Results tagged “Cathedrals” from Europe Honeymoon 2008

Hrmm. Worst day so far methinks...

Started off ok. Had lots of yummy bacon for breakfast. Was a late start too because the weather didn't inspire us to get up. So didn't leave our hotel til about 11:15. Walked back to the hauptbahnhof and jumped on a train to Munich - didn't even worry about reserving this time either, and a good thing too, the train wasn't crowded at all.

Our train to Munich
Our train to Munich

So arrived in Munich. Stu wanted to get another memory stick for his camera, so we wandered into town to try and find somewhere to get it. That mission was quite successful, we found a Saturn store quite quickly. Then went to the cathedral to have a very quick look at it, then went back to the station to pick up our hire car. That all went ok, except we got an Opel instead of the Peugeot we reserved, and the thing is manual which adds another layer of pain to driving around here (it's bad enough to have to drive on the wrong side of the road and have the blinker lever on the wrong side).  And it's a horrible boxy thing, with blindspots everywhere :(

Justizpalast - Palace of Justice - courthouse
Justizpalast - Palace of Justice - courthouse 

Fountain in Karlsplatz
Fountain in Karlsplatz 

Karlstor
Karlstor 

Frauenkirche
Frauenkirche 

Fountain outside the Frauenkirche
Fountain outside the Frauenkirche

Interior of the Frauenkirche
Interior of the Frauenkirche 

Stained glass window
Stained glass window 

Organ in the Frauenkirche
Organ in the Frauenkirche 

Roof of the Frauenkirche
Roof of the Frauenkirche

Anyways, so having seen practically nothing in Munich, we decided to get out of town and head for Ulm, with the idea being to see some of the old town there and stay the night.

Well of course actually getting out of Munich was pretty traumatic, wasn't it? Urrggghhh. The autobahn trip wasn't as bad, but still required a lot of concentration, not helped by roadworks most of the way along :/

One of many roadworks sites on the autobahn
One of many roadworks sites on the autobahn 

Red bridge on the autobahn
Red bridge on the autobahn. I could have sworn we drove over
this again later in the trip but don't know how..


Then we got to Ulm. But we didn't have a place to stay organised in advance so it was a case of looking for hotels. Except we couldn't just pull over or stop anywhere cause we were on roads that didn't allow that. So we passed through the centre of town and were well out the other side before we had a chance to stop :( Got copliot to give us the nearest hotel, so got there ok, but it was booked out, but they did nicely call another one for us so went to that one. Fortunately being so far out of town, they actually had easy parking.

So by this time it was 7pm, but we needed to de-stress before going out again. So here it is, 9:15pm, and we're at a waschsalon doing our laundry, having gotten snacks at a local supermarket for dinner while we waited. Totally missed out on getting to see Ulm. We did glimpse the cathedral on the way through, and like most places we've seen in Germany and Austria it's surrounded by scaffolding :( It's getting a bit tiresome that :(

We're quite worried now about how stressful the next week is going to be. We'd book places in advance if we knew where we were going to be. But is going to be hard going into towns when we know stressful finding parking will be :(

*sigh*
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.
Urgghhh

Another 6am start. Need i say more.

Stu was feeling sick so went down to breakfast by myself. Had more bacon yummm.

Then we packed up and made our way to the station to catch our train to Vienna. Pretty uneventful trip really.

Our train from Prague to Vienna
Our train from Prague to Vienna

Got dropped in Südbahnhof in Vienna and were left wondering how to get to the u-bahn. An info-point guy told us, oh go out, turn left and three hundred metres. Hrmmm. Through various building construction sites. Hrmmm. Such a friendly welcome to the city :/

Anyways, got the u-bahn to our hotel which turns out to be about 100 metres from the cathedral in the centre of the old town, so that was pretty cool. Until we had to figure out how to find reception. There was a locked gate at the front, so we had to buzz to be let in. But then there were no signs pointing to reception, so we had to buzz again to be told second floor. Bumheads. So checked in ok. Came up to the room, which is the smallest we've had so far. And no internet. The only internet is at kiosks and you have to pay 2 euro per thirty minutes. Bumheads.

So the first lesson to learn from all this is not to try and face a new city on an empty stomach. It was 3pm and we hadn't had lunch so our blood suger level would have been about minus five hundred if there were such a scale, so we really weren't coping very well. And Stu was still feeling sick. So our planned laundromat run didn't happen. Which means we'll have to cut short our sightseeing tomorrow just to find a laundromat :(  Blah!!

