A Travellerspoint blog

Monday 15 June Saltzburg to Vienna

We said Goodbye to Tony last night as he was catching his train earlier than us to continue on to Italy and Croatia. Our train was surprisingly 1/2hour late which is pretty unheard of in these parts of the world. Only 40 minutes more to wait though and it was a high speed train taking us to Vienna with some speeds reaching 240kph. It didn't seem like this. Very smooth and comfortable. We could see our Strauseor street was just near the station so we checked with a taxi driver who told us yes on the other side of the road 200 metres away. Cool, no need for a taxi then. Unfortunately, our hotel Tyrol was at the other end of Mariahilfer Strause and it is a long street with heavy suitcases even though they are on wheels. Take note, don't believe taxi drivers.
We settled into our little boutique hotel in the heart of the town, Chocolates on the pillow and all. Off for a very late lunch which we decided could be dinner as well. Vienna looks interesting too so far but we really need rest now so we will start discovering it tomorrow as we are here for 3 days and have only 2 trips to fit in here. This should finally give us some time to relax which is something we really haven't had much of since leaving home on 7th of May.

Posted by RitchieOE 08:22 Comments (0)

Sunday 14 June Salzburg and around

Today, my Brother Tony, came with us on our next sightseeing tour to Eagles Nest across the border in Germany and in the Bavarian Alps. The same tour company took us again and we set off at 9am with the same guide we had had the day before. It doesn't take too long and the scenery is so pretty travelling through the forests, by the pretty aquamarine colour rivers and through the mountains. We transferred to another bus to travel high up the mountain. The road was very steep and extremely winding with shear drops looking down at tiny villages far below. An amazing sight and surprisingly, I was not frightened but exhilarated by this. Stopping at a car park, we then got off the bus and walked along through a tunnel of 124 meters, through to Adolf Hitlers lift which holds 47 people at a squash. That is what it was too. Hitler was afraid of closed in spaces so the lift was lined in copper so it looked even larger than it was. It took us up to the eagles nest where he entertained important guests and devised plans for warfare. We saw that room with its huge fireplace and Eva Brauns room where she entertained the women. the views out of the windows were spectacular as we were even higher up. Fascinating that he had this place built as he was afraid of closed in spaces and heights. It was built in 13 months for his 50th birthday. He had a house further down the mountain as did his architect and other reich diplomats, so he never stayed at this place and just visited it 14 times only.

From there, we went outside onto the ridge on the mountain in brilliant sunshine and a very clear day where we could see all the mountains around us. This reminded us of going on the Gornegrad in Switzerland 3 years ago. Again, I surprised myself that I wasn't frightened. It was beautiful. We climbed a fairly steep and rugged path to get the best views and then went back down in the lift, bus and back to the little town we went to yesterday, Berchtesgaden for lunch then back to Saltzburg.

Finally, I got my first afternoon lie dEown since we left home. No, I think I had one in Abu Dhabi too. 3 hours worth, what bliss. Up and rearing to go, we met Tony at 5pm for a walk and dinner. We actually had a very large walk up to the fortress way up high over the town with its steep walls and ramparts. Tony had discovered a lift up quite a way so we utilised this and walked a long way up to the castle or fortress through a very picturesque woods, high above the town. this followed the steep walls and inside the ramparts. These were built in the 17th century to keep the town of Saltzburg safe during the 30 year war. Apparently, it worked as no one from Saltzburg died in that war except those how starved to death as they were taxed so high to pay for the wall to go up. Ironic really isn't it? We all enjoyed our wonderful wander through the area and a wonderful Amber goods shop on the way down. It was too late to actually go inside the castle which was a pity. Tony said he had been inside in for 3 hours the day before and it was closing soon. Pity. The amber shop had an area that you could walk through explaining how the monks who lived up there centuries before put the water supply through to the town. We saw the original water wheel which is still working. Back down in to the historic town for dinner in an Italian Restaurant

So I was very proud of myself today with the two walks we had way up high and how I was not scared at all just over awed by it all.

Posted by RitchieOE 07:57 Comments (0)

Saturday 13 June Saltzburg and even into Germany

Up early As though we are still on tour, breakfast in our hotel and picked up by bus tour company to do The Sound of Music Tour. This was a 4 hour tour through Saltzburg and out into the beautiful countryside to places they used in the film 50 Years ago. It was fun and we did sing the songs from the movie and stageshow. A great honest guide though who later told us the real life story after telling us that half the places used we 2 or 3 places plus studios and film sets.
We travelled out to a beautiful little town where Maria got married to see the beautifully ornate church there. Quite a bit of it was out of bounds as a wedding for a car hire firm magnate was just about to be married there. All the rich and beautiful people were invited and I certainly felt underdressed as they passed us in the finery. Very hot today so des and I sat down in a quite street to eat icecreams. Suddenly some large black extremely flash cars pulled up with darkened windows and out got those inside, clearly looking for where to park in the small village. Right beside us was a handsome man in blue suit. I nudged Des and said, "isn't that Cliff Richard" Des immediately called out "Hi Cliff" He turned around and looked right at us and said "hi" back then got straight back in the car. I got a very shaky picture of him as I got such a shock my hands were shaking. We wondered if he was going to sing at the wedding perhaps. So that was the highlights of our Sound of Music tour folks.

