A Travellerspoint blog

Heidelberg, Munich and Innsbruck

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We had an early start this morning to get to Heidelberg to see the town and the ruins of the castle. It was the first town that we've seen which is what you would expect from Germany or Austria.

Narrow cobble streets and lovely houses (though brick, not wooden, which is apparently more typical). The castle sits above the town, which is on the hill up to meet it. We braved the wander up to the top. We have a teenage girl on the trip who has torn some ligaments and it took her a while to get there. Daniel, with gentlemanlike concern, walked with her so she didn't feel lonely.

It was very quiet when we arrived but by the time we got back down there were people galore running around. The food they have at these places is amazing, there was a market with fresh fruit, Daniel practised his German and got himself some rasberries.

Back on the bus on the way to Munich. I was dreading seeing the olympic village but thankfully we were literally only 'seeing' it. Not having been around at the time we have to admit that the stadium is actually pretty impressive, it doesn't look 30 years old, the style is completely contemporary.

We were all a bit nervous when we got into the city, it looked as though the entire German Police force had converged there and we had to pass road block after road block.

It turned out to be because of an antic-fascism protest, on the way out we passed it, there wasa huge crowd watching and about, say 20(!!!) people sitting in the middle of the road. With a ratio of about 20 police to one protestor I would say everything went smoothly.

We had a little while to wander around town. We were shattered to see a cheap national costume shop just as we had to leave, we would have both snapped one up at the price. Daniel had a nectarine, his excitement over the fruit still abounds (what an exciting life we lead).

From that afternoon things started to go downhill just a wee bit. Our tour guide is an absolutemaster of spin. He wanted us to tryall of the optionals for Innsbruck and Venice to learn to trust him with the others.

(Just as an aside, the smoking here is unbelieeable, sitting in a stifling, non airconditioned internet cafe we can hardly see the screen throught the smog).

Anyway, back to the spindoctor, leaving Venice to one side, the trip to Innsbruck was a delightful folk evening. We wereassured that it was not a tourist night, that the local people came along and joined in and it would be a great night.

We showed great presence of mind and declined.

We then weakened and decided to give it a go because there was apparently nothing to do in Inssbruck. Daniel wandered down to the old town (500 metres away from the Hotel) before dinner and came back saying there were cafes everywhere, horse drawn carriages etc. Nervous fluttering begin.

We arrive at the 'show'. I think at least 3 coaches werein the car park before us. We were lined up before a stage in rows, there were locals there. They were outside in the beer gardens.

Possibly one of the worst nights of our life. We were in the front row so we enjoyed every rolled eye that was passed between the dancers, singers etc. Poor little performing monkeys. Some peolple actually bought the DVD!!!!!!!!!!

Others joined with us, although as they werein the back row they were free to laugh their heads off and 'almost wet themselves'.

Off to bed after the joy!

Posted by janeanddan 06:11 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Springtime for Hitler and Germany

Amsterdam to Manheim

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We only had to get up at 6.15 am today. That almost seems ok.

We wake up. Stuff a buffet breakfast down and we hope on the bus. Jane goes into Gasen Diamonds in Amsterdam and Daniel wanders into Amsterdam alone for some Coffee. Well, ok he just wanders as a 'coffee' shop in Amsterdam sells marijuana and a Koffee shop sells coffee. The dutch are strange and it pays to not get the two confused.

After the stop in Amsterdam, we shoot down on the bus to Cologne or Köln as it is known in Germany. I wanted to type Köln as the keyboard has an umlat symbol! We see the massive Catherdral which is fantastic but it needs a good clean. It is incredible that everything around it was bombed but it survived intact.

Daniel has his most expensive trip to the toilet. One euro but it was worth it. A really lovely vestibule.

Daniel convinces Jane to try some Bratwurst from a local vendor and she loves it. Well, loves is a strong word but she enjoys it.

We are then on the bus down to Boparte in the Rheinland for a cruise on the Rhein. The weather is sensational. Blue skys and hot. The cruise is brilliant with all the little castles and the lovely homes they build in Germany. Not really an AV Jennings but pretty good. Yes, that was sarcasm that does no survive web communication. Jane is embarrassed by Daniel singing Guten Tag Clop Clop from the producers behind a german person. At least it was not Springtime for Hitler and germany which I had only been humming.

