A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about zoo

On The Runway

Berlin - Oranienburg & Berlin

semi-overcast 27 °C
View Berlin on kmmk17's travel map.

Our final full day in Berlin began with another visit outside the city to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Oranienburg. Annoyingly on weekends the bus between the station in Oranienburg and the camp runs only every two hours, and so we ended up walking for twenty minutes rather than waiting 25 for the bus to turn up. But the walk went by quite quickly and before we knew it we had turned up at the camp.

Entry to the camp

Entry to the camp

The camp is located on the edge of the town, surrounded by nice family homes - in what appears completely out of place. The camp was free to enter and had remains and reconstructed sites - execution trenches, huts and gas chambers as well as a memorial.

Inside Sachsenhausen

Inside Sachsenhausen

After a walk around the eery site, we headed back to the station and back into the city. We spent the afternoon with a visit to Berlin Zoo, taking a look around at the range of animals, before eating and chilling back at the hotel.

At the Zoo

At the Zoo

Our flight home the following day was in the late afternoon, and so after enjoying breakfast and packing, we left the hotel with baggage in tow and headed via a few sights en route to the airport.

Our first was the former airport of Tempelhof, where it is now possible to walk amongst the former runway.

Not this runway

Not this runway

Hoping locals wouldn't tell us that the airport is actually closed (as we were clearly tourists on our way to the airport), we made our way out and stopped off at Treptower Park, for a view of the Soviet War Memorial, reminiscent of those in CIS countries - such as Mother Motherland in Kyiv and The Motherland Calls in Volgograd

Treptower Park

Treptower Park

And that was it for our trip, a long weekend in Berlin was over already, with us back at Schönefeld Airport ready for our flight home.
The city is always fun to visit, much to see and do and never quite enough time to see it all without being super busy!

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 11:44 Archived in Germany Tagged animals park airport memorial zoo city berlin war macabre Comments (0)

Beginning in Beijing

Cherry Blossom Adventures - Beijing

semi-overcast 25 °C
View Cherry Blossom Adventures on kmmk17's travel map.

After six months without travel, it was finally time for our two week 2018 holiday to East Asia. Beginning with the Chinese capital of Beijing.

The trip had been planned for over a year, in order to not only make Cherry Blossom season, but also to take advantage of the Easter Bank Holiday. It had been difficult to get all the dates to fit, and this first stopover was worked to take advantage of the 72 hour visa policy.

Annoyingly after booking, flights were cancelled and earlier flights were required in order to fit the visa policy. Only to find a few weeks later that the 72 hour visa was extended to 144 hours, making a lot of the stress unnecessary. Nevertheless, after a 10 hour overnight flight, with morning views of desolate Siberia and Mongolia, we finally arrived in a surprisingly modern looking Beijing.

Anticipating lots of smog, we were pleasantly surprised at the midday sky, being beautiful and blue. Getting to our courtyard hotel, we checked in and headed back out to make the most of the nice weather, heading first to Tiananmen Square, where the scale of the security checks throughout the city would become evident. It took us ten minutes to get into the square itself, by which time the Forbidden City had already been closed.

Tiananmen Gate

Tiananmen Gate

We enjoyed views of the Tiananmen Gate, before walking south into the huge square itself. A local guy asked to take a photo with us for his own photo collection, before we headed past Mao's mausoleum and exited the square heading into the souvenir shop we found.

Afterwards, and now by early evening, we headed north to the Olympic Park site, to see the Bird's Nest Stadium before ending our first day with food and bed.

Bird's Nest Stadium

Bird's Nest Stadium

With limited jetlag having travelled eastwards, the following morning we awoke early in plenty of time for our excursion to the Great Wall of China. Meeting our guide who wondered if we were brothers or friends (we went for friends), we jumped in the car for our private excursion, an hour or so north of the city. Although more expensive than a group tour, it meant our day would be much shorter, and thus more time to explore the rest of the city in our limited stay. We also got to arrive nice and early, beating the crowd.

