Last Day in Venice, Italy


St. Mark’s Square

Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Well, Hello and Goodbye. This is my last day is Venice and the last official day of my European Adventure. I leave tomorrow, the 28th, for home.
Venice was beautiful again today, as I imagine it is everyday. Sunny and about 70 degrees. I tried my best to soak it all in. It was enjoyable to watch all the different boats and gondolas sharing the limited water space. It was also fun just to sit and watch the day go by, but, of course I didn’t sit for long, I prefer to wander down the narrow alleys and water ways, and over the little bridges and see just how lost I can get . I must be getting good at this- remembering where I have been – because I didn’t get lost this time.
So, as I reflect back – did I just have fun and see lots of interesting places , or did I learn anything from this Adventure? Wellllll…..maybe a few things – like Americans are way too stuffy. And, drying your clothes on the radiator will sometimes leave burn marks.
But that ok because after wearing the same 3 shirts for a month you want to burn them anyway. Always travel with ear plugs – you never know when your hotel might also have a night club that is open until 3:00 in the morning. If traveling by train in Europe, having a Rail Pass is the way to go – it just makes train travel that much easier ( and 1st class is the best).
Some of the greatest things are free and Skype is one of them. Most people respond to a smile.
Traveling for a month is a long time to be away from my kids, my friends, and my pups.
But its a big beautiful world out there and life is too short not to see as much of it as you can.
Enjoy the last of the photos and thanks for traveling with me!! Jeannie


San Giorgio Church

venice 3

venice 4

venice 5

Going to Church by Boat

v._side_street_  venice 6

Venice Side Street

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The Grand Canal


First Full Day in Venice, Italy

Monday, October 26, 2009


Colorful Homes  in Burano

I’m in Venice ! 70 degrees and sunshine. Got to be one of the greatest places to people watch, boat and water watch, along with seeing the sights. What a wonderful day! I visited 2 little islands that sit very close to Venice – Murano, known for their glass making factories and Burano, known for their cute colored houses and their lace making. Murano glass is beautiful and they make anything from a life size figure of a clown, which I saw today, to earrings, to chandeliers. Murano has lots of glass shops and water front cafes to easily spend your day. They do frown upon you taking photographs of their creations, but Burano, on the other hand, enjoys being being in the viewfinder, or, LCD screen. Burano definitely has its own charm and its a fun place to wander around and just look. Its a bright and cheery and has a very interesting bell tower that is definitely leaning. But no one seems to be making a fuss about this one. 🙂
I also ventured into yet another church – Friar Church, and saw some incredible art work by Donatello and Bellini and others. Wish I knew the story behind these pieces being in this church – the history was there to read, of course, in Italian. But then, that’s why we have Google.


After traveling for almost a month you start to see double.


Laundry is a common sight.


Leaning Tower of Burano


Flowers You Don’t Have to Water.


From Friar Church

Arrival in Venice, Italy

Sunday, October 25, 2009

  Late afternoon arrival in Venice, Italy


Venice is like none other . The water, the boats, the old, old buildings , the history, the beauty- -WOW. When I arrived ( after checking into my hotel) the 1st thing I did was get on a vaporetto ( basically a water taxi that holds a lot of people) and ride down the Grand Canal – twice. The 1st time to take photographs and the 2nd time to read my self guided cruise that tells me about some of the key buildings and a little of their history. I was even lucky enough that I was still on it at sunset = it was beautiful to see the city lite up with the sun setting behind it. Then my next goal was pasta – when in Italy what else? It was wonderful also. And now some sleep and hopefully tomorrow I’ll have my land legs back. After 7 hours on the train and about 2 hours on the vaporetto, I sorta feel like I’m still moving……. 🙂 Looking forward to exploring tomorrow…..
Arrivederci !


Snow in the Alps !!