Anyways, we went down for a slightly early dinner at Sparky's cafe near the cathedral. And had 0.7L beers each!  And a wiener schnitzel because it had to be done. And apple strudel because that also had to be done. Heh.

Stephansdom
Stephansdom 

They try to soften the blow of ugly scaffolding by putting pictures of what it should look like in front
They try to soften the blow of ugly scaffolding by putting
pictures of what it should look like in front 

Inside Stephansdom
Inside Stephansdom 

700mL beers at Sparky's
700mL beers at Sparky's

Was quite full after that and we didn't have internet back at the room so went for a bit of a walk around the place. Including a return trip on the train that went the wrong way so we took the .. er.. scenic route around the other way.

Stephansdom detail
Stephansdom detail 

Stephansdom detail
Stephansdom detail 

Stephansdom detail
Stephansdom detail 

Model Stephansdom
Model Stephansdom 

Regierungsgebäude or Kriegsministerium or Ministry of War (or something)
Regierungsgebäude or Kriegsministerium or Ministry of War (or something) 

This was a bit of a spinout - a swimming pool set in the canal!
This was a bit of a spinout - a swimming pool set in the canal! 

The cleanliness of these train tracks is just *freaky*!!
The cleanliness of these train tracks is just *freaky*!!

So then back here to watch tv and play solitaire. Yay.
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 :)

I'm awake! It must be 6am. Take five. Heh

Spent a bit of time on the puta before hopping on a tram and then a train to the Hauptbahnhof for our train to Dresden.

This sign on train windows amused me
This sign on train windows amused me. It's like "here's a spot you can
throw bottles out". Germans of course have simply a circle to mean
"banned" as opposed to a circle with a cross through it


Backwards. Yet again! Lol

Fields of canola south of Berlin
Fields of canola south of Berlin

We had first class seats but we were in a six-seat compartment which wasn't particularly pleasant - very cramped and someone was coughing up phlegm the whole trip. Yay.

Anyways. Arrived in Dresden and went and checked into our hotel - a very short walk from the station in the middle of a pedestrian mall/plaza type thing. Went back to the station to get our tickets for tomorrow's trip to Prague. Thought we'd gotten two window seats, but presumably they didn't exist because we seem to have two middles :( (we didn't notice this til some time later :( )

Fountain in Dresden (near our hotel - background)
Fountain in Dresden (near our hotel - background)

Then we hopped on the train out to Meißen. I'd gotten info about vaguely where to go to see the porcelain museum, but the instructions weren't particularly clear for after you left the station. So we started wandering and saw a sign pointing to porcelain manufakture, so followed that. There were a few signs, but they weren't very obvious. In fact the museum itself wasn't very well marked either. After going "is this it?" a few times we eventually came to the cafe, but nothing really obvious to say that was the museum as well. Fail. Maybe they only bother to cater to tour groups or something that know where they're going (there were a couple of coaches parked out the back). Anyways. So we went in (had to check my bag, but photos are allowed so that was good), and went on the workshop demonstration. They gave us these headsets that received the talks in english which was most useful, and the demonstrations were fascinating. We were amazed at how much the porcelain shrinks after its firing. And so much work is involved! After the demo we went up to the museum proper, which had hundreds of pieces dating back to the seventeen hundreds. Most of it was exquisite. Some was warped. Some (mainly the new stuff) was hideous heh. Took lots of photos, whoops :) We looked in the shop on the way out. The prices were staggering! Stu would love to have gotten a dragon tea cup and saucer but for about five hundred euros we decided not to heh.

View of Dresden from the train heading out to Meißen
View of Dresden from the train heading out to Meißen 

Albrechtsburg and Dom zu Meißen over the Elbe River
Albrechtsburg and Dom zu Meißen over the Elbe River 

Stu outside the Meißen Porcelain Museum
Stu outside the Meißen Porcelain Museum 

Decorating porcelain
Decorating porcelain 

Different stages of the plate glazing process
Different stages of the plate glazing process 

Meißen porcelain
Meißen porcelain 

Meißen porcelain
Meißen porcelain 

Meißen porcelain
Meißen porcelain 

Meißen porcelain
Meißen porcelain 

Look at the exquisite detail!!
Look at the exquisite detail!! 