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

Taking the cable car up, we quickly arrived at a relatively quiet section of the open wall, more extreme in steepness than expected. Our guide 'Jenny' was quite good, not too chatty, and also allowing us to explore it by ourselves, as well as giving us tips for the rest of our stay in the city. After lots of photos and walks (or climbs) across a short section we headed back down via toboggan, and back to Beijing.

Arriving back at lunchtime we headed out to the Temple of Heaven, one of the city's imperial temples which was used by Ming and Qing Emperors to pray a good Harvest.

Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven

With time left today, our last sight was the Summer Palace, located out in the north of the city. By this stage we were quite tired and achy, so we only took a look around the palace buildings to the north of the huge complex, before heading back to the hotel for a well earned sleep.

Inside the Summer Palace

Inside the Summer Palace

Our final day was to spend time at the Forbidden City. Originally we had planned to visit the mausoleum and National People's Congress first. However getting to Tiananmen at 8am, it was already packed and took an hour to get through the security. This was before the queues for these sights too, and thus we decided to give these a miss, and headed straight for the Forbidden City, where we toured the complex for few hours before exiting to the north and heading towards the Jingshan Hill for views over the complex.

Inside the Forbidden City

Inside the Forbidden City

Before climbing up the hill, we popped in the toilets. Chris went inside a cubical, before quickly running back out, I wondered what was going on as the attendant directed him to the one at the far end. Having noticed Chris's panicked face, he clearly knew that this panicked westerner would prefer a sit down toilet instead of a squat one and directed him accordingly!

Squat Toilets

Squat Toilets

Up on Jingshan Hill

Up on Jingshan Hill

After walking up the hill for limited views through the smog, we walked through some hutongs to the nearest metro station and headed to our last sight in the city, Beijing Zoo. After having seen panda merchandise all over the city (even though pandas don't even live in this part of China) we decided to pay a visit to the few in Beijing.

Pandas

Pandas

After three busy days it was time to rest up for our early start the following morning, heading to the South Korean capital of Seoul.

Beijing was much more modern and less smoggy than expected. However it was shabby in a lot of places and the locals were not ones to be very courteous of tourists nor each other. Nevertheless an interesting place to visit!

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 11:43 Archived in China Tagged architecture culture temple history palace zoo city hill capital eastasia Comments (0)

The Viennese Wetz

Vienna

all seasons in one day 26 °C
View Vienna & Bratislava on kmmk17's travel map.


Less than a month after having visited Salzburg, Chris and I were heading back to Austria, and this time to the capital - Vienna. Although I had been to Austria three times previously, this was the first time I would be actually flying in, as all previous times had been en route via a neighbouring country.

After taking an early morning flight, we arrived in Vienna mid morning, and made our way to our hotel, where we hoped to be able to check in early, or at least leave our bags before exploring.

Upon arrival our room was being cleaned, and so we waited for ten minutes, whilst being offered a complimentary drink, despite being two hours before official check in - brilliant customer service!

With the weather at home being terrible (rarely above 20C, despite it being the middle of summer), the hot and sunny 35C Vienna was welcome. However as a storm was to hit tomorrow, this would be our only day with these kind of temperatures, and so we made the most of it going out in shorts. Did we need a raincoat? Not today we didn't!

We headed over to the Schönbrunn, where our first sight was the zoo, where one year old pandas and koalas lived - something unique! Beginning with the panda talk, it became clear that for many of the animals the prolonged heat had worn them out.

Panda Cub

Panda Cub

As we toured the zoo the clouds started to darken and noises could be heard. Hoping it was just lorries, it soon became clear this was impending thunder. Hoping we could avoid it was too much to ask, and as we were almost done in the zoo we headed up a wooded hill when the heavens opened. Without raincoats or umbrellas we ran from tree to tree to avoid the rain, before entering a farm animal building along with many other visitors who had the same problem as us.

