Our Exciting Adventure Across Europe: Day Two

Day Two came around too quickly. Between noisy people outside and noisy guests on our corridor, I didn’t sleep that well. There was a school group staying in the hostel so when it was breakfast it was very busy. But that wasn’t going to dampen our spirits – we had a new city to explore. That’s the great thing about our adventure across Europe – there were new places to see each day and new things to experience.

Day Two: Berlin and Zürich

Once we were all fed, it was time to check out. The great thing about A&O Hostels is that alot of them have a locked luggage room on site that you can use for free. Therefore we were able to leave our luggage while we went to explore.

We started the day by taking the M5 tram from the stop at Clara-Jaschke-Strasse which is right outside the train station through the city to Alexanderplatz. Jaxon had seen the TV tower on YouTube and wanted to see it. While I wasn’t sure if we could go up it, I thought we could at least ride a tram and then see it from the ground. Each Monday, Chris calls his Mum so while we were at the tower he quickly rang his Mum to show the sights looking up at the tower. I popped into a shop nearby to buy postcards. I’d had this great idea to write postcards to the grandparents (my parents and Chris’s parents) in each city we were in – but probably post once we got home because buying stamps wasn’t as simple as I thought it should be in some places.

After looking at the prices we decided that we would go up the tower. This would take us to the Observation Deck which is at 203m. As of August 2023, it’s €24.50 for an adult (15+), €14.50 for a child (Aged 4-14), children 3 and under are free. There is a restaurant which is slightly higher at 207m, but I would recommend booking so you’re not disappointed. (For the restaurant, you are paying for the access ticket to the observation deck and restaurant as well as what you eat/drink when you get up there).

Looking out across Berlin from the Berlin Fernsehturm - this was one of our first stops on our adventure across Europe

As you can see from the picture, it was an epic view – thankfully we had a clear day. I’m sure had it been foggy or drizzly the visibility would have been terrible! This was looking North-Westwards towards the Spree River. The view was 360° so you could see across Berlin. With some help from Google Maps, I was able to work our where Berlin Hauptbahnhof Station was along with roughly where our hostel was.

After heading back down the tower, it was time to explore some other history bits. Part of our adventure across Europe was going to be a very big history lesson. It was about time I put a “face” to those places I’d learnt about in History at school (and with my Dad). First we took the U-Bahn from Alexanderplatz to Brandenburger Tor. This is two stops on way on the U5 line.

The Brandenburg Gate has a lot of historical significance.

During The Cold War, The Berlin Wall ran past The Brandenburg Gate and was in a restricted area between both East and West Germany.

After visiting The Brandenburg Gate, we started to walk to Checkpoint Charlie. The walk isn’t that far at around 1.5km but with the heat (the high was 28.5C) we ended up stopping part way to get some lunch in the Mall of Berlin. There were so many choices we were struggling to decide what to get but in the end Chris decided that we’d get noodles because pizza might be needed as a last minute choice later in the trip. The food was really good and filling. Before we left, we again visited the toilet and the ones here had what seemed like an optional tip, but the lady who was the attendant was almost gatekeeping as if it was. a fee rather than an optional tip. (It would be come a theme of not having change or even cash for the tips/fees. Thankfully, J smiled sweetly and she let him in anyway).

After lunch, it was time to brave the heat again and head outside.

Tourists gathered around the hut at Checkpoint Charlie
The border sign at Checkpoint Charlie. It reads "You are entering the American Sector. Carrying weapons off duty forbidden. Obey traffic rules."

And of course, a selfie of me at Checkpoint Charlie to send to my Dad.

And of course a selfie to send home to my Dad.

We took a walk along Zimmerstraße which follows a section of the wall. It was interesting to see how close the wall ran to some of the buildings. At that point, the apartments on one side of the road would have been looking right at the wall.

We briefly visited the Topography of Terror which is a museum on the site of the former Gestapo headquarters. There is an inside bit but we just visited the outside bit. We were all a bit hot and bothered by this point so we didn’t stay long. We took a walk through the shaded areas hoping that there was another gate we could get through but it’s fenced off and so we had to walk back through the park to the main entrance to be able to continue. In that same area that is now a park, there had once stood a palace – it was built in the 1700s and destroyed during WW2. (It was called Prinz-Albrecht Palais).

