Archives for category: travel

We drove from Merano, Italy, which is just like Austria in every way (language, food, architecture, etc) to real Austria. One big difference we noticed was the way people drive. While in Italy speed limit was not even a guideline, once we crossed the boarder (which at this point is easy to miss, due to shengen visa rules) everyone slowed down to exactly the speed limit. This was painful.
Anyway, we arrived at Salzburg and parked here’s

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While this may look like a mountain in the middle of the city, I am convinced it’s hollow by now with the parking, hotel, other businesses all inside it.

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We did some sightseeing on the first day

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Interesting bench on the street

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We walked into this church (st peters)

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And got invited to a free concert

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I managed through about 1 hour of it. Seating on church benches is painful
Today we had a guided tour to eagles nest. Hitlers residence, where he apparently only spent about 13 days. It was built for a cool 50m DM ($200 mil in today’s money)

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It’s pretty high up

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But we climbed all the way to the top

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The views from there are great

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Could not resist

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I expected this place to be a museum… But it’s a restaurant.. For some reason it does jive well with me

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After eagles nest we stopped by an old German town, and found this grave.. Impressive

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Finally, we also climbed to the fortress of Salzburg (Hohensalzburg)

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Sveta found her skiing gear

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And yet another kings bed.. This one is more like it

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And some cool views of the city from there

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One more picture… A postcard.. Or it could be one

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Tomorrow we are going back to Munich to drop of a car.. And back home to US.. I guess this will be my last near-real-time post from this trip. I will be posting some more individual reflections about the places we visited. More words.. fewer pics, once get to my laptop.

Drop a note if you like anything specific 🙂

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The last couple of days were more driving and relaxing vs. exploring and sight seeing. On the way from 5 terre to Milano to drop off our friends we stopped by this place

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It was recommended by a local and it did not disappoint. The only problem was.. Menu only in Italian, and not a single person spoke english there.. The food was great, and an interesting experience.
From Milano we drove close to 300km (180miles) to Merano.. Driving 100mph became a habit.. 2 hours with a stop to refuel.. How will I drive in US again?
The drive was amazingly picturesque with many castles on the way..

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The nature was pretty cool too

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Aside from where it was spoilt by the modern constructions.. Those high rises just don’t fit here.

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The hotel is amazing, with beautiful grounds , views, and a spa.

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Today in the morning we walked to Trauttmansdorff castle and botanical garden. It was good, but a bit crowded for Monday..

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As its on a hill, great views of the surroundings

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One more day here and off we go to the final stop of our trip at Salzburg.

About 2.5 hour drive from Bologna to 5 Terre was picturesque, but uneventful. We settle into our hotel in Levanto. Good hotel, amazing views

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The next day we took a guided tour of 5 terre. It was both spectacular and educational.
For example we learned that the small villages are so tightly together from the old days to offer protection from the pirates

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The same reason for streets being so narrow and resembling a maze

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The houses facing the sea r the first line of defense

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The water is amazingly clean

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Some more pictures

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With our guide
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Our car window would not go up “German engineering ” on a 2 week old car. Luckily the local BMW center took care of it in about an hour. Them not speaking English was a bit of a challenge, but we are on our way to a day of a beach and a trip back to Milano.

We finally left Venice and arrived at Bologna. This pace is everything I would imagine Italy to be. Friendly locals, great food, cars, architecture, and more.
One thing we noticed here are the doors in the buildings.. They are huge and elaborate

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Another is arched walkways everywhere.. Very convenient

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On our first day here we stumbled upon a food market. Everything looked amazing, local, and half the price of US.

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We have also visited some of the largest churches I have ever seen

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On the second day we took a trip to Maranello Ferrari museum, also my friend got to ride one of them

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After that we went to a place where they make a real balsamic vinegar. I had no idea that the one we get at stores is such crap compared to the real thing. It takes at least 12 years to produce.

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We also stopped at a cheese factory.. Although no tour there, so we just walked around, and found a car collection of the owner

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Also some bikes

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And tractors..

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And of course some cheese

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The day concluded with another great dinner

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Today is our last day at Bologna, and I am sad to leave.. But Cinco Terre is next..

We have now spent a couple of days in Venice..
I should say this has been my least favorite city in the entire trip. Of course, the churches are beautiful, and the canals are unique, but..
It’s crowded, and I mean New York Times square in the middle of the summer crowded.. But the streets are only about 4ft wide, so walking around is miserable. The St. Marks is a total zoo.

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The tours are canned and uninteresting in general. Apparently for the good tours you have to sign up weeks in advance.
Food in subpar compared to the rest of the country.
The shops are packed with Chinese junk. The other shops are mostly american franchises.
We are leaving today, and I don’t think I am ever coming back, but here are some pics of the buildings..

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With our friends

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Inside the St. Marks basilica

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Off to Bologna today! I have high hopes for the food, at least 🙂

I have not updated a blog in a couple of days, as it was a little slow..
Our last day at lake como we took a long hike.. One cool thing we saw was a cemetery with the view

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Some more from the hike

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The next day we drove to Milan to pick up our friends.. And later to lake Garda.. The views around the lake are very cool

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Some more from the city

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Today we drive from lake Garda to Venice… Witnessed a race between a Ferrari and a 911 turbo.

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The Ferrari won.. We went about 132mph, still could not catch up

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We arrived at Venice.. Lots of things to see..

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Also went to the top of a St. Marks campanile. Great views of the city

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More from Venice tomorrow

After 2 weeks of travel we ran out of clean things to wear. Fortunately, there is a laundry in Veranno, however upon our visit we were told the only washing machine on the island is “rota” and “no functionale”. The other laundromat is in Bellagio, which we wanted to visit anyway. So we took a boat there..

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The views from the boat are amazing

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Once we got there we found the laundry, and for just 20 euro managed to wash 2 loads and dry 1

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Bellagio turned out to be a larger town pack with mostly american tourists

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On our way back we took some pics of our hotel from the lake, pease note the 2 inclanators and an escalator you have to take to get there

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In the afternoon we went to the “beach”.. If you can call it that.. Disappointing

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And yet another tasty Italian dinner to finish off the day

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