Swirl in the cupboard

Delta Plane at Gate A22

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Boston Logan Airport
Are you f-ing kidding me? So I have now been up almost 24 hours straight. We woke up at 4 am Vienna local time for an early flight to Amsterdam. That flight went off without a hitch. Landed at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam and headed straight for the city for an hour of touring. No problem. Get back to Schipol Airport and manage to go through passport control 3 times as we had put our one carry on in a locker there. Also had to go through security twice at Schipol. I even got the "pat down." no problem. Slight technical difficult with the "on demand" video as a result only managed to watch 2 movies instead of the possible 3...No Problem. Land at Boston Logan Int'l airport and go through passport control and customs...No problem (besides Eric's bag being the last one off the plane.) Transfer belt for our rechecked luggage is broken...No problem. Walked the 1 mile or so to terminal A with our luggage and rechecked it at Delta desk. Walked through security for the 4th time today. No problem. Get on our Boston to Minneapolis flight with what was going to be an early departure. Well that was over 2 hours ago. Mechanical problem with the hydraulics so here we sit. About 20 people that were connecting in MSP for Sacramento left the plane so I now am sitting in a row with nobody next to me. That is truly the only good thing. Still sitting here, and I hear the grinding noise coming from below. I sure hope that I can get home tonight. The way it is I will be up for over 24 hours. I really wish I could have slept on my early flights. Oh well.

Vienna Airport

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January 4, 2011 – 6:44 pm (11:44 am CT)
Our vacation is almost over, how sad! We slept in...well Eric slept in today and I watched the Nanny (in German of course). Watching the Nanny in German cracked me up because Fran's voice wasn't annoying at all...it was actually rather nice so when they make comments/jokes about her voice the locals here must go huh? We checked out of our hotel and traveled over half of Vienna to get to the airport to check in to our last hotel. It was noon and we were able to get right in to our room...awesome! We dropped off our bags and hoped on a bus to Bratislava, Slovakia. What an interesting experience! Slovakia used to be part of Czechoslovakia and under communist rule until 1993. You can still see the communist influence there, the old check point is still there on the border, the grey concrete buildings everywhere, it is like communism sucked the color out of their life. Anyways they have come a long way in the old city center. Buildings have been redecorated and are very colorful. Some things will never change (like the major motorway they built right next to the cathedral...and I mean RIGHT NEXT, they could have an exit ramp going through the nave.) Also very communist-like that the locals hate is the UFO bridge or the Novy Most Anyways it was a great experience...we wandered around the streets and sights for a few hours. It seems like everybody in Bratislava speaks English. It is great because I know about as much Slovak as I do German! Finally we hopped on packed bus bound for Vienna's airport. It is about a hour each way to and from Bratislava...the closest two capitals I think in the world. We grabbed some lunch at the airport and now chilling in the room watching Simpsons (in German), drinking some Coke and Water and munching on some random food we picked up at the grocery store in the airport. Early morning flight tomorrow....6:55 ugh!

Vienna by Day

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 3, 2011 – 5:15 pm (10:15 am CT)
My feet are sore....it is so nice to put them up and watch some Two and Half Men in Germany. We walked about 10 miles today...I'm probably exaggerating but it felt like it. We had a late start. I'm a nice wife and let Eric sleep in. We didn't start our day until 10am, first we watched Mr. Bean. The best part about Mr. Bean in German is he doesn't say much anyways so you don't have to know German.. We started by doing the Rick Steves walk. We got to see the Opera, the expensive shopping street, St. Stephen's Cathedral (this time we actually got to explore, last night we stopped by during Mass. Eric said that we actually went to Mass, although we didn't stay as it was in German and it was the Gospel), St. Peter's church and Hofburg Palace. While at St. Stephen's we went up the North Tower for a great view of the city. Unfortunately we had to take the elevator up North Tower as the 343 steps of the South Tower was closed. Aw shucks...I didn't have to walk up the steps. Actually the South Tower has a better view but our view was the easier one to get to. We checked out the Treasury at the Hofburg Palace, not as impressive as the one in Copenhagen and London but we could take pictures which is way cool. After a great pizza at the Pizza Bizi, (just like Punch Pizza for my Twin Cities people), we did a ring tour on the trams. The Ringstrasse is where the old city wall used to be. Emperor Franz Josef tore it down and put in this boulevard. After that we ventured out the Schonbrunn Palace. It started to snow and got really cold so now we are relaxing in the hotel. Soon we will go out for dinner and a stop at Mc Donalds to update my website. (See yesterday's entry below about the hotel/internet problem)

