Results tagged “Monuments” from Europe 2016

Slept reasonably well on the ferry. It was super calm so could barely feel the ship moving at all. Except we didn't close the blinds so could see a red glow on the horizon at 2am, and it was super sunny at 4am. Which is when we woke up. Whoops.

Breakfast was more chaos but otherwise pretty good.

Arrived at Helsinki at 10am and disembarked quite easily.

We had a local guide did a bit of a tour of Helsinki, driving around and seeing quite a bit.

We had a short photo stop at the Olympic stadium from 1952.

Then down to the Sebalius monument. Which was quite pretty in the morning sun.

Except. Could not get a clear photo of it. An Indian tour group turned up at the same time and they can't just take photos of things, every single one of them needs to have multiple photos of themselves taken. Which means I couldn't get a photo without annoying people in it. I was fuming by the time we had to leave.

Next stop was the Rock Church, which is a pretty cool church they built into a granite hill and put a roof over the top.

Continued driving around for a little while longer before being dumped in square next to the Lutheran cathedral and told to entertain ourselves for an hour and a half. hrmm. So mum and I went into the Lutheran cathedral, wandered through the waterside markets, and went into the orthodox church before meeting back at the square.

Got taken to the hotel next where we dumped out stuff and I checked out how the local public transport system worked. Decided to go back to the Sebalius monument by bus. Found the little kiosk that sells tickets and got ourselves a two hour ticket for EUR 4.30. Got the bus with no problems.

We had the monument almost to ourselves for a little while and it's quite photogenic. Then another couple of tour groups turned up so we got out of there.

Walked over to the trams and caught one back into town.

Walked around the foreshore a bit, taking photos of the old sailing ships, and then we watched the ferry leave back to Stockholm.

Took another tram up to Central to see the station, then another tram to near our hotel. So three trams and a bus - pretty good value for our two hour ticket!

At the hotel we dumped more stuff then headed out for dinner. Found a Japanese restaurant and had some very nice teriyaki salmon. Then back to the hotel where mum went and used the internet and I reorganised the suitcase and general got myself feeling more in control.

So this room has a thermostat on the wall but it doesn't actually do anything. Had to keep the window open all night to get any cool air. Which means a massive picture window letting in the light super early. I'm dreading getting further north where the sun doesn't actually set and sweltering because we can't open windows because we need to block out the light. What a strange thing to be concerned about - overheating past the arctic circle. There's another lady on the trip (from Brisbane) who feels the same way.

Fairly good breakfast range. Although I wasn't in the mood for being sociable with anyone.

We had to be out the door at 8:00 this morning. On the coach we went through the whole introduction and safety spiel. Then headed off at nearly 8:30.

We had a local guide for the morning and we drove around Copenhagen looking at some things.

Our first get-off stop was Amalienborg palace (we didn't get to go in), just for a photo stop.

Then up to The Little Mermaid. Going first thing in the morning meant we were looking straight into the sun which was a bit of a poo. Not that my photos from last time were much better.

Yet again I'm reminded how different tours are to doing things yourself. I think I crammed about five times as much in my three hour walk around last time as I did today on the tour.

Although today we did get to go into Christiansborg Palace which was very cool.

And then we were done for the day.

Yup, we did three things and were done by 10:15am.

!?

They left us to have some free time, or could get dropped back to the hotel if we wanted. This afternoon there was an optional excursion. For 51 Euro. So basically we pay for an expensive tour (not nearly as expensive as Outback Sprit though) and just get left to our own devices and if you want to see more things it costs extra. Seems a little rude to me.

Mum decided to go on the optional tour, starting at 12:30, so we filled in some time walking around until then. Went up to the round tower and went up it, then up to the botanical gardens, although really didn't have time to look around there because we had to get back so mum could start the tour. But I really needed some down time so had decided not to go. After leaving mum, I watched bits of the Copenhagen Carnivale which was wandering through town, then tried to find something to eat. Ended up grabbing something in 7-Eleven (not the first one I came to because I couldn't get any service).

Then walked back to the hotel where I washed my jeans, backed up my photos and had a little lie down. Even slept a little!

At 6pm we headed out for an optional dinner. 65 Euro, to a little restaurant in the old town. It was a "Christmas" dinner, so there was roast pork and various sides, and a rice pudding dessert. And a couple of drinks :) The pork was up at least in the top ten of pork I've had - lovely and tender with lovely crispy crackling. Yum!!

