S: EUROPE 2011 - Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic
BC: WISH YOU WERE HERE! LOVE DEAN & JANEA DIENO May, 2011
FC: Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic | EASTERN EUROPE May 2011
1: April 30 to May 23, 2011 | Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic | Our Honeymoon Europe 2011
2: SUNDAY MAY 1, 2011 Arriving in Frankfurt, Germany at 6AM | Got through customs by 7:30am, longest stupidest line ever. Air;port was a zoo. Our bags were last on the luggage carousel which leads us to believe we went through wrong customs line. Bought train tickets to Rothenburg.
3: Train station in Frankfurt, Germany
4: SUNDAY, MAY 1 2011 ROTHENBURG, GERMANY
7: Arrived in Rothenburg at 12:30pm. Found Pension Elke owned by Klaus and Ehrich Endress. Toured Rothenburg and stepped back into medieval times. Est 1100AD and hasn't changed since 1600s.
11: Rothenburg, Germany | Rothenburg, Germany
15: Germany | Had supper in Rothenburg with beer, brats, sauerkraut, & weiner schnitzel. Finished the night with the Night Watchmens Tour. So jet legged... had to get to bed early at Pension Elke.
17: MONDAY, MAY 2, 2011 After our European breakfast of prosciutto, melon, cheeses, sausage and pate, we take the train to Munich. Found 4star hotel cheap from Tourist Info - The King Hotel - who also told us where the biergartens were, so we headed there next. Had appies and beer, then toured Munich by foot. Toured Konigsplatz, Residenz, climbed St Peter's Bell Tower for view of the city. Hung out at Marienplatz Square.
18: The Residenz is the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs. It is the largest city palace in Germany. The complex of buildings contains ten courtyards and the museum displays 130 rooms.
23: Munich actually had TWO "Hofbruhuser" at one point On September 27, 1589, Duke Wilhelm V founded a brewery on the site of the Munich royal residence of that time. This first Hofbruhaus lasted till the year 1808 and was only a few steps away from today's one. Maximilian I built his ducal Weissbier brewery in 1607, thus laying the historical foundations of today's Hofbruhaus.
25: TUESDAY, MAY 3 After breakfast at the hotel, caught the tour to Obermaugau, Linderhoff & Neuschwanstein Castle. Very cool, wet day. Had supper at Riva Pizzeria in Marienplatz. Stopped for a beer at Augustina Beirgarten | "Mad King Ludwig" (1864) is best known as an eccentric who commissioned the construction of several extravagant fantasy castles and palaces, the most famous being Neuschwanstein.
34: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 Munich / Salzburg | Toured Viktualienmarkt in Munich, the fresh food market. Ate a giant pickle for $0.50. At 11am listened to church bells ring out in the New Town Hall and watched the marionettes dance around the glockenspiel. Picked up some last minute souvenirs, snacks and beer. Had one more beer in Augustina beer hall before heading to Salzburg. Found a room in Salzburg at the St. Sebastien Women's Dorm! Two rock hard single beds across the room from each other! It was expensive to stay in Salzburg, this was 68Euros per night. Included breakfast which was a roll with cheese or pate and fresh jam. Got a Salzburg card and did our own walking tour of city - Catholic Cathedral, Horse Bath, Water Wheel (no plague as washed streets every Thursday), Flour Mill, lots of fountains. Took funicular up to Salzburg Fortress. Went through 2 museums at the top of fortress. Built in 1600s to protect the city. One day painted a bull and trotted around fortress so enemy knew they weren't running out of food. Walked around the city. Wend for supper and had lasagne and cheese dumplings....mmmm!
39: View of Austrian Alps
43: Thursday, May 5, 2011 | Had breakfast early as it is only served 8-9am at the dorm. Toured Mozart Birthplace and Residenz Museums. Tried to do boat tour but Salzach River was too low. Walked through Mirabell gardens. Lunched in the market on cheesy bratwurst and beer, strudel for dessert. Took bus to Buchtesgaden to see Hitler's Eagle Nest, but it was closed til Saturday. Took cable car up to Obersalzburg and toured Documentation Centre at Berggasthof -- SS Training Facility. Saw Hitler's buker. Could see Eagle's Nest from here. Toured museum. Sat by Salzach River and had supper of bratwursts and beer. We can eat for 10Euros! Walked up to St. Augustina Bieregarten ran by the monks. Giant beer hall and garden. You have to wash your own mug! Lots of authentic food, more strudel & pretzels. Had lots to drink!
