Monday, 29 July 2013

Germany Part 1 - East

On Friday, 19th July we left the Czech Republic and headed north to Dresden, a town which had been heavily bombed in WWII and has since been beautifully rebuilt.

On Saturday, 20th July we walked into town and had a look around and went to the Palace to see a collection of tournament and ceremonial weapons and accroutements dating back to the 1500's - which was very interesting.

On Sunday, 21st July we left for Berlin and spent a couple of days there doing walking tours and finding out about the history of this interesting city.

Hitler's Bunker - this is basically it.  A few trees, a bit of grass in a carpark, plus a sign with information on it. The government has the problem of not wanting this area to become a shrine or area of worship to Hitler but needing to remember/not forget one of the most important historical sites of the 20th Century - Barnaby, our tour guide said this.

This memorial is very controversial for many reasons, suck as the chemical used to make the blocks non-graffiti comes from the same factory that made the gas used to kill the Jews, but many companies in Germany have a past involving the war, and what about other non-Jews, such as homosexuals who were murdered - where is their memorial. The blocks are all different sizes and many are imperfect, ie they slope to one side - the Jews as well as the other people Hitler murdered where all imperfect in his eyes and didn't fit into his ideals.  The view on the left is as you walk through the memorial - only one person can fit down any row - single file, there is no where to hide, and it's easy to lose your companions in there.  The outer rim of the site has many trees - a sign of life.

So Berlin was a very interesting and emotionally moving city for me.  My father is German and my opa died in WWII and in the next blog I visit my father's village where he grew up and show you pictures from around there in West Germany.

Gute nacht.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Czech Republic

On Monday, 15th July we left Austria and headed to Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic.

Cesky Krumlov castle was built on a hill on the Vltava River in the 13th Century. It was a great village to walk around in and the castle provided great views.

On Tuesday, 16th July we headed north via the scenic route to Prague. We stopped at Hluboka to visit the palace/castle - it has been rebuilt several times since the 13th century - very beautiful and elegant and feminine.

And at Zvikov Castle - 2 very different castles. I loved Zvikov - it was built at the end of a promontory in the 13th century and is surrounded by river and forests in just a simply beautiful area - it would be great for an artists retreat.

Then we arrived in Prague - hot and noisy - but very historical and interesting.

On Wednesday, 17th July we went on a walking tour that included a ferry ride, tram ride to the palace and a very ordinary lunch. On Thursday, 18th we went back to a few interesting places that we didn't have time to get a proper look at the day before.

We left Prague on Friday, 19th July and headed to Dresden in Germany - pics in the next blog along with Berlin where I am now!

Hope all is going well with you, take care, until next time, Auf Wiedersehen!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Vienna, Austria

On Thursday, July 11th we rode east to Mitterbach, a small ski town near a pretty lake.

On Friday, July 12th we rode into Vienna and took the underground into Vienna and a beyond to find a bank and laundromat to do some washing. That evening we found a great outdoor restaurant on the Danube river in a lake type area in walking distance from our hotel.  The Zur Alten Kaisermule was established in 1893 and we went back again on Sunday night too as the food was excellent and cooked on an outdoor barbecue.

On Saturday, July 13th we took the underground into Vienna and did a bus tour in the morning and then walked around Vienna.

Me with Mozart.  :D

Saturday night we went to see the Vienna Mozart Orchestra.

On Sunday, 14th July we went on a Danube river cruise which was interesting when we came to the lock and had to wait for the water to rise.

Sunday after I went off to the Hundertwasser museum and village.  I first heard of artist and architect Hundertwasser in March 2011 when I was at the Flora Bowley workshop and some of the ladies there recognised my work as being similiar to Hundertwasser's work. My painting is on the left and some of Hundertwasser's paintings/postcards on the right.

No photos were allowed inside the museum.

On Monday we left Austria for the Czech Republic, so that's the next blog...coming soon I hope.

Auf wiedersehen from Dreden, Germany....have a great weekend.

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Dolomites and the Alps

Sunday, 7th July, we left Venice and stopped in Cortina and had the best BBQ chicken ever for lunch at the markets. After lunch we rode up Col Colle S Lucia and the view was spectacular.

The view from our 'hotel' room.

On Monday, 8th July, we headed to Merano. The Dolomites are made of a type of carbonate rock and you can see they are different from the Alps, the peak of the mountain cannot be reached so we pass through the mountains...

