Days 4-8

Okay so I am a bit behind in my postings! Well thank you spotty internet and hotels with no wifi!  Also, add in a crazy European road trip in our pumpkin on wheels…and voila here we are a bit behind.  We are in our hotel room  in Vienna, Russ and Reid are still sleeping…so I thought that I would try to catch up on my posting!

Day 4- Strausborg

Okay I will admit that I did not know much about this great city!  Well, today we got to know it really well!  We did a few fun touristy things that were inexpensive, but great!  To sum up”

 

* We went on a boat tour and got to see lots of interesting old houses, buildings, walls, bridges, boats…What was the best part?  Going through the locks (I am not sure if that is the correct spelling so just bear with me!).  After visiting the Ballard Locks (yes again with the spelling) in Seattle, it was so interesting to actually experience it!  Reid was enthralled!  Just a bit of an aside..the boat tour was informative and quaint…but oh my was it boring!  They did have audio in lots of different languages (great) but it was dry and seriously several people (including Russ Alton) fell asleep during our 1 hour ride!  All in all, it was wonderful and I would encourage anyone to go!

*Next stop the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral in the center of the old town!  It is truly an unbelievable building…gothic, tall, impressive!  They have a viewing platform way up on the top of the building.  What a great way to see the city…and if you are scared of heights like me…a great way to make you feel like you are going to die!  We got our tickets and waited in the rain…soon the office opened and we were ready to head up to the top!  Wait…no elevator (this is the running theme in Europe!)??  So we climbed…huffing and puffing our way to the top!  We were followed to the top by some super fit…I will say late sixtyish German tourist (think Kay and Bill)…they inspired me to keep moving all the way up!  When we got to the top, we found out it was 300 stairs to the top (more stairs than walking up to the Sacre Coeur).  As we tried not to vomit… from exhaustion and from the height…we looked out over the city!  Even in the rain it was beautiful!

*While we were here we found an amazing bakery Naegel around the corner from our apartment…not good..I mean delicious…but not so good on the hips!  They had the most mouth watering items!  We tried lots of yummy things each morning…quiche, pan chocolat…

Day 5-

We left the charm and beauty of Strasbourg…but not before a tour of the Madame Sevigne Chocolate factory.  Now having been on the Theo factory tour in Seattle for Reid’s 10th birthday..they had some high standards to live up to…and they did not quite make it!  Okay so we did enjoy eating chocolate…I mean who doesn’t??  But the “live action” figures (think cheap and scary versions of Disneyland rides) were an interesting choice to tell the history of chocolate!  It was a bit cheesy…a little long…but what won’t you do for chocolate right?

We left with our bellies full of chocolate and headed to Rothenburg!  The scenery was beautiful and when we got to this medieval city…we were entranced!  It was like we had just drove into our own fairytale!  Of course one of the best parts for Reid was that our hotel was next to a European sports car store that rented out high end sports cars…so in front of our tiny German hotel were really cool cars (okay so I have no idea what they were…Russ and Reid did…but they looked pretty exotic…and judging from their reactions…they were!  This town is filled with buildings from the 1300’s and 1400’s!  The wall around the town, built in the 1300’s is amazing!  You can walk the wall (well most of it) around the perimeter of the city (which we did on Day 6). We loved every minute of our stay!  We walked around the town, ate yummy German food, drank beer, and last but not least went on the Night Watchman Tour! Thank you PB and Kay for recommending it!  You meet in the town square at 8:00p.m. and a man in a long cloak greets you!  When you see him, it almost feels as if he has been transported from medieval times!  He takes you on a walking tour in and out of the city…he is like the Pied Piper walking with his flock of tourists close behind.  This tour was truly a highlight for us all!