After hanging about for 10 minutes, the rain looked like it had eased a little and so we decided to carry on anyway - we were far from the metro station and still had a few things to see.

Gloriette

Gloriette

Leaving the zoo we entered the Schönbrunn Palace Gardens and ran between the trees viewing the Gloriette before heading down towards the Palace building itself. Even in the rain it was pretty but it was a shame the rain prevented us from spending more time enjoying the area.

Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace

After having taken photos between the trees and under what little shelter we could find, we headed back towards the metro station as the rain stopped - typical!

Having grabbed food we headed back to the hotel where we could dry off and have a good night's sleep after the busy long day. However not long after we had fallen asleep, the bulk of the storm arrived and in the midst of over thirty flashes of lightning we went off back to sleep.

As the storm had arrived early, it did mean that the following day would be almost entirely dry, despite being over 10C cooler. After having had breakfast, we headed into the city centre to view the old city.

St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen's Cathedral

Beginning with the St. Stephen's Cathedral, we then headed via many souvenir shops to the Hofburg Palace, the Royal Palace and where the Spanish Riding School is based.

Hofburg

Hofburg

By now we had made it to the Ringstraße, the ring road where some of the grandest and most important city buildings are located. Beginning at the Burgtheater, we crossed the ring outside the City Hall, where the Vienna Film Festival is held.

City Hall

City Hall

Walking around the building, we then went past the Parliament building and headed down to the Museum Quarter and the Maria Theresa Square, where many of the buildings were in the same style.

Charles Church

Charles Church

We then diverged from the ring road and made our way to the Charles Church, before arriving at our last destination in the city centre - the Heroes' Monument. This monument, a Russian language Soviet War Memorial was completely out of place in the imperial city, but highlighted the mid 20th century reality of this Central European city.

Soviet War Memorial

Soviet War Memorial

Having seen the sights of the city centre, we headed back to the hotel for a rest before we went for an evening walk to the Danube, not far from our hotel, where we could see the UN buildings over the mighty river.

The Viennese Danube

The Viennese Danube


The Prater

The Prater

Heading back our last sight was the Prater, where we would grab dinner in the Rollercoaster Restaurant and tour the amusement park.

Rollercoaster Restaurant

Rollercoaster Restaurant

After a busy day we went back to the hotel and chilled before our final full day tomorrow in Bratislava.

Vienna, like all the other Central European capitals of Prague and Budapest is very grand and has beautiful buildings. However despite it being on the Danube, the river flows on the outskirts of the city and with very little hills I personally prefer the others, who also have the river, bridges and hills to see, whereas the focus on Vienna is simply it's grand buildings. Nevertheless it's a beautiful city, and was a lovely place to visit.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 11:13 Archived in Austria Tagged rain architecture culture palace zoo city parliament vienna&bratislava Comments (0)

Manic Munich

Bavaria - Munich

sunny 26 °C
View Bavaria on kmmk17's travel map.


After two busy excursion days, our final day in Bavaria was to fill in the rest of the gaps in Munich before flying home late in the evening.

We began once again with an earlyish start, grabbing breakfast, before dropping off our bags and checking out of the hotel. We then headed out to the central station, grabbing the S-Bahn train to Dachau. After half an hour we arrived in the suburban city, and changed to a bus full of other tourists all headed to the Concentration Camp Museum.

Entrance to Dachau

Entrance to Dachau

The Dachau Concentration Camp was the first opened by the Nazis, and is now open as a free museum almost every day of the year. We began walking the short path from the bus stop to the entrance gate, with the typical "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work makes [you] free) sign, before entering the vast site, and heading towards the main building.

Arbeit Macht Frei

Arbeit Macht Frei

Inside the building, which was formally the administration, were many placards detailing the rise of the Nazi regime, many of which are still sadly present today, before going on to explain the history of Dachau more specifically.

