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Shopping, Walking and a Concert in London

Harrods, Selfridges and a concert at St Martin in the Fields

overcast 40 °F
View UK 2018 on Miss Chris's travel map.

Our first plan for today included over 9 miles of walking, but we soon figured out that it wasn’t going to be realistic.

I’d found online that The Tesco Superstore had wines that were our every day at home and we didn’t bring enough. We thought we’d start our day with a walk to the superstore.

After walking we found the Superstore only to find that the wine selection was no better than the Express store much closer to the hotel. We bought our wine and went on our way.

Next stop was Harrods, this was a last minute decision as it seemed like a good place to get food and just see it once and for all. We thought that we’d do a bit of shopping for a few people. I also wanted to buy some boots but, after seeing an entire floor for shoes I decided to just shop online. There was too much to see.
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We did stop for lunch and the couple close to us turned out to be from Seattle. This was their first trip outside of the U.S. or Canada. But, they were leaving the following day so they wouldn’t have time to see some of the things we enjoyed, as they were only in London for a day. We couldn’t imagine only spending a day here. We are looking forward to relocating maybe?

Dale and I had watched all of the series on Selfridge so you can guess where we headed next, Selfridges! The walk was fun as all of the streets are decorated as are many store windows. People were out everywhere!
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Selfridges was just like the series, at least what we could see. We didn’t see Mr. Selfridge though. We went thru the store, shopped for boots for me, a little something for a dear friend, and gloves for Dale. They gave us a Black Friday discount for the gloves making it a really fun purchase. Not to mention no more cold hands for Dale.

Tonight was the first concert in London we had tickets for. We had to hurry thru throngs of people down to the St. Martins in the Fields church. It was sometimes a difficult walk as we had to push our way thru the crowds and once or twice we didn’t think we’d make it. But we did.
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We got to the church without having time for dinner. Fortunately, we were able to sneak some trail mix that we’d brought so we didn’t starve. We heard Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”. It was a small group that included a harpsichord and it was magnificent. We think that it was the best performance of the “Four Seasons” that we have seen.

We were hungry after the concert and found a restaurant nearby. Then walking back to the hotel we thought it would be a good idea to pick up some Glogg to warm us. As we were walking to the hotel, along the river and drinking our cup of Glogg we saw some people on the riverbank. Normally, the banks are underwater with the tides. Now the tide was out and there was a group of people gathered around a fire on the sand. Several were playing drums and some were playing with fire, literally.
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We stood around watching the group and thinking that if we were younger we might have joined in some of the fun.

We walked 8.3 miles plus numerous stairs.

Posted by Miss Chris 12:21 Archived in England Tagged london walking travel mozart westminister_abbey st_martin_in_the_fields international_travel the_crypt Comments (0)

Last Day in Prague

sunny 75 °F

Our last full day in Prague, our concert at the Estates in the evening.

We agreed to meet up with Dieter and Inge at 1 or so, it gave us time to tour the castle area. We walked up the steep hill, the Kings Way fighting the tourists who were taking way too long.

The castle area consists of government buildings, St Vitus Cathedral, the Royal Palace, a walk down the Golden Lane where the workers lived, a walkway inside the castle wall and finally the tower.

At the top we entered thru the gate into courtyard 1, then 2 then 3. We sat down in the shade to consult the map and found the tour we wanted to take. A family ticket for the basic tour served us perfectly, following the arrows and reading the signs. Several times we just went up some stairs out of curiosity and found a place of interest.

The tower is a place one really wouldn’t want to be sent to. It is grim!, one can only imagine the emotions the prisoners had when being led into this area. The virtual tour is online: https://www.hrad.cz/en/prague-castle/virtual-tour/index.shtml

We met Dieter and Inge, not where we’d arranged but actually in the bathroom at the Lobkowicz Palace, just next to the castle. Since it was time for a late lunch we found a restaurant on a terrace overlooking the city.