Day 6-

Before we left the charm and beauty of this walled city, we had to walk the wall!  When you are walking along this stone built wall, you feel like you are walking through time.  You can see where the stone has worn away from footsteps of those who came before!  This wall kept invaders out of the city for almost 500 years…and you can almost feel what it was like to be defending Rothenburg from enemies beyond!  Now of course none of this compares to what happened after we walked the wall (mind you we saw gardens, monuments, cannons, beautiful views, etc…on our walk around the city) we went to the sword shop.  We had actually gone by the day before after eating our delicious schnitzel “dinner” (in quotes because we usually eat a late lunch…cheaper and kills two meals with one price)…and this place was like Reid’s Mecca!  He spent FOREVER in this store…yes they had suits of armour, chain mesh stuff (not the exact term I know), knives, swords, and daggers…it was like death in a shop!  All I can say is thank god they had interesting cookoo clocks!  Reid was obsessed…he wanted a sword!  Now if you know anything about my sweet son (  and truly he is the sweetest boy ever) he loves knives…well really blades of any kind!  I should have know that I was doomed when he watched Peter Pan over and over as a child.  And yes, I am the mom who let her child run around all over town in his Peter Pan costume!   We had sword fights all the time (thank you Captain Hook).  So let’s just say there is a history there!  He had a crazed look on his face…like he had been hypnotized by steel.  He focused his sights on a long dagger.  Now, if you know me at all, you probably know that I am a helicopter mom…to the extreme!  So what would any good helicopter mom do when her so wants a dagger?  Run out of the store screaming!  And of course that is exactly what I did NOT do….instead I helped Reid come up with reasons he could present to his father to help convince him to let Reid get the sword.  Yes he used his own money…and yes he got the dagger.  Now let me qualify on this trip there is now B.D. (before the dagger) and A.D. (after the dagger). And yes…you guessed it…he has slept with it under his pillow every night since!

After this magical experience it was off to Munich!  We found our hotel…walked to the town center…had a beer…went to the clock tower…watched the amazing show when the clock struck 5…ate actual dinner…then went back to the hotel and went to bed.  We are soooooo exciting!

Day 7-

Up early…had breakfast and then left for Salzburg to meet our 21 year old niece, Baillee!  It was a beautiful drive!  When we got to our hotel…we parked Jacques, got our room, got a map, and then left on foot to meet Baillee!  Now here are a few things to know about Salzberg:

*It is very quaint and beautiful

*It has an old town and a new town

*It has lovely shops and restaurants

*It has gorgeous parks and gardens

*It is filled with history

All of this is true…here is something else that is true….apparently our hotel was in the slums of Salzburg!  As we hop out the front door…we are greeted by a sex shop, run down or closed businesses, and a crazy busy street.  After a 20 minute walk, we crossed over into the Sound of Music loveliness that is Salzburg.  Hey every town has a slum right?

We had such a fun time touring around with Baillee.  We got to see her school, amazing city views, a traditional beer garden, cute shops, and streets.  That night we had dinner at one of Baillee’s favorite places!  It was great catching up and hanging out.  Of course all good things must come to an end…and it was time to go.  Oh here is the part I forgot to mention…Baillee’s school is up on top of a high hill overlooking the city…it is about a 10 minute walk or so…and now it is dark and raining!  Of course we have already walked up this hill, and know what we are in store for, but there is no way that I am going to let me niece walk back alone.  She assures me she can (she does it all the time…since I know her mom doesn’t read my blog I can say that) and even though I am tired (and a lot out of shape) we walk her back.  We had debates about taxis, etc…but we all knew what we needed to do!  After saying goodnight and turning around, I realize we now have a 30 minute walk in the rain and in the dark, back to our hotel.  We talked taxi again, but in the end realized we needed to just suck it up and walk.  Russ of course is limping like an old war veteran…thanks motorcycle accident 20 years ago….but off we go.  We cut through a park (and almost got locked in) walked around crazy construction, went through wild traffic…and we were almost there.  The closer we got to our hotel…the shadier it got.  When were were almost across from the sex shop (and I am talking giant pictures…yes pictures…real pictures of girls…on the windows outside) there was a giant menacing man on the sidewalk, just standing there.  Those of you who know me well, or know me even a little bit, probably know that I am a bit of a chicken…grade A 100% certified chicken…so to see a menacing man, on the sidewalk, in a foreign country…lord help me!  But here is the best part, this man, who Russ said looked like he wanted to do something horrible to us, who Russ was worried about, I completely did not see him!  I was so worried about blocking the explicit pictures across the street, that I missed our potential mugging!  Needless to say, when we got back to our “quaint” hotel safe and sound, we were all tired, wet, and relieved!