Walking back across the roll call area, we entered one of the reconstructed huts, with different sections showing how over the course of time, the camp got more populated, and thus density of beds was increased.

Early Layout of Beds

Early Layout of Beds


Former Hut Sites

Former Hut Sites

We then headed up the tree lined centre, past the site of former huts, to the chapels built within the site, before heading west to the crematoriums. These were built within an extension of the camp site, and were relatively underused for the extermination of prisoners, although still included the gas chamber labelled as "wash room".

Crematoriums

Crematoriums


Stove

Stove

After a depressing morning we headed back to the city centre for some other sights.

Unfortunately Munich wasn't the easiest city to get across, as most of the metro system runs off the backbone of the central corridor, meaning seeing the football stadium from Dachau took an hour and a half by public transport, but just 18 minutes if we decided to drive...

Allianz Arena

Allianz Arena

We therefore decided to make the most of the inevitable trip back to the centre to get some souvenirs, before heading back out to the Allianz Arena. Whilst neither of us are particularly bothered about football, it is an icon of the city, and after having to transfer to a different train en route (and given gummy bears for the inconvenience), we could see the stadium from the station itself. As our legs were aching like mad by now we therefore had a quick look and headed towards the Olympic Park.

BMW Headquarters

BMW Headquarters

Upon arriving, we took a short walk across a bridge, overlooked by the BMW headquarters, and entered the landscaped park seeing the stadium and arenas from the 1972 Olympic Games. Again, as our feet ached we didn't explore too much, and we also knew that if we made it to our last site, the Zoo, before 3pm we could be in time for the Polar Bear talk.

Olympiapark

Olympiapark

Hurrying through the underground system across the city, we eventually arrived at the zoo with ten minutes to spare. I explained to the cashier in German which tickets we needed, but forgetting the word "auch" and using "as well" instead, she had me sussed... no matter how much more German I could use she would always talk back in English. Far too inefficient for her to be wasting time when she was better in English than I was in German.

After hurrying through I then noticed on the map that we had been wrong all day.... the talk was at 3:30pm! We therefore had 40 minutes to get to the other end of the park, and so didn't need to rush. Therefore we started to look at the animals en route, guessing what their German names were before arriving.

Red Panda or 'Kleiner Panda'

Red Panda or 'Kleiner Panda'

Getting towards the Rhinos I wondered what they could be called, as Rhino sounded like a Romance/Greek word not a Germanic one. However walking past the Café Rhino sign, I thought I must have been wrong. Then wondering how a German would say it in my mind, I said it to myself in a German accent just as a German lady behind said the same thing in the same accent... ?

One of the Rhinos

One of the Rhinos

However after going into the Rhino house, where a little child was shouting "Nashörner" at the animal I soon realised I was right at the start - Rhino was not the German word at all!

Polar Bear Cub

Polar Bear Cub

Carrying on the path, it was not long before we arrived at the Polar Bear enclosure. We had aimed to arrive for the polar bear talk for the simple reason that it would therefore be more likely that the 9 month old cub would be on show, and luckily he was. Jumping around copying his mother, watching the cub was a real experience. And then he ran to the side for a swim in the window-side pool. We therefore got to be less than a metre away from the animal, as he swam and used the glass to push himself down with his paw.

Polar Bear swimming

Polar Bear swimming

After sitting around for twenty or so minutes, we continued around the zoo with such diverse animals as baby orangutans, Steffi the elephant and cows... Yes, despite Bavaria being full of cows, they were inside a zoo enclosure - surrounded by a moat so they didn't escape....

Baby Orangutan

Baby Orangutan

After a while at the zoo we then headed back to the city centre having seen almost everything. It was thus time for dinner, bag collection, and the airport.

Grabbing food, I confused the lady with my English so much that she then proceeded to talk the wrong language and to the customer for the next five minutes. Sitting down was well needed, but when it came to getting back up this was such a struggle. Having walked 40 miles in the last three days, I literally had to struggle down the stairs as my legs had seized up!

