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Entries about austria

Made it to Salzburg

The drive and 1st tastes of Salzburg

sunny 75 °F

I’ve lost track of time, half the time I don’t know what date or day of the week it is. Thank goodness for the cell phone.

I’d asked Tobias, our exchange student, if we could spend the night at the last minute. But I had the dates wrong on when we would be leaving. Poor people, they didn’t know what to think. We had planned to leave the following morning, we had to be in Salzburg on the 1st. Our apartment was rented from the 1st to the 4th. We saw Tobias and his 2 older girls off, ate breakfast and then were off.

The drive to Salzburg was so beautiful; sunny and warm about 75F. As we got closer to Salzburg the Alps were visible. Farms line the hillsides with what look like “happy cows”. IMG_20140701_141644_858.jpgIMG_20140701_141501_162.jpg

We arrived in Salzburg in the afternoon, unpacked then went off to the town. Our apartment is about a 5 minute walk into the old square. 1st dessert: Meringue stuffed with whipped cream and cappuccinos at the Furst Café.
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We found the little restaurant over in the “New-Old town” that we’d found 3 years ago. We found seats in the outdoor section but this time shared meals. We were still stuffed!
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Posted by Miss Chris 00:58 Archived in Austria Tagged food salzburg travel austria driving europe grandkids furst Comments (0)

Preparing for Living Abroad

Starting to put the dream of living abroad into a reality

We have thought for some time that we’d like to live in other places for a time. We’d originally thought we’d live away for a year at a time but now have reconsidered that. We think that our grandkids wouldn’t be able to visit more than once and my mom would not visit at all. Also, after last year’s emergency with our granddaughter we realized that we can’t leave for so long so think that 4 months would be a good fit for now.

We’d originally thought that we’d go to Alaska for our first stint but after dreaming about operas in Europe for the past few months we think it would be good to start in Europe. We were thinking something close to Vienna, Salzburg and Prague would be good.

I sent out an email to our European friends and one, who has traveled extensively, suggested Austria. He has suggested the area of Wachau area and specifically the cities of Spitz, Weissenburg, Duernstein and Krems. We have just started to look at each city to see if it would be a good fit.

We do want to live in a village, walking distance to the square where we can have coffee. Jen demands a brew pub in the town. We also want to be near transportation or a freeway to get around easily.

Another friend reminded us that her husband works in real estate so can help with housing. We would prefer a house but would take a flat if necessary. We must have 2 bedrooms so that friends and family can visit.

Now we will buy a good map and review the cities suggested both on-line and in the travel books. We will select maybe 2 or 3 and put them out for a vote.

Since we plan to leave in April we must start this process as we will leave in about 1 year from now.

Posted by Miss Chris 17:14 Archived in USA Tagged travel austria concert opera europe preparation old_town_square Comments (0)

Hotel Adventures

Hotels we stayed in

IMG_4861.jpgAs I promised some time ago, I wanted to write about the hotels in Europe, at least the ones we stayed at. I have referred to each of the hotels in various blogs but will write some additional details now

When we first planned this trip I wanted to stay in hotels within walking distance to the middle of the towns. I didn’t want to take trolleys or buses every time we wanted to go to the squares and we didn’t want to spend much over $100/night.

I picked up a travel book with hotel recommendations and a good map with the recommendations located on the map. Then I got on hotels.com and trip advisor, reviewing the ratings for each hotel along with the location.

Our 1st hotel was in Munich which I booked at the last minute and got the last room available. This hotel, “Kings First Class” appeared to be within walking distance to the square but on the map looked a little distance away. As it turned out, the hotel is about 2 blocks away from the train station and maybe a 10 minute walk from the old city square. The hotel is in an area filled with adult shops but is very safe, we never felt threatened at all. Beware that there is no breakfast included when you book on Hotels.com but a Coffee Fellows is just 2 blocks away and they have all sorts of food items plus great coffee drinks and internet.

