A Travellerspoint blog

Ljubljana

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An early start from Vienna as we catch the train from Vienna to Ljubljana which is about 7 hours. Got to the station with plenty of time to spare as we ( me ) was working on Australian trains and not the super efficient OBB train system. Past cattle class and onto 1st Class ( sounds posh but it only cost a couple Euros extra ) Wide comfortable seats, big panoramic windows and dining car. Settled back and the train started its journey. Through mountain tunnels, past villages and towering mountain sides, chewing up the kilometres as we watched the Alps with its misty shroud go by. The Austrian Alps were spectacular. The countryside rolled by with green pastures as we followed the river then it became mountainous. Other than a couple of other people we had the carraige to ourselves for most of the journey. Stepping onto the platform at Ljubljana was interesting. Quite grey would be how I would describe the surrounding area. The buildings are very uninteresting and it did take us aback initially. The area we are staying in is a 10 minute walk from the centre of town and it is in the student precinct. There is a lot of tagging on the walls and facilities all around here and Celeste said it looks "rebellious". It is overcast and showery but it is supposed to clear up tomorrow. On a good note the beer is very cheap and tastes pretty good. We walked into the city centre and our concerns were forgotten as there is a lot of history to be seen and this area looks like it will be good to explore. Having a drink and down came the rain. Bugger!! both umbrellas back at the hotel. Cafe shop owner sent one of his staff in the rain to buy an umbrella. He came back with two. €20 lighter but we now have an umbrella for all occasions! Dinner at the hotel and sightseeing in the morning.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A day in Ljubljana
Woweee. We have just had our first bummer accomodation, and we didn't pick it as it was the first part of our Croatia leg we let a travel agent do! Its more like cheap student accomodation. The bathroom is so small that when you are on the toilet you can touch every wall and it does have the shower in here as well! Up side is the City is well worth a visit and we had a great day out. The Ljubljana Castle is a ripper with a funicular ride to the top.The battlements gave us a fantastic view over the city and a breathtaking view of the Alps covered in snow. We sat for at least 10 minutes just admiring the scene. The castle is a great structure with gun turrets, battlements, a chapel, dungeons and a square. It is situated on a rocky outcrop and it was evident that in its day you would be able to defend it easily. The city is vibrant around its square with restaurants,shops and cafes thick around the narrow side streets and lanes. Street players were everywhere and as busy as it was everyone seemed happy. Biycle riders are everywhere as it seems to be the way to go in Cities throughout Europe. Cobblestone roads and pathways are also a familiar sight. The day was warm and sunny and we enjoyed a walk through the local market buying fruit, bread and meat for our lunch. Back to the hotel, we rang to make sure we had Sat Nav in our hire car for tomorrow, as we decided maps were not going to be adequate for where we needed to go. Off to dinner then back to our student accom before heading off to Radovljica in the morning.

