Friday, August 18, 2006

Lake Lucerne: Switzerland

Lake Lucerne is the town we stayed in in Switzerland. We headed here after the Pilatus trip for a traditional Swiss lunch. During lunch we were entertained by swiss horns, cow bells, coins in dishes and musical spoons amoungst other weird methods for making music.

This is the Chappel Bridge that Lucerne is famous for. I have seen a postcard of this hanging on Rach and the Darling's fridge... I think My pic is better! Haha.

All the water here was absolutely clear (and it probably is, you can see why I am having trouble with my tenses...). The houses were once again extremely picturesque.

Here are all the locals sun bathing on top of a restaurant, I guess they dont get the opportunity very often! There was a big hole in the middle where they could get down to the water, you can see them swimming on logs on the right hand side of the pic.

There were so many swans on the lake, I have a feeling they are not native... Just brought here to impress the tourists, it certainly added to the whole scene!

In the evening we walked up this hill and got a gorgeous sunset down over the lake. Our hotel is somewhere down there. The following morning we boarded the bus ready to head for Germany. One last Swiss treat before we left, the Rhine Falls, just inside Switzerland near the border to Germany.

I didn't even know these falls exsisted and they were stunning, so much water all crashing through this small space.

And that was that! Amazing. If you have a chance to go to Switzerland I would suggest you take it, we loved it. I have maybe 3 entries to go now then I am finished with Europe, and I guess I will be starting on Aus!!!

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Switzerland was absolutely stunning, everywhere we looked was just like a postcard, just exactly how you would expect it to look. We arrived in the evening had dinner, a couple of drinks and fell exhausted into our (tiny) beds in our (tiny) rooms.

In the morning we leapt up in anticipation... (haha) We had opted going up Mt Pilatus, proud owner of the highest cog wheel train in Switzerland. Here it is.
This ride was stunning. It just kept going and going and going. The view was amazing and the drops over the side of the track were huge. When I took this picture I thought we didn't have too far to go, I was very wrong!
Here we are on top. In the background you can the snow cappes peaks, even though it's the middle of summer. As you can see we were still plent warm enough, the heat wave had even reached us up here!
We walked around the top of both the peaks... I felt a bit light headed, but it could have been all in my head!
This is not the best pic but it gives the idea. We walkes round one of the peaks in the background. We didn't saty in the hotel you can see... Maybe next time! If you look reallt close you can see the horn blowers in the middle of the pic, just accross from my arm.
Here i am up close and personal. This one guy was very busy having his photo taken. I wonder why.
The first decent was in this large glass pod with no seats. There were a few big stomach clutching drops and nervous noises being made! I think about 30-40 people fitted in this one.
The we got into these much smaller pods, just 4 people, for the remainder of they journey. There were hikers going up and down the mountain, 5 hours one side and 6 the other.
Zadok says this was his favourite thing, it was one of mine aswell. Absolutely breathtaking!
Blogging from: Gran's House
(not once have I tried to give the impression I am STILL IN EUROPE.... I am most definitely not... I have infact specified my location numerous times. I believe I said 'blogging from Melbourne and that was from your very house Dan).

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


The drive to Innsbruck was stunning. Straight trough the mountains, in to a tunnel on one side of a slope and out of the tunnel on the other side of it. Our hotel was really, really nice equipped with a pool (which we all used after dinner) and a gym (which only Zadok felt the need to use). We were right up in the mountains and it was stunning.
In the morning we headed into Innsbruck which was an absolutely stunning little town and another 'favourite' for me.
Here is the Olympic Ski Jump, quite amazing to see this in real life. It's a bit foggy so not a great pic. The winter Olympics have been held in Innsbruck twice.
We had a visit to the Swaroski Crystal Showroom, where 80% of the tour group seemed compelled to buy up big.... Some of the articles were stunning.
Zadok had some time out in Innsbruck, he was a bit fed up. When he came back to me he was all smiles again though. Karen Bee and I spent the day wandering the town, enjoying the street performers and we also climbed the tower in the center of town, giving us these stunning views.
In the second photo below you can see the ski jimp on the right and the hotel we stayed in was on the mountain to the left.
Here I am coming out on to the viewing platform of the tower. It was still hot even though we were right up in the mountains.

