Travel 2013

December saw me taking a 6 day extended weekend to Berlin. Never been there before, thoroughly enjoyed it.

October saw my first real holiday this year, I took myself off to far west Cornwall for a week. Stayed just outside St Ives, near Hayle and spent the week touring the far west part of Cornwall and roaming around the coast paths.

In September had a day in London doing the Open House thing. That's going round all the buildings that are usually closed to the general public and getting a peak inside.


German Bundestag & Brandenburg Tor

Bundestag Bundestag

The Reichstag building in Berlin has been the home of the German parliament since it moved from Bonn in 1999. Took the opportunity for a visit and in particular to the glass dome on the top.

Bundestag  Bundestag

The dome allows as much natural light in as possible and the mirrors reflect it down into the parliament chamber below. Can't quite see the seats through the glass.

Brandenburg Tor Brandenburg Tor

The Brandenburg Tor or gate in English. Needs no explanation. Was once, right on the boundary between east and west Berlin.

Brandenburg Tor

And in day light.

Unter den Linden

Christmas decoration on the Unter den Linden, leading up to the Brandenburg Tor.

Berlin Wall

Took a trip out to the remnants of the Berlin Wall to the north of the city and it was very interesting. A small amount of the wall still remains and there was some very interesting photos and information about it. I had no idea that the majority of tunnels were built from the west to the east, I had always assumed the other way round. But apparently, most tunnels were built from the west to the east to try and help people escape. Most tunnels have names and it is usually a number and that number relates to the number of people who escaped through that tunnel. Below there is a selection of photographs through the life of the wall.

Berlin Wall Berlin Wall

Some of the people who died attempting to escape.

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie.
Although not on what's left of the wall, very much that era. Also, very different surrounds to how it used to be.

Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg  Palace Charlottenburg  Palace

The home of the Prussian monarchy.

Charlottenburg  Palace

The Belvedere in the grounds, built as a tea house and viewing tower.

Charlottenburg  Palace

One of the out buildings.


Berlin has a small island near the city centre known as "Museum Island". So obviously, it is jammed with museums. These are just a selection. I spent half a day in the German Historical Museum and that still wasn't enough. Didn't have time to get to any of the others.

Museum Museum

The Berlin Historical museum, day and night.


The Altes museum.

Gallery Theatre

The old National Gallery and the Maxim Gorki Theatre, a performing arts theatre.

Berlin Cathedral Berlin Cathedral

Berlin Cathedral, still on museum island, also day and night.

The Gendarmenmarkt area is actually a square, but at this time of the year, it is covered by a Christmas market and a busy one at that. The square is bounded by two cathedrals, to the south the German cathedral and to the north, the French cathedral. In the middle, between the two cathedrals is the Konzerthaus.

Gendarmenmarkt Gendarmenmarkt

The German and French cathedrals.

Gendarmenmarkt Gendarmenmarkt

The Konzerthaus with the Christmas market on the square in front.


The rear entrance to the Konzerthaus.

The Antique Quarter is a lovely area of old fashioned cobbled streets around St Nicholas' church. On the Sunday afternoon, it was snowing and they had a choir singing carols, so it was a really nice place to wander around.

Antique Quarter

St Nicholas church.

Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. One would think a somber place for reflection. Not when I was there. There were kids running all over the place and teenagers climb on the stones, so it was a little unruly.

The Neue Synagoge, with it's spectacular dome. Today partly restored and partly open. Quite a history.

Finally, some odds and ends. Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church, the Oberbaum bridge and in this case, the blue water pipes in Berlin, although they do come in all colours.

Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church

Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church, still showing the scars of the second world war.

The Oberbaum bridge, once a boundary between East and West Berlin.

What are these water pipes that can be found all over Berlin and in a variety of colours. Berlin has wet feet, very high ground water. So these pipes can often be found pumping water from a building site, to a nearby canal or river.


St Agnes

A lovely little village on the north coast, not far from Perranporth. Really liked it and thought it had a lot of character.

Cornwall - St Agnes

Old fashioned village shop.

Cornwall - St Agnes

Pretty steep village, down to the beach. This just one of many old cottages on very tight, narrow, steep roads.

Cornwall - St Agnes

The route down to the beach. I just thought it was a lovely setting for the path, next to these old cottages. See next picture.

Cornwall - St Agnes

A view of one of those cottages, through the trees.

Cornwall - St Agnes

A view from St Agnes Beacon. A major high point in the area with spectacular views all round. Just outside the village. Looking south west, down the coast, towards St Ives.


A place I could quite easily retire to, if I had the money. I never knew that the Spaniards had landed in 1595, attacked the town and almost burnt it to the ground. See pictures below.

Beautiful panorama from a terrace outside a small cafe, just as you get to Mousehole, on the road from Penzance. Looking across the bay to the Lizard on the right and St Michael's mount to the left of centre. There were seals playing in the rocks below.

