A Travellerspoint blog

St. Moritz

ritzy is right - no pics again

semi-overcast 17 °C

We spent most of yesterday driving towards Switzerland. We stopped in Innsbruck of Winter Olympics fame (which is very pretty) and took a quick walk around. Our tour guide is not allowed to give tours on the streets, so he filled us up with information and just told us to follow him. Apparently, if they're not official city tour guides, they could get fined. When we got to Maximillian's Golden Roof, the sun popped out briefly for pictures.

I noticed that Mom is using computer slang now...uh...am I going to get my computer back when I get back home? And yes, I realized that it was your message, mom, that won the prize! You were first, anyway, even if wirt does mean worthy as well.

We stopped for lunch at another roadside self-serve restaurant in the mountains. I don't know how many castles we have passed. Then we hit the Swiss border, and I found a German book of pixel puzzles, so was happy. What seemed like forever later, we arrived at Pontresina, which is near some glacier. We hopped on horse drawn carriages that took us up the mountain for an hour to a little viewpoint. The sun peeked out on occasion on the mountain while we were there...it's very good for those picture ops!

After that, we arrived at our hotel in St. Moritz at 7 and had dinner. I'm glad dinner is included here, as this seems to be the haunting ground of the rich and famous. The streets are lined with Versace, Ballys, Rolex, etc. stores.

This morning we're off soon after breakfast as we have to catch the Glacier Express into Zermatt. We've got two nights in Zermatt. One of those days we will go up the Grogneratt and one of them the Klein Matterhorn (not the Matterhorn itself) - although I myself might just opt for one of the mountain ascents.

I'd better go as I do have to pay 1 swiss franc for 20 minutes here... :(

Later, folks!

Trace

Posted by tracebc 20:42 Archived in Switzerland Comments (2)

Full Salzburg Day

Rain... :(

rain 19 °C
View Europe: August 2007 on tracebc's travel map.

Congratulations to Bingo Lady for winning the contest...yes, wirt means host! However, it is not determined if it is Bingo Lady number one or number two...the message wasn´t signed.

Also, please try VERY hard to put your post after the top-most message so I don´t have to search for them. I´m sometimes limited on time!

Yesterday, we did a city tour (walking) in the morning with Veronika as our guide. Lots of the shop owners and guides wear traditional Austrian clothing. She showed us around the city including inside the Dom Cathedral, which is beautiful even without any stained glass anywhere. We also walked through the cemetery where the Von Trapps hid in the movie (although they couldn´t actually have hidden there, as there is nothing to hide behind!). We also saw Mozart´s birthplace, statue, house where he grew up, and lots of other Mozart memorabilia. It was drizzling off and on throughout the day.

After the city tour we walked around on our own through the "old city" (the "new city" is only 400 years old) and I bought a hand-embroidered little tablecloth. It might be too expensive to use as a cover for the bird cage (!), but we´ll see! (It really wasn´t that expensive!)

In the afternoon we went to the Eagle´s Nest (in Germany; we passed through Bavaria), the only part of the Nazi headquarters that was not bombed to smithereens. It was too bad that it was foggy as you couldn´t see the view, but the historical part was very interesting. Some parts along the drive we were on the edge of the mountain and you couldn´t see anything but white on the open side past five feet away! You still knew it was a long way down, though!

For dinner we went to a little restaurant in the outskirts of Salzburg (where I saw a car with a designer license plate "HA WIRT 1" - yes I took a picture!) whose food was a lot better than the night before, and then we went to Hellbrunn Castle, which is an amazing place. Some archbishop with a lot of money and a cruel sense of humour built it for fun just so he could tease his guests. There are surprises around every corner, including trick fountains that could be coming from anywhere! The technology was amazing, considering it was built 400 years ago and was just powered by water coming down from the mountain.

Anyways, I should be going, as we need to have breakfast and leave to go on to St. Moritz. We stop along the way there to go for a horse-drawn carriage ride up to a glacier.

Don´t know when I´ll write next!

Later,

Trace

Posted by tracebc 21:07 Archived in Austria Comments (4)

Our Arrival in Salzburg

No pictures here...no USB port! Sorry!

semi-overcast 20 °C
View Europe: August 2007 on tracebc's travel map.

Well, here we are in Salzburg! And no one has won the contest!

This could be because I forgot to include the link to the hint!

