Page 8 of Trabern Travel Blog Posts

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai December 27th 2013

We struggled out of bed at about 8.30am this morning. With only one day in Dubai we couldn't afford to sleep the day away tempting as is was to roll over and do just that after only five hours of sleep! Another reason to get out and about was that Bernie inadvertently booked us into a smoking rather than a non-smoking room and it reeked of stale cigarette smoke. Eeeeuuuww! In five weeks it is the only slightly off accommodation that we have had so we're not complaining too much. Although the shower was slightly demented too - alternating between too hot and too cold without touching the taps. And then there was a the hairdryer that had its cord affixed to the underside of the desk drawer so that it couldn't be stolen. Pretty much ... read more
Wafi Mall
Crossing the creek by abra

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai December 26th 2013

This morning we managed to finish up most of our packing before breakfast because our breakfast was delivered a bit later than we have become accustomed to. We had just about decided that our breakfast had been forgotten when the lovely ladies who do the catering for Pasquale arrived with their baskets of food for us. We're not sure why they were so late, but they were very apologetic about it. We ate our breakfast quickly because we wanted to get down to see the 10.00am 'Walk of the Apostles' in the Prague Orloj (mediaeval astronomical clock) mounted on the southern wall of the Old Town City Hall in the Old Town Square. The Apostles appear every hour on the hour between 9.00am and 9.00pm, but somehow we have never been passing through the Old Town ... read more
Astronomical Clock
Saint Nicholas
Saint Nicholas

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Old Town December 25th 2013

After a lazy start this morning (well, it is Christmas Day!) we headed out for another day of exploring Prague. As we walked into Old Town Square the church bells were ringing again. I just love the sound of church bells ringing so I nudged Bernie into action with the Sony camera to record some of the activity in the square to the accompaniment of the church bells. After standing around in the square for a while, just absorbing the atmosphere, we walked over the river to visit Prague Castle. We've been in town since Saturday, but we are only just getting around to visiting Prague's premier tourist attraction. It has been a case of juggling our sightseeing schedule with the Christmas timetables of the various places that we have wanted to visit. According to some ... read more
Tyn in the distance
Saint Vitus's Back
Saint Vitus's Gate Ornaments

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Old Town December 24th 2013

This morning we set out walking along the Vltava River to explore Nové Mēsto, the New Town neighbourhood of Prague. It was quite a mild morning and the sun was almost shining so it was perfect for a walk along the river. We walked along Charles Street to the bridge and then turned left. There were seagulls filling the sky above the weir on the river. There were so many Bernie had to Photoshop a few out of our pictures so that the view could be seen and not just the tip ducks!! We passed the National Theatre which is currently wrapped up undergoing an extensive rebuilding program. We continued walking along the river until we reached the Dancing Building a controversial modern building that consists of a square tower together with a more sinuous twisted ... read more
Charles Bridge
Dancing Building
Basilica of St Peter and St Paul Door

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Old Town December 23rd 2013

This morning we took a guided tour of the Jewish Museum which is divided between several buildings around the area of Prague's old Jewish ghetto. The walls that used to separate the Jewish ghetto from the rest of the city were taken down at the end of the 19th century as enlightened attitudes permeated the Czech lands. When we arrived at the Maisel Synagogue, in what we thought was good time for the 11.00am tour, we were told that the guide didn't have any takers for the tour - at 10.00am - and had left the building. There was another English-speaking volunteer at the Maisel Synagogue who very generously agreed to take us on the guided tour of the buildings that make up the Jewish Museum. Jerry (he told us the English version of his name ... read more
Spanish Synagogue
Great tree
Floating in mid air

Europe December 22nd 2013

This morning we ventured over the Vltava River on the Karlova Bridge and found ourselves in the Lesser Town Square. It is possible to climb up the belfry of the St Nicholas Church in the Lesser Town Square, but there are two other St Nicholas Churches in Prague. Talk about another day, another tower climb!! Unlike the last couple of towers we have visited, we had to take the stairs all the way to the top of the St Nicholas belfry. The stairs to the open viewing platform weren't too bad but, after that, we were able to climb even further on a very narrow spiral staircase. When we reached the uppermost level we were disappointed to find that the viewing area was enclosed and only had porthole windows. But then we discovered that the windows ... read more
Charles Bridge
St Nicholas Church
Tyn Church from the Belfry

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Old Town December 21st 2013

This morning after breakfast we finished our introductory walking tour with Pasquale. A couple had just arrived from Washington via New York and Amsterdam so Pasquale took us back to the Old Town Square with them which was handy for us because everything looked a bit different by daylight! Then we headed over to Wenceslas Square with Pasquale pointing out the supermarket along the way. Pasquale had recommended the 'free' walking tours that depart from the Cartier corner of the Old Town Square for a more in-depth introduction to Prague's Old Town. Although the walks are touted as 'free' you are expected to tip the guides for their services. Hmmn, why not just charge a set fee and be done with it?? Anyway, we headed over to Cartier corner and took a walking tour with Jana ... read more
Looking down on the Old Square
Prague Castle
Trumpeting the hour

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Old Town December 20th 2013

We had to wake up early this morning for a big day of travelling. Up at 6.00am and down to breakfast by 6.45am. Back in our room by 7.15am to clean our teeth and finish our packing and then down to the front desk by 7.45am to settle our bill before being picked up by the Yellow Cab service at 8.00am sharp. Our driver walked in the front door as we arrived at the front desk so we paid our account and then dragged our bags out into a dark and rainy morning to be loaded into the maxi-cab. Our driver was originally from London, but has lived in Finland for the last seven years with his Finnish wife. As we drove out to the airport the rain became sleet and, as we arrived at the ... read more
HBF Christmas Tree
Berlin Cathedral
Choir practice

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki December 19th 2013

This morning we started at the Uspenski Eastern Orthodox Cathedral that we walked around below yesterday morning on our way to the harbour. From up on the rocky outcrop that the cathedral sits on we could see across to the other big, white cathedral. From not knowing where it was now we can see it from everywhere! After photographing the cathedral in disappointingly dull conditions we wandered down to the Market Square where we purchased some reindeer antler souvenirs and a birch wood 'puzzle' trivet that has been jigsawed into four pieces so that it can be used as one trivet or four coasters. Very nifty indeed. From down near the harbour we walked back to Mannerheimintie to catch the tram to Kansallimuseo, the Finnish National Museum. Before gaining its independence in 1918 Finland had a ... read more
The Cell Block
Our Cell
Uspenski Cathedral

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki December 18th 2013

This morning we wanted to make the 10.20am ferry to Suomenlinna the sea fortress museum that can only be reached by water. After breakfast we walked down to the ferry terminal at Market Square where we purchased a two day public transport ticket each. After our experience in Stockholm we're a bit over city passes so we decided to just wing it with a two day public transport ticket and pay the entry fee for any museums that we visit. Unlike in Stockholm we had no trouble at all taking the ferry to where we wanted to go. The sea fortress was established on islands off the coast of Helsinki in 1748 when Finland was part of the Kingdom of Sweden. Ramparts on the western side of Kusstaankiekka date from the period of Russian rule in ... read more
Suomenlinna Cafe
Cannon fence posts
Suomenlinna Church

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