Day 8-

Up early for another European breakfast buffet…interesting!  We are getting packed up…and realize we have a huge sack of laundry!  We do not want to stick around our “lovely” neighborhood, so we head off to Vienna!  We decide that we will try to find a smaller town to do our laundry on our way to Vienna…well we tried.  Apparently, there is not a lot of laundry happening in some of these smaller Austrian towns!  Well, we ended up finding a laundry in Vienna…am I seriously talking laundry?  You bet I am!  I am telling you this was amazing!  Everything is electronic!  You use a computer screen…you just put your wash in the machine and tell it what temp…and the machine does the rest!  It weighs your laundry, puts in soap, fabric softener, the whole nine yards!  Amazing!  While our laundry was washing and drying (in the same machine) we walked around and found a cafe for lunch! Here are a few things that have me perplexed about Europeans… because they seem so cultured and well educated…so I was shocked by the amount of graffiti everywhere and the amount of people who smoke.  I am not talking “I get drunk with my friends and smoke”  I am talking smoke in your car, with your kids, even while taking a picture…it feels  like not only do people not know it is bad for you…they think it is the best thing ever!  Are we in the 1950’s?  And this graffiti stuff…seriously?  I just thought we were all smarter than that!

Vienna is such a beautiful city!  We checked into our hotel and set out to walk around the city!  What I love about the three of us, and I know it would drive some people crazy (I won’t name names…) is that when we are exploring we don’t usually have a strict agenda…we take things as they come…we have a general idea…but are up for anything!  So, as we were heading to the city center yesterday, we cut through the botanical gardens.  As we are walking we see a sign for a butterfly house.  We have been to things like this before in the U.S. because my son is obsessed with insects of all kinds, but especially butterflies!  So we decided to go!  What was fun about it was that we saw totally different species of butterflies than we have seen in the U.S.  and we were in this beautiful old building with ornate mouldings, but yet it was set up like th jungle inside!  We loved it!  Afterwards, we walked around and found a great cafe to sit down and and grab a coffee and beer!  We walked through the rest of the old city downtown, well into the evening.  Then we headed back to our hotel room (on the 5th floor…I take the stairs!) and headed to bed!

 

Day 9-

Today is our last day in Vienna!   We are heading to the Hapsburg palace and then to the opera!  Tomorrow we leave for our WOOFing farm stay in Slovenia!  I am both nervous and excited at the same time!

 

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Melissa
    Oct 15, 2014

    Sounds like you all are having a great time, and between the long walks and lack of elevators, I wouldn’t worry too much about the chocolate!

  2. Dana
    Oct 17, 2014

    Sounds like Reid’s dagger may have been helpful on your walk back to your amazing neighborhood.

  3. Olivia
    Oct 21, 2014

    Wendy! I absolutely love reading all about your adventures and I feel like I’m traveling along with you! Didn’t I tell you that you would be walking like crazy? I do remember all the stairs in Europe and the little bit of muscle that developed and then all too quickly disappeared after going home.

    I do like to have a strict agenda when I travel… but I would love to travel with you (without an agenda too).

    Miss you and can’t wait to read more!

    • Wendy Alton
      Oct 21, 2014

      Thanks Olivia!!! You did tell me about walking and climbing stairs…but you didn’t tell me about WALKING and CLIMBING STAIRS :-). I look at it as my workout plan! This trip is beyond anything I could have imagined! We probably could use a dash of your agenda but sometimes the craziness of our travel makes it that much more entertaining! Hope all is going well with you! Miss you too!

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