54: FRIDAY, MAY 6 - HALLSTATT Took train to Hallstatt. Train travel through the mountains and along the lake - prettiest train travel ever! Arrived at Hallstatt train station then had to take ferry to cross the lake to Hallstatt Village. Walked around town and found funicular to top of mountain. Did Salt Mine Tour - mined salt here for 7000 years. Discovered St. Barbara Patron Saint of Mining and mining uniform with 28 buttons, with 3 undone at the top. Slid down mine slides. Went to find something to eat and found expensive lakeside terrace, had fresh fish. Stopped at Catholic Church on top of hill with the Charnel House, catecombs of painted skulls. Stopped at grocery store for beer and snacks, discovered $13Euros for 20 half litre beer! Picked up our packs from the Ferry Captain and caught ferry/train to Vienna.
62: Saturday May 7 - Vienna Toured the city. Had breakfast in the park with Maria Teresa statue between the Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of Natural History. Walked through Mozart park. Toured downtown and St. Stephens Cathedral. Toured Hapsburg Palace. Inside the Hapsburg Palace we toured the palace rooms - states serviceware, Sisi and Franz Josef state apartments. Toured famous Opera House. Had a Sacher Torte at Hotel Sacher - wasn't that good. Definitely wasn't worth 12Euros. Had a nap in the park. Walked through the gardens. Stayed at Pension Esterhazy for 41Euros/night, with the shower in the hallway. Had Ramen Bowl for supper.
69: Sunday May 8 - Vienna & Our Cruise Dropped off bags at Intercontinental Hotel for our cruise later that day. Toured the Schloss Schonbrunn palace and gardens. Had lunch in the gardens, more bratwurst. Went to hotel at 3pm to catch our boat with all the blue hairs on Avalon Waterways. Met Jill & Graham from Waterloo, ON and Jim & Lou Welter from Minneapolis.
72: Sunday May 8, 2011 to Wednesday May 11, 2011 A Taste of the Danube With Avalon Waterways "Discover the fascinating and scenic Danube with its charming small towns and exciting cities on this river cruise vacation. Enjoy the serene atmosphere as you glide along the river, passing quaint villages and scenic beauty. From Vienna, the “City of Music,” board your river cruise ship and begin exploring the natural beauty of Austria’s Wachau Valley, where much of Austria’s wine is grown. Visit Melk’s impressive and breathtaking Benedictine Abbey, see Dürnstein’s baroque Stiftskirche, and enjoy guided sightseeing in Slovakia’s vibrant capital of Bratislava. Your journey concludes in exciting Budapest."
73: Monday May 9, 2011 Ported in Melk, Austria and toured an Austrian Benedictine abbey, one of the world's most famous monastic sites. It is located above the town of Melk on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Danube in Lower Austria, adjoining the Wachau valley. The abbey was founded in 1089 and now caters 900 pupils Sailed down the Danube River, saw lots of ruins, castles and vineyards as we sailed.
74: Monday, May 9 Ported in Durnstein. Walked through the town. Climbed up to the ruined fort with breathtaking views of the Wachau Valley. Did some wine tasting in town. Specialty is apricots, wine and roasted apricot seeds. Stopped for a beer in alley tavern. Walked along the beach back to the boat. Got cleaned up for dinner to party all night long with Graham on piano keys.
76: Tuesday, May 10 We toured Bratislava, Slovakia today. Walked through St. Michael's Gates, built in 15th century to protect the city. Had lunch back on the boat then walked across the bridge and went up into the tower to get a bird's eye view of Old Bratislava and New Communist Bratislava. Walked through the park, picked up souvenirs, had a beer in the square to admire the pretty girls. Went back to the boat to have supper and dance all night to Graham's piano playing where Janea had to teach everyone Blood on the Saddle.
79: Wednesday, May 11 Woke up in Budapest, Hungary and got off the boat at 8am. Followed Jill & Graham to hostel - first time for Dean in a hostel, last time for both of us! Toured Hero's Square, Got on the Hop On Hop Off Bus and toured city. Went up to the Citadel. We wore stupid hats on the bus as it was +31 outside and we got sun burned. More castles, more cathedrals, UNESCO Heritage site. Stopped and had lunch. Did Hop on Hop Off Boat and toured Budapest from Danube River. Went back to hostel for a nap. Had all you can eat & drink dinner at Trofea Grill for 3 hours for $20each. Stopped at a few bars on the way back to the hostel to bed!
82: Thursday, May 12 Found a new place to stay because hostel was the sh**s. Stayed at a 5star Zara Hotel for $60more than the hostel, $100/night and had a pool and a spa. Totally worth it. Met up with Jill & Graham at Gerrati Bath House and swam wave pool, hot pool and sauna. Went to cave church, where Paulina Monks worshiped. Said good-bye to Jill & Graham. Had a beer and went to market. Had best cabbage roll in world, good sausage too! Checked into hotel, had a swim and went to bed.
