The next stop on our tour was Vienna. Thatís Austria. More than one person has made the mistake of thinking Venice when Vienna was mentioned. I was even one of them. While in a bookstore in Rome, I was looking for a book on Vienna and almost bought one for Venice.
This was a middle of the week trip, which means we had to go without Chizzy. So the folks and I hopped the one hour flight with our only plan being that we had a hotel room waiting for us. They have a great underground system there and we quickly made it to the heart of the city where we were staying only a couple blocks from the Stephandsdom cathedral. Itís an amazing Gothic-style spectacle. Again, I have made a photoblog post of Vienna that you can check out with the post below. The hotel was nice, but has gained the distinction of having the smallest bathroom any of us had ever seen. They come pretty small in general, but this one was comical.
I am not sure what caused me to think Vienna would feel so much older than it did. Some maps include Austria as part of Eastern Europe and Vienna is situated in the East of the country. It is kind of a gateway city between east and west and for some reason I associate Eastern Europe with images I have seen from the Soviet Union. Donít get me wrong. Vienna has a long history and some amazing sights, but the Ďold cityí wasnít the car-less, narrow cobblestone maze I had pictured in my head. However, the more I came to terms with the city not being what I expected it to be, the more appreciation I had for what the city actually was.
Continue reading "Vienna"...
Some gardens around the Schonbrunn palace.
Also in the gardens of Schonbrunn, these were actually called ďfake Roman ruinsĒ. I might have learned this after taking the picture.
This really was boys playing catch with an American football. First Iíd seen of that over here. I have no idea if the boys themselves were American.
Lots more...Continue reading "Vienna Sights"...
I owe more posts from the big trip, but they are going to take a big time commitment that Iím not up for at the moment. Sometimes I work harder, you know? Why donít you believe me? Iím getting even further behind the updates because we took advantage of another Chizzy work trip and parlayed it into a getaway weekend. It was London this time. Neither of us had ever been to London. Iíll make the time soon to write that up.
Anyway, what I do still have plenty of time for is thinking in general. Thinking and wondering. Jeff and I had a cat that went ballistic on us a while back. I mean, it was to the point where you actually dreaded coming home. The cat was not healthy in the head. The vet had no idea what was up because she would totally be fine in the office. So Chizzy buys a book the other day about cat behavior and there were tons of similar stories. Cats can simply turn on their owners for many reasons. Tolsty is starting to cry a lot more. We are getting scared.
Do dogs do this? Is it known to happen with dogs too?
I just came across Nookie after a long hiatus on my random playlist. For some reason, I decided to pull up the lyrics and read along. And now I have a new appreciation for it.
Nookie is an angry song about heartbreak. His woman left him. Not only that, but she took his money and cheated on him with some of his Ďfriendsí. And he isnít hiding that heís pretty upset about it. He says, ďDwellin' on the past (past). Itís burnin' in my brain (hot). Everyone that burns has to learn from the painĒ. But there is also a touch of embarrassment, ďIt's kinda sad Iím the laughing stock of the neighborhood. Hey you would think that Iíd be movin' on (movin') but Iím a sucker like I saidĒ, a bit of denial, ďAnd maybe she just made a mistake and I should give her a break. My heart'll ache either wayĒ, and finally acceptance, ďWhy did it take so long. Why did I wait so long huh to figure it out but I didn't and Iím the only one underneath the sun who didn't get itĒ.
But wait. Donít start feeling bad for all the wrongs that were brought against our innocent hero. Why not? Because he isnít such a victim after allÖ his cheating girlfriend is. He "did it all for the nookie", fools. Jokeís on her. Dang, that is a good heartbreak song.
Has that ever to happen to anybody? When you think you probably know many of the lyrics to a song but then it seems different when you see it written?
Iíd say Rome was the highlight city for me on our recent tour. I think I like Paris better to hang out in, but Iíd never been to Italy before and Rome is simply amazing when it comes to sightseeing. I use the word Ďsightseeingí deliberately here. My parents will back me up on this one; this didnít end up being a vacation. There wasnít much relaxing happening over the course of the 2+ weeks. Of course, both my parents are retired so it isnít like they were looking to get away from tough days at the office.
This post is mostly just my account of the trip. We got some good pictures, but Iím going to post the bulk of them in photoblogs. For example, the post right before this one shows some sights to be found in and around Vatican City.
Chiz and I hadnít experienced a single instance of theft, fraud, shady characters, or any other ĎAmerican touristí incident before we got to Rome. I think we were becoming a bit lax in that department. Every travel book is going to have that section to scare you into being prepared, so having read several to gear up for the trip my parents were better prepared for something to happen. However, it still wasnít enough to prevent us from being taken for 40 Euro within an hour of landing in the city.
The Vatican is a damn cool place. I donít know if that is an inappropriate thing to say of a very spiritual place, but Iím not religious so I feel secure saying it. Besides, itís primarily a cool place because the Popes stole all the marble and pillars from Roman structures. So they shouldnít be judging.
Here is how St. Peters Basilica appears in the skyline across the river Tevere.
A closer look standing in St. Peterís Square.
We figured it was from one of these two windows that the Pope addresses the people who gather in St. Peterís Square.
Continue reading "The Vatican"...
You have to get past the Swiss Guard to gain entry into the Basilica. I found a good tickle to the side stomach area was the best approach.
The first order of business during our latest travel trip was a quick weekend tour of Switzerland by train. Zurich is basically central-north Switzerland and our end goal was Geneva in the south west. Itís less than 3 hours by train to give you an idea of how small the country is. We stopped in Bern on the way there and stopped in Lausanne on the way back. Here are some photo highlights. I have a lot to catch up on and the other trips were a bit more interesting so Iím skipping photo touch-ups and long commentary for this leg.
Recall that before Katrina there was some flooding in Europe, particularly Germany and Switzerland. Bern was one of the cities that was hardest hit, but it pales in comparison to what is happening on New Orleans. Iíll just post a couple before and after pictures that I was able to assemble from a previous trip to the capital of Switzerland.
And the token underwater cars:
Bern has a really amazing old-town area, but it is undergoing massive roadwork this summer and this is what we saw.
We visited the house Einstein lived at in Bern when he started forming the ideas for the Theory of Relativity. Heís real popular in Bern still. You had to use your imagination in this landmark.
Continue reading "Tour de Suisse"...
Geneva was probably the highlight of this particular trip. It has a nice mix of old town and modern city. This is a French speaking area of Switzerland and the French influence is very apparent.
I havenít forgotten about the site. The folks and I have just been very busy with traveling. I knew we were trying to pack a lot of stuff in, but I guess I didnít realize how little time we would have to relax. We just have a few free hours now before catching our next flight. In Switzerland, we have been to Bern, Geneva, Lausanne and, of course, Zurich. Then we went to Rome for a few days. Then we came back, did a load of laundry and then went to Vienna (not Venice). We just got back from there last night, did the load of laundry and are off to Paris for the weekend. Itís been great so far and Iíll fill in all the details when I find some time between all the work I am falling behind on.