We then headed to the Jewish Museum. This was a bit of a moment in the day. We entered the museum through “The Old Building”. This was a former Collegienhaus it is one of the last baroque palaces in the Freiderichstadt neighbourhood. Next door to this there is The Libeskind Building which is a modern construction. The building itself zigzags and there’s angled walls and floors. There is an audio tour that you can listen to that tells you all sorts of information about the building and why it was like that. But with the kids in tow, they didn’t want to stop long enough for me to listen to it. Maybe one day I’ll take myself on the train to Berlin and do it again (As well as visiting my friend who now lives about an hour outside of Berlin).

Through the building, there are voids like this (I think two in total) where the ground floor looks right up through the different floors to the roof. (I think there was a reason for this and there is a bit on the website about why the buiding is designed in such a way). There’s a section of the exhibits where there are these banners hanging from the ceiling (or high up on the wall) and the laws that were brought in by the Nazis against the Jews. Some are heart breaking and then as you get further through the war they start to get desperate and crazier. One of the first is that “If you’re a Jew….” and by that last banner it’s like “If you were married to a Jew but your marriage was annulled or you were divorced then you’re still going to be treated as if you were a Jew”. Again, I could have spent a lot longer reading through them all rather than just the skim read that I had to unfortunately give the exhibitions.

We had studied World War 2 in GCSE History and as much as you know it’s real life events that happened to real people, there is something about actually seeing the places in person and walking in those footsteps – like the walk from Brandenburg Gate to Checkpoint Charlie, had I done that when the Berlin Wall was still up, I would have had to had papers and all sorts to show why I was there.

After going to the museum, we then went in search of a bus to get back to the hostel to collect our luggage. This was quite easy to do as there was a bus stop a short walk from the museum and that took us back to Berlin Hauptbahnhof station. The bus took us through Potsdamer Platz too.

After grabbing some food, it was then time to catch our first night train and continue our adventure across Europe. This would take us from Berlin in Germany to Zurich in Switzerland. We were in a 6 seater carriage for most of the journey there was just us four but around 2am ish a couple joined us for a couple of hours. It was extra cosy at that point but with Rex still being so little he could curl up at one end and share a seat/bed with me or Jaxon. Chris kind of slept half sat up. I woke up around Leipzig where the train sat for a little while before carrying on further. Our train also stopped in Frankfurt, Baden Baden and Basel on it’s way through. We arrived in Zurich around 7:30am and that’s the start of Day Three.


You can find out more about the Interrail pass here.

Hello October (2023 Edition)

Well Hello there. Once again plans were made and plans failed but we get back up and try again right??

It’s October first. Between two friends visiting from the UK (not specifically to see us but we were a happy sort of by product lol) and then being on team at church the weekend got swallowed up very quickly but it’s a new month and it’s October! How did September disappear quite so quickly?

On the bus, metro, train or just in front of the TV I’ve been knitting lots. I’ve now got 3 pairs of socks on the go. One pair is a test knit (I’m on sock 1…), second is hopefully a gift if they will fit the recipient otherwise the recipient does have permission to frog the lot and knit some socks that will work for her lol. Third is my attempt at toe up socks (Toe Beans from Louise Tilbrook – Ravelry/Louise’s Website). Oh and a fourth which is the second sock of a test knit for Hanna at Germander Cottage Crafts. That pattern is called Flock Socks and can be found here.

I’ve also been back at Danish classes. I switched from DU3 to DU2 which definitely has helped but I’m now on the other extreme with a very light work load between classes so I’m working my way through a book I picked up at a loppemarked (flea market). It’s called Japonisme by Erin Niimi Longhurst. It’s a lifestyle book about Japan. You can read an interview with her here. I haven’t got much past the introduction as it’s taking me a while but it’s definitely easier than maybe it was when I actually got the book a few months back! I do actually need to read the article I was set for homework before tomorrow’s class… better make it happen quickly!

J(9) and I started Doctor Who yesterday afternoon. We went back to Eccleston’s first episode. We finished the first two episodes then J wanted to watch something else so I started my way through Torchwood again.

Anyway, tomorrow I’ll be back with my goals for October. Things like finishing projects and starting Christmas prep. It’s coming!

Are you working on plans for Christmas? Are you making any of of your gifts?

Our Exciting Adventure Across Europe: Day One

As someone who grew up in the UK, travelling to Europe seemed sort of far away – even if it wasn’t really. I grew up in Bedford which is about an hour north of London by train and so to get to Dover or a similar port to travel to Europe, it would be about a 2.5 hour car trip before you even get into the mainland of Europe. Since moving to Denmark, the opportunities to explore more have opened up. We’ve taken the short ferry from Helsingør to Helsingborg for a short weekend and taken a weekend cruise from Copenhagen to Oslo. Train travel here in mainland Europe is definitely more wallet friendly than the UK and with something like the InterRail pass it definitely opens more doors too. So join us for 8 days taking an exciting adventure across Europe. 8 days, 5 cities and a few more countries!

