Monday, April 28, 2008

Tempelhof Airport


When Joe, Foxy and I went to Berlin, we had no idea what a historical airport we were flying into until we got home and saw it in the February 12th issues of The Wall Street Journal. (We left on the 13th and you know it takes a couple more days to get our mail)

This is my experience at the airport:

When we arrive at the airport is was great this big canopy over you not to get wet – cause we were let out on the runway. We walked up the stairs and our luggage was right there – waiting and I was so shocked by the fact we didn’t have to walk for miles to get to it. In fact I think the people that I might be crazy because I was so excited.

Then we walked in to this wide open area that looked very 1950’s like – I thought they might want to update things just a little. There were hardly any people around and no stores.

Then we were going to take the metro to the hotel – this is the only airport that has an underground stop. However we could not find where it was and jumped in a cab. Joe was all concerned about how much it would – normally the airport is far from the cities but it was a very short ride for 8 euros. Well worth the price of me not lugging my bags and dog up and down stairs in metro and being exhausted before we even start our trip.

As you all know we had a wonderful trip to Berlin and we headed back to the airport by taxi!!! As we entered the airport again nobody in there and kind of felt like you had the whole airport to yourself. I looked at the departures board and saw it only flew to Brussels and little towns in Germany.

Then Joe said I think this airport is something…I can’t tell what but give me the camera so I can take some photos. Yes after I go to the restroom.

OMG the bathrooms scared the pee right out of me…I have never felt the presence of the cold war more in the whole trip. First you walk into a small cement room then enter through another door where the stalls are. The door made this really loud noise as it closed behind me and echoed for a long time. I hurried out of there so fast and ran back and told Joe that the bathrooms were terrible and no wonder nobody is in this airport. (Now I know they really were designed by the bad man himself and if nothing else the feeling I got from the bathroom was worth the trip for a historical moment) Also my friend Anne had the same feeling when she was in there the couple days before us, I found out when we were comparing our trips.

As we blinked our way though the shortest and quickest security line Joe and I have every seen post the 9/11 heightened security. I might even say shorter than I have see in International Falls ever. Then we were off to our gate examining the lime stone walls that you could see the fossils in.

Walked down the stairs outside to the plan and then we were off down a long runway with people along the fence outside watching and waving.

So when we saw the article in the paper that this lovely airport (besides the bathrooms) that was so convient for visiting Berlin was going to close we both were sad that we didn’t take more time to check it.

The airport is scheduled for closure at the end of October 2008. A non-binding referendum on the level of the Land Berlin was held on April 27th 2008 (yesterday) against the close-down but failed due to a very low voter turnout.

I would really like to fly into this airport one more time before it closes.

Here are some facts about the airport:


· Tempelhof, Adolph Hitler's showpiece airport built in the 1930s, is said to be the third-largest building complex in the world.

· It played a crucial role in the 1948-49 Allied airlift to save West Berlin from being strangled by Russian forces at the start of the Cold War.

· One of the airport's most distinguishing features is its large, canopy-style roof that was able to accommodate most contemporary airliners, thereby saving passengers from the elements.

· The main building of the Tempelhof Airport is the 18th largest building on earth. Tempelhof used to have the world's smallest duty-free shop.

· In 2007, it served fewer than 350,000 passengers

· The airport halls and the neighboring buildings, intended to become the gateway to Europe and a symbol of Hitler's "world capital" Germania, are still known as the largest built entities worldwide, and have been described by British architect Sir Norman Foster as "the mother of all airports".

· With its fa├žades of shell limestone, the terminal building, built between 1936 and 1941, forms a massive 1.2-kilometre long quadrant yet has a charmingly intimate feel; planes can taxi right up to the building and unload, sheltered from the weather by its enormous overhanging canopy.

· American engineers constructed a new 6,000-ft runway at Tempelhof between July and September 1948 and another between September and October 1948 to accommodate the expanding requirements of the airlift. The last airlift transport touched down at Tempelhof on 30 September 1949.

· Soviet forces took Tempelhof in the Battle of Berlin on 24 April 1945 in the closing days of the war in Europe following a fierce battle with Luftwaffe troops. Tempelhof's German commander, Colonel Rudolf Boettger, refused to carry out orders to blow up the base, choosing instead to kill himself

· With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, the presence of American forces in Berlin ended. The USAF 7350th Air Base Group at Tempelhof was deactivated in June 1993.

