Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Last Poland Post

Rather than continue to bore you with a blow by blow description of our time in Poland I’ll make this the last post about the trip. After the conference finished Gorgeous Man and I drove to Lublin to visit the Majdanek concentration camp from World War II. It was a very sad and sobering experience, but I’m glad we made the time to pay our respects. You can read about the numbers in books, but until you see things like this

majdanek shoes

the scale is hard to visualize. This former prisoner dormitory is filled with four hundred thousand pairs of shoes, stacked in these containers. Looking at the shoes you could see the individuality of their owners, bright red shoes, white summer sandals, stern business-like shoes to be worn with a suit and the children’s shoes. Majdanek is one of the best preserved camps, plans to preserve it were put into place before the war was over. It was liberated by the Russian Army prior to the close of the war. Majdanek is close to the city and a wide variety of people were imprisoned here: Polish farmers being relocated, political prisoners, prisoners of war, prisoners of conscience and Jews.

After Lublin we drove back to Warsaw. Using the wizardry of Ravelry’s trip planner I discovered a yarn store only 2.8 kilometres from our accommodation. Getting there proved tricky and I owe a huge “Thank You” to Gorgeous Man who braved peak hour traffic, one way streets, a GPS battery going flat and Polish street signs to find our way there.

Magic Loop is a beautiful yarn store stocking a variety of fabulous yarns and fibre.

Magic loop 1

Mmmmmmalabrigo. The store is really lovely, beautifully laid out and the owner is really friendly and welcoming. A bonus for me was that she also spoke excellent English, because my Polish is non-existent.

magic loop 3

Some fibre came home with me my first visit. The next day Gorgeous Man and I were walking past the store’s block and made another stop to acquire some yarn and fibre for me to make him something special.

polish haul

Now to find a perfect patterns.


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More Poland

After our delicious lunch in the palace we were taken to a historical village. This had no signage at all and so it was hard to work out what era this was from, but some of the conference attendees who had grown up in various countries in Eastern Europe (and now live in the USA) commented excitedly that the school room looked exactly like the ones they had attended in the 1960s and 1970s.

school room

In contrast to the palace we had just come from the houses were much smaller.

village house external

To be honest, I prefer this to the palace. Inside was very bright and cheerful.

village house

Picture does not show the beautiful folk art painting on the chest of drawers. Another of the houses on display.

village house2

The pictures on the walls and rafters are made from cutting and gluing paper.

To my excitement there was a spinning wheel (and weaving and yarn associated equipment) in every room.

spinning wheel

I was quite taken with the village church. This was a functioning church until it was relocated to the museum site.

village church

I was also very taken with the windmill.


I love my orchids in Papua New Guinea, but I miss spring flowers. I enjoyed seeing the wide variety of irises blooming. Here is a particularly fine (and easily accessible) specimen.


We are currently half way through our two week stay in Cairns. Seems odd to be blogging about one trip while I’m on another one…

We’ve all had haircuts and are enjoying the relaxed atmosphere here in Australia. Today I picked up the gazillion photos I’ve taken over the last 8 months which I finally got around to printing. With three weddings last year there are some gorgeous shots of Gorgeous Girl that I’m itching to turn into scrapbooking pages. I just hope I can do them justice. I’m also enjoying not having to drive for 2-3 hours a day doing the school run.

I was lucky enough to be here for the monthly Cairns knitter/crocheting group and got to meet with those lovely ladies again this year. One of them runs an indie-dyeing company and I got to fondle her very beautiful yarn. You can check it out here: Solar Flair Fibres

My thumb is doing better. I’m managing a bit of knitting, but am being very careful not to overdo things.


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A Palace in Poland

The next stop on our organised tour was a palace in Nieborow.

nieborow castle

This is the entrance. In the opposite direction there was beautiful green space.

greenspace Nieborow

Gorgeous Man ducked off quickly from the tour to dash down to the lake and see if he could spot any new birds.

Inside was quite amazing. We saw stoves like this in Neuschwanstein Castle, but were not allowed to take photos. Here photography was permitted, provided that the flash was switched off.


The tile theme continued into the stairwell.


All of these tiles were different and were scenes of rural life. The wall treatments were remarkable in a number of rooms.

wallpapergone wild

Love how the sofa is the same pattern :) but it’s all a bit much for this simple girl. At this point in the tour I was starting to feel a bit hungry and I expected that sooner or later we would stop at a park and eat a sack lunch.  Imagine my surprise when the guide said, “Lunch is ready.” and we walked into this room. Oh my! Lunch in a palace!


Because I am a terrible blogger I quite forgot about taking pictures of the meal until after I’d finished the best cup of coffee I drank in Europe.


Don’t you just love the sugar bowl?

