Wednesday, 5 October 2022

Monthly Wrap-up - September

Joining Tom for SIGNS - please follow this link f0r 0ther signs from around the world.

September - the start of Spring, my favourite season.

It was a mostly wet and cool month, but towards the end the sun shone and all was well with the world ūüĆě.

On Saturday 10th we celebrated Jose's birthday (which had been on the 5th) with dinner at a Chinese restaurant with some friends and family. I took a cake to have after the meal and one of my friend's brought Portuguese custard tarts she had baked.

Twiggy celebrated her 16th birthday on the 17th. All she does now is sleep and eat, but she seems content with her life.

A sunny day on one of the weekends saw us doing some gardening or rather weeding....
I bought 2 cans of spray paint and painted 5 pots that were given to us by a friend in blue and turquoise, to go with my garden and house decor.

Friday 23rd - Friends from Sydney travelling around Australia arrived to spend a few days with us. They had been in Perth twice before, but had never visited Rottnest island,  and that was on their wish list. 
With a very long weekend upon us - Thursday 22nd was National Day of Mourning, for Queen Elizabeth II,  Monday 26th we had a scheduled holiday to celebrate Her Majesty's birthday, and because I usually don't work Fridays....I had a 5 day mini holiday. 
But being school holidays too, the ferries to Rottnest were fully booked from Saturday to Monday, so for $12 more per person I booked a flight to Rottnest for Saturday 24th.
The pilot's car had a great number plate advertising his business

On the way to Rottnest with my friends

It was a windy day, not the best to be on a tiny plane, but as it just took 15 minutes it was ok. We loved flying over Fremantle and then over Rottnest.

The 19 sqmt (204sqft) island, got its name when a Dutch captain mistook the quokkas for giant rats, so he named the island "Rotte Nest" (Rat Nest).
The island is a diver's paradise, with beautiful beaches, limestone reefs, marine life and of course another great reason to visit is to see the iconic quokka - a tiny marsupial, herbivorous and mainly nocturnal animal, with a population of around 10 thousand on the island.  The island was also home to army barracks, an Aboriginal penal colony and a prisoner of war camp. 
During WW II, the island was part of the defence of Fremantle port, and military features which include the railway, barracks, concrete lookouts, bunkers and four large guns positioned at Oliver Hill, were then known as the "Rottnest Fortress". Today the barracks and guns can still be visited by train.

Nowadays the island is a much loved holiday destination for Perth residents and tourists.

When we landed we walked 10 min down the road to the "settlement" (area where ferry arrives and where most restaurants are), had a coffee, then bought tickets for the hop-on/hop-off bus that takes people around the island.
It was the best way to see the whole island, and we got off at 4 or 5 main spots to take photos and then caught the following bus.

I won't bore you with dozens of photos of turquoise sea and white just a few photos so you get the idea how beautiful and special this island is.

Salmon Bay

Wadjemup Lighthouse on a hill in the centre of the island

Geordie Bay

Longreach Bay

Another lighthouse on the island - the Bathhurst lighthouse

Back at the "settlement" where the restaurants and some accommodation is located, the quokkas are plentiful. We saw a couple around the island, but they know where the food is...even though it's prohibited to feed or touch them. 
For the first time I saw 2 baby quokkas, one sharing a leaf with mom, and then a tiny one in mom's pouch. So adorable.

Mom and Baby share a leaf

This Mommy quokka with her joey in the pouch

Signs and Sculptures at Rottnest:

The island as seen at the airport

A whale sculpture

A large rock held by a "stiff" chain

Sunday 25th - my visiting friend and I went to see the Kings Park Botanic Gardens wildflower festival, which occurs every September.

A boab tree that was transported from the Northern Territory

Wildflower field of everlastings

Visitor Information Centre covered in flower decals

This years theme was Crochet flowers and 2 mannequins inside the Information Centre dressed in flowery regalia.

The views from the park over the city on one side of the Swan River and the suburb of South Perth on the other side are amazing!

Signs at Kings Park:

When we arrived from Kings Park my friend and I baked a Lemon cake, since we have so many lemons from our tree. It was simple, not too sweet but delicious.

One evening my friend cooked us a Portuguese dinner - with codfish I had in my freezer.

On Monday 26th, we took our friends to Fremantle so they could meet up with other friend's of theirs, and while they had breakfast together we wandered around the port area where I found some cute signs.

The next ferry leaving for Rottnest island at 11am :)

On an umbrella at a pub

The green and the red lighthouses in Fremantle

The Maritime Museum and Immigration wall 

Next week I'll go back to my trip to Europe - this time in Portugal.

Monday, 3 October 2022

Monday Mural - Hoodie

I love murals and street art. If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you.  Just follow the Linky steps below.  Once you start looking you will find murals everywhere.  The "Monday Mural" meme goes live on Monday at 12,01AM, Perth,Western Australian time. Be sure to link back to this blog and visit your fellow posters. Looking forward to your mural finds this week.

Thanks Sami 

When we emerged from Hallesches Tor Underground station and walked towards the Jewish Museum (which is also not too far from Check-Point Charlie) in the Kreuzberg quarter I came across lots of murals.

