chinman.com

Public Zone 公開區 => Travelogues 遊記相薄 => Topic started by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 11:06:18



Title: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 11:06:18
This is the third time we spent my Easter in Europe. Unlike my previous two trips, this time I had a specific spot wanted to see, Auschwitz to be exact. I do think this is the right time because I am afraid that I would not want to go when I get older. Hence, my trip plan was that I had to enter Europe in Poland and the exit would depend on the air ticket offer, the cheapest got priority. Last Christmas when I had to decide the route, Warsaw - Copenhagen was the cheapest option and so there it was.

We picked the main skeleton of the trip, i.e. the cities that I would stay overnight, given that we would travel a number of different cities. Then we searched for the sightseeing spots and cuisine and made up our trip. Sounds like my trip planning 101.  Grin


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 11:06:57
Again, most cheap air ticket to Europe are sold by the three Middle-East airlines. Qatar usually fits our schedule well because it offered a midnight flight to Doha (like 0:00 in HK) and arrvied at Europe in the afternoon of the same day. So we can finish our day of work, go home and wash up, have our dinner and start our trip.

My last trip to Italy also went via Doha and I had mentioned that there were 3 landmarks in Doha airport. Last time I got 2 and this time, with 3 hour transit time, I went to take pictures of all 3. Here is the third one. We also rode the overhead rail and walked around the shops.

BTW, if you have more than 5 hour transit time, you may apply to have a short city tour in Doha, offered by Qatar airline. They will take you out the airport and bring you back before your flight time. Last year this trip was free of charge but it seems that you have to pay some money for the tour now.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 11:12:21
We arrived at Warsaw in the afternoon. The city is much prosperous than we think. We stayed in a nice hotel somewhere near the central train station because we would only spend 1 night there. The first pic is the train station and the second a city view.

Hotel. The hotel price is comparatively cheap in Europe. A 4 star hotel is about HK$800 per night. Room is spacious with full facilities. I read an articles about the list of cheapest 5 star hotel in the world and Warsaw is in the third place.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 11:24:52
After we checked in, we took a bus to the old city. Bus ticket is cheap too in Poland, compared with the western Europe.

This first pic is the usual entrance of the public square of the old city. Kolumna Zygmunta III Wazy (the pole) was built to commemorate Zygmunta III, who moved the capital of Poland from Krakow to Warsaw. The second picture is the plac Zamkowy, the public square.

The third one is the mermaid monument. The original one was moved into museum. There is a myth that this mermaid would protect the city of Warsaw (hmmm....not quite so, as reflected by the history)


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 11:30:03
From the old town square to the Holy Cross Church, there is a path for commemorating a famous pianist, Chopin. They built a few benches along this route and there was a button on the bench. If you press the button the bench will play a song by Chopin.

Walking down through this route you will pass the president office (2nd pic), Holy Cross Church (third) and Chopin museum (last)


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 11:34:01
Chopin museum shows a lot of Chopin manuscript and his history. You may hear his music all the way during the visit. If you do not love classical, you may find it boring.


After that we had dinner at a restaurant and this was the first time I drank a white beer from Poland. It tasted a bit sour, like a sour dough bread. The mouthfeel is still creamy with good mousse. Not bad.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 11:57:56
Second day we went to Łazienki Palace on foot, just a 15 minute walk from the hotel. The weather was cold but felt comfortable with the fresh air.

Łazienki Palace was once the bathing place of the royal family. It is situated in the largest city park in Warsaw. Baroque style with well decoration. Before we enter to the palace, we passed by the Chopin monument at the west entrance of the park.

The palace is in the middle of a pond. In summer, the view from the park is beautiful but what we had was a layer of ice on the surface of the pond, melting in the far end.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 12:02:48
There is a special "guard" patrolling the palace, which someone said that this "guard" is the main theme to visit the palace. This peacock is huge and it walks around the palace. It is not afraid of people.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 12:06:29
A few pictures of the inside of the palace. The last one is the view from the park to the palace. If the sky is clear, you can imagine the reflection of the palace from the pond, which usually be used as the cover of a travel guide for Warsaw.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 12:09:30
Our next spot is Warsaw Uprising Monument. A monument for 1944 Warsaw Uprising.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 12:12:34
We passed by the Museum of Maria Skłodowska-Curie, the lady who invented the X-ray? Then we walked into the old town again to the Royal Castle.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 12:16:04
The Royal Castle was the actual castle that the king lived at 16 century. The oldest modern constitution was drafted here. It is now a national museum.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 12:18:57
Lunch time now. One of the Warsaw famous cuisine is dumpling. Surprised? Yes, we did. We went into a very old dumpling restaurant and had dumplings. Taste was good but not excellent. The excellent thing is the drink. We studied the cepage of the drink and wanted to make it in HK........


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 12:24:07
After our lunch, we went to Holy Cross Church. We cannot visit yesterday due to the opening hour. There is one thing that we want to see. The Chopin's heart.

