Justin and I spent Valentine’s and President’s Day weekend in Vienna, Austria and Bratislava, Slovakia. Our first day was spent in Bratislava. It reminded me of a very mini version of Prague, though without anything particularly spectacular. The old town is quaint with red roofs. There is a castle where at the top you have a nice view of old town and the river Danube. We stayed the night at a botel right next to the castle and old town, overlooking Bratislava’s famous UFO building on a bridge. The botel was a boat/hotel, if you didn’t pick up on that. It was a little crappy, but very convenient. I can see that Bratislava is a good party town during the summer, but during winter, it is quite empty and lackluster…which was both good and bad. We found a small bar/restaurant with some neat decorations (if you see a small guy in a cage in the pictures that’s where that was). There were a lot of random statues all over the city which was a nice surprise. And there were a lot of people walking their dogs.
Our last half of the long weekend was spent in Vienna. Go from a mildly drab but quaint Bratislava to a city full of nothing but luxurious palace style buildings as far as the eye can see-Vienna was quite the change. Vienna was really fancy and very nice to walk through. There was a magnificent cathedral in the heart of town and a number of museums, two of which we ventured. The Museum of Art History was pretty great. There was a whole room dedicated to Bruegel paintings. (While in Europe I have given myself a bit of a challenge to visit every Bruegel painting, I am a few museums shy, but this was one more to check off the list.) There was an awesome Medusa’s head painting by Peter Paul Rubens, quite a lot of nice Dürer’s, Gustav Klimt’s, and even a couple mummified crocodiles in the Egypt section. Didn’t think about it until later, but we visited a lot of places Hitler did as well…go history!
Overall a great weekend away. Happy Valentine’s Day…Happy President’s Day!
We ventured to Rome again this year…just a weekend trip. There was a Pieter Bruegel il Vecchio art show with a few Hieronomous Boschs’ and Peter Paul Rubens’ thrown in the mix. Not bad. I barely made it in time for closing, and I happened to cut about 150 people and got a reduced fare somehow…can’t complain about that! I visited the Pantheon and briefly graced the Spanish Steps. Justin did not partake in the show or Pantheon, but we met up at the Spanish steps and went to a couple bars and hung out. Not much else to the weekend other than two long train/bus rides to and from Rome. Ciao!
I was invited to participate in an art show at Castel Dell’Ovo in Naples, Italy from March 9th-March 21st. The show was called “One Mind and One Heart”, an Asian based art show about Fukushima and more generally, all humanity against any plight.
If you want to see/read about my work and view some other pictures of the art from the show, please visit my flickr site:
I went downtown this morning because I was supposed to man the desk at Castel Dell’Ovo for the “One Mind One Heart” art exhibition. Due to some translation issues I didn’t have to stay the whole time. So anyways, these pictures are from this morning, Sunday, before most crowds and people selling crap were all out and about…so it looks nice.
Visit my flickr account for my art pictures and details from the show: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennybusch
(I am getting the pictures taken by my road trip mates sometime this week, so check back for extra pictures later on)
So we had a long four day weekend road trip for Veteran’s Day (I only had a three day weekend, but called in sick to make mine four). We road tripped with three work friends of ours. We left Thursday after we all got off work. We drove up to Vicenza for the night (it’s a little west of Venice). There is an army base there, so we stayed at their lodge. Then we woke up and drove to Innsbruck, Austria through the snow-capped Alps. It is a nice little mountain town where people come for skiing and such when the season is right. We spent a day and a half there and wandered about. We found the tiniest “speck” (bacon) shop in the world, located in Innsbruck. There is the owner behind a tiny little piece of counter and enough room for only two people at a time to go in. We tried to find the shop the night before, but it was closed. There was a vent that fanned out the sweet smell of smoked meats into the street so it was mandatory that we go back the next day. And success, we did, it was delicious…wild boar and speck. We found a liquor store where you could sample fine liquors and fill up your own bottles with the random flavors you like. Justin and I got a peach schnapps-type one, a chocolate liquor, and some kind of flower liquor. We also ate these famous little cake/torte things…delicious…mine had some Grand Marnier tasting liquor in it. So I guess Innsbruck can be categorized as the place in the Alps where I had lots of meat and liquor. Good times!