After lunch we wandered around the palace for a little while longer and then hopped onto the bus to go to a village to see how the other half had lived,  but that’s another post.

There hasn’t been any crafting here at Ruth’s place (good thing I have travel pictures to show you all). I had a severe and sudden onset of extreme pain when trying to move my thumb right. As this happened in the evening, and we don’t go out at night unless it is an extreme emergency I took some pain-killers and went to bed. It was worse in the morning, so we arranged care for Gorgeous Girl and headed into town to the clinic. Dr moved it around a bit (Ouch!) and then ordered x-rays (more ouch as I had to hold it in painful positions) and I came home with anti-inflammatory drugs, instructions to elevate and to put hand in  very hot water and move it gently. I’m as good as new now, but will keep resting it for a bit to make sure.

Honestly though watching TV without knitting, crocheting or sewing is difficult. I don’t know what people without hobbies do!


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The final day of the conference in Poland was a tour of Warsaw and the surrounding area. The hosts really packed a lot into the day.

(Warning photo heavy post ahead).

We started with a bus ride into Warsaw and then did some walking. I was a bit sore by the end of the day, but generally my foot held up pretty well.

Warsaw looks very old, but in reality most of its buildings date from after the Second World War as much of the city had to be rebuilt.

Our first stop was the Church of the Holy Cross.  Chopin’s heart is buried here. There was also an alcove dedicated to Pope John Paul II which I found very interesting. I didn’t take a closer photo than this as I didn’t want to disturb this lady’s devotion.


Here I am outside of the Polish Parliament.


I love the architecture of the old style building and my camera has many, many photos of them on it.

street scene

I was quite taken with this skinny building and would have loved to have been able to see what it looked like inside.

skinny building

After a whistle stop tour of Warsaw we headed for Nieborow Palace. But that deserves a post of its own.





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There were 4 of us at the conference in Germany who were also going to the conference in Poland, so the organisers of the Polish conference sent a mini-bus to collect us. I crocheted for most of the 6 hour trip and enjoyed the occasional sighting of deer from the windows of the speeding van.

Given that at the moment we rarely go above 60 kilometres an hour due to the poor condition of the roads it seemed very odd to be travelling at speeds of 140. ;)

We stayed on the grounds of the university in this lovely old building.

poland accommodation1

poland accommodation2

Our room was the pointed window at the very top at the far end. Being rather a tall person the sloping ceilings gave Gorgeous Man some challenges.

The campus was beautiful. I was charmed by the trees.

poland accommodation3

We arrived a day before the conference was due to start so we had time to go for a walk and enjoy the scenery.

poland woods

This is a local park. I was thrilled to find these little flowers.

poland snow drops

The conference itself was pretty intense with lots of papers in English and Polish. I found the simultaneous translation with ear phones difficult. But the papers themselves were interesting.

After the conference the organisers had set aside a day for sight-seeing. More of that in a later post.


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More Germany

The conference was intense. Lots of papers in English and German with simultaneous translation. But it was very interesting and great to meet up with people we already knew and make some new friends.

On the last day of the conference the organisers had scheduled a tour in the afternoon. We all piled on a big bus and headed to Wittenberg. Wittenberg is the centre of the Protestant Reformation, so for a group of historians this was pretty exciting. Unfortunately 90% of the buildings connected to Martin Luther are currently covered with plastic and scaffolding as the town prepares for the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg church in 2017.

Even so, it was an amazing place to visit.

There were lots of pretty buildings.

pretty buildings

I love the details around the window.

We did get to see Martin Luther’s house, which is now a museum.

Martin Luther house

I’ve always thought of Martin Luther as looking like this.

old Martin Luther

Rather large and stout, so it was interesting to see this sketch of him in his much younger years while he was still a monk.

Young Martin Luther

There was also a statue of Martin Luther’s wife.

Mrs Martin Luther

During the tour I spotted a yarn store and detached myself from the tour for some quick yarn purchases.

German haul

I haven’t decided what I’m going to make with it yet, but I’m pleased with them. These yarn purchases did result in the loss of the tour group. Gorgeous Man and I did manage to find them again after about half an hour. We knew where they were going to end up, so we were never in any danger of being left behind…

The day ended with a concert in the Leipzig concert hall. It was a great end to our time in Germany.

Then it was time to head to Poland.



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Onward through Germany

We decided to stay in Garmisch Partenkirchen  and we were totally charmed by this town. Our guesthouse was lovely. We really enjoyed the bread rolls at breakfast. One thing we miss living in Papua New Guinea is access to a variety of bread.

