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Friday. Wanted to take it a little easy to save our feet before the first night of the festival. Had breakfast at the eclectic Tante Emma cafe across the river - a platter which was nothing less than a work of art, a tasty one at that!

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full gallery for the first two days
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Typed up on our flight home, finally got round to posting it now......Making the most of some quiet time on our flight to actually write an LJ post. On our way home from a fab but tiring and unhealthy weekend in Berlin. Our fourth visit to the Out of Line Weekender but this one was a bit different - we weren't the only non Germans here! What was always a bands focussed event, instead took on a social aspect. Much fun but meant i didn't get to sit between bands at all.

This year we arrived a day early as Wednesday flights were cheap. Got to our boat accommodation early evening, with a warm welcome and a free breakfast. :-)

Had dinner that evening in our usual Kreuzberg staple, Hasir for yummy Turkish meal - newly refurbished and new friendly staff, it was even more enjoyable than usual.

Followed by our usual baklava stop … new discovery, chocolate pistachio baklava, heaven! Back to our boat for drinks, where we were briefly joined by Susan and Hels, who were staying down the road with the rest of the British goth contingent.

Thursday we decided to explore Dahlem district, out west. As the weather was mizzly, we decided to forego the original plan to visit the Funkturm on the way and decided on the Olympic Stadium instead. A very interesting tour discovering this beautifully designed and historically significant building. Next door was another significant building, Corbusierhaus, which was fantastic to see ( for a modernist architecture geek like me anyway!)

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Link to full gallery of pics

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Not that I have time to even think about sewing at the moment :-( I really want to make something from the sarees and indian suit kits that I've been building up a collection of.
Love this idea of making 1950's dresses from them.
However this is my real weakness in sewing, how to repurpose an item or visualise how to put it together without a pattern as a base to get me started. currently all I can think of making are tunic tops, which is a bit dull and would probably hardly get worn.


just how pretty are those!!!

leaving LJ

Apr. 6th, 2017 01:39 pm
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So I appear to have moved myself over to Dreamwidth. Hello! Not sure yet if I will stay here or use Wordpress but I need to get back into writing proper posts again and LJ was beginning to to build up too much baggage (not just the Russians but a redundant friends list and lack of control over it)

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Our final day. :-(

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Final day's photos here
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Sunday - Real Alcazar and Plaza de Espana compete for my affections. the battle was probably instead won by Bar Alfalfa though.

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The day's photos: morning and afternoon.
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Needing to focus on positive things right now, so I will actually post a trip report of my recent holiday to Seville.

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A slightly frustrating first day but still good enough to make us both fall for Seville.
Full set of photos for this day are here
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Not been on here for way too long but a quick scan over my long overdue friends feed does make me feel its a much calmer place than FB is at the moment.  I really don't know why I keep going on there, it just depresses me.  Yes, we're living in nasty, scary times. However the anger, hateful and close-minded views all over FB (and yes I am referring to both sides here) is just making me want to scream.  Anger is understandable, however so much hate and vitriol towards others just feels counterproductive - I am more scared of the rift that has developed in this country than the politics behind it, as it feels that unrepairable damage has been done.

I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't though. If I post my thoughts on this, they get misinterpreted, which only serves to make me even more upset and if I keep to "fluff" I get accused of being shallow - or at worse a potential "traitor" who is letting my friends down. I can't do protest marches because I panic in an uncontrolled crowd and nobody needs me having a panic attack (those who saw me have a slight wibble at the themepark in WGT last year will understand this!) but I can't say this on FB as I get accused of being unsupportive etc etc.  I feel I need a break from it before I start to fall out with friends that I really don't want to lose, just through rash words written in haste.