As part of Urban Nation's "One Wall" project, a mural by Danish street artist Don John was created on a house wall at 12 Mehringplatz in 2014. The mural shows on the right side a torso in a black hoodie with his hands buried in his pockets. A head, however, does not appear to be present. A flock of colorful birds pours out of the empty hood. They fly away over the rest of the wall. 

Later someone threw red paint at the birds, making it look as if they had been shot. However, the original version had a friendlier character.

In a nearby building, Berlin Kidz - a group of sprayers, train surfers, parkour runners and artists from Berlin-Kreuzberg painted this mural. 
Their style is recognizable by the large-format vertical letters in a Brazilian Picha√ß√£o style (Brazilian graffiti which consists of tagging done in a distinctive, cryptic style) This group is also famous for making guerrilla actions to send a message.

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Our European Holiday - Berlin day 3 & 4

 For other signs from around the world please check Tom's blog

Day 3

We started our day with a visit to the Jewish Museum in the suburb of Kreuzberg. The 3500 sqmt ( 38,000 square feet) building, opened in 2001, is the largest Jewish Museum in Europe, and presents the history and culture of Jews in Germany from the Middle Ages to today.

The fragmented design of the building by Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind is intended to symbolize the extermination of the Jewish culture in Germany.

The Jewish museum building

Aerial view of the Jewish Museum (photo from net)

 Fallen leaves - more than 10 thousand "faces" with open mouths made with iron plates cover the floor of the ground floor void.

Jewish superstars - Sigmund Freud, Leonard Cohen, Albert Einstein, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Golda Meir, Charlie Chaplin...

Where did the Jewish could emigrate to?

After the visit we had lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant, then it was time to catch the underground to Hallesches Tor to visit the East side gallery - Berlin's open-air gallery, which is reached via the Oberbaum Bridge (Oberbaumbr√ľcke), a double-deck bridge crossing Berlin's River Spree, which is considered one of the city's landmarks. It links Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, former boroughs that were divided by the Berlin Wall.

The pedestrian area on the side of the bridge. Last photo the bridge from afar

From the bridge I spotted Molecule Man, a 30mt high (100 feet) statue designed by American artist Jonathan Borofsky. The aluminium sculpture of 3 men leaning into each other in a circle, symbolizes the coming together of the districts of Kreuzberg, Treptow and Friedrichschain.

The East Side Gallery was fantastic as expected - at just over 1,3km long, it's the longest continuous section of the former Berlin wall still in existence. Immediately after the fall of the wall, 118 artists from 21 countries began painting it and the gallery was officially opened in September 1990 and has now protected memorial status.

Outside a pub just before the East Side Gallery

As we looked at the murals we noticed a row of Trabants (East German cars) driving by slowly - cardboard cars as they were known then...


Across the road is the Mercedes Benz Arena, a sports and musical venue. In the square where it was located there were a lot of cafes/restaurants and we sat down for a drink and some sweet therapy.


In the square of the Mercedes Benz arena, I came across this very clever sign - Love/Hate which on the other side could be read as Hate/Love.

Love/Hate sign and the Mercedes Benz Arena in the background

After our short rest we caught a bus to the Mitte district to visit the DDR Museum by the River Spree, just across from the Berlin Cathedral (Dom).
It was for us the best museum we visited in Berlin, and we learned a lot about life in the former East Germany.

Inside map of the DDR Museum

The inside of a typical East German apartment

An office from a Stasi employee

Trabi jokes :)

3 Girls and a Boy - Outside the museum the life-sized statues by German sculptor Wilfried Fitzenreiter  sit on the wall over the River Spree, across from the Cathedral.

We had an early light dinner at a restaurant not far from the Museum before walking back for about 20 min to our hotel to pack our bags and have an early night, as we would have to get up at 3am the next day for our flight to Lisbon.

Ham and egg on toast, Curry wurst with chips and salad with Pretzel(?)

This next statue was seen next to the Friedrichstrasse railway station, probably on our first day walking around Berlin and it's a very moving statue. Called the Trains to life/trains to death, it commemorates the Kindertransport Memorial (children’s transport) rescue mission that began nine months prior to the outbreak of World War II. Through this effort about  10.000 mainly Jewish children were able to escape from Nazi Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland and taken in by British families. 
The 4 boys and 3 girls, five of them looking in one direction and two in the opposite direction, reflecting the contrasting fates of the children.
This statue as well as others by the same sculptor in London, Hook of Holland and Vienna, was designed by artist Frank Meisler who himself was one of the lucky kids rescued by this mission in 1939.

Trains to Life, Trains to Death

Other signs seen in Berlin:

Time for Taiwan, might have been seen in front of the Taiwanese embassy

We love Berlin

Day 4

We woke up at 3am, the taxi picked us up at 4am and we reached the airport shortly after 4,30am. Our flight to Lisbon was at 7am, but with airport delays we thought it best to be there a little bit earlier and we were almost the first ones in the queue.

We loved our short visit to Berlin and I wish we could have spent more time there, as there was still so much we wanted to see, but we also had to spend time with family in Portugal.

The sun rising on the horizon as seen from the airport

Coffee shop - Last chance to taste Berlin - Lego man, BER that stands for Berlin airport, and tower of J√§germeister, a herbal liqueur made in Braunschweig.