S: Travels with Cole / Europe 2009
BC: It was a great time traveling through Europe with my nephew. A trip of a lifetime!
FC: Germany | Italy | Czech republic | July 8 - 28, 2009 | Travels with Cole
1: Peter met us at the airport and we traveled to the school to meet the hosts. Debbie Lemon and I stayed with Peter and Lorrie. She is from Cottonwood, ID originally. We took a brief tour of Regensburg, an old medieval city. | We left Spokane July 8 at 6:20 am. Arrived in Munich July 9 at 9 am. Whew! Long flight! | Debbie Lemon with her son Thomas and Derek Young. We waited for our European connections. | Cole wasn't too excited about the long flight! | Geoff Cseh was a happy traveler.
2: Debbie and I took the bus down to Bismarckplatz, a main area in Regensburg. We met Allison in front of the cathedral, then found a charming cafe, Jay's, to sit at and have coffee and a croissant. We toured the main shops in the pedestrian walk area, Maximillian Strasse, then had lunch on the 2nd floor balcony of a cafe. | July 10, 2009
3: Our 2nd floor cafe had a wonderful view! | Out and about in Regensburg. | The three amigos! We had a blast traveling together
4: We returned home to quickly get ready for our boat cruise on the Danube River to Weltenburger, the oldest brewery in the world and tour a famous Baroque Church. We even skipped rocks on the Danube! | Danube River Cruise | Hall of Justice | Meike hosted Geoff and Cole at her home. She had stayed with Cole in Clarkston. | Allison and Geoff on the Danube.
5: We had to try the beer! Prost! This is a German toast. You must clink the glass of everyone at the table before drinking. | July 10 | Prost!
6: Back in Grass, where Peter and Lorrie live, they fixed us turkey steak, pasta with cheese, and salad. We headed to downtown Regensburg for a jazz festival. We strolled through the downtown area, listening to jazz and eating gelato. We had truffle and hazelnut. Very good! We decided we walked enough to deserve two scoops! | We walked across the oldest still functioning stone bridge -built around 900 years ago. Legend has it that the bridge and cathedral were built at the same time. The 2 architects bet one another that each would finish first. Whoever lost the bet had to jump off his building. As the story goes - the bridge was completed first, so the cathedral architect had to jump. On the bridge is a statue of a man looking toward the cathedral. And on the cathedral is a statue of a man preparing to jump. | July 10
7: July 11 Rothenburg | Today the whole group went into Rothenburg, a walled city, with walls still intact. It is an old city with many quaint stores, so we had to do some shopping! | Cole and Geoff so do not look scared behind bars!
8: We toured the tower where they had methods of torture. | An old church had a huge alter intricately carved out of one piece of wood. | July 11
9: July 12 | Bodenmais | Turkish Coffee at a truck stop | We traveled to the glass/crystal factory in the Bavarian Forest. Debbie and I blew our own glass bulbs. | We passed what appeared to be a garden in this space near a bridge. It used to be an unused space full of garbage. A homeless man reclaimed the space. He has turned it into this garden area and built a home under the arch of the bridge. He now has this whole area he can use and is living there. People and the city give him donations. He even ran for mayor once.
10: DACHAU | July 14
11: We took the students to the concentration camp. It had a profound impact on them.
12: Munich | We went to the Olympic Stadium and traveled to the top of the tower for a spectacular view of Munich. | Symbol of Munich | After the Stadium, we went to the Hof Brau Haus. This is the world's largest heer garden.
13: We toured around Munich. Saw the three arches where Hitler took over the city, and also the Glocken-spiel.
14: We toured the Thelen and Taxis Castle, climbed up a tower with incredible views of Regensburg, and walked across the oldest still usable stone bridge. | July 15 | Meike and Geoff | Lorrie and Felicia
15: We toured the Regensburg Cathedral. Beautiful ceilings and stained glass.
16: July 17 | Nuremburg | Thomas and Derek | Geoff and Cole | Felicia. Allison, and Debbie | We took a bus to Nuremburg, where we toured a castle and a prison. Many torture devices. | We went to Regensburg for a special lighting of the cathedral. A fierce storm broke out and we were soaked trying to get to the car.
17: Prague | We got up early for our adventure to Prague. Lorrie and Peter drove us to the station, Due to the storm the night before, our train was canceled. They thought we could catch one in Schwandorf. They drove us up there. Once there, we were told the train wasn't going on. We took a bus to Bodenworth, and from there took a baby train to Domazlice. There we were on our way to Pilzen and finally changed trains and made it to Prague. Whew! Checked into our hotel and walked to the main square for lunch. Goulash with potato pancakes. After lunch we wandered to the main square and observed the astrological clock. Even saw a Porsche rally.