I've also more important things to do online, as I now start to embark on my dissertation, which quite frankly is terrifying me!  A big part of this fear is the feeling that the timetable is just out of my hands - at least with the modules there were start and end dates, assignment dates etc.  This is just ambiguous.  I've not been assigned a supervisor yet.  I emailed a general overview of my proposed topic to the College before Christmas and was told it was an interesting idea but I needed narrowing down.  So two weeks ago, when the term officially started, I emailed with a "narrowed down" topic - no title yet but a summary of what I wanted to research and referenceing a few articles I've used as my starting point - and to date, no response!  According to the guidelines, we are supposed to submit our topic/draft title within two weeks (ie next Monday) and then when its approved, we have 3 weeks to submit a research proposal. And finally, once a supervisor is appointed we have up to 9 months to hand in the completed dissertation.

So now, due to lack of response, I don't know whether to start drafting the research proposal, just in case the topic isn't approved or just keep collecting literature, reading, and getting myself into even more of a panic. :-)

But anyway, that can wait until Tuesday - bringing me back to the original subject of this post.  Tomorrow morning, at "oh my god how early" Rob and I fly to Seville for a much needed short break to get away from it all.  I started to get feelings of wanderlust when we came back to work after Christmas and started looking up the feasibility of a trip to see the northern lights.  Somehow this went off on a tangent after watching Assassin's Creed, reminding me of the moorish architecture that I studied at Uni and always longed to visit, discovered it was surprisingly cheap to get to and stay in Seville and managed to convince Rob.  So tomorrow, we shall be in Dorne!*

or possibly Naboo*

*GOT filming location - aka Real Alcazar palace.  And Plaza de Espana ended up in the Star Wars franchise.

You never know, I may even get round to posting photos on my return!

This wasn't intended to be a vent/rant post but evidently it needed to be done, as that is what came out of my fingers as I typed. Hopefully some photos lightened the tone a bit. :-)

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so in a vague attempt to revert to posting more on here than work whinges .... last weekend we were back in Belgium, for our annual excursion to Gala Nocturna, incorporating sightseeing, beer, genever and lots of tarting around in big gowns!  this year it moved to Ghent and was announced to be the 10th and final edition.
There were some gripes about this year's theme - the Age of Redemption - about stripping back the layers and revealing the "inner you".  Other than finding the mood-board vaguely discriminatory - lots of emaciated models draped in little more than random strips of diaphenous fabric, hardly something I could get away with - I found it to be a more interesting theme than the "disney options" of previous years, with more scope for interpretation.
My scope was somewhat obtuse - redemption made me think of Klimt's Beethoven Frieze and the message of "the redemption of man through Art".  Klimt made a lot of use of gold and red, I happened to have recently purchased some beautiful red/gold fabric, and some recent photos doing the rounds of the reenactment of some of Klimt's works gave me the base idea for my gown.  Taking with it on the way a bit of Mucha, and all manner of cultural inspiration (Indian, Afghan, Romany...... what did I do in the days before Pinterest! ;-) )
The intention was a quick outfit to construct, to fit in amongst my studies, however nothing is ever simple and after various wardrobe malfunctions, I finally ended with something vaguely representing my original intention.

The other joy of the weekend was a chance to revisit Ghent - or namely its wonderful bars and restaurants.  Some of us, having been before, didn't do much sightseeing but spent our time revisiting our favourite bars.  Most significantly t'Dreupelkot - a wonderful little genever bar, featuring over 100 flavours, mostly created by the owner Pol.  We spent a significant amount of time there Friday night, allowing for Pol's mood barometer to swing from "mediocre mood" to "pretty cheerful".
Saturday morning saw a visit to History at the Movies, a little costume exhibition housed in a beautiful old abbey.

Gala Nocturna itself was housed in another beautiful abbey/monastery.  Where it sadly lacked in dancefloor space, it made up for in atmosphere and general circulation space - lots of little rooms to discover, art installations, a buffet of yummy flemish cheeses, and the usual array of exquisitly attired guests.  We also had the bonus of "one of our own" behind the DJ decks, with Paul Garside (Rosenkavalier) being selected as one of the DJs for the night, so we did have many opportunities to dance and it was with very tired feet that i was determined to stay until the very final song - which was quite emotional to hear it announce the end of an era.  Who knows what the future will bring - if not Gala Nocturna, hopefully something equally as good.  and still in Belgium!