Chopin's heart really meant the heart of Chopin. After his death, Chopin's body was buried somewhere in Paris (or France?) but his last will was that he wanted to have at least part of him rested in Warsaw. Therefore, his executor moved his heart and put it into this church. So the corpse of Chopin was divided.

The church is clean and solemn and luckily not many tourists.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 12:31:39
Before we left Warsaw, we still had some time to visit the Warsaw 1944 museum, a museum recorded the Warsaw Uprising movement and told us how Red Army sold them out. After that we passed by the Jewish Ghetto.

During the WW2, Warsaw had the greatest Jewish Ghetto and most of them finally ended up their life in concentration camp. The Ghetto is now a public housing area with some walls marking the area of the Ghetto at that time. Some monument there too. I saw some tourists kept walking to that wall to pay their tribute to.

In WW2, Hitler ordered to bomb the whole Warsaw into ruin, so indeed almost 90% of the city was rebuilt, even those palaces and museums. Therefore, it seems that we were not looking at some antique stuff but having a history lesson on how tragic this city once was.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 12:36:47
We took an evening train to Krakow. In this trip we planned most of our transportation in the evening or even overnight. This is because Poland splits their museum/ tourist spots visiting hour into two seasons. Most of the spots will be closed at about 4:00pm in winter time (up to April). So if you want to visit Poland during April to October, the museums will be closed at 5:00 to 6:00pm, a few hours more.

We took about 2 hours or so on train to Krakow and arrived there at about 10:00pm. Then we checked in a hotel just inside the old city, a bit far from the train station but I liked the decoration of the hotel.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 12:52:28
The next day was the main theme of this trip. We went to Auschwitz concentration camp. Most tourists went to Auschwitz from Krakow because this was rather close to Auschwitz and convenient in traffic. From Krakow you can to there by train or by bus. If you go by train, you may need to walk 2-3km to Auschwitz so most people will go by bus.

Second point that you should know is that when you visit Auschwitz, you may choose to follow their guided tour or you may choose to visit by yourself. The entrance is free of charge but you have to pay if you join a guided tour. The guided tour is about 2 hours, I think, which different languages. You can go to their booking office to register if you want, or you may do it in advance via online booking. If you choose to visit on your own, it is strongly recommended that you made your reservation online because the quota for individual visitors is very limited. In addition, you are not allowed to visit alone after 9:00am till sometime around 16:00pm, and you have to join group tour after March.

Therefore, it explained why I picked Poland as my first stop to visit, not the other way round, so that I arrived at Auschwitz in March and I can visit alone. I booked my visit time at 8:00am, which meant that I had to catch a bus to Auschwitz at 6:00am.

Personally, I do not think a tour guide is necessary as most of the information were shown on the explanation notes attached to the exhibits. Besides, you may use the money for guided tour to buy a guide book which gives more details.

There were a lot of people visiting there. We arrived at the site at 7:40am and there were already a crowd on the queue. As we made our reservation online, we needed not to queue and can go straight into the camp by showing our pass printed at HK during reservation.

Another interesting point is that you are only allowed to bring a small bag into the camp. All other backpack, handbags, etc had to be left at locker room. This is because long time ago there was a group of student who stole something from the camp........I don't know what is so valuable to steal......


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 12:57:54
After you passed the security check. You will find the book store to buy your guide book. Then you will see the camp and feel the atmosphere. My wife felt a bit scary already as the ambient really so solemn that made you uncomfortable. You cannot find many smiley faces during the whole visit.

Then you will see the main entrance of the camp at the right hand side. The iron gate with the words, meaning Work Brings Freedom. From the third picture you can see there was a guided tour group ahead of us.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 13:00:48
The camp layout was rather usual and each block had some descriptions about its function at that time. There was a plate showing the number of death too.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 13:04:51
Inside the building block. They showed the exhibits about the life and other evidences about the genocide. Really stunning if you consider each and every glasses, mug, suitcase represented a life.

Some blocks show the life of a prisoner, their beds, toilets, etc.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 13:10:44
Because there were so many people died in this camp, some places require the visitors kept silent in order to show respect. This is one of those places, the courtyard of block 11 or so-called the death wall. Prisoners brought there were for execution by gunshots. The staircase on the right side is the way out from Block 11, where there was a so-called judgment handed by Nazi to a prisoner. On record, there were at least 5000 people being shot to death on that wall. This wall was rebuilt after WW2 for education purposes.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 13:13:34
Dont' look at the second and third pictures, just take a look at the first picture and guess what it is.

You will find out how stunning if you imagine each name was one person.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 13:18:23
On the way out you will pass the central square of the camp. The metal bar of the first picture was for hanging prisoners. They hanged them to show to the other prisoners about the punishment if they wanted to escape or communicate with outsiders.

The second picture showed the border between the Nazi office and the camp.

The third one is worth to mention. Another metal bar for hanging prisoners, after trial in SS office next to it. After the WW2, the first camp warden of Auschwitz was trial to death sentence and he was hanged here. Is that Karma?



Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 13:19:06
This picture is another place to keep silent. This is the gas chamber for killing the Jews.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 22:03:19
The whole concentration camp actually includes two phases. The formal name is Auschwitz-Birkenau. All the pictures above are the phase 1, i.e. Auschwitz. After visiting this, you can take a shuttle bus to phase 2,  Birkenau. Other than the iron gate in phase 1, this one also looks familiar, especially if you have watched the Schindler's List.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 22:10:45
In terms of area, this one is much larger. Indeed most of the killings happened in this area too. This first picture was taken from the far end of the camp. You can see the main gate. Usually a train full of Jews were transported through the main gate by the rail. If you take a closer look at the lamp pole on the left side of the main gate, you will see there is a wagon marking the wagon parking location. The Jews would get off the train and left their belongings. Then they will assign to the camp on the 2 sides of the building blocks shown on 2nd picture, if they were fit enough to do hard labour work. Those who failed the inspection will be sent to gas chamber immediately.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 22:15:38
The end of the railway is the place where gas chambers located. Sometimes the train will not stop at the wagon location and will go to gas chamber direct, in order to shorten the time for killing. When the war was going to the end, Nazi gave an order to destroy all the evidence of genocide. They bombed all the gas chambers and left them in ruin. The following pictures show the collapsed gas chamber and the ruin.



Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 22:19:48
After visiting the sad place, we then had time to have a look at Krakow, the old capital of Poland. The old city of Krakow is actually a tour spot, especially for the European because the cost of living is relatively low and the density of bars/pubs is highest in the Europe. The old city is kept in good condition.



Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 22:22:19
Krakow also has the largest square in Europe. The building in the center of the square is the city market and of course there is a church Bazylika Mariacka in the square.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 22:26:06
The southern end of the old city is the royal castle. The living place of the King when Krakow was the capital of Poland. There is a myth that a dragon once lived in a den beneath the castle and nowadays there is a statue of the dragon. Fire is emitted from its mouth every hour.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 22:29:13
The night scene of the central market and the stalls inside. The outside is another market selling handcrafts and food.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 22:41:57
Next day we went to a salt mine, Kopalnia Soli Wieliczka. This salt mine has over 700 years of history and is still producing salt. It is also one of the 12 UNESCO first released in 1978.

Getting there from Krakow is easy, just by bus for half and hour. Advance booking is preferable but not that necessary, because you have to join a guided tour. They have 2 different routes for visitors to experience. Tourist route is about 3 hours long. It is a guided tour to walk you through the mine. Another option is Miner route, which you have to put on an overall and helmet and do a few hour of miner. You will get your certificate afterward. We picked the tourist route but at the end we think we should be the miner because we heard the "Miner" working when we were walking along the tourist route.

The mine is huge, with lots of information telling you the life and work of the miners in the old days. It is hardly imagined that they used log to support the structure of mine and as time went by, the logs were squeezed down into a pillar like structure.

The tourist route is full of sculpture made by the salt rock. It also has some sculpture showing the miner's life in the old days.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 22:44:47
In the middle of the tour we arrived at the assembly hall. A large area for workers to gather around. Every decoration and things are made of salt rock, including the pendent light.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 22:46:04
They have a statue of John Paul II because the home town of John Paul II is Krakow. He had been there for a few times.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 22:49:34
To produce salt, salt rock and underground water are used. Therefore, there are some ponds of underground water inside the 70m deep mine.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 22:56:05
In addition to the tourist route, they also have a museum inside the mine showing the overall layout of the mine and the type of soil, salt, chemical they can extract. This museum is well informative. The first picture is the sectional layout of the mine. At that moment we were in the third layer of the mine, each layer is about 30m depth.

They also have some statue. Chopin again.

The last picture shows a model of the town of Wieliczka, where the mine is situated. You can map the city with the mine and we are just beneath the brightest building about 100m.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 23:01:22
For our last day in Krakow, we spent our morning visiting the Schindler's factory. The factory operated by Mr. Oscar Schindler. The movie "The Schindler's List" told you about the function of this factory and we were visiting the real stuff. Now this factory is a museum talking about the history of Krakow during Nazi time. A long queue there so advance booking is recommended. It opens at 10:00am but when we arrived at 9:30am, there were a long queue (about 60 people) waiting for walk-in visit.

You should be familiar with the front door as this was filmed in the movie.

The second picture shows the word by Mr. Schindler.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 23:04:47
They did not change the layout of the factory. Only putting the exhibits in different cabinets with lots of words. It covers the history of Krakow from about 1930 - 1950. This is the only place I see so many Nazi flags.  

The last picture shows the desk of Mr. Schindler.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 23:09:32
Krakow also has a Jewish Ghetto, which is about the midway between the royal castle and Schindler's factory. The area is quite and has a different style. A Jewish Church and some shops too.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 23:13:49
We found a Chinese Restaurant. The menu has a drink using Goji. After a few thoughts we found that should be 杞子 (the second last item).