Passo di Campolongo 1875m overlooking the ski town of Corvara:

Passo di Gardena 2121m

Passo di Giovo 2000m

Merano sits in a basin surrounded by mountains and we found that there were thunderstorms each afternoon. The photo on the left is facing west and to the right you are looking at a thunderstorm, it rained a little whilst we had dinner, but I do love this photo with the double rainbow.

On Tuesday, 9th July we rode the Stelvio Pass!!!  This was an awesome feat and something on many bikers bucket lists.  Why???  It has 48 switchbacks, it took us around 25 mins to get to the top at an elevation of 2760m!!!  Was it fun??? No, not really.  the switchbacks are very tight and you need to be really aware of cars and vehicles coming in the opposite direction.  Our Ducati does not like slow speeds either, as it needs the wind to be blowing over the radiator to keep the engine cool so it was tough going for the Duc too.

We went down the mountain on the other side through Passo del Foascagno 2149m.

Then through the ski town of Livigno, which had this beautiful lake which turned into a dam which you crossed on the dam wall and were stopped to pay 10 euro, then we went on and were stopped by a traffic light which turned out to be a 15 minute turnaround to enter a 3.2km one way tunnel. We had actually crossed into Switzerland!!!

Passo del Fuorno, 2149m was a great ride with nice sweeping time for pics...we stopped for a quick coffee break and to ask where we were and then rode on back to Merano, Italy.

On Wednesday, 10th July, we headed east to Mittersill in Austria via Passo Rombo 2509m, which had a small museum at the top and a 10 euro toll fee.

We passed through a national park, 5 euro fee, which had the highest waterfall in Austria, 380m.

It was an amazing few days riding through those mountains, just beautiful.

We are in Prague at the moment and are leaving for Dresden on Friday/tomorrow morning and hope to have good internet to blog about Austria/Vienna and the Czech Republic.

Take care and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


Saturday, 6th July, we caught a bus into Venice, 10 mins which was so easy and spent the day wandering around the maze that Venice is.  My husband, who hates cities, loved Venice - I was very surprised at this esp the part about becoming a gondaleer!!!

Venetian Masks - I loved them but being on a motorbike we have limited space in the paniers and being a Saturday we couldn't post any masks home so I missed out there.  I guess I'll just have to make myself one or paint a few when I get home!

We went to the Gallerie dell'Accademia and were a little disappointed as we had hoped to see more art reflecting life in Venice and not a lot of religious paintings esp ones with a blond baby Jesus.  Here's the view from the Ponte Accademia:

Here's the famous Ponte Rialto:

 Here are the gondalas:

And some of the beautiful architecture:

Sorry it has taken so long to get this blog posted, I started it about a week ago but have not had good enough wi-fi to get it finished, having trouble even now - we are in Prague.  I will get the next blog started on the Dolomites/Alps and then Austria/Vienna.  Thanks for your patience. 

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Tuscany and Cinque Terre in Italy

Buon Giorno from Venice, Italy!

We arrived in Italy on Friday, 28th June and stayed in Ospadaletti near San Remo. We stopped for fuel at lunchtime and this was our view....Monaco....

And our hotel room and Ospadaletti....

On Satuday, 29th June we then travelled round to Quiesa, near Lucca in Tuscany, Italy. We had a rest day on Sunday, did the washing, found a great coffee and pastry shop.

On Monday, 1st July we went south to Pisa...

Then to a walled city called Volterra, Wiki says it's a Neolithic settlement...well, it's very old indeed....

On Tuesday, 2nd July we headed east to Firenze aka Florence, another very old city.....

On Wednesday, 3rd July we headed north to Cinque Terra... Five Lands - these are five villages along the rugged coastline, to exist here they have built terraces to farm crops on. We had trouble getting in with the motorbike and some roads were closed and later found out that a very bad flood occurred in Oct 2011 and it would have been best to catch the train which runs along the coast and through tunnels to each village.

On Thursday, 4th July we then left Tuscany and headed to Bologna to take our Ducati motorbike home - to the Ducati Factory and Museum for a tour.

Today, Friday, 5th July, we left Bologna and headed north eastand are staying at a suburb just outside of Venice for a couple of nights.  Tomorrow we spend the day in Venice and are then heading to north to cooler climates and back to the mountains - the Dolomites and the Alps.

Take care, arrivederci!!!