Sunday, November 21, 2010

Salzburg – Day1 & 2

As you will be able to see from the posting date we have been back in Australia for a long time. Family events have taken precedence. We are finalising the blog site mainly for our own purpose as a record of our trip.

We had another good train from Vienna to Salzburg with brilliant scenery. That’s the way to travel.

We arrived early in the afternoon and found our hotel “Star Inn Hotel Salzburg Zentrum”. A good place to stay in Salzburg, only a short walk through a tunnel to the old town. Ask for a room away from the street as it is a bit noisy with late night revellers returning home.

We soon headed into the old town. Purchased a Salzburg three day card and went exploring. Various photo’s.



Claire on the bridge over the Salzach river with the Fortress in the background.


One of the many sculpters in the various square’s


Peter meets up with one of the old war veterans.

On our second day we visited Untersberg where there is a cable car to the top of the mountain. The Salzburg card immediately save us the 19 Euro cost for the return trip. First part of the cable car trip can be seen below.


The rest of the mountain was above the clouds. In the early part of the trip we had great views and then into the clouds and then above them.





Afterwards we visited Hellbrunn – Palace and trick fountains. This was a pleasure palace constructed by the Archbishop/prince.DSC_0653


One of the many trick fountains that manages to wet people. It was a cold day and although we tried to avoid getting too wet it was difficult. Peter got a little wet while Claire got a wet bum and was a little miffed.



Amazing. Hundreds of moving parts powered by gravity fed water with music and with a surprise wet ending for the viewers.

In exploring the beautiful gardens we discovered the Sound of Music pavillon.



Between the Hellbrunn palace gardens and the mountain on a relatively thin, but long strip of land, was the Salzburg Zoo where Claire again went crazy with the camera. Good shots though.

This is an actual rhino not a statue.



Claire’s moment with the bear.

Finally we explored the old town at night and had another great meal.


A very busy second day with the Salzburg card already paying for itself.

Vienna (Part 2)

Our first 2 days in Vienna were very busy even though we hadn’t planned them to be. It is hard to get out of the habit of packing in as much as possible. The third morning we started off with a walking tour. Again we discovered places that we wouldn’t have seen on our own.

DSC_0536 Chapel of the Teutonic Knights.

DSC_0538 300 year old Plane Tree

DSC_0540 Courtyard with collection of grill work

DSC_0544 This ‘dome’ is actually an illusion. When viewed from another angle it is obviously painted on a flat surface.

We had hoped to see a performance at the Spanish Riding School, but found that they only perform on the weekends and we had missed it. We decided to watch a morning practise session instead. I must admit that we watched with mixed feelings. It was fascinating to see the beautiful horses being put through their paces, but you could see the sort of training that was needed to achieve some of the unnatural steps that they are required to perform.


There is a clock in Hoher Markt which has a parade of figures at 12 noon. We had fun watching it.


This late in the trip we were looking for things a little different from churches and art galleries, so the Butterfly House seemed like a good idea, especially as the weather, while sunny, was still very cool. Claire, of course, had a great time trying to get the ‘perfect photo’.




OK, no more butterfly pictures!

Our last day in Vienna was overcast and even colder than the previous days. Peter was not going to visit any more galleries, but Claire talked him into the Natural History Museum.

We spent about 4 hours there. It has the most amazing collection of minerals, fossils, animals and birds we have ever seen. All housed in a beautiful building.


DSC_0601 DSC_0616

In the afternoon we crossed the river to visit UNO City, where the United Nations is based. We spent about an hour absolutely fascinated by a construction site!


We had six days in Vienna, it was great but on reflection however we could have shortened it by one day and spent the extra day somewhere else.  The Pension Ani Falstaff is a great place to stay as its very close to the D tram which goes past many of the attractions in Viennia. Its also close to a number of good restaurants close by. One of the secrets of eating in Austria is the quality of food and price at the tradition pub/restaurants. There was one nearby “Landsknecht’ where we ate for three of nights of our six night stay.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vienna (Part 1)

We had 6 nights in Vienna so we had plenty of time to explore the city. We decided to choose one main thing each day and then spend the rest of the time just looking around. We had a good trip from Budapest to Vienna. The Railjets have been the best trains we have travelled on by far. Once we got settled in we found a laundry and caught up on some much needed washing.

Day 1 we headed off to the Belvedere. It is a palace which houses the Art History Museum. The main reason for going was to see the works of Gustav Klimt, especially “The Kiss”. Claire was not disappointed. There were several other works by Klimt which were well worth seeing. The palace and grounds were lovely as well.



We walked back to the Old Town, getting a feel for the places to visit later. There are lots of parks with interesting statues.

DSC_0425 Mozart.

While exploring the parks we were approached by someone selling tickets to a Mozart concert at Schonbrunn Castle. We wanted to go there so it seemed a good opportunity.

Next day the concert was in the evening so we spent some time in the city in the morning.

