by saying I do not like horses. They smell of horse and anytime I have ever been close to one they usually lift their tail and deposit a large pile of fertilizer. Horses kick, horses bite and anytime I have ever sat on a horse’s back problems begin. The horse can be called Gentle Daisy or Calm and Drugged Dobin but for some reason as soon as I sit on them they turn into psycho horses from hell and that usually means me on the floor with broken bones and my face in a pile of horse poo. I hate horses………although not as much as the French who eat them in a white wine sauce.

Anyway, back to this gorgeous horse farm and the carriage ride. The farm was charming and the farmer Herr Bloom even more so and I think for people who don’t like the big city tours and prefer the joys of the countryside this is just perfect.

Now, as much as I have a dislike for horses I have a love of steam trains. If I had unlimited money a steam train would be on my list of things to buy just after an Aston Martin and a sun tan like George Hamilton’s. This love of trains comes from my Dad who is a what we in the UK call an anaorak and lives and breathes steam…….especially after he has eaten brussels sprouts.

Today we saw a beautiful old East German steam train that will take guests on an unforgettable journey through time. Now, for those of you booking this tour online you will find it under the title of Chugging and Cathedral Tour………….now unfortunately our Tour Operator and the chaps at Carnival did not realize the word chugging as well as meaning the sound a steam train makes also means drinking a beer as quick as you can……………..so anyone booking this tour hoping to be taken to the cathedral, given a case of German Beer and 30 minutes to drink it will be very disappointed. However for those people with a love of steam engines you will be in heaven.

We are now in the ancient town of beautiful Rostock where Aida has its HQ and where they serve wonderful Currywurst and other German sausage delicacies. I had another load for breakfast this morning and if the horse I met earlier had seen me and lifted his tail I think after all the sausages I have eaten I would have had him beat.

I am sitting in an Internet cafe which in German is called an Internet Cafe. Everyone else is looking at the 15th century town hall and then they are going for lunch. I want you to know that I have made the ultimate sacrifice for you and am missing another lunch of Currywurst and Fries so I can send this raspberry flavoured blog thingy and now use Das Computers here to send you some photos from the last few days.

Again, my apologies for the multiple small blogs and I will write to say goodnight later.
One last thing……………thank you all for the comments of support regarding my visit to the concentration camp……………….it means so much to be able to have your opinions and your continuing friendship. Remember, at least one day next week I will be able to reply once again to all of you.

Guten Nachmittag

Johann and Heidelein

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.