Saturday, July 7, 2012

Leap-Prauging through the city of a thousand spires!

Robert must receive the credit for the leap-Prague pun. Anna, Gill and I, while not exactly jumping and leaping, have been steadily exploring this beautiful city, combing street after street and trying to take in all the character and atmosphere we find around each corner. Prague is a postcard city from nearly every angle. Our hostel is located in "Little Town" and we can look out our bedroom window a mere 50 metres to the walled street that leads up to the Castle, Prazsky hrad. Right now we are enjoying a concert of classical music and opera heard through our open window which is being held on the Castle grounds. It is a great way to enjoy the performance while saving our 300 Czech Koruny! (We have come to the tail end of our trip and are scraping the barrel so we are now relying on the many free options this city offers.) I am keeping this post short as I am waiting for Annie to download some photos to her laptop - my rambling on without a photo accompaniment is simply insufficient!- Maybe a bit like listening to these Mozart pieces and the Cellist is missing???
(The next 2 photos were added later during a blog edit in an attempt to capture this lovely city!)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

We just stepped aboard a RailJet bound for Budapest! How exotic! Our actual destination is Prague in the Chezch Republic, so we travel on this train only as far as Linz, Austria, switch trains and travel due north to Anna's No. 1 city on her hit list, Praha! She has a good draft for an itinerary while there. We arrive this afternoon and hit the streets running, our first destination the Jewish Ghetto. Tomorrow we begin with a 3 hr walking tour of the city followed by Prague Castle in the afternoon and Charles Bridge in the evening with opportunities to people watch, see lovely views and listen to music. Our third day takes us 30kilometres outside of the city to Kutna Hora, or, the Bone Castle. Sounds gruesome. We shall see! To be honest, we are a little tired and spending so much money day after day is tough also, however, we are applying a final big push and are determined to fully explore our final destination! We devote 3 of our precious remaining nights in this city. It has a marvellous reputation for impressing those who see it and our expectations are high! More later!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Even though we had a good idea of what Venice would be like, or at least look like, I don't think any of us were really prepared for its' charm and beauty!  This unique city built on the water is quite a sight to behold, and although the heat wave threatened to do us in at times, we all enjoyed the beauty and uniqueness of lovely Venezia!
Gondola Rides were outside of our budget, but we did enjoy a lovely boat ride for a couple of hours all through the city.  While on it, we were pulled over by a police-radar speed trap. That added a bit of unexpected excitement!
The lovely streets of Venice!

such lovely old buildings with interesting window boxes displays

We took part in a tour called "The Hidden Venice" where many an interesting alley and small canal streets awaited.  

Carting around a large bottle of water was imperative as it was hot and humid (have I mentioned that?) and we were on-the-go!  -Anywhere and everywhere, as long as we did not have to be in our hovel hotel room.  (No pics of it on this laptop unfortunately.)  We had struggled to find a hotel within our budget, so I suppose we should not have been shocked with our lodgings at single * Hotel Caneva!  Down smelly, graffiti filled alleys and up 3 steep flights of stairs to an non-airconditioned apartment.  It was clean though, and it didn't kill us to stay there, but I took some convincing.

Happy Visitors to Venezia!

Have Bag, Will Travel!

My sister, Kathy, has brightened up our travel days in so many ways.  She can jam pack more into a 24 hour period than anyone I know!  Always up for adventure, always interested in what is on offer, always positive and cheerful, always the encourager.
She has carried over her shoulder her blue crocheted bag, each day, all day.  On any particular day it will definitely hold a 1.5 litre water bottle, a "King Ricky" travel guide, her lipstick, Eurail pass/maps, train schedule, and the bag MAY also hold a piece of fruit, her shopping, the Ephesians paperwork she uses for scripture memory, and anything else she feels inclined to stow in it.
It stretches down and at times nearly drags the pavement, depending on its' load!  She strategically ensures her bag sneaks into all the photos we take.  We have a few nicknames for it, but mostly it is referred to endearingly as the "crotched-ed bag".  Typical of Kathy, she always graciously asks us if she can ease our load by carrying something on our behalf on a hot humid day or a particularly long or arduous walk.
We will miss Kathy as she departs our little travelling party on July 2.  She heads back to Canada and her beautiful family and work commitments.  For me, living in another hemisphere and apart from my precious sister most of the time, her company during these past 2 weeks has been a gift from God.  It has been such a happy privilege to traipse around these amazing places with my sister and friend who makes me laugh and brings me joy.  
Safe journey Dearest K!  Yours till we find ourselves taking self-timer pics in some other area of the world that reminds us of the Garden of Gethsemane!  I look forward to that!  Get that crocheted bag all washed up and ready for our next adventure! xx

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A change is as good as a rest

And a change WITH a rest? Even better! We were hot, sad, frustrated, annoyed when we left Venice yesterday. Hot and dripping wet while lugging our heavy packs in the humidity ( great shopping in Venice), sad because K had to return to Canada that morning, frustrated because we couldn't figure out the self service ticket machine at the train station and had to therefore wait in a long lineup for our train reservation, (missed the train as we waited), and annoyed because when we finally did leave, our journey was very hot with no AC and unpleasant with some seat mates (but I will leave out those details). So don't we sound like cranky pants after an incredible opportunity visiting the ever so lovely city of Venice? A train change in Verona, and the Alps out our window however, soon helped turn our mindsets. We arrived in beautiful Innsbruck, Austria to a welcome 18 degrees, a refreshing drizzle of rain, the fun surprise of witnessing a flash mob at the Innsbruck train station, and ... The Hilton! We felt the need of a break from back alley one star non air-conditioned scary hotel rooms, just for a night, just for a change, and for a rest!

When in Rome...

I am a few days behind on posting, as we have had no free wifi for a several days now. How do I describe Rome? Words are not enough, and I cannot post pics today as I am not on a laptop. Everything was INTENSE in Rome-the weather a stifling 40 degrees and 80 percent humidity (no AC but mercifully, our hostel host brought us a fan). The Italian win over Germany in the semi final- it was a thrill to be a part of the hype and celebration. We thoroughly enjoyed walking home on the night of their win, hooting and hollering along with everyone else. There was horn blowing, car honking, flags flying. My sister is a tremendous crowd stirrer! Half the fun was watching Kathy begin a cheer or a whoot whoot and fire up the people walking alongside of her. We had so much fun! In terms of sightseeing, there was so much to take in and experience and imagine (if the sun and heat did not interfere with us applying ourselves) Everywhere we looked there was magnificence, opulence, extravagance and we felt a bit of self induced pressure to see and understand it all. But let's face it, we failed really. On our trip out of Rome K summed it up- country girls not quite getting the hang of the big city.
(Added some photos, during an edit session, later.)
Hot but smiling in the Colosseum