DSC_0428 Parliament

DSC_0440 Natural History Museum

We wandered through the Hofburg (Imperial Palace) grounds.


Then we made our way into the centre of the ‘Old Town’. The Cathedral, Stephansdom, is a lot like the Duomo in Florence. Right in the centre of the city and difficult to photograph.



Someone decided to climb the 343 steps up the tower (we are still arguing over whose idea it was). The view was spectacular.

We caught the underground out to Schonbrunn with enough time to look around the Palace and grounds before the concert. We are glad we did because the grounds rival Versailles, perhaps not in size, but certainly in beauty and interest.




We even had a go in the Maze. Peter beat Claire to the centre!

The concert was held in the Grand Gallery and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Claire’s random musings

We have seen quite a variety of money making enterprises on this trip. From the ubiquitous centurion with wooden sword in Rome….


to the “Invisible Man”.


We are usually happy to give a few coins to someone who is actually ‘doing something’ such as the Music Man in Bratislava


or the opera singer in Florence.

Occasionally we are attracted by curious combinations…


silver man and ents!

However, the only one we have parted with more than a few coins for was in Budapest.

DSC_0297 DSC_0298

I couldn’t resist the opportunity to get so close to such a wonderful bird.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Good trip from Bratislava back to Vienna. Then an excellent trip from Vienna to Budapest. The train was a rail jet with first class facilities which included the recent New York Times International newspaper. How good was it to catch up with the world news. Claire did the crossword and I played with the Sudoku. The buffet car food was great.

We stayed at the Bellevue B&B which was about a hundred metres walk from Buda Castle. We had a fabulous room with balcony, excellent Wi-fi, a lounge and a good shower. It’s a rarity to get all these together. Our host Andreas really looked after us and made various recommendations on where to go and what to do. If you’re staying in Budapest the Bellevue B&B is my recommendation.

The showers and rain we experienced in Bratislava followed us to Budapest. Still we ventured out to get our Budapest card and explore the metro system and the city a little.

Our second day we decided that a visit to one of the famous thermal baths was in order. It was a great deal of fuss to get the right ticket with towel, change room and locker to experience the thermal pools, but it was worth it. They had various pools at different temperatures with bubble and whirling pools as well. It was great considering all of the fuss getting in. Claire can now say that she has worn everything in her suitcase at least once. Peter had to buy swimmers.

Next we went back to our room to get changed and then headed off to the Pest side of town.

IMG_2371 Parliament, view from the Buda side.

At first we struggled then we decided to travel on some of the trams and found a magnificent castle and then an amazing square.

IMG_2407 Vajdahunyad Castle

DSC_0245 Anonymous

DSC_0259 Millennium Memorial

IMG_2409 Heroes Square

Then next day we had decided to climb the steps and visit the Buda side and take a guided walk of the district. Some advice to future travellers to Europe is that the guided walks open your eyes to the town’s features.

IMG_2420 Fisherman’s Bastion

We had a tremendous day. We left just after 9am and got home 12 hours later. The guide was invaluable in showing us the sights but also giving us an insight into the Hungarian people and how they experienced the various stages of the history (including the Soviet phase).

DSC_0311 Matthias Church

After the tour had finished we went into the Matthias Church and then into the Labyrinth under Buda Castle which we really enjoyed especially because of the Hungarian sense of humour. What fun, see the photos.



DSC_0333 Excavated evidence for Homo consumes

We had decided to eat up at the expensive Buda side of town. After exploring the region we notice that the prices were much higher as most of the Hungarian celebrities lived up there.

As it turned out there was a Palinka and Sausage festival in the grounds of the Buda Castle, starting that night with booze and food and music. We decided to stay up on the heights and experience the festival. We tried Palinka quite early. It was incredibly strong. Peter had to finish Claire’s drink. The things that a loving husband has to do.

DSC_0356 Buda Castle

We soon found a couple of places that sold wine and beer. This ensured that we were not going to get too palinkaed, which was going to happen eventually to most of the local population.

The music from two groups was exceptionally good. The first was a two man group doing a few English songs and then some local Hungarian music that while we didn’t understand was very good. The second band was heavier but very talented musicians and singers. They reminded Claire of The Panics.

DSC_0357 Buda Castle at night.

While sitting down to eat we met another two couples of Aussie tourists.

We believe that counting our kids and the other people we know that are still back home that there are only 942 people left in Australia (give or take a few).

Because we left early in the day we were not dressed to experience the festival too long after the sun went down. Also we realised that people would become more Palinkaed as time went on so we decided to retreat back home. As we did the views of the city were exceptional.

DSC_0368 Chain Bridge and St. Stephen’s Basilica

DSC_0382 Fisherman’s Bastion

Because of our unintended visit to Krems we decided to chop a day out of Budapest. It’s a shame because Budapest deserves at least four days. Still we again had fun.