Results tagged “Palaces” from Europe Honeymoon 2008

It was raining when I woke up :(

And then I checked the Untersberg webcam and got very sad. So went back to bed for a while.

In fact had a very slow morning, sleeping in and not getting out the door until 11am.

Stu wanted to go to the Mozart mass in the cathedral, so we did that. Then had coffee/hot chocolate in a cafe afterwards. It was a great hot chocolate - not too hot!

Attending mass at the University Church
Attending mass at the University Church 

Front of the University Church
Front of the University Church

Meandered around the old town for a bit trying to find somewhere open to have lunch (pretty much everything shuts on Sunday in Austria). Eventually found a place where I had a ghoulash soup and Stu some pasta with ham and cheese.

Went down to the bus stop with the thought of maybe going up Untersberg in the hopes that we'd get a break in the clouds, but the clouds seemed to be getting *lower*, and regular checks of the webcam showed no letup.

So we decided just to go to Hellbrunn instead. Our Salzburg cards covered entry to the "trick fountains" tour, which was just starting as we arrived (you have to go on the tour). But it was totally overcrowded and couldn't understand a word the guide said, even when he was speaking in English. So after not being able to hear about the first couple of things and not able to see either for the crowds of people I was pretty grumpy with the whole place. Barely took any photos. Only a couple of things stood out - the kilo metal "crown" that sat atop a jet of water and could be raised and lowered with just the pressure of the water, and a big mechanical model of a townscape with figures that moved by the flow of water. It would have been nice to spend more time looking at that one, as it was very detailed and there was all sorts of stuff going on in the scene.

Trick fountains at Hellbrunn
Trick fountains at Hellbrunn. Apparently Archbishop Markus Sittikus
used to set off the fountains under his guests' seats while they were
eating and drinking to make them think they'd wet themselves. 

Water-operated theatre
Water-operated theatre - all the characters there were moving - it was
very cool 

The 1kg cone sitting atop a jet of water
The 1kg cone sitting atop a jet of water


I really wouldn't recommend the tour to anyone, it's just not that good. That is, it could have been a lot better if the operators weren't so money-grabbing and ran much smaller groups, and got guides who could actually speak properly (maybe separate German/English tours??)
Anyways, wandered around the gardens for a little while afterwards, and had another look at the Sound of Music gazebo, sans crowds.

Sturgeon in one of the ponds
Sturgeon in one of the ponds

Pond at Schloss Hellbrunn
Pond at Schloss Hellbrunn 

Schloss Hellbrunn
Schloss Hellbrunn

More checks of Untersberg showed no real improvement, so we started walking back to Schloss Frohnburg for a better look at the building that we only whizzed by at a distance from on the tour bus. So that was extremelly cool being able to see the building up close, and then walking around the back to see it too. Very exciting :)

Unicyclist on Hellbrunner Allee
Unicyclist on Hellbrunner Allee 

The cause of my depression for the day - a cloud-topped Untersberg
The cause of my depression for the day - a cloud-topped Untersberg 

Schloss Frohnburg!!!
This on the other hand was one of the highlights of the trip - getting to
see Schloss Frohnburg up close! This is the actual building filmed in
The Sound of Music 

Stu by the gates of Schloss Frohnburg
Stu by the gates of Schloss Frohnburg 

And this is the rear of Schloss Frohnburg
And this is the rear of Schloss Frohnburg

Bussed it back into town. Stu went and had a sauna while I did internetty things.

Headed out to dinner, going to Spicy Spices, an Indian vegetarian/vegan restaurant. Was ok, the thing I had was a little warm for my taste, and serving sizes fairly small, but was ok.