Click on the burgundy words above, scroll down until you see the little box, click in the little box, type "wirt", and hit the button that says either "send," or "search" - I forget what it says. Wait, and scroll down to the definition. When you´re done, you can hit the back button (the left-facing arrow button in the grey part) to get back to this screen.

http://www.ego4u.com/en/dictionary

No, it does not mean "worth" but something else. And happy anniversary to my favourite cousin who lives in Calgary! ;)

I think I know what happened to your posts that "disappeared," Mom - you posted them under a different entry! I just did a search and discovered a whole bunch of comments I´d missed before. Are you doing anything but the computer, Mom?! I guess the instructions worked!

To update the journey, the morning started out with beautiful weather in Vienna, and we travelled to Krems to hop on our boat cruise of the Danube. After waiting in the heat crammed together with little pushy senior citizens and equally pushy bicycle travellers on a little dock (once again, the concept of a line seems foreign to people here), we boarded our cute little cruise ship. The weather was beautiful for the cruise; just enough of a breeze to keep things refreshing. We docked briefly at Dürnstein (didn´t get off the boat) which has to be the cutest village ever - there is a gorgeous blue cathedral right on the water, surrounded by little homes, and above the village on the cliffs are the ruins of a huge castle.

Then we went further to Weissenkirchen (White Church) and disembarked. What took us 55 minutes by boat took our bus driver 20 minutes by bus...but we had the better view! As soon as we got off the boat, it started to cloud over off and on for the rest of the day.

We then visited the Melk Abbey, which was impressive, and stopped at a little cafeteria-style restaurant at a gas station along the highway for lunch. This doesn´t sound impressive, but I guess they have a chain of these restaurants, and this one was in a beautiful country area surrounded by little villages in the distance. Later we stopped at Mondsee which reminded me very much of Leavenworth (the most touristy place we´ve been so far), but had the cathedral which was used for the wedding scenes in The Sound of Music. It doesn´t look as gaudy in the movie as it does in real life. The building itself is very plain - painted pink and white on the inside - but the "extras" they have all around the inside are dark, dark wood and dark, dark paintings...and they´re huge!

Then we went on to Salzburg. It rained along the way, but dried up by the time we got there, although it was still cloudy. The tour guide said that the saying in Salzburg is, "If you can see the castle, it´s going to rain. If you can´t see the castle, it´s raining."

Our hotel room is right by a bunch of train tracks. Luckily, the windows cut a bunch of the sound out, because even with me living near the tracks, the sound of what must have been 15 trains thundering by (just little ones, but they didn´t sound like it!) every 15 minutes was rather deafening.

We went down for dinner in the hotel´s restaurant (salad, boiled beef and potatoes - blech - and curd dumplings with stewed plums - at least the dumplings were ok). Then we went for a walk through the park just prior to 8:00.

You know the scene in The Sound of Music when they are getting married and there are bells ringing everywhere? That´s what Salzburg sounds like. Or at least it did at 8:00. There were bells ringing all over the city for around 10 minutes straight before they rang the bells for the time. It was beautiful. As if on cue, right during that time the sun came out briefly and lit up the cathedral and castle in the distance, which led to some pretty impressive shots of the two landmarks...I wish I could share them with you now! We walked around the fountain pictured in The Sound, walked across a footbridge to the "old" city, and then headed back through the park where a young orchestra was giving a concert right near the fountain mentioned earlier.

Then we went to bed. I´m sure I was asleep by 10:00, which leads me to the realization I just had about 15 minutes ago. What I thought was 5:10 when I got up this morning was actually 2:25. So, here I am typing in the lobby at 3:30 in the morning. I´m sure I´m going to hear from Darrin and his mom when they wake up. And again later. And later after that. At least this gives me lots of time with no one else wanting the computer!

Anyways, I´m wide awake now after four hours of sleep. I´m not too worried, as the anti-motion-sick medicine made me fall asleep several times on the journey yesterday. Today, we are doing a walking tour of the city in the morning, and then taking an excursion to the Eagle´s Nest, of Hitler infamy. Apparently it has wonderful views. We go through the salt mining area as well on this out trip. Then, in the evening, we go for dinner at Helbrunn Castle, a castle known for its "trick" fountains. Water spurts out from unexpected places, apparently!

Well, I should probably head back up to my room and hope they didn´t notice me getting showered etc. in the middle of the night. (I was wondering why the sun hadn´t come up yet!)

Night, and talk to you later!

Trace

Posted by tracebc 17:52 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Minor photo update

What else can one do before 6 in the morning?

semi-overcast 20 °C

As I want to be able to get up early enough to see the sunrise on the Matterhorn later in my travels, and as Darrin & his mom go to bed at the ungodly hour of 10:00 (who does that?! the day is still young!) I´ve decided to get up at 5 every morning. Seems to be working.

This site only allows a certain percentage of space for pictures, and the first ones I took were huge, so was taking up about 11% of my allotment for August each picture. I finally remembered the website for resizing pictures, so now I can post way more!

