Results tagged “Food” from Europe Honeymoon 2008

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..

Aaaahhhhhh.. A much better day :)

Breakfast was a little boring, and was starting to stress over the driving again.

So anyways, hit the road around 9:30 and headed to our destination of the day - Legoland Deutschland!!

Entrance to Legoland Deutschland!!
Entrance to Legoland Deutschland!!

It was fan-fricken-tastic!!!  Totally loved it. Even Stu enjoyed himself.

I only knew about the place because Guy went there last year. So glad I found out *before* the trip, would have been very sad if had found out after ;)

We spent the entire day there and still didn't do everything (skipped a lot of the kiddy rides, but did go on the best roller coaster twice). So mainly stuck the "rides" sections of the park most of the day with the thought of going to "miniland" towards the end, because it was open longer.

Looking over Legoland
Looking over Legoland 

Nudie pirate
Nudie pirate 

Stu with a friend on the park bench
Stu with a friend on the park bench

Kid inside a shark
Kid inside a shark 

Big minifig - there were heaps of these guys everywhere
Big minifig - there were heaps of these guys everywhere 

Lego before it's Lego
Lego before it's Lego 

I have some dioaramas of Harry Potter and Star Wars characters just like these ones :)
I have some dioaramas of Harry Potter and Star Wars characters just like these ones :) 

Kid with pigs
Kid with pigs 

Rainbow of Lego
Rainbow of Lego 

Stu looking at busts of various famous people
Stu looking at busts of various famous people 

A stegosaurus
A stegosaurus 

For Dooce
For Dooce

That's me in blue
That's me in blue 

An elephant
An elephant 

A giraffe
A giraffe 

BBQ - for some reason I really liked this display
BBQ - for some reason I really liked this display

Musical instruments that you could actually play with pressure pads on the ground
Musical instruments that you could actually play with pressure pads on the ground 

I actually ran through this fountain earlier.  This kid walked into it when it looked like this..
I actually ran through this fountain earlier. This kid walked into it when it looked like this.. 

..and froze when the jets all went off :)  His father yelled
..and froze when the jets all went off :) His father yelled "get out of there!!" hehee 

Einstein
Einstein

Word of advice: allow more time than you think you'd need for miniland! It was amazing!  We first went round the Berlin section and the models were astounding. And geographically correct too. We saw all the "been-theres" from a couple of weeks ago. "Munich Airport" was pretty spectacular too, as was the Munich sports arena. I took a few hundred photos in miniland alone!! Eeeep! I could easily have spent all day there just looking at all the hidden detail and all the stuff going on in the scenes.

The Berliner Rathaus
The Berliner Rathaus 

Amazing detail on the Rathaus
Amazing detail on the Rathaus 

Neptune fountain
Neptune fountain 

Berliner Dom
Berliner Dom 

Lady with minifig hair for a top
Lady with minifig hair for a top 

The Reichstag
The Reichstag 

Dome of the Reichstag
Dome of the Reichstag 

The Victory Column
The Victory Column 

The Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate

The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church 

The Fernsehturm
The Fernsehturm 

Schlossbrücke
Schlossbrücke 

Tee hee hee
Tee hee hee 

I like to make sexy time!
I like to make sexy time! 

Ah, Venice!
Ah, Venice! 

Venice canal
Venice canal 

Ouch!
Ouch! 

Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco 

Saint Mark's Basilica
Saint Mark's Basilica 

Frankfurt
Frankfurt 

Frankfurt old town
Frankfurt old town 

Munich International Airport
Munich International Airport 

Airbus A380 cutaway
Airbus A380 cutaway 

Black boxes in the A380
Black boxes in the A380 

Zombies on a plane!
Zombies on a plane! 

About to join the mile high club?
About to join the mile high club? 

Air Traffic Control Tower
Air Traffic Control Tower 

A380 - a complete one
A380 - a complete one

Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle 

Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle 

Lucerne
Lucerne 

Munich's Allianz Arena
Munich's Allianz Arena 

Thousands of minifigs fill the stands
Thousands of minifigs fill the stands 

Just wow!
Just wow! 

