Results tagged “Towns” from Europe Honeymoon 2008

Dunno if should make this one day or three.. heh...  The start of the day seems like such a long time ago....

So we woke up in Heidelberg.  In fact we were woken up at 6am by a wakeup call or a prank call or a wrong number or something... needless to say I wasn't impressed.

Got ready then went out for across the river and around the old town, and had our breakfast out (in the end we should  have just had breakfast at the hotel, it probably would have worked out the same price).  We were going to go up to look around the schloss, but decided that we wanted to just go to Frankfurt.  So we packed up our stuff and checked out and made a detour up to see the Thingstatte and the old ruins there. 

Church of the Holy Spirit
Church of the Holy Spirit 

Synagogenplatz
Synagogenplatz is a memorial based on a synagogue that was burnt
down during the infamous Kristallnacht in 1938. It follows the original
layout of the synagogue (built in 1877). Paving stones indicate the
walls and twelve stone cubes show the location of the pews and stand
for the twelve tribes of Israel 

Alley in Heidelberg
Alley in Heidelberg - look how clean it is!

Heidelberg Rathaus
Heidelberg Rathaus 

Bridge gates
Bridge gates 

Stadt Heilbronn on the Neckar River
Stadt Heilbronn on the Neckar River 

Heidelberger Schloss from the Old Bridge
Heidelberger Schloss from the Old Bridge 

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

Bridge monkey
Bridge monkey. There was a steady procession of tourists taking photos
of themselves with this thing... This one has been there since 1979 

View from our hotel room window
View from our hotel room window - one of the best we had!

Stu in the ruins of Stephanskloster
Stu in the ruins of Stephanskloster 

Lookout tower on Heiligenberg
Lookout tower on Heiligenberg 

View of old Heidelberg from the tower
View of old Heidelberg from the tower

Heidelberger Schloss
Heidelberger Schloss 

Stu up the tower
Stu up the tower

Ruins of Stephanskloster
Ruins of Stephanskloster 

Heidelberger Thingstätte
Heidelberger Thingstätte. Built by the Nazis for propaganda rallies,
wasn't very popular because it was often too cold 

56 rows could seat 20000 people
56 rows could seat 20000 people

Thingstätte stage area
Thingstätte stage area

And then back to Frankfurt.  Had good traffic the whole way so that took away some of our stress.  Found a car wash and petrol station near the city, so cleaned the car before heading into town.  Where things started getting messy.  We didn't know where the actual parking lot was for the rental car, and ended up going down a one way street at one point.  So Stu just stopped and I went in to the station to find out where to take it.  Twenty minutes of walking later.. hrmm.  Anyways, got the car returned without any dramas (that I know about heh).

Arrival back in Frankfurt am Main
Arrival back in Frankfurt am Main

We decided we didn't want to wander around Frankfurt city because we were hot and tired and carrying heavy bags, so thought we'd just go to the airport.  Except we got on the wrong train.  Oops.  So at the first stop had to turn around and come back.  Oops. 

Finally got on the right train and got to the airport very early.  Secured window seats, getting the last row on the first leg (the 777).  Then waited for a few hours.  Went and had some dinner at a very overpriced cafe.  Spent the rest of our euros at a very overpriced gift store.  Used some wireless internet over a very overpriced connection.  Airports seriously suck sometimes.  Waited some more before finally boarding our plane. 

Schöfferhofer Weizen beers at the airport
Schöfferhofer Weizen beers at the airport

It was late dusk by the time we took off, so no photos of Frankfurt or Germany.  The night was very short, and they got us to close the blinds so the sunrise at 2am wouldn't annoy people.  I think we flew further south this time, and more snow had had a chance to melt, so much of the countryside was a rather plain brown.  Not that I looked too often, as opening the window illuminated the entire back of the plane.  So not many photos there either.  Watched PS I love you, The Bucket List, Hits from the 80s, and most of The Firm (missed the end cause we were landing - doh!)

Plane sunset
This photo is looking out to the north of the plane. That light is coming
over the top of the world! 

Over Surgut, Russia
Over Surgut, Russia

Flying in over Japan
Flying in over Japan

Got into Narita at something like 7am Germany time. After having slept for maybe an hour all up.  Zombie-making.  Upgraded our seats on the second flight from being over the wing to a two-seater section up the back of the 747.  Went through security again at Narita.  Then hung around the airport.  Which is a much better place than Frankfurt which has next to nothing past security :(  Narita has shower rooms and day rooms.  We rented shower rooms for 500 yen each for thirty minutes.  Let us have a shower which made us feel a whole lot better.  Then went and had a drink.  And bought some sake and other things for Stu.  And used the free internet cafe.  And had some dinner.  And played some gin with the cards we just bought.  And had a ten minute massage in these way-cool massage chairs for 200 yen each.  We were in Narita for about four hours.