Vienna by Night

Sunday, January 2, 2011

January 2, 2011 – 9:40 pm (2:40 pm CT)
I really hate arriving in a new town when it is dark. I really like how well connected this city is....and how spread out. After a bit of a ride on a couple subways we made our way to our home for the next town nights. Its an ok hotel considering the prices. The area is close to a shopping area and a subway station. After Eric took a snooze we ventured out into big city of Vienna. The big church, St. Steven's is covered in scaffolding. It seems like that always is the case with me. Oh well. It looks amazing I can't wait to see it tomorrow...hopefully we finally will get some sun! We walked around the city center, checked out the Rathus (City Hall)...wasn't lit. Checked out the Opera House...looks very cool. I'm so excited to walk around tomorrow! We stopped at a candy store where I finally got my Maltesers. How exciting...if you know me you know I love Maltesers. I'm going to have to stock up again on them before I come home. So I'm enjoying some Maltesers and watching some TV. Tonight’s “American TV/Movie in German” is South Park and Futurama. For those that like South Park its the KFC/Men get testicular cancer so they can smoke marijuana episode. Ha Ha. Good stuff...oh and for some reason my computer doesn't want to connect to the hotel's internet so I have to go to the local Mc Donald's for free wifi...and boy is it fast here.

Somewhere between Salzburg and Vienna

January 2, 2011 – 2:35 pm (7:33 am CT)
Our hotel is Salzburg was awesome (for the price it should be). It was a "luxury" Best Western. I didn't want to get out of bed this morning so you know it must have been comfy And the free breakfast was awesome, your typically European breakfast. Croissants and Nutella is always a favorite of mine. We went and heard the hills sing this morning on the Sound of Music Tour. It was by far the best run, most organized tour of the 3 that we did. The weather was less than cooperative. It snowed a lot but it is so pretty who cares. So we saw all the sights of the movie so Eric is happy. I didn't realized how much he knows the movie! He was even singing along to the soundtrack that played as we drove along. I've said it before I love train travel. We are currently on a Railjet train to Vienna. We raced to catch this train so we can get to Vienna while it is still light outside. Very cool. Boy this train is PACKED! We had to walk through 2 cars to find a seat and room for our stuff. Crazy! Lots of skis so people must be going home from their ski holiday. I guess that makes sense it is Sunday afternoon. I woke up this morning to see the Badgers lost in the Rose Bowl. I'm so ashamed! How could they lose to TCU? So should TCU be co-national champions? hum....I hate the BCS. Anyways we are cruising along at 195 km/h (121 mph) we should be in Vienna in no time.

Salzburg, Austria

January 1, 2011 – 10:14 pm (3:14 pm CT)
Wow…three entries in one day, I’m getting good at this. Salzburg is much like I remember. We got here about noon and hit the ground running. We did a walking tour of all the major sights. We took the lazy way up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress via the funicular. I love that ride. Anyways the line was ├╝bber long for the state rooms so we decided to skip it and just venture around the grounds. This is by far my favorite place in Salzburg. The markets were still going in the Domplatz (the main square by the Cathedral and Town Hall). Like Munich all the fountains are under wood to preserve them so that sucks but what are you going to do? They had an ice skating rink set up in the Mozartplatz. Unfortunately the glockenspiel is under renovation until the end of January so we didn’t get to see it, oh well. We finally had a good meal which lasted about 2 hours. We were way UNDER dressed for the place but we just look like stupid Americans. Fortunately this restaurant was next door to our hotel (and provides the hotel with room service). When we got done we wanted to get some authentic apple strudel to go and when they brought it out in a plate we were shocked. The waiter proceeded to tell us to take it with us! How weird. Boy did I feel stupid carrying out this large plate of warm caramel topped apple strudel but it was so good it was worth it. Tomorrow is our infamous Sound of Music Tour. I saw infamous because at one time I told Eric that I’d take him on our own SOM Tour but we wouldn’t see the church, the abbey, the gazebo or the house. To which he replied what do we get to see?…I said the bridge and garden…he said what kind of tour is that. The one requirement before I would agree to the tour was that he had to watch the movie with me before we left. He complied so we are going on the tour. Well it is almost time for bed. Tonight’s “American TV/Movie in German” is My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Gute Nacht!!

Somewhere between Munich and Salzburg

Saturday, January 1, 2011

January 1, 2011 – 10:32 am (3:32 am)
Well after last nights amazing experience we are a bit tired this morning. We just made our train to Salzburg with minutes to spare. I love train travel, no security checkpoints, no TSA agents groping us. Oh by the way I forget that mention the first day that Eric was subjected to the groping. Ha Ha. They randomly selected people as we boarded the flight and he had no choice because that machine is not by the gate. Anyways, back to Europe, Munich was great! I'm looking forward to Salzburg. Now I'm off to the Bistro for some water. As I said no Starbucks stop for us as we just made our train. Later!

Munich - Happy 2011!

January 1, 2011 – 1:22 am (12/31/10 6:22 pm CT)
What a crazy night. I thought I was in a war zone! They have no regulation for fireworks here so everybody had them and everybody was shooting the off. They were even throwing them into the crowd! It was nuts. The square was completely empty as people were shooting fireworks off at each other. You could see the fireworks flying in opposite directions. Everybody had those firework shooter things and they would hit buildings and right back down and then explode. I have to say I was a tad bit nervous. Anyways it was an experience. We thought to come back and sleep but Caddyshack is on (in German) and it just too much fun to watch.