Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Hills are Alive...

We reached Salzburg!! We looked around us and saw the mountains the Von Trapps roamed in and Julie Andrews sang in at the beginning of the movie we all know!

Another thing that made the city of Salzburg exciting to me was being in the same place as my dad and my brother. Both my dad and brother served their missions in Austria. Both of them served in Salzburg. Our first morning there, after we checked into our hotel, we were at the bus station trying to figure out which bus to take. We looked across the bus station and there were 2 missionaries. I felt a little like I was seeing my dad and brother and what they would have been doing and looked like. We asked them about the bus system, they gave us directions and we were on our way and they were on theirs. Both were from Utah. I really enjoyed meeting the missionaries.

We arrived in Salzburg  and went straight to our hotel. It was awesome!! It was a big room with enough for us four and one of the best things about it, is there is a tub, not just a standing shower with thin walls keeping the water in.

 Our first destination was Hellbrun, the estate outside Salzburg where the gazebo from the Sound of Music was moved. The grounds of the estate were turned into a public park, and so you can walk and kids can play on the playgrounds. But tucked away in the corner of the park, is the gazebo.

Of course we had to take pictures of us skipping around the gazebo. We took the bus back into Salzburg and walked around the city. We stopped at Salzburg cathedral, where Mozart started playing the organ, he played there for 2 years, where he was baptized.

The ceilings were intricately carved and the walls were painted with golds and bold colors. There is a huge pipe organ with 4 pipe groupings sitting right over the entrance.

As we walked we came to the wall and parts of Salzburg where in the Sound of Music, Maria sang her confidence song.

There was a square with a fountain where Maria sang this song and flicked the water. We walked through the square where in the movie, the Nazi's were marching into the city.

Our next stop was St. Peter's, which is the inspiration for the graveyard scene in the movie.

Nearby there is entrance to the concert hall where the family sang together before fleeing from Austria. We weren't able to get into the concert hall, it was under construction. So we continued walking and checking out the main shopping streets.

 I finally bought a purse here. I needed something, the pouch I was wearing was giving me a little rope burn. Dinner in Germany and Austria consisted of a lot of sausage, which I didn't mind at all. Potatoes and sausage, yes please!!

As we were walking, we got to see the fortress on the hill, which is what constitute the Salzburg skyline. It's the most prominent feature in Salzburg.

That night, we went back to our hotel and come to find, there is a channel that just showed The Sound of Music over and over, we fell asleep, in the city where this movie was filmed. So cool!

Day 2 in Salzburg was us getting up, enjoying a fantastic breakfast and checking out of the hotel. We then went to Mirabell gardens.

You might recognize this place from the movie as one of the places the family went through and sang, "Doe a deer, a female deer..." There were fountains, flowers, the overgrown tunnel where Maria and the 2 boys ran and the little gnome statue the children tapped on the head as they sang. We also walked up the steps they all hopped up at the end of that song in the movie. Pretty much the best thing ever!! I really enjoyed Salzburg, I thought the city was beautiful, green and the river running right through the middle of it was picturesque. Salzburg was one of my favorite's.

Our Salzburg time ended as we caught the train for our ride to Vienna.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Munich...take 2

Our second day in Munich was right out of a fairy tale! Kind of:) We had a plan to go out to the town of Fussen and the Neuschwenstein Castle, built by mad King Ludwig. It also is the template for Sleeping Beauty's castle. It was exciting to head out on the train about an hour outside Munich. We started the day, aware that the clouds above us threatened rain. So we headed out and sure enough, rain was what we got:) But that didn't stop us from enjoying the sights.

Our first stop, some of the little shops on the way up the hill to King Ludwig's parents "house." We stopped in a Christmas shop, everything was carved, created, stuffed or sewed there in Bavaria. Pretty cool. We of course all had to purchase something:) Next stop, Hohenschwangau, King Ludwig's childhood "house." Or castle if you want to call it that.

 It was interesting to hear about the family that lived there. The 2 son, Ludwig and his brother grew up there. The brother of Ludwig, was declared insane. So it's not too hard to believe that Ludwig himself was crazy.

When he got older and took over the kingdom in the mid 1800s, he started in on a building frenzy, building multiple castles, spending the money, which is what led him to be deposed and declared crazy. But he created beautiful buildings and put them in beautiful settings!We toured the castle and then hiked up the 1 mile trail to the main attraction, Neuschwanstein.

It was at this point that it really started raining. We got to the top of the trail, to the entrance to the castle and it was full on raining. Because of this, the castle was shrouded with a mist that added that fairy tail quality. So while we were a little wet, it was a beautiful sight.

After the tour through the castle, we walked up the path behind the castle to the bridge that gives you the iconic view of the castle. (fyi-it was pouring by this point:) So we enjoyed the view and enjoyed the walk down the hill.

Tasha ran down the hill, the rest of us walked down. We met up with Tasha at the Christmas store and then headed to get dinner and dry off.

We finished dinner and headed back to the bus station to catch our bus that would take us to the train station to catch the train back into Munich. When we got the bus station, we weren't really sure when the next one would come, everything was in German!

