Arrival in Munich

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Munich’s New Town Hall

December 9, 2011

Munich is my  final city and  base for some day trips. I have been to this lively city  before and it was fun to recognize  the sights I had seen before .  I  had a grand time walking around getting acclimated  and seeing all the food.  Guess I’m a little hungry after the last two cities being the picky eater that I am.  But I won’t go hungry here! Our first  official stop was the Hofbrauhaus – its required of the tourists. Then off to  the Christmas Markets.  : )

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Tootsie and Daisy’s Cousin – All the Dogs Here are Dressed for Fashion

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Munich’s Old Town Hall

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Hofbrauhaus Toast to the City!

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Is She Dressed Like a Cookie??

 

Road Trip to the Mountains via Berchtesgaden

Food

Plum Kuchen

December 8, 2011

What I wanted to do today and what I actually did were two different things but it was still a great day.  What I did:  took a local bus to the small town of Berchtesgaden, Germany to  see Lake Konigsee, take a boat ride, and see a beautiful church that sits on the side of the lake.  Konigsee  is the deepest lake in the Alps and is so clean,you can drink from it and it is surrounded by fjords-like mountains.  BUT…….when I got to this moutain lake, it was  beautiful but also, freezing cold,  and REALLY WINDY., so the boat rides were canceled for the day.  Damn!!

So what I did do is : Have a great bus ride up this mountain looking at all of the huge  snowy mountains and cute chalets and picture postcard scenery. I also had a wonderful snack of plum kuchen  at a little cafe at this resort.   Very yummy! Then I  walked  around a bit and took the bus back.  A few interesting facts about the town of Berchtesgaden though – the train station was almost doubled in size by Hitler so he could have his own VIP reception area.  His younger sister is also “unofficially” buried in the cemetary there ( although) everyone knows about it. Lastly, Hermann Goering hid his art collection in the tunnel behind the train station during WWII.

So, eventhough, I did not get my boat ride,it was a beautiful, fun and interesting trip.

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Berchtesgaden Train Station

Hitler’s Reception Area Was on the Right.

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Road Trip Scenes

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The Church I Wanted to See on the Lake

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A Day in Salzburg to Explore

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 Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Today was a day for exploring  Old Town Salzburg. What a beautiful city!  The Old Town was not damaged in WWII so the buildings are still original.   I went into a couple of  old ( really old) churches, one of which was St. Peters who still has the bakery in cellar where the monks used to make bread  – it is still made and sold today ( just not by monks).  The church cemetery  is behind the church. Each cemetery plot is billed for 10 years at a time. – if there is no one to pay —-well, out you go to make room for  someone who can pay.   Also rode another funicular, this one to the top of Hohensalzburg Fortress.  There were wonderful  views of the cityscape, especially with the  dusting of snow from the night before.  Of course, shopping on Getreidegasse Street is required when you come to visit Salzburg.   The house where Mozart  was born  is also located on this street. Many shops sell the dirndl and lederhosen, if you are in need of one, and there are many fun touristy shops as well as high end shops. Some of the shops owners display a touch of humor with their wares.   It was a fun day – even though it rained instead of snowed.

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St Peter’s Church in Salzburg

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Bakery in Chruch Cellar

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Funny Finds in Salzburg Shops

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The House Mozart was Born.

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The Alps and the Train Ride to Salzburg

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Tuesday December 6, 2011

Riding the railways again today, this time I was on my way to Salzburg, Austria.   Five relaxing hours on the train, straight through, no connections to make, just sit back and watch the scenery.  The beautiful Alps, this trip,  are snowcapped,.  There are rushing streams  that at times run along the side of the tracks, racing with the train. The little villages that fill up a spattering  of the valleys with homes that look like little toys.  I even saw  a bee hive house as we were leaving the country of Slovenia. They have the tradition of painting the doors to each hive differently to help the bees return to the correct hive.  It was a great ride. 

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Bee Hive House in Slovenia

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Salzburg’s Christmas Markets 2011

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Tuesday Evening,  December 6, 2011

Christkindl Markt – that’s what the Christmas Markets are called in Salzburg, Austria.  Of course, that’s what I had to see the first night in Salzburg and I was not disappointed.  These were the best so far!  They were in the Old Town  in the  Dom Platz and surrounding area. There was plenty of wonderful foods and smells, churchs bell ringing, chestnuts roasting,  and Christmassy stalls jam packed with items to enjoy looking and  browsing through  to fire up the old Christmas spirit.  Plus there was beautiful Christmas music playing (as there should be – after all – this is where “Silent Night” was written and the home of Mozart). The lights and decorations added to the ambiance of the occasion.  After strolling (and eating) our way through the Markets, I went to dinner and it started to snow!!  HUGE snow flakes that covered everything in moments! It was amazing! Plus I should add that the whole city is decorated everywhere you look. Truly all I had hoped it would be. BTW, snow is in the forecast for our whole stay. Hurray!!!