Untersberg still in clouds... :(
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..
Didn't sleep so well last night. Had the windows open for a bit to get some fresh air, but of course that lets in every tiny sound from the street below. Then some alarm, or maybe a truck reversing sound, went off for ages so that was really annoying :/

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


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

Schloss Schönbrunn
Schloss Schönbrunn

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

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

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

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

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

Neptune Well
Neptune Well

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

The Gloriette
The Gloriette 

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


On the Wiener Riesenrad 

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


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

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

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

Prater amusement park
Prater amusement park

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

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

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

Bio Bar
Bio Bar

Beer at the Bio Bar
Beer at the Bio Bar 

Stephansdom by night
Stephansdom by night

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

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

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

Hofburg Palace
Hofburg Palace 

Peterskirche
Peterskirche 

Albertina
Albertina 

Vienna Opera House
Vienna Opera House 

Exterior of the Schmetterlinghaus
Exterior of the Schmetterlinghaus 

Moth in the Schmetterlinghaus
Moth in the Schmetterlinghaus 

Interior of the Schmetterlinghaus
Interior of the Schmetterlinghaus 

Butterflies in the Schmetterlinghaus
Butterflies in the Schmetterlinghaus 

Butterfly in the Schmetterlinghaus
Butterfly in the Schmetterlinghaus 

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

Butterflies in the Schmetterlinghaus
Butterflies in the Schmetterlinghaus 

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

Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum 

MuseumsQuartier
MuseumsQuartier 

Hofburg Imperial Palace
Hofburg Imperial Palace 

Austrian Parliament
Austrian Parliament 

Burgtheater
Burgtheater 

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

Rathaus (Town Hall)
Rathaus (Town Hall) 

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

Schottenkirche
Schottenkirche 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saint Vitus's Cathedral
Saint Vitus's Cathedral 

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

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

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

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

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

Charles Bridge and tower
Charles Bridge and tower 

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

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

Cute trams
Cute trams 

Old Town Square
Old Town Square 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

kostel sv. Kříže Menšího‎
kostel sv. Kříže Menšího‎ 

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


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

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

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

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

Prague Rudolfinum interior
Prague Rudolfinum interior 

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Excavations outside Kreuzkirche
Excavations outside Kreuzkirche 

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

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

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

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

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

Academy of Fine Arts
Academy of Fine Arts 

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

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

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

Stallhof and Hofkirche
Stallhof and Hofkirche 

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

Semperoper (Opera House)
Semperoper (Opera House) 

Fountain and Zwinger Gardens
Fountain and Zwinger Gardens

Courtyard of Zwinger Palace
Courtyard of Zwinger Palace 

Zwinger Palace
Zwinger Palace

Staatsschauspiel theatre
Staatsschauspiel theatre

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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

Locks near Lovosice
Locks near Lovosice 

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


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


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

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


Pilsner Urquell at Lehká Hlava
Pilsner Urquell at Lehká Hlava 

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

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

Stu at sunset
Stu at sunset

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

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

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

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

Nauener Tor
Nauener Tor 

Brandenburger Tor
Brandenburger Tor 

Schloss Sanssouci and gardens
Schloss Sanssouci and gardens 

Statue in Schloss Sanssouci
Statue in Schloss Sanssouci 

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

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

Chinese Teahouse
Chinese Teahouse 

New Palace - east building
New Palace - east building 

New Palace - west building
New Palace - west building 

New Palace - east building
New Palace - east building 

Orangerie Schloss
Orangerie Schloss 

Obelisk on Schopenhauerstrasse
Obelisk on Schopenhauerstrasse 

Cycling through Neuer Garten
Cycling through Neuer Garten 

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

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

Glienicker Brücke
Glienicker Brücke 

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

Glienicker Brücke over Glienicker Lake
Glienicker Brücke over Glienicker Lake 

Babelsberg, Kleines Schloß
Babelsberg, Kleines Schloß

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

Strandbad Wannsee entrance
Strandbad Wannsee entrance 

Shade houses at Wannsee
Shade houses at Wannsee

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

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

Life is good :)
Well my day began at 5:50 when Stu's phone buzzed. So of course I was instantly awake. And it was bright and sunny outside so I was all "let's go!!". Heh. So were out the door pretty early.

Wandered along the site of the Berlin wall at Bernauer Strasse and even got to see a chunk of it they've left up. But didn't get to go up the viewing platform as the building it was attached to didn't open until 10am.