An entire dinner party's worth of porcelain
An entire dinner party's worth of porcelain 

Girl Playing With Sphere
"Girl Playing With Sphere" 

Individual pieces that go to make up Girl Playing With Sphere
Individual pieces that go to make up "Girl Playing With Sphere" 

Pipe organ with pipes made out of porcelain
Pipe organ with pipes made out of porcelain 

Some of their more recent work - I find it ugly
Some of their more recent work - I find it ugly

After we left the museum (two and a half hours later!) we were trying to decide if we should just head back to Dresden or have a look at Meißen. I wanted to have a look at the cathedral, so we decided to walk back into town. Omigosh!  I've always had in my head the images of little European towns with little cobblestone streets and town plazas and cute buildings and churches and it was all there!! The fairy-tale picture-book type images were all there just like I imagined them. It was insanely cool to be really there, living this dream I've had for over twenty years. We walked through the centre of the old town and then up to the cathedral and Albrechsburg and took lots of photos.

Alley in Meißen
Alley in Meißen 

Cute building in the town square
Cute building in the town square 

Carillion of bells made from porcelain
Carillion of bells made from porcelain 

Looking up to the cathedral from the town
Looking up to the cathedral from the town 

These things just seemed so out of place it made me giggle
These things just seemed so out of place it made me giggle 

Meißen red rooves
Meißen red rooves 

Elbe River from the cathedral grounds
Elbe River from the cathedral grounds 

Cathedral grounds
Cathedral grounds 

Meißen Cathedral
Meißen Cathedral

So then came back to Dresden. Went out for some dinner - to a Turkish place. I asked for a "klein" turkish pizza.. But got groß.. I'd hate to think of what their large would be if *that* was a small!!

Stu really liked these little gardens
Stu really liked these little gardens with just a shack or shed on them and
somewhere for people to actually have their own gardens 

We were quite amused by this fetishware in Dresden
We were quite amused by this fetishware in Dresden 

The moon is totally upside down in the northern hemisphere!
The moon is totally upside down in the northern hemisphere!

The internet here is eight euros a day :(  Everywhere else it's been free, so that was a bit of a shock :/

The music outside stopped around 10pm.. Which is good because there is no soundproofing whatsoever, and even four flights up we can hear people talking/laughing outside...
Again woke up early but got back to sleep, having a luxurious sleep in until 7:20 :)

After breakfast I figured I had half an hour to get to the cathedral to finish taking photos, so did that while Stu finished breakfast. Also checked at the electronics store but it didn't open until 10am :(

Interior of Cologne Cathedral
Interior of Cologne Cathedral, looking back towards the main entrance 

Another look at the crazy pixel stained-glass window
Another look at the crazy pixel stained-glass window 

The main aisle of the cathedral - completely deserted!  I was amazed..
The main aisle of the cathedral - completely deserted! I was amazed.. 

Pews lined up
Pews lined up 

This is how they keep the pigeon poop off the statues..
This is how they keep the pigeon poop off the statues..

Anyways, we packed up our stuff and headed to the train station (this time making our reservation the day before!). Yet again we were facing backwards - doh! Took an ICE train with no changing so the whole trip from Cologne to Berlin took 4.5 hours. Puttering along at 250 km/h in places. Was completely stunned at how *lush* the countryside looks. You kinda forget that Australia is not the norm when it comes to rainfall! Of course that means that it must rain. A lot. (Trivia: the producers of The Sound of Music had this problem when shooting the movie, where it rained two days out of three.. Hrmmm)

Our ICE train to Berlin
Our ICE train to Berlin 

Leaving Cologne
Leaving Cologne 

Leaving Cologne
Leaving Cologne 

Wind turbines
Wind turbines. These things are everywhere in Germany. I wish Australia
would follow suit 

The train got up to 250 km/h
The train got up to 250 km/h

Anyway, things were going ok until just before we pulled into Berlin when I started freaking out about the place and it was all so big and didn't know what local train tickets we should buy and didn't know how the apartment would be and didn't know where anything was .. And it was all too much. :(

But. We did manage to find our way to the apartment (that Stu found on Craigslist) and even stood on the location of the Berlin Wall without realising it. It even has internet!

We went out for a walk to do some shopping but needed to find a geldautomat (ATM) first. Cologne had one on every other block (admittedly that was in the touristy areas). Not so here. Walked around for half an hour before we found one :( So did some shopping to get some breakfasts and tonight's dinner.

Spent quite a while tonight researching stuff to see. Stuff I shoulda done before we left but just didn't get around to :(

The apartment here is nice.  Light and airy. Decent sized living room, huge main bedroom, tiny second bedroom (setup with couches facing a blank wall), combined bathroom with washing machine.  The shower though is in the bath, but there is no curtain, so water just goes all over the bathroom when you have a shower.  Oops. 

Living room of the flat in Berlin
Living room of the flat in Berlin 

Kitchen in the flat in Berlin
Kitchen in the flat in Berlin. Stu liked the drying
rack/plate storage above the sink


Latest night (10:20) so far....
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....