We have now arrive at Mannheim and we have found this little net cafe. It is pretty cheap at 1,50 per hour so Jane and I are both typing on our keyboard to update the blog. Tomorrow, we shoot off to Insbrook through some really pretty Canyon and Jane and I have the front bus seat on the Trafalgar rotation program.

The bus is very good. Yes you are a tourist but it is so easy. No carrying bags and they take you around. Without wishing to appear australianist, it is good that we are a bus of canadians, kiwis and Aussies. There are none of the people that elected George W on the bus and that is good as I would have had to give them a stern talking too. Mind you, I suspect I am at risk of that from our NZ contingent given their firm stance on Iraq.

PS: I miss home. I am pathetic.

(Note from Jane: Given that Daniel has now said it I can too: I miss my schnaus. Mock me all you like)

Posted by janeanddan 13:34 Archived in Germany Comments (2)

The Trafalgar Experience Begins

No wake up call, no breakfast and it seems questionable whether we have they have forgotten us....

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I am tzping this on a german kezboard. Part of the romance of this comminque is that the kezboard has the y and z mixed around. I could fix this but I think it adds a certain ambiance to the whole thing. Do not ask me whz the germans have their kezboards this waz.

Anzway, (1 from two there). We were told to wake up at 4.45 am for the trafalgar tour. That for the uninitated is 4.45 in the morning. I did not know that there were two 4.45´s in a daz. I stole that joke from someone who might be reading this and I express mz gratitude.

Before we move on, the times reported on 16 August 2006 on the funniest joke in the world. Know, it is not Peter Costello´s career prospects. I will retell it best from memorz. George Dubblya is hunting with Donald Rumsfeld when Donal Romsfeld falls to the ground panting and going and grez and he looks like he is dzing. Suprisinglz, George Busch is able to operate a mobile phone and calls 911. He describes to the ambulance officer how Rumsfeld looks, he sazs he is ashen and that he thinks he is dead and asks him what he should do? Calmlz, the 911 operator asks him to make sure he is dead. Next he hears the sound of a gunshot.

Anywaz, I think that was the funniest thing in the Times. We woke up at 4.45 am without the assistance of the promised wake up call. We then discovered we were not on the bags pick up list or on the breakfast list. We are not happy or happz correctly typed on a german keyboard.

All is well however and we are not forgotten merely misplaced. We quickly discover that we are the babies on the tour by about 20 years apart from the kids. This is actually quite good as we are able to run onto the bus quite quickly but we are also under the constant pressure to not turn up late for the bus and let the youth of australia down. More seriously, everyone is much older but they are great fun.

We set off from London to Dover where we hop on a giant boat to Calais. It is full of English people and verz strange looking pokies.

We hop off the ferry and we take off to Amsterdam. On the waz, we stop at a road stop in Belgium where thez will cook zou herring and all sorts of fantastic things. It makes the stop of the F3 look verz sad.

We drive for most of the daz until we reach Amsterdam at about 6.00 pm. We then go on a river cruise around Amsterdam. I must saz I was never fussed on the place but it is actuallz quite nice. Lots of canals and dykes (that is not a red light reference).

We cruise around the town which is full of bikes. 800,000 people and 600,000 bikes. Most of the bikes are crap as there is a major bike theft problem.

After the canal trip, we go to an authentic Indonesian Dutch Restaurant in the Harbour called the sea palace. The food is ok and there is a lot of it. We all seem to have fun and we get to know Bernie and Glen from Melbourne. I wish thez were from Glen Iris or Moonee Ponds but thez are from some other place down their that is not as funny sounding and does not staz in ones memorz.

We get to go into town with Bernie and Glen later in the night and a lot of zoung ladies who can´t afford clothes wave at me from windows of little shops. They seem friendly but I am unfortunatey two busz to saz hi.

I also get a chance to look at the Coffe Shops in Amsterdam but they seem a bit different to Goldbergs. They seem to be selling a lot of mushrooms and herbal remedies. People are having coffee also but they seem to be having a lot of tim tams. I guess thez have the munchies.