And because smugmug has "helpfully" decided to change its photo upload format, posting pics directly here is no longer as convenient, so here a link to view the album directly

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I've not posted on here in an age.  There have been some good things but i've just been too busy to post about them and my studies this term have been so badly paced and stressful, I've had little time to do much else online.
A quick summary

  • studies stressful.  Next module finished, now to spend Christmas writing an essay.

  • work has been meh.  Had my annual appraisal last week, which was interesting.  I managed to put my case across  that I thought my role should remain as a direct report to the director when my line manager comes back from maternity leave.  Frustrating to have to report to someone who knows nothing about what I do, when I have the experience and training to make decisions myself.  My director appears to agree with me, however my job description (and grade/salary) remains in limbo until she returns as of course it wouldn't be fair to make such changes in her absence.

  • oh, and I've broken my hand.  One highlight of the past few months was our trip away to Holland for my birthday ............. so what do I go and do? Bloody fall over and fracture a knuckle the day before we fly, that's what! :-/  And now my hand is in a plastercast until the new year, slowing down my typing/studies, curtailing my sewing plans and generally pissing me off.

But I'm going to attempt to finish on a high point.  This was the place of awesome we stayed in for my birthday.  We went to Arnhem for Emporium Vernesque, a dutch steampunk convivial and our decision to go was prompted by finding this accommodation. :-)  just heaven.

Oh, and Arnhem has a giant drunk aardvark!

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Our next stop was Temple.  I'd been to their open day a few years ago but a number of our group hadn't, and it such an amazing place its worth a revisit.  Pretty much a small town/community/campus housing all the legal societies and the amazing Temple Church.
Swiped from Wikipedia: "The Temple is an area of central London, in the vicinity of Temple Church, It is one of the main legal districts of the capital and a notable centre for English law, both historically and in the present day. The Temple area of the City of London consists of the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple, which are two of the four Inns of Court and act as local authorities in place of the City of London Corporation within their areas."

Read more... )
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After Drapers Hall, the next one on our list was 1 Finsbury Circle, a Lutyens designed building from the 1920s which had had a modern refurbishment.  Unfortunately there was a rather long queue and we predicted it would not clear before they closed at lunch, so we headed to the next one - Andaz hotel, Liverpool street ...................... another long queue, estimated time to wait of 2 hours!
So we went to the next spot, an office block on Bevis Marks with rooftop atrium ...................... guess what, another 2 hour queue!

Decided it wasn't worth trying any more buildings in this area and as Drapers Hall was relatively queue free, we might have luck with other Livery Halls, and walked down to Blackfriars.
First stop was Apothecaries Hall, rather unassuming from the outside but opened out into a twee little courtyard (reminded me of some of the places we've visited in Krakow and Germany.
"A courtyard building with some of the best-preserved C17 livery hall interiors, on the site of the Blackfriars Priory on which the original hall burnt down in 1666"

Apothecaries Hall and Stationers Hall )

full gallery of photos here
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For Sunday we returned to the City, as it had been a while since we last did that borough and many choices that not everyone had been to.

The plan was to start at the Bank of England - getting there nice and early to avoid the queue .................... not early enough it transpired!

As the queue went right round the building, 30 minutes before it was due to open, we decided to head staight to building 2 - Drapers Hall.  We still had a bit of a wait as they weren't due to open until 10am.

Livery hall first built in the 1530s, twice destroyed by fire and rebuilt (1666 & 1772). Late C19 facade and opulent Victorian interior.
The Drapers' Company is one of the historic Great Twelve Livery Companies and was founded during the Middle Ages.

The Drapers' Company is based at Drapers' Hall located in Throgmorton Street, near London Wall. The company has owned the site since 1543, when it purchased the London mansion of Thomas Cromwell, Austin Friars, from King Henry VIII. Cromwell had been attainted and executed in 1540.

The building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London and rebuilt to designs by Edward Jarman. After another fire in 1772, it was rebuilt again. This time the architect was John Gorham. Further extensive alterations were made in the 19th century. The hall survived the Blitz during the Second World War.

