Wednesday, January 23, 2013

First of the two holiday trips!

Over the holidays Julie and I decided to visit what I feel are the two most expensive  places in Europe.  The first was a 4 day weekend over the X-mas holiday in London.  The Second was another 4 day weekend in the ski slopes of Interlaken Switzerland.  These were two of the main places Julie wanted to visit during our year in Europe.

London is LONDON, this city is by far my favorite we have spent time in since moving to Germany.  There are so many different things to do there and the 4 days we had wasn't nearly enough.  There are way to many museums, monuments/Palace/Parliament/Westminster Abby to see in the 4 days we had.  So we decided to try and hit up the high lights.

Our first day revolved around The Tower of London, home of the Crown Jewels and many other historical high lights, from back in the day. 

Tower of London

Changing of the Guards at The Tower of London

Where the "Crown Jewels" are kept!

Carvings in the walls of the prison tower

Crazy Armour

More carvings

smallest set of armour made

crazy cannons that took 4 men to load one ball

The following day was the best of the 4 days for myself.  I have always wanted to seethe mysterious Stonehenge, so we booked a tour company to take us.  It was your typical tour bus deal that you see at just about every vacation spot around the world.  It was fine with me though, what ever it took to see what I like to think of as an alien time piece.  Once the tour was done at Stonehenge we were dropped off in the town of Bath.  Named after the old Roman Baths that were constructed 60-70 AD.  It was an interesting little English town and definitely a touristy one at that. 


Roman Bath


On our third day we decided the best bet would be to wonder the city by foot and check out all the monuments, Parliament, and the Palace.  This was a great way to loose those calories from  all the fish&chips we had been having from the previous days.

Buckingham Palace

Start of the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace

Canadian Memorial


Brave souls!

"I swear Julie it won't attack you!"

Thought that big beast would bite my head off!

Shakespeare's theater

The last day was the most stressful day of all, being X-mas The Tube is shut down and the buses do not run.  With this the taxi's are triple the price unless you call a "MiniCab" service.  Well we called and made a reservation with a MiniCab and waited in the lobby of our hotel for what seemed forever.  After the MiniCab was 30 Min. late (we had to catch a flight) we were lucky enough to catch a different MiniCab that had just dropped some people off at the hotel.  Once in the car on the way to the airport we could relax and look forward to our Christmas at our favorite little restaurant "Rosanna's" with a few of our friends.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mom's Visit

A few months ago my mom and niece came over for a 2 week visit.  This would be their first trip to Europe so I had to make sure they saw a lot of typical sights Americans hear about.

After picking them up in Frankfurt we headed south west to Paris/Fontainbleau for the first 5 days of their trip.  Julie found a great place for us to stay in a little B&B ___________ with great breakfast and info for things to do in the area.  The next day we were there we headed into the town of Fontainbleau to tour the palace there.  This would be the 3rd time I have been to the palace but it didn't matter to me, it is a wonderful place to roam around, mess with swans, laugh at the funny water fountains and learn new cool facts in the palace tours. 

And, What's a trip to France without seeing the Eiffel Tower and walking through the Louvre.  Seeing the tower was impressive and was exactly what one would expect, a shit ton of people looking at a huge tower of steel placed in a busy city with super crazy cab drivers.  It was impressive and I feel everyone should make one visit in their lifetime.  The Louvre, is the other must do and is great for rainy crap days such as the day we visited.  Julie walks into the Louvre and makes a B-line for the Mona Lisa.  Being from the states we all here about this world famous painting and wonder why all the hype.  Its not very big or impressive at all, but when you are standing in front of it there is a surreal moment when you realize that's the most famous painting in the WORLD!  There's a lot more about this painting that I could ramble on and on about but I'll refrain from boring you more than I already am.  There is so much to see in this mega museum you will just have to go and see everything for yourselves!

While we were in Font, Julie had to try and get on the boulders even if the weather was, Super Shit!  Lets just say Climbing was not happening and isn't worth trying to talk about right now.  So instead of climbing we toured the small towns in the area and got an idea of everyday french life in the country side, plus we were able to see some super cool old "things".  In one little town there was a church that burned to the ground back in the day and was left in its original state.  In another little town there was an old fortified city surrounded with stone walls, a river, and huge gates.  It was a great relaxing day to see the "Mini Sights".  For our last little hora in France I had to take my mom to try some Champagne and see one of the super rad cellars where its stored for fermentation.  We stopped at  Mercier where there was a tram through the tunnel and the millions of bottles of Champagne.  I am always impressed with the whole process of Champagne and it taste pretty damn good too.

For my mom's time in Germany it was kinda the same thing, a whirlwind!  There is the Cinderella Castle (Neuschwanstein Castle) that is a must see and for my third time was still just as impressive.  I was glad when we arrived to see the restoration work on the main tower had been finished and with the snow off in the distance made this the perfect time of year to visit the castle.  With this being their down season the place was like a ghost town, and stress free.  With Innsbruck only being about 90 minutes away I opted to take them into the Austrian Alps and Innsbruck.  With this being a month before Christmas the markets were in full boom and the whole touristy, fancy section of town was full of food and booths selling Christmas "junk".  On another day we headed up into the mountains to see the Linderhof Palace.   The Drive was amazing and kind of reminded me of my time in Vail, super snowy roads and low visibility.  We arrived at the palace did a quick tour and busted out because mom was a bit scared of the snowy roads and wanted out of it, but I have to say I felt more at home in the snow :)  Another thing my mom really wanted to do while she was here was visit Dachau.  There is something about walking into a place where you know the worst possible things one human has done to another which chills you to the bones and wipes the smile right off your face.  I will always look back and appreciate the time I spent on the grounds.  Once we were done with this my mom needed something to cheer her up so what better way than dinner at the Hofbrahaus!  Eating a whole chicken and a liter of beer will for sure put a smile on any ones face.  Its kind of like Oktoberfest year around in this beer hall.

For a last hora we spent a day roaming the Frankfurt Christmas market.  This was a crazy adventure because it seemed 2 million others had the same idea for the day.  It was a shoulder to shoulder 5 hour ordeal that was a bit stressful but fun to be part of.  Then for dinner Julie and I decided to take my mom out for a super late Birthday dinner since it was a big one for her, 50!  The evening went great and I hope my mom enjoyed it a lot,