A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about old town square

A Day in Taos

Eating our way thru Taos

semi-overcast

We love Taos, would love to live part time in Taos. Our house, the house that we wanted, sold and closed last Friday so we couldn’t visit it. But we could still eat meals, lots of meals in Taos. Comfort food to console ourselves.
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We left Santa Fe late morning and got to Taos by 11a.m. just in time to eat a very late and very light breakfast at La Taoseno. This restaurant was recommended to us a couple of years ago and we have been going for breakfast since. The green chili stew is gluten free and so great! Kids and Dale ate Sopiapillas filled with butter and honey.

After a quick stop for water we went for a tour of the Kit Carson house. We haven’t been there in years so that was a fun stop. There is a 20 min video first of Kit Carson’s life produced by the History Channel. The person playing Kit Carson is actually a great grandson who really looks like the original Kit Carson. After the movie, shown in the children’s room, we visited the other 4 rooms of the house. Not a large house for such a large family. A photo of one daughter is in a picture frame identical, I think, to one that my own great-grandmother’s photo is in. I took a photo and will compare it when we get home.

By then we’d worked up an appetite and went to eat a late lunch at La Cueva, a very small restaurant that serves mostly gluten free/wheat free New Mexican Food. The interior of the restaurant is so small; there are 3 very small tables for 2 people each and one seating 4. There are several tables in a small patio as well. We did sit inside today as we were a little cool. It was hard not to eat all of the meal of shredded beef taco, beef enchilada and a chili relleno. I just couldn’t help myself.

After lunch it was time to walk off the food and get ready for dinner. We went to Governor Bent’s house. This house was built in the 1600’s and was the place where Governor Bent was killed during an uprising. We stepped into the house and met George Ortega, the man behind the counter. If you get to Taos you must visit this house and speak with Mr. Ortega. He is a teacher at UNM in history and history is his passion. He will give you a background like no other. We were under his spell listening to his many stories. He is related to Mrs. Bent and comes from family well connected to the Taos area.

The Plaza is the place to have some coffee and kids had chocolates from the Rocky Mountain store. Weather was brisk but it was good to take a break.

On to the Rio Grande. If you’ve never crossed the bridge over the Rio Grande out of Taos, well you must. It is breath taking! The first time we did this was back in the 1980’s and didn’t even know what a treat we were in for. We drove over the bridge and the sight took our breath away. We have since been back and each time stopping at the end of the bridge then walking on the walkway to the middle of the bridge.
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A quick drive up to Taos Ski Valley for old time’s sake and because we were not really hungry yet for a full dinner then onto Orlando’s, voted best New Mexican food one year. Layered cheese enchiladas for me with the Chili Caribe sauce, made without flour. This sauce is a dark, rich chili sauce using the whole pod, one of my favorites.

Stuffed and happy we headed back to Santa Fe for a well dissevered sleep.

Posted by Miss Chris 08:25 Archived in USA Tagged nature new_mexico taos rio_grande family_travel grandkids old_town_square grandkids_travel new_mexican_cooking 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)

One Last Day in Prague

Goodbye from Prague, I'm wishing for good luck to come back.

Oh, our last day in Prague and really Europe, as tomorrow we will be riding the trains all day to Brussels.

I wanted to shoot a couple of photos of the Estates Theater and just look at it again. We’d arranged to meet Dieter and Inge at the base of the bridge so we left a little early to see the Estates on our way across the bridge.

We met up with Dieter and Inge and none of us really had an agenda for the day. We were walking along the river, something we hadn’t done before, looking for coffee when we got close to the train up the Petrin Hill. Since we’d never been on this hill before it seemed like a good idea. At the top of the hill is an observation tower, a small version of the Eiffel Tower that is visible in the old city of Prague. We went to get on the train but the line was really long so we decided to walk. The walk wasn’t really difficult and we got up much more quickly than we would have by train. Once at the top we had our coffee and looked out over the city.

We didn’t want to go up into the tower as again the lines were long; I’d wanted to cross over from the tower to the castle so we took the trails across the hills, crossing the old apple orchards and forests to the castle.

Once at the castle we wanted to show Dieter and Inge one more thing, a natural sound chamber discovered many years after the castle was built. Someone, when building the castle, built a small amphitheater, about 15’ across with stairs on the back half and a small pedestal in the center. The front looks to a small plaza. If you stand on the small pedestal and look to the back there are several rows of trees running from the amphitheater to the back of the area. Standing on the very center of the pedestal, if you speak the sound will come back but only to the speaker. Anyone around the speaker cannot hear the echo. The echo actually hurts some people’s ears while others are not bothered at all. The sensation is very strange.

From the castle we walked down to a park, where we parted ways for a few minutes, we’d meet again at a restaurant at the bottom of the bridge for dinner.

I shot some photos then went to find our 1st or 2nd choice meeting place for dinner when I heard a commotion. I ran following people who started running and ran to the stairs at the south of the bridge. There were hundreds of people dressed as zombies, moaning and groaning, yelling and screaming, walking up to and onto the bridge. I’d already read on Facebook that it was predicted that zombies were going to take over the world, so here it was happening in Prague, of all places!

Things settled down and we all met for dinner, at least our world didn’t come to an end. After dinner Dieter and Inge decided to return to their place so we parted ways on the center of the Charles Bridge, touching the statue for the luck that we will meet again.

Dale and I started back to our side when the sun, that was getting low in the sky, broke out turning the buildings golden. We just enjoyed our last moments on the bridge then bought some last chocolates and sat in the darkened square eating our chocolates and drinking some Czech red wine.

Until next time, Goodbye from Prague.
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Posted by Miss Chris 21:50 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises prague travel czech old_town_square Comments (0)

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