Sunday 25 Oct. 2009


A 7 hour train trip to Venice today – thought I’d sleep but the scenery kept me wired! What a treat! 1st, it was blue skies and sunshine and 2nd, I totally forgot I’d be riding thru the Alps in Austria. It was captivating! Like being in the middle of the Omni Max, only it was real! Mountains on both sides, some tree lined, some beautifully snow topped. Sometimes there was a rolling fog that would creep out between the gaps of the mountains, sometimes we’d be in that fog and barely able to see anything, then the train would go a little higher and I’d see the fog just hover over the rivers and streams at the bottoms of the mountains. And sometimes those streams would run right along side of the train and I could watch it racing by. And of course scattered thru all of it were the darling chalet houses, villages and cows. What a 360 degree postcard!
The train was great also because the 1st class was separate private compartments again and they had huge windows plus mirrors at the top of both sides of the compartments. So I could sit and see the mountains behind me in the mirror and see the mountains in front of me in the windows. Plus, off the subject a bit but I had a great cup of pumpkin soup on that train too!
Then, before I knew it we were leaving the mountains in the dust and we were in Italy – unmistakably! The Italian architecture, tile roofs, the laundry hanging from the windows , vineyards – oh dear – I’d better find my Italian phrase cheat sheet!


Train Travel and Self-Entertainment

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gypsies and Vagabonds

I have officially become a vagabond. But that’s the beauty of a Rail Pass in Europe. It allows it, maybe encourages it. With a Rail Pass, you don’t really have to plan, you don’t have to bother buying each individual train ticket – you just jump on the train you want (as long as your Rail Pass covers that country). So if you don’t like the city/country you are in, you get on the train and go somewhere else. So…….
Leaving Vienna this morning, for some strange reason I woke at 5:00. By 7:00 I was on the train to Budapest , Hungary arriving by 10:00. By 11:30 I was back on a train heading to Salzburg, Austria. You’ve probably heard of it – that’s where the hills are alive. 🙂 I know I probably never gave Budapest a fair shot, but sometimes this little voice inside you says, get out of this dirty city. My Mom always taught me to listen to that little voice. Plus, you know me, I don’t do dirty. It didn’t help either that my hotel room was another dump. Maybe I’m just not an Eastern Europe kinda gal. Clean up those cities, get on the Euro and then I’ll come back. Also, I’ve come to realize I have a love/hate relationship with the Euro. You think its a rip off, until you have to deal with the Czech Crowns and the Hungarian Forints and the unscrupulous people at the other end of those currencies.
So now I’m back in Western Europe with my buddy the Euro, in Salzburg. The train ride between Vienna and Salzburg was beautiful . Their grass is still a deep green and the edge of the Alps accompanied me almost the whole way.
So, today, as I sit on the train, I thought I’d share some of the crazy photos I’ve taken and the thoughts that struck me when I saw them. You know – when traveling alone – you have to be your own entertainment. Hope you enjoy .


How did that beach ball get there?


Can I see that article?


I’d hate to have that guy’s job.


False Advertising – I went in to get a Gentleman

but  they really didn’t have any.

Last Day in Vienna

Friday 23 Oct. , 2009


My last day in Vienna and I decided I’d drop in to visit the Imperial Palace. The entrance ways, front and back, were easily recognized , just in size alone, I knew it had to be what I was looking for. It wasn’t as elegant inside as I expected, but this was the Hapsburgs ” in town” digs, so maybe that had something to do with it or maybe they just didn’t have a nack for decorating. They did have ALOT of china, etc, with some unusual pieces that I enjoyed seeing. It was mentioned they could entertain up to 4500 people for dinner, so I guess you would need a bit to do that. I don’t think throwing Barbecues and eating with your fingers ever caught on with the Royalty. I also saw the Crown Jewels of the Hapsburgs.  Had to literally  enter a vault to see them.

One side note is there were recruiting stations setup all over the front lawn of the Palace today for the Austrian Armed Forces. Complete with music playing about freedom. What a thought provoking location I thought to myself. There was also a line that the soldiers were sliding down ( see photo)- I have no idea what that’s called but it was interesting and a little scary to watch.
Oh and BTW – Vienna actually had sun and blue sky for about a hour today!


Fancy way to chill your glass


Guy sliding on a line.


I think this would look nice on me.


Just a little Palace Decoration.

