Monday, 30 April 2012


Whilst we were away Ruby stayed with some neighbours who have a border collie, Poppy. Over the Easter weekend some of their family came to stay, bringing their labrador Megan. Here are some photographs of Ruby's holiday.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Viking Fontane

To round off my trip report I thought I'd show you a few photographs of the boat.

This is the bar in the Viking Lounge, which served up several tasty cocktails for us.

The Viking Lounge

Our cabin

The sun deck, with some actual sun!

The reception area with stairs and corridor leading to the cabins.

The dining room.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Final Day

 After a really decent hotel breakfast we set off for a walk around Berlin as our flight was not until the early evening. We headed first to Check Point Charlie. This was a real Mickey Mouse affair; the soldiers are in fact German actors and you can pay to have your photograph taken with them. There was another German actor, clad in American uniform, calling out "Come and have your photo took, then put your picture on Face Book" which made us laugh. We went into the museum there, but didn't stay long as it was dreadfully crowded and really poorly organised.

The Brandenburg Gate

We loved this bicycle. It's difficult to see from the photograph, but there are seats for six people, each of whom has a set of pedals to help propel it along.

This bus tour is clearly a European franchise as we have exactly the same decorated bus doing tours in Bath.

Christopher outside the Reichstag building.

Me outside the Reichstag building. One of the very few photographs taken of me during our holiday, but I'm at a decent distance so you can't really see me that well!

 Most of the shops were closed, as it was Easter Monday, so we weren't able to spend many of our remaining Euros. But this wonderful chocolate shop was open and heaving with shoppers and sightseers. It was beautifully decorated for Easter and had some amazing chocolate sculptures in the windows. This one is of the Reichstag building.

The Kaiser Wilhelm church

The Brandenburg gate

Not too sure what this was, a monogram of some sort with chocolate balls circling round it.

A huge chocolate Easter egg. No, the chap beside it isn't made of chocolate!

We bought some chocolate for the neighbours who were looking after Ruby for us and for our sons. For some reason which I'll never be able to fathom we didn't buy any for ourselves.

After this we returned to our hotel for a cup of tea before being taken to the airport and getting our flight home. The flight was a little delayed, so we booked into a hotel near Heathrow airport and set off for home early next morning.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Days 9 and 10

Saturday, our last full day on board the Viking Fontane. We went for a tour of the Wurlitz gardens, but it was so jolly cold I didn't want to take my gloves off to take any photographs! We rested in the afternoon and in the evening attended the Captains Cocktail party and dinner, which was very festive. We shared a table at dinner with six of the friends we had made during the week. I told you it had been cold didn't I? Well, you can just make out the snow falling outside the window!

After breakfast on Sunday morning, we saw our suitcases being taken out to the coach and then followed them. We were taken to the palace of Sanssouci, built by Frederick the Great near Potsdam. 

This is Frederick the Great's tombstone in the grounds of the Palace. He finally ended up here after having been moved about a great deal and reburied in several places. Apparently, he introduced potatoes to Prussia, and had a great fondness for them, hence the offerings on the tombstone.

Alongside his grave are the graves of his dogs, all bitches, apparently the only females allowed in the palace.

After leaving Sanssouci, we drove to Potsdam and saw the building where the Potsdam Conference took place in 1945 between the victorious Allied leaders Harry S Truman, Winston Churchill, and his successor Clement Attlee, and Joseph Stalin and where the future of postwar Europe was decided.

After having lunch in Potsdam, we were driven to Berlin and apparently had a short tour around the city before going to our hotel. Unfortunately, I saw very little of the drive as I fell asleep!

We stayed in the Hilton hotel in Berlin, and were offered a walking tour of the city in the early evening. We didn't take up the offer as I climbed straight into bed because I was so cold and then fell asleep again. I think the extremely busy holiday had finally caught up with me. We had a room service supper that evening.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Day 8

Good Friday. It seems really strange to be away at Easter, and hardly like Easter at all. It's a bit sad not to be decorating for Easter; I still like to do it even though the boys rarely manage to visit at Easter these days. The ship left Torgau whilst we were having breakfast, not due to arrive until lunchtime. In the morning Simon led a lively discussion about the European Union. The Brits of course had various views and points to make, whilst the Americans and Canadians on board had plenty of questions to ask. 

Later, Simon had arranged an egg decorating competition, which was good fun. There were paints and felt tip pens, glitter and gems and about forty of us spent a happy hour in childlike fun. And I forgot to take any photographs! I painted mine like a patchwork quilt (no surprises there then) and added some bling and it came in third place.

After lunch we set off in our coach for the town of Wittenburg, where a local guide took us for a tour of Martin Luther's town. This is the Augustinian monastery that became Luther's family home after he married.

This is the lectern that Luther preached from.

This painting depicting the ten commandments is in one of the rooms. It's a wonderful painting and I wish I could have shown you each individual section as it's full of humour.

Martin Luther and his wife - who was a runaway nun.

Martin Luther's room in which he held discussions with colleagues and students is preserved just as it was. This is the stove.

This tree, like many others we saw in the Czech Republic and Germany, was decorated for Easter.

Another building dating from the time of Martin Luther. It's easy to see the similarity in style to English buildings of the same era.

This is the door of the church on which Martin Luther pinned his ninety five theses. Of course, it's not the same door, this one is metal and relatively modern, but it's easy to imagine what it might have looked like.

Luther was buried in the same church and this is his burial place.

I loved the tiled floor in the church.

When we got back to the ship we found this waiting for us in our cabin. What a nice gesture from the crew.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Small finishes for April

What with holidays and City and Guilds samples there's not a lot of finishing going on around here at the moment. I did finish one sample though, as I had an idea that I wanted to see through. Right at the end of last term, just before we went on holiday, we were doing Broderie Perse. This technique was really popular in Europe in the seventeenth century and one design that people liked to do was The Tree of Life.

Now, don't get excited, there was no way that I was going to get into something as advanced as this! I'm not that keen on appliqué. But I found some wonderful fabric with owls on and thought it would be lovely for broderie perse, so here's my homage to The Tree of Life.

I don't know about you, but my needles get into a muddle. When I watch something like The Quilt Show, or read various blogs, people talk about using a particular sized needle for a particular job, and I wonder how they keep them organised. I have no idea which needle is which after a while and they end up just jammed into a needle case any old how. So I decided to make myself one which I could label and try to be a bit more organised.

I used a bit more of the owl fabric and some felt, fabric and ribbon that I had and put some braid on the 'pages' that I can label with the size and type of the needle. I've only put six pages in, but I could always add more braid to divide the pages if I want more.

I wonder if it will work and help me to be a bit more organised?