Narita airport!  Over half way home
Narita airport! Over half way home 

Air traffic control tower from the Yahoo! Internet Cafe
Air traffic control tower from the Yahoo! Internet Cafe

At 8:20pm Narita time we headed off again.  Watched Monsters Inc while we did dinner type stuff.  Then I was going to lie down in a spare four-seater row that noone was sitting in, but was too slow, someone else beat me too it :(:(:(  Sad-making.  So attempted to sleep sitting up.  Got maybe an hour or so.  Maybe two.  Gave up after a while and watched Charlie Wilson's War. 

Our JAL 747
Our JAL 747

Arrived in Sydney around 6:20am.  Stopped at the duty free place to pick up some grog, then through security.  Immigration was very quick (maybe 3-4 minutes waiting) and uneventful.  Picked up bags.  Then through customs, which was also quite quick (maybe five minutes).  We'd declared food and wood, but after x-raying our bags they weren't interested in seeing anything or even asking us what the stuff was.  Shrug :)  (And Border Security wasn't there filming - doh!! hehe)

Caught a taxi back to my parents' (cause last time we took the train and bus and it took an hour and a half, and were too tired for that sort of nonsense this time).  Got very sad as I drove past my house :(  Still miss Sydney :(  Arrived at my parents to pick up my car and a few other bits and pieces.  Then headed for home.  I felt fine for the first bit of the trip, but could feel my brain fading.  We played A-Z games (try to think of something starting with each letter of the alphabet in a variety of categories) to try and keep our brains awake.  But it wasn't working for me, so we stopped at Marulan to get some sugar and salt and Stu drove the rest of the way home. 

Fog over Lake George
Fog over Lake George

Dumped our bags and got straight into bed and was asleep in seconds.  Slept for a few hours, but forced myself to get up to try and prevent any problems sleeping tonight. 

Very nice to be home.  Nice to be back at my puty with its massive screen.  Thanks to Natto-san for taking care of the house :) 

Haven't looked at my photos yet.  Haven't transferred any yet either.  Not sure how will get them online.  But I'll probably do a day at a time and insert the highlights into the existing blog entries.  And eventually get the whole lot onto conspiracy.  Hopefully it won't take two years to do like my USA photos did... ;)

This was all the crap that was in my suitcase and backpack (the 1/3 on the right was brought home new)
This was all the crap that was in my suitcase and backpack (the 1/3 on
the right was brought home new)


Update May 2010: I saw the last line of this blog entry a bit over a month ago, hence the frenzied effort to at least get some photos into this blog! So it was exactly two years! Sadly I'm nowhere near finished, but at least the blog is.
Had a very slow start today. Let Stu sleep in til about 8:30 heh :) Breakfast was one of the biggest so far. And lots of yummy bacon yayyy :) So we stocked up on breakfast so we could skip lunch.

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

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

Reichsstrasse, Donauwörth
Reichsstrasse, Donauwörth 

Schloss Harburg
Schloss Harburg

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

Deininger Tor, Nördlingen
Deininger Tor, Nördlingen 

Stairway up to the wall
Stairway up to the wall 

Wall around Nördlingen
Wall around Nördlingen 

Löpsinger Tor from the wall
Löpsinger Tor from the wall 

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

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

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

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

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

Nördlingen Tanzhaus
Nördlingen Tanzhaus

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

Bell in Daniel
Bell in Daniel 

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

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

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

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

Klösterle
Klösterle 

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

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

Crazy-crooked Gerberviertel
Crazy-crooked Gerberviertel 

Cute little car
Cute little car 

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

Reimlinger Tor
Reimlinger Tor

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

Dinkelsbühl
Dinkelsbühl 

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

Saint George’s church
Saint George’s church

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

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

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

Beers in Dinkelsbühl
Beers in Dinkelsbühl 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Alpsee 


Beautifully stacked wood 

Hohenschwangau
Hohenschwangau 


Neuschwanstein from Hohenschwangau 


Hohenschwangau

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


Iconic Neuschwanstein picture from Marienbrücke 


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


Looking down at Alpsee and Hohenschwangau from above Neuschwanstein 


Hohenschwangau from above Neuschwanstein 


Front entrance of Neuschwanstein 


Courtyard from under the gates 


Courtyard area 


Back of the gatehouse 


Courtyard showing the location of the chapel that was never completed

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


Model of Neuschwanstein

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


Exterior lower walls of Neuschwanstein 


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


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

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


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


Neuschwanstein from the Tegelbergbahn 


Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau from Tegelbergbahn


German and Austrian Alps from Tegelberg 


Beer on top of Tegelberg 


Hanggliders waiting for the right conditions to take off from Tegelburg


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


The Birds!! Hanggliders actually :) 


Hauptplatz in Landsberg am Lech 


Sandauer Tor, Landsberg am Lech 


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


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


Wood carvings in the table at the Vietnamese restaurant

And finally back here to crash. Think got a little sunburnt up the mountain today.. Oops...
Ok so alternating our good and bad days now...