Then down to the canal to have a shot of Aquavit (weird right!) and then back to the hotel.

Today was meant to be a rest day. I think I did more walking today than any other day so far. *checks pedometer*. Yep, most by far. So I have beer. By myself for now but hopefully others will be down soon.

We also got great value out of a Munich daily transport ticket.

But backing up a little. Slept reasonably well. With the window wide open it was possible to sleep under the doona which was nice.

Breakfast was ok, although the choices were very limited - no salad stuff or bread rolls.

Spent a bit of time after breakfast sorting myself out, although it would have been better if I'd had internet #grunt

Heading out, the hotel is near the end of the #16 tram line. So we hopped on that (we just missed one while we were getting our daily tickets), thinking we'd be able to catch it allllll the way through the city to the other side at Romanplatz.

Except.

This IDIOT WOMAN DRIVER blithley turned left in front of our tram. Tram skidded to a halt but we still smashed into her car. Noone on the tram was hurt (the driver called out straight away), and she was lucky enough to be hit in the rear left door not the rear front door otherwise she'd likely have been hurt. But of course that meant we had to get off the tram with no idea what to do next. Turns out everyone else was walking down to a nearby bus stop. We followed, and jumped on the bus (#154). Only then did we find out where it was going. Turns out just one stop down was the end of the Arabella Park U-bahn line (U4), so got onto that to head into the city. I think it actually beat the tram in terms of time as the trams are pretty slow.

From HBF it was the #17 tram to Schloss Nymphenburg.

We hadn't really thought about going into the palace, but since we were there and it was only 6 EUR to get into just the palace bit, and you could take photos, we decided to go in. It was pretty spectacular. Wandered the grounds for a bit as well before heading out. On the way out we passed eight other people from our tour that were on their way in!

Took the #17 tram back to the HBF, then an S-train to Marienplatz.

Coming out of Marienplatz we looked up and went up the first tower we could see that had people up it. Turns out it was the tower of the Rathaus, and you actually go up by lift not stairs! Pretty good view from the top, although the view from St Peter's would probably have been a little better.

By this point I was tired and hungry and low blood sugar, and you don't want to talk to me when I'm at that point. We went into the Ratskeller because we saw we could just get an appetiser (rosti and sauerkraut) rather than a huge meal (I really did want the pork knuckle but it was 1:30pm and mum didn't want to eat that much food so I sadly forewent the deliciousness). At least the Ratskeller had free wifi.

Next we went for a walk so I could find a post office to send a bunch of paperwork home so I wouldn't have to cart it around for the next part of our trip. On the way found a cute store selling Bavarian traditional dress. They weren't expensive either. Considered buying some (I'd totally fill out a beer wench outfit ;) ).

Walked up past the cathedral and went in briefly. Then down to the Hofbrauhaus to have a look and recreate one of dad's funeral photos from when he was there in 2009.

By this time it was 4:45pm and I was already past the point of wanting to stop and just sit down and have a beer. But we took a tram #19 from Maximillian Strasse to Max II Denkmal, then a tram #18 up to the museum to watch the surfers.

Then another tram #18 back down to Lehel U-bahn station, a train to HBF and another train up to Konigsplatz so mum could see the Tor (it looked pretty cool in the afternoon light).

Got the train back to HBF and I was wondering where I could get a beer in a beer garden. But I didn't know of any places. Got out at Odeonsplatz and took some photos but I was feeling tired and grumpy so just got back on the train and went to Max Weber Platz. I saw a Hofbrauhaus on the map and thought to go for that but mum suggested a tiny little place just before we'd gotten there. So we stopped there but rude German guy pushed in in front of me to get a drink and the atmosphere just wasn't right so had a quick beer then left. And walked right past the Hofbrauhaus that I'd been wanting to go to - doh!!

By this time it was 18:00 so took a tram #16 back to the hotel.

Back at the hotel I downloaded photos and tried to log what we did today, before going in for the final group dinner. The waitress we got tonight was super grumpy about *everything* which just added to the woes of this hotel.

Took ages to get to sleep last night. I was just too hot. Probably a big meal just before bed didn't help.

Fairly standard breakfast, then on the road at 8:25. Except one of the guys left his backpack in the lobby of the hotel so we had to go back for it, and didn't get going again til 8:55.