Posted by pjandc 00:07 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

Vienna

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Our last night in Cesky Krumlov was lovely as we had dinner with guitarist playing Baroque music then we wandered the streets at night. It is much quieter. Our trip to Vienna took about 2.5 hours and much of the countryside reminded us of the pastures in Victoria, lush and green with rolling hills. It was a beautiful morning and as we entered Vienna we commented how it resembled Melbourne in many ways. Our Hotel is the Opernring and it is in the Innere Stradt opposite the Opera house. Quick look around, booked a trip to the Melk Abbey and a cruise up the Danube for tomorrow. Not to waste an opportunity we booked a Mozart and Strauss concert recital for Tuesday night.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Melk Abbey
Last night Celeste and I headed out for a meal.Vienna looks far prettier at night with many of the buildings lit up, with restaurants also doing a brisk trade. Outside the Opera house a lot of people of all ages had gathered to watch the Opera on a huge screen as it was being played live due to it being sold out. The volume was cranking as we could listen to the singing two blocks away. After dinner, which was Wienner Schnitzel, we headed to Hotel Sacher and ordered coffee and Sacher Torte which we savoured then ticked off our 'to do' list. Today we headed off to Melk Abbey and a boat trip down the Danube. We met outside the Opera House, piled onto a bus that was very large and comfortable,then headed 1.5 hours through the countrside to meet our boat. The countryside was very similar to Victoria until we hit the Danube where it changed to quite hilly and steep cliff faces. The castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned and executed was basically a ruin that sat atop a huge ridge . The ridges were planted with grape vines and is the main wine growing region for Austria. We met the boat and sailed for a couple of hours upstream toward the Abbey past lovely towns built on the edge of the river and towering cliff faces. The Monastery is situated on top of a large cliff overlooking the Danube on one side and towering over the village of Melk on the other. It is an imposing sight as it is so large. The Abbey was founded in 1089AD by the Benedictine Monks and is the largest Baroque Complex in the world. It is still home to 30 Monks and also 900 school children who attend daily. The library houses books and manuscripts from Medieval times. After spending a few hours throughout the Abbey we climbed back onto the bus for the trip back to Vienna. It is claimed I had a "poppy" nap complete with a snore or two but I cannot confirm this! Once back in Vienna we went for a walk remembering to stay out of the bike lanes as they fly along beside the walkways. It is a good system that works well. All in all a very good day with perfect weather.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Last day in Vienna
Today was a big day. In the bright sunshine we stepped out onto the Vienna streets. At 9 am it was quiet. Everyone must have forgotten to set their alarms. The only ones around was Celeste, myself and the delivery drivers. 10 am however the floodgates opened and shopkeepers flung their doors open and the crowds grew quickly. We headed off to see the Hofburg Palace. This is an enormous site with many areas of attraction. The Lipizana horses and stables ( unfortunatley the horses were not performing while we are in Vienna ) however the stable complex with their handsome tenants were available to visit. Empress Elizabeth (sissy) apartments and the grounds. The museum was full of artifacts and day to day utensils of the household of the time and all very Baroque. The apartments of Empress Elizabeth and the Emperor of Austria were amazing and very opulant. The area took a couple of hours to get around. Stopped at a hot dog stand ( great bratwurst sausage ) then onto the Naschmarkt which is a big street market with fantastic stalls of meat, fish, fruit, in fact anything you could want including lots of restaurants. Back to the hotel for a rest before heading out for the concert.
THE CONCERT. The evening was warm and we made our way to the Palais Auersperg to see a concert by the Weiner Residenzorchester performing works by Mozart and Strauss. 10 musicians, 2 Operatic singers and 2 Ballet Dancers led us on a fantastic journey for 2 hours in a building that Mozart had played in on many occasions during his life. The music was beautiful with the singers belting out Opera that made your nerves tingle. The conductor was performing on a Stratavarious violin that dated back to the 17th Century and such was the reaction of the audience that 3 encores were played before they retired. Celeste and I floated back to the Hotel Restaurant to finish off this very special evening with a delicious meal. What a great way to end our stay in Vienna.

Posted by pjandc 00:00 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Cesky Krumlov


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Today we head off to Cesky Krumlov for 2 nights. Cesky Krumlov is in South Bohemia and was built around 1309. It is on the River Vltava that also runs through Prague and is a 2 hour car trip from Prague. We arrived early afternoon and were struck by the beauty. The town is full of cobblestone streets that wind up and down. Every corner provides another interesting shop or view. Cesky Krumlov Castle towers over the city and another cobblestone walk takes you to the entrance where it splays across the hill top.The lanes and house walls have not been changed since the early 1300s and wind through the town. The city square is a meeting place which draws from the alleys and laneways. At present my jelly legs have very sore thighs from Prague Castle so another work out is on its way.As I am writing this beautiful singing is filtering into the room. Sounds like a choir practicing nearby.



Friday, September 14, 2012
Day 2
Forgot to mention that the trip up yesterday was covered at about 140 klm per hour. No sense in hanging about just get to where you want to be! Today with light drizzle in the morning we wandered the lanes of Cesky Krumlov. The hoards of tourists had not arrived when we set out but by 10 am it was busy. Still you could turn a corner and it was empty of people. Last night it was quiet as the tourists had left the town to the locals and those that had accomodation. Celeste observed that it does not matter what time it is,people sit down and have a beer, it is so casual. Cesky Krumlov does look like something you have pulled out of a fairytale book and it is hard to believe that it is not a film set but the town is really a functioning, thriving area. Tonight we have guitarists performing in our accomodation restaurant which should be good fun. Cesky Krumlov needs 2 days to fully appreciate its enchanting lanes and walkways.

