Results tagged “Restaurants” from Europe 2016

Woke up to a nice view this morning. Well really I woke up to all the light coming in the sides of the blinds. At 4am. Think I got a little more sleep after that. *Then* we opened the blinds and saw the view. I was too tired to really appreciate it though.

The hotel we had last night had completely retarded door locks, that sometimes you had to lock manually by swiping your card on the reader. Or worse, they simply didn't close properly at all, so you could just pull the door open. Dumb dumb dumb.

Pretty average breakfast (in the meh kind of way), and out the door at 8am.

Had a photo stop at Laksforsen to see a set of raging rapids, that also has a salmon ladder (which we couldn't actually see).

Then followed the river valley allll the way upstream, then allll the way downstream. The scenery was pretty enough, but mostly just forest, the river and some low mountains. Nothing super spectacular, although a few pretty parts in places.

Stopped for lunch in Steinkjer (Stinker!! ok not really). Shared some maccas fries with mum because we really didn't need much for lunch.

As we got further south there was a lot more gentle rolling hills and greenery and farmland.

Just before Trondheim we went to Hell! No really!

Then onto Trondheim. Checked in, then went out for a wander up and down the canal and looked for somewhere to have dinner. Bob and Joanne ran into us, so we had dinner with them and it was all very lovely. Finally got to check in a beer in Norway! Beer Traveller Level 5! W00t! The Norwegians, like the Germans, appear to revel in the sunny weather, and they were out in droves tonight.

Hoping the fantastic weather hangs around for another couple of days.

Slept reasonably well again last night. Taking the doona out of its cover certainly does seem to work. I just have this weird mental block against doing it, because that's not How Things Should Be Done.

Decent breakfast again. 7:30 out the door.

Long driving day today. Past lots of fjords.

But.

The seat rotation has put us on the wrong side of the coach to see them. As we're driving south, all the fjords are on the right, and we're on the left of the coach pretty much until the end of the trip. So this sux epically.

But what's worse is that the lucky people on the right side of the coach are WASTING IT!!!! We're in some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and many of the people with the right side window seats were sleeping or reading or playing on their tablets. Why even bother doing this tour people?? If these people don't care about looking at the scenery they should swap with people that do (read: me). As it was I was hanging over people trying to see out the windows for the morning and get photos where possible. It was the most frustrating and then depressing morning so far. I. Hate. People. A lot.

Had a photo stop in Gildetun up on the side of a moutnain, a morning pitstop in Storslett and a lunch pitstop in Nordkjosbotn.

After that the weather closed in and made visibility pretty poor, and we were going over the mountains not next to the fjords so I ended up having a bit of a snooze.

Had a toilet pitstop in Bjerkvik.

Late in the afternoon we ended up back on the border in Riksgransen in Sweden to take beautiful train trip down from the border along one of the fjords and into Narvik. Very pretty, although it was very grey and dreary. Can see how it would be even more spectacular on a good day. At least I got a good window seat for it.

In Narvik the coach disappeared to the service entrance to unload our bags, so we gave up on the idea of bringing our own bags up. Went up the 16th floor to get some photos, then went for a wander to find some dinner. Ended up at the Italian restaurant with another couple which was nice, but the serving sizes were *huge*! Oops. I just keep getting fatter and fatter....

So even though the room was the coolest, most comfortable room of the trip, the thick warm doonas meant overheating anyway. So that and all the lights from hopeless blinds meant I didn't sleep all that well. Did I mention we didn't get to bed til after 1am? And I had restless legs so couldn't get to sleep for ages? Although I didn't feel as tired today as I felt yesterday. Go figure. Probably because we had a fairly late start so slept in til about 7am.

Breakfast options were fairly limited. No bacon again! *gasp* Ended up having quite a lot of potato, so a very "carby" breakfast.

Then blogged yesterday from the hotel lobby (only hotel so far on this particular trip that we've not had wifi in the rooms).