18: The Czech Republic has many Baroque buildings, especially in Prague. Some of the outer country and small towns looked worn down with lots of graffiti. We went out that night and wandered around, crossed the famous bridge with all the sculptures. We stopped at a crepe restaurant for dessert and very strong coffee. We kept adding sugar, then asked for cream, and still had to follow it with our water chaser! | A sculpture on the Charles Bridge. One of many. | July 18 and 19 Prague | July 19, we awoke in Prague, got ready for the day and headed down for our breakfast buffet. Once fed, we were ready to explore. We took a tram to the castle, and wandered through the large estate. Saw the changing of the guard then toured through the rest.
19: We traveled back down to "Old Town" and wandered through the Jewish Quarter. Lunch, then a stroll back to the hotel, across the Charles Bridge. | I purchased a photo from a man on the bridge of a scene of Prague. We then gathered our bags and went to catch the train back to Regensburg
20: We took Peter and Lorrie out for a thank you dinner at a French/German Restaurant. In the bathroom is an old Roman well. The next day we had a bbq farewell for everyone at Meike's house. Wonderful evening! | July 20 - 21
21: Venice | July 22 | We said goodbye to everyone headed back to the States and Allison. They all talked and talked, and then realized that Ciole and I needed to catch our train! By the time we got to the counter - there wasn't enough time to take the bus from the airport to the main train station. Lorrie and Peter had to race us into Munich to the station. Peter dropped us off and Lorrie helped us find out train - track 13. We made it with 3 minutes to spare. | On our way to Venice, we passed hopps, growing in the fields. We also had a brief stop inVerona, but not enough time to get off the train. We finally arrived, only to find we weren't in Venice. We needed to take another train. Finally, we arrived in Venice. We took a vaporetto - bus/taxi/boat to our stop. We then had to wander through the area to find our hotel - Locando Silva. People were very helpful! | Oh yes Cole, we are in Venice!
22: Cole and I got up early, had breakfast in our hotel, then headed out to find San Marco Square and St. Mark's Basilica. We took a left out of our hotel, and later found out that if we had taken a right, we would have been there in five minutes! I had it in my head that is was across the Grand Canal. | We walked and walked until we found the Academia Bridge. We found what we thought was St. Mark's. We toured the church and took video .Turns out it was La Salute Church. We took off again, passed Peggy Guggenheim's gallery, took a quick peak. Then back across the bridge.
23: The walkway on the way to our hotel. | On with our tour, we find another little square with a church. Tour the church, take pictures and video. You guessed it. Not St. Mark's! But we did find a great glass shop off the beaten path and purchased souvenirs. | J U L Y 23
24: We come across San Marco Street. We took it, and yes, finally St. Mark's Basilica and Square! Amazing church, we tour around the square and then start back to our hotel to drop off packages. Our hotel is five minutes from the square! We should have taken a right to be there! But we got to see a lot of Venice.
25: St. Mark's Basilica
26: We strolled around St. Mark's Square, and listened to classical music being played back and forth by three different groups. July 24, we got up and walked to St. Mark's Square. The Basilica is impressive. All gold and inlaid marble, but very dark. No pictures allowed inside. We toured through and then went to the bridge of sighs. An enclosed bridge attached to the Doge's Palace. The Doge could arrest, imprison and torture people and no one would know. The prison cells are marked with the cries of the prisoners - their scratchings. | July 23 - 24
27: Cole and I both loved Venice. The nice breezes blowing off the water, the gondoliers passing by our hotel window, and just the absolute beauty of the place. It was good to know we could successfully get around in a country where we don't speak the language. We packed up and headed to Florence.
28: Our Hotel is Casa Rabalto. This sweet grandmotherly type lady owns the place; her name is Marcella. Cole cashed in on his birthday present, so dinner is on me tonight. We went to this Trattoria on San Zarsobi street, just down from the hotel. We had bruschetta, pasta, wine, and cannolis for dessert. And very reasonable, 22.50 Euros. Tomorrow we explore the Uffizi, July 25, we wandered around the area, the Mercato Centrali, with the inside full of groceries, but all the vendors outside hawking their wares. Lots of leather, which Florence is known for. Found a fabulous purse here. We also found a one euro store, and actually purchased some souvenirs. The Uffizi Gallery had wonderful works of art, many gold frescoes, but it all seems to look the same after a while. We went back to our same Trattoria, and Cole learned some Italian. Bocco mi Bella! Kiss me Baby! We really like our little restaurant and the owners. Very friendly. July 26, we packed up, and then went to the Accademia. We saw the statue of David, very impressive, couldn't take any pictures though. Very short time in that museum, since the David is the main attraction. We finally caught our train and are off to Vernazza. A small coastal village on the Cinque Terra. We traveled through Pisa, not enough time to get off and see the leaning tower unfortunately. Many delays and missed trains on the way to Vernazza. Oh, the joys of travel.
29: F L O R E N C E I T A L Y | J U L Y 2 4 -2 5 -2 6
30: Vernazza | July 26-27
31: Vernazza is gorgeous! Unfortunately, with all our train delays, we have less than 24 hours here. Wish we had spent a couple of days. Some of the best food in Italy was here, and right on the beach, with the ocean breezes. A great way to spend our last night in Italy. July 27, we head back to Munich, spend the night, then catch our flight home. A trip of a lifetime!