Hamburg ship
Hamburg ship 

Kids trying to break into the park
Kids trying to break into the park

Anyways, so a bit before six pm we sadly left the park and headed west. We decided to stop on the southern outskirts of Stuttgart and found a hotel very quickly. It's in a beautiful woods setting, and is incredibly peaceful. It looks like it was an old hunting lodge or something, as there's deer antlers around the place, and lots of pictures of wild animals.

We had dinner in the hotel restaurant - roast venison :) Which was very yummy, but I had trouble getting through all mine it was pretty big heh.

Enjoying our venison in Stuttgart
Enjoying our venison in Stuttgart

After dinner had a little walk around the woods out the back. No internet here (well there is, but it's too flaky to use) so will just have to relax heh.
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'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...
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....
Slept really well. Like a log really.

While I was having my shower the whole tub starting shaking gently. And I was all like cool! Earth tremor! :) Stu felt it in bed too.

Downloaded all my photos from yesterday before heading down to breakfast. It was huge!! Tonnes of food, both Asian and western. Even Stu managed to find plenty to eat. After breakfast we went out for a little walk in the hotel garden, where azaleas were blooming like crazy :)

Azaleas in full bloom in the hotel grounds
Azaleas in full bloom in the hotel grounds


The Hotel Nikko that we stayed the night in
The Hotel Nikko that we stayed the night in

Went back up to our room and fought over the computer/internet for a bit. Then hopped on a shuttle to the airport. Getting through immigration/security was very smooth. Then we wandered about and stumbled upon a free internet cafe which we made good use of.

Narita Airport
The air traffic control tower and terminal shuttle, viewed from the free
Yahoo Internet Cafe at Narita Airport



Narita Airport shuttles
The yellow shuttles take you out to the remote terminal


Green Tea flavoured Kit Kat
Green Tea flavoured Kit Kat

Our plane this time was a 777-300. Never been on one of those before. Didn't find the power point though..

Mountains of Japan
Mountains of Japan


Interior of our 777
Interior of our 777

Watched Jumper which was very average, Beauty and the Beast early on and Goldmember later on.

Now the Australian outback really is a desolate, unending place... But it ain't got nothing on Siberia!!  I swear I thought it would never end!!  Thousands and thousands of kilometres of frozen rivers and forests. Freaky! Towards the western end it had more straight lines cutting through it indicating some sort of civilisation somewhere below.

Eastern Siberia, near Neryungri
Eastern Siberia, near Neryungri


Part of Vilyuyskoye Vodokhranilishche reservoir
Part of Vilyuyskoye Vodokhranilishche reservoir


Yenisey River over Turukhansk
Yenisey River over Turukhansk


Northern Russia
This photo was taken at the most northerly place on the planet I've
ever been - N65 deg 54' - almost at the Arctic Circle.
Between the Pur and the Taz Rivers



Pur River from over Korotchaevo
Pur River from over Korotchaevo


Really freaky monster near Borisovo-Sudskoye
Really freaky monster near Borisovo-Sudskoye

We flew over St Petersburg but it was too cloudy to see it, and Berlin (or at least the outskirts).

Cloud cover over St Petersberg
Cloud cover over St Petersberg 

Horn of Latvia, from over the tip of Estonia
Horn of Latvia, from over the tip of Estonia


Wind turbines near Parsteinsee near the Polish border in Germany
Wind turbines near Parsteinsee near the Polish border in Germany


Autobahn #7 near Thalau
Autobahn #7 near Thalau


Neu-Isenburg, Frankfurt
I liked this cross-shaped streetscape in Neu-Isenburg just east of
Frankfurt Airport, south of Frankfurt


Immigration at Frankfurt was quick and efficient, and customs was non-existant. The only obvious officer there was riding around the treminal on a bicycle! So without cards to fill in from the plane, we just walked straight out! Amazing heh.

Now I'd a couple of glasses of wine during the flight, but the problem was I didn't get enough water afterwards, so I was dying by the time we landed. And it was something like 2am Sydney time so we weren't really functioning very well. So it took us a little while to figure out that "regional" also means "local" trains. And how to use the ticket machines that didn't want to let us "add" another ticket. So that was all a bit stressful.

But anyways. We made it to the hotel, which is very close to train station (apparently near the red-light district hrmm). Nearly 8pm here, just about bedtime methinks :)