After our nocturnal excursion we return to the hotel. We are dead tired and we wonder how our fellow travellers are managing. Tomorrow is a diamond factory (code for opportunity to flog stuff to travellers) and a rhine cruise before overnight in Manheim.

Posted by janeanddan 13:11 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Portabello Rd markets, St Pauls and general ramblings

As the more astute of you would have realised, this blog is slightly out of date and we are actually typing this while sitting in Germany (can't be bothered spelling where we are...can't remember actually manneheim or something. Daniel had a sausage today, he is happy as a pig in mud).

In an effort to get things up to date we have split ranks. Daniel is tapping away at his account of our adventures on the continent (ooooooooohh) whereas I am stil back in old London Town.

Our last entry was tapped out at furious speed so we could get back to the hotel and eat, so I think I might flesh it out a bit.

I also forgot to put some stuff in about the day we visited Windsor. That was the first night we went to a show so we went straight from Windsor to Picadilly Circus where the dinner and show was.

The actual Circus is a bit fithly and ordinary (aside from the Bridget Jones, huge New York looking display...thingy). Daniel managed to lose one of the few warm clothing items he bought so we went shopping in 'Lillywhites', which is right next to the statue in the circus.

The man on the big bus tour gave it a huge rap and suggested it was some hallowed hall of British sportswear....it was not! Rebel Sports without the airconditioning or spacious interior. Be that as it may, the sales were terrific and Daniel is now proudly proclaiming himself to be the new Ali G, he apparently now owns more Lonsdale. Aiiii.

Anyway, walking around Piccadilly once we got off the main street was fantastic. So many people, pubs, cafes (none of which we went into of course!). The Theatre was very very similar to the Civic, it had been renovated relatively recently.

(Just need to note that for some reason the Germans have swapped the placing of 'z' and 'y' on the keyboard. Freaks. Now that Daniel isn't watching I'm not going to fix any mistakes that I make).

The influence of pantomines was hilarious, they had changed the Mary Poppins story around a bit (I think) and the audience kept booing the 'baddie', even during the curtain call. It was brilliant. We should do it in Australia.

The weather was lovely when we came out, it makes you realise how much you miss summer and light long into the evening!

Fiona, I was meaning to say that we almost did a Da Vinci Code walk that was free with our Big Bus tour in honour of you, but we ran out of time. Sad!

This last day was pretty frantic, we'd hardly seen anything of the British Museum because we were so tired on the first day so we needed to go back there, and we also wanted to finish the Tower (we hadn't seen it all), plus see St Pauls, the Portobello Markets and do the London Walks Jack the Ripper walk.

Portobello Markets are obviouslv not booming on Wednesday, enough said. We were just too tired to go when I had planned (on Saturday).

I wasn't expecting to care much for St Pauls but it was pretty overwhelming. Very different from Westminster Abbey, which is absolutely crammed with monuments and memorials. It's fairly bare on the ground. The mosaics on the ceiling were amazing. Everything 'deathy' is down in the crypt, which is, lets face it, cooooool.

We didn't know that Nelson was buried in a sarcophogus that Wolsey had made for himself until Henry VIII took it off him. It had apparently been sitting around (at Windsor???) and they thought it was a good use for it.

When I expressed my 'wonderment' Daniel told me to 'wait until I see St Peters' which was a fairly bold statement since he confirmed a second later that he's never been there.

I never realised that it had been bombed during WWII (let alne had two bombs inside) for some reason I thought it had escaped completely.

Given our experience with Westminster Abbey we took a personal tour. Again, the guide was very careful to remember who were all were and where we came from and told us everything in the Cathedral that related to our respective countries. It was pretty impressive.

Daniel and I were shamed publically when we had no idea who one of the memorials was for. Some Australian Prime Minster. Still can't remember who it was, let's face it he didn't go for a swim and not come back again, and couldn't drink an amazing amount of beer, so who cares.

We did remember Florey and could pre-empt her comment that he discovered penicillen, so I think we recovered.

Plus we did not look as simple as the Canadians. I can see where the Americans are coming from, I kept waiting for their heads to go back on their hinges (a ha ha ha ha ha). This Dad from a group had one question and one question only (or some variations on the theme):

'Why can't we go in there'

'Why is that door locked'

'Why can't everyone come in here'

(Answer)

'Ohhhhhhhh'

Anyway, we ran out of time to climb up the stairs so we wandered off.