Here are some examples:

1. The parliament buildings just before sunset two days ago
200ParliamentVienna.jpg

2. Bratislava - the castle is in the background, and a very old stone double staircase (you can just see the two walls of the staircase) is in the front - I looked at the staircase and recognized it from an old dream (freaky, huh?) The staircase is right by St. Martin´s church that I talked about last blog.
Bratislava.jpg

3. Neudorf sign - you might not be able to read it, but it´s on the arrow pointing to the left
200Neudorfsign.jpg

Last night´s dinner was fun. I´m sure no locals go there; it´s just too "Austrian" and too filled with tourists! It was in an old winery house dating from the 1500s (1527, if I remember correctly) - I think the house itself was a bit younger, but the wine cellar that we toured in the basement was pretty darn old! We sat cafeteria style with the "lady of the house" directing us each where to sit..."Nein, nein, seet HEERE."...we ended up with Jerre from Oklahoma and Frank from Australia (Frank is currently doing a world tour). We had an appetizer of cold cuts and bread (Darrin got my ham; I got his cheese), then a meal of sauerkraut (I tried a spoonful - it was very good and very different from sauerkraut at home; less salty...but it was still sauerkraut!), potatoes, something that resembled stuffing but had egg noodles in it, and a variety of meats - chicken wiener schnitzel, sausages, roasted pork, and cooked ham. I haven´t seen beef on any menu! Dessert was apple streudel (the best I´ve ever had - mostly apples and cinnamon and other spices, and very little pastry). Oh, and they kept putting full pitchers of their own wine (both red & white) and beer on the table, so you could have as much as you liked. We were pretty modest, but some tables were quite liberal with their intake of wine (not from our tour, but the other one!) There were two musicians, a violinist and an accordion player, playing polka music and drinking songs all evening (everything from Eidelweiss through Einz Zvei, Zufa (sp?), through The Saints Go Marching In), and many people - most of the drunk ones - sang along badly.

The storm, by the way, lasted an hour, and it was so hot that the rain dried within a half hour after that. Now it´s sunny again!

Oh, and a quiz: The first person to answer the following question in a comment will win a fabulous Austrian prize, specially bought just for you:

What does "wirt" mean in English? (I learned from Eric, our tour guide, when I asked him after seeing the word on a sign near our restaurant!)

(I´m sure you don´t need a hint, but if you do, go to the following link (click on the burgundy words below!), click on the little white box and type wirt into the box, then click on the word "search.")

Later,
Tracy

Posted by tracebc 20:54 Archived in Austria Comments (1)

Bratislava & Vienna

The weather´s about to change...

sunny 32 °C
View Europe: August 2007 on tracebc's travel map.

Wow, Mom - the computer skills are improving! Pretty soon your entries are going to be longer than mine!! Here´s the church I should have downloaded earlier.
200_IMGP0206small.jpg
It´s only 4:00 here, but I´m taking a break before we go off into the countryside to a restaurant that includes "Austrian merrymaking."

A little more about Vienna. There are very few cars, considering the size of the city. The transit system was extremely well thought out, and most people take transit. They have "city bikes" (not that I´ve used them) around like shopping carts...you put in your coin and ride away on the bike. Lots of younger people use them.

This morning we went off to Bratislava, which was verz (this "z" where the "y" should be is verz annozing! Now I know how Bill felt when I switched his M and N keys!) interesting. They are much more impoverished, but the architecture is still superb. There are dilapidated buildings, interspersed amongst the buildings in the old city; they are homes that, after the war, no one has reclaimed. They are still waiting a certain amount of time before the state declares them theirs. St. Martin´s church and the city´s castle are picturesque. I tried out my Slovak on the lady that we had to pay to use the "water closet" - dyun-kyu-yen - and she looked at me with a puzzled look. I repeated it, and she finallz understood and corrected my pronunciation... dyun-KU-yen.

One interesting note...we passed through a little town called Neudorf on the way to the Slovak republic. I tried to take a picture of the town´s name on the way back, but I only got the top part of the sign. I did get a little arrow sign in the previous town, though, pointing the way to Neudorf. I think that Neudorf Saskatchewan is bigger than this Neudorf in Austria. I believe there is another Neudorf closer to Salzburg, though.

Anyway, I should be going. Speaking of Salzburg, that´s where we head tomorrow. I don´t know if I´m going to have as frequent access as here to the internet, so I don´t know when I´m going to update this next.

Have fun, everyone! Miss you! (Oh...I think now it´s thundering!)

Trace

Posted by tracebc 06:55 Archived in Austria Comments (5)

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