A celebration of cold . . .

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Fjords, drama & cold

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This blog will be mainly pictures, with a limited amount of description.

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After leaving Puerto Chacabuco it was Chilean fjords all the way.

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I’ve tried to capture the grandeur of the scenery.

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The mist added, rather than distracted from the scenery.

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Flat calm and loneliness . . .

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While cruising through the fjord we came across a small ‘growler’. Note how much is under the water.

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Clouds or UFOs ?

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Temperature dropping and you only went outside if you had to  . . for picture taking etc.

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Is it any wonder that this area is still wild and undeveloped, except for a small amount of tourism.

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Our first glacier and we were quite a long way from it . . .

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Under the snow and ice is water, which lubricates the movement as if flows in to the fjord.

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Floating ice has become much more common.

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We moved closer to the glacier . .

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Ice is getting more prevalent . .

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A picture in blue.

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When we lived in the UK, in winter we had black ice, now we have blue ice.

DSC04587rThe ship seems to be attracting the ice.

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I leaned over our balcony to take this shot of ice clinging to the ship.

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Ship’s boat has been sent ice harvesting – we must have run out of the cold stuff.

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The piece that they brought on-board by using the ships’s crane was far to big to manhandle, so they had to break it up in to smaller pieces, and this is one of the smallest, which took four men to handle.
The ice was on display on deck and the one thing that we were told over and over, was not to use any of the glacier ice in our drinks, because it will be impure for human consumption. That made sense because we didn’t have any idea what had been frozen within the ice. Cooling one’s glass from the outside seemed OK .

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The entertainment was over and we sailed slowly away from the glacier.

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Glacier

I thought I’d leave the best until the last –

Azamara Pursuit drifting at the base of the glacier – I didn’t take this picture, but the ship’s photographer did, while the ships’s boat crew were harvesting the ice.

 

Trains . . . .

There’s not many boys who didn’t have an interest in trains at one time or another.

Trains

My interest started when I saved pocket money towards a Triang train set, and the love of trains has never left me – although my original train set did.

With grandchildren one can ‘remember’ to a certain extent when they allow you to play with Thomas the Tank Engine.  :-o)

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Not so long ago the thought of a train holiday around Europe took hold.

Why not fly in to Frankfurt and then use the high speed trains to move from country to country at leisurely, stress free, and economical way.

The last time I traveled on a German train was in 1960, when,as a member of the YHA I was youth hosteling along the Rhine, so how to plan and buy tickets in 2013?

Some years earlier I’d come across a very interesting site called The Man in Seat 61 http://www.seat61.com/ so I clicked on this site for advice on creating a holiday for four using the rail system. The site had expanded greatly since my last visit.

After a little research I logged in to the German rail system http://www.bahn.com/i/view/overseas/en/index.shtml and bought four tickets from Frankfurt to Berlin. While buying the tickets I was also allowed to pick the seats that I wanted, and because there were four of us I wanted us to sit around a table. The booking system is very like the airline system.

I picked the departure time and paid for the tickets using my credit card, and printed out the tickets at home in Sydney – couldn’t have been easier.

After checking the difference between the prices of a Standard ticket and First Class, I chose First Class, because I’d never traveled first class on a train before, and the difference was not as much as I expected – nothing like the huge difference between economy and business class on a plane.

We flew in to Frankfurt with Qatar Airlines and stayed at a local airport hotel for the night. A taxi, next morning, had us at the main Frankfurt railways station about forty five minutes before departure. Being First Class we had use of the lounge, which was nothing startling, but was OK for coffee and biscuits. We were called to board about ten minutes before departure so we were able to watch our train arrive in to Frankfurt station.

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The train was an ICE train (Inter-city Express) which left Frankfurt dead on time. Would you expect anything else from a German train?

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The seating in First Class is 1 x 2, and less crowded. There is nothing wrong with 2nd class, which is 2 x 2 seating, with similar leg room and comfort, but I wanted to travel 1st class by train, at least once in my life.

Using the ICE train, which traveled at up to 200 km per hour, the journey took us around four hours and was very pleasant.

We had four days in Berlin, which was long enough for a taste, but nowhere near long enough to experience Berlin life.

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Part of Berlin Railway Station (Hauptbahnhof)

 

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Brandenburg Gate

 

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Memorial to the Jews of Europe
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East Berlin
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Inside the Reichstag Building

 

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Indicator of the Berlin wall

Check point

Check point 1965

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2013
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Warning when crossing during the Cold War, if you an see it for tourists today.

We visited a concentration camp, which is about 50 minutes by train outside Berlin – see next post.

After four nights we moved on to Prague, Czech Republic, again by train, but this time we used the Czech train system.