Tuesday, January 9, 2007

New Years 2007 - First View of the Alps!

Christmas and New Years in Austria

Our first View of the Alps

Sammy and I spent the holidays in Austria where we had an incredible time. In Vienna we stayed in a hotel room that was as big if not bigger than the ground floor of our town home and was much nicer. Gotta love those upgrades from Starwood! It had two bathrooms, a sitting room and a little front room in addition to the bedroom. Heaven.
Vienna was wonderful and as glorious as I remembered from my visit back in '98. The food is excellent, the people friendly, and it's very easy to get around. We ambled around the summer home of the Hapsburgs, The Schonbrunn palace - oh to be King, or as they say in Austria, Kaiser.

The grounds at the Schonbrunn are like a huge park and there are botanical gardens and a zoo. It was odd being in a city like Vienna, on the palace grounds, which are manicured parkland, listening to the lions roar. Very odd, I kept expecting to see one saunter out from around the corner licking its chops staring at me like I was dinner.

Our self portrait at the Schonbrunn Palace

After Vienna we drove to Salzburg - a very beautiful drive. In Salzburg we toured the fort above the city and viewed the Alps for the first time. What a romantic view. We took a self portrait using the camera timer and the photo turned very nice - thanks to Sammy. We were only able to get off one shot before the rest of the group (you have to tour the fort in groups) came thundering up the stairs. And it was an excellent shot as you can see for yourselves! We were also able to get a really great night photo of the city.

Salzburg at night

While we were in Salzburg we took a few day trips. One was to Innsbruck - but it was so crowded we left after we had a late lunch. We think the skiers were down en mass b/c there wasn't much snow this year, it was a cute town though.

The next day we went to a small town called Berchtesgaden in Germany. Berchtesgaden is right below Obersalzberg, Hitler's 2nd base during WWII. It was very strange going to a town walking in an area where you knew for a fact Hitler had been. I thought of my Grandfather while we were there because he fought during WWII in the Battle of the Bulge.

It was a very interesting trip, but unfortunately things close early in Europe and the museum the German's built on the site where Hitler had his compound (it's no longer there b/c we bombed it to bits at the end of the war) was closed. Sooo we moseyed on to the next small town to check out the cleanest lake in Germany...Konigsee Lake. Incredible. I highly recommend going there.
Konigsee Lake was beautiful!

After touring around the country I booked us a tour for - you guessed it - THE SOUND OF MUSIC!!! It was a 1/2 day tour, it was cheesy, but it was fun! After we came back to London we popped the DVD in and watched it so we could pick out the places we went. If you love THE SOUND OF MUSIC!!! you have to take the tour!

The back of the house where the boat scence was filmed. This building is now owned by Harvard and houses grad students.

This weekend we are off to Northern England where Sammy is going to have a day with a falconer learning about and flying birds of prey. It was my 4 year anniversary gift to him last May. So I'll post more when we get back.