Results tagged “Sleep” from Europe 2016

Slept mostly ok - the cooler temperature certainly helps.

Breakfast options were pretty limited, but the bacon was nice.

After breakfast we headed out for a tour of Oslo. We stopped opposite the Opera house for a photo stop. Drove around town for a bit. Went to the Vigeland sculpture garden which I quite enjoyed - the sculptures were quite interesting.

Then to the viking ship museum to see a couple of very well preserved viking ships which was pretty cool.

Then to the Fram museum to have a look at and on the Fram, a ship that explored both the north and south poles around the turn of the century.

Then got dropped back at the hotel.

We dumped some of our stuff then headed out for a good long wander around Oslo - alll the way from our hotel at the east central station up to the palace, then down to the water front, had an ice cream (Oslo was *hot* yesterday - 27C!!) then back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

Had the "farewell" dinner which was nice enough, although I struggled to get through my food. Chatted to some people for a while longer and suddenly it was 10:30pm ?? So pretty much just collapsed into bed without doing any photo or gps stuff.

Slept mostly ok I think. Woke up a bit before 6am. Average breakfast. Clear blue skies when we left at 8am. But it started to cloud over.

Had a morning pitstop at Kongsvold, a little guesthouse in the middle of nowhere. Then into the Dovrefjell National Park, but we didn't see any of the Greenland native oxen.

We did see another moose, a huge bird which I don't know if it was a large crane or a small ostrich, and another moose.

Stopped in Lom for a lunch stop. There was a vintage car parade going through town so the whole town was packed out and all these classic cars were coming and going so that was a lot of fun. Also had a look at one of the oldest stave churches in Norway.

The afternoon scenery was spectacular, especially the drive down into Geiranger. Absolutely wonderful.

In Geiranger we hopped on a cruise boat to see the fjord. Another fantastic experience.

All in all a great day.

Sadly our hotel room doesn't give us a view of the fjord, but I don't think anyone on the tour gets a fjord view, we all seem to be on the mountain side - probably you need to pay a lot more for a fjord view.

Dinner was in the hotel buffet. Pretty huge buffet. The drinks waiter was a bit hopeless though. Had to wait ages to get out of there and even then didn't sign for the drink I had. Oh well...

This room is *super* hot :( Can't open the windows more than a crack and the thermostats appear to not work at all. Sad times.

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.

Last night mum stayed up late (11pm) reading and I had super restless itchy legs, so didn't get to sleep for ages :(:(:( Consequently woke up tired and grumpy. Then I was looking at the maps again and got depressed all over again at the really bad seat rotation scheme that doesn't alternate sides of the coach. Pissed off with the world and didn't want to be sociable at breakfast. In fact I was so upset I sat down looking at my food wondering if I'd even be able to stomach it.

*sigh*

Left a bit after 8am.

Once again, people with the awesome window seats on the right side of the coach slept most of the morning. Seriously why would you even bother coming on a trip like this if you're just going to sleep the whole way through it??? The only advantage of them sleeping was that they didn't take up half the window trying to take their own photos. There was one point where there was an awesome view to the left, and some other points later in the day I was able to lean across people to get some nice photos on the right.

We also took a ferry ride across one of the fjords because there's no road.

Lunch was at the lovely fjord-side town of Fauske. We had leftover chicken from last night's meal, and an icecream. The sun had also well and truly come out, so was feeling a lot better.

After lunch we left the fjords for a bit and headed into the hills, and I think most of the coach snoozed, including me.

On the way back south over the Arctic circle we stopped at the visitor's centre there for a break and we saw the little movie they had which was quite informative.  Of course the Arctic circle isn't there anymore, it's wandered north (at 14 metres per year) so is now a ways north of the current visitor's centre.  But it was still cool anyway.

Continued down and past more fjords and mountains, although not as spectacular. Watched a short film with Joanna Lumley about her trip to the Arctic to see the northern lights.

Followed a truck over a long detour which slowed us down quite a bit - didn't get to the hotel til nearly 7pm. The room is nice enough and has a lovely view of the mountain next door, but it's *hot* :( Thermostat is as low as it will go but the head from the minibar fridge is winning out. Not going to be using the doona again tonight :(

I was in a tshirt all day today. I did put my coat on for the ferry ride. But even in the snow at the arctic circle I was just in my tshirt. Silly really.