Photo of the Reconciliation Church, that was sealed off in No Man's Land until 1985
Photo of the Reconciliation Church, that was sealed off in No Man's Land
until 1985 

Sadly the Church was demolished in 1985, just four years before the wall came down :(
Sadly the Church was demolished in 1985, just four
years before the wall came down :( 

Stu standing by one of the last remnants of the Berlin Wall at Bernauer Strasse
Stu standing by one of the last remnants of the Berlin Wall at Bernauer Strasse

Hopped on a train into the city and when we came out saw the Brandenburg Gate!  

Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate! 

Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate 

Closeup of the chariot on the Brandenburg Gate
Closeup of the chariot on the Brandenburg Gate

So took a bunch of photos of that, then went around to the Reichstag. It was about a 30 minute wait to get in, even at 9:00. They had their metal detectors turned up to full sensitivity, so the whole process of getting through security took forever because they had to hand-wand most everyone (somehow my belt buckle didn't set it off so I didn't get frisked heh). The info they had around the base of the dome was interesting. Came across a few rude Germans though that blocked the info boards. I was tempted to take photos of their behaviour because they showed no consideration whatsoever for anyone else, even when I was making it blatantly obvious that I couldn't see because of them. Bumheads. Then we wound our way up the dome, which is pretty impressive, but not really good for taking photos from.

Walking up to the Reichstag
Walking up to the Reichstag 

Entrance to the Reichstag
Entrance to the Reichstag 

Brandenburg Gate from the top of the Reichstag
Brandenburg Gate from the top of the Reichstag 

Glass dome on top of the Reichstag
Glass dome on top of the Reichstag 

These mirrors reflect light into the interior of the building
These mirrors reflect light into the interior of the building 

Double helix for getting to the top of the dome
Double helix for getting to the top of the dome 

Glass panels in the roof of the building
Glass panels in the roof of the building 

I can't help it, they were very photogenic
I can't help it, they were very photogenic 

The very top of the dome
The very top of the dome

After we came back down we meandered west through the Tiergarten, which was a very pleasant walk. Ended up at the Victory Column - another thing to climb! Altho this cost 2.50 each to do so. Back down again and a much more frustrating walk through the Tiergarten trying to find something Stu remembered from last time he was here. So we both ended up tired and frustrated, me more so. Took a while to get going again, after being in the Tiergarten for four hours :/

When we came out, the queue was well over an hour long
When we came out, the queue was well over an hour long 

Carillon in the Tiergarten
Carillon in the Tiergarten 

The Berlin-Tiergarten
The Berlin-Tiergarten 

The Victory Column
The Victory Column

View back to the Reichstag, Fernsehturm and Brandenburg Gate from the Victory Column
View back to the Reichstag, Fernsehturm and Brandenburg Gate from
the Victory Column 

Can you tell Stu was really excited about being dragged up another tower? :)
Can you tell Stu was really excited about being dragged up another tower? :) 

The Berlin-Tiergarten
The Berlin-Tiergarten

Took a train to where Stu stayed last time he was here, then had a look at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church. The souvenir vendors are really out in force there!  Bought myself a post card that may or may not have a piece of the Berlin wall included heh.

We were amused by this Erotik Museum
We were amused by this "Erotik Museum" 

The Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church
The Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church 

They're restoring the mosaics on the interior of the church
They're restoring the mosaics on the interior of the church 

The Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church
The Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church

Then hopped on a bus to have a look at the Schloss Charlottenburg, the biggest palace in Berlin. Just walked around it, didn't go in. Then bussed it back again.

Schloss Charlottenburg
Schloss Charlottenburg 

Schloss Charlottenburg
Schloss Charlottenburg

Was getting late in the afternoon, so better lighting for the Victory Column and the Reichstag, and the back of the Brandenburg Gate.

The Victory Column
The Victory Column 

Top of the Victory Column
Top of the Victory Column 

The Reichstag in the afternoon sun
The Reichstag in the afternoon sun 

Brandenburg Gate - from the western side
Brandenburg Gate - from the western side 

Fernsehturm through the Brandenburg Gate
Fernsehturm through the Brandenburg Gate 

Dave-stalking continues with one of the
Dave-stalking continues with one of the "Bears of Berlin" (I never saw
the one he photographed)


Then headed for home. Very much exhausted. Didn't even get dinner. Just had the remains of last night's dinner.

Not sure how we're going to be able to deal with tomorrow...