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

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

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

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

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

Small street in Elzach
Small street in Elzach 

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


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

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

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


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

Beer in Triberg
Beer in Triberg 

Triberg Waterfalls
Triberg Waterfalls

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

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

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

Boats for hire by Titisee
Boats for hire by Titisee 

Promenade in Titisee
Promenade in Titisee 

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte at Bergsee Restaurant
Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte at Bergsee Restaurant 

View from Bergsee terrace
View from Bergsee terrace

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

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

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

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

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

Bodensee and Klosterkirche Birnau
Bodensee and Klosterkirche Birnau 

Lindau Rathaus
Lindau Rathaus

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

Lindau Harbour
Then they turned the lights on! 

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

The harbour by night
The harbour by night

Bodensee by moonlight
Bodensee by moonlight

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

Ok this day surpassed the other worst day of the trip by lots.

Started off ok. Breakfast was pretty boring, but we were the only ones there and it was so peaceful in the woods setting. Really liked that hotel.

Morning was ok too, we headed out on a "scenic route" in the general direction of Baden-Baden.  Copilot at one point sent us up a dead end street in a little town called Calw that finished in a parking station :/ doh!  So we stopped for a coffee there and listened to a dude playing the recorder brilliantly. Stu and I wish we could play half as well as him. It made the whole town/square feel very medieval.

Calw
Arrival in Calw. The parking station was just around that dead end corner on the right 

Crazy-crooked medieval buildings in Calw
Crazy-crooked medieval buildings in Calw 

Looking down the Nagold River from the parking station
Looking down the Nagold River from the parking station 

Calw is epic cute, visiting here was probably the highlight of the day
Calw is epic cute, visiting here was probably the highlight of the day

So kept going to Baden-Baden. This is where things fell apart. Couldn't find parking again. Followed a sign to a parking station and ended up in a hospital!? Only after we were nearly back out on the street did we see the actual entrance hiding off to the side, but it was too late then. Went round and round and eventually found another parking station. So went for a little walk through the town. Had lunch at a rather expensive hotel cafe and ate far too much (even with one of the cheaper options on the menu :/ ). Then went up to the ruins of the roman baths. It was only 2.50 each to go in, but there were signs saying no photography, so thought screw that and didn't go in. Took a couple of pictures through the outside glass window.

Schloss Eberstein from Obertsrot
Schloss Eberstein from Obertsrot 

Stiftskirche, Baden Baden
Stiftskirche, Baden Baden 

Neues Schloß from Marktplatz
Neues Schloß from Marktplatz 

Part of the Roman bath ruins
Part of the Roman bath ruins

Next we went to the tourist "information" office. Information is there in quotes because there wasn't any. Information that is. We wanted some info on highlights of the Black Forest as we didn't have internet last night to any of that sort of thing. But they didn't have a single thing. About the Black Forest. That they're on the doorstep of. Bumheads.

Lame..
Lame..

So it was like 2pm by this time, far later than we'd planned to be there. And we didn't have a plan for the afternoon. Well we had a plan but didn't think it would work. So we got stressed out (or I did mainly) and ended up doing nothing. At all. Just drove down the boring autobahn in the direction of Freiberg. Stopped at a roadside hotel near the Europa Park. This at about 4pm. And we didn't leave. Stu ended up doing some planning for the rest of our trip, as I'd given up hope of doing any of the things I wanted to do. That mainly being seeing some of the alps. Not helped by a weather forecast that says rain and clouds for the next several days.  All a bit depressing.

Around eight we went out to find some dinner at the local Shell diner. There is a Maccas, a Burger King, a Pizza Hut and what obviously used to be a KFC at this rest stop. The hotel is more like one of the big chain motels you get in America (except about four times the price). And the hallways and rooms are decorated with pictures of American motel signs. It all made me rather "homesick" for the very easy American driving holidays. Maybe next time... 
 
Maccas from our roadhouse motel room
Maccas from our roadhouse motel room

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...