However, we did not go in to have Chinese food. Because we would leave Poland very soon so we decided to use up all our Poland currency. We gathered our  money and spent on an Italian restaurant near public square. The food were good.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 23:22:46
We left Krakow that evening and our next stop was Berlin, Germany. To travel from Berlin by train, normally we should en-route Warsaw as Warsaw has an express train to Berlin for 5 hours, adding 2 hours from Krakow to Berlin, there will be about 8 hours in total.

As we planned our transportation using evening time. We decided to take a longer route by taking an overnight train. We booked a night train from Krakow to Szczecin and got there at early morning about 6:00am. Then we caught other trains to Berlin and arrived there in the morning about 11:00am. This can save up more time for travel and we think this is a good experience to sleep on train. We specifically booked a cabinet for 2 persons so that we can enjoy our privacy. The train was comfortable and clean. Good services too.

Second picture is the Szczecin station.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 24 April 2018, 23:23:04
We arrived at Berlin close to noon. After we checked in, we headed to Potsdam, a city at the suburb area of Berlin. A half hour ride of S-Bahn took us to the place with some tourist spots that I wanted to see. We had currywurst (curry sausages) for lunch and then we went to our first spot, Schloss Cecilienhof.

Going to there was a bit inconvenience. You can take bus or tram then walk for 20 minutes, or just on foot for 40 minutes. We of course walked to there as part of the route is in a large park. On the way we took the first picture. When we arrived, we found that Schloss Cecilienhof was under repair, but we can still take some pictures at the entrance. The second picture is the outlook of Schloss Cecilienhof.

The significance of this place is shown on the third picture. If you are familiar with the history, you will know the planter with star was the place for an important meeting during WW2. The fourth picture tells you the details.




Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 21:42:26
After the visit, we took another half hour walk to Schloss Sanssouci. If you go to any tour company and look for a tour in Germany, you may see Schloss Sanssouci on their leaflet.

A palace for the King to spend their summer time, this place is like the Versailles in France.



Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 21:46:18
Potsdam has its own Brandenburger gate. This one was also under repair. The third picture is the Nauener Tor (New gate), which was rebuilt in 1755. Quite classic, right?


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 21:54:18
The next day we went to a town outside Berlin area, Lutherstadt Wittenberg. There are two Wittenberg in Germany. This one has a prefix Lutherstadt.

We went there very early, merely because the train ticket. The price for the train at 6:20am was 29 Euro for 2, but at 7:20am the price was 39Euro, at 8:20 55 Euro, then 69 Euro at 9:20. They were the same train and all the journey time was 1 hour. Hence we took 6:20 train and arrived there before 8:00am.

We missed the point that that day was the first day of Easter, which meant all the shops were closed. The museums and other tourist spots were still open. So we had a very quiet and silent town there, which you can feel from the following pictures.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 22:00:19
Visiting this town is all about Martin Luther. The one who started the campagin of Protestant. In 1517, he posted 95 Theses on the church's door to challenge the Catholic Rules at that time. We came to this town to see his history and especially the church that he nailed the theses on.

The first picture was the church, which was rebuilt due to fire. The door that he nailed the theses of course did not exist any more. However, the church had built a new door at the same location and the Ninety-Five Theses was engraved on the metal door. Martin Luther was also buried in this church.



Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 22:05:56
We also visited his house and read his history. He was quite wealthy at that time indeed. The first picture is Lutherhaus, i.e. Luther's house. This was a house additionally built on an existing house at that time. So some trace of ruins were found.

He had quite a long time hiding in his house when he was persecuted by Roman Church. He and his friends often had gathering at this house to discuss the church's problem and the third picture showed a handwriting in chalk by his friend.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 22:07:55
In the afternoon, we started our city tour at Berlin. We took a train from Wittenberg to Potsdam Square (not Potsdam, this station is in Berlin). This is the place where Sony Center is situated. When we exited from the train station, we found a section of Berlin Wall.

Then we walked to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The place needs no introduction as I think all of you would know what it is. I saw someone standing on the concrete block which does not show their respect to the monument. This place also gives me a heavy atmosphere.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 22:15:39
Waking a few minutes south is the Führerbunker, the bunker of the head of state. That was the bunker that Hilter stayed in the war time. It is now a carpark with a board showing the layout of the bunker. The place where they found the corpse of Hilter has two tall trees.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 22:19:44
After that we headed to Bebelplatz to revisit the underground library, the place where Hilter organized a book-burning campagin. Underground library is in fact a room underground with white and empty bookselves on the wall. At night a light beam will grow up to the sky. This reminds us how blind they are at WW2.



Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 22:23:27
Southward of the Bebelplatz are the locations of the trio of Berlin, the French Cathedral, Deutscher Dom and Konzerthaus Berlin (Berlin Concert Hall). A good place to take pictures.



Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 22:26:00
In Germany, you must not miss to taste Schweinshaxe (Pork Knuckle). We picked a restaurant recommended by Trip Advisor to have a platter for Schweinshaxe and sausages. Yummy. Beer Tasting as well.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 22:31:56
After dinner, we passed by Checkpoint Charlie and revisited the soldiers there. Then we went to Topographie des Terrors. This place was the headquarter of SS and Gestapo. Now it turned into a museum telling their history.

