Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Friday, 14 February 2014

A Ride in the Park

“Visit old Berlin at the turn of the century: horsetram and confectionary, hurdy gurdy man, Brandenburger Tor and Neptun-fountain, Wintergarten variety theatre with first-class program."


At first glance the postcard above appears to depict a scene as described above, but the fact that it is in colour and all the people are wearing 1980s clothes is a bit of a clue. It is a re-creation of Berlin at as it would have been in the early part of the 20th century. And there in the middle, near the top of the picture is the name of the theme park: Phantasialand, Brühl, near Cologne, Germany.


This is part of our souvenir pamphlet, describing in more detail some of the delights of the park. We went there over thirty year ago, when my husband was serving with the RAF at Rheindahlen. My parents were visiting and luckily my dad had his camera (I think we took movie film and no stills). I’d almost forgotten about it until we were scanning Dad’s old slides and found these three amongst them. They’re beginning to deteriorate so we got them in the nick of time.


Here we are sampling some of the ‘confectionary’ on offer; though my son has resorted to his thumb whilst he waits for Mummy to break a piece off for him.

There are two things to note here; the 1970s McLaren Baby Buggy, originally my daughter’s and so much simpler than modern ones; and the matching waistcoats my offspring and I are wearing. The creator of this beautiful fairisle knitwear is walking between us - my mother, who is still knitting at 93 years of age. I still have (and wear) that waistcoat and it is in perfect condition.





The children are waving to their parents, encouraged by Mum. Yes, that’s us in the overhead cable cars.

Are we waving back? I think I can see an arm raised above my husband’s head (we’re the ones at the front).









This time it’s the children’s turn for a ride - my son is in the centre. My husband holds onto the empty buggy  whilst keeping an eye on his kids.

Mum is shielding her eyes and peering across at Dad, who has no doubt just shouted to get her attention.







There was much to see and do and as far as I remember we had a very happy day. I have a vivid memory of the theatre and Chinatown. Apparently Phantasialand is still going strong today with  more attractions, and more in keeping with the 21st century.

It was the busy street scene which was our prompt for this week’s Sepia Saturday, that started me on this journey, stopping at two destinations in the past; old Berlin more than a hundred years ago and a thirty two year-old snapshot of my own family life.


To see what others found in the picture to set them on their own journey of discovery, step inside the wonderful time machine that is Sepia Saturday. Enjoy the ride!

26 comments:

  1. What fun to experience that sense of time travel at a theme park. I used those umbrella strollers for my girls too. While you couldn't carry a change of clothes, diaper wipes, a Starbucks, a coat, and 25 Christmas packages, they surely maneuvered well and were easy to open/close.

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  2. What a lovely post, the double whammy nostalgia is great. Family as well as the old city. Not reading German, I was confused by the picture in the brochure on the lower right. To my uneducated eyes it reminds me of an Escher drawing of stairs and towers doubling back on themselves. Probably not, right?

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    1. It reads: "Europe's largest bobsled roller coaster". An Escherian roller coaster would be neat indeed!

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  3. I'd never heard of Phantasialand before, although it is close to the Dutch border. According to Wikipedia Alt Berlin still exists, although the Brandenburger Tor has been demolished.

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  4. My memories of our trip to Phantasialand are mixed in the mists of time with a later visit to Europa Park at Rust, which was much bigger and flashier. Phantasialand's folksy whimsy and small scale rides was much more suitable to our (then) tots.

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  5. And I was so busy looking at the vehicles that I didn't even notice the 1980s clothes until I read your notes ! Very interesting.

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  6. That is a wonderful first postcard with so much detail in it to match this week's theme. I once was interviewed for a job as librarian at RAF Rheindahlen c.1969 - I didn't get it!

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  7. I think we used to have matching jumpers made by my grandmother. I loved those themeparks as a child. Your post brought back memories.

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  8. The bus on the left would have been and uncomfortable if it was really going to the cities on the side. Great post Nell with the family memories and photos tied in - not fantasy at all.

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  9. That looks like a fun place for a family to visit, and I really like that first postcard.

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  10. What an interesting, and intriguing photo to open with. Excellent on so many levels. I must admit I got a bit teary over the stroll with family along the street, as it brought back a time in my past, especially how the lovely knitted items just popped out for me. My mother was very big in knitting, she even knitted little outfits for my Barbie doll. Imagine that talent.

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  11. That must have been around the time we were taking our sons to Thorpe Park and Chessington. I've been thinking of the simplicity of the Mclaren buggy recently while my son and his wife were choosing an amazing contraption to transport the soon-to-arrive baby.

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  12. What a well documented family trip! I loved those umbrollers and yes, they were better back in the 1970s then they are now.

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  13. Just as I noticed the more modern people standing at the bottom of that photo you explained that. How great that you still have that "waistcoat" a vest here, and that you can wear it. That means it still fits! And quality does last! Very interesting reading about a place I'd never heard of before, Phantasialand.

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  14. It's good to read from someone who is not apparently suffering horrible extremes of weather. The past can be a pleasant place to wander.

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  15. By the way I went to Phantasialand a few years ago and Alt Berlin was the same. Since it was the winter there were wonderful braziers on every street corner in the snow, so you could warm your hands.

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  16. Wonderful family trip - reminds me of a trip to Disneyland many years ago. Your mom is a wonderful knitter!

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  17. Thanks for the opportunity for a vicarious visit to Phantasialand. I am also impressed by your mother's knitting abilities. As for the stroller, it looks very practical. It seems that strollers have gotten larger with more bells and whistles over the years, but I often see parents struggling with them.

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  18. The opening postcard photo is a perfect double-take fit for this week's theme. I know all about places like Phantasialand, as I once worked as a strolling "Elizabethan" musician at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. "Olde Englande" had zero historic accuracy, and the beer in "Alte Deutschland" was nothing like German lager or English ale. But there was plenty of Phantasy!

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  19. The 'confectionary' photo of your family is wonderful. Your son quietly & patiently waiting for his treat & your daughter looking so cute with her's while mom works to serve the child first & enjoy her own after. A typical 'mom' thing. The vests your Mum knit for you & your daughter are very attractive & remind me of a sweater my mom knit years ago in brown & tan tones and wore a lot. She's 95 and in her lifetime has knit some gorgeous things. She gave it up a while back because of arthritis, but recently took it back up because, she said, her hands were lonely for the needles and she figured she could work around the arthritis. Instead of working on cable knit sweaters & the like, however, she's knitting simple caps to donate to the local hospital for cancer patients.

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  20. Great postcard for the theme, even if it'a of a recreation rather than the real thing, and lovely family memories of your visit there.

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  21. The eye is drawn to the pristine white vehicles so it is quite a surprise when you notice the 'modern' clothing. I too have jumpers my mother knitted, still as good as new, she was also quite an expert in the technology of the wool and did explain about the quality back then which went over my head. Your matching tops makes me wonder whether your mother had one in the pipeline for your husband who is nicely themed in the photo. What a great set of memories.

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  22. Enjoyed your post. I remember this royal blue sateen dress my Mom made for me. I treasured it and cried when I had to give it up to my sister next in line to me. I was a brunette, and she, a blond, have to admit, it looked better on her because of her hair color. I've never been to a fantasy place, other then a circus once in a while.......

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  23. That place looks like lots of fun and I'm very impressed with the waistcoats.

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  24. Now that is cool -- the old and the new. I hadn't seen a theme park like this one before -- very cool.

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