· Templehof was commissioned by Albert Speer, Hitler's chief architect. The building formed an integral part of Speer's master plan for Berlin. (explains the bathrooms )


· Every 90 seconds, an allied aircraft touched down, carrying food and fuel for local residents after Stalin had closed off all supply routes between West Berlin and the other zones controlled by the Western powers. More than two million tons of food and fuel were brought in to supply Berliners.

· During the airlift, Mr. Halvorsen - known back then as "Uncle Wiggly Wings" - used to wiggle his plane's wings in a salute to children waiting below in the rubble of Berlin. He'd then drop Hershey bars, chewing gum and other goodies with parachutes made of handkerchiefs.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

summer?

Tuesday @ 2:30


The weather for the end of April and begining of May last year was really nice, actually those couple weeks was our summer. (really it's true i can't find the web site now where it states that) I just hope that is not what is happening this year, I would like a couple of months of 60 degree or warmer weather.



wednesday @ 1:15 - it a heat wave!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The I can't wait movie

So I was shopping on Nordstrom’s web site yesterday and I saw this purse that I thought was a little quirky and very expensive or else it might be fun to have. However, if I saw someone was wearing it, I would think she bought it in Paris on the street from a vendor that is of course before I saw it on Nordstrom’s. (I don’t think it looks expensive)



Then I was dreaming and wishing that “The sex and the city movie” would come out next year when I’m in NYC so I could see it and maybe have a girls night out. (I hope it is out on video in August when I’m home) Any way here is a photo of what I found…I almost died when I saw the “purse” is in the new movie…how funny is that.

You can see the purse just bearly hanging down by SJP shoes. I would have never noticed it if I didn't see the purse first. Oh and How cute are they (both the shoes and SJP with Chris)




photo from patricia fields website, also on the movie website.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunny, Sunny Sunday


Sunny Day, sweeping the clouds away! You know the rest of the song ... think PBS and fuzzy monsters.

Today Foxy and I woke up to a bright sunny day with out a cloud...but now it is 2:00 and the clouds and grey are back as you can see from the photos below. Foxy did get 2 very long walks in though. (it was so nice outside and she could tell it)
Enjoy these photos from around the ponds and my favorite tree (the flowers are like big carnations on the tree)
People sitting around the pond - they were enjoying the sun.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Art & Atomium

I received 2 tickets for the 26th edition of the art Brussels for pre-opening night. (Thursday last night) It is a contemporary art fair with the emphasis on promising young artists. There were 180 galleries from 24 countries participating.

The art is all in the Brussels Expo complex which is located feet away from the Atomium.


(photo taken May 2007)

This all sounds fun and exciting right! But you know with me there is always an adventure. Thursday in my French class we learned that the Atomium was turning 50 years old and that tonight (Thursday) they will have a party and fireworks to celebrate. I suddenly had a panic attack thinking that my quiet evening was going to turn in to a mob of people and traffic.

After Joe doctor’s appointment last minute doctor’s appointment and tons of traffic we finally made it to the expo center. (around 8:00) The nice part was they had the area all closed off for the general public except we just kept showing our tickets to the police and we were magically allowed threw all the closed gates which lead to a great parking spot for the fireworks if we would have stayed that long. (We think the fireworks started sometime between 10:30 and midnight you have to remember this is Europe and things get started later)

The best exhibit in my opinion was a huge cage of live chickens. The whole thing was to show photos of 10 years of breeding different kinds of chickens. You could hear the rooster cock –a –doodle-doing in some parts of the building. We actually would have missed it because Joe thought it was a recording and I was determined to find where the sound was coming from and low and behold we turned a corner and voila chickens! The cage was the size of a medium studio apartment or bigger than some hotel rooms in Paris.

My second was an ink and paper drawing by Julie Nord an artist from Denmark. She mixes fairy tale images and animals with the dead; example skull and dead flowers. You know the twisted stuff I like. In the picture they had there for over 6,000 euros was a very cute mouse with huge eyes and a very lady like pearl necklace on. I guess from what the curator was saying there are waiting list for her work that is why there was only 1 at the show.