There was a group of young adults from South America, Uruguay to be precise, who were asking us if we knew what we were doing and how to get back into Munich. They stuck with us the rest of the adventure back. We met another couple from Chicago trying to get back to Munich as well. So we formed a rag tag group of English speakers who were trying to get back to our hotel. Fun times! We did get the bus back to the train station, to meet up with another couple who were from San Diego actually, trying to get back to Munich too. And one local man. We found out that the next train to Munich was 1 hour and 20 minutes away. We couldn't wait that long, we wouldn't get back into Munich till about 12:30 at that rate. So the local told us about a bus that ran to Munich, he said he was going that way too. So we followed him to the supposed bus, got on, but there was no driver. So our little group of castaways talked and hoped that driver would come, and if it came down to it, we could go back to the train, but at least we were warm on the bus with no driver. Finally a driver came, asked in German, if we were all headed to Munchen, we said yes, confirmed again with our one local passenger that we were all headed the right way, and off we were. We did get back into Munich, but the bus dropped us off 2 stops away from the one we needed, so we had to RUN FAST for the train at that train stop to make our connection to the train station we wanted. It was funny to see about 20 foreigners running through the station to catch that train, but we did, we all got off at the Munich Hauptbahnhoff, and parted having shared this wonderful experience with eachother.

We walked down the now familiar landmarks, the casino, places of ill repute that lined our street towards our hotel, happy to have made it back to Munich by the time we would have just been catching the train from Fussen. But a little worn for the not quite so confident of making it back to Munich adventure we took to get there.  One more night in Munich and then off to Salzburg!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

And the next stop is...

We next went to Munich! This post might have to be divided into two. There were just too many pictures and too much explanation. We arrived in Munich and got oriented to go find our hotel. Hotel Munich was just down one of the streets from the Munich Hauptbahnhof.

It looked like a great part of town. We came to find out later, that we seemed to be on a street with some questionable businesses, which means we kept our eyes straight ahead at night. But, Munich was fun. It went by fast, but it was fun.
On our first day in Munich, we split up. Amy and I headed out to Dachau. Sobering, but something I wanted to see. When you leave the train station in the town Dachau was located in, you can walk the path the prisoners had to take when they got off the train. The station there is the one where the prisoners were pushed off, divided up and walked to the camp and barracks. We were only able to be at the concentration camp for a couple hours at most. I'm amazed that anyone can even suggest that the Holocaust didn't happen. The pictures, the buildings, the history of that place says completely otherwise. It was so sobering to think about what happened at that place, that it had gone on for a long time before the Americans liberated Dachau.

Afterwards, Amy and I took the train back into Munich and met back up with Bryonny and Tasha.

We went to the main pedestrian area of Munich to get dinner and do a little shopping. We were also looking for the Old Rathaus, the old town hall, where the glockenspiel was located.

We noticed, even later on in our travels, that the stores closed really early, most stores were closed around 6-7pm. It was odd to see that. Munich was preparing for Oktoberfest to start, so every storefront had the traditional dress for men and women. Leiderhosen anybody?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Over the mountains we Klagenfurt Austria!

We moved on from Venice to Klagenfurt Austria. My Aunt Kelly and Uncle Martin live there, teaching school. They were so kind to let us stay there a couple nights. We took a bus from Venice to Klagenfurt, being dropped off at the train station. 

We were waiting for my aunt when she came up behind Tasha and I and surprised us. How fun it was to see her!! I was so excited to be in Austria with them. And she had wonderful news for us...our luggage had arrived before us that day at her house!!!! WE HAD LUGGAGE again! I had been praying for our luggage since Venice and while kind of disappointed when it didn't arrive in Venice, we received it later and didn't have to lug it around Venice, over the bridges and cobblestones.

After being picked up, we were fed by Kelly and Martin and wonderful dinner and shown our rooms at Hotel Krenn. Kelly was so nice and made up our beds, put a stamped postcard, chocolate bar and Haribo gummies on our beds.

It was so fantastic, my friends kept saying how great my aunt and uncle were so thank you Krenns for being so great and welcoming! We went to sleep enjoying being in a home. The next day, Kelly and Martin showed us around Klagenfurt and the surrounding countryside. First stop, Minimundus.

This place has small reproductions of well known sites around the world. When I say small reproductions, I mean smaller than the building itselt, but larger than people.

We went out to Hochosterwitz, a castle outside Klagenfurt. On the way, we stopped at some excavations of Roman ruins. As we were driving along, we saw the castle up on the hill. It was amazing, this is what I was hoping for in Europe. America doesn't have the old places like Europe. It was so cool to see these places.

We parked at the bottom of the hill and walked up the road through all 14(?) gates the castle had. It is said this castle was never conquered and after walking the road, I can see why. It would have been hard. We searched through the castle, the armory, the garden and admired the view from the top of the hill of the surrounding countryside. Amazing that just over the mountains from Venice, we were in this lush green mountainous countryside, with lakes and castles.

(just a fun little pic of my aunt and uncle:)

Kelly and Martin showed us the lake near their house and through the town of Klagenfurt, with the Lindewurm.

We went to a restaurant to eat real Carinthian food, cheese noodles. I really enjoyed Klagenfurt. We stayed one more night there with my aunt and uncle. We were well fed and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. Kelly and Martin took us to the train station the next morning after feeding us the best breakfast, and sent us off to Munich!