Day Trip to Bratislava, Slovakia

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bratislava, Slovakia is an hour’s train ride from Vienna. Bratislava’s forecast was for sunshine which I haven’t seen much of since France. Sounds like a good reason to go to Slovakia. 🙂 It didn’t have much to do in the way of touristy things. Basically I walked from the train station into their Old Town. That walk showed me a tired, run down, old city,full of beautiful old buildings, that all need some work. The Old Town has been renovated some and the main square was cute. But best of all were the random statues that would just randomly sneak up on me in my walking. I like that sense of humor .
After returning to the rain, I mean to Vienna, I opted to use the last couple hours of day light and walk around their Museum Quarter to see what was there. Vienna actually has museums all over the city but the majority have been placed in this Quarter. My photo doesn’t do justice to the size of the museum posted- it is huge and there are 2 of them – twin buildings – sitting in a square facing each other with a huge monument in the middle. Quite impressive. But no time to go inside today ………. maybe tomorrow – but I still have to decide what, tomorrow, my last day in Vienna will hold.



Bratislava’s cute square



Good Bratislava Day !


Peek a Boo!

First Full Day in Vienna, Austria

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


What a super day! Vienna was transformed from overwhelming to wonderful today! It is a beautiful city, very clean, feels very safe and very upscale. Culture and classiness is everywhere. There are more than you can imagine of concerts, museums, churches, pallaces and cafes ( with yummy looking pastries) to spend your time and money. Vienna also have so much public transportation, that if you ask someone how to get somewhere, they immediately tell you about a bus or tram, etc, – even if it is just a couple of blocks! Never do they suggest you walk. :
The absolute highlights of my day was I got to see 2 of my top favorite original paintings!
The 1st was “The Kiss” by Gustov Klimt and it is in the Schloss Belvedere -worth the price of the ticket itself-( the photo of me is in the ” backyard” of the Belvedere) and also I saw “Jean Renoir Sewing”, by, of course, Renoir. Absolutely incredible and gorgeous!
I also saw, in the Augustinian Church, ( where the Hapsburgs hearts are kept in a vault) the most heart moving memorial I have ever seen. The photo can’t begin to do it justice – you’ll just have to trust me.  I’ve also noticed that Vienna  loves statues – they are everywhere and in great detail!
BTW – I may have been starving in Prague ( since all they had were Wursts), there is no such problem in Vienna – I found the greatest fish place -you get a huge plate of fish and vegetables for just 10 Euro and it is the best. I had both lunch and dinner there today. It is called Nordsee – in case you ever stumble upon one. Be sure to tune in tomorrow……


The Kiss


Jean Renoir Sewing


“Backyard” of the Belvedere Art Museum.


  Upscale Neighbors Behind the Belvedere


A part of the Memorial.


Samples of Vienna  Statuary

Arrival in Vienna ( Wein), Austria

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Vienna is huge. I have been studying my guide book and map and the internet like I am trying to past the bar exam. There is so much to see here – my guide book never even scratched the surface. This is the 2nd time Rick has failed me this trip. ( The 1st time was one of the hotels he recommended I thought was a dump and checked out ). He will be hearing from me.


My 2nd impression – Vienna is beautiful. I will be up early and ready ( I hope) to see the sights.
My only outing this afternoon after arriving was to see a building designed by an artist with some wild ideas. Google his name, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, for some entertaining looks at his other buildings. He died some years ago, so these buildings are the end of his era. And wish me luck tomorrow!!  Oh, by the way, Vienna is also the city of tortes – in very window……my jeans are getting tighter already.


Eenie, Meenie, Miny, Moe….


Don’t  know what it is but it will go great with my torte…


And this shot was just too cute not to share….

I must be getting punchy…..

Last Day in Prague, Czech, Republic


City of Spires

My last day in Prague, the city of spires. Voted the city easiest to trip over the cobble stones because you are always looking up at the captivating architecture that goes on and on. My last
morning was spent in the Jewish Quarter, looking through the historical Synagogues and their Old Jewish Cemetery. They tell stories not for the weak of heart.
Then I crossed the river to search out a church that has a Baby Jesus that people have been making pilgrimages to see and telling tales of miracles since the 1700’s.
Wandering the streets and walking along the river in search of that unforgettable photograph finished off my afternoon. What a wonderful city to wander.
Then back to the hotel where I actually got to talk to and see both of my kids, and the pups, on the same day, via the internet and Skype – technology is great!
Tomorrow on my way to Vienna, or Wien, as it is known in this part of the world.


Beautiful Buildings


Crowded Old Jewish Cemetery


City View on Vltava River

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