You can't really see the detail on these picturces but it will give you a little bit of an idea.



Last but not lease everyone’s favorite people watching. This was the private night which made it more perfect. Joe’s observation was that every gay man in Brussels was under one roof. I just like the mix of people; the crazy tattooed crowd and the old money crowd all sipping champagne together.

All in all it was a good night even if we didn’t stay for the fireworks.


HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY ATOMIUM!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Polish Pottery

My friend Anne talked me into a day trip to Nijerk, Holland to visit the polish pottery outlet. I have never heard of polish pottery before but decided I should go and check it out.

Friday Anne and I got on a bus full of 38 other women for a 2 ½ hour drive. During the drive we found out that everyone on the bus loves this pottery, one lady even threw out her corning ware. Suggestions came from the ladies about what we should start with were baking pieces. They are very durable and go into the dishwasher, microwave, oven and freezer with out any problem. Well my problem was I looked at the patterns on-line and didn’t like any, they mostly have the bright cobalt blue in the patterns and I’m not a big blue fan.

As everyone stampeded off the bus into the little warehouse, I saw 3 shelving units in the front with a gorgeous pattern on it. The colors were pink, green, black and a little blue with a big pink daisy like flower for the pattern. The sign on the self said “triple the price” naturally they were due to the fact I like that pattern! (Triple the price of the normal outlet pattern example the huge bowl I liked was 80 euros - normal price 26 euros)

I continued through the rows and rows of plates, cups, bowl and serving pieces and saw a pattern that was o.k. I mean I came 2 ½ hours on a bus with 38 chatty women I should get something. Then again if I’m going to get something I should love it. I will have it for years to come, unless it gets broke on the move back home. So I trotted back to the carts in the front for a look again. Then I noticed there was only a huge bowl and small bowl so nothing very practical. I did spy a pattern that I liked on the “double the price” cart and pulled out the pieces I wanted put them on the floor by the register (they are very heavy and nobody else was going for the cart in our group so I was safe to leave them unattended) and got in line with my original salsa bowl and baking dish.




In the end I ended up with a lasagna pan, a couple baking/serving bowls and a salad bowl of the “double the price” goods. Packed up my treasures and loaded them on the bus…headed back in to find Anne in all the madness. Standing back in line with her and the couple serving bowls & lasagna pan she picked out. The other women had carts full of pieces.


We had a bag lunch on the bus then we were off however it was more like 3 ½ -4 hours home due to traffic all the way home!! My pieces made it home all in one piece thank god!

Anne with her box!

After comparing prices with Anne my serving bowls were only 2 euros more than the regular price but the salad bowl was my investment piece.

Yes I’m planning a dinner already where I can use my new stuff.


The lasgana dish - it is also decorated on the outside too. I forget to mention they are all hand made and painted.


The bus only half way loaded...it was full by the time everyone got there boxes on. (3 boxes deep and 3 high.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ypres, Beligum

We headed to Ypres or Ieper Belgium depending on what langue you speak. It is Northwest of Brussels about 2 hour’s away.

Our day started out a little rough. An hour into the drive we came across a snow storm. This is not a problem in the Midwest but in Belgium on a hightway it is a major problem. We were going 25 km and passed an 8 car pile up with a car flipped upside down all the windows broken out and a person covered up on the ground.

Once we made it to Ypres we were swarmed by a pack of teenagers wanting us to put our radio station to “Studio Brussels”. Then they took a walkie talkie and let someone hear it followed by taking our photo. Crayz Kids!

Finally we made it to the Flanders Fields Museum. If you are like me and have no idea about the history of Flanders. It is a major area in the First World War 1914 -1918. It is also the first place where the chemical weapon mustard gas was used also known as “yperite”.

The most memoriable part of the museam for me was called the Christmas truce. This is an letter written by Josef Wenzl, R.I.R on 12/28/1914 to his parents.

“One Englishman was playing on the harmonica of a German lad, some were dancing, while others were proud as peacocks to wear German helmets on their heads. The British burst into song with a carol, to which we replied with ‘Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht’. It was a very moving moment- hated and embittered enemies were singing carols around the Christmas tree. All my life I will never forget the sight. We saw the men carried on living, even when they are reduced to killing and butchery…Christmas 1914 will remain unforgettable for me.”