A panorama of Mousehole harbour. In November they actually drop great big wooden beams into slots across the harbour entrance to protect it from storms. They take them out in March. So if your boat is in, it stays in for months. I think you can just see the slot on the far side.

A view from the sea wall, with the huge beams laid out, ready to be used.

Squire Keigwins home. He died in the Spanish attack, but his house survived.

A frontal view of his home. It wasn't easy to take pictures, even with a wide angle lens. The streets were very narrow.

A plaque commemorating his death and the house.

Mullion Cove

What a lovely, tucked away little cove. I want to come back in mid winter to see some wild weather and where better to stay, than the hotel, which can be seen, on the cliff top, in the top left of this picture.

Clambered up the hill to the east, to get a picture of the harbour.

Climbed amongst the rocks to get this view out through them, along the coast. Shame about the smugged finger print on the lens.

Coastal views

Some coastal views with evidence of the mining industry.

The view from Praa sands beach. Another solitary coastal home.

St Michael's mount. Low tide.

Cape Cornwall

Apparently, the only place in England and Wales with Cape in the title.

A view of Cape Cornwall from Lands End. The latter being a tacky tourist attraction these days.

A fantastic private house overlooking Cape Cornwall. Lucky buggers

How did these people get the land and build homes in such spectacular locations. These were near Cape Conwall.

Cape Cornwall

The monument at Cape Cornwall.

Porthcurno beach

What a beautiful beach and such lovely clean water, and it was empty. It was October though.

The Minack Theatre

This was on the cliff top and right next to Porthcurno beach. What a fantastic setting for such a great idea. You have to wonder what happens in the middle of a performance if a storm blows in? Unfortunately, there was nothing on while I was there, but there was school of kids sort of performing.

Prussia Cove

Famous for its smuggling.

In this picture you can see that years and years of smuggling, has worn tracks into the rock from the smugglers carts.

Cornish pubs

The Admiral Benbow, Penzance

The Admiral Benbow, Penzance.

The Harbour and Ship Inns, Porthleven.

The Ship Inn, Mousehole.


Set the camera up on the tri-pod on the balcony to get these sunsets.

Overlooking St Ives bay.

This one, a very long exposure, hence the blurring of the fast moving clouds.

Odds and ends

St Ives harbour.

St Ives harbour. Hired an apartment for the week near here, just outside Hayle, in the tiny hamlet of Phillack.

No wind

This guy was complaining that there was no wind, all the way into the harbour and right up to the beach, "No wind", "No wind". Took him 20 to 30 mins. But he just stood there holding the sail and doing nothing else. No wind?

The beach at Hayle

This is the beach right next to where I was staying, near Hayle. It's about 3 miles long and yes, I think there are 2 other people at the far end of the beach. The lighthouse at the end is Godrevy. This picture was taken on my phone, so it is not touched up in any way.

The beach at Hayle

A view of the beach from a higher vantage point.

Just a tourist shop in Penzance

A tourist shop in Penzance, known as The Egyptian House.

Pretty exposed fishing for this fisherman, as he returns to Porthleven harbour.

Pendeen lighhouse.

Open House London

Every year in September, London has an Open House event. Many of the capitals fabulous buildings open their doors to allow the public in to view places they would otherwise never get to see. There are hundreds of buildings open, so a little planning is wise and clear decisions on what you want to see. You can get all the info from their web site. What's open, when and where. I had planned to go both days, but 8 hours walking and on my feet on the Saturday and poor weather on the Sunday meant I gave it a miss on the Sunday. Do more next year.

I had hoped to get into to see Battersea Power station, but decided in the end that the crowds would be too big. This was a once only opportunity to get inside before it is converted into luxury flats, shops and offices. I was right, the queue was 5 hours long at one point. One of the guys at work went and got there early and only queued for about 30 mins and the overall impression was, it was a disappointment. You couldn't really get to see that much as it is a derelict building. So glad I didn't waste my time. My favourite was the Foreign and Commonwealth office.

Foreign and Commonwealth office

Foreign and Commonwealth office Foreign and Commonwealth office

The internal courtyard.

Foreign and Commonwealth office

Looking out to the courtyard and the splendour of the rooms.

Foreign and Commonwealth office Foreign and Commonwealth office

Fantastic stairwell. A shot with no people in it, staggering. Dam a head! Should have cropped that.

Foreign and Commonwealth office Foreign and Commonwealth office

The Locarno Suite, staggeringly ornate.

Foreign and Commonwealth office

Not really the F & C. A view from the courtyard of the Inland Revenue, through the F & C, right on to Downing street and that is No 10 at the end, although it didn't come out very well in the picture.

The Royal Society, Carlton House Terrace, St James

The Royal Society The Royal Society

The Library and other rooms.

The Royal Society The Royal Society

The impressive ceiling in the stairwell and the list of Presidents.

The Banqueting House, Whitehall

The Banqueting House The Banqueting House

Some shots of the spectacular ceiling and the throne.

The Guildhall

The Guildhall The Guildhall

A selection of shot from inside the guildhall.