Next we were in Salzburg where we had quite the experience at the Amadeus Hotel. This hotel is in the new city, just a few minutes’ walk to Mozart’s residence, the Mirabell Gardens and the foot bridge to the old city. The front of the hotel faces a pedestrian only street and the rear faces the cemetery with the grave of Constance Mozart and Leopold Mozart immediately in view from the rear facing rooms. There are 2 balconies in the rear with chairs and tables.

If you stay at the Amadeus Hotel beware that there is no one at the desk after 6pm. This is normally not a problem but if you check in after 6 they leave the key card in an envelope on a little table in a small lobby between the entrance door and a sliding door which needs a key card to open after hours.

Our key card was apparently lost or taken before we arrived; our arrival was late due to train problems. We arrived at 11pm and when we found no one there and the main lobby doors locked. We were able to slip into the main lobby when another guest opened the door to enter.

In the entry we called on the call box and reached a male who said that he would be right over. After waiting for about 45 minutes I called again and he said he was on his way. After another 30 minutes Dale called and the male said it would be a few minutes so Dale asked what a few minutes meant to which he replied that he would be at the hotel in 5 minutes. In the meantime I’d called Hotels.com but after 10 minutes on the phone got disconnected. We were about to start screaming!

Finally a security guard came to help us and after numerous phone calls found our room number and got us settled in. It was 1a.m. Needless to say the front desk heard about our ordeal in the morning and they gave us two dinners at their sister restaurant in the old city. My advice is to check in before 6pm just to make sure you get your room key.

The Amadeus is a small hotel but there is an excellent buffet breakfast included in the price and an afternoon coffee if you are around. Great little pubs with outdoor seating are all around and the street is vibrant both day and night. We will definitely stay there again but just arrive earlier in the day.

In Vienna we stayed at the Hotel zur Wiener Staatsoper. This hotel is a little larger than the Amadeus, also very old and located very centrally, only ½ blocks from the main street. Restaurants with outdoor seating are next door. We walked to the St. Charles Church, the Concert Hall, St. Stephens and the tube is only a couple of blocks away.

The room keys are very large so they encourage you to leave it with the desk when you are out which means that you must leave the keys off then pick them up on your return. The door is locked at night but there is a bell and the night watchman will let you in. The staff will encourage you to take various tours but will also be helpful if you want to travel on your own. Breakfast is also excellent and included with the room.

Our last hotel was in Prague, in the Stare Masto, the old town square, the Hotel U Tri Bubnu. This hotel is a little difficult to find as it is tucked into buildings just on the other side of the square. The hotel has 2 areas, one above the check-in counter and the other around the corner separated by a restaurant. Our section of the hotel appears to have a room per floor but we were not sure. Our room was quite large with old fashion double windows on 2 sides. The building is hundreds of years old and the story is that an executioner lived in the building frequenting the tavern located there. You enter this hotel thru an old wood arched door then walk up a narrow spiral staircase to the rooms.

If you are arriving by train it is an easy walk from the station but when you arrive in the square it will be on the street ahead and to a slight left. You will take the pedestrian street that goes by the St. Nicholas Church to the Kafky Square. The hotel will be to your left just past the ticket agent shop.

We will stay at all of these hotels again if we are in the areas and highly recommend them.

Posted by Miss Chris 07:33 Archived in Austria Tagged prague salzburg vienna hotel austria germany europe munich old_town_square Comments (0)

Inside a Cathedral Dome

Standing inside the dome of a cathedral

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IMG_4875.jpgIMG_4925.jpgOne last day in Vienna.

We’d thought about going to the Shonbrunn Palace for a tour and evening concert but after the last two days of music decided against it and just did a Grand Tour 1st thing in the morning. The Grand Tour is 40 rooms or so but it is the tour that includes Maria Theresa’s apartments. One apartment was the one in which Mozart performed in when he was 6 years old for her and his music took off from there.

The Shonbrunn is a Palace which consists of about 2,000 rooms and was a summer palace for the Hapsburgs who ruled for several centuries. There are, I think, about 400 acres of gardens as well.