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Salzburg Cathedral

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Heart
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A Day In Ljubljana to Explore

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Monday December 5, 2011

Today was a day for walking around Ljubljana’s Old Town and City Center.  It is truly  a beautiful area, with a bustling open air market, several picturesque churches, numerous museums,  lots of shopping and places to eat , all intertwined on both sides of the Ljubljana River with 4 bridges for  easy passage to both sides  of the river.  The  Art Nouveau architecture is wonderful,  largely due to the talents of Joze Plecnik, the architect who shaped the city after an earthquake destroyed much  of it in 1895 .    I  rode the funicular to the top of  Ljubljana Castle to get a city wide view and dessert. It was a  gray day with drizzles  off and on,  but  at only 50 degrees, other than wet, the day was comfortable.   The photos will speak for themselves in spite of the weather.

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Triple Bridge

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The Funicular

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Door on St Nicholas Church

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Cooperative Bank Building

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Secessionist Building

Ljubljana’s Christmas Markets 2011

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December 4, 2011 Evening

 The Christmas lights and decorations  for Ljubljana’s Christmas Markets were so spectacular, I thought they deserved a posting all  their own.  The market stalls themselves consisted mostly of food and drink  but the  Christmas Lights which were well worth the visit.   Hope you enjoy the photos!

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Lake Bled, Slovenia

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Small town in Slovenia

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lake Bled is a beautiful  mountain resort area about an hour outside of Ljubljana. The local bus I took gave me a nice opportunity to see  the countryside and little villages along the way. Slovenia is a beautiful country with the Julian Alps in the back drop, the green fields, flowers still in bloom and the tidy looking towns. A beautiful church and  steeple  just tops off  the picture.  Lake Bled was wonderful with the Bled Castle high up on the rock mountain top, the swans and ducks all gracefully afloat in the water and the Church of the Assumption that sits on Otok Island in the middle of the Lake.  Tradition has it that the groom is to carry his bride up the 99 steps to the church before the wedding ceremony.  The boat driver who took us to the island was a very kind, friendly gentlemen who explained some history about the area  and  shared photos of his family and the boat he was building for himself. Very fun to get to know the locals, if even just for a bit.

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Church of the Assumption on the Island

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Bled Castle

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Summer Residence of Tito Before WWII

and a Pletna Boat

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The Julian Alps in the Background of the Island

All Day Train Ride and Graffiti

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

 Hello ! My  train ride to Ljubljana, Slovenia, took most of the day today.  The scenery was foggy but making 2 connections forced me to keep alert , though the gentle rocking of the rails sure can lull  a person into nap time. The travels through the Alps in Austria were  enjoyable even though it was a gray day and the windows on the train were dirty.  Thus most of my photos of the Alps were pathetic.  But I will have another chance when we  are heading to Salzburg later in the week.

I have a pondering question though – what’s up with the graffiti ?  Has anyone an explanation?

Upon arrival at Ljubljana, it was raining, so, as much as I wanted to go to the Christmas Markets, instead I opted for  dinner three doors down from the hotel (which had great pasta and pizza) and the waiter even gave me a free desserts.  Sometimes it pays to be the tired, wet American in a different country…..

 

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Nutella Wanna Be

 

Second Day in Budapest – It Snowed!

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Friday, December 2, 2011

A beautiful dusting of snow for my second day in Budapest!  Fun day today –  after searching down the Railway Office to have my rail pass validated, I walked downtown to take a closer look of the famous Chain Bridge, the Parliament Building  and to see a Memorial to Murdered Jews  where in WWII  many were shot by the Nazis on the  banks of the Danube River.  The next stop was the Great Market Hall where I had a lesson in Hungarian cusine. You see, they sell produce and meats – EVERY kind of meats imaginable and……. unimaginable.  I doubt I will ever get  the image out of my head of the pigs feet ( piles of them), chicken feet (piles of them) and chicken heads, with their eyes closed thank God, (piles of them). On a much cheerier note, the top floor of the Market was full of souvenirs.

Did I mention how foggy Budapest is ?  So all of those great look out points to see the city  landscapes – great spots to see a lot of nothing. I had a  ticket for a free boat ride but decided there wouldn’t be much to see since it is even foggier by the water. No wonder the tickets were free   .  But entertainment can be found anywhere and during  a stop  in the  grocery store, beside the foil wrapped chocolate Santas,  we found foil wrapped chocolate devils. Something for every child, or adult,  I presume…..

Tomorrow an all-day train ride  to Ljubljana, Slovenia…..

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Budapest’s Chain Bridge

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Memorial to Murdered Jews

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Hungarian Souveniers at the Market Hall

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Foil Covered Chocolate Devils for the Holidays

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It’s Easiest to Drink Coca Cola Light.

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