Drove back along Bodensee, and down to the lake to take a ferry across to Konstanz. That was pretty cool, and relatively quick too.

Konstanz is a pretty little town. A lot like Zurich, except with a bigger old town area, and we had a guide for a while in the beginning. So got more out of the day than yesterday. With the guide we saw the main market place, went out to the lake to see the spinning lady, past a building that used to be on the water's edge, through the fish market, saw the "high house", the old rathaus, and heaps and heaps of 700 year old buildings. Went into the cathedral and finished up in the butcher's markets.

On our own, we went out to the Lutheran church, then back to the cathedral to go up the tower, grabbed some food in the markets, went and stood on the border between Germany and Switzerland, wandered up past the station and finished up looking at the spinning lady in better light. Quite a lot of walking.

So then back on the coach at dentist time and headed for Augsburg. But we ended up going allll the way around the western end of Bodensee - back past the hotel we stayed at last night. Not sure why we didn't go back on the ferry. Or why we didn't stay the night a lot closer to Konstanz last night.

Anyways.

Drove most of the afternoon.

Stopped just next to Legoland for a pitstop in the afternoon. I was pretty excited. :)

Mostly finished The Hindenburg book. And we saw several airships today floating around the lake.  Still felt quite strange to be reading that book around that area.

Got to the hotel after 7pm. Quite a nice building - it's in a tower - looks like an apartment complex. We'd settled in but after going to the loo before dinner the toilet started running quite heavily after the cistern had filled. Flushed it again but it did the same thing. Went down for dinner and let them know at reception. But since their maintenance people are off for the weekend they said they would just put us in another room. After dinner the toilet was still running although not as much. Flushed it again but this time it stayed off. So seemingly an intermittent problem. But not the sort of thing you want to be dealing with after bed time, so we decided to move rooms just in case. Have the balcony door open to let some cool air into the room. Maybe I'll be able to get it cool enough to use the doona for a change tonight??

Dinner was in the hotel. A very nice soup, some lovely tender steak, and a dessert which was a cross between ice cream and cheesecake.

Slept til about 5:50 this morning - a sleepin!

The breakfast buffet didn't have as much choice as other hotels so far, but was otherwise ok. They even had champagne, go figure, although I tried it and it wasn't very nice. The internet was a bit flakey too - complicated login process, and pretty slow. At least it was included!

Our first activity for the day was Wartburg Castle just outside Eisenach. We had a tour of the main castle building so got to see all the main rooms. Then it was through the museum part and finally the Lutherstube - where Luther spent ten weeks translating the New Testament into German (and defining the German language in the process). Pretty cool stuff.

Stopped at a resthaus for lunch (I just had some stuff leftover from breakfast).

Then onto Worms. We had a walking tour of a few of the sights, which included the Trinity Reformation Church, St Peter's cathedral, the Jewish cemetary, the location of the Diet of Worms, and the big Luther monument.

After the tour finished, we went back to the location of the Diet of Worms (the building was destroyed by the French years ago) and had a little service and sang A Mighty Fortress is Our God.

Then everyone took the coach to the hotel, but Mum and I went for a walk up to see the Nibelung tower over the bridge over the Rhine (didn't find any Rhinegold though).

Walked back to the hotel. The room here is huge. It has a whole entrance foyer thing going on.

Dinner was in the hotel - we had a dining room just for the group which was nice. But Germans just don't understand the concept of tap water. At least two places we've been refuse to even serve it. This hotel did - but only if you asked the right way - we didn't - so ended up with a 2.30 bottle of water. Pissed off about that. If I'm going to spend money on a drink, I'd rather beer or wine. Spending money on water offends me.

Woke up at 5:30 again. Blerf.

Had a lighter breakfast today because we were scheduled to have lunch provided. Packed up and on the coach by 7:55.

I was pretty tired so dozed in the coach between Leipzig and Erfurt. It reminded me a lot of our trip to America in 2004 - just on the go the whole time and not enough sleep. Had a pitstop on the way as well.

In Erfurt we got to go and see the two big churches on the top of the hill.

The guesthouse Luther stayed in was pointed out.

We got to see the university building where Luther studied for his first degree.

Then to the Augustinian monastery where Luther went when he first decided to become a monk.