Germany adopts a policy that they allow their citizen frankly discuss their past and history, maybe this is the reason that they can quickly recover from the war.

This museum is nicely built and at the same time, they had the ruin of the old headquarter, as it was bombed during WW2.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 22:37:27
The night is still young. we decided to go back to hotel on foot. We passed by the government office and the Reichstagsgebäude (Parliament building), where we would go visit the next morning. You can compare the day and night of Reichstagsgebäude


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 22:42:04
Next day morning we went to Reichstagsgebäude and visited the roof top, as the roof top is a glass structure for you to have a panoramic view of the city. In order to go into Reichstagsgebäude, you need to make reservation via internet to get their permission letter. Severe security check at the entrance too. The view is very nice and you will have an audio guide to guide you through the route to see the city. They also have an exhibition there to tell you the history of Reichstagsgebäude


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 22:48:34
After the visit, we went to the museum island. The island that houses 3 important museums of Germany. We went to visit Berliner Dom first. This is the main church in Berlin, or even Germany. You can go up to the roof by walking about 200 steps. They have a underground crypt for the royal family too. The Church is huge and beautiful, but too many tourist.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 23:02:20
That's the end of our visit in Berlin. We deliberately decided to sacrifice the tourist spots in Berlin if we did not have sufficient time to visit. This is because we are quite sure that we may revisit this city again if we would go to Germany again years later. Hence, we put our priority to those cities that we would not go again like Wittenberg, Bremen, etc.

We took an evening train from Berlin to Hamburg. Checked in the hotel and took a good rest for the next day because we had to wake up early the next day.

We arrived at Hamburg in the Sunday's morning. The Hamburg fish market is a good place to visit but it would be closed at 9:30am. Hence, we decided to go there for breakfast, just like what we did 2 years ago to Bastille marche.

The fish market comprises of a main building and the stalls along the road. There are a lot of food trucks too. A live band is playing inside the main building (well....live band in the morning). You may rightly guess that the main building was the godown / market for fisherman at that time, like the one in aberdeen. A lot of stuff selling there.

Walking to the quayside had two interesting things. One is the submarine. The other is a lot of seagulls. I tried to use single focus to take the picture of seagull without pressing continuous button and I can still take some nice ones.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 23:09:38
Not far away from the fish market is the Beatles-Platz. As a fan of the Beatles, this is the must-go place. We went there to see Club Indra 64. They had a metal plate telling how significant they were.

ON 17 August 1960, the Beatles started playing in Club 64. Until they released their first red hot album Love Me Do in 1962, they were a regular performer in this club.

The Beatles-Platz only has a metal figures for them, nothing special actually.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 23:22:53
We tried to pack our sightseeing so that we may have more time shopping on the next day. After we visited Beatles-Platz, we went to Bremen by train and had lunch there. Bremen is less than 1 hour train. This is a town with the story of "cock, cat, dog and donkey", so called the 4 musicians of Bremen.

At the time we arrived, we saw a lot of people drinking beer and yelling, they were all in green/white strips T-shirt. Then we found out that there was a football game in the afternoon. A bit scary that a bunch of drunkards wandering around the city.

The train station is nice, with sculptures along the route to the old town. A lot of 4-musicians statues are set up in the old city. The most famous one is located outside the city hall. There is a myth that if you held the legs of the donkey, you will get luck. Therefore, the donkey's foots were so shiny that they are kept polishing by people's hands.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 23:27:39
Bremen has a very beautiful old city, with over 600 years of history. The landmark is a statue of Roland. They are UNESCO.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 23:34:09
We were back to Hamburg in the afternoon and we still had a 2 to 3 hours before sunset. Hence we started our city tour a bit early.

First we went to Speicherstadt. This is a World Heritage. Originally this is the godown of Hamburg as Hamburg is a large port of Germany. How can one imagine that a godown could be so beautiful.



Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 25 April 2018, 23:35:25
The next stop was St. Michael's Church. A large church and landmark of Hamburg.

This Church is for St. Michael, the leader of the angels who won the battle with the devils, Lucifer, who once was the leader of the angel. A story from bible.

Hence, there is a bronze statue at the entrance showing the victory of St. Michael.

And a Martin Luther at the side of the church.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 11:18:10
Mahnmal St. Nikolai is the landmark at pre-war time. The church looks very nice at the first picture and second picture is the main entrance. However, it is just like Ruínas da Antiga Catedral de São Paulo (大三巴) in Macau. I took the third picture after entering the main entrance.

The whole church was destroyed by air strike in WW2. The city council left it there to remind people about the war. I recalled that there is a similar church in Berlin which it only has the entrance left.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 11:21:49
The city hall area of Hamburg. The first one once was the Hamburg exchange, now the commercial chamber. The next one is the city hall, it is highly rated by the tourists of its prettiness.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 11:26:24
We had crepe as our dinner. We went to a French restaurant mainly for crepe. The lesson I learned was that cider was a good pairing with crepe.