Left around 10:30am. Had a couple of small photo stops which was nice - one for the town of Honningsvag, although the light was pretty bad, and one for the fjord, but that one had some reindeer just there which made the stop worthwhile, as it wasn't really a good place for a photo. Turns out the photo stops were just fillers to take up time - because otherwise we'd have been too early to the tiny restaurant we went to for lunch - which had another tour bus there and so we timed it to get there just after they left.  I just had an ice cream for lunch, as I felt like I'd just had breakfast.

Drove onto Alta and to the hotel, around 3pm. Went and found the laundry and thought we'd have a go at doing some washing.

Sigh.

The machine was a very complicated Bosch with way too many cycles all labelled in Norwegian, with no english instructions. Found one cycle that said it would take 43 minutes. It took nearly an hour, and even then didn't spin the clothes very dry. So then into the drier. Another Bosch with far too many options. Whatever happened to two dials on a drier: temperature and timer ?? Why so damned complicated?? After forty minutes we went back and the clothes weren't dry at all. Mum went back again later, fiddled, went to reception to ask for help, found out the drying tray was full of water, tried again, and after probably two an a half hours since we started, gave up and brought all the washing back to the room to try it here.

By this time of course it's 6:30 pm and all I've had to eat since breakfast is an ice cream so I was feeling pretty miserable. So we went out for dinner - just across the way to a little shopping mall. Found a little pizza place and shared a small pizza.

Feel like a big fat blob. Didn't do *any* exercise today (other than a few walks up and down three or four flights of stairs on account of the elevators in the hotel being out of service). It certainly hasn't helped that's it raining here (guess we won't be seeing the midnight sun tonight!), and we're not really anywhere near the fjord anyway, and all the dramas with the washing). At least the blinds look to be good shut out blinds, so hopefully we'll get some sleep. 

So the hotel we had in Helsinki had these weird bathroom walls that were just glass with a bit of paint on them which plenty of see through spaces to see in from the outside. Managed to convince the thermostat to go down to about 19C (not sure that it actually did) so slept relatively well. In fact we had an early night (21:30) and slept through til 6:30!

Breakfast didn't start til 7am though, and they wanted to leave at 8am, so it was a very rushed breakfast for us (the room was pretty chaotic too, but we went to a second room which was a lot quieter).

Then it was driving driving driving north out of Helsinki.

We had a morning pitstop. I got frustrated with the people sitting in front of us (and will be for the entire trip) who just fuss around when the coach stops and block everyone else getting off the coach. Even the dude's wife was like "stand aside to let people out" but he didn't care :( I hate people.

More driving. Finland is like 74% forest so that's pretty much all we saw all day. Mostly young growth by the look of it as timber is Finland's primary industry.

After the first pitstop they put on some Sibelius. The first track being Finlandia. Except our tour guide will. not. shut. up. He talked for about 80 of the 90 minutes of the first leg this morning and as soon as Finlandia came on after the pitstop he talked just about all the way through it. Sad times.

Lunch was at a similar roadside combo of supermarket and cafeteria.

When we got to Kuopio in the afternoon we went up the tower overlooking the lakes and the town. I couldn't be stuffed waiting in the huge queue for the lifts, so walked up the steps! All 380 or so of them (mum counted)!

Drove into town and to the hotel. We actually got a room with a view of the town square which is pretty cool! And our room is 451.. how cool is that?! ;)

Dumped our stuff, accosted the bellboy and took our own bags up to our rooms, then went for a wander around the town. Lovely weather and we walked all the way down to the lake and back.

Tried to get onto the internet but my laptop refuses to connect to the wifi. The phones connect just fine though. Go figure. Also, turns out this hotel (and apparently the next one) has a free guest laundry. Maybe that's a thing in Finland. Good to know.

Since we couldn't listen to Finlandia on the coach, I found a beautiful video on YouTube (on my phone since the laptop won't connect - sad times) with Finnish landscapes and animals - just lovely.