The hall includes four finely decorated main rooms used for the company's functions. The largest room is the Livery Hall, which can accommodate up to 260 guests for dinner. These rooms are also available for hire[2] and have often been used for film locations, including for The King's Speech, GoldenEye, The Lost Prince and Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London.[3][4] Groups may book a guided tour of Drapers' Hall; a donation to the company's charitable work is requested.

This was a bit gorgeous, so its going to get a photo-post all of its own:
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More info in their Corporate Brochure ................ anyone fancy hiring this place for a British edition of Gala Nocturna? ;-)
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after lunch, we took a bus to Harmondsworth - turned out to be a rather long journey, diverting all around the suburbs of Uxbridge!  Finally arrived at Harmondsworth and despite our concerns we were going to end up on a dodgy estate, turned out to be a pleasant village, at risk of being redeveloped as Heathrow Runway 3*

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*I did a bit of further investigation and the latest proposal does not intend to bulldoze the historic heart of the village, including the listed Great Barn, church and pub as we were told, however half of the village would go and these buildings would be left clinging to civilisation at the very edge of the airport.
I admit to being all for a third runway, as I think Heathrow is embarrassingly over-crowded, however is this really the solution?    Surely there is other land that could be redeveloped in its place, instead of destroying an established community.

Anyway, on a cheerier note, here is my full gallery of photos.
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I have a bit to update on LJ, namely a rather fantastic little trip to Nantes.  However whilst it is fresh in my mind, will start by posting about this weekend's London Open House.
This year we decided to explore the borough of Hillingdon.  Not as much to see as other boroughs and a bit spread out but there looked to be enough places of interest to make a day of it.
We started off at Ickenham to visit Swakeleys Manor.

Swakeleys Manor, Uxbridge Lido, Quaker Meeting House )

Full gallery of photos here

Infest 2015

Sep. 1st, 2015 02:45 pm
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Infest over for another year, marking the end of my festival season for another year too.  And it was a rather amazing Infest, the best line-up in a long time and lots of friends in attendance.

We set off up the A1 early on Friday, so i could stop off for a swim at Rutland Water's new "beach".  Lovely to see that one of the water authorities have seen sense in providing an area to swim in, a contrast to all the "danger of death!!" signs you see elsewhere.  When we arrived, there was nobody in the water but a few families playing on the beach and the water looked pretty choppy.  Still, the flags said it was safe to swim, so I took the plunge!

The water was surprisingly mild, I'd say around 18-20c but very choppy indeed, making it near impossible to swim.  It was more the kind of place to splash around with friends.  Still, I made the most of the lovely clear water and attempted a couple of lengths, having to get out and walk back to the start each time as it was impossible to swim into the breeze!
By the time we'd had our picnic brunch, the traffic had got a bit busier but despite a slight delay we arrived in Bradford around 4pm, giving us enough time to eat, rest and get ready.  Unfortunately Cecile and Simon, on their first trip to Infest, got caught up in a bigger traffic snarl, so we couldn't wait for them to arrive and just hope they could find the way to the venue.

Friday's bands
CTRL+ALT+DELETE - a Luton based 3 piece act with a slight DnB/Ibiza feel.  Discovered later that one of the band members is also in Ultraviolence.  Despite the music not being my usual taste I did really enjoy their set, as they had a professional sound (shame the female vocalists were a little quiet, as always seems to be the case for bands with female singers) and full of energy and bounce.
DKAG - or the "Slimelight House Band".  Seen many times before but I do enjoy them.  They sounded good but felt a little slower in pace than I recalled - not sure if it was in contrast to the first band, a different style to their newer stuff or just sound different outside of slimelight!
COCKSURE - One of the bands I was really looking forward to, featuring Chris Connelly of Ministry/REVCO.  Sadly it didn't quite deliver for me, I loved the instrumental element but the vocals grated - I guess that was just me though, not really into a punk style, as other friends loved it.
EMPIRION - Friday's headliner.  I hadn't heard the name before but on listening online I realised i recognised a lot of their music, namely from the good old days of Full Tilt at the Electric Ballroom, so much of this used to end up on Rex's set!  Yes, just two guys on decks, no gesturing or gurning at the audience, just getting on with what they do so well with the occasional grin at the audience's response.  i may have danced a bit! :-)  Total nostalgia-fest!
After the bands, I wanted to have a dance, after spending some time chatting to friends but seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as nothing drew me to the dancefloor - hard dance in the main room, cheesy 80's in the other room - what about something in between?  It had been a long day anyway, so we decided to call it quits around 2am.