The fields are also known for poppies which have been the symbol since 1915. Poppie wreaths at the Menin Gate - you can hardly see the names behind them.

There are cemeteries and monuments from the U.K., Belgium, France, Germany and many other countries in this small area. Ypres area was mainly defended by the British Commonwealth, more than 250,000 soldiers died in and around Ypres.



After the museum we visited the Menin Gate. It is like the Vietnam War memorial in Washington D.C. full of the names of soldiers who fought in the war. It was built by the British as a memorial to the 54,896 solders whose bodies where never found.



What we didn’t see and will go back ands see is “the last post” is played on bugles under the Menin Gate. Since July 1, 1928 @ 8:00 every evening it has continued only silent durning the Second World War and stated again on Sept. 6 1944. The Sunday we were there was the 27,349 time they played. Here is the website to check out the impressive list of people who have attended this amazing event. www.lastpost.be

The next stop was Tyne Cot Cemetery; originally ‘tyne cot’ was a bunker on the German Flandern 1 line. It became a small cemetery in 1917 by Australian soldiers. Then 12,000 dead were brought from the surrounding battle fields. Most of their names are unknown. It is the largest cemetery for the common wealth forces in the world.


I almost forget to show & tell you about the crazy art outside the Flanders Museum.



How crazy are these fish?? Inside there were singing stingrays with legs.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Date Night


We drove out towards Overijse in search of lambs with their mothers. We did see some however they were far away and we could not get a good look at them.

Foxy on the other had enjoyed the view and the smells.

Then we had a car picnic. What is a car picnic you ask? It is where you eat in you car at a park or scenic place, but there was nowhere close to downtown Overijse so we ate in the parking lot…a special treat a drive thru and Mc Donald’s.


My dad is not a big fan of car picnic's we did one once in Florida with Foxy. We had a nice view of the gulf and good food but not a happy father.



The Saturday night movie on TV was Valiant – a Disney movie that didn’t get a good box office showing due to the lack of humor, too realistic and not very creative.(according to critics) It was based on actual facts and WWII. The Scenes when they are in Normandy are very realistic, even the birds flying into the bunkers. I can see where kids would not sit still for this movie, but it is good for adults needing a reminder of history from a pigeons point of view.

About the movie:

Set in 1944, Valiant is a woodland pigeon who wants to become a hero someday. When he hears they are hiring recruits for the Royal Homing Pigeon Service, he immediately sets out for London. On the way, he meets a smelly but friendly pigeon named Bugsy, who joins him, mainly to get away from clients he cheated in a game of find-the pebble, and helps him sign up for the war.

Suddenly, the founder of the RHPS, Gutsy, informs Montegue that his troops, Squad F, have to leave for France immediately to get a message even though their training isn't finished. Their plane is shot down in France, and Valiant and company enlist the help of two French mice, Charles de Girl and Rollo, to get them into German territory and help them defeat the evil pigeon-hunting Nazi falcon general Von Talon. Valiant rescues Bugsy and Mercury from Von Talon's bunker, and in the process, gets the message back. Valiant defeats Von Talon with the help of his family and friends and delivers the message. He is awarded a Dickin medal and reunites with Victoria.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Spring Break

Sorry I haven’t blogged lately. I’m on spring break from French class and have been doing absolutely nothing. Far from my college days of going to Florida or Texas to party!

I did have some company for a couple nights, Jim, Kate and Hana. They needed a place to crash while there life was being packed up and put into a shipping container to be sent back home.

As some of you know I have never cooked before Joe started attending grad school and I officially became a stay at home dog mom. Some people can not believe I can cook as well as I do. (Like my mom and friends)

Thought you all might enjoy this recipe we had the other night.



Ingredients:

¼ cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, crushed (I use more)
1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (don’t use the packaged stuff grated it yourself)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Add cream and simmer for 5 minutes, then add garlic and cheese and whisk quickly, heating through. Stir in parsley and serve.

I added cooked shrimp to the sauce before mixing it with the pasta.

Tip- if you husband is calling to say he is going to be late, don't wait for him to eat this. Eat it when it is fresh and hot - reheated even a 1/2 later the butter separates from the cream and is not the same.

Bon Appetite