Diane Toole


Diane Toole

These blogs were started to record our Europe May to August 2011 trip. The Blogs were great for us to diary each day, for others to follow and for us to review when back home. And so it has continued adding:

Europe - Italy,Switzerland, France, 2011
The Hurunui High Country Walk 2011.
Tasmania 2012
Europe 2013 - Austria, Switzerland, France and Ireland.
Alps2Ocean and Clutha Bike Trails 2014
A Christmas in Switzerland and Germany 2014

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Old Town December 30th 2014

It's definitely time to leave. This place is treacherous........ It wasn't snowing but at -6 degrees the pavements stayed iced up from yesterday leaving no traction, boots or no boots. Add to that wall to wall people. What a recipe. What are they all doing here? If you can imagine a popular football match and the crowd going to it, then this what it's like here. I wonder if there is a quiet time. We headed first to the New Town Hall and made our way down to the river and across over the island. On the other side we walked up to the monument that was a memorial to the end of communism and totaliterianism. It was a strange set of sculpted partial, then to whole figures. We continued along the canal to the Charles ... read more
The city seen from the Royal Gardens park
The domed ceiling of the Spanish Synagogue
John Lennon Wall grafitti

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Old Town December 29th 2014

We woke to a drifting down of large snow flakes and a covering of snow everywhere. It looked chilly so we layered up accordingly and set off for a morning of shopping leaving the walking for tomorrow. Walking on the cobbles was trecherous as they are mostly small and smooth. With a layer of snow they had iced up or turned to slush and it was too easy to slide over. After yesterday's cold we had put on several layers of clothes and soon realised that despite the snow it wasn't as cold as yesterday and we were soon sweltering and carrying our outer wear in the shops. We were looking for some tramping boots and maybe some glassware. The boots we found and headed quickly back to the hotel to shed some layers. Regarding the ... read more
Street musicians

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Old Town December 28th 2014

As the title says, it was freezing in Prague today and looks likely to continue. It was -7 out of the wind and -15 in it and we were in it most of the day. That was without it snowing to plummet temperatures even further. We were met at 11 am by a Prague City tour company and eventually grouped with others for the tour. There were 19 of us and all could speak English so our guide, Eva, spoke only in English. The first half hour was in a minibus where we had an overview of the old city and on up to Prague Castle on the hill where we were left to do the rest of the tour on foot. What we learnt on the tour is too much for this blog and it ... read more
St Vitus cathedral
The angel inlights
The Old Town Square at night

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Old Town December 27th 2014

It is really, really cold today, like I have not experienced before. It was -11 degrees in Eisenstein with more snow falling over night. The skiers will be happy. While we were waiting to leave for the train we heard brass band music out in the street. I investigated to find the band moving from house to house. When Ulrike arrived she explained that this happens every year and can be from 8.30 until 22.00 over 2 or more days as they cover the whole town. It is to wish good luck for the New Year. It is of course interspersed with alcohol to keep them warm. They must have been absolutely freezing standing out in the snow all day. And so we said farewell to Ulrike, Bavarian Forest Holidays, Bayerisch Eisenstein, The Bavarian Forest, our ... read more
The border Czech side at Eisenstein

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Bayerisch Eisenstein December 26th 2014

After saying that it was not a white Christmas, it was. Overnight it started to snow and by morning we had quite a white blanket of it. We had hoped to have gone to the National Park Headquarters at Neuschoenau near Grafenau, but we were too late to make the only suitable connections by trains and bus. Instead we chose to go Bodenmais which is a train connection at Zweisel, the up into a higher basin to the largest resort town in the area. It is mainly known for it's glass shops and schnapps distillery. We left the apartment with the snow falling steadily and trod our way carefully to the station. By the time we made our train connection to Bodenmais the snow was falling thickly with the entire landscape covered in snow. It might ... read more
The huge centre chandelier in the Bodenmais church
Linds on Bahnhofstrasse after snow falling most of the day
The snow covered garden through the living room window

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Bayerisch Eisenstein December 25th 2014

It's Christmas Day and unfortunately it is not snowing, so no white Christmas for us. After a cruisey morning and light lunch we set off for Zelenza Ruda across the border in Czech Rep. Goodness knows what they are trying to portray directly across the border but it is absolute tack. The immediate street has cheap Asian markets of soccer tops, back packs, gnomes, animals and so much more awful looking stuff. Not just one, but several with all the same stuff. Good word that. Stuff. Add to that a Casino and a "gentleman's club" and you really wonder about the country because it's not a good introduction. Anyway, we veered away from the dross and headed up a hill with berg path markers on it intending to get to the town of Zelenza Ruda. We ... read more
Christmas dinner 2014 for TTATs
A closer look. Very nice

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Bayerisch Eisenstein December 24th 2014

We discovered that where we walked the other day had an animal park in the national park and we hadn't realised it. It was only a short train ride to Ludwigsthal to the well sign posted trail. The problem with having all the signs in German is that they are the only ones who can read them. We set off up the trail and came upon a neolithic cave inhabited by homo sapiens in the ancient past. They reconstructed it with animal art and had a short video showing inside the cave. This did have the option of English. Further up the hill were large paddocks for hairy beasts like highland cattle and hairy donkeys. This was no doubt because of the cold that they had thick coats. Best of all though was the enclosure for ... read more
The Flussweg trail from Ludwigsthal to Eisenstein
Christmas Eve dinner with fellow Bavarian Holiday residents

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Passau December 23rd 2014

We had hoped to have done a day trip to Cesky Krumlov in Czech Rep but these are not being run at the moment so we chose to go to Passau instead. We intend to do a cycling trip from here next year along the Danube and it seemed a good opportunity to check it out since it was so close. It was a one and a half hour trip by train to Plattling then down to Passau which sits on the confluence of three rivers - the Danube, the Inn and the Ilz. Passau sits on a peninsula at the confluence of the rivers. The old town with many buildings dating back to the 1200s is at the end of the peninsula with a castle across the Danube to monitor river traffic in the old ... read more
A few of the many paintings adorning the ceiling of St Stephen's
Linds between two rivers

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Bayerisch Eisenstein December 22nd 2014

It was an easy day to document today. We had a walk in the forest. In the Bayerisch National Park there are walking trails (wanderwegs) everywhere and all are well sign posted. There are forest trails and what we would call minor roads but good enough not to be 4WD. We took a trail going to Schwellhausl, firstly on patchy snow then a good covering further up. The forest is quite different from NZ with very tall conifers spaced out like our pine forests. There are supposed to be owls, beavers, wolves, deer, goats, etc in the forest but we saw and heard virtually nothing all day apart from the odd human. This huge national park has been set aside to go completely natural so perhaps it will take time particularly in areas close to civilisation. ... read more
Schwellhausl hamlet

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Bayerisch Eisenstein December 21st 2014

The day started with snow falling lightly, then more heavily until there was a good cover on the ground. For the rest of the day it was overcast with occasional light snow and a biting wind. If this keeps up Linds will get his white Christmas. Today was was an orientation day of reading up on all the activities available and seeing what suited us best. There was a huge amount of information available depending on what you want to do - walking, skiing, tobogganing, cross country skiing, beauty, fitness, visiting museums, mines or glass factories, the National Park Information office and animal enclosure, to Czech Rep and other places etc. Add to that, Christmas in the middle of the week and closed shops. We have to figure what is going to be operating. Our first ... read more
Decorating our Christmas tree
Looking out over a snowy Bayerisch Eisenstein
Well wrapped up against the cold

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