Back in the car we drove up to the castle Neuschwanstein in southern Bavaria, Germany. Nice as always. Then we drove up to Munich and drove on the autobahn (only made it to 123mph due to traffic, but that was still pretty fast). We stayed at the Eden Hotel Wolff directly across from the north entrance of the central train station. The beds were so comfortable…enough so to mention their comfort in a post…now that’s comfort! It started getting rainy as we were in Munich. We walked around and saw the main buildings and such. Justin and I went to the Alte Pinakothek (art museum of old master paintings). Lots of good stuff in there, mostly from the late 1300s to the 1700s. (1400s from the northern Europe being my favorite, so I was smitten in there). While in Munich we again ate hearty foods and drank merrily…our kind of food. Meats we ate on the trip include veal, wild boar, bacon, suckling pig, pig knuckles, duck, and pig and cow sausage. Oh, the first night we were there we were heading back to the hotel and some football hooligans came onto the U-bahn with us. First they were chanting, then they started fighting. I’m sure they were all drunk, but they didn’t have alcohol, but each had a Red Bull which got thrown about and a few soft-punches were thrown (as the few who were really wild were being held back by strangers and friends). They ended up causing the whole train to get detained for about 20 minutes because they kept forcing open their door. Eventually about 50 officers from three different forces and one drug dog came down and got them off the train to straighten the situation out. Lucky for us we happened to be sitting five feet away, so we got a first hand view of it. They were arguing about a football match, but that’s about all I could figure out. Other passengers sporting their soccer gear pride came over to see what was going on and quickly left because what they were fighting over was stupid and ridiculous. Again, good times.
On Monday we left Munich early in the morning for our 10 hour drive back to Naples. It was raining off and on along the way until after we passed Florence where we found the highway to be flooded and everyone had to be redirected. There was no alternate route, as we found out that the only other main road south was also flooded and closed. We ended up taking a five hour detour to go the length of Siena to Rome…we backtracked a few times as many back roads were flooded or covered in a mudslide. We drove all over the countryside zig-zagging until we finally made it past the closures and past the rain and onto the highway once again. So our 10 hour drive turned into a 15.5 hour drive. My butt is so sore from sitting for so long. But we made it, alive! Hooray! And I can cross off driving through the Italian countryside off my list…which was never actually on my list to begin with.
That’s all folks! Happy Veteran’s Day!
Just got back from a 22 day Benelux vacation (The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg)! Coming from 95 degree Naples weather I didn’t pack any long sleeves…come to find out that Benelux was in a “colder than usual” summer. I eventually broke down and bought a sweater, then it decided to rain off and on throughout the rest of the trip. I should have bought a rain jacket, but stuck it out with the sweater.
I visited many cities during my trip, the main ones being Rotterdam, Antwerp, Gent, Brugge, Brussels, Luxembourg City, and Amsterdam. I took some day trips also. I biked from Luxembourg City to Echternacht (a 46 km/5.5 hour bike ride through farms, countryside, and the woods of Mullerthal), I took a day to explore Den Haag and Delft, went to Haarlem for a while, and a day up to the northeast of the Netherlands to Groningen and Delfzijl (and enjoyed the North Sea and views of Germany across the sea). I saw 33 traditional windmills and too-many-to-count modern, white turbines. I went to a gazillion art museums where I saw lots of one of my favorite genres of art: 15th century Flemish paintings by the greats: Pieter Bruegel, Hans Memling, Hugo van der Goes, Hieronymus Bosch, Rogier van der Weyden, etc. My favorite treat I found was carmel stroop waffles from the grocery stores in the Netherlands…amazing. I found a beer called Gollem, lol.
It was a good vacation overall. The only downside to travelling solo is not always having something to do once the tourism closes for the night…it can get lonely. I did get to read a lot of books and met a couple nice people I will keep in contact with. I think it will take some time for this vacation to really seem like a real European vacation…without a 20 hour plane ride to and from doesn’t make it feel as grand…but I saved a lot of money! I know I don’t have a lot of detail in my report on Benelux, so leave and questions or comments below!