Dinner was in the hotel - buffet style. Pretty average meal really, but dessert was nice enough. A bunch of them were going to go for a walk after dinner, and I'd have loved to have gone, especially as we've done literally no exercise all day, but that would add another hour to going to bed time and I'm exhausted.

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....

After the last two nights I decided I really needed an easy day today, so skipped the morning optional activity.

Bit of hurty in the morning so awake earlier than I wanted. Had a fairly leisurely breakfast with some nice choices.

After breakfast I came up to do computer stuff. And given that it rained all morning I'm not regretting my choice.

I used the time to various *stuff*. I checked the downloads of my photos, and I'm super glad I did as there was a day on the Reformation tour where I'd downloaded my photos before dinner, but had taken a whole heap at dinner, but hadn't downloaded them. I was super lucky I checked and that I hadn't already cycled that memory card, otherwise I would have lost all the people photos I took on the last night of the reformation tour. Backed everything to memory stick and external hard drive. Also completely repacked my suitcase which made me feel a lot better. I paid my phone bill (excess usage from being overseas). Blogged some stuff on my main blog. And just looked through photos.

The afternoon optional activity was a wilderness river "cruise". It's really not very well described so I had no idea what to expect. What it actually was was these motorised canoes that held between four and seven people in single file, and we motored up the river and back (20 km/h upstream, 35 km/h downstream). Unfortunately didn't get to see any wildlife except for a few birds. But it was somewhat exhilirating in the cool arctic air (not cold mind you!).

After the ride we got out and had some waffles by the fire sitting on reindeer skins (which are surprisingly warm, who knew) and got to see the remains of the ice hotel they build every year but has since melted. We got to see a bit of a promo video of it too which was pretty cool. Would be an awesome experience to stay the night!

The evening's activity was to a husky breeder's house for a dinner of bbqed salmon and veggies. After dinner was some stories from the owner who breeds and races her Alaskan huskies. She was a great story teller, it was really intersting. Then we got to go and play with the dogs and even got to hold some four week old puppies. Sooo cute!

Then back to the hotel.

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. 

The further north we get, the more .. "quaint" our hotels get :)

Last night's hotel had a pretty awkward bathroom and the buffet breakfast was extremelly limited (no bacon! *gasp*). Temperature was still too warm (we're in the arctic circle and it's too hot!). Opened the window for a while, but we were on the ground floor so didn't leave it open for the night. We did have a lovely view out the window though.

Slept like crap though. Other than lots of young guys partying on after the hockey game finished and making an awful lot of noise, I also woke up stressing about hurty and other such things. So I ended up being super tired all day. :(:(:(

Out the door at 7:30. Drove up to Norway, and noone was even at the border crossing so just quietly passed into Norway. Had to turn our clocks back an hour which makes today even longer. Also stuffs up my photo numbering which is based on time. There'll be overlap of a few photos.

By 8:45 local time we arrived at a small Sami museum. Had some explanations of some of the things by a local Sami lady which was interesting. I was so tired I was falling asleep on my feet though.

Then saw real live majestic mooses! Three on the other side of the coach, then I saw one on just outside my window and managed a good picture of it as we zoomed past. Lots and lots of reindeer too.

Drove along a fjord which looked very pretty, although Peter our guide says as fjords go from one to ten, it's probably a two. The super sad thing is, for all the drives where we'll be going past fjords in the next week, we're going to be on the wrong side of the coach :(:(:( Super sad making :(

Continued on and stopped for lunch at Olderfjord. Really nothing there but a small restaurant and a camp site. Had some quite nice soup for lunch, which was 99 NOK. Which translates to $16.50 AUD. Ouch. This place is even more expensive than Denmark, which shocked me four years ago.

The drive north from there got prettier and prettier. The rock strata was quite spectacular. Saw an eagle sitting on a rock. Passed cute little fishing villages, including many candidates for Stu's dream home. Got up past the trees and into the tundra, which with all the snow and rocks looked an awful lot like our snowy mountains!

Finally arrived in Honningsvag and checked into the hotel and found an ATM to get some cash out.

Then headed out again. This time for an optional bird watching cruise off the northwest side of the island. It was pretty expensive (109 EUR I think) but it was super cool. Got to see cormorants, puffins, razorbills, guillemots, white tailed eagles, gannets, kittiwakes and a whole heap of seagulls (a couple of varieties). But we finished off seeing a small group of seals which was pretty awesome. Got some great photos.

Back to the hotel for dinner. They weren't very well organised, but the food I had was very nice.

After a break after dinner (and then having to go wake up Peter who had fallen asleep) we headed out again - up to North Cape. After a rainy start to the day it wasn't all that hopeful that we'd see the sun, but it had actually been clearing for the evening which was super exciting. When we arrived we all had a glass of champagne and some cavier and salmon canapes then got a bit of time to get our photos taken with the globe and have a look at the movie and museum dug into the rock. Then at midnight we were all out to see the midnight sun. Pretty awesome :):):) The lowest it dips is actually a little bit after midnight, but they didn't give us time to hang around for that. But it was pretty surreal to be able to see the sun due north in the northern hemisphere - coming over the top of the world. Also the most furthest north I'm ever likely to get on land.

Coming back Peter said that they only get to see the midnight sun about ten percent of the time, and for most tour groups they never actually get to see it. So we were extremelly blessed. It was "sunset" lighting the whole way back to the hotel, but it was weird knowing that the sun was actually rising - it wasn't going to set at all!

So this hotel, in the middle of the arctic, where the sun doesn't set for weeks at a time, couldn't be arsed putting in blockout blinds. We just had these flimsy things that let the light in all night. Fail. 

I think I slept a bit better last night. A bit hard to tell because there was no powerpoint by the bed so I couldn't run sleep cycle for the night.

Pretty standard breakfast again.

Headed out around 8am. We headed one hour south east to the Ranua Zoo, which is an Arctic wildlife zoo which was super cool. Had a really great two hours there.

Then back into town to pick up the others that didn't come out. Had a brief false start getting away again because someone left their purse in the toilet at the hotel. Fortunately, like last time, they discovered just a few minutes out of town so we could easily go back.

Then we just continued to drive north.

Had a brief pitstop in one little town with a very old wooden church, and ended up saying there for a full pitstop which took the full half hour for people to get through the single toilet we found. hrmm.

The only other stop was a drive up onto a small hill which had ski lifts at the top, and which overlooked Russia in the distance. There might have been a bottle of very nice Russian vodka which the entire coach shared.

We saw the trees start to thin out during the trip, and as soon as you get just a little elevation you lose the trees completely and it's just arctic tundra. Not that it felt arctic at all - it was postively warm in town and even up the top of the hill it was windy but not cold. I just had my thin jumper on and I was fine.

And we saw lots of reindeer by the sides of the roads.  No majestic mooses yet though (other than in the zoo this morning).

Then onto Ivalo to our hotel and dinner, which was a buffet dinner in the hotel. They had some very nice salmon and various sauces which were pretty yummy.  But didn't have any dessert because the only option was pikelets.

We also have a lovely view from our window tonight of the river by the hotel :)

Woke up in the middle of the night for an hour last night. Dunno why. Other than the static electricity I was comfortable enough, just not sleeping.

Breakfast was pretty decent. After breakfast went for a walk down to the river to photograph the Lumberjack Candle bridge.

After breakfast we had a tour of the town of Rovaniemi with a local guide. She took us to the Lutheran church in town and we got a very detailed explanation of the fresco there.

Then we headed up north of town to Santa's "office" and the whole tourist kitsch. It's advertised as being on the Arctic Circle, which I thought was pretty cool at the time.

Except.

It's not.

Not only is it a couple of kilometres south of the Arctic circle, it's not even on a horizontal line to match up with any meridian. If you look at it on your favourite mapping application it's on quite a sharp diagonal.

But I didn't discover than until later.

In the meantime, they gave us some time to explore Santa's village there. We wandered into Santa's "office" where you can have your photo taken with the "real" Santa. Mum wanted to do it so we did. Me, I took one look at the prices and declared it *completely* ridiculous. It was 30 Euro for a large print. 35 Euro for five small prints. Or 40 Euro for a digital copy of the photo.

What. The. F@#k. ?????

How can they get away with charging 40 Euro for a digital file that they don't even have to expend any media on?? It's criminal. Needless to say I was not amused. I said I'd given them 10 Euro for the file. The girl wasn't amused. I'm sure she gets it all the time. I certainly wouldn't be doing that job.

Not only that, but you could tell the queue lasted for hours at certain times of year. They had a whole huge setup for the queuing. What made it so bad was that you went in and sat with "Santa" but instead of just taking a photo he makes all this small talk, which later turns out you can buy as a video.

?!?!

If they wanted more money:
1) charge less for the photos
2) cut out the crap and just churn people through instead of making them wait forever

Anyways.

I'm not cynical at all.

Honest ;)

After that we had a wander through all the little souvenir shops which was fun.

Got back to the hotel and given a small lunch break so I had Subway. Because it was across the road. So sue me.

Then we headed out again for the first of our optional tours for the day.

The first stop was the Arktikum, a museum of Arctic life. We had over an hour with the guide which was good, but then only got twenty minutes of self exploration of the museum. Ridiculous.

The second stop was a "pioneer farm" which was an old family farm house which had been preserved and turned into a museum. That was a great experience too, but again, ended with only a super short time to explore all the stuff there. Frustrating.

Once back in town again there was a couple of hours to kill before dinner, so mum and I went down to the river to see the bridge, then ended up doing the whole bridge to bridge walk. Whoops.

Then we had the next optional tour, which was out to a reindeer farm. We got to see one week old baby reindeer which were so adorable, and got to feed some young male reindeer. Then we headed up to dinner which was reindeer with mashed potato and berries. Quite tasty and quite a lovely evening.

Then back to the hotel to do computer stuff.

As it turns out, we did actually cross the Arctic circle tonight when we went to the reindeer farm.  I saw a sign on the road, and later confirmed it on the map.  So I have actually been to the arctic :)

The hotel we had last night had an even more open bathroom door. This one you could into the toilet as well as the shower with a couple of clear breaks in the frosted glass. Weird. Also no plugs for the sink to do washing, *but* they do have a free guest laundry, which we used this morning before breakfast (thanks mum!).

Sleep was a bit broken last night. Aircon got it relatively cool, but still overheated with the doona on. I think I might pull the doona out of its cover tonight.

Breakfast choices were a little limited this morning, but still had mostly my usual breakfast (which is getting smaller by the day).

Headed out at 8am. Had a pitstop midmorning, and continued onto Oulu for lunch. We had subway for lunch (I haven't had subway in a month!) and then wandered around the foreshore area looking at all the cute buildings.

Sadly I've lost my mini usb cable :(:(:(:(:( It must have either fallen out at the hotel at some point overnight (maybe at dinner, or breakfast, or in the room), or when pulling the camera out during our stop in Oulu. I'm pretty sad about it too, because that was the cable that I got with my Sony DSC-F828 camera in 2004, and it's been in that camera bag that entire time.

So the GPS was complaining about low battery for a chunk of the afternoon and I couldn't charge it. But it hung in there til we got to Rovaniemi. I checked at the hotel to see if they had any in lost property but they didn't have any. So headed out into the rainy streets to find somewhere to buy one. Tried a couple of places without any luck, but found one in Clas Ohlson. 10 Euros :(:(:( Also super sad-making because I have like ten of the damned things at home but had to spend $15 on a new one :(:(:(:(:(

Dinner tonight was in the hotel restaurant. Salad for entree was nice enough. Mains was meant to be chicken with vegetables, but was actually chicken, fries and huge amounts of bbq sauce. The chicken was lovely but we were wondering what happened to the veggies. Dessert was a nice piece of chocolate cake.

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.

Last night we set the room thermostat to 5C. It barely got cooler than ambient temperature. And couldn't open the window either.

Breakfast had a bigger selection of food, on account of being a much bigger hotel. They had potato and mushrooms which was nice.

Hopped on the 7:36 #635 bus to the terminals (it was super packed :( ).

Got to terminal 2 and there was a Subway (I really felt like Subway for dinner last night but we didn't find it - doh!).

Used the machines to check out suitcases through and that worked pretty well. Went through security, where they got me to turn the camera on and take a photo to make sure it really was a camera. And got a tarmac tour to get to the plane.

The flight was on a CRJ-900 which I've never been on before. Much like a 717. And if I'd known that I would have tried for a seat much further forward in front of the wing. But it was ok because the engines are further back. Except the windows were full of condensation which frosted up and made photographs pretty terrible. No snackages on the plane (unless you buy them) so just had some water. The south of Germany was all cloudy, but it cleared up as we went further north. Flew over the Malmo bridge which was super cool :)

Got to Copenhagen but our bags didn't come up the appointed carousel. And we weren't the only ones missing bags. But they finally finally came up - they must have lost a trolley along the way somewhere. Got some cash out, then waited for our transfer to the hotel from our tour group.

We got a 15th floor room, but sadly facing away from the city. No aircon to speak of either. But the window opens so hopefully it'll cool down overnight.

When we got here I needed to grab something light for lunch. Except I've said before, Copenhagen is *huge*, and it took a full half an hour to walk from our hotel to somewhere with light food options. After walking up and down a pedestrian section near the town hall I gave up and chose the Scottish Restaurant, because you can get small meals there (I just had some fries with mayo).

By the time I got back to the hotel, two hours had passed :(:( So much for a quiet afternoon catching up on blogging, backing up photos etc. Only got an hour before we had to head down for the tour starting meeting and dinner.

Dinner was ok - a bit of a buffet, so could regulate what we ate a bit better. They also included a couple of drinks, which may be the last I have on this trip on account of the price of everything here.

After dinner we headed out again - up to Tivoli Gardens. This was originally on the itinerary for this tour, but in recent week wasn't on the itinerary for the tour on their website. So I was a bit annoyed that we'd paid to go see and wouldn't get to (it's ~20AUD just to get in). So that was pretty good that we did in fact get to go in. Had a lovely wander through the park. Wanted to go on some rides but it was all too complicated with bags and stuff and not really having enough time. Even got some freshly made fairy floss which you can't get in Australia anymore, you can only get packed stuff. So that was all very nice and it was all very pretty as the lights came on.

Except.

We got back to the entrance one minute late (on account of *hoards* of people coming in the gates) and there was *noone* there. So we thought we'd misunderstood the meeting place. Mum stayed there while I went to the other place I thought maybe we should have been meeting. Twice. But no. They'd all fricken gone off without us. So now we're going to have a reputation with the rest of the tour (forty fricken people) as being people to be late and hold everyone up. Completely pissed off about it all.

And it's late.

Woke up 5am. But I was stressing about getting washing done and having breakfast before getting into town by 9:15am. So I wasn't getting back to sleep.

So we got up and headed down to the laundromat. Except they must have forgotten to turn the alarm off because this siren kept going off. I was super tired and hungry and the loud noise made my brain explode. We don't think we managed to get any detergent into the machine. Sigh.

Took the dried washing back to the hotel, had breakfast, but I was still super tired and grumpy. Finished getting ready and checked out, leaving the bags and the car at the hotel.

Then walked into town. We got to the Festspielhaus at 9:30, which does indeed tour the Felsenreitschule.

Except.

They don't allow photos. At least at the moment because they're setup for some festival which starts tomorrow. Well I wasn't going to pay 7 Euro to not be able to take photos, especially when it would have taken up an hour of perfectly good sunlight. Maybe next time.

And that's another thing. The damned weather forecasts are completely useless. They predicted rain for today, but it didn't come until much later in the day, and even then not much while we were still there.

So we walked up behind the festspielhaus and over the ridge to the other side. Walked along Nonnberger Hauptstrasse to find where they all had the carriage ride. Then all the way up to Nonnberg abbey. Went into the church this time which I didn't do last time.

Then back down into the old town to all the platzes where various bits of the movie were filmed, and the Mozartsteg.

Finally walked up to Kaputziner Closter to check out the view back to the old town.

Came back down and went to a place where I'd noticed earlier they sold Salzburger Nockerl, which mum had never heard of. So that was lunch (along with some cream of asparagus soup).

Went back to the hotel to pick up our bags, then headed back to Munich.

But with all the roadworks and just general traffic, the trip took about four hours :(:(:(

By the time we'd checked into the hotel, gotten petrol for the car, returned the car, saw about checking into our flight tomorrow and finding something to eat it was after 9pm :(:( So much for an early night :(:(:( Fortunately I didn't manage to bingle the car, so that was a huge relief. Driving on the wrong side of the road is super stressful! Who knew!

The checkin process was super painful. Terminal 2 at Munich airport only has checkin counters for Lufthansa. And its partner airlines in the fine print. So that was a little confusing. So we went to try checking in with the machines, but it both of our names up incorrectly, then refused to let us checkin. None of the human-operated counters showed general checkins, it was all just "bag drop" stuff. We asked the local Lufthansa help and she just said we just had to get in line with the bag drop queue. Really not a very user-friendly process.

By the time we got everything sorted and caught a bus back to the hotel, it was 9:20pm :(

Slept ok with open window.  Had breakfast (turns out they do actually have bread rolls) and got ready and checked out. Went with the group to the airport (got a new coach and a new driver but he was running a bit late). Got dropped off and terminal 1, and walked under to terminal 2 to pick up the keys for our car. Fortunately we were able to get a car with a GPS! Went to the garages to pick up the car (of course it was down the far back corner wasn't it?). But couldn't figure out how to change the language of the GPS to english, or how to even take the parking brake off, so had to walk wayyyy back to try and find someone, which took even more time out of the day. Turns out the parking break is a little switch in the middle. How bizarre! We also couldn't get the GPS to talk to us, but of course by that time we were out on the autobahns so I couldn't stop and fiddle.

Stopped for a pitstop at a rest house, and bought an Austrian toll sticker (8.80 for ten days). Also got the GPS talking to us.

Our first real stop was the closter at Hoglworth. It was also our first trip off the major roads onto teeny tiny roads which was, er, interesting. Of course I couldn't document any of it :(

Drove onto the hotel, negotiating Salzburg streets which was pretty stressful. At least there's free parking. And free internet! But it was quite late by the time we go there, on account of roadworks all up and down the autobahns. I'd been hoping to get here a lot earlier, and the weather was closing in (proving again to me that it's *always* cloudy and rainy in salzburg). The forecast was for rain the rest of our stay, so I thought we should get up the mountains first. But the mountains were mostly clouded over which was pretty sad making.

Anyway, so headed out again. Headed up Mehlweg first, but overshot where I'd been aiming for, so didn't find *the* hill I wanted to see. But I suppose we were close. Except it was so cloudy and rainy you really couldn't see anything :(

Then along the Rossfeld Panoramastrasse. This road is 8EUR and the top of it goes along the Austria-Germany border. But it was all clouded over so couldn't see anything. But luckily the clouds parted a little bit here and there and could at least see the view. Got to pretty close to the ridge the family walks along at the end of the movie, but couldn't find the exact spot (I think it's all covered by trees now anyway).

Then back down and south. Found two of the churchs used in the opening shots of the movie (and the intermission) in Kuchl and Golling.

Then continued south to Werfen. It was getting too late to attempt the Sound of Music walk from the town up to the meadow, so we drove up. I think the actual meadow is on private property, so we just stood at the top of it. It was pretty cloudy and getting dark, so didn't get the best shots, but at least go the idea.

Finally drove back to Salzburg. Went across to the station and just got some sandwiches for dinner which we ate back at 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.

Managed to cool the room down a little bit last night by having the balcony door open. But I didn't like the idea of leaving it open overnight, and the aircon was hopeless, so ended up waking up hot :(

Went into Augsburg first up. Met up with a local guide and went on a walking tour of the city. Had an interesting walk through the Fuggerei settlement, then looked at various buildings, and finished up at St Anna church, where Luther stayed for a while in the cloisters.

Then we got given some free time, so went up the tower in one of the churches, then had a look at the shiny "Goldsaad" - gold room in the Rathaus. Had a bite to eat from maccas (because it was at our meeting place and I knew I could get a small serving of food).

Then we headed to Dachau. Very sad place. Especially the cremetoria. Our guide, Ute, was born in 1938 and had stories to tell about her childhood which was pretty cool.

And finally onto Munich. Our hotel is in the middle of an industrial area, so there's nothing of any interest around. We walked into our room and the first thing I said was "this room stinks". Even though it says it's a non-smoking room on the door, there's an ash tray and matches in the room. We opened the window up wide and the door as well to get some air through which has helped. Others weren't so lucky - they got actual smoking rooms. We were all not very happy at all. And to rub salt into the wounds, they charge ten euros a day for the wifi!!!! Which I flat out refuse to pay given our awful experiences so far. It's worse that we're here for two nights right when I need it for organising the next part of our trip (although for the most part that's mostly organised so not the end of the world). But seriously, what hotel in Germany in 2016 doesn't have free wifi? I think this calls for an uncomplimentary review on TripAdvisor. I went down to reception to start asking questions (like, how can I get into the city? where's the nearest station?). Then moved onto where's the nearest laundromat, which of course he couldn't answer, so I said can we look one up, because I have no resources, to which he said, oh there's a business centre computer I could use. I was hoping for some wifi, but whatevs. Decided it was entirely too difficult to get to a laundromat from here (being in the middle of nowhere and all) so gave up on that idea.

Had dinner in the restaurant downstairs. Ok but very salty. Then back up here to find the desk doesn't have any spare power points. You have to disconnect either the lamp or the tv to get power. So after being spoilt by generally good hotels with all the sorts of services you'd expect, this hotel really ended this particular tour very badly.

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.