After breakfast we took Cecile and Simon to Bombay Stores, a wonderful cornucopia of Indian bling around the corner from our hotel.  Cecile managed to find all the gothic fabrics, skulls, hallowe'en scenes. :-)  I ended up being tempted by a gorgeous sari fabric, rather expensive but I couldn't leave it go and purchased a meter, which will form part of next year's Gala Nocturna outfit.
Back to our hotel/pub to grab food - with the intention of only ordering something light, still full from breakfast that morning, ending up with a monster portion!  somehow managed to squeeze myself into a corset and dashed to the venue in time to catch the bands from the start.

ALTERRED - seen a few times before and usually considered them potentially good but gimmicky (albeit entertaining gimmicks, with clockwork doll dancers, angle grinders, masks etc).  Was surprised to see they've become a serious band!  A bit rocky for my taste but they did sound very good, with the lead vocalist Mikey seemingly determined to channel Trent Reznor. :-)
ETHAN FAWKES - was intrigued about this one from the description part metal/part industrial/part electro.  This basically consisted of a guy who looked disconcertingly like Bill Baileys younger brother, playing with electronic toys in his bedroom.  One minute twiddling with buttons and knobs behind his decks, then the next minute running off to one side to growl down the mike.  I nearly enjoyed it but something didn't quite hit the spot.
CHANT - the band with the big pre-festival hype ..... which delivered, and then some!  Lots and lots of drums, two guys, one guitar.  so much awesome!  Can't describe it any better than "woah, drums!"  Even Rob enjoyed it, pootling off to the merch stand just before the end to grab a CD before everyone else did. :-)
L'AME IMORTELLE - I know I have friends who are really into this band.  A certain one who came to Infest for the first time specifically to see them.  So I will remain tactful. meh. ;-)
KLANGSTABIL - the band I was most looking forward to.  Purchased two of their CD's before WGT last year and just fell for their sound.  Unfortunately Rob didn't, at all.  The WGT gig was odd, very intense but so different to the CD's, so I was interested to see what they'd be like without their manaical German fanbase.  It was wonderful.  So intense, the sound just builds up in layers to become almost painful, with Boris May's shouting angsty vocals striking a harsh contrast.  You get the impression he is not a happy guy.  The only slight niggle was that it was a purely English language set, so they didn't play my favourite track Lauf Lauf, nor did we get any of the Italian tracks which are sung by Maurizio instead and provide a welcome contrast.  but they were good, very good. I was happy.
MIND.IN.A.BOX - the headliner for the day.  I like their sound on CD but when i saw them live at Resistanz I got so bored, wanted to give them another chance though.  I was busy chatting with Alan and Heather, so forgot to get to the stage in time, so by the time i did, ended up standing towards the back where the sound wasn't so good.  They have a very prog-rock style live, and are very good at what they do but still didn't hold my attention for a full set so a comfy seat and gin called to me instead.
After the bands, Cecile hit the dancefloor whilst me, Rob and Simon played on the free computer games instead - well i was wearing my pacman dress, so had to play the game too!  Had a bit of a dance at the end and was there until the curfew.