Back to Saltzburg and enough time for a quick bite to eat before our next tour began out to the salt mines this time.
Temperatures had soared to 30 degrees today so that wasn't helping our tiredness as it's quite humid also and Des's cold is really much worse today.
Back on another tour bus and heading out of the city in another direction this time, towards, Germany and the mountains. The countryside is definitely the best part of these 2 Tours for me. Lisa and Anton have done these tours but neglected to tell me about the wooden slides you go down to get to lower levels in the mine. All quite amazing really but I found it a bit terrifying really. First, you all put on boiler suits and get on a little train that travels fast through the mine at 12 Degrees temp so it's pretty cold compared to outside naturally. You get off and head down this long wooden slide very fast to look around at he workings of the mine. You go in a boat across the water in the mine then on another slide going even deeper in the mine. Then, you are on another wooden slide going even further down (in fact, 5 Levels by now).Next, you are in a funicular which holds about 57 people and up to the train going very fast along the tunnel again. You are finally out where you strip of your boiler suit.All the time there is a scary unsmiling German man speaking in German and you just follow those who understand him without having a clue what's going to happen next. Were we going to the gas chamber I wondered? I actually did not enjoy this experience very much Lisa, sorry. however, we did then cross the boarder for afternoon tea in a lovely little German village then back to Saltzburg by 6pm.

Enough time to do some washing while Des went to bed and I then met Tony, my Brother, for dinner at a lovely little cafe across the river where we sT outside, looking across at the river, the churches,the town, the fortress on the hill and all the people out enjoying lovely warm Saturday evening, while we looked at each other's iPads photos of what we had both done today. Tony had stayed in the town but climbed up high to the fortress, walked along the ramparts and generally, had a wonderful day also. Tomorrow, he joins us on another tour.

Posted by RitchieOE 13:23 Comments (0)

Friday 12 June London to Salzburg

We left London by catching the train at Victoria Station for Gatwick airport which was a good cheaper way to do it rather than spending over 150 pounds to get a taxi. The train journey was lovely and the flight was great too. When we were seated on the plane the captain came out to speak to us. He started by saying "Gi day" so he immediately had our attention. " how's ya day?" Somehow this just didn't seem like the captain speaking but obviously, he was an Aussie so what else should we expect really. He then told us,his day wasn't going to good as the toilet was blocked at the rear of the plane and we were going to sit on the tarmack for up to two hours as there was a back up of planes. He would keep us posted. We knew Tony, my Brother, would probably be waiting for us at the hotel but hopefully, he would be following our flight as I am sure LIsa and Fleur would be too, if they were awake. After about 15 minutes, the Aussie drawl came on to say "Good news we are good to go" Flight was great and close to arriving in Saltzburg, Austria, the Aussie said "I put my foot flat to the boards and we are only going to be 25 minutes late" Good old Aussies eh.

A taxi from the airport was very quick and fairly cheap so we were happy with that also. Hotel Mozart on Franz Josef Strass is lovely and very friendly
Staff. Tony was there waiting for us and enjoying a chat with Rene the afternoon concierge. We, although it is only a 2 Hour flight which only actually took 1 1/2 hours cos the Aussie put his foot down, were very tired. Des has his cold back quite badly. I am good but we have been away for
about 36 days now and it's been fabulous but full on and now we have our 9 days in Europe before starting on our way home. We haven't had much rest really. That will just have to wait now till we home. Tony came up to our lovely room with us where we dropped our bags, went to the loo and we're off to be guided by him in this lovely, much quieter city of 150,000. It is very pretty, similar to Switzerland and towns in Sweden, we thought.
Dinner of Viena Schnitzel at an outside cafe and then drinks at a cafe Tony had found the day before when he arrived. We dragged our weary bodies home about 10pm

Posted by RitchieOE 13:09 Comments (0)

Thurs 11 June London on a warm day!

Today has been the warmest day we have had anywhere except Abu Dhabi. We headed off to see the two sites we missed 3 years ago when in London. First to the Globe Theatre for a guided tour. A great experience where we were both very glad we had done this finally. On the way, we had got off the tube at London Bridge Station and walked through the very busy thriving market which has been on that site since the 1700s but says there has been a market there for 1000 years. All manner of meat, fruit, vegetables and anything edible really.
Next we found the "clink" the jail that also been there from 1144 - 1780 and very scary looking it was too.
Such a historic area around the wharves there and then we came across Sir Francis Drakes boat The Hinde just moored there with a very theatrical woman explaining all about to a party of young school children. But now we were actually HOT would you believe readers. We had elected to not bring our damned coats today but we had even taken off our cardigans too. What a release that was I can tell you.

Lunch was yummy in that area, a very bustling old part of London then back on the tube to go to the British Museum.
We have done heaps of walking since the tour finished. We did lots,then too but Londons underground is full of long walks and lots of stairs so we are walking off some of the full cooked English Breakfasts we had on the tour.

By the time we got to the Museum our legs were already aching and it is a huge place to walk around. Well worth it especially as it is free. We certainly didn't see it all but we continued our quest for Lindow Man, the bog man found in 1984 to see how he compared with the ones we had seen in Dublin. We were amazed also, at how many mummy's and scargophigus there was. My first reaction to that this had actually been grave robbers but then I thought about what Isis is doing to world heritage sites now and thought, at least they were safe where they are in the Museum.

Having travelled through the UK and Ireland now it was interesting to see what has been dug up over the years and how old this land is. New Zealand is soooooo young.

Tomorrow morning, wee leave our beautiful, comfortable and quiet apartment and head to Europe. It's such a great holiday we are having and our colds are even improving today with the warm day.

Posted by RitchieOE 09:45 Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 15 of 51) « Page 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »