Results tagged “Beer” from Europe Honeymoon 2008

Had a very slow start today. Let Stu sleep in til about 8:30 heh :) Breakfast was one of the biggest so far. And lots of yummy bacon yayyy :) So we stocked up on breakfast so we could skip lunch.

So didn't get out the door til 11am. Whoops.

Crossing the Lech near Augsburg
Ha! We *did* go over this bridge earlier in the trip. Crossing the Lech
near Augsburg. 

Reichsstrasse, Donauwörth
Reichsstrasse, Donauwörth 

Schloss Harburg
Schloss Harburg

Our first stop was Nördlingen. We found a parking lot just outside the city wall with free parking (and unlimited cause it was Sunday) so stopped there and walked in through the gate. Where we found a staircase up to the city wall, which you can walk around!  Very cool. Walked along to the next tower and found a museum. In the tower. It was all in German, but Stu loved all the stuff on the Thirty Years War. So next we headed to the church right in the centre of town (the town is an almost perfect circle and only about a kilometre diameter).

Deininger Tor, Nördlingen
Deininger Tor, Nördlingen 

Stairway up to the wall
Stairway up to the wall 

Wall around Nördlingen
Wall around Nördlingen 

Löpsinger Tor from the wall
Löpsinger Tor from the wall 

30 years war battlefield in Löpsinger Tor
30 years war battlefield in Löpsinger Tor 

View towards Saint Georg's Church and the steeple Daniel from Löpsinger Tor
View towards Saint Georg's Church and the steeple "Daniel" from
Löpsinger Tor 

View back to Deininger Tor from Löpsinger Tor
View back to Deininger Tor from Löpsinger Tor 

Beautiful wood carvings in a store
Beautiful wood carvings in a store 

Saint Georg's Church in the centre of town
Saint Georg's Church in the centre of town 

Nördlingen Tanzhaus
Nördlingen Tanzhaus

Another church, another tower to climb :) (The tower is called "Daniel"). Stu didn't want to get all hot and sweaty, so I went up by myself. The view was fantastic, in fact the same view as filmed in the 70s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory heh :) Have to watch that when I get home too :) It was two euro for adults to go up, but you pay when you get to the top!  *and* there are toilets at the top of the tower!!  Weirdest thing ever :) (and there were free toilets *in* the city wall at various locations :) )

Bell in Daniel
Bell in Daniel 

Nördlingen from Daniel
Nördlingen from Daniel. That streetscape features in the movie
"Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" at the end of the movie
where they fly over a town 

Storks in their nest as seen from Daniel
Storks in their nest as seen from Daniel. See their webcam.

While up the tower I got a map of the town, so when I got back down we decided to follow the historic walking tour around. Saw tonnes of really cute old buildings. We really really liked Nördlingen (I think it might be pronounced Nerdlingen? :) ). It just had such a nice easy-going atmosphere. And it wasn't completely touristy. We loved it.

Saint Georg's Church and Daniel
Saint Georg's Church and "Daniel" 

Klösterle
Klösterle 

Stu on a bridge over the Eger stream
Stu on a bridge over the Eger stream 

Another view of the Eger stream
Another view of the Eger stream 

Crazy-crooked Gerberviertel
Crazy-crooked Gerberviertel 

Cute little car
Cute little car 

There were a few buildings that hadn't been maintained
There were a few buildings that hadn't been maintained. They had
no photographs signs on them heh. 

Reimlinger Tor
Reimlinger Tor

So our next stop was Dinkelsbühl (or as Stu dubbed it, Dingle-Dongleberg ;) ). We had more trouble finding parking here due to roadworks and road closures due to festivals etc. So that wasn't a great start. Ended up parking at the Krankenhaus (hospital - love that word heh). Walked into town via the lake outside which was very pretty, and then down into the main square of town. The buildings here have all been done up medieval-style and do look very cute, but this place was much much more touristy which came as a bit of a rude shock after the peacefulness of Nördlingen. We looked in the church and had an early dinner and then just left.

Dinkelsbühl
Dinkelsbühl 

Dr. Martin-Luther-Straße
Dr. Martin-Luther-Straße 

Saint George’s church
Saint George’s church

Interior of Saint George’s church
Interior of Saint George’s church 

Roof of Saint George’s church
Roof of Saint George’s church

Stu in Saint George’s church
Stu in Saint George’s church 

Beers in Dinkelsbühl
Beers in Dinkelsbühl 

Supposedly famous medieval building in Weinmarkt
Supposedly famous medieval building in Weinmarkt

We were going to go to Rothenburg but it was just getting too late, so just went straight to Heidelberg. Checked into our hotel, the went for a little walk around the old town, had some ice cream, and walked across the old bridge to the other side. As is tradition on this trip, stuff is covered in scaffolding. A third of the bridge and a quarter of the schloss :(:(  All a bit sad-making. Sat by the river for a while as it got darker before wandering back to the hotel.

Heidelberger Schloss from the old town square
Heidelberger Schloss from the old town square 

Heidelberger Schloss, Old Bridge and Neckar River
Heidelberger Schloss, Old Bridge and Neckar River 

Old Bridge over the Neckar River
Old Bridge over the Neckar River 

Church of the Holy Spirit and our hotel in front from the other side of the river
Church of the Holy Spirit and our hotel in front from the other side of the river

So had stress dreams about the castles overnight :( Mind running round and round in circles about how best to do it heh.

Breakfast was pretty decent, even had bacon - woot! :)

So we had a *very* early start, getting to the castles ticket office just after 8am. Got ourselves into the 9:10 Hohenschwangau tour and the 11:10 Neuschwanstein tour.

We walked ourselves up to Hohenschwangau the "slow" way, which probably took twenty minutes cause we kept stopping. (They say the steep way would take twenty minutes, but I reckon it'd take about five). The tour was pretty good (except for no photos :/ ). Saw lots of the castle and it was pretty interesting. So quite enjoyed that.


Alpsee 


Beautifully stacked wood 

Hohenschwangau
Hohenschwangau 


Neuschwanstein from Hohenschwangau 


Hohenschwangau

Went back down the hill to wait for a bus up the other hill. It dropped us near the top and we walked up to Marienbrücke to see the view from there. Then it was down to the castle for our tour. We had a bit of time before it started so wandered around for a bit. Then about a minute before we were due to go in, we read on the sign that bulky backpacks needed to be checked. So of course I panicked. Because I'd looked at the sign before and saw icons for NO anything-else, but no mention of backpacks.  We went back to the checking place and paid two euro for a locker. (As it turns out, that's just a deposit which we got back). But someone else on our tour had a much bigger backpack than me and they didn't even say anything, so that was all a bit annoying. But at least I didn't have to lug it around.


Iconic Neuschwanstein picture from Marienbrücke 


The American couple we met took this picture of us at Neuschwanstein 


Looking down at Alpsee and Hohenschwangau from above Neuschwanstein 


Hohenschwangau from above Neuschwanstein 


Front entrance of Neuschwanstein 


Courtyard from under the gates 


Courtyard area 


Back of the gatehouse 


Courtyard showing the location of the chapel that was never completed

Anyways the tour of Neuschwanstein was a lot bigger (in terms of numbers) and so we didn't get nearly as much commentary because we had to wait a lot longer for everyone to get into the rooms. And didn't seem to see that much either. Apparently seventeen rooms were completed before Ludwig died. We were thinking on the way out it might have been nice to see some of the incomplete rooms, but I suppose we did - in the form of a couple of gift shops.. hrmmm. Anyway so didn't enjoy that tour as much but it was still nice to see some things.


Model of Neuschwanstein

So then started back down, and took a horse carriage ride back down the mountain. That was a very pleasant ride. (While waiting I saw someone with my camera. I thought that was pretty cool, until she pushed in in front of us to take the front seat in the carriage. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate pushins? :/ But we did talk to an American couple from Texas who were in Europe for their honeymoon too! They were on our tour as well and we kept seeing them before and after as well heh).


Exterior lower walls of Neuschwanstein 


This woman has my camera. She is also very rude and a push-in. 


We rode a cart pulled by these horses down from the castle (in the background)

Next stop was Tegelberg, where we thought we might get some more views of the castles. We had lunch up there, overlooking the Alps. Was gorgeous :)  Walked up the mountain after lunch, and then down the mountain, and even across the mountain, but no luck seeing the castles :/  Oh well, so then came down the cable car and finally left the area.. At 4:20pm heh. Drove north, through Landsburg, not actually stopping but going through the old town and taking photos anyway, and then onto Augsburg.


Can you tell is thrilled to be being dragged up another mountain?


Neuschwanstein from the Tegelbergbahn 


Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau from Tegelbergbahn


German and Austrian Alps from Tegelberg 


Beer on top of Tegelberg 


Hanggliders waiting for the right conditions to take off from Tegelburg


Looking down to the cable car station from near the summit of Tegelburg 


The Birds!! Hanggliders actually :) 


Hauptplatz in Landsberg am Lech 


Sandauer Tor, Landsberg am Lech 


Sign indicating we were on the "Romantische Straße", on Augsburg
Straße just north of Landsberg am Lech


Checked into our hotel, then out to find a waschsalon. The nice thing about this one was it was right next to a Vietnamese restaurant, so we had dinner there while our clothes washed and dried. Was the most pleasant washing experience of the whole trip :)


Wood carvings in the table at the Vietnamese restaurant

And finally back here to crash. Think got a little sunburnt up the mountain today.. Oops...
Better hotel, no better breakfast.. Doh!!

So got up and it was sunny!! Could see mountains and everything! Various webcams weren't quite so promising, but decided to head for the Alps just in case.

Swiss Alps over Bregenz over Bodensee
Swiss Alps over Bregenz over Bodensee

As we were driving out of Lindau, just through the suburban areas south of there, we went through a roundabout and Stu said welcome to Austria, and I'm like what? Where? There was just a boring sign (that I missed completely) to indicate a change in country! Bah! Wanted Stu to turn around so we could do it again heh.

So took a very back-road scenic trip up into Lech in Austria. And it was soooo pretty :) Went over a couple of passes and Stu got to go out onto real-live snow :) He was very brave and did all the driving up and down scary mountain roads while I took loads of pictures.

Our hire car
Our hire car 

Little church in Bersbuch
Little church in Bersbuch 

Stu by the Bregenzer Ache river a kilometre north of Au in Austria
Stu by the Bregenzer Ache river a kilometre north of Au in Austria 

Elevated road just up from Schröcken
Elevated road just up from Schröcken. Stu looked at this and freaked out a little! 

View from our morning tea spot
View from our morning tea spot (you can see the elevated road below) 

Stu on the snow at Hochtannbergpass
Stu on the snow at Hochtannbergpass 

Widderstein from Hochtannbergpass
Widderstein from Hochtannbergpass 

Biberkopf from Hochtannbergpass
Biberkopf from Hochtannbergpass 

All the mountains around the roads and villages had these barricades to help prevent avalanches
All the mountains around the roads and villages had these barricades
to help prevent avalanches 

Biberkopf, coming into Warth
Biberkopf, coming into Warth 

Looking west down Arlbergpass
Looking west down Arlbergpass 

Biberkopf again, this time coming back into Warth from the south
Biberkopf again, this time coming back into Warth from the south 

Biberkoft and cute chalets just outside of Warth
Biberkoft and cute chalets just outside of Warth

Finally we headed for Füssen in Germany (this time I was keeping an eye out for the border sign, and it was a complete anti-climax. Boring!! :)


Church seemingly in the middle of the road in Hägerau.
In one town the church really was in the middle of the
road and there were dings in the corners from cars
hitting it!


Church in Stockach, coming down the Lech valley
Church in Stockach, coming down the Lech valley 

Germany border crossing sign
At least I was expecting the border crossing back into Germany!
Police waiting on the other side!


Checked into our hotel (right in the middle of town - even with onsite parking it was a little crazy), and then we headed out to suss out the castles for tomorrow.

I have wanted to see Neuschwanstein for a very long time (prolly twenty years or so) so finally seeing it was very exciting :) All the parking there is 4.50 euro in gated lots, but didn't want to pay that since we'd be there tomorrow again anyway. So drove off wondering what to do when the no stopping signs stopped and we noticed cars parked on the side of the road, so decided to join them. It was a bit of a hike back, but at least they didn't get our money twice!  Anyways, so got our info for tomorrow's visit.

Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein! 

Hohenschwangau
Hohenschwangau

Hohenschwangau
Hohenschwangau 

Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein 

Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein

So then back into town for Stu to recover for a bit, then went out for walk round Füssen. Took some photos of the schloss, then had beer followed by ice cream for dinner :)

Street in Füssen
Street in Füssen 

Hohes Schloss Füssen
Hohes Schloss Füssen

Hohes Schloss Füssen
Hohes Schloss Füssen 

Beer in Füssen
Beer in Füssen

Now have been sitting here waiting for it to get dark enough to go out and try and see some stars....
Ok so alternating our good and bad days now...

Breakfast was the lamest so far, especially considering the size of the hotel and the number of people there :(

So headed into the Black Forest, taking a slow scenic drive through tiny towns and windy roads.

Heading up the L106, approaching Bleichheim
Heading up the L106, approaching Bleichheim 

Corpus Christi celebrations in Bleichheim
Corpus Christi celebrations in Bleichheim (we had to go around the
block as the road in front of the church was blocked off) 

Kanone‎ Guesthouse in Haslach im Kinzigtal
Kanone‎ Guesthouse in Haslach im Kinzigtal 

Small street in Elzach
Small street in Elzach 

Roadside pull-outs
Roadside pull-outs were so rare that when we saw one we stopped.
This was a little stream next to the L109 about 5km south of Hinterprechtal


Our first major stop was in Triberg, first finding the world's biggest cuckoo clock (supposedly), a few kilometres north of town just after a road tunnel. Went into the shop inside.. Sooooo many cute cuckoo clocks!!  Want! But I know they'd be just plain annoying going off in the middle of the night.. And so expensive.. And a dust catcher... Sigh... Heh. We were there in time for the 1pm cuckoo of the big clock... It was a bit of an anti-climax.. Just one cu .. ckoo .. Heh

World's biggest cuckoo clock, Schonachbach just north of Triberg
World's biggest cuckoo clock, Schonachbach just
north of Triberg 

The back of the building.  1 Euro to make the little people come out and play Eidelweiss
The back of the building. 1 Euro to make the little people come out
and play Eidelweiss


So went back into town, found some parking, and went for a walk. Had some lunch, the wandered up to see the "famous" waterfall. (It started raining at this point too). Well they wanted 2.20 each to go see it and we're like wtf??? It's not even that good a waterfall!! Stoopid.

Beer in Triberg
Beer in Triberg 

Triberg Waterfalls
Triberg Waterfalls

So got back in the car and meandered to our next stop - Titisee ..! Couldn't stop giggling over that one, I'm sure Scotty would have giggled a lot too ;) Was a nice place, can imagine it getting *very* crowded in summer though. Had some Schwartzwalder kirshtorte, as you do when you're in the schwartzwald ;)

Teeny tiny little church in the village of Ödenbach
Teeny tiny little church in the village of Ödenbach 

Titisee (I didn't see any tities :) )
Titisee (I didn't see any tities :) ) 

Boats for hire by Titisee
Boats for hire by Titisee 

Promenade in Titisee
Promenade in Titisee 

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte at Bergsee Restaurant
Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte at Bergsee Restaurant 

View from Bergsee terrace
View from Bergsee terrace

Tried to find a way up Hochfirst, but couldn't find the road, but did find a couple of ski jumps :)

Hochfirstschanze ski jump hill in Titisee-Neustadt
Hochfirstschanze ski jump hill in Titisee-Neustadt

So then we headed over to Lindau next to Lake Constance/Bodensee. Could see the shore of Austria, but no mountains.. Checked into the hotel then went for a walk into the old town on the island. Very pretty. Ate a late dinner by the harbour and looked at the lights and the reflections. So pretty.

Crossing the Danube near Pfohren
Crossing the Danube near Pfohren. I had to go look up what those
military signs meant too - they're NATO military bridge classification
signs, indicate the safe load-carrying capacity of the bridge for
military vehicles 

T-mobile airship near Birnau
T-mobile airship near Birnau

Bodensee and Klosterkirche Birnau
Bodensee and Klosterkirche Birnau 

Lindau Rathaus
Lindau Rathaus

Lindau Harbour
Lindau Harbour. This itself was pretty spectacular..

Lindau Harbour
Then they turned the lights on! 

We had dinner here overlooking the harbour - beautiful!
We had dinner here overlooking the harbour - beautiful!

The harbour by night
The harbour by night

Bodensee by moonlight
Bodensee by moonlight

And then we caught a taxi back to the hotel, cause it was dark and a 3km walk heh..

Ok so it had to be done. I mean we're in Salzburg after all, right?  And it's not like I haven't wanted to do it for, oh, the last twenty or so years since my grandparents did it..

That's right, we went on the Sound of Music tour... !!

So I'd read plenty of reviews and read enough negative ones to not get my hopes up too high. So in the end, it wasn't too bad and even Stu enjoyed it.

So the tour stars off in front of Mirabell Palace and winds around some of the city streets, pointing out things like the Museum of Modern Art up on the cliff where part of do-re-mi was filmed, past the Mozart bridge where they all run across and look down at the river, and Nonnburg abbey.  Then they took us to Leopoldskron which is where they wanted to film but ultimately only used the lake frontage there and used Schloss Frohnburg for the back (and also the front, which we did see from a distance on the way to Hellbrunn).  Hellbrunn is where the gazebo is currently located, it having been moved twice so tourists could see it better.

Looking towards Untersburg across the lake in front of Schloss Leopoldskron
Looking towards Untersburg across the lake in front of
Schloss Leopoldskron 

Schloss Leopoldskron with the fortress in the background
Schloss Leopoldskron with the fortress in the background. The lake
foreshore and gates in the movie were filmed here, but not the
building itself.


Those gates are were the kids fell in the lake
Those gates are were the kids fell in the lake 

Our tour bus at one of the stops
Our tour bus at one of the stops 

Schloss Hellbrunn from a distance
Schloss Hellbrunn from a distance (we're only here to see the gazebo
so didn't get any closer today) 

Us in front of the gazebo
Us in front of the gazebo. This was originally located
in the grounds of Schloss Leopoldskron, but was
moved because of constant trespassing by tourists


Then we headed out to the lake country, passing by Fuschl and stopping to have a quick run on the toboggan (I wonder how much of a kickback they get from that?!). The toboggan is just like the one at Jamberoo. And just like at Jamberoo you can get stuck behind bumheads that are too scared to go down fast. So that was very frustrating for three of us who got stuck behind this girl :(  And unlike Jamberoo we couldn't just go back up for another run, as we only had time for one run, and it was 4.30euro a go! :(

Me coming down the toboggan
Me coming down the toboggan

Next stop was St Gilgen to overlook the lake and get a peek up to where they started filming the do-re-mi scene and the cog train (didn't actually see these, just told they were there :( ).

St Gilgen and Wolfgangsee
St Gilgen and Wolfgangsee. There are two shots of this lake (one from
either end) in the opening sequences in the movie


Then onto Mondsee to see the church where they filmed wedding. We had an hour stop here, so thought that would give us time to get some lunch. Bad idea. The cafe took half an hour to serve us, so we had all of five minutes to try and scoff our food :( I *hate* trying to eat when I'm in a rush, so it was incredibly stressful, thinking we'd miss our bus :(:(

Collegiate Church at Mondsee
Collegiate Church at Mondsee. The wedding scenes in
the movie were filmed here 

Collegiate Church at Mondsee
Collegiate Church at Mondsee. Julie Andrews walked down this aisle! 

Nave of the church
Nave of the church 

Roof of the church - very pretty!!
Roof of the church - very pretty!! 

Beer we had while stressing over how long our lunch was taking to arrive
Beer we had while stressing over how long our lunch was taking to arrive

Anyways. So then back on the autobahn to Salzburg. They played part of a dvd on the filming of the movie which showed a lot of clips and where they were filmed - very useful!

So there quite a few Americans (some loud, talkative ones as well as some nice (and quiet) ones), and some Australians too. The tour guide was a nutter, but kinda funny in a lame way heh. So was all good fun. Nobody sang though :( It was also good to get out and see the countryside as that's a bit hard to do when you don't have a car. There were still a few things I'd like to get back to have a closer look. But they very nicely gave us a detailed booklet on the filming locations which was very useful for the afternoon.

Anyways so they dropped us off outside Mirabell Palace, where there were several locations for the shooting do-re-mi. So spent a good while wandering around there. Then we wandered into the old town and went up the lift to the Museum of Modern Art (which took us a while to find as it wasn't really obvious (to our tired eyes anyway)) which had some great views of the city. Stu got a coffee there too while I figured out our plan of attack for the afternoon.

Pegasus fountain in Mirabell Palace Gardens
Pegasus fountain in Mirabell Palace Gardens. The scene was filmed
from a balcony directly above where this picture was taken from


Do-re-mi Kazza
Yeah yeah ;) I saw someone else had done this on the internet so
thought I would too :) Looking down the "do-re-mi" steps across the
gardens and up to the fortress in the distance 

Mirabell Palace and gardens
Mirabell Palace and gardens 

Mirabell Gardens and fortress
Mirabell Gardens and fortress 

These girls were on their own Sound of Music reenactment tour :)
These girls were on their own Sound of Music reenactment tour :) 

Statues at the southern end of the gardens
Statues at the southern end of the gardens. That tourist stand on the
right wasn't there in the movie ;) 

For some reason this amused me :)
For some reason this amused me :)

Hedge arcade (this was actually filmed in the other direction)
Hedge arcade (this was actually filmed in the other direction) 

Stone dwarf statue in Mirabell Gardens
This kids skip past this and pat this dude on the head. The statues have
been moved from their location by the river because of frequent flooding 

Blick vom Mönchsberg
Blick vom Mönchsberg - Terrace above the old town where they did
part of Do-Re-Mi


So the plan of attack was to go back down and go to all the places in the old town where they filmed scenes. This took several hours, heh. Wore poor Stu out in the process.. Oops.. Was a bit bummed that we couldn't see inside the Felsenreitschule (where they filmed the concert at the end) because you could only get in on a tour that runs once a day.

I thought this single geranium in a window was kinda cool
I thought this single geranium in a window was kinda cool 

Horse wash
Horse wash (also featured in the movie, but from the other side of the
street so you could see the whole thing) 

Cool tunnel through the mountain
Cool tunnel through the mountain 

Side wall of the Felsenreitschule
We found this at random trying to find a way up to the
back of Felsenreitschule to see if we could see down
into it (you can't because it's covered).. 

Salzburg
.. and found ourselves on the terrace where Maria starts singing "I Have
Confidence" straight after leaving the abbey (which is actually a decent
distance away!)


Interior of St Peter's Church
Interior of St Peter's Church 

Cemetery of St Peter's Church
Cemetery of St Peter's Church. This location inspired the scene near the
end of the movie, but was not filmed here (it was filmed in a sound studio) 

Cemetery of St Peter's Church
Cemetery of St Peter's Church 

Back to the cathedral, this time to get a shot in the right direction of the arches that Maria walks through in the movie
Back to the cathedral, this time to get a shot in the
right direction of the arches that Maria walks through
in the movie 

Horse fountain in Residenzplatz
And to get some photos of the horse fountain in Residenzplatz 

The movie shot didn't quite work here :)
The movie shot didn't quite work here :) 

Me walking into the gates at Nonnberg Abbey
Me walking into the gates at Nonnberg Abbey 

Interior courtyard of Nonnberg Abbey
Interior courtyard of Nonnberg Abbey 

Stu at the end of the Mozart Bridge with the fortress in the background
Stu at the end of the Mozart Bridge with the fortress in the background

And then finally back to the hotel to crash for a bit. Went out for "dinner" - again of dessert, as we'd eaten so much the rest of the day..
Urghh another crap night sleep :(  Woke up to go to the loo and couldn't get comfortable or back to sleep for ages :(

So did the breakfast thing, checked out, and headed to the station (via some postcard stands) to get to the Westbahnhof for our train to Salzburg.

That loco was moving! Apparently this is banned in Australia for being too dangerous
That loco was moving! Apparently this is banned in Australia for being
too dangerous


We thought as we pulled out that we'd get the compartment to ourselves, but some Canadians had been booted out of "business" first class so came to sit with us. Oh well. But they were nice enough. Rosemary and Camille I think their names were.

So the train trip was very pretty. The area just outside Vienna was very picturesque. And seeing snow on the alps was very cool. So three hours later we arrived in Salzburg.

Our carriage was at the back of the train so we could see out the back window
Our carriage was at the back of the train so we could see out the
back window 

Church in Irrsdorf
Church in Irrsdorf

We didn't see too much on the walk from the station to the hotel, just the hill on the west side of town. Checked into our hotel which is the nicest so far (and the "nicest" price too heh). And wireless internet yayyyy!! ;)

So dumped our bags and went to find some lunch. Found a cafe on the way towards the old town, which was very nice but a bit on the pricey side.. Oops..

Beer in Salzburg
Beer in Salzburg

Kept walking down and finally saw the hill with the fortress on top which dominates the landscape. Because it was vaguely sunny, I wanted to go up to it (in case it rained for the rest of our stay here). We got ourselves a Salzburg Card which was also fairly pricey (37e each for 72 hours) but gives us free admission to most stuff in the city and free travel on the electric buses. We also had a bit of a wander through the old town, and went in the cathedral. And then we took the funicular up to the fortress. We ran into Rosemary and Camille who were already on board. And up we went!  Very cool, and *very* steep.

Kapitelplatz and Kapitelschwemme with Hohensalzburg Fortress on the top of the hill
Kapitelplatz and Kapitelschwemme with Hohensalzburg Fortress on the
top of the hill 

Gold ball monument in Kapitelplatz
Gold ball monument in Kapitelplatz 

Salzburg Cathedral (big surprise - scaffolding!)
Salzburg Cathedral (big surprise - scaffolding!) 

Interior of Salzburg Cathedral
Interior of Salzburg Cathedral 

Roof of Salzburg Cathedral
Roof of Salzburg Cathedral

Roof of Salzburg Cathedral
Roof of Salzburg Cathedral

Going up the funicular to the fortress
Going up the funicular to the fortress

So the view at the top was spectacular. We came out on the northern side so could see all the main area of the city. Then we went inside the fortress to explore. And this is the coolest place ever to explore. Little rooms and nooks and crannies. Half the fun was in looking inside a doorway to see what was there. Hardly any of it was blocked off. Behind one door (in one of the chapels) we found Rosemary and Camille again heh.

View over Salzburg from the fortress
View over Salzburg from the fortress 

Stu inspecting a wooden cannon in the fortress
Stu inspecting a wooden cannon in the fortress 

Some of the oldest part of the fortress - the Romanesque Fortress Chapel, <br />
discovered by archaeologists in 1994
Some of the oldest part of the fortress - the Romanesque Fortress Chapel, discovered by archaeologists in 1994 

View of the Cathedral and old town from the fortress
View of the Cathedral and old town from the fortress 

Interior of St George's chapel
Interior of St George's chapel. We never would have found this had we
not looked at a closed door and wondered what was behind it!


On the southern side you get a wonderful view of the alps, which was exceedingly cool. It was a bit hazy so my photos won't be great but anyways...

Looking over Nonnberg abbey to Gaisberg
Looking over Nonnberg abbey to Gaisberg

Interior walls of the fortress
Interior walls of the fortress 

View out to Untersberg
View out to Untersberg 

Interior walls of the fortress
Interior walls of the fortress

Went in another door and an audio tour was about to start, so went along on that to see more rooms and go up a tower with 360 views!

Salzburg Fortress
Salzburg Fortress 

Salzburg Fortress
Salzburg Fortress

Mechanical organ in the fortress
Mechanical organ in the fortress that ran over the city
telling people what time to go to bed, and waking people
in the morning


On the way out saw something else so went to look at that and it turned out to be a whole other exhibition. Even heard/saw the dinner concert musicians practising.

Practising for the Mozart dinner/concert later in the evening
Practising for the Mozart dinner/concert later in the evening 

Spectacular chamber heater
Spectacular chamber heater

We were about to go down again when Stu looked at the menu at one of the cafes and saw the dessert dish (Salzburger Nockerl) that a colleague of his had told us to have, so we went in. We had a glass of wine while gazing at the alps, and the dessert was amazing.. Huge!! Heh. (We didn't actually have dinner since we had lunch so late and wouldn't have fitted the dessert in anyway had we had dinner first :) )

Enjoying a nice wine overlooking Untersberg
Enjoying a nice wine overlooking Untersberg (I thought wine would
go better with dessert than beer!) 

Salzburger Nockerl!
Salzburger Nockerl!

So finally we caught the funicular back down the hill and wandered back to our hotel.  Thoroughly enjoyed the fortress.  It was just so fun and it wasn't crowded and they weren't anal about not taking photos etc (although a couple of things would have been an extra admission fee had we not had the cards).  Spent probably over three hours up there, which was totally worth it, and one of my best days of the holiday so far.
Didn't sleep so well last night. Had the windows open for a bit to get some fresh air, but of course that lets in every tiny sound from the street below. Then some alarm, or maybe a truck reversing sound, went off for ages so that was really annoying :/

iew from our hotel window into Neuer Markt
View from our hotel window into Neuer Markt. Before 10am the place is
abuzz with delivery trucks and other such commercial ventures. Then
they all disappear for the rest of the day.


After another boring breakfast, headed out to Schloss Schönbrunn. We decided we'd like to go on one of the "tours" which actually turned out to be a self guided tour with commentary on a bit of paper heh. But that was ok. What wasn't so ok was being stuck in between actual guided tours that would fill up the rooms with a couple of dozen people at a time, stopping us from being able to see anything. Grrr. So you go through the entire first floor seeing various sleeping quarters, reception rooms, ball rooms etc.. Very cool. They don't let you take any photos either so they can sell you a book as soon as you exit the last room. Grrr.

Schloss Schönbrunn
Schloss Schönbrunn

Went back to get my bag (which they also make you check) and by now the entry foyer was crowded with people. We were glad we arrived early heh. Wandered around outside, having a look at the "Privy" garden, then up the big concourse to the big fountain and then up the hill to the Gloriette.  It was all so *big*!  From the palace it looked so big and faraway and very impressive. Climbed to the top of the Gloriette to look back down on the palace before meandering back down the hill again.

Orangerie/Privy Garden
Orangerie/Privy Garden looking towards the eastern wall of the main palace 

View from the palace up to the Gloriette
View from the palace up to the Gloriette

Wide open spaces as seen from the back of the palace
Wide open spaces as seen from the back of the palace. The spot just
below was filled with an orchestra and dancers in The Living Daylights 

Part of the Great Parterre (Great Ground Floor)
Part of the Great Parterre (Great Ground Floor) looking back towards the palace

Neptune Well
Neptune Well

View back to the palace from under Neptune Well
View back to the palace from under Neptune Well 

The Gloriette
The Gloriette 

View towards the palace from the top of the Gloriette
View towards the palace from the top of the Gloriette

Next stop was the maze, which was a bit of fun, and then Stu stopped and made a couple of phone calls while I went through the smaller mazes.

Can you tell Stu had had enough?
Can you tell Stu had had enough? :) 

Maze in the palace gardens
Maze in the palace gardens, in part of the French Garden 

There were some other fun bits and pieces in the gardens, including this funky mirror setup and some trick fountains
There were some other fun bits and pieces in the gardens, including this
funky mirror setup and some trick fountains


So by this time it was very late, like 2pm or something and Stu was well and truly fading so we got the train up to the fairground with the big ferris wheel and had some nice lunch at an Italian cafe.

Gösser beer at the Italian Cafe next to Praterstern Hauptbahnhof
Gösser beer at the Italian Cafe next to Praterstern Hauptbahnhof

And the for 8euros each (blah) we went up in the ferris wheel. Half the cars were empty so thought we'd let everyone that was waiting go ahead of us and take the next one, but the dude forced us to get on with them all. So it was a bit crowded and I'm sure I annoyed people trying to take photos. Too bad. But the view was pretty good although quite a smoggy day so not sure how well photos will turn out.

Wiener Riesenrad (Viennese giant wheel)
Wiener Riesenrad (Viennese giant wheel). This large Ferris Wheel
featured in The Living Daylights 


On the Wiener Riesenrad 

View of the Prater amusement park
View of the Prater amusement park (which also featured in The
Living Daylights)


View back to Stephansdom from the ferris wheel
View back to Stephansdom from the ferris wheel 

Every second car was setup as a restaurant car
Every second car was setup as a restaurant car - this would have been
*soo* cool to do! 

Donauturm (Danube Tower)
Donauturm (Danube Tower). We soo need to go up this
next time we're in Vienna! 

Prater amusement park
Prater amusement park

So headed back to the hotel. It was only 4pm but Stu didn't feel up doing anything else, so we just crashed for a couple of hours.

Stu in our hotel room window
Stu in our hotel room window

For dinner we went to "Bio Bar" vegetarian/vegan/organic restaurant. Had to wait a little while for food (as apparently my cordon bleu was "complicated" heh) but the food was fantastic.

Bio Bar
Bio Bar

Beer at the Bio Bar
Beer at the Bio Bar 

Stephansdom by night
Stephansdom by night

And then back to the hotel to crash...
After a not-so-great night's sleep (temperature issues - the doonas make it "all or nothing"), woke up at 7am.

Went down for breakfast, which was ok, but much less variety than other places and no hot dishes :(

So then we began our walking tour of Vienna. Saw lots of buildings, a few churches, a palace or two, government buildings etc. Was a bit sad I didn't get to see the lipazzaner horses at the Spanish Riding school cause they were closing up for the day. We also popped into the Schmetterling Haus - butterflies!  Although I was expecting more than there actually were. One did land on Stu and seemed to find him rather tasty... :)

Hofburg Palace
Hofburg Palace 

Peterskirche
Peterskirche 

Albertina
Albertina 

Vienna Opera House
Vienna Opera House 

Exterior of the Schmetterlinghaus
Exterior of the Schmetterlinghaus 

Moth in the Schmetterlinghaus
Moth in the Schmetterlinghaus 

Interior of the Schmetterlinghaus
Interior of the Schmetterlinghaus 

Butterflies in the Schmetterlinghaus
Butterflies in the Schmetterlinghaus 

Butterfly in the Schmetterlinghaus
Butterfly in the Schmetterlinghaus 

This butterfly wanted to be Stu's friend
This butterfly wanted to be Stu's friend 

Butterflies in the Schmetterlinghaus
Butterflies in the Schmetterlinghaus 

South-eastern face of Hofburg Imperial Palace
South-eastern face of Hofburg Imperial Palace 

Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum 

MuseumsQuartier
MuseumsQuartier 

Hofburg Imperial Palace
Hofburg Imperial Palace 

Austrian Parliament
Austrian Parliament 

Burgtheater
Burgtheater 

Concert setup in front of the Rathaus (Town Hall)
Concert setup in front of the Rathaus (Town Hall) 

Rathaus (Town Hall)
Rathaus (Town Hall) 

I loved all the flowers decorating all the balconies and windows
I loved all the flowers decorating all the balconies and windows 

Schottenkirche
Schottenkirche 

Amazing selection of sweets in a shop on Graben
Amazing selection of sweets in a shop on Graben 

We quite liked this Just Married box near our hotel on Seilergasse
We quite liked this "Just Married" box near our hotel on Seilergasse

We went to another cafe near the cathedral for lunch (Chattanooga). I had some chicken satay sticks and Stu had Berner wurst - like cheese kranskies wrapped in bacon - yummm :)

Beers at Chattanooga near the cathedral
Beers at Chattanooga near the cathedral

Then it was a mission to find a laundromat. The hotel dude had given us the address of one so we went and found that, although it appears to be closing at the end of the month. The prices were scary - 7 euro just for the wash, plus powder and drying.. :(

Came back and then headed out again for a walk on Donauislen. Stu had a specific destination in mind, but we couldn't actually find it, so it just ended up being a very long (but not unpleasant) walk.

Donauinsel station - right in the middle of Reichsbrücke over the Danube
Donauinsel station - right in the middle of Reichsbrücke over the Danube 

The Blue Danube - railway bridge south of Südosttangente
The Blue Danube - railway bridge south of Südosttangente

Back again to recover before heading out for dinner. Back to Sparky's again as they have free wireless, so took the laptop along to book Salzburg accommodation. Then back to Cafe Mozart for dessert, as they also have free wireless :)

Was gonna was me hair tonight too.. But couldn't be stuffed...
OK this waking up at 6am thing is getting a little old...

Breakfast was quite crowded and we actually had to wait to get a table. But it was pretty good and it even had some very nice bacon so had quite a bit of that ;)

After breakfast we wandered out to head into town. We didn't really have any set plans, so we just wandered up to and over the Charles Bridge and drifted with the hoardes of other tourists up the hill to the palace/cathedral. By the time we were halfway up and had passed never-ending tourist stores and stalls, as well as being crowded by the other tourists, we were pretty much over Prague. We stopped at Starbucks so Stu could a coffee before trudging onward and upward. The palace wasn't hugely impressive, but the cathedral inside was very nice. Not as big as Köln obviously, but still very detailed. We didn't feel up to queuing up to go inside (or up the tower), so just started wandering down the hill again.

Prague Castle over Bridge of Legion (Most Legií)
Prague Castle over Bridge of Legion (Most Legií) 

Vltava River and Charles Bridge (named for Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV)
Vltava River and Charles Bridge (named for Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV) 

Prague Castle over the famous Charles Bridge
Prague Castle over the famous Charles Bridge 

Old Town Bridge Tower on the eastern end of the Charles Bridge
Old Town Bridge Tower on the eastern end of the Charles Bridge.
I think the single extra tower on one corner makes the tower look
like it's *missing* something! 

Tourists and vendors on the Charles Bridge
Tourists and vendors on the Charles Bridge. Most of the traders were
selling art and photographs. 

Bridge tower on the western end of the Charles Bridge
Bridge tower on the western end of the Charles Bridge.
The taller, Late Gothic tower was erected in 1464 on
the orders of King George of Podebrady who wanted
a counterweight to the Old Town Bridge Tower. 

This McDonald's seemed strangely out of place in such a pretty city as Prague
This McDonald's seemed strangely out of place in
such a pretty city as Prague 

Trudging up Ke Hradu
Trudging up Ke Hradu. No real need for a map here, just follow the
hoards of tourists 

St. Nicholas Cathedral (Chram sv. Mikulase) and Prague from part way up the hill
St. Nicholas Cathedral (Chram sv. Mikulase) and Prague from part
way up the hill 

Summer Archbishop's Palace or Summer Archiepiscopal Palace (Letný arcibiskupský palác)
Summer Archbishop's Palace or Summer Archiepiscopal Palace (Letný
arcibiskupský palác) - apparently was in the movie Amadeus 

Front of Saint Vitus's Cathedral (Katedrála svatého Víta)
Front of Saint Vitus's Cathedral (Katedrála svatého Víta). You can't get
the whole of the front of it in in one shot. 

Detail on the side of the cathedral
Detail on the side of the cathedral 

Obelisk outside the cathedral in the castle grounds
Obelisk outside the cathedral in the castle grounds 

Saint Vitus's Cathedral
Saint Vitus's Cathedral 

I love this photo Stu took of us because it pretty much summed up our mood with Prague at the time
I love this photo Stu took of us because it pretty much
summed up our mood with Prague at the time 

But we did put on a happy face :)
But we did put on a happy face :)

View towards the old town from the palace walls
View towards the old town from the palace walls

At the bottom of the hill we stopped to have lunch at a "Bio Cafe" which was very nice, but very expensive for the amount of food we got. In fact all of Prague (or at least the touristy bits - I'm told once you get out of the tourist areas the prices drop considerably) is very expensive. Right up there with the other places we've been so far, maybe even more so.

Continued wandering into the old town area to the market place. Where we stopped to have a couple of beers while watching the world go by. At 3pm I went over to the Astronomic Clock because crowds had been gathering for twenty minutes and thought might see something interesting. Alas it was a massive anticlimax!  Oh well. Went back to finish my beer.

Charles Bridge and tower
Charles Bridge and tower 

Tethered ballon over, and boats on, the Vltava River
Tethered ballon over, and boats on, the Vltava River 

The Rudolfinum where we later saw a concert
The Rudolfinum where we later saw a concert 

Cute trams
Cute trams 

Old Town Square
Old Town Square 

Týn Cathedral and buildings in the Old Town Square
Týn Cathedral and buildings in the Old Town Square 

Jan Hus Memorial.  This dude was burned at the stake in 1415
Jan Hus Memorial. This dude was burned at the stake in 1415

Goltz-Kinsky Palace in the Old Town Square
Goltz-Kinsky Palace in the Old Town Square 

St. Nicholas Church (Kostel sv. Mikuláse) in the Old Town Square
St. Nicholas Church (Kostel sv. Mikuláse) in the Old Town Square 

Relaxing with pilsners in the Old Town Square and watching the tourists
Relaxing with pilsners in the Old Town Square and watching the tourists 

Prague Astronomical Clock on the southern wall of Old Town City Hall in the Old Town Square
Prague Astronomical Clock on the southern wall of
Old Town City Hall in the Old Town Square 

It's quite pretty, but the 3pm ringing was a complete anticlimax
It's quite pretty, but the 3pm ringing was a
complete anticlimax


Kept on wandering and ended up back at the hotel to rest for a bit.

kostel sv. Kříže Menšího‎
kostel sv. Kříže Menšího‎ 

Russian Dolls
If you can't get your family to get you one of these when they go to
Russia, you have to get one yourself in a former Eastern Bloc country.
This one has eleven nested dolls.


For dinner we went to the chinese restaurant next door to the hotel because the board out the front had some cheap prices and we only had 300k left in cash. Except when we got inside most of the mains were like 280k *each* :(  So that was a bit silly. In the end we found some cheap options but we couldn't afford drinks (just got some chinese tea) and they don't understand the concept of tap water in this country either :(

Then we wandered back into town to the Rudolfinum to see a performance of Smetena and Dvorak  It was brilliant!!  It was 900k each for unreserved seats so it was a little pricy for a one hour show. But the orchestra was amazing, a really good performance. I didn't know the music either, but Stu did and he enjoyed himself immensely.

Charles Bridge in the early evening
Charles Bridge in the early evening 

Prague Metronome
Prague Metronome, erected in 1991, and stands on the plinth left vacant
by the destruction of an enormous monument to former Soviet leader
Joseph Stalin 

Prague Rudolfinum interior
Prague Rudolfinum interior 

Prague Castle and Charles bridge by night
Prague Castle and Charles bridge by night

So that was our day in Prague. Maybe we should have gone on a tour. But we were kind of over the place before we even started which didn't really help :(  Next time we'll have to go to one of the less touristy cities...

I slept in til 7am today! Woot! Altho Stu woke up feeling nauseus which wasn't very pleasant for him :(

Went down for a big breakfast (also not included with the room tariff - talk about a tight-ass hotel...)

And then we hit the streets of Dresden for a general wander about the place. Was all very nice. Except I had to go to the loo after a while and got frustrated cause there aren't any toilets in Germany. There are so few that they could all be printed on the tourist map of the entire city!!! But even with the map I still couldn't find one :( After some more wandering we did eventually find one. Now Stu had told me that while you have to pay for toilets, they are clean and well kept. Well this is the first one that I lowered myself to pay for and it was crap!! It didn't even have a seat, just small plastic runners that only covered part of the cold metal bowl :( Not happy Jan!


I like to call this artwork Ten Cranes
I like to call this artwork "Ten Cranes" 

A variation on the Berlin stop/go lights - a girl!
A variation on the Berlin stop/go lights - a girl! 

A variation on the Berlin stop/go lights - a girl!
A variation on the Berlin stop/go lights - a girl! 

Excavations outside Kreuzkirche
Excavations outside Kreuzkirche 

Kreuzkirche
Kreuzkirche, showing the blackening from the firebombing during the war 

Frauenkirche
Frauenkirche. This church was almost completely demolished during the war, then rebuilt mostly from original stone and reopened in 2005 (Google Earth shows the whole thing surrounded in a construction building). We might have gone inside but there was some youth festival on and too many people making too much noise. 

Statue of Martin Luther outside Frauenkirche
Statue of Martin Luther outside Frauenkirche 

A piece of the original dome of the Frauenkirche
A piece of the original dome of the Frauenkirche 

The blackened part is one of the two larger sections of the church that remained after the bombing.  They rebuilt the church around it.
The blackened part is one of the two larger sections of the church that
remained after the bombing. They rebuilt the church around it. 

Academy of Fine Arts
Academy of Fine Arts 

Dome of the Academy of Fine Arts
Dome of the Academy of Fine Arts 

All we need now is Donatello to complete the set..
All we need now is Donatello to complete the set.. 

Augustusbrücke, on the site of the oldest bridge in Dresden
Augustusbrücke, on the site of the oldest bridge in Dresden 

Stallhof and Hofkirche
Stallhof and Hofkirche 

This toilet was not worth 25c!!
This toilet was not worth 25c!! 

Semperoper (Opera House)
Semperoper (Opera House) 

Fountain and Zwinger Gardens
Fountain and Zwinger Gardens

Courtyard of Zwinger Palace
Courtyard of Zwinger Palace 

Zwinger Palace
Zwinger Palace

Staatsschauspiel theatre
Staatsschauspiel theatre

So continued wandering back to the hotel, checked out, and headed up to the station. Got our ticket in advance for Prague to Vienna so don't have to worry about that here. Now as I mentioned yesterday we were meant to have two middles on a table set of seats, but when we got on the people there had taken the two forward-facing seats, so I was all "sweet, I get a window" - backwards :) It's almost tradition now to be going backwards heh. We were even on the right side of the train to get a good view of the Elbe River as we travelled alongside it.


Training down (up) the Elbe River
Training down (up) the Elbe River 

Part of the Bastei Bridge in the Bastei rocks near Oberrathen
Part of the Bastei Bridge in the Bastei rocks near Oberrathen

Crossed the Czech border at some unknown point, stopping a bit inside the border for a staff change. But we never did get asked for our passports - how boring!! Was hoping to get another stamp in my passport heh.


Every time a small river joins a larger one, you get a cute little village.  In this case Hřensko, on the confluence of Kamenice and Labe (Elbe) rivers
Every time a small river joins a larger one, you get a cute little village.
In this case Hřensko, on the confluence of Kamenice and Labe (Elbe) rivers


Something broke half way through the trip on the Czech side of the border and we just sat there. For an hour :( The train got very hot and stuffy too :(  But we got moving eventually and arrived in Prague an hour late. But we didn't arrive in the station we thought we were going to arrive in, so had to figure out where we were and how to get to our hotel. Took us a while to figure it out, but made it in the end.


Bridges in Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic
Bridges in Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic 

Hrad Střekov just south of Ústí nad Labem
Hrad Střekov just south of Ústí nad Labem 

Locks near Lovosice
Locks near Lovosice 

Dancing House, nickname given to the Nationale-Nederlanden building in Prague
Dancing House, nickname given to the Nationale-
Nederlanden building in Prague


The hotel is quite nice, free wireless and included breakfast, and our first bed with a single mattress - a king sized one at that! We can be newlyweds properly now ;)


King sized bed in our hotel
King sized bed in our hotel

Went for a walk to Lehká Hlava (Clear Head) vegetarian restaurant, which was very good, we both enjoyed it.


Pilsner Urquell at Lehká Hlava
Pilsner Urquell at Lehká Hlava 

Lehká Hlava (Clear Head)
Lehká Hlava (Clear Head). Many restaurants aren't
big on making themselves known in Europe 

Prague Castle over the Vltava River
Prague Castle over the Vltava River 

Stu at sunset
Stu at sunset

And then back here to use the internet and star gaze out our attic windows :)

Well it wouldn't be normal if I didn't wake up at 6am right..? Hrmm :)

Not that we got ready any earlier, in fact we had a very slow morning and didn't get out the door til after 11!

View from our apartment on Rheinsbergerstrasse
View from our apartment on Rheinsbergerstrasse

Our first stop was the remainder of the wall at Bernauer Strasse, and the viewing platform there. Was kicking myself that we didn't go up the Fernsehturm today, as the weather was perfect for it - not a cloud in the sky.  I could have gone back I suppose, but it would have been another 9 euro :/

New Chapel of Reconciliation, built on the location of the old church
New Chapel of Reconciliation, built on the location of the old church 

One of the three bells they recovered before demolishing the church
One of the three bells they recovered before demolishing the church 

Site of the Berlin Wall at Bernauerstrasse
Site of the Berlin Wall at Bernauerstrasse

Remnant of the Berlin Wall at Bernauerstrasse
Remnant of the Berlin Wall at Bernauerstrasse

Next we trained it to Potsdamer Platz to have a look at all the newish shops/buildings there. We stopped for lunch at a sushi place, which had an interesting variety of (mostly deep fried) dishes to choose from. Was very good, but they soured my mood about the place when they told me off for drinking from my bottle of tap water :(  Bumheads. You can't *get* tap water in this country, so it's all very frustrating :(

Potsdamer Platz
Potsdamer Platz 

Potsdamer Platz
Potsdamer Platz

Went up and had a look through the Sony store, then was going to look at the Lego place, but they wanted 14.50 *each* so decided to give that a miss. Lego is such a money-grabbing company, that it rates up there in evilness with Disney and eBay for how much I hate it (but can't escape).

Einstein at Legoland Berlin
Einstein at Legoland Berlin 

Potsdamer Platz station
Potsdamer Platz station

So that was all very average, so went up to the Starbucks next to the Brandenburg Gate so Stu could get an iced coffee, then we walked down to the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. It was brilliant!  It's a few thousand concrete blocks stacked in a grid taking up a whole city block. The middle section dips down and the blocks there are quite tall so you can walk amongst it all. It's kind of maze-like, even though it's not a maze at all. And it's incredibly photogenic! Took lots of photos there.

Starbucks coffee and cake at the Brandenburg Gate
Starbucks coffee and cake at the Brandenburg Gate 

Poppies at the Brandenburg Gate
Poppies at the Brandenburg Gate 

Horses and Carriages at the Brandenburg Gate
Horses and Carriages at the Brandenburg Gate 

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The irony of this place is the company that produced the chemical that
makes the concrete graffiti-proof is the same company that made the
gas that killed the Jews during the war.... 

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe 

Stu in the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Stu in the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe 

Stu in the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Stu in the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Reichstag over the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Reichstag over the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate over the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate over the Memorial to the Murdered
Jews of Europe 

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Hopped on a train over to Alexander Platz, stopping for a beer before going to the Media Markt there. It's kinda like the electronics section of Harvey Norman except like five times the size - in this case four stories of electronic goodness. They didn't have any Eee PC batteries (or any Eee PC stuff for that matter), but we did pick up an 8gb Sony usb memory stick for 25 euro. And Stu got a little micro SD-usb dongle for 8 euro.

Berliner Pilsner under the Fernsehturm
Berliner Pilsner under the Fernsehturm 

World Clock under the Fernsehturm
World Clock under the Fernsehturm 

Stu next to the 69999 Euro TV
Stu next to the 69999 Euro TV

So then we wandered back to our apartment, but just as we were arriving, we got a call from the owner/manager asking why we hadn't left yet, and we were all "but we booked five nights".. But it turns out we only booked four, the last day being the checkout day.. Oops! :(  So we had like half an hour to not only pack up all our stuff, but also find another hotel at short notice.. Very stressful. But luckily Stu did find one, within walking distance even, so we plodded over, and it thankfully has interent, as we were planning on spending our last evening quietly doing research for our upcoming days of travel. Not that we really did that much, as it took us a while to calm down, and then we went out for dinner (to Der Imbiss again) and by the time we got back it was after 9:30.

Anyways, should have a bit of time in the morning...
What's the deal with me waking up early everyday?!?  Damn that "curse of the morning person". Another 6am wakeup. Altho took ages to wake up and even longer to get ready.

Hopped on a train out to Potsdam. We were originally going to walk to a couple of the closer palaces/castles and then leave again, but when we came out of the station we saw a sign that said bike hire and thought you know that's not such a silly idea. We'd be able to cover a lot more ground, our feet wouldn't end up hurting, and there's the nice fact you don't have to wear helmets in Germany, but it would make taking photos a bit more tedious. Anyways, so for 11 euro each we hired bikes and cycled all around Potsdam. And it was brilliant!!!  Such a good decision. We could have gotten a commentary on stuff if we'd taken a tour, but really all that info is available on the web if we want it, and we just enjoyed the fresh air and exercise. So we had a great time.. And only a bit sunburnt heh.

Altes Rathaus - Old Town Hall
Altes Rathaus - Old Town Hall 

Nauener Tor
Nauener Tor 

Brandenburger Tor
Brandenburger Tor 

Schloss Sanssouci and gardens
Schloss Sanssouci and gardens 

Statue in Schloss Sanssouci
Statue in Schloss Sanssouci 

Terraces in front of Schloss Sanssouci
Terraces in front of Schloss Sanssouci 

Terraces in front of Schloss Sanssouci
Terraces in front of Schloss Sanssouci 

Chinese Teahouse
Chinese Teahouse 

New Palace - east building
New Palace - east building 

New Palace - west building
New Palace - west building 

New Palace - east building
New Palace - east building 

Orangerie Schloss
Orangerie Schloss 

Obelisk on Schopenhauerstrasse
Obelisk on Schopenhauerstrasse 

Cycling through Neuer Garten
Cycling through Neuer Garten 

Schloss Cecilienhof
Schloss Cecilienhof - site of the Potsdam Conference in 1945 

Glienicker Brücke
Glienicker Brücke - site of several exchanges of spies during the Cold War 

Glienicker Brücke
Glienicker Brücke 

Pump House in Babelsberger Park and Glienicker Lake
Pump House in Babelsberger Park and Glienicker Lake 

Glienicker Brücke over Glienicker Lake
Glienicker Brücke over Glienicker Lake 

Babelsberg, Kleines Schloß
Babelsberg, Kleines Schloß

So then got the train back and got off again at Wannsee to go for a swim in one of the lakes. The water was very cold so we didn't stay in for long, but it was very refreshing. A great way to cool off after all the cycling. And there was a little kiosk there so we had beers on the beach - awesome! :)

Strandbad Wannsee entrance
Strandbad Wannsee entrance 

Shade houses at Wannsee
Shade houses at Wannsee

By this time it was very late, so we popped into the local supermarket to pick up some dinner, then back here to eat it and drink more beer.

Kaiser's Verbraucher Markt
Kaiser's Verbraucher Markt - where we did several grocery trips

Life is good :)
Woke up pretty early again but took our time getting ready. Caught the tram in to Friedrichstrasse and wandered down it to Checkpoint Charlie.

We missed a tram so Stu could enjoy this coffee
We missed a tram so Stu could enjoy this coffee 

Trams only continued to run in East Berlin
Trams only continued to run in East Berlin 

East Berlin stop man
East Berlin stop man (recently (2010) I've seen two
people wearing t-shirts with these dudes on them! 

East Berlin go man
East Berlin go man 

Die Welt balloon
Die Welt balloon 

Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie

It was actually late morning by this stage and I was tired and grumpy from not getting enough to eat at breakfast, and then not able to find a simple hot dog there (they seem to be everywhere else except for when you really want one). Anyway so got something to eat but decided not to go into the museum as it was 12.50 euro each and Stu had been before. So just walked around the info boards they had all around the street. There were the usual barrage of souvenir vendors, and also a lot selling Russian memorabilia. Kept wanting to buy a Russian doll but they're probably made in China so not much point. Now if only I knew someone going to Russia to get me a real one.......

Wall of passports in the entrance of the museum
Wall of passports in the entrance of the museum 

Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie

Anyways. This Bosnian woman came around asking if anyone spoke English, but she turned out to be a beggar, so I gave her a couple of Euros (and Stu gave her some independently too). But get this. She asked *three frigging times* over the next half hour for money, and didn't comprehend "we gave you some earlier" and just kept following us asking and asking. Got incredibly pissed off at this, so when a different Bosnian woman come started begging I was all like "piss off" .. Not that I said that, and Stu even gave her some money. Sigh.

So that was all a bit stressful so we headed off towards the East Side Gallery, stopping first on the western side of the river and then walking across the Schlesisches Tor. Where we stopped again, this time at a cafe built on the old no-man's-land for some beer. Then walked up along the old wall.

The Spree River near Oberbaumbrücke
The Spree River near Oberbaumbrücke 

Oberbaumbrücke
Oberbaumbrücke 

Oberbaumbrücke
Oberbaumbrücke 

Spree River and Fernsehturm from Oberbaumbrücke
Spree River and Fernsehturm from Oberbaumbrücke 

Astride the Berlin Wall and beginning of East Side Gallery
Astride the Berlin Wall and beginning of East Side Gallery

Enjoying a beer in no-man's land
Enjoying a beer in no-man's land 

I love crack!  Part of the Berlin Wall
I love crack! Part of the Berlin Wall 

Famous graffitti on the East Side Gallery
Famous graffitti on the East Side Gallery 

No-man's land at the East Side Gallery
No-man's land at the East Side Gallery 

These dudes were in Wings of Desire
These dudes were in "Wings of Desire"

Hopped on a train to Alexanderplatz for our next tower mission - the Fernsehturm, or as Stu dubbed it, the Stalinist golf ball heh. Was a bit crowded, and the usual bunches of people completely oblivious to anyone but themselves, blocking signs I was trying to read etc. Bumheads. But hopefully got a lot of decent photos.

Mitte from the Fernsehturm
Mitte from the Fernsehturm 

Oberbaumbrücke and the Spree from the Fernsehturm
Oberbaumbrücke and the Spree from the Fernsehturm 

Berlin Rathaus
Berlin Rathaus

After coming down we wandered down towards the river taking lots of photos as we went. Ended up near the Brandenburg Gate, where we jumped on a train, the changed to a tram to take us back to our neighborhood. We tried on the vegetarian restaurants - der Imbiss - whose logo was an upside-down maccas logo heh. And the staff were from Melbourne, Scotland and the USA!  Food was quite good there too.

Fernsehturm
Fernsehturm 

Fernsehturm
Fernsehturm 

Rathaus
Rathaus 

Neptune Fountain outside the Rathaus
Neptune Fountain outside the Rathaus 

Berliner Dom (we should have gone in here!)
Berliner Dom (we should have gone in here!) 

Lustgarten - very pretty spot
Lustgarten - very pretty spot 

Schlossbrücke
Schlossbrücke 

St. Hedwig's Cathedral
St. Hedwig's Cathedral (with a canvas picture covering the ever-present scaffolding) 

University Library
University Library. We found this by accident by drifting through an
archway at random


Unter den Linden station sign
Unter den Linden station sign 

Der Imbiss
Der Imbiss

Went shopping on the way home. The supermarket had 500mL Bitburger beers for 75c each!!  I wanted to buy more than the two we did heh :)

Sleepie!!
Woke up early but got back to sleep again, getting up around 7.

View from our hotel room window
View from our hotel room window. Stu liked the use of space for
gardens and trees 

ICE train as seen from our hotel room window
ICE train as seen from our hotel room window

After breakfast we headed up to the cathedral (via coffee at Starbucks) to go to the 10am mass. My first ever Catholic mass. In German .. heh.

Finial - at the same scale as the finials on the cathedral towers
Finial - at the same scale as the finials on the
cathedral towers 

Street artists outside the cathedral
Street artists outside the cathedral

After mass we meandered down the Rhine to the Chocolate Museum. Where we watched chocolate being made and even got to eat some.. Yummmm!!

Kaiser Wilhelm II statue in Heinrich-Böll-Platz
Kaiser Wilhelm II statue in Heinrich-Böll-Platz 

Hohenzollernbrücke
Hohenzollernbrücke 

Pegel clock
Pegel clock 

Altstadt and Great St Martin on the banks of the Rhine
Altstadt and Great St Martin on the banks of the Rhine 

Severinsbrücke
Severinsbrücke 

Malakoff Turm next to the Chocolate Museum
Malakoff Turm next to the Chocolate Museum 

Chocolate Museum!
Chocolate Museum! 

Chocolate display in the chocolate museum
Chocolate display in the chocolate museum.
There was one for white, milk and dark chocolate 

Interior of the chocolate museum
Interior of the chocolate museum 

Golden chocolate fountain
Golden chocolate fountain. The lady was dipping wafers
into the molten chocolate and handing them out - so yummy!! 

Toblerone wrapping machine!
Toblerone wrapping machine! 

They make and package Lindt rectangles in the museum
They make and package Lindt rectangles in the museum 

You can watch these little balls being made, and then buy one at the end for a euro
You can watch these little balls being made, and then buy one at the end for a euro 

The Milka cow
The Milka cow

Our feet were killing us by this stage so sat down at a cafe outside for potato and beer (stu)/apple fizzy stuff (me).

We stocked up on all different flavours of Lindt balls
We stocked up on all different flavours of Lindt balls

Next was another Dave stalking mission - to go see the Watertower Hotel, which was very impressive.

Hotel im Wasserturm - Water Tower Hotel
Hotel im Wasserturm - Water Tower Hotel

Then I got totally bummed out because the two stores I wanted to go to on Hohe Strasse (Lego and electronics store) were both closed cause it was Sunday :(:(:(

Hohe Straße
Hohe Straße 

Meister Bock!
Meister Bock! Although we walked past this several times, we never
actually got anything from here


Came back to the hotel to crash for a bit and use the internet before heading out to dinner. We walked to Osho's Place which this time really was a vegetarian restaurant and actually had people in it heh. Stu rather enjoyed it, and we drank lots of beer too :)

Ganser Kölsch
Ganser Kölsch 

Osho's Place - very nice vegeterian cafe
Osho's Place - very nice vegeterian cafe

And finally back here to crash. 9:30pm at night and the sun has only just barely set. Gotta love being this far from the equator... Unless you're trying to get some sleep that is ;)

On the way back into town and the western face of the cathedral is nicely lit
On the way back into town and the western face of the
cathedral is nicely lit 

Cologne Cathedral in the setting sun
Cologne Cathedral in the setting sun 

You could see the cathedral and Hauptbahnhof from our hotel room - if you hung all the way out!
You could see the cathedral and Hauptbahnhof from our hotel room - if
you hung all the way out!


So we've really rather enjoyed our couple days here in Cologne. Tomorrow we get on an ICE train for Berlin...

Unlikely to have net access at the place we're staying in in Berlin...
Well I woke up at 4am this morning. Got up for an hour to fiddle with photos. Then went back to bed and actually managed to get a couple more hours sleep!

Breakfast at this hotel was pretty varied, although Stu still struggled to find enough to eat. Wireless access is only downstairs, so Stu and I fought over the laptop while we had breakfast :)

Our first mission of the day was to go explore the cathedral. Thanks to Dave I knew you could go up it, so dragged Stu up after me :) Got annoyed at the meshing they had all around the top which made it difficult for me to take photos. After we came back down we wandered all around inside, until we got booted out for a service heh.

First look at the interior of the Cologne Cathedral
First look at the interior of the Cologne Cathedral
We didn't look around much, as we went straight up the tower 

The steps going up the tower are very worn down from age
The steps going up the tower are very worn down from age 

Part way up the tower
Part way up the tower 

At the top of the belfry, there is a metal staircase to go the rest of the way
At the top of the belfry, there is a metal staircase to go
the rest of the way 

View from the tower
View from the tower 

Stonework at the tip of the tower
Stonework at the tip of the tower 

View east from Cologne Cathedral
View east from Cologne Cathedral 

Cologne Cathedral from the south tower
Cologne Cathedral from the south tower 

View southeast from the cathedral
View southeast from the cathedral 

Me behind the very frustrating meshing
Me behind the very frustrating meshing 

Minoritenkirche from Cologne Cathedral
Minoritenkirche from Cologne Cathedral 

Fernsehturm Colonius - TV tower northwest of the cathedral
Fernsehturm Colonius - TV tower northwest of the cathedral 

St. Andreas - one of the twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne
St. Andreas - one of the twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne 

Graffitists at the cathedral
They don't even try to keep the graffiti off the cathedral tower, and these
girls were making me sad by adding more 

Top of the belfry.  On our way back down now
Top of the belfry. On our way back down now. 

Southern walkway in the cathedral
Southern walkway in the cathedral 

Stained glass window
Stained glass window 

Pillars and statues
Pillars and statues 

Ceiling of the cathedral
Ceiling of the cathedral 

Pillars in the cross of the cathedral
Pillars in the cross of the cathedral 

The floor in some parts had some beautiful mosaics
The floor in some parts had some beautiful mosaics 

Eastern end of the cathedral
Eastern end of the cathedral 

Eastern end of the cathedral
Eastern end of the cathedral 

Pixelated stained glass window
I first saw this in a postcard and thought it was a computer rendering of a stained-glass window.
But in fact it's a recent (2007) work by Gerhard Richter


Got Stu some lunch (I still wasn't hungry after breakfast) before joining an English-speaking walking tour. The tour was a little slow in terms of not really covering much ground, but did get some useful trivia about some things (like apparently the reason the cathedral survived WWII relatively unscathed was because the allies used the spires as navigational markers and so didn't destroy it).

Kölner Dom from outside Kölner Philharmonie‎
Kölner Dom from outside Kölner Philharmonie‎ 

Railway bridge over the Rhine.  This bridge was destroyed during the war
Railway bridge over the Rhine. This bridge was destroyed during the war 

Gross St. Martin - one of the twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne
Gross St. Martin - one of the twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne 

Waterfront Altstadt (old city)
Waterfront Altstadt (old city) 

Space Invader - Corner of Heumarkt and Salzgasse
Space Invader - Corner of Heumarkt and Salzgasse 

The walking tour guide with the Tünnes und Schäl statues, to the south-west of Gross St Martin
The walking tour guide with the Tünnes und Schäl statues, to the
south-west of Gross St Martin 

Kallendresser - statue of a dude mooning the town hall across the street in Alter Markt
Kallendresser - statue of a dude mooning the town hall across the
street in Alter Markt 

Köln Rathaus (Cologne City Hall)
Köln Rathaus (Cologne City Hall) 

Köln Rathaus (Cologne City Hall)
Köln Rathaus (Cologne City Hall) 

Old ruins they're excavating in the plaza outside the Rathaus
Old ruins they're excavating in the plaza outside the Rathaus 

Farina fragrance museum - museum of a fragrance factory that used to make Eau de Cologne
Farina fragrance museum - museum of a fragrance factory that used to
make Eau de Cologne


After the tour we stopped at the Keule cafe to have some Gaffel Kölsch and some sausage/potato/sauerkraut - yumm! Then meandered back to the hotel.

Gaffer Kölsch at a place we found off Heumarkt
Gaffer Kölsch at a place we found off Heumarkt

The next mission was to find a laundromat. These, like public toilets, are practically non-existent :( There is *one* listed in the local yellow pages close to the city, so we piled our stuff into our bags and headed over there. On the way we walked past one that was open, so put our stuff in there. And then went for a walk to find the other one.. which was closed!  Good thing we found the other one!

St. Pantaleon - one of the twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne
St. Pantaleon - one of the twelve Romanesque churches
of Cologne, near the laundromat we found


After getting all the washing done, we thought we'd try the vegetarian restaurant we found in the phone book that was near the laundromat - Babylon Cafe.  Even though the signs on the front said vegetarian/vegan, it wasn't really vegatarian except for some parts of the menu, and most definitely *not* vegan. Poor Stu really couldn't have anything on the menu, but in the end got a greek salad (with a *lot* of cheese) and I got an auflauf which was yummy and quite large considering the price. Anyway, the staff were lovely and were trying to interpret the menu for us, but not recommended for vegans!!

So then it was back here to crash.
Well my morning began at 1:21am when I woke up needing to go to the toilet. I didn't get back to sleep. (!) I tried for a couple of hours but eventually gave up around 3:30 (not helped by the alarm clock that was on 24 hour time 12 hours out, so without my glasses it looked like 5:30 :( )

Anyways, so I caught up on blog reading, fiddled with my memory cards, burnt cds etc. Got annoyed that the Eee PC changes the modified dates on files when you copy them. Damn that linux os :(  Haven't had the time to research if there's any way to retain the datestamps on the files.

Went down for breakfast fairly early - scrambled eggs, salami and salad for breakfast heh. Then went over to the station to get our rail pass validated. Came back via a local shop to get some snacks for when we're out and about.

Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (station)
Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (station)


The rather dreary view from our Frankfurt hotel
The rather dreary view from our Frankfurt hotel


German toilets fascinated us with their viewing platforms!
German toilets fascinated us with their viewing platforms!

About half an hour before the train was due we wandered back to the station. But we weren't 100% sure if we needed a reservation or not (my doco said conflicting things), so decided to line up for one just in case. Eep! We nearly missed our train it took so long :(  We did *just* make it, but then had to walk through the *entire* train with our bags in tow.. Doh!  Then when we changed at Mainz we then had to race all the way down to the other end of the platform because our seats were at the *other* end of the train! Blah!

Anyways, all this hassle was worth it because I wanted to take the scenic route along the Rhine between Mainz and Koblenz.  Omigosh!! My brain exploded over how pretty it all was. Gorgeous little towns, picturesque valleys, ancient castles everwhere.. I just wished we could stop!!  A cruise down the river would be fabulous, but we might try to do that valley and the Mosel when we have the car at the end of the trip.

Rhine River town
Rhine River town


Rhine River town
Rhine River town


Building in the middle of the Rhine
Building in the middle of the Rhine


Rhine River castle
Rhine River castle


Rhine River
Rhine River


Rhine River town
Rhine River town


Caravan park
Caravan park


Rhine River castle
Rhine River castle


Rhine River castle
Rhine River castle

After Koblenz the trip was a lot more standard.

When we arrived in Cologne we checked our bags into these funky electronic lockers that take things away to mystery locations, and supposedly you can retrieve from any of the doors in the system. Four euros for 24 hours. So that left us free to go for a wander before we could check into our hotel. So we went outside.

And it was big!

Massively big!!

Cologne Dom (Cathedral)
Köln Dom (Cologne Cathedral)

The Köln dom (Cologne cathedral) is truly impressive. We got some drinks from Starbucks and just looked at it. We wandered up to have a closer look at it, but by this stage it was after 2pm and Stu was fading, so we went and found something to eat. Then decided to go check into our hotel.

After settling in for a bit, headed out again. We found ourselves at the site of Dave's Disapproving Man, but he was gone by now. Then we meandered down to Hohe Strasse and could see what Dave meant about it being too touristy. But we were on a mission to get to the Lego store. And get to it we did. And it was good!  But after putting up with dozens of screaming kids we put off making the decision which bits and pieces to buy til another day.

Dave's disapproving man hair salon
Dave's disapproving man hair salon


Cologne Dom (Cathedral)
Köln Dom (Cologne Cathedral) 


Lego store on Hohe Strasse
Lego store on Hohe Straße

Stu at this point felt like a beer, so we sat down at one of the cafes opposite the cathedral and had a kölsch beer and some yummy rösti and mushrooms and looked at the cathedral and even heard the bells being played for an evening mass.

Cologne Dom (Cathedral)
Köln Dom (Cologne Cathedral) 


Sion Kölsch in Cologne
Sion Kölsch in Cologne


Cologne Dom (Cathedral)
Köln Dom (Cologne Cathedral) 


Statues at the main entrance of the cathedral
Statues at the main entrance of the cathedral


Intricate stonework at the main entrance of the cathedral
Intricate stonework at the main entrance of the cathedral


For some reason this amused us...
For some reason this amused us...


Main entrance of the cathedral
Main entrance of the cathedral


Gargoyles on the cathedral
Gargoyles on the cathedral


Intricate stonework on one of the side entrances of the cathedral
Intricate stonework on one of the side entrances of the cathedral


For some reason these shops setup on the side of the cathedral really annoyed me...
For some reason these shops setup on the side of the cathedral really annoyed me...

Finally came back here to crash in a heap. (After doing some web surfing and washing hair etc)

5:20am Sydney time, 9:20pm here....
So today began very *very* early. 4:45 actually. A completely inhuman time to be awake!!  The idea being to secure window seats, as these could not be obtained in advance on our tickets. Well we probably shouldn't have worried, as the plane is half empty, but we did also manage to secure window seats for the next flight tomorrow which potentially more interesting as it's primarily over land.

Just after we checked in, we went to the windows just in time to see an A380 pull up!!!  Although I've glimpsed one before (while driving) I'd not actually seen one up close. So that was very exciting.

First time I got to see an A380 up close
First time I got to see an A380 up close

Next stop was breakfast and a chance for Stu to get some caffeine into his system. We sat and watched a JAL 747-400 pull up and realised it was to be ours. Then off to buy some Yen and some Euros. 300 euro cost me $565 !! Eep!!  We shoulda gone to America lol :)

Then it was off to get through immigration and security. All very smooth and simple. So got to get up closer to the A380, and even got to see it being pushed out onto the taxiway before we had to board ourselves.

The A380 and our JAL 747
The A380 and our JAL 747

Had a seat on the left of the plane and we were taking off to the north so the lighting was good although of course didn't get to see the city. The coolest new feature of these planes is they have live cameras available on the seat-back channels (as well as the GPS locator thingie). So during the takeoff they showed the view out the front of the plane which was very very cool. And in flight can look ahead and also straight down!  Quite useful for seeing the various airports/beacons you fly right over. Watched the view over the Great Dividing Range and northern NSW/SE QLD before heading out to see over Mackay. Flew over the tail of PNG and Guam, although was on the wrong side of the plane to see Guam out the windows, had to look down on it :)

Taking off on our honeymoon!!
Taking off on our honeymoon!!


Stadium Australia (or whatever it's called these days) at Homebush
Stadium Australia (or whatever it's called these days) at Homebush


JAL 747 wingtip
JAL 747 wingtip


Leaving Australian shores
Leaving Australian shores. We flew over Hamilton Island and those are
South and North Molle Islands in the foreground



Over Port Moresby
Over Port Moresby


Interior of our 747
Interior of our 747

I watched Enchanted (very sweet - if you like fairytales heh) and The Golden Compass (not bad, I assume they'll be making movies of all three books?)

"Dinner" (at 4pm) was sandwiches.. Ham and cheese on white multigrain with yoghurt.. So poor Stu couldn't eat a thing :( Lucky we had along some extra stuff I'd brought from home..

Spent a bit of time reading our travel guide books and writing down ideas.

Coastline of Japan, Yokaichi-shi
Coastline of Japan, Yokaichi-shi


We flew over soo many golf courses!
We flew over soo many golf courses! They're not kidding about the
Japanese obsession with golf!


Finally it was time to land.

Narita airport confused us somewhat. The signage was just a little odd and at one point they redirected us to a different queue so it was all a little weird getting through immigration. The customs queues were also confusing as to which were for declaring stuff and which weren't, but when we actually picked a gate we essentially just walked straight through it!  Took about five seconds.

Found our bus stop fairly easily which took us to our hotel. We considered trekking into Tokyo, but it was getting late and it takes 1.5-2 hours each way so we decided not to go. So instead we just took the hotel shuttle into Narita and walked up and down the restaurant strip until we found a not too threatening one (ie, one that had english subtitles ;) ). It was a cute little place. The food was excellent and the staff guessed we were on our honeymoon heh :) We had a couple of beers and ended up much more relaxed but a lot sleepier, and glad we didn't attempt to go to Tokyo. Maybe next time!

My first ever meal in Japan.  It was really good!
My first ever meal in Japan. It was really good!


Japanese Yakult
Japanese Yakult


Stu took this photo of the tiny restaurant we ate in
Stu took this photo of the tiny restaurant we ate in


Vending machine with fresh flowers
I had always heard of the Japanese obsession with
vending machines and that supposedly you can get
just about anything in them. The reality of it is it's
mostly just drinks you can get. This remains (two
years later) the most unusual thing I've ever seen
in a vending machine - fresh flowers!



Train ticket machine at Narita station
Looking at this train ticket machine at Narita station we were glad we
weren't trying to figure out what to do to go into Tokyo!


So now it's back here at the hotel to crash and have a sleepin tomorrow.