Had breakfast not been included in our rate, we would have had a lie in, however bacon called.  After a relaxed morning, we headed down to the National Media Museum to play on the computer games.  How better to spend a sleepy sunday morning during an electronic festival!  They have a room full of historic games, some free, some operable at their original arcade prices - pacman, space invaders, pong, sonic the hedgehog etc.   Rob's main draw was Gauntlet, something he spent most of his teenage years playing instead of getting a girlfriend. ;-)  I started playing one game with him and soon died, got bored waiting for him to die too, so I went to shoot things on the Point Blank rifle range game, such fun!  Ran out of 50p's, Rob still playing Gauntlet, so I put in another 20p to play.  Soon died, went to play Qbert whilst he continued to play Gauntlet  and finally died!  Just then Jonny and Mandy turned up, so after a quick browse around the games, Jonny and Rob had another go at Gauntet.  I finally managed to drag him away to get lunch.  There was talk of meeting up with the others for curry but I didn't fancy anything else savoury, so we went to the Waterstones cafe for coffee and cake instead.   Back to the hotel to struggle to get ready for the final day of the festival.

MECHANICAL CABARET - I've seen before and not a fan but wanted to check them out anyway. However we arrived late and only caught the last two songs.  Better than they used to be but still too much like Marc Almond for my taste.
READJUST - a band who have been on my WGT maybe list for years but so far eluded me.  A generic German three man electro/futurepop band.  They were good though and i had a much needed dance to start my day.
BHAMBHAMHARA - the dancing continued!  A fantastic combination of old-school electro with more modern dancy build-ups and even a slight element of trance.  I really loved this band and had a good dance. :-)
SYRIAN - the synthpop band of the weekend.  I decided to grab food before, thinking this would be a mellow affair.  I was wrong!  More futurepop than synthpop, very dancy, very entertaining.  An enjoyable set despite my getting a stitch from bouncing so soon after food!
MONOLITH - another band I was looking forward to.  the "noise" option for the weekend.  A project of Eric van Wonterghem of Absolute Body Control, this was noise with his distinctive crystal clear sound.  It started off a little tribally but soon built up to the aural assault I was expecting, building up layer upon layer of sounds over a repetitive beat - very hypnotic and powerful. Just great!  And proof that you don't have to have the volume turned up to 11 for a powerful noise experience (something I wish that certain acts at Resistanz earlier this year could learn from!)  No ringing in the ears afterwards!
PROJECT PITCHFORK - the main headliner of the festival, originally scheduled to play last year but replaced by VNV at the last minute.  This time they definately played.  A band I have yet to see live before despite their long history.  I was only aware of their one big hit Timekiller but recognised a few more once they started to perform, namely those of a more goth persuasion that I would have heard at clubs such as Tanz Macabre.  They were very good, admittedly not a band I'd dash to see again but not one I'd avoid either.
Alas, that was it for another year, how fast did that go!  We planned not to have a late night as we were off to Lincoln the next day, however the music on the dance floor was excellent and i had to stay a little while, eventually dragged away at around 1.30am.

Its a shame that we now have to choose between Infest and the Asylum steampunk weekend every bank holiday.  However, despite not yet making it to Lincoln for the last day of that, I had already decided that I would never be able to give up Infest - must come back next year!  It has become my favourite festival of the year.  The right balance of great music, great company, a lovely venue and cheap gin!
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We had a morning in Berlin before our flight home and with temperature hitting 30c, we went for a swim at the Badeschiff.  A shipping container located in the river spree converted into a swimming pool with adjacent beach bar.

swimming in container ship! )
Leaving with a longing to return again soon!  Decided i must book an extra day after WGT to go back to Krumme Lanke for a swim at least.

view of Mueggelsee from the air. Bye bye!
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By Sunday, the weather had started to get a bit scorchio, so of course we decided to spend that day going round fleamarkets and sightseeing!

all over the place! )

full gallery of photos
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Saturday was the day of our primary reason for this trip - swimming!  After much deliberation of the 80 or so lakes we could choose from, we decided on Krumme Lanke, to the south west of the city, just before Potsdam.

lakes, duck attack, squirrels, art nouveau and mad scientists bar )

the full album of this day here

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Next stop was the Neues Palais, the one I really wanted to visit.  I had heard it was undergoing refurbishment so was a bit concerned about what we were going to see but thankfully the rooms I really wanted to view had just reopened.

photo heavy - Neues Palais, Dragon house, Neuer Garten, Russian Colony )

and again, the full gallery of bling is here
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