It's not about the destination, it's about the journey.....A sense of humor, a dose of courage, an ounce of prevention....all of those little sayings are quotes to live by to ensure that the journey is everything you want and more.
This journey was planned beginning in the fall of 2005, over a year in the making. On my previous trip to Germany and Austria, I decided that I really wanted to experience the Weihnachtmarkts - or Christmas markets - of Germany and Salzburg. Things just didn't work out that my husband Jeff could travel with me, nor a friend - so I ventured alone - sort of. My friends/distant cousins on my Orndorff (father's) side, who live in Germany, met me for 3 days while I was in Salzburg, and I ended my trip staying with them for a couple of days. So - it wasn't an entire solo trip, and I enjoyed their company immensely.
I traveled From Jacksonville to Munich on December 10, 2006, arriving in Munich early on December 11. Within the entries is a glimpse into my activities, thoughts, diet and pictures of "How I Spent My Christmas Vacation". Read the entries, look at the pictures, and if you enjoy my journey at least half as much as I did, then it was worth my time in sharing it with you. Thanks for stopping by.....
December 19th 2006
I headed back to the Residence Palace to begin my walk around the city to see the more historical sites. From there, I proceeded to Brühl Terrace, which lies between several fantastic architectural photo-ops and the Elbe River. Bruhl Terrace was the main promenade of those who had the desire to be seen during the 1800's. It was also the location of another one of the King's mistress' palace. One of the most interesting buildings is the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden, referred to those of us not German as the Art Academy. What captured my attention was the inscription over the windows of the names of the great Masters - in gold leaf. A short stroll from there is a little park, where I saw a group of school children evidently on a field trip. ... read more
December 19th 2006
I awoke an hour before room service arrived, showered and was ready for coffee when the doorbell rang. Yes, a doorbell on my hotel room. Though I was prepared to pay full charge for my room service breakfast, I learned that the "breakfast included with your room", meant also in your room. So, I ate my breakfast and caught up on the day's news - CNN International again is my only English choice, but that's OK. In an hour I hear everything I need to know about world events and then it repeats just in case I missed something the first time. My mood is so much brighter this morning. Amazing what a good night's sleep and room service will do to improve your day. So I wrap up and get ready for my exploring out ... read more
December 18th 2006
The striking thing about the exterior of the Palace - and typical of most of the restored buildings I see - is that in restoring, they left the soot on the stones from the massive fires after the firebombing of Dresden 60 years ago. Dresden was pretty much wiped out - the temperatures were so hot, that many of the huge sandstones that were used in construction, such as in the Frauenkirche, collapsed due to all moisture evaporating and reducing the stone to sand. The Royal Palace, the Zwinger Museum and the Semper Opera House, all located across from each other and across the street from my hotel, bear this mark of their tormented past. My research provided that this was intentional -scars as a reminder of this town's history to those who may one day ... read more
December 18th 2006
So I arrive at Hotel Taschenberg Palais and begin to understand the "Palais" piece of this. The website description of this hotel mentioned that it was a refurbished palace of the mistress to August the Strong, but I had no idea. I later learned that in the year 1705, August the Strong commissioned to construct a palace for his favorite mistress, Countess Cosel - who he later imprisoned. In one of of the photos, you will see the bridge that connects the Royal Residence to the Palace. How convenient. The bell captain opened my taxi door, welcomed me to the hotel, grabbed my bag and escorted me to another bellhop, who escorted me to checki n. The first bellman returned to his post - a small one-man building, similar to the small guardhouse you see at ... read more
December 18th 2006
I am up at 5:30, shower and pack, and am downstairs at 6:15 to await my taxi. The owner was in the breakfast room, and while she didn't quite have everything ready, insisted that I at least have some coffee and a pastry while I wait on the taxi. I sat next to the window as I ate, so that I could see my taxi when it arrived. The frau kept telling me to relax, the driver would ring. Sure enough, he did - no idling the car out front and blowing the horn here. I arrive at the bahnhof, pay the driver and dash into the news stand. In all of my walking the day before, I didn't buy a magnet or any small souveniers. So, I made a few quick purchases in the news ... read more
December 17th 2006
After my visit to the Max Platz market, I set out in search of a couple of other sites in Bamberg that I had recently read about in a book by Steve Berry entitled "The Third Secret". While the book only had a short piece in it about Bamberg, there was enough detail about the city that I was interested in seeing after reading Mr. Berry's descriptions. One was an area along the river called "Little Venice", named because the river abuts the buildings and people board flat river boats for rides there. Also, because even though the city did experience bombing during WWII, it had been restored beautifully to preserve the old Germany that is so charming. And another reason - The Cathedral of St. Peter and St. George, where Pope Clement II is entombed ... read more
December 17th 2006
I rose early to catch at 6 am train to Bamberg. So far, the weather had been great for sightseeing. Cold, but sunny, with a few days of partial overcast. This morning as I left the Hotel, it was pouring the rain. Not cold enough for snow, dang, but cold nevertheless. I would say it was probably in the upper 30's or low 40's. But, that's what they make a hood on a coat for. I had decided no more than a couple of weeks before leaving, to make a stop in Bamburg. I had originally planned to see Nurnberg, but I had read that Bamberg was really a great city to explore and their Christmas market was much smaller but less commercial than Nurnberg. Also, Bamberg had restored after WWII vs. flattened and built new, ... read more
December 16th 2006
So today we head out to climb the mountain to see Hohensalzburg - the big white fortress that overlooks the city of Salzburg. This is a very big mountain. Monchsberg is its name, meaning "Monks Mountain", as the first inhabitants were Monks (they pretty much ran the government way back when). Yes, I had to stop a couple of times, but the view was so wonderful that we all took advantage of the break to take pictures. There were apartments built into the hillside along the road that we were walking that were very, very old. One had a sign over the door in cast iron - 1585. Like I said, very, very old. We got to a bend in the road, and there were two plaques mounted in the stone in the side of the ... read more
December 15th 2006
After breakfast, the 3 of us headed toward Linzergasse on the other side of the Salzach River. This area is on the "new" side of town, but quite frankly, their "new" makes most of what is old in the U.S. look like it was built yesterday. The shops here are more practical for the people who "live" in Salzburg - but also have some of the more "high end" shopping for those seeking it. I found a store that sold Lithium batteries for my camera - I've been feeding regular AA batteries for the camera after every 30 pictures or so - that's about twice a day or more. Linzergasse was OK - but without the charm of the Getreidegasse across the river. We took a 4 hour "Bavarian Alps and Lakes" tour with Panorama Tours, ... read more
December 14th 2006
Salzburg is awesome. Salzburg is a very walkable town, and with our hotel being in the old section of town, it is very easy to navigate to the most interesting sites in the city. The Christmas markets are just a few blocks away. The first hint we were near the action wasn't the aroma of sausages and gluhwein, but of the horses - that pull the carriages around town that base at Residence Platz. When we walk into Residenceplatz there were market stalls all around, with garland, lights and a huge decorated tree in the middle. In Austria I learn that the "specialty" Christmas trinket is a cluster of arranged cinnamon sticks, anise, cloves, ribbons of gold and other colors, bundled in small balls. Not only are they great to smell, but they make wonderful Christmas ... read more