Day One: Copenhagen to Berlin

Day One was Sunday and so to begin with it was pretty much a normal Sunday for us. We started our day with going to church as Chris was speaking at the service. Rex decided that Daddy was “Flavour of the Day” so as much as I tried to keep him quiet all he wanted was to stand with Daddy. How Chris managed to keep speaking and not get completely distracted I have no idea!

Once church was finished it was time to head to København H Station to get our train and to start our adventure across Europe. Our first stop would be Berlin (with a couple of connections along the way). Before leaving, we grabbed lunch in the station so that we were all starting on a good note.

Our first train would be leaving Copenhagen and going via Fredricia. When we got there, we then had to change for another train to Rendsburg. This train would take us across the border into Germany.

I started by trying to keep notes around which stations we’d been through and then other details like how long the trip was and how far we’d traveled. Day One alone was over 750km (466 miles) that we covered. (If you’re a nerd and you like the stats you can find them down at the bottom of each day’s post).

After leaving Rendsburg station, we could see this bridge but it seemed like we were at complete the wrong angle for our train to actual make it up onto the bridge.

How wrong were we?

The Rendsburg Loop (German: Rendsburger Schleife) is an elevated spiral railway in Rendsburg in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, connecting the Rendsburg High Bridge over the Kiel Canal on the Neumünster–Flensburg line to Rendsburg station. The first bridge built over the original Kiel Canal in the 1890s was a swing bridge. In 1913, with the widening of the canal, this was replaced by the Rendsburg High Bridge with a clearance height of 42 meters (138 ft).

This met the requirements for bridges across the canal. At the same time, however, it was desirable for trains to be able to use the existing Rendsburg station. This was difficult because the station was too close to the canal to be connected directly from a bridge over the canal at the minimum height for the bridge. Therefore, at the northern end of the bridge, an elevated railway was built in the form of a loop. Trains from the south to Rendsburg need to make a 360-degree turn before entering the station. Similarly, trains coming from the north after leaving Rendsburg station run over the loop on to the High Bridge to cross the Kiel Canal.

Source: www.wikipedia.org

Once we crossed the Rendsburg High Bridge, we were then on our way to Hamburg. It was around another 100km from Rendsburg to Hamburg. When we arrived at Hamburg, it turned out that our train arrived at Hamburg Altona station. We needed to leave from Hamburg Hauptbahnhof – so time to tick off our first “other” form of transport. This was the Hamburg S-Bahn.

Google Maps only got us so far and while we were on the right platform, we didn’t have a ticket and we weren’t 100% sure it was going the right way. So while Chris went to get a ticket (that later we’d find out we didn’t need!) Rex, Jaxon and I waited on the platform.

I looked at the map and worked out that we needed the S3 line towards Neugraben. Once we were on the S-Bahn train I wasn’t still not entirely sure we were going to the right way but when we arrived at Hamburg Hauptbahnhof and we were able to get out next train it was definitely a win!

We finally arrived in Berlin around midnight and were definitely ready for our beds! We were staying at A&O Berlin Hauptbahnhof which is a short walk away from the train station and really easy to find. It was a little challenging getting to sleep as there was a lot of noise outside but once I got Rex from the buggy into the bed he was completely gone and was fast asleep!

One day of our adventure across Europe – done!


You can find out more about the Interrail pass here.

Recently Off The…: Novice Slipover by PetiteKnit
Made in 2023: Project 11

Just after my birthday in 2022, I was trying to work out what to do with my birthday money. In the end, I picked out a Petite Knit pattern and headed to Nicoline Garn to spend it. It didn’t seem to difficult and I should be able to do it, so I started the Novice Slipover. I put it down to do other things and when I came back to it something was going wrong. The arm holes were huge and I had no idea why.

So I got drastic and ripped out THE. WHOLE. LOT. Drastic considering the body was basically finished but something wasn’t right. Well I worked on it and got it finished. It was time to get the cuffs on the arm holes finished. So here is something recently off the needles.

Recently Off The...