And then to the Merchant's Bridge, which is a big medieval bridge with buildings on top of it. Super cool!

Then it was lunch. Unfortunately they took *forever* and there was too much food. It mucked up schedule for the afternoon. We'd have been better off doing what we normally do - just fend for ourselves.

Walked across the merchant's bridge, then back through the town streets to the coach.

In Eisenach we started at the oldest JS Bach statue in the world (apparently), which is right next to the Bachhaus.

Walked down past the Lutherhaus, where Luther probably lived for a few years when he was in school.

Had a look inside the St George church.

Then back to the Lutherhaus to have a look inside at the museum.

Finally had a bit of a walk through the town and had a look at the town gates.

Then out to the hotel for a buffet dinner (hurrah, I could eat a lot less than if it had been another three course meal!) .

Breakfast as usual this morning, then checked out.

Our first stop was in Potsdam. I'd been here with the sweetie eight years ago. Last time we hired bikes and got around *heaps* of the palaces and things to see. We also had a brilliant day for it. Today it was grey. :(

Our first stop was the Glienicker Brücke - "Bridge of Spies" - for a quick photo stop.

Then onto Sans Souci palace. The vines hadn't come out yet so it was all a little grey. But still quite pretty and there were bulbs already flowering in the gardens at the bottom.

Then they took us into town and dropped us off for some free time. We went into the Nikolai church because that was just there. Then mum and I went off for a walk. Got up to the Brandenburg Tor, then back up Brandenburger strasse to Nauener Tor, back through the dutch village, and back to the coach.

Most people slept on the coach ride south to Leipzig. I stayed awake and talked to the sweetie for a bit. Had a brief toilet stop (by now this is the third toilet I've had to pay for today :(:( ) and continued on, getting here at nearly 3:30pm.

In Leipzig we met a local guide for a walking tour of the old town. Highlights included the Thomas Church, the oldest coffee house in Germany, the market square and the Nikolai Church.

Then to the hotel. Not a bad room, although the view is a little boring - the roof of the atrium!

Went out for dinner tonight to a restaurant in the old town. Had some mushroom soup, some sausage and potato, and this weird (but nice) cake thing with apple sauce.

So yeah, slept pretty well last night.

Breakfast was down in the hotel restaurant. Ate plenty so we woudn't need lunch.

Then we had a local city guide and did a big tour of the city.

First stop was the Reichstag. Didn't go in, just had a look from the outside.

Then walked up to the Brandenburg Gate. The sun started peeking through the clouds by this point.

Then to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Spoilt somewhat kids and other young people screaming and making heaps of noise. Bruce did a little bit of an Anzac Day ceremony there which was nice.

Back on the coach and down to a piece of the Berlin Wall on Niederkirchnerstrasse - something we didn't see last time. Had only a very short time to look at the open air part of Topographie des Terrors (Topography of Terror). Really only got time to look at about a third of it :(

Then onto Checkpoint Charlie. Really just a photostop.

Then Bruce decided we should see inside the Berliner Dom instead of Marienkirche, so they got us there in time for the daily service, which is actually free, instead of something like seven euro to get into otherwise (although if you pay you can go up the dome apparently).

They gave us nearly an hour and a half after that to have lunch and explore, so we went down to the Marienkirche anyway.

Wandered up to Alexanderplatz to find the world clock, and look for snipers on the rooves. And it snowed. Really.

Back to the Dom, and a short walk to the Pergamon museum. Cool place, and we had quick entry on account of being a tour group. Although the entrance foyer is super chaotic. Sadly the altar from Pergamon is closed off at the moment due to renovations. But the market gate and Istar gate and procession way are amazing.

Back on the coach, and onto the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Turns out you can just go into the new church, so went in there. The blue stained glass is just stunning. The building looks *much* better on the inside than the outside!

At this point (it was about 4:30pm), they were going to head back to the hotel and call it a day. But I didn't want to just waste a couple of hours sitting around the hotel (even if I *did* have a lot of computer work to do), so we went for a wander back down the KaDeWe (via LEGO!!). Lots of yummies to be had on the 6th floor. I did end up getting a couple of macarons, which were ok but not super epic awesome. Then we walked back to the hotel.

Dinner was downstairs, but didn't get back up here til nearly 8:30pm, and there's still gps and photo downloading and blogging to do.  Too tired for this crap.