After lunch we wanted to pick up some champagne and chocolates to take out to the bridge after the concert. We left Dieter and Inge at a little café we like, overlooking the Charles Bridge and the castle. We picked up our supplies and went to the room to change for the concert.

As we were leaving our room I checked the tickets, just to make sure everything was in order. OMG, I about had a heart attack, the concert was to start at 17:00 or 5pm, and it was nearly 6pm. I quickly got online to the Estates Theater site and it said 5pm. I was sick, 5 very good seats unused.

Dale ran to get Dieter and Inge while Elias and I walked quickly to the Estates, each of us thinking of what we should have done. We got to the theater in record time, no one was around. I noticed signs for the concert starting at 8pm. We went up to the desk set up in the doorway and I showed them the tickets. The guy said “Oh that was our mistake, it starts at 8pm”. http://www.estatestheatre.cz/

We found Dale approaching with Dieter and Inge, I put my hands in front of my face but couldn’t conceal the fact that everything was actually ok.
For this concert there was no assigned seating, only assigned sections; first come, first seated. I got in line, the 2nd person. The lady in front of me had a different section so I rushed in, to the hall with the boxes finding the 1st 2 boxes for the 5 of us. The boxes have gold leaf, plush blue upholstery. We were quite the royalty.

The concert was fun, several arias by Mozart including the Magic Flutie. This time accompanied by wind instruments. A nice comparison to the string instruments at the Mozart Dinner/Concert in Salzburg.IMG_20140711_175953_416.jpgIMG_201407..031_117__1_.jpgIMG_20140710_223302_606.jpg

For our last night in Prague we went out to the Charles Bridge, as we did 3 years ago, drank champagne and ate chocolates. There were lots more people this time, but it was still beautiful.

Posted by Miss Chris 04:01 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged food travel concert czech mozart estates_theater Comments (0)

Music in Vienna

Mozart

overcast 70 °F

Another forecast for rain but this time in Vienna, thunderstorms were forecast for night.

First we needed groceries. We saw that a “Bella” supermarket was close to us. Of course we got lost while walking and had to ask directions.

Once inside we picked up our groceries and went to the checkout stand, put our food on and when it was our turn waited to pay. The checker asked something in German and of course I said “what”? He asked if we’d weighed our bananas to which I answered no. I mean really? Weigh bananas? What’s up with that? I must be used to Trader Joe’s and never weigh my own stuff at the regular grocery stores.

I went back and weighed the bananas then had to go around the entire store to get to that checkout line. Some lady in the line got really mad; Dale heard her speaking loudly. We took our purchased groceries over to the counter in order to pack them. While we were packing the groceries the checker was talking and pointed at us saying that we were Amie’s. This was so funny, we started laughing, which I’m sure didn’t help the situation at all. But this is what Dieter says that the German’s call us. I guess the Austrians do too. Oh watch out for those Amie’s!!!

A hint: In Europe you must bring your own bags to the grocery stores and you must bag your own groceries. Cuts down on the trash that’s for use. Best to bring a back pack or bag to carry your stuff home in.

We went back into the old city via the U which is really easy to use, by the way. After maybe a 10 minute ride we got off at Karlsplatz, the St. Karl’s Church. This time we picked up our tickets for the Mozart Requiem and then Dale and Elias took the lift and stairs up into the dome. I stayed down with all our stuff. The skies were really threatening but only a few drops fell.