Making it back to the hotel, we changed, repacked and set off with our bags towards the airport. Getting on the S-Bahn, we headed out of the city when our train developed a fault. The announcement told us to wait on the adjacent platform for a train to change to, yet despite the fault having only just occurred, as we stood at the platform we could already see our replacement train coming to collect us...

Making it to the airport in plenty of time, we headed to border control. However once there, we got stuck behind an Asian family who had no idea what they were doing, with their friend standing in the way in order to wave a goodbye. We got into the EU queue (whilst we still could), but as it was much shorter, the Asian family's friend told them to use that queue instead - despite them not being European Citizens. Luckily we had got ahead of them, and after easing through, it was their turn. Bad luck for anyone behind as they had a tonne of questions and needed a full on visa check...

Security was also pretty slow - lots of random checks as well as an incompetence to actually ease the now developing queue. Having been held back from going through security itself because of a slow family ahead, I took as much time as I fancied repacking my bits at the other end.

After a busy trip we were tired and ready to go home, and luckily with no delay it wasn't long before we boarded and eventually landed back in Luton.

The trip was incredibly busy, and could have done with an extra day, but nevertheless was great. The trip to the Neuschwanstein castle being a particular highlight, and I would highly recommend it if in the area.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 09:08 Archived in Germany Tagged animals walking history airport zoo city war bavaria olympic macabre Comments (0)

Edinburgh

overcast 8 °C
View Edinburgh & German Adventures on kmmk17's travel map.


After getting back from Kyiv on Monday 26th March, I had a days rest, before seeing some of you again on the Wednesday where we had the barbecue and night in the Forum. I then stayed for two more days and going to the Forum once more, before leaving Hatfield until September. Spending the weekend celebrating my Dad's 50th birthday, on the Monday I went with my mum and my sister by plane to Edinburgh.

On Britannia

On Britannia

This trip was much more relaxed than my usual trips (yes, I actually had some hours to relax each day!). We stayed right in the centre of Edinburgh, just a minute's walk from the high street - Princes Street. On the day we arrived, we just walked around the shopping centre that was only a 5 minute walk. Whilst on the second day we went to Britannia, the Queen's former royal yacht, that is now open as a museum. This took about half an hour on the bus to reach the Port, but was well worth seeing.

Edinburgh Pandas

Edinburgh Pandas

The next day we went to Edinburgh Zoo, mainly to see the Pandas, but also the Koalas and other interesting animals. Luckily the Pandas were on show (we had been warned that as the day we had chosen to visit was within the female Panda's yearly 36 hours of fertility, we may not get to see them at all). This was rather interesting as these Pandas were rather active, and seeing a youthful Panda walk round its cage was a rare experience.

Holyrood

Holyrood

On the final full day in the city, we waked around the city - hoping that the weather would be kind to us (we had already experienced high and low temperatures, sun, wind, rain, hail and snow in the short time we had been there), and luckily it was - thin jacket weather with sun! Starting off from the hotel we walked to Holyrood, and saw the Queen's Scottish residence, and we got to go inside the Scottish Parliament.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

After this, we walked up the Royal Mile, seeing many of the historical buildings of the city, before reaching Edinburgh Castle - however at £14.50 per person, we decided that it was not worth paying to get in, as we had already got inside the begging of the Castle already, and so we left and walked down to Princes Street. We then decided to visit Calton Hill - just 2 minutes from the hotel, where we got great views looking over the city and port, and from where we could see the Forth Rail Bridge.

Bagpipes

Bagpipes

On our final day in the city, before going to the airport, we decided to visit the National Museum of Scotland, where we saw the stuffed body of Dolly the Sheep, Bernie Ecclestone's F1 car, the Tomb of Mary, Queen of Scots and half of the Lewis Chessmen. As this was Good Friday the museum was pretty busy, and my tolerance for children has still not recovered!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged scotland zoo city royal Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 5) Page [1]