Martin and I haven't had much of a break since we bought the holding, so last week we took the chance for a few days away and headed off to Berlin. This was the first time for Martin and the second time for me.
I wanted to take Martin to Berlin for a long time; I knew he would enjoy the vast amount of history and sights it had to offer, not to mention the extensive assortment of sausage-based food! Seventh heaven for him!
I visited one of my favourite places - KaDeWa department store - the second largest department after Harrods. I don't like it for the consumer goods - I'm not someone who enjoys shopping for stuff - but for the gourmet food floor. There are 30 food counters plus dedicated sections with goods from around the world - fish and seafood, meat, deli, sweets, pastries, herbs and spices, fruit and veg, coffee, tea, alcohol, oils and vinegar, and endless little spots to sit where chefs will cook for you. We obviously had to have a currywurst.
The German Museum of Technology was the most impressive museum I've ever visited. You could spend a whole day there and still not see everything; we spent over four hours and only saw about half of it. And the planes - so many, many planes! I don't think I've ever seen that many planes in such a confined space. It's ship exhibition is pretty impressive too and I'm not a naval fan.
We covered quite a few sights in our four days in Berlin (the train network is superb), mostly related to WWII and the cold war. It's surprising what you can cram into a short space of time!
A little bit more travelling is one of my goals for the future. We are pretty frugal people, but it occurred to me recently that we are running the risk of becoming too inwardly-focused and I think it will help us become more broad-minded if we spent more time visiting other cultures. It is possible to travel cheaply too, although the cheapest options - youth hostels and camping - are both ones I don't enjoy anymore.
This time we stayed in a cosy little self-catering apartment in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, which I managed to find a last-minute deal on (cheaper than a standard double room in a hotel/B&B). It's little kitchenette had a sink, dishwasher, fridge, induction rings and all crockery and cooking equipment provided. I prefer this type of accommodation so we can prepare our own breakfasts and lunches and, if necessary, also dinner if we're watching the pennies.
Berlin was cold at -10oC, but it was a different type of cold to the UK, a dry cold which is fine when you're wrapped up. Most days the sun shone and it was lovely and bright. Travelling out of season in February is not always a bad idea, especially for keeping the cost down.
Although we missed all the snowstorms, our return flights were cancelled and refunded Thursday due to the bad weather In the UK, so we rebooked them for the following day and enjoyed a few more sights that afternoon and evening, including a wonderful indochinese meal with schnapps at the Lemon Leaf restaurant (love the umbrellas on the ceiling). Two main courses, a beer, a lemonade and two schnapps came to about £22 pounds, which is ridiculously cheap!
Anyway, we're back in England and back at work.
The animals seemed pleased to see us, although they may change their minds when they realise that my sister is no longer here to spoil them with tidbits! My sister very kindly offered to come up and keep an eye on the place and MIL while we were away, which is a pretty big ask and one of the reasons we've shied away from having a longer break. They all managed to make it through the snowstorms ok, with the only problem being a burst water pipe in the paddock when the temperatures rose Saturday. Luckily, the split was well above the tap and isolation valve, so it is easily fixed by replacing that section.
Phew, fingers crossed that is the only issue and we've come through all the bad weather unscathed.