We had lunch in Ye Old Cheshire Cheese where Dickens and Samuel Johnson etc etc etc used to mingle. We ate in the cheapest part of course, the cellar. I smacked my head on a massive chunk of oak on the way out so that was good.

Back at the Bristish Museum we realised that it was just a lost cause. It. Is. Huge! We wandered around for a bit looking at Egyptian stuff (esp mummies). We can understand why the Egyptians are offended at them being displayed that way (but were secretly disappointed that there were no gory unwrapped ones to see).

Apparently Seti I's mummy is in the basement of some random building in London, yet more 'recovered' items.

We tried to get back into the Tower but the London Pass terms had changed since we bought them and we couldn't get into a site more than once. Bugger!

So we wandered off and did a quick Thames cruise before we got on the Jack the Ripper walk. We realised that we had not set one foot on the south bank, there is so much to see (excellent excuse to come back).

The Jack the Ripper walk was huge!! There were about 50-60 people out to do it, we thought that was pretty impressive (thankfully they had two guides). The walk itself was good, most of the sites have gone, we all pretended to gaze at a multi-level car park sagely and ponder the transcience of life. But it was very interesting and we were taken into some back streets to get a better perspective of how the streets would have looked at that time.

It was surprising how like the circular quay/rocks part of Sydney this area looked (i.e just across from the Tower of London and a few streets back).

I was really sad to leave London, it felt as though we'd be there for days so it was a bit mind boggling to realise that we still had 31 days to go!!

I was also amazed at how much Daniel enjoyed himself, I thought he would hate everything that we were doing. Good stuff.

Just because Daniel will not mention it, and for people who will know who I am talking about, there is an Aunty Barbara and Uncle Trevor on the tour, it's quite funny. For those of you who came to our engagement party, we had it at my Aunty Barbara and Uncle Trevor's house (if that gives you any term of reference).

I'm tired, we have to go and ring my and Daniel's parents (especially Daniel's). It's 11.00!!! We have a 6.00 start!!!!!

Posted by janeanddan 13:07 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Windsor

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Another early morning after a late night!

We had to wait around for a while to get an off peak ticket for our trip to Windsor. We haven't actually found London expensive other than the travel, which doesn't seem particularly cheap. On off peak we paid 20 pounds to get to Windsor.

Thankfully today was lovely. We were lulled into a false sense of security on the train, there were hardly any people on it. That was soon dispelled when we got up to the entry. Thank you London Pass for speeding our entry. With the security scare we couldn't take any liquids in (they have been really random with this, no such rule at Hampton Court).

The view was fantastic both of the castle and from the castle. The state rooms were pretty impressive, it was amazing to see so many paintings that I've seen in various books up on the wall in front of me (obviously this is not Daniel speaking!).

We both thought, not that that castle would be bigger, but that you would get more access to it.

St George's chapel was fantastic, although for some reason I thought that Henry VIII's tomb would be more impressive, didn't remember that he was just under the floor. I suppose when you split in two a while before you're buried that#s probably the best place for you!

Daniel was very amused when I got a Guard to laugh at me for not taking the lens cap off our camera. My enthusiasm for the task wasn't that great, Daniel was so very excited to have his photo taken with him that it was embarrassing!

Daniel was also very impressed to see an anglo and black (can I say that?????) guard walking together. The black guards furry hat (whatever it's called) was far bigger....guard afro. He has a picture that he can show you all.

This afternoon we wandered around covent garden, if we were here for longer we would both have loved to have time wandering around. The pubs with the flowers all over them are gorgeous. WE saw the church where the first meeting of Eliza Dolittle and Henry Higgins was filmed, I was impressed!!!!

Tonight we saw The Woman in Black, which was billed as the 'scariest' play in history. Not wrong!! Daniel almost had to leave, both of us where almost in agreement when the first appearance of this Woman was from our aisle (we were sitting directly in the aisle). It was well worth it.

So another late night, we are becoming experts at the Tube, the transport here is much better than at home.

Posted by janeanddan 10:58 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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