Novice Slipover

Pattern: Novice Slipover by Petite Knit
Needles: 4.5mm
Yarn: Sandnes Garn Double Sunday (Pattern calls for it to be held double with Silk Mohair but at the time I decided to skip over that – Mohair is kind of pricey lol)
2023g Challenge: 365g/2023g

I am terrible for casting on something new when I have other things on the go and occasionally try to focus on clearing the decks. With Summer Camp around the corner along with a week exploring Europe by train, I need to be more focused on what knitting projects I’m taking with me… also they need to be small ones, either that or I need to plan a project to get me to Stop 1 or 2, then something I can buy around that time to get me through the next few stops. (If I was really creative, I could make something to do with the trips – maybe flags for the countries we visit… maybe they need to be a creation before we go then I can stuff them in the pocket on my bag…I’ll think about that one!).

So, it’s finished. But for now I need to tell a story. A few weeks back I went to get some Spejderkorps Uniform for Jaxon (Spejderkorps is the Danish answer to Scouts UK). On my way home I realised I was going right by Nicoline Garn and needed some more yarn to make sure I had enough to finish the jumper. On my way there my bike chain came off for the 2nd or 3rd time, but it was still on my way home.

When I got to the shop, I explained the the lady behind the counter that I’d like some more yarn for my project, I wasn’t fussed if was the wrong dye lot but as long as it could be close and could she help me because I was covered in bike oil. “No problem” she said (Well sort of!) and set about helping me – she was so lovely! I wished I’d got her name so I could have told her boss how lovely and how helpful she was!

Now it’s June and I finally finished the project – that’s number 11 done. There are a couple of pairs of socks knocking about so I think I will go back to them and get them finished but I will be back with a recap of the WIPs.

Which means it’s time for the #2023gchallenge tally. At the end of Project 10, I was up to 1440/2023. My jumper uses 365g (which is a lot less than the pattern calls for but then I was using just the Double Sunday and not holding it double with the Silk Mohair like the pattern calls for). Anyway 365 for this project, takes the total to 1805/2023 which is 89.2% – less than 20% remaining with 6 and a bit months to go.

My Finished Object: Granny Squares
Made in 2023: Project 10

Each week Chris calls his Mum and they talk about what’s been going happening here and there. I nearly always end up talking about whatever project is on the go at the moment. A conversation recently turned to granny squares and making blankets for charity. Rather than this being a whole project, this was making Granny Squares for a project my Mother in Law was working on. So here’s my finished object.

Recently Off The...

Granny Squares

Pattern: Basic Granny Square (pattern)
Hook Size: 4mm
Yarn: Mystery grey DK yarn from stash – white borders are in Stylecraft Special DK
2023g Challenge: 230g/2023g

My MIL had been working on gloves, scarves and blankets for a charity that she supports. My MIL had been talking about being given squares by a friend of hers and she’d been sewing them together into a blanket. Another blanket she’d been working on had arrived as a pile of squares and when her friend saw the end product, she adopted the finished blanket back. Well granny squares are easy to pick up and put down when I’m riding the bus or train around the city. So as something to alternate with the Time Team Jumper, I offered to make my MIL some squares.

I grabbed my scraps and got started. I went for the pattern I use for a lot of baby blankets which is to have a couple of rounds of colour in the middle, then for it to be bordered with a few rounds of white to bring the squares together. Some squares ended up being multicoloured rather than specifically one colour but it helped to use up odd bits that would have been completely useless for other things.

Pile of pink granny squares on a dark desk

When Chris left to go to the Vineyard Leaders Conference just before my birthday, I was able to hand over 11ish squares that he could drop off to his Mum while he was back in the UK. Then I carried on, when I then went back to the UK last weekend, I took my bag of bits and my crochet hook and kept going, I needed to finish the Time Team Jumper and get as many granny squares finished as I could. In the end, I posted the squares to my MIL but forgot to count them! I made little piles when I was trying to pack them into the envelope I was recycling but didn’t count them properly. 

I got a message from my MIL, yesterday to say that the envelope had arrived and she really appreciated it. I then asked her to count how many squares were in there because I forgot. She had a total of 46 squares. 

I love that granny squares are so flexible. You can create all sorts like the Yes You Cardi-Can Cardigan from The Pigeon’s Nest or with a bit of tweaking that basic square you can create a sunflower pattern like The 1976 Crochet Bag also from The Pigeon’s Nest.

So, to update the 2023g Challenge info, one square is 5g (it’s possible that there is variation but this is the weight I settled on per square). 5g x 46 squares = 230g.