Besides they use cup to drink cider, very interesting but sensible because cider can be a gulpable wine.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 11:36:44
The major mistake of our plan was that we planed the next day for shopping at Hamburg, because we missed the point that all shops were closed in Easter holiday. Therefore, we found no shop open in the shopping area so we just wandered around the city till we went catch the train in the evening. Hamburg indeed is very comfortable and beautiful, it is modern but able to keep classic architecture. No much tourist attractions tho.

We found a carnival for celebrating Easter with a live concert.

My wife had a chat with some Germany some time ago. They said that German put their family life at very high priority so they would stop working in public holiday, even they know that the shops will have a lot of business at that time. This is because German worked very hard to rebuild their country after war and they kept working all day long without much family life. Now they value their family life much more. They also said that German's employment law generally would not allow people working in public holiday. Each shop is allowed to open 3 days in public holiday of their choice every year.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 11:49:12
We took an evening train to Copenhagen from Hamburg. The journey time of the train is about 5 hours. In fact there are a number of train/bus to Copenhagen but we specifically chose this one. This train will take a route to Rodby and the train will board on a ship, i.e. the wagon will be driven into the ship and the ship will carry a train across the sea. To us it is a funny thing and we want to experience it. If you have no preference on the route, it may be more flexible to travel to Copenhagen.

Train is run by DSB, the Denmark Railway company. It only has two wagon so seats are quite limited. First picture is the train, the second one was taken when the train went into the ship. The sea time is about 1 hour. Once the train was parked. You have to leave the train and they will lock the door. You can go up to have coffee and play game, like a small cruise.

The ship berthed on Rodby. We then left the train and there are immigration officers to check your identity. After that you can catch the bus to Copenhagen.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 11:56:14
We arrived Copenhagen at night and we had a deep sleep. The next day we had a city tour and shopping, all sightseeing would be leaved for the last 3 days. The first picture is the city hall, then Stroget, the main shopping street.

We also went into the Frederiks Kirke to have a look. This small church has a huge dome, it is quite and peace.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 12:06:48
To do all the sightseeing in Denmark grand Copenhagen area need more than 3 days. As you know, the cost of living in Denmark is very high so in order to save cost, we do recommend you use Copenhagen Card. This card can offer you free admission to almost every important sightseeing spots and museum in Copenhagen area. Besides, you can use the bus, train, metro, all transportation free. The card is not cheap but I did a calculation and found that this card can help me save up all the transportation cost, i.e. the admission fees that I have to pay for my visit are good enough to cover the cost of Copenhagen card.

Hence, we bought a 3-day card about 90 Euro and as you expect, we would squeeze all those tourist spots that need to pay admission fee into these 3 days. Therefore, on the first day we were in Copenhagen, we went to all sightseeing points that are admission free.  ;D

After we went to Frederiks Kirke, we walked to Kastellet, an old barrack for Denmark but it is still in operation today. They open a part of it for visitors. The barrack is in star sharp and guards are standing at the entrance. It is very quiet inside but nice and beautiful buildings are found.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 12:10:57
we entered the Kastellet from south and exited at north. Close to the north entrance there is the landmark of the Copenhagen, that every one has seen this before. The size is not so big indeed, a bit dirty but lots of people taking pictures, including me.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 12:14:28
When we walked back to the city center from the little mermaid, we passed by the St Alban's Church and Gefionspringvandet. They are the church for the barrack.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 12:18:34
Nyhavn is the restaurant and hot tourist spot for clubbing / drinking. A bit like Venice or Amsterdam.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 12:20:57
Foods in Copenhagen are generally very good, but the highly rated restaurants need early reservation. We went to have steak that night and we are satisfied from entree to dessert, wine too.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 12:27:28
We activated our Copenhage Card the next day and started our 3-day activities in Copenhagen area. The first day was a day of outing. We took an hour train to Hillerod. We went there to visit Frederiksborg Castle. This is the official introduction: Frederiksborg Castle is the largest Renaissance Castle in Scandinavia. The castle was built by King Christian IV in the early decades of the 17th century and incorporates the best of Renaissance architecture and craftsmanship. Now this castle is the national museum and a world heritage.

You need to take a 15 minute walk from rail station to the castle but part of the path is along the lake, which gives you a good view of the castle.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 12:31:31
The castle is beautiful and classic. Good use of the colour and pattern. A lot of craftwork too. I had visited quite a number of castle in Europe but this one is worth to visit. The last picture is the entrance hall to dinner room. Interesting colour matching.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 12:33:22
The church inside the castle. Huge and grand.......


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 12:36:28
Corridor, living room, bedroom, study room, they used different colour and decoration to give different style and feeling.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 12:38:19
Outside the castle there is a large garden overseeing it.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 12:46:08
Our next move was to Helsingor. The town so close to Sweden and indeed you can go to Sweden by ferry next to the rail station. From Hillerod to Helsingor the train took us half an hour. We went there to visit Kronborg, a world heritage and the stage of Shakespeare's Hamlet.