83: Friday, May 13 Slept in and then headed to Budapest train station. Took awhile to figure out the train system...very complicated. Ingrid, Peter and Viktor picked us up at the train station. Toured Bratislava with Peter as our personal tour guide. Visited the castle, bridge, Jewish Quarter, communist apartment buildings. Went for dumplings in Slovak Pub and then headed back to Ingrid's house in Stupava. Saturday, May 14 Had breakfast then went to Skalicia with Ingrid & Viktor! Met Babka and Igor and toured Skalicia. Saw Babka's big garden with apricots, grapes, peaches, nectarines, pears and veggies. Drove to canal onCzech Republic border. Went to rotunda, old town wall, St Michaels Church. Joined in Skalicia wedding tradition, shot of homemade hooch Novstrovski! Groomsmen passed around wine and shots, bridesmaids passed around pastries, all community came out for the event. Went to Trdlofest and sampled community wine and trdlo (pastry roasted on open fire with cinnamon and sugar). Went back to Babka's for lunch. Met Ingrid's brother Peter, wide Danka and 2 sons Martin & Mereck. Had big lunch of meats, cheese, rolls, pastries. Headed back to Stupava. Had wine and visited with Peter Sr. Sunday, May 15 Got up and had breakfast with Ingrid, Peter & Viktor. Raining out. Took 3 hour hike in forrest. Had soup, Schnitzel and potato salad. Watched bronze & gold medal World Jr. Hockey game. Caught night train to Krakow.
86: Monday, May 16 Woke up in Krakow, Poland at 7am on the train. Found the info centre to get a hotel room and find out about the tours. Had hotel and tour booked by 8am. Toured Auschwitz. We couldn't believe how big it was. We were back in the city by 2pm, had lunch in the Jewish Quarter of perogies and sausage. Toured Krakow and visited St. Michaels Church with apostles and big organ playing as we entered. Walked around the Old Town and the Square. Toured St Peter & Paul Church, the oldest church in Poland. Visited St Marys Church with the 2 different towers. Had supper with perogies and bread with lard. Had drinks and soup at a restaurant with live music.
88: Tuesday, May 17 Booked a tour to the Salt Mine's - Wieliczka. Since 1600s, workers in their spare time carved statues and monuments underground. Visited the underground chapel. After the tour had lunch with cabbage, goulash, sausage and mushrooms. Toured the Wawel Royal Castle - most boring tour of the Royal Apartments! Walked forever to find the Schindler factory and museum, Museum started with pre-war history of Poland. It was a one of the best museums of history we toured. Went back the BBQ restaurant for supper. Bought some booze and then we caught the overnight train to Prague.
91: Wednesday, May 18 Woke up on the train in Prague. Had to wait until the Info Centre opened to get a hotel. Booked a 4 star at Antika Hotel! Had a nap before we ventured out as the train sleep was not good. Walked through the Old Town Square to find some lunch. Realized we really overpaid for our street meat lunch but it was delicious with ham and potatoes. Walked across Charles Bridge and admired 30 statues. Walked up to the Castle and Hradcany. Toured St. Vitas Cathedral. Went for 1L of beer at cafe on top of the hill, completely overpaid! Walked past the Starhov Monastery, through the Mala Strana and back to hotel. Went for pizza supper.
95: Thursday, May 19 Slept in today! Walked over to the Municipal House, Powder Tower, National Museum, National Theater, Wenceslas Square. Crossed the bridge to Strelecky Island. Stolled along the river to the Dancing Building. Very hot today, +28! Saw lego museum. Had lunch at a soup and sandwich cafe. Did some shopping for clothes and shoes. Then went back to hotel to get ready to go to the Theater! Best of Carmen with opera and ballet. The Opera was good, the ballet dancing was not that good. The show was mostly targeted for the tourists. Had Vietnamese Food for supper. Back to hotel early!
96: Friday, May 20 We strolled Prague today. Went to the National Museum - zoology, anthropology, mineralology. Right up Dean's interests! Not so much Janea's! Dean stuck his hand in the mammoth and got in trouble by security. Had street meat. Went up to Czech Senate - Wallenstein Palace Gardens. Found trdlo! Went to the shopping centre again to look at shoes! Had apricot dumplings (plums not in season) and pork stuffed potato pancakes. MMMM! Tried to souvenir shop, but got caught in the rain. Changed clothes back at the hotel to go for an evening stroll to take night pictures of the Old Town Square and St Charles Bridge.
98: Saturday, May 21 Our last day in Europe we decided to get out of Prague and take the train to Karlstein - $7 for both of us to go 33km outside of town, round trip. Toured the castle built by Charles IV in 14th century, he had 4 wives. His son King Wenceslas took over. But Wenceslas' wife was bit by a dog and died so he abandoned the castle. Hiked the hill to get another view of the castle. Toured the little town. Had schnitzel and potato pancakes with spiced meat. Came back to Prague for last minute shopping and snacks. Went back to hotel to pack, shower and get back to reality. Flight leaves at 6AM back to Frankfurt, then Calgary, then Saskatoon.