Tag Archives: Prague

Salzburg, Austria

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A very comfortable train ride through the Austrian countryside.  I keep hearing Julie Andrews singing “The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music”  We are on a train that will continue off to Zürich and I think of the families that escaped the Nazis by traveling through these very hills.  We are hungry upon our arrival in Salzburg and run directly to the Restaurant Mundenhamer, one of the oldest and very typical Austrian restaurants. 

Our first course is white asparagus soup with a breadstick wrapped in crisp prosciutto.  It is asparagus season in Austria and special menus and dishes appear everywhere.  The soup was creamy and silky –ssooooooo good!

The second course was a typical Austrian Goulash with spicy sausages and potatoes — so wonderful. The people here are so friendly and smiling all the time, such a difference from Prague where they were so sullen and unfriendly.

We just toured Mozart’s home — how incredible to walk the same floors as the Master himself. Many of his original works were on display along with his instruments. The steps going into the home were red marble and worn down through the years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We walk the streets of the old city and gaze in amazement at the castle on the hill overlooking us. How grand life must have been during the height of the courts.

We walk about the town square and enjoy the open air market and stop here and there for a snack of weiss wurst and coffee. The surrounding architecture is so beautiful and everyone seems to have a smile on their face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking across the bridge over the Danube affords such majestic views!

It is raining fairly heavy now so we decide to relax in the Hotel Ibis, dining on wonderful breads, meats, cheeses, yogurt and granola. The hotels all have the most wonderful coffee machines that by the push of a button make espresso, cappuccino, hot foaming milk and all sorts of various assortments of coffees, all made to perfection.

We ponder our next stop …………….Munich!

Prague, Czech Republic

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Today we are traveling to Prague.  We awoke early full of excitement for the next leg of the journey.  Of course, we had breakfast at our favorite gas station in Berlin and then headed for the Hauptbahnhof to await our train to the Czech Republic.  The train was very nice.  The first class cabin is almost empty so it is nice and quiet. We pass through beautiful countryside.  It is so green and lush here — not like our poor parched Texas.  We move to the dining car for a change of scenery and some wine.  We are now in Dresden and have stopped to allow passengers to embark and disembark it is 11:00 A.M., the wine made August sleepy and he is dozing off.  As we enter the Czech Republic the route becomes so scenic and beautiful we follow the course of a river to our left with charming villages nestled along its banks.  The hillsides are so verdant and lush.  We just passed a beautiful castle on the hillside overlooking the river.

 

We will be in Prague in one hour. We arrive in Prague and disembark our train, we make our way to the taxi stand and the driver wants to charge 980 crown to take us to the hotel — $98 U.S. dollars, we decide he is a bandit and walk away, before we get far the price has dropped to $30.00 so we keep walking and find the tourist information center. Behold — we find that the hotel is within walking distance! So away we walk and find our hotel in the midst of an old town square. We rest and change clothes to venture out. It is very beautiful here. The war has not hurt this old city.

We find a lovely traditional Czech restaurant, Nostalgie (www.restaurace-nostalgie.cz) and promptly plant ourselves on a back patio and dine on sausage cooked in vegetables with rye bread and herbed butter accompanied by a Czech beer — yummy.  We await our second course; roasted pork served with potato dumpling, cooked cabbage and bread dumplings — marvie!!!!!

 
The food was delicious, the pork cooked to perfection and the cabbage so tender and tasty. We barely spoke during the meal. Teh pastry all looked so wonderful, but we were so full from the meal we passed………….for now. We stopped at the grocer and bought some wine, water and pastries. Back to the room to relax, drink wine and eat pastries!

We decide to have breakfast at the hotel and catch the early train our of Prague. this city has been the least fun in our trip. It seems that perhaps the East has not been able to shake off the cold war. The people are dowdy, ugly and unfriendly. On to Vienna……..

Even the breakfast was sad…………….

Amsterdam, Holland

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We arrive at the Amsterdam train station and find our hotel is within walking distance. The station is called Central Station and rightly so, from here you can step onto a train, bus, trolley, water cab or land cab. We are set to take a tour of the city on a water trolley tomorrow. What fun!!! Today we stroll through the streets and enjoy visiting many shops and also take a moment to dine at a sidewalk cafe having mushroom soup and the wonderful hot dogs on a lovely bread with Gruyère cheese and mushrooms along with Heineken Beer.

I take August to the red light district and we stroll through as the women try to tempt us from behind the glass — if they only knew! My only disappointment is that there were no men! Who ever heard of such a thing!

Today is Memorial Day in Holland. We are well rested and eager to be off on our exploration of this city that offers such adventures. We buy tickets on the boat to tour the canals and for entrance into the Van Gogh Museum! The museum was most wonderful and filled with the works of many Impressionists! It was so incredible to be within inches of the works that I have studied all my life. The works of Van Gogh were accompanied by Monet, Manet, Pissarro and so many others that I have forgotten. I so wish I could have viewed these when I was young and attempting to paint. No reproduction or text-book ever came close to these originals. The way light and shadow were brought to life by these incredible artists was breath-taking.

Our tour of the canals was most interesting; the canals lined with houseboats that are actual residences.

As we walked the city after our tour we learned that the Queen, Beatriz, herself, would be visiting Amsterdam in a few hours to place a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier; we immediately made plans to participate. It is not everyday that one is able to be within a few feet of a royal family. The ceremony was quite beautiful and the entire city shuts down and observes two minutes of silence. It was almost unnerving to have this loud and boisterous city fall under a complete hush. We dedicated our silence to our friend, Gordon Smith. The youth gave us commemorative torches to wear. Here is Queen Beatrix and the Royal Family!

All in all this has been a most amazing day in a most amazing city. We are now settled in our room for some much-needed rest. Oh! I almost forgot, we also went to the city flea market and purchased so many beautiful antiques! I purchased some old coins for Jose. We found marvelous shirts from the teams of Germany, Argentina and Spain and some great Capri pants from Italy. Oh what fun we are having. My dreams shall be filled with memories of all the fantastic images of the day. Our last day in Amsterdam. We are a bit fatigued from our event filled day yesterday. We take our time in the morning and venture out for a nice breakfast in the street cafe of omelets, toast and cafe latte. Very relaxed and the sun is very nice to sit in as the days still tend to be quite chilly. We enjoy a trip to the grocery store and marvel at all the delightful dishes available. Off we go to the post office to mail our post cards and were given a wonderful commemorative bag by the post master…….what lovely people!

In our journey we find a delightful restaurant offering traditional Dutch food and decide this will be our dining spot this evening. We go back to the room and August takes a nap while I explore options for the rest of our travels. We decide upon the following: Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Salzburg and Munich. We make hotel reservations for Prague and will investigate the others during our dinner.

We have walked to our restaurant Fogata and sit outside in the warm Holland sun. Our first course is mussels cooked in tomatoes and mushroom OMG — how delightful!…….along with fried calamari and a bottle of white wine!!!

We end the meal with a traditional Dutch stew. The stew is beef, seasoned with onion, bay leaf and a hint of allspice, separate bowls contained boiled potatoes, as soft and flavorful as one would want, sprinkled with fresh parsley and nutmeg and a second bowl of cooked red cabbage, wonderfully rich and creamy. We finish our meal and sip on our wine as we watch the people go by. We hear all the languages of the world spoken as they engage in their conversations. Our journey is halfway over and we reflect upon all the adventures we have experienced thus far and ponder on those to come.