Results tagged “Restaurants” from Europe Honeymoon 2008

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

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

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

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


Alpsee 


Beautifully stacked wood 

Hohenschwangau
Hohenschwangau 


Neuschwanstein from Hohenschwangau 


Hohenschwangau

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


Iconic Neuschwanstein picture from Marienbrücke 


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


Looking down at Alpsee and Hohenschwangau from above Neuschwanstein 


Hohenschwangau from above Neuschwanstein 


Front entrance of Neuschwanstein 


Courtyard from under the gates 


Courtyard area 


Back of the gatehouse 


Courtyard showing the location of the chapel that was never completed

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


Model of Neuschwanstein

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


Exterior lower walls of Neuschwanstein 


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


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

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


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


Neuschwanstein from the Tegelbergbahn 


Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau from Tegelbergbahn


German and Austrian Alps from Tegelberg 


Beer on top of Tegelberg 


Hanggliders waiting for the right conditions to take off from Tegelburg


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


The Birds!! Hanggliders actually :) 


Hauptplatz in Landsberg am Lech 


Sandauer Tor, Landsberg am Lech 


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


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


Wood carvings in the table at the Vietnamese restaurant

And finally back here to crash. Think got a little sunburnt up the mountain today.. Oops...
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... :(
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...
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 :)

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

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

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

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

East Berlin go man
East Berlin go man 

Die Welt balloon
Die Welt balloon 

Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie

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

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

Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie

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

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

The Spree River near Oberbaumbrücke
The Spree River near Oberbaumbrücke 

Oberbaumbrücke
Oberbaumbrücke 

Oberbaumbrücke
Oberbaumbrücke 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mitte from the Fernsehturm
Mitte from the Fernsehturm 

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

Berlin Rathaus
Berlin Rathaus

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

Fernsehturm
Fernsehturm 

Fernsehturm
Fernsehturm 

Rathaus
Rathaus 

Neptune Fountain outside the Rathaus
Neptune Fountain outside the Rathaus 

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

Lustgarten - very pretty spot
Lustgarten - very pretty spot 

Schlossbrücke
Schlossbrücke 

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

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


Unter den Linden station sign
Unter den Linden station sign 

Der Imbiss
Der Imbiss

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

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

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

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

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

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

Street artists outside the cathedral
Street artists outside the cathedral

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

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

Hohenzollernbrücke
Hohenzollernbrücke 

Pegel clock
Pegel clock 

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

Severinsbrücke
Severinsbrücke 

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

Chocolate Museum!
Chocolate Museum! 

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

Interior of the chocolate museum
Interior of the chocolate museum 

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

Toblerone wrapping machine!
Toblerone wrapping machine! 

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

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

The Milka cow
The Milka cow

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

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

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

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

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

Hohe Straße
Hohe Straße 

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


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

Ganser Kölsch
Ganser Kölsch 

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Part way up the tower
Part way up the tower 

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

View from the tower
View from the tower 

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

View east from Cologne Cathedral
View east from Cologne Cathedral 

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

View southeast from the cathedral
View southeast from the cathedral 

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

Minoritenkirche from Cologne Cathedral
Minoritenkirche from Cologne Cathedral 

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

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

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

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

Southern walkway in the cathedral
Southern walkway in the cathedral 

Stained glass window
Stained glass window 

Pillars and statues
Pillars and statues 

Ceiling of the cathedral
Ceiling of the cathedral 

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

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

Eastern end of the cathedral
Eastern end of the cathedral 

Eastern end of the cathedral
Eastern end of the cathedral 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


JAL 747 wingtip
JAL 747 wingtip


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



Over Port Moresby
Over Port Moresby


Interior of our 747
Interior of our 747

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

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

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

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


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


Finally it was time to land.

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

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

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


Japanese Yakult
Japanese Yakult


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


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



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


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