Tag Archive | Austria

A weekend in Bratislava and Vienna

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!

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Innsbruck and Munich Road Trip

(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.

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That’s all folks! Happy Veteran’s Day!