This castle is rather simple, without much fancy decoration. Some barracks were built around it as Helsingor has its strategic location for Denmark's defense.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 12:48:48
At the roof of Kronborg, you can see Sweden across the sea. Some tourist went to Helsingor to visit Kronborg and then took the ferry to Sweden, then they can claim that they have visited one more country.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 12:51:31
The interior of the castle has nothing special, rather simple indeed. The second picture shows the tapestries on the wall telling the history of Denmark.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 12:55:09
Some tourists come here for Halmet. In fact they would perform Halmet every year in Kronborg. There is a room showing all the performers, past or present, who played Halmet in here.

In addition, there are signs telling you about the place mentioned by Halmet. The second picture is the place where the ghost appeared and the third picture is the cannon place.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 13:01:12
We went back to Copenhagen in the evening, and we went to Rundetaarn (Round Tower). Rundetaarn was an icon of the city since 1642. This was a church, library and an observatory at that time. Now it is a tower for people to see the panoramic view of the city. No staircases or steps, but a long circular ramp for you to walk up. You can find some antique structure along the path, like toilet (the forth picture).


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 13:05:05
That night we went to an organic restaurant to have something like fusion food. Interesting and taste good, a bit pricey but they offered a good wine pairing. Worth to try but we prefer the yesterday's one more.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 13:09:56
After dinner, when we walked back to hotel, we passed by Tivoli. This is an amusement park sine 1843. Time was already at 9:30pm and it was closed in 10:30pm. With Copenhagen Card, we don't need to pay for admission (the entrance fee is about 110DKK), then we just went in to have a walk. They still have roller coaster running but we dared not to play.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 13:11:07
We went out town on the next day morning to Roskilde. Roskilde was the oldest city in Denmark and once it was the capital. A viking city. We went there to see the viking ship museum.

At the entrance, there are several viking ship with detailed descriptions. Ships of different configuration serve different purposes, some for war and some for trade. The main display of the museum is 5 viking ships which were found at least 2 decades ago from one of the three sailing routes. The museum has a detailed record on the way they found the ship and the way they preserved them.

These five ships had only a few planks left and they put it into a metal model to show the exact location of the planks. (3rd picture)


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 20:01:52
There is an ship dock which is also a part of the museum. This dockyard is to produce viking ships manually, i.e. only using hand tools. They want to experience the way the vikings making their ship. Therefore, no machine noise except the chasing and hammering noises. The workers are so friendly that they will come to you and answer any of your questions.

They use axes to cut the wood..... :o


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 20:07:07
After that we went to Roskilde Domkirke en-route Saint Hans Church. St. Hans Church only has the ruin left. It was situated at the place of the old Roskilde town. Roskilde Domkirke is a world heritage church but it was close on that day. We only took the picture from the outside.

The last picture is Roskilde Train station, quite decent, isn't it?


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 20:16:37
We were back to Copenhagen at noon. After lunch we went to Christiansborg Slot. This may be the only building in the world that put the parliament (legislative), government office (executive) and royal family together. The castle opens a few parts for visitors: the King's place is where the royal family sometime stays, royal stable, royal kitchen, the old castle ruin, the tower and the church. We went to see all but the church as the church was only open on Sunday.

The outlook is fascinating. We went to Royal Kitchen first. In the old days, this was the kitchen of the royal family. Now this is the place for preparing national dinner. A huge kitchen, different area of the kitchen prepares different food, from drink to meat to desserts.




Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 20:24:25
The King's place is grand. The first picture is the entrance, the old wooden door is an automatic door. When you get closer, it will open by itself. It is wide enough for a car to enter and usually when some foreign visitor goes see the king, their car will enter through this door and drop the visitor off inside the building. Second picture is the reception hall for national dinner, Next picture is the dinning table.

The castle also has a large library for King and Queen. Some of the books have a few hundreds year history. The next picture is the grand hall, which an artist has put 16 tapestries on wall about the history of Denmark. Last one is self-explanatory, the place for King and Queen to meet the visitors.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 20:28:31
The castle was burnt down two times in the entire history. So it was built on top of the old one. Below the ground level there are some ruins showing the castle version no. 1.

You can see the type of stone they used for building the castle.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 20:33:06
From the tower, it gives you a city view and there is a restaurant there. Looking down from the tower you will see the surrounding of the castle. The last picture shows the stable and the sand track.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 20:37:30
Stable. This castle still keeps a nice and clean stable with some horses. Nowadays these horses are for celebration. They have a collection of all the chariots too.

The entrance of the stable has some tree trimming to a rectangular shape.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 20:41:38
Almost evening time, before our dinner, we decided to have a canal boat tour, as it is free (using Copenhagen card). The boat will take us around the canals to the marine base, then to the little mermaid and back.

I can take a picture of little mermaid from the back. See the tourists crowding around the little mermaid?

The last picture is the old stock exchange of Copenhagen.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 20:47:06
We had our dinner at a modern restaurant serving modern food, mainly French. We had a Denmark beer at the beginning and then their tasting menu with wine pairing. Taste were good and price was reasonable in Copenhagen. Really satisfied.