This was the view from our room.

view from hotel

The other direction.

view from hotel 2

We had wanted to take a chair lift up one of the nearby mountains and experience the alps up close and personally. Unfortunately, the weather was against us and so instead we wandered around the town and just soaked up the atmosphere.

street scene GPK

Beautiful buildings nestled at the foot of the alps and gorgeous plantings of spring bulbs and other flowers.

See, tulips!


I love that I can grow orchids easily in Papua New Guinea, but I do miss the bulbs that come with colder climates.

hotel GPK

Such a charming building.

I was very excited to see an electric car charging station in the parking lot.

electric car

We only had one full day here before we had to head to our conference, which was the reason why we went to Germany in the first place…

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More Germany

After a tour inside the castle, where it was strictly forbidden to take photos, we made our way down to the bottom of the mountain. For a few Euro you can ride down in a horse-drawn cart. In our case, the driver refused to accept our euro and we travelled for free. I don’t know why, but it was a nice ending to the day. One thing that especially impressed us was how green everything was.



Just beautiful.

We then started our drive to our accommodation for the evening.

Although it wasn’t the best day for taking photos, the scenery was magnificent.


We stopped to take a picture of these ruins on a hill.


You must remember that as Australians, if we want to visit another country we have to get on a plane and fly there, so it bemused us somewhat that the fastest way to get to our destination in Germany was to go through part of Austria.

This picture of the alps was taken in Austria.


Another view.


We weren’t the only ones who had stopped to take pictures.

not the only ones


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A long held ambition

A long held travel ambition for Gorgeous Man was to see Neuschwanstein Castle. So when he was to present a paper at a conference in Germany, we knew that we had to make the journey to get there.

We had to fly a number of legs to get there… PNG to Brisbane. Stop overnight to drop off Gorgeous Girl with some relatives. Then Brisbane to Hong Kong. That flight was the most ‘interesting’ I’ve ever been on. On the approach to Hong Kong it was so rough that they had to stop meal service three times and refused to serve any hot beverages.

Gorgeous Man and I were sitting near the wing. Suddenly there was a flash, a bang and the whole plane shook. For a split second I thought that the engine had exploded. The plane had been struck by lightening. There was no damage, but it certainly gave me a fright. The turbulence also meant that for the first time ever I had to get out the little travel sickness bag. I didn’t need to use it in the end. I have never been so glad to get on the ground in all my life.

The weather meant that our connecting flight out of Hong Kong was delayed as all planes waited for the weather to clear and then we had to wait for a space to take off. I got to enjoy some local cuisine (hand pulled noodles and vegetable soup) which made me feel much better, the anti-nausea pills from the airport chemist also helped. The flight into Munich was much smoother much to my relief.

Because we only had a few days before the conference began, we headed straight from the airport to Neuschwanstein. We drove through amazing scenery.

view from car window

The first castle that we spotted was the castle that the builder of Neuschwanstein had been born in, Hohenschwangau. However, because our time was limited we didn’t tour this one, just admired it from afar.

ludwig's birth castle

Here it is from another angle.

other castle

Our first view of Neuschwanstein.

neuschwanstein first view

Not the best photo in the world… My little camera is great for taking craft photos, not so good with the tourist stuff.

Up a bit closer…


Some details of the castle.

neuschwanstein detail

One last photo.


It is impossible to get the photos like you see on the postcards from land. To get pictures from that angle it needs to be done from a hot air balloon.

We caught a horse-drawn cart back to the bottom of the mountain, but I’ll save you the photo overload and spread the trip out over a few posts.

(Love that blogging allows me to inflict my holiday photos on people :D )


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Gorgeous Girl is currently on school holidays. This morning she asked if she could go for a walk around the block. I decided to grab my camera and go with her. Here are some of the things we saw. Gorgeous Girl took this picture. It’s called a candle tree because it’s shaped like a candle. She says it’s her favourite tree.

candle tree

These trees are my favourite.

favourite tree

I love the shape of them. Around the corner we spotted some corn one of our neighbours has planted at the edge of their yard.


The hibiscus flowers all year.

yellow hibiscus

pink hibiscusred hibiscus

Gorgeous Girl took this picture of the frangipanis.


There are also lots of coconut trees around.

coconut tree

Then we were too hot and had to come home for a big drink of water and sit under the fan for a while.

Because this is really a craft blog, I’ll leave you with a picture of my current favourite block for the hexagon quilt.  I love the little toadstool houses.

toadstools block

I need to prep some more hexi-pieces to stitch together. I have a few big plane trips coming up and these are my go-to travel project.

I’ve been accepted to present a paper at a conference in Poland. Gorgeous Man is presenting at a (related) conference in Germany a few days prior to the Polish conference and then he is also presenting at the one in Poland. So we’ll be going to that together.

Crafting time is decreasing as I’m trying to get the paper written for the conference as well as keep chugging away on my thesis…


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