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Archive for September, 2010

Visiting the Baltics!

Vilnius in Lithuania….Riga in Latvia …and now Tallinn in Estonia. All incredibly picturesque – even with Russian concrete monoliths!

All share a grim history of repression most recently at German and Russian hands.

With their language and culture denied them for so long, it is a tribute to them that they have recovered so well since gaining independence .

Interestingly one of the first acts of independence was to reinstate their language such an important part of their identity. It shapes who they are and how they see the world.

Makes me think why in Australia language is also important whether it is an indigenous language or language other than English. Our education system needs to get better at valuing LOTE and bilingual programs in our schools.

Or maybe just the system I work for in Sydney would be a start.

Welcome aboard Andrew!

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Vilnius is a gem

(still trying to get the hang of this wordpress app- frustrating!)

Vilnius in Lithuania is a gorgeous city. It’s old town is generously dotted with baroque churches and seeming medieval buildings.

The best thing is that I have found decent coffee. At last! Even Amsterdam and Berlin- 2 great cities- couldn’t deliver that!

Must say, my iPhone has been brilliant for emailing, making reservations, checking news at home, booking accommodation, checking weather and …. I could go on. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have great wifi access and luckily all the places I have stayed in so far (Germany and Amsterdam) have had free wifi as part of the deal. Excellent!

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Berlin Wall

Brilliant! Just brilliant even in the rain. Here’s a peek!

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Berlin

Berlin. Stunning. Inspiring. Vibrant.

I would love to write more. I can’t. The wordpress app is not working!!!!!!!

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A timely reminder

Yesterday I visited Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam. It was quite moving particularly listening to what her father Otto had to say.

When asked why he fought to preserve the house where he and his family hid from the Nazis for four years, he said to educate the youth of the world. He made an impassioned plea for people not be driven to hatred and discrimination based on a person’s race or ethnicity.

Otto was the only member of his family to survive the horror of the German concentration camps. Anne died one month before WW2 ended, thinking that no-one from her family remained alive.

I couldn’t help but think that some of the current debate in Australia about “boat people” really should be put into perspective. Again, race is the big issue neatly hidden behind rhetoric that is misleading and mischievous.

When will we learn?

As for Amsterdam, it is a vibrant, gorgeous city. Love it!

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Amsterdam

I have only been in Amsterdam 3 days and already I feel at home with this city. Despite the changeable weather, it is showing off in all it’s glory! Each canal, each lane way is framed with the last of the summer flowers and other gorgeous foliage.

The buildings in the old city are simply stunning. The Dutch are doing a lot of restoration so scaffolding masks some of the more famous sights like the Royal Palace and the fabulous Reijksmueseum.

I am happy though as I have stumbled across a great bookshop , cheese shop, wine shop and an organic bakery all within 5 minutes walk from where I am staying.

Still haven’t found a cafe that can make a decent coffee. Luckily I bought my own!

Love Amsterdam and all the tall people within it. I finally blend in!!!

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