Dinner was in the steakhouse downstairs in the hotel. Entree was a delicious vegetable soup (mostly tomato). Mains was "crispy beef brisket" whih was just amazing. So tender and tasty. Dessert was a nice enough pannacotta.

I've had something under my left upper eyelid since this afternoon and it's super frustrating :(:(:(  edit: managed to get rid of it before bed.

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.

Very early start today - had to be out the door at 7:30am. Fireworks went off last night at 12:15am and 2:15am. Hrmm..

Today was just a driving day. Left Copenhagen and drove across the Oresund bridge (and tunnel) into Sweden. 239 Euro for the coach - ouch! Got pulled up and the border crossing and they came through the coach and checked out passports.

Had a pitstop for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. No ATMs on the pitstops though, so still don't have any Swedish krona. Had to pay for some fries on credit card. Silly really. Given that we're only going to be in the country for less than 24 hours, I wonder if it would be possible to get away without any local currency at all. Except then I don't get any coins.

Arrived in Stockholm a bit after 4pm.

Then had to wait three quarters of an hour for our bags. In the end I went down and just took ours cause I got sick of waiting in the room with nothing to do.

And of course, once again we are cursed with the lesser of two views. In this case looking directly across to the building opposite, while people on the other side of the corridor get a fantastic view of the river and the old town.

At least there's free wifi. And the room isn't overheated (someone's set the fan to max cold previously).

Tonight's optional dinner experience was a "Swedish summer" dinner at an old farm outside of town (Langa Raden). There was "prawns on toast" which was actually prawns on a dark bread that wasn't toasted. The teeny prawns were very nice though. Mains was salmon or beef. I had salmon and it was *lovely*. Dessert was a chocolate fondant which was very nice but very rich!

Then another half hour drive back to the hotel to crash in a heap (after only about three thousand steps today!)

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.

Why do Europeans insist on everything being so damned hot?? Last night I had no doona at all, and air conditioning on max cold, all night, and I *still* woke up at 4am feeling hot and miserable. Just ridiculous. And the "desk" for working on has a glass surface, so is completely useless with a mouse, so have been using the bench under the tv, but it has a shelf right at knee height which I've banged into a couple of times already. Grumpy making hotel.

So after waking up at 4am hot, I then started stressing about today. So didn't get much more sleep.

The hotel breakfast was pretty average. The rosti were cold and disgusting, as were the crepes and the waffles. Blerf.

Anyways, so got ourselves ready and headed down to the Key Tours ticket office just down the road from out hotel. After having read so many negative reviews, I was very dubious about going with them. But they assured us that if the lift was closed we'd at least get a refund for that.

So out we headed to Chamonix. Took about an hour and a quarter to get there, although we had to queue for about forty minutes to get up the cable car to the top.

But oh my. It was so good. We had the perfectest day you could hope for - clear blue skies and not much wind. I might have gone a little crazy taking photos of the mountains!  And snow!  We also managed to get good positions on all four cable car rides.

After we got back down (several hours later!) we had a leisurely walk through the town of Chamonix, then stopped at a place just opposite the meeting place at the station for a drink/snack. They said they could do a cheese platter, so we asked for *small*, but ended up with a lot more food than we wanted :(

At 5pm it was back on the coach and back to Geneva.

And the fountain was fountaining.  It looks exactly like ours.

So all up a pretty awesome day. Yes it was expensive, but I really couldn't find any suitable alternatives on such short notice. It turned out to be super convenient and hassle free.

Got back to the hotel with just enough time to do my hair before heading out.

Dinner was at La Nasse, but we really weren't hungry. Entree was a salad, mains was lasagna. But after seeing the serving size of the dishes they brought out for the other tables, we asked them to half the sizes for our table. Even then I struggled to get through it. Couldn't even face dessert (a fruit tart). The lasagna was pretty nice, but the restaurant service (at least from the waiter we had) was very average. Was not impressed.

Back to the hotel to try and catch up.