Here are Karen and Bee enjoying some Austrian pizza.... We had had quite enough shnitzel by this stage!

Mid afternoon, back on the bus and heading off through the mountains and through Leichtenstein, a brief stop in the capital Vaduz here is Zadok below the castle. Leichtenstein is a tiny principality between Austria and Switzerland.

Then into Switzerland, beautiful Switzerland, you have to wait for that though!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Austria: Vienna and Salzburg.

We left our hotel near Venice and headed north, crossing the border into Austria not long after. The scenery changed dramatically, mountains started springing up seemingly from nowhere. This was quite exciting for us as we haven't seen 'real' mountains for quite awhile, and these were certainly real mountains!
We arrived in Vienna in the afternoon and had time for a quick rest before we headed out to dinner. We had Dinner in the 'Vienna Woods' in a 'farm house' which is all now just really a suburb of Vienna.
Here the wine was free flowing and much to Zadok's delight the meat was plentiful, even if he did have to remove the scnitzel covering off evrything he ate.
We were entertained by quite a hilarious accordian player and everyone had a really good evening.
In the morning Zadok and I were blessed with a SLEEP IN (till about 8am... Hahaha) as the others did and optional we opted out of. We then had a local guide to show us the most famous sights of Vienna.
The size of the palace was quite amazing... Althought the design seemed much more conservative than other places we had so recently seen. The local guide we had in Vienna was my least favourite, all the other guides seemed to be in love with their cities and countries but this one seemed less so.
One of my favourite things from Vienna was the Prater Wheel (The Riensenrad). This is a ferris wheel (somewhat smaller than the afore mentioned London Eye) but it was built as a celebration of Emperor Franz Joseph's Golden Jubilee, in 1897! Nearly 110 years ago. I was excited because I read a children's book recently that featured this wheel. I am trying to remember the name of it but it wont come to me.
Here is a photo from the top of the Wheel.
When we left Vienna, on the way to Salzburg we were pulled over by the Austrian Police, for a routine check of all of Luciano's and the buses papers. Simone and Luciano were involved in a half hour discussion (as much as Luciano could be only speaking Italian). Luckily after all this time they found nothing to comment on. Simone said they seemed quite dissapointed and in the end told her to ensure Luciano WROTE ON THE LINES in his log book as this is an offense he could recieve a fine for.... Quite amusing.
We arrived in Salzburg just before lunch. We wandered around and saw the house where Motzart was born and lived. Salzburg is also the city of the Sound of Music.
Zadok, Bianca and I enjoyed the Mirabell Gardens, here are some of the gardens with the fotress on the hill in the background and a photo of my metrosexual man.....
Then we reboarded the bus and headed to Innsbruck in the west of Austria for the night.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Island of Burano, Venice #2

At about noon we jumped on another boat (a bigger one this time!) and headed out into the lagoon. Here is a map so you have an idea of what I am talking about. I couldn't find a great one on the web... This will do.
The largest island in the middle is St Marks, we are heading for the island marked in yellow.

I love being on the water and I sat outside on the very small deck.
Here we are enjoying the water and the sunshine.
Burano is much less tourist orientated with just a few street side stalls selling glass and lace. There are still canals and no cars, but there is washing hanging in the yards and people leave their doors open.
There were no goldolas here but of course everyone has their own boat to get where they need to go.
This olf church tower was leaning way more than the leaning tower of Pisa. The flowers on the balconies are gorgeous and the colours of the houses stunning. We had an enourmous, gorgeous seafood lunch, then time to wander around a little.
Each house is a different colour, some houses are TWO different colours. When children move back in to their parents house with their own childrenb they paint their part another colour, like this....
I was in love and suggested to Zadok we relocate... I even found a drydock for him to work in a dredger to fix......
I think Zadok was quite happt to come, see, enjoy, eat and leave though!
So that was Burano! We headed back to St Marks and then on ANOTHER boat through the Grand Canale back to the parking island. Then back to the hotel for dinner, a very welcome swim, dinner and bed, ready for Austria the next day.