Berlin

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The border (but we didn't have to stop...)

After a long ride, we arrived here around 4:00 pm.  Our host, Andreas arrived to lead us to our rehearsal at 5:00 and we had a great rehearsal listening to each other and then ringing together.  This is the first time that their ringers have had a chance to rehearse and work with any other bell group.  We had a great time together!   

The church where we are working.

Bells Angels in the balcony and Southminster Ringers downstairs.

Ringing together.

The rehearsal was followed by a barbecue and the evening was lively.  Now we are back at the hostel for the last couple of nights of our trip.  It was great to see the Leverett family when we arrived and they are staying with us here at the Jugendgastehaus and we will be visiting the sights of Berlin tomorrow morning.  We are looking forward to our guides, Andreas and Firat.

The barbecue and the food.  We have not been starving on this trip!

And games...

Friday, July 18, 2008

 

We Began the day with sightseeing led by our two tour guides, Andreas and Firat.  The group headed out first to the Hauptbahnhof (brand new in 2006), exchanged $$s into Euros, and went to Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust memorial and the Holocaust Museum.  The experience was as moving as our visit to Auschwitz, but in a different way.  This was followed by food, some quick shopping and then we were off to our concert.

The Hauptbahnhof - outside and inside.  (main train station)

The fountain has many uses.  Here Frannie enjoys the fountain and it decorates the front of the Presidential office.

All of us in front of the Brandenburg gate.

The remnants of the Berlin Wall, a small portion of the Holocaust Memorial, and the Reichstag.

The concert with Bells Angels was exciting yet sobering being our last concert of the tour.  We performed 2 pieces together at the beginning of the concert and then alternated pieces between Bells Angels in the balcony and the Southminster Ringers on the floor.  We ended with Hymn to Joy with both groups and the organ.  It was a great concert, and we were able to share many things with each other while we worked together.

Everyone ringing.

Bells Angels performing with organ.

Mark (our bus driver) and the friendly neighborhood policeman - NOT towing the bus.

 

Our audience:  during the concert and afterwards...

 

The concert was followed by dinner at a local restaurant specializing in Italian and German foods.  It was a great evening together and after running back to the hostel in the rain, we are almost all packed and ready for the morning.  We'll see home soon.  (after we meet at 7 am for our ride to the airport, take off at 9:35, have a 3 hour layover in Newark, and finally arrive in Pittsburgh.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Travel Day back to Pittsburgh

 

We were all up in time this morning, mostly packed and ready for the bus at 7 am.  The trip to Tegel Airport was short and painless.  Leaving Mark, our driver, was the painful part of the morning.  He was a fantastic addition to our travels.  He frequently scouted out our venues before we would arrive, arranged for the tables to be set up and saw that all of our needs and wants were met.  He joined us in most of our meals, stayed at our hostels with us, and had the cheeriest personality even when in a tight spot for a bus.  We may be requesting him again in a couple of years as we plan a trip to Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Although everyone is tired and near exhaustion, there isn't a lot of sleep on the flight yet.  That may change, but maybe not.  We'll see when we land in Newark - and this travelogue ends.

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