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Going Besök

Austria, Germany, Austria

AUSTRIA | Saturday, 10 May 2008 | Views [682]

Hi from an internet cafe in Vienna.  It´s only been a couple of days since the last post, but one has to take one´s opportunities.  Aplogise for any ypos, the keyboard is a little dodgy (and slightly rearranged).

After Venice we drove north through northern Italy and through the Brenner Pass into the Tyrol area of Austria (the bone of the drumstick if you prefer your geography metaphorically).  It was interesting to see the architecture change quit suddenly from the bare stone buildings with low roofs of southern Europe to the now familiar painted buildings with pronounced windows and higher pitched roofs with more pronounced eaves that we saw in Sweden (though Sweden so far retains its unique use of Falunröd).  The churches also changed to the tall pointed steeples.  The change happened while still in northern Italy, probbly in the bit that is traditionaly Austrian except for another one of those peace treaty quirks.  I suppose that the climate has a lot to do with it - we al know the high peaked roofs is to stop the snow from piling up on top and damaging the structure, but the painted walls might stop damage from snow as well.  Anyway, I prefer the northern Europe buildings.

The scenery was, of course, spectacular with snowy peaks and running rivers and light spring green everywhere - everywhere that hasn´t exploded with yelow wildflowers that is.  We took a slightly smaller road after Innesbruk to go to Neuswanstein castle (the one that Walt Disney copied in a fit of copyright irony).  It is of course beautiful but you miht as well look it up for some pictures.  King Ludwig II of Bavria had it built and it seems like he had a bit of a Michael Jacksonesque grip on reality, as well as a massive crush on Wagner - all the rooms are painted with scenes from Wagner´s operas and the second floor would have contained apartments for Wagner to stay in when he visited if the castle had been completed before Ludwig was found drowned mysteriously in a lake.  Looks like the locals weren´t thrilled with their kings questionable sanity, sexuality and grip on the treasury.

OK, so then