I found that they like innovation on their food. Our last few meals were full of different ideas, and combination. The soup of this menu is a crocodile soup and they made it a Thai feel. Very interesting.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 20:52:22
Our last day in Copenhagen. We went to Rosenborg Slot in the morning. You may consider that this is the Royal safe, the place for the treasure of the royal family. Heavily guarded but lot of royal collection seen. The castle is nicely built too.

The second picture is worth to mention. You can see two different people (brother and sister) from two sides. It is easily done nowadays but this picture is over a few hundred years.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 20:55:41
The underground level has an exhibition of the crowns and the wine cellar. Those wine are still served in national dinner.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 20:58:09
Rosenborg Slot is in the middle of the King's park. It also has a barrack next to it and a large garden in the front. Quite isolating in term of the landscape layout.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 21:05:49
We had to finish our visit to Rosenborg Slot by 11:30 because we had to go to Amalienborg before noon. Amalienborg is the recent living place of royal family. A large castle with 4 different but similar building block.

Take a closer look at the third picture you will see two royal soldiers guarding the castle.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 21:11:20
We had to be there at noon because those soldiers will change the shift at noon. It is almost an exhibition as there are policemen guiding the tourist where to stand, which angle is good to watch, when you can get closer, etc. Like a live show......

Anyway, the scale is much large than that in England. Herebelow are some pictures. After that, we went into the museum inside the Amalienborg. Nothing special but an exhibition of the foreign work of the royal family. Each room is dedicated to a King or Queen of Denmark with their chosen decoration.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 21:17:18
Up till now, we went more sightseeing spots than we planned. That means we made good use of the Copenhagen Card.

We will take a night flight back to HK so we still had an afternoon free. At last, we decided to go to Carlsberg brewery. 2 years ago we went to Heineken Brewaery and we thought that would be a good comparison. In terms of contribution to the country, Carlsberg does a lot. They contributed a lot of money, antique, even building to the country. They also set up various funds for charity, arts, education, etc. Hence you can always see the founder J. C. Jacobsen's potrait in palace, castle, etc.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 21:20:46
They have a world record in the brewery. A collection of different beer bottle. At that moment they had 22558 bottles displaying in the rack.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 21:23:58
In terms of the contents, given that we had the experience in Heineken, they are quite usual. The way to brew, materials, process, etc. The last part of the tour is beer tasting and they can offer a lot of different beer, far more than Heineken.

Some of the rare version of bottle are there too. I have never seen a double magnum beer......


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 26 April 2018, 21:30:56
Before we headed to airport, we tasted the French hotdog. A baguette with a sausage inside with tons of ketchup......not bad.

Copenhagen airport is quite large, with a very large duty free shop. Their staff are nice and friendly too.

We took a flight at 10:00pm and back to HK at 8:00 pm the next day, having a transit time at Doha for 2 hours.

In all, Poland is a surprisingly interesting place to visit. It is tidy and clean, relatively lower cost for food and hotel, rubbish readily accessible, toll free toilet and comparatively safe.

Copenhagen is very safe too, I kid that with such high cost of living, it is not easy to be a thief because it would be very demanding to earn a living as a thief. Having said that, we found that the price in supermarket is cheap, i.e. labour cost may be very high in Denmark.

Germany is in the middle among the three. Quite enjoyable too

That concludes our Easter trip.

Let me know your view below. Thanks.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: chin on 02 May 2018, 19:28:56
Bathing place? They don't have place to bath where they live in the palace?

Second day we went to Łazienki Palace on foot, just a 15 minute walk from the hotel. The weather was cold but felt comfortable with the fresh air.

Łazienki Palace was once the bathing place of the royal family. It is situated in the largest city park in Warsaw. Baroque style with well decoration. Before we enter to the palace, we passed by the Chopin monument at the west entrance of the park.

The palace is in the middle of a pond. In summer, the view from the park is beautiful but what we had was a layer of ice on the surface of the pond, melting in the far end.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: chin on 02 May 2018, 20:46:02
You saw the wine they kept in the Rosenborg Slot?  ;D


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 02 May 2018, 20:46:59
Bathing place? They don't have place to bath where they live in the palace?


I think they had. But this one, to be exact is like a bathing house. The size is relatively small and the whole ground floor served only one function, bathing. The upper floor has a study room, rest room. etc. There is a link bridge on the left hand side to other building and some other buildings scattered around the whole park.


Title: Re: Poland, Germany, Denmark......
Post by: hangchoi on 02 May 2018, 20:54:30
You saw the wine they kept in the Rosenborg Slot?  ;D

They keep the wine in the cellar with a metal gate and lock. I do not see any labels but I was told that they are still producing their own wine. The Denmark royal family keeps wine for several hundreds year and most of them German white. Nowadays, they will top up the barrels so that the wines are NV wine.

On anther occasion during my visit, I found that the Denmark Royal family has some investment in France wine too, a Cahors chateau Ch. de Cayx