Posted by pjandc 23:40 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Lets Walk


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We woke up to light rain beating on the windows and daylight filtering into the room. It is quite different looking out over the rooftops when you open your eyes. Breakfast downstairs then off along the cobblestone paths and roads toward our objective "Prague Castle". The clatter of feet on the cobblestones accompany us everwhere as it must have hundreds of years ago for its inhabitants. The rain had stopped when we came to the path that led us "Up" to Prague Castle. Up Up Up we went along the cobblestone path toward the castle that dominates the skyline. The records show Coronations, Matters of State, Laws and judgements as well as housing the Rulers over the centuries. The Castle was commisioned in 880 AD by the Ruler of Bohemia. It is the largest Castle in the world and after you have walked around it you would not disagree. It provides magnificent views and great vantage point for looking out for invaders of old. The climb to the top of St Vitus's Steeple was a killer at 287 stairs in a tight corkscrew all the way up. The view is magnificent but on jelly legs the 287 stairs on the way down was fun. The area around the castle is a rabbit warren of streets and small shops winding around over hill and down dale. After 3 hours of walking the castle interior we headed down towards lesser town and soaked up the atmosphere. You can go from crowds to loneliness at the turn of a corner. Back at the river we took a boat ride on the Vlatava River which provided another aspect of Prague. The weather has stayed overcast and cool so after walking for most of the day we headed back to the Klarov for a rest before heading out for dinner. We loved our stay in the Hotel Klarov as it is ideally positioned for getting around this very pretty city. Room 505 is well worth the stay. Meals are substantial and very tasty. Traditional Czech food is heavily reliant on sauces home made, and breads and dumpling and fantastic beers for washing it down. From our hotel walking is the way to go and it is easy to get all around.

Posted by pjandc 23:38 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Goodbye France Hello Prague


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After a restful sleep we awoke to light rain.We headed for the station to board the TGV from Lille back to Charles De Gaulle airport. The station is huge and clean. The train pulled in and it was as long as two football fields with a bullet shaped front. Inside was comfortable as we found our seats and waited to go. It left quietly and picked up speed quickly with the countryside flashing past the window. Obviously the shape at the front would throw anything that it hit out of the way. The train trip only took 1 hour and we slipped into the station under the airport. Great train ride....they have conductors as well. Checked in the baggage at Easy Jet as we had a couple of hours to kill and wandered off for a coffee. No seat allocation, you sit where you can so when we arrived at the gate there were lots of people lined up. No problem at all. All on board 20 minutes early, pilot happy, slammed the door and off we went. One hour later we land in Prague on a beautiful afternoon. Hotel had organized a driver to pick us up and 40 minutes later we arrived at Hotel Klarov on the river very close to the "Charles Bridge " It's a beautiful boutique style hotel and we are on the top floor overlooking the river and " Old Town ". The roof has 2 large windows that we can open to let air and sunshine in. It is very comfortable. We walked part of the town and had an authentic regional meal.

After a very restful sleep we wandered down to breakfast at our hotel. Small beautifully laid out buffet of cereal, breads, croissants, eggs, bacon, cheese and sliced meats. Rejuvinated, Celeste and I stepped out into the streets of Prague. It is cooler today and rainy off and on but it does not matter as the buildings that scream " I am history " keep us marvelling. Very little of Prague was damaged during the wars so many are hundreds of years old. We visited the Astronomical clock and walked the square while eating Czech donuts and saw many churches as well as lots of Bohemia Crystal shops. The rain set in so we headed back to the Klarov with bread, sausage, goat cheese dip and Czech beer for afternoon tea. ( boy we are doing it tough! ) It is a pretty city with lots to see as well as many restaurants, beer halls, little deli's and pastry shops.The afternoon drifted by as the rain continued throughout the evening. It did not matter as it is not cold. Day turned to night and at about 8.00 pm as the city turned on its lights we ventured out to find a beer and authentic Czech food. Czech meal with massive glasses of Czech beer. Bed time ready for tomorrow.

Posted by pjandc 23:33 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

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