Slept til 6am this morning. Had to have the window open all night though so we wouldn't overheat as much.

Breakfast we were quite stressed because mum had lost her jacket somewhere and we couldn't find it and noone had handed it into reception. But after breakfast we asked reception again and this time they had it. So that was a relief.

On the road at 9am, stopped at a reststop for morning tea.

Then onto Geneva. We got to the city at lunch time and got dumped and told to entertain ourselves for an hour. So Glenda and Mum and I went for a walk along the waterfront. As you do. Lunch was ice cream. Sadly the fountain wasn't going as it was too windy :(

After lunch went on a very meandering tour of Geneva by coach, then a very meandering tour of the old town by foot. Apart from the cemetary where John Calvin is said to be buried, the cathedral, and the Reformation Monument I don't remember much else.

Then back to the hotel to try and figure out what we're going to do tomorrow.

Dinner was at the Edelweiss restaurant nearby. Entree was molten cheese, potato, onions and gherkins - cheeeese! Mains was salmon (nicer than the salmon we had the other night). Dessert was strudel (I was too full to really enjoy it).

So I'd figured out a basic plan of attack for tomorrow (Gruyeres) when someone said we should do Chamonix. Except I hadn't done any research for that had I?? So then it was back to the hotel to waste an hour of my life trying to figure it out. It was ten o'clock before I could even start my evening routine which means a super late night, on top of an early morning tomorrow. Tired and grumpy. And if we do go to Chamonix it'll be on a overpriced tour bus that doesn't get good reviews on TripAdvisor. *sigh* But how else are you supposed to get there? Trains are extremelly complicated, as is driving yourself. I haven't even found a coach/bus service that goes from Geneva to Chamonix, and I'm too tired now to even think about it. *sigh*

The hotel in Strasbourg was too damned hot. There was no airconditioning, only a heater (that was on when we arrived). Left the window open all night which helped a little. But also in the bathroom there was a hot water pipe heater that kept the bathroom super hot (we kept the door closed to contain the heat - which of course my washing all dried overnight which was a bonus!). Woke up at 6:15, which was a sleepin!

Breakfast in the hotel was also complete chaos an there wasn't enough seats for everyone. We eventually found a table for six, but noone else from our group joined us.

We had a different coach driver today - our previous one (Dorrell sp??) had to have a mandatory break day, and then was going to pick up another tour. The new one had the radio on which was a bit annoying (talk shows and advertising in foreign languages made for just noise. Someone eventually asked them to turn it off which was good.

Had a pitstop north of Basel, then crossed the border into Switzerland. Had to wait about ten minutes at the border crossing.

In Basel we picked up another local guide and went for a bit of a walking tour. Didn't really see that much, just walked past the Fish market, the Rathaus and up into Barfüsserplatz and then it was lunch time and we had an hour off. But we had no idea what there even was to see. So we asked where the tourist information was, and also toilets. But the guide just said go to a cafe to go to the toilet (not much use if you weren't going to any cafes) and pointed at the wrong place for the tourist information. Not a terribly useful guide. Anyway, I saw a big i so we headed for that, and got ourselves a map. Walked past the Münster and down to one of the bridges to look along the Rhine, then headed back. Found a free toilet next to the tram ticket office.

Then the tour carried on. But all it did was take us to the Münster (which we went inside) and the cloisters next door. And then it was raining. Quite heavily. So we tramped down the hill to where we could take a tram up the hill to our hotel, and that was the end of the tour. And at that stage it would have been the end of the day and it was only around 3pm. So it would have been a complete dud of a day.

Except.

The sun came out.

So we headed out again to take advantage of the sunlight.

Took a tram all the way down to the other side of the Rhine over Mittlere Rheinbrücke, then walked all the way back, stopping at many of the things that were in bad lighting earlier, and seeing a couple of extra things too. Added another five thousand steps to the day.

The hotel is fairly nice, with a double-sinked bathroom and toilet with separate door. Although we have a courtyard-facing room so the view is nothing special.

