Chany's Trip in 2013 - Berlin, Scotland, & London

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In 2013, I took two trips. The first trip was in June, going to Berlin, Edinburgh, St Andrews (to golf), and London. The second trip was in November, going to Morrocco for a two week trek, and driving around Spain and Portugal for a week.

Here are trinkets representing the destinations of my trips. From left to right: Phone Booth (London, England), Cock of Barcelos (Portugal), Edinburgh Castle (Edinburgh, Scotland), Tajine (Morocco), Matador (Spain), Tee Bag (St. Andrews Old Course), and a piece of the Berlin Wall (Berlin, Germany). These can be found on my desk at work.

Berlin, Germany

My trip began in Berlin, Germany. Berlin was at the centre of the reunification of Germany in 1990. In the background of the picture is the Fernsehturm (TV Tower) Berlin, with the Berlin Cathedral Church in the foreground.
A "must do" when visiting Berlin is to visit Museum Island, home to 5 museums: The Pergamon Museum, The Bode Museum, The Neues Museum, The Alte Nationalgalerie, and The Altes Museum. Pictured here is the Altes Museum, which houses Classical Antiquities.
The Reichstag (Parliament) building now houses, since 1999, the Bundestag (German federal parliament). Construction of the Reichstag began in 1871, and has had an interesting history, such as the Reichstag Fire in 1933 and in a state of neglect during the Cold War.

Here I am in front of the Reichstag.
Here is a preserved section of the Berlin Wall. The Wall was the symbol of the Cold War in Germany, dividing East Berlin from West Berlin. The Berlin Wall stood from 1961 August 13 until 1989 November 9. 136 people died at the Wall trying to escape East Germany.
Where the wall was removed, the actual location of the Berlin Wall (Berliner Mauer) is imprinted on the ground, showing the path of the wall as it cuts through the community.
The official way to go between East and West Germany was via crossing points during the Cold War. The most famous one was known as "Checkpoint Charlie'; it has been preserved as a tourist attraction now.
A view of the cauldron at the Olympiastadion (Olympic Stadium) Berlin, home of the 1936 Olympics. This was the Olympics held during the time of Nazi Germany. There was an eeriness to the architecture of the stadium with it's multiple monoliths.
There were three entrance pylon pairs to the stadium, with the Olympic rings suspended between them.
The stadium's bell was functional until 1947 when the bell tower was blown up and the bell fell 77 meters, cracked, and is no longer functional. Apparently, the bell was subsequently used as a practice target for anti-tank ammunition.
A "selfie" of me by the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin. The gate was built in the 18th-century on the orders of Prussian king Frederick William II. The Gate was located in East Germany before 1990 (during the Cold War).

Scotland (Edinburgh & St Andrews)

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland. Looming over the city, on Castle Rock, is Edinburgh Castle. There has been a castle on the site since the 12th century, though most of the structures currently there date from the 16th century.
This is a view of the city of Edinburgh, from Edinburgh Castle, looking North. The bodies of water in the distance are the Firth of Forth and the North Sea.
Defending Edinburgh Castle is Mons Meg, one of the largest cannons in the world by calibre. It has a barrel diameter of 20 inches (510 mm), and accepted stone cannonballs that weighed 386 lb (175 kg). Mons Meg was built in 1449.
Looking east down Lawnmarket in Edinburgh's Old Town, one can see the distinct Medieval architecture in it's buildings.
We got the opportunity to golf on the Old Course at St Andrews, Scotland. The Old Course has been around for over 600 years. Here we were on the first tee, with the St Andrews Royal & Ancient Clubhouse behind us.
The golfers were (L to R) Eddie, Me, Phil.
It was truly an honour to golf at the "Birthplace of Golf". It was windy, but luckily it did not rain on us.
Swilcan Bridge on the 18th fairway of the Old Course at St Andrews, Scotland. This is arguably the most famous bridge in the golf world. All the golf legends have posed for photos on this very bridge (including me!). For golfers, this is sacred ground. The sun came out and the skies cleared for me on the bridge.
Now in ruins, St Andrews Cathedral was the most important church in medieval Scotland. When consecrated in 1318, it was the largest building in the country.
A traditional Scottish dish is Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties. Haggis is made out of sheep's offal (lung, liver, heart), spices, onions, and suet, and cooked in the animal's stomach. Neeps is a yellow turnip, and Tatties are mashed potatoes. I enjoyed this dish (especially the haggis), as it was very tasty. Robbie Burns was right!

London, England

Because my flight back home connected through London, I decided to pay the Queen a visit on the day she celebrated her birthday (June 15 in 2013). Note the House of Windsor flag is flying at Buckingham Palace; normally the Union Jack flies at the Palace if the Queen is in residence there. Besides visiting the Queen, I also went to see the British Museum, the Tate Gallery of Modern Art, and caught a couple of West End shows (Phantom of the Opera and Jersey Boys).
I was hanging out by the River Thames with London's landmark Tower Bridge in the background. Tower Bridge is listed as a combined bascule and suspension bridge, built between 1886 and 1894. The bridge is 800 feet (240 m) in length and consists of two 213-foot (65 m) bridge towers connected at the upper level by two horizontal walkways, and a central pair of bascules that can open to allow shipping.
An icon of London streets is the red phone booth. The phone booths were painted red so they would be easy to spot.

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