Thursday, 31 March 2016

auntiegwen's guide to 2 days in Berlin

 We have been on our travels once again. Courtesy of £40 return flights and a first for us a £75 night airbandb studio in the highest residential building in Berlin, very close to Alexanderplatz, named the concrete sky studio, it's designed to be soviet Spartan chic, we liked. We had great views of the TV tower from our 14th floor apartment.

Berlin has everything I like in a city, lovely buildings, easy public transport, interesting history and some of the interesting history for free, I especially like free museums, as most museums and galleries in Glasgow where I grew up are free, that's what I kinda expect, I'm more than happy to chuck good cash money in the donation box but I do like a free visit. I have always been interested in WW2 history and find the whole rise of the Nazi party scarily fascinating so Berlin is right up your aunties strasse, himself has blogged it better HERE but my tuppenyworth...

Do a free walking tour, I can't get enough of them
Topography of terror and the Museum of the German resistance are great and free and WW2 focussed
Tranenpalast and the remains of the Berlin Wall are good and free and Cold War focussed
The Tiergarden and the memorial to the Roma and Sinti are beautiful and free, do you see a theme?
The Riechstag is braw and you can book a free trip to the roof terrace and the dome, we went at night and it was so beautiful. Book in advance and take your passport.
Eating and drinking was reasonably priced and we walked everywhere, we used public transport for the train from airport to Mitte and back again but that was it, the rest of the time we walked, a lot. Total cost of the 2 days was £230 comfortably within the £300 city break limit we set ourselves. For me this was the best of our jollies. As always we financed this oor own selves, I am stunned that no one is offering me free digs when you get this level of top travel tips, aren't you?

Monday, 14 March 2016

Princess pieds

I am back from Berlin, 'twas ace and fabulous and you should all go there. I will post pictures when I stop having a strop with my iPad. To be fair to the iPad, it's not its fault, I am struggling to have text and photos  in a manner pleasing to your auntie. I shall not be defeated, I expect my husband will post with better photos as well so go and see him HERE

So today I am going to whine about my feet, when in Berlin for the 48 hours I was there I racked up 67 thousand something steps, that's a lot of steps. I love a good walk but I am now beginning to struggle with my feet or more precisely I struggle with footwear, my feet don't match me, they're not the feet of a middle aged stoical lady, my feet belong to a Princess who is currently wondering why someone has stolen her feet and swapped them with trotters belonging to a peasant.

My feet hate all shoes now, the balls of my feet are a trouble but my heels are the most princessy part of them, anything touching my heel for more than a nano second sends them into a swoony faint and they demand a chaise longue and a wee rest. I can work with this in the summer, I wear fit flops which are very cushioned underneath so I can walk and my heels are naked, my heels like naked, they are the only part of me that does. I have lovely fit flop slippers which leave the requisite heel to fresh air ratio,  I have even managed to find fit flop boots, they saw me round my 67,000 steps of Berlin, so why am I moaning?
Dear reader, they are not the most attractive of footwear and they don't suit anything other than casual wear, normally this is okay as I'm not a dressy up kind of auntie, I wear maxi dresses and fit flops in the summer and I wear jeans and fit flop boots in the winter, at home I wear the slippers. I am not geeing my ginger with this, I can adapt, my feet look special but they are continuing to move the auntie round, I'm not complaining but...
 I have to go and speak at a conference this week and for some reason the lecture I will give will not be understood by the attendees if I show up in my maxi dress and fit flops. For me to get my point across I need to be in nice lady clothes, again nae bother to your auntie, I have loads of serious lady lecturing outfits. None of them, sadly, work with fit flops, boots or slippers, I know, completely #firstworldmiddleagedladyproblems.
So enterprising wee soul that I am, I have sourced and I have paid good cash money for a pair of black high heeled suede mules and a packet of something called party feet, they appear to be wee gel cushions you put in your shoes. I'm not sure I would class the Royal College of Nursing's Education conference as a party but us middle aged ladies with bad feet have to take our kicks where we can find them.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

In January and February auntie read....

I used to read at least 3 a week, never watched telly and went to bed alone at 9 every night, I had time. Now I have an iPad, the internets especially my new found Instagram obsession and a husband. I am missing the books, I am aiming for 1 a week. 

Amazon has probably my most favourite book of all for 99p so please buy Maggie O'Farrell - After you'd gone. That is my random act of kindness for today. You're welcome.

In January and February, your auntie read...

TThe Sunrise by Victoria Hislop
Set in Cyprus during the troubles of the 1974 war this tells the story of a fancy hotel and the staff. Working together are Greek Cypriots and some Turkish Cypriots, you see both sides of the story.If you like to learn something as well as enjoy the story, this is the book for you, the older I get the more I like things to be worthy!  I would say this would be a great holiday read. It's very easy to read and I did enjoy it, Tolstoy it's not but frankly with dry January, the 5-2 diet and my Christmas overspend, I needed all the comfort on offer to me.

Shoot the damn dog - Sally Brampton
I am fortunate in that where I have had low periods and stressful times in my life, I haven't been depressed, I might have been up to 90 and have had moments of high anxiety but I haven't felt like it wouldn't get better. I have friends and a family member really struggling with this at the moment so had hoped it would help me if not to help them at least to be able to not say anything daft. 

The Skeleton Road - Val McDermid
Usually like her but this one was hard going at times, not a Tony Hill/Carol Jordan but you could guess who had did it a fair bit before the end, it's fine so.

When God was a rabbit - Sarah Winston 
Unlike everyone else I missed it first time around, started well but my interest petered out about half way through, it was ok, I know I should be in the literary supplement with pithy wit like this.

Splinter the silence - Val McDermid
I did like this one. Tony Hill and Carol Jordan back together and setting up a new crime squad, someone is murdering outspoken women but making it look like they have committed suicide but Tony and Carol put an end to that malarkey.

How to build a girl - Caitlin Moran , if you've read how to be a woman, don't bother with this, save yourself the time. I loved Moranthology so everything I read after this is a bit of a letdown, I expect she's fretting now she's got my opinion, I shall have to avoid her at parties.

Little lies - Liane Moriarity
I liked this, small town suburban Australia and the petty politics of the school gate with a deeper undercurrent.

Tune in again at the end of April and please do recommend your favourites to me, I love a good book.