St. Karl’s Church was refurbished several years ago and after cleaning the frescos in the dome, scaffolding was left so that people could get a close up look. You take an elevator then walk up stairs into the top. Dale and I did this 3 years ago and thought that Elias would enjoy it.IMG_20140705_163457_475.jpg

From St Karl’s we walked to St. Stephens where Dale and Elias climbed the stairs up to the tower for another view of the city. I sat and had a cappuccino, writing and people watching.
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The skies cleared and we strolled back to St Karl’s, stopping to listen to a 3 person Russian street group. They played their version of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Russian and American music.
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Our concert was at 8:15pm in the St Karl’s to hear Mozart’s Requiem. We heard this same concert 3 years ago and found it amazing. Again we had front and center seats the 2nd row from the front. We were sitting waiting for the concert to begin when in walked a family who had the front row seats. The couple had 3 young children; about 4, 5 and 9 months. My first thought was “no”! But then I remembered how we would take our young boys to concerts at the Dorothy Chandler and the Hollywood Bowl. We believed that the music would help shape them, (whether it did or not is open to discussion). The kids were so well behaved. They sat quietly, the older boy would drum in the air. At one point they went up on the steps, sat down and watched. The musicians seemed to really like that. The baby went to sleep then woke up but was mostly quiet. Mom took her out at the first peep.
The concert was moving, we thought that it was better this time.

The music echoed throughout the church on many occasions. One fun part was to see that the cellist was the same person who played at the dinner concert. Instruments were the same type used in Mozart’s time. One horn has no valves so notes are made by shaping the lips.

After the concert we spoke to the couple and praised them for bringing their children to a concert.

Posted by Miss Chris 13:29 Archived in Austria Tagged vienna church music europe mozart st_karl's Comments (0)

Mozart in Salzburg

rain 65 °F

It was raining today, pouring at times. It was a good day to visit the indoor museums.

We took the kids to Mozart’s birthplace. That seemed to be a good place to start. This is a small, 1 bedroom house. There are few original furnishings however, there is a collection of personal items.

After the birth house we went to the house Mozart grew up in. The house he grew up in has the audio tour, it is much larger and contains many items from Mozart’s personal contents. There are also letters to and from his sister, some original and original works of music.

Christabel was interested in seeing where some of the “Sound of Music” was filmed so we had to visit the Mirabel Gardens. Sidestepping mud puddles, dodging umbrellas, we found the sites of the movie. The gardens were still beautiful in the rain.

This was the night of the Dinner Concert we’d reserved. Christabel had chosen this event to celebrate her birthday. There are 2 different dinner-concerts; one up at the Fortress and then the one she chose at St Peters Skiff. The restaurant at St Peters is located in a cliff under the Fortress.

I’d chosen the better seats and ours were located right in front center. The dinner was elegant; 3 courses served between the music: 1- Riesling Cream soup with crayfish and clams, 2 Roast Beef with Polenta and a Port Wine Sauce, 3. Meringues with cream. http://www.mozart-dinner-konzert-salzburg.at/exklusiv-menue.html
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The music was performed on original instruments with 2 singers. They performed 3 pieces of music; arias from Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute. Dale and I expected that the music wouldn’t be so good as this was a very touristy event, but it was really good.IMG_20140702_200915_941.jpg

Posted by Miss Chris 02:11 Archived in Austria Tagged salzburg travel driving dinner europe eating mozart Comments (0)

Moving Right Along Now

Preparing for our Upcoming European Trip

We are getting our act together for our Europe trip. Finally!!!

I bought airplane tickets for Dale and our grandson. They will fly out on a Tuesday arriving in Brussels on Wed a.m., the same day that our granddaughter and I fly to Brussels from Rome. I wish we could arrive in Brussels close to the same time but I doubt that it will happen that way. I haven’t even looked at tickets for our flight. Guess I should do that.

Our younger granddaughter is planning to go with Dale but has decided not to go to Finland. Since her dates of departure are not known yet we will get her tickets maybe next week.

I did look and see that the Mozart Requiem is still being performed on Saturdays in Vienna at the St Charles Church. We will buy tickets for that as soon as we know how many will be in our party.

Fortunately, concerts in Prague are not posted yet as we want to buy the best tickets possible and can’t today.

We are at least on the right track.

Posted by Miss Chris 17:24 Archived in USA Tagged travel cathedral music europe airplane mozart estates_theater mozart_requiem tom_sawyer_island grandkids_travel Comments (0)

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