Saturday, June 24, 2006

a journey...

yup, i'm back home, feeling a bit sleepy, but I guess you can expect that.
Here's how to get from Friedenau to Bayswater...

Thurs 22. 9:10am lug your bags to Frederich-Wilhelm-Platz and catch the U9 underground train in the direction of Osloer Str. but get off at the next stop at Bundesplatz and go up the escaltor to get an S41 on the ring line going anti-clockwise. Austeig rechts at Jungfernheide and get on a bus. Acording to the plan we had, the airport bus goes from here. Plan is old, it changed a month ago, so catch another bus and go two stops and catch bus 109 or X9 (express service) to Tegel Flughaven. A better plan would've been to stay on the U9 to Zoo Station, and catch the X9 from there. But we didn't know that then. Said 'Seeya' to Daniela, never Goodbye...
11:40 LH183 Berlin to Frankfurt. 55mins
14:40 VN542 Frankfurt to Ho Chi Minh City. 11 hours, 25 mins or so. I meet up with Peter and Graeme and they bring news that the Economy part of the Vietnam Airlines plane is over-booked. We ask nicely and get upgraded to deluxe economy. Very nice, hardly anyone in that section, a bit of extra leg room and we could stretch out on the long flight and get comfy. Didn't sleep though...
Graeme heads off to a backpackers hotel, while Peter and I get the complimentary bus to our Day hotel deeper in the town. For 45 minutes our (thankfully airconditioned - very sticky here) wends it's way through the Saigon traffic, like a whale in an ocean teeming with significantly smaller sea life. This mad-crazy scooter city.
A few hours for spazieren, sleeping and showering before getting on a smaller, less air-conditioned bus back to the terminal, for interminable queuing and news that our plane was delayed. Lot's of sitting around waiting. I read Stasiland while Peter fell asleep in his chair.
Over 90 mins late, VN781 finally takes off. No possiblity of an upgrade, and in fact, my seat has less legroom than normal. There is a metal box fitted under the seat in front at exactly the place I want to put my right foot. So my right leg was always on a slight angle and I was worried that it would affect my knee. However, I did manage to get some decent sleep in for once, and awoke in daylight somewhere over Oz and not very long before breakfast!
Arrived at around 10am 24 June(all times local times), the pilot had picked up time, but it was still an 8 hour sort of flight. Peter was flying on to Launceston and thence by donkey or camel to Poatina. I caught to airport bus to 'Southern Cross Station'. Silly name, most people still know it as 'Spencer Street'. Coincidentally Papestr. Bahnhoff in Berlin has also been recently up-graded and renamed Südkreuz - German for south cross. What's with this city synchronicity?
Anyhow, to plat form ten, get a Belgrave train and get off at Bayswater, then about three stops on the Chirnside park bus (don't recall it's number) and walk down my street.
So that's 6 buses, 3 trains and three planes...
It's easy. Come visit some time.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Berlin... the next days

Saturday night... about 2 thirds of our team went in to the Fan-Meile to watch some live big-screen action with a large crowd. And it was quite a large crowd, the game Italy vs USA was already underway, and the Italians had already scored two goals, one for each team! But we were there for the atmosphere and there was plenty of that! We watched on one of several huge screens set up on Srasse des 17 Juni, (co-incidentally it WAS the 17th day of June.) the screen which almost totally blocked out the Brandenburger Tor. We were split into small groups by the crush of the crowd, but we managed to re-group at the end for a yelling of Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi and another group photo. On the train back to Nollendorf Platz, we had a sing off with a bunch of German fans, us singing (very loudly) 'give me a home among the gum trees' and Advance Australia Fair' and 'Waltzing Matilda' and them answering with songs like 'we will win, all others are §$%&' and such like. But it was fun and we got a big cheer from the passengers when we got off.
Sunday night I watched Brasil play Australia at Korps Süd-West Berlin, and was not impressed by the World Champions. A zwei-null win flattered them.
Monday and I went to Potsdam with Daniela, beautiful gardens, old buildings, and much walking on a warm day. Then dinner with Dani and Uta in an Italian restaurant
Tuesday and Uta took me to Treptower park, a very Russian Memorial to the victims of Fascism and the heros of the soviet union... after that we went to the Korps Berlin-Mitte to watch Deutschland play Ecuador. The local boys had a good win, and I saw that Mitte was very different to Friedenau where I am staying now. Kind of Bohemian... On the way home from there, we started to see the local football fans fill the train. Not only were there 70,000 at the Berlin Olympic Stadion, but perhaps 700,000 on the fan-meile. We would've been swamped if we were any later getting through.
Today was shopping with Dani, and now I should be packing, for tomorrow, I return to Ho Chi Minh city, and thence home, to Melbourne.
However Berlin also feels like home, and one day, I will return here.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Today Honza blog comes to you from sunny Berlin. This morning a good number of the team flew back to Aust. Well, they are now either at Frankfurt Airport, or already on their way to Ho Chi Minh City. The rest of us went to a nice German church in NollendorfPlatz, complete with wireless translation headphones for those whose grasp of the German Language is less than superior.
Later tonight I will go to die Heilsarmee in Friedenau to see my oldest german friends, Uta and Daniela, and watch Australia take on the might of Brazil...
Yesterday we were in Lutherstadt Wittenberg learning all about Martin Luther, and seeing the places he walked, spoke, and nailed things to doors. On thursday night we watched the Luther movie in Wittenberg, so we had lots of context. Luther had an amzing effect on German, European, and world history, just through standing up and saying the church had it all wrong, that they should get back to the teachings of Jesus.
On Thursday we had come from Herrnhut, where for the third time I saw Poland in the distance without actually going there. Herrnhut is, topically, the birthplace of German football. English students studying under the Moravians brought the game with them, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Perhaps in a previous blog you read how the Moravians influenced John Wesley. In Herrnhut, Count Zinzendorf provided a safe haven for the Moaravian Christians fleeing persecution in their own land. From there they started a missionary movement which touched, and influenced most of the world.
It's amazing how much of an influence Germany has on world history, both good and bad. If a revival is to come to Europe it would have to start here. And if ever a place needed to rediscover its incredible christian roots, it's this one. I feel i have a part to play, The harvest is ready, but the workers are so few...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

hamburg pictures

Okay, for you who can't find their way in a german website, here's the link to the pictures!
Hallo from Hannover!!!
On Sunday I tried to update this from Hamburg, but there was one or two issues with a slightly dodgy connection and an over-helpfull German boy. But all is well.
The weather has been wonderful, and our German hosts have been so, so welcoming. Before we came to Germany it was cold and wet here, not much different to Melbourne, but in the last week summer has come!
After a few days in a former East German sports training centre where we learnt variuos festival skills, our group broke up into 3 teams of ten and headed out in opposite directions. My team spent three days in Hamburg at the Stadtmission they have a website check it out, they said they would put pictures from our event there. It was very good, and many new people to the church came along and enjoyed the day.
Now in Hannover we are running festivals in the street at Listerplatz, a pedestrian shopping street. There are many mothers with small children around and good contacts are being made.
I don#t have much time to chat, but thank you for your prayers etc. They are appreciated!