The Palace is really quite an interesting place but be aware that although the books say 1 hour to visit we took much longer. 40 rooms are quite a few to visit but this tour is the only one that visits the apartments of Maria Theresa, plus some ballrooms. One ballroom is being refurbished but about ½ of it is completed so a person can imagine what it will be like when completed.

The gardens are very extensive. Unfortunately it was very cold and really windy so we only sat and drank our coffee in the garden then left as we had other indoor things we wanted to do in the city. We took our Silvia’s advice but this time did the opposite, seeing the inside and the outside will wait for another trip.

We’d planned to go to the top of St. Stephens to view the city; you can do that for a fee and then go to the Mozart house. We had to change the tube at St. Charles Church and remembered, from the concert the night before, that they are refurbishing the dome and that people can ride the elevator installed for this purpose, up to the top of the dome. We decided to do this first then see what to do next.

We paid our 6 euros and went into the church where the elevator is. Since we’d been there for the concert we had no need to look around the church much.

This turned out to be the highlight of the day. First you must ride an elevator up about 8 to 10 floors (this is a guess) that will put you on a platform at the base of the dome. From the base of the dome there are stairs that go all the way to the top, into the cupola. These stairs are about another 5 to 8 stories thru the middle of the dome into the copula.

The stairs are really not for anyone who has a fear of heights as they move as people walk and you see that they are only held together by small steel posts. But if you can stand the height it is an amazing view.

The stairs put you up close to the frescos painted on the dome, so close that one could touch them. Up close the figures are huge but also appear to be distorted as they appear to be painted for viewing from the ground.

The copula is actually much larger than I had imagined; there is a walkway across, very narrow but maybe 5 people could stand on it and look out windows the entire circle.

We viewed the cathedral with new eyes when we reached the ground.

Posted by Miss Chris 21:53 Archived in Austria Tagged vienna austria cathedral tourist dome Comments (0)

A Concert in Vienna

A concert at the world class concert house in Vienna

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2011-05-15..-04_617.jpg2011-05-15..-04_617.jpg2011-05-15..-20_101.jpgThis morning was the 2nd planned concert of our trip, to hear Bach and Mahler at the Vienna Music House, one of two world class music houses supported by Vienna.

I thought that we had box seats but as it turns out we didn’t, but the seats were great anyway. The seats were along the side of the auditorium and unlike the seats in the center, each row was elevated a little higher than the one in front. We sat about 20’ from the bass instruments.

The 1st 2 pieces were Bach with a smaller ensemble that stood up to play the first one. For the 2nd piece a few more players joined and they sat, For the Mahler the full orchestra played.

We did not know what to expect for a concert in Vienna except that we had heard that the Vienna people love their music. So here we were at a concert taking place at 11a.m. on a Sunday morning to hear the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra play.

We dressed up as best we could; Dale brought a blazer with dark blue pants that we bought from llBean and a really nice long sleeve shirt, his black shoes and socks. I brought a couple of pieces that can be used as a skirt or a dress with ties that can tie around the waist or as short sleeves. I also brought a black tank and a black knit top in the event it was cold. I also brought some comfy heels and bought some fun stockings in Salzburg that I never saw in Bakersfield.

The weather was cold, windy and rainy so I chose the red piece as a skirt with the 2 black tops layered, and my cashmere sweater under my raincoat. We were glad we’d brought the clothes we had as we only saw a couple of other people in jeans, all of the men had either suits or blazers and all of the women had dresses, skirts or nice pants with a coat.

The Music house was packed, we only saw a couple of empty seats and I remembered that I’d purchased the last 2 tickets available online on the day they became available.

The music was wonderful, the conductor was great to watch. The 1st violinist had a wonderful solo which we had never heard before. She seemed to be so young next to all the grey hairs but she was very strong in her playing.

So there were our concerts in Vienna.

Posted by Miss Chris 10:47 Archived in Austria Tagged vienna austria music concert mahler vienna_concert_house bach Comments (0)

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