Dinner in the hotel restaurant was quite nice. But even though I hadn't eaten anything more substantial than an apple since breakfast, I still couldn't finish it.

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!) .

5:37 wakeup. Blerf.

At breakfast I stocked up on veggies to make up for yesterday's lack thereof.

After breakfast mum and I walked up to the university church to get some photos of it in the morning sun.

Our first stop for the day was Colditz Castle. We had a guided tour of the place so got to see things like the solitary confinement cell, the chapel, and the tunnel some French officers dug through solid rock.

Stopped for lunch at a roadside rest house.

After lunch continued on to Dresden. I was really really missing the sweetie at this point, on account of last being here with him on our honeymoon. We had a walking tour of the town with a local guide, and got to see a couple of things we didn't see last time (like inside the palace courtyard which is now a museum complex, and inside the Church of our Lady). But there was a heap of things we didn't get to see, like even a basic walkby of a lot of the buildings, and we didn't even get to go down to the river to have a look. It really highlighted the difference between doing things on a tour and doing things yourself. It made me wonder what else we've been missing out on by doing tours. In some ways I actually felt quite ripped off that we didn't get to see as much as we should. So that and missing the sweetie made me feel somewhat depressed.

Headed back to Leipzig, and were a bit late for a 6pm service at Thomaskirche. All in German of course, but the organ playing was nice.

Then on to dinner. We went to the Auerbachs Keller which was pretty cool. The food was pretty good. We had a small salad for entree, a very tasty chicken and mushroom dish with rosti, and ice cream and cherry sauce for dessert. The problem was it was all very slow, and by the time they brought out a birthday cake for two of the guys, we didn't leave the restaurant til after 9:30, getting back to the hotel at 10pm :(:(:( Far far far too late when I have so much to do in the evenings. In the end I just downloaded my photos and gps, but left the blogging til the morning.

Slept mostly ok last night (although woke up at 5am). The pillows compress down to wafer thinness so had to use both and keep floofing them up. The sink isn't as good for clothes washing either - quite a bit smaller. The breakfast buffet is quite decent.

Today we headed back north to go to Wittenberg. Martin Luther spent many years there and it was full all sorts of history.

We started at the eastern end of town and made our way west.

So first stop was the little area at the edge of town where Martin Luther burnt the papal bull concerning his excommunication in 1520.

Then into the Lutherhaus which is where Luther lived for much of his life and includes his remarkably well preserved living room and a bunch of paintings by Cranach the Elder.

A couple of houses down is Melanchton's house which has been remodelled on the inside over the years.

By this time we'd reached the main market square and it was lunch time so we had an hour's break. I waited a little while for the sun to come out on the Rathaus, then we went to find somewhere warm and a toilet. Even in the shopping centres you have to pay to go to the toilet here. Wrong. So wrong. Had some hot chocolate and shared a donut and warmed up.

After the lunch break we carried on.

First stop was the main city church.

Then had a look at the outside of the Cranach house.

And finally reached the Castle church where Luther is said to have posted his 95 theses to the door. Sadly the church is closed off for renovations at the moment for the 500th anniversary of the reformation next year, but we could at least see the doors that have the theses in bronze.

The whole town tour went from 10:30am to 3:00pm so it was quite a long day even though we only covered about 1.5km.

Back to Leipzig and we got dropped off at the western edge of town and left to fend for ourselves for a couple of hours. Tried to go up the tower at St Thomas' but it's only open Friday/Saturday. So did a meandering wander up to the Hauptbahnhof, then back through the old town.

Dinner was at a Czech restaurant. Nice enough, but bread-heavy and almost no vegetables in sight. There was a vegetable soup (with just a few slivers of veggies) and bread, a beef stew with bread (only beef, no veggies), and a sweat bread roll with custard and cream. Too. Much. Bread. And not enough veggies.

Then back to the hotel to do the evening routine.

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.