Published: July 25th 2012July 23rd 2012
On a train somewhere in Austria? Czech Republic?
'Streaking thru the fields of the Czech Rep.' - Helen's words ! At last we're really heading for Prague, after discovering track work out of Salzburg & then worryingly tight connections of a mix of 5 ancient trains & buses.Thank heavens for gorgeous young men who helped with cases & literally "held up the train" at the very last minute. "Good to know we haven' t lost our charms" : ) PARIS:
Each phase of our trip has been amazing. I love Paris in the summer....under the bridges....exploring St Germain...wining & dining on mussels, pastries...admiring the Tuileries from the Ferris Wheel. It felt as if we 'belonged', despite hiccups - worst being Laurel's wallet stolen on our last day in Paris, but like a trouper, she rose to the occasion of 'La Fille Mal Garde' at the superb Opera Garnier & we toasted traveller's luck! Luckily a few important items were resurrected from the discarded wallet before we left for Venice.
(Note from sadder but wiser Laurel - gone are the days when they rush a replacement credit card to your next destination! No chance... But having your wallet
stolen is character-building; having no credit cards really sharpens your focus when shopping, and it was good to be able to fill in a police report in French (all those night classes finally paid off). VENICE:
Fell in love with Venezia's colours, the masks, gelato, the architecture & windowboxes, sparkling waterways, the lazy gondolas and extraordinarily handsome gondoliers who serenaded Helen from the canal under her window. The joyful buzz of carnivale, of playground, a backdrop for theatre. Just a feast for the eyes, the pocket, and the imagination, whatever we chose to do. We didn't even mind relishing the odd Spritz, or Bellini in San Marco, or under the Rialto with thousands of others. SALZBURG:
Salzburg has been a musical delight - a fairy tale city of spires, domes, magnificent churches, a fortress, castles, beautifully paired horse- drawn carriages clop clopping on the cobbles, and music around every corner. You could feel Mozart swirling in the atmosphere. On Sunday we set off on a discovery tour of Church music - a 90 singers choir & orchestra from Poland in the Dom Cathedral, a 4 piece string quartet playing traditional instruments between the stone columns on
the street, glorious choral music with organ and individual buskers everywhere. To top it all off, Laurel had booked a dinner concert of Mozart's Opera Highlights in a magnificent venue, and last night an incredible performance of Mozart, Beethoven & Dvorak by a fantastic string quartet plus pianist for the Dvorak in the Schloss Mirabell Marble room where our friend Mozart used to play. We're all on familiar terms with him now, & snatches of "Pap...Pap.." burst forth any old time of the day! One unexpected bit of excitement was the vertical cable pull up the Untersburg Mountain - suspension in the clouds overhanging the ravine, sent Helen into hysterical laughter ( in which we joined) and concerns that she might choose to stumble down instead of swinging to the bottom. PRAGUE:
And today...unbelievable Prague! We're pinching ourselves to czech ....that it' s all real! Sun glinting on the spires and another Myths & Legends castle looming over us - beckoning an exploration tomorrow. We 'discovered' the perfect café stop to view the Astronomical Clock, surrounded by Gothic Churches & Cathedrals, decorated baroque buildings, and learnt to raise our Mojitos with a "Na zdravi" relaxing back into huge
rattan chairs, simply savouring the scene. On the perimeter of the Square a couple sang jazz versions of 'Hallelujah....La Vie On Rose...Be Happy'. This evening, superb 'Bolero...Carmina AND Hava Nagila ' in the magnificent Spanish Synagogue GOODNESS GRACIOUS ME! What more could you want :) POSTSCRIPT: all good things must come to an end!
Helen is winging her way home after a very long trip...having travelled all round Eastern Europe before meeting up with us. Carolyn and Laurel are in Dusseldorf and then off to Amsterdam for a few days, then Carolyn is heading homeward via Hong Kong for a few days of R and R. Laurel is flying to Sydney for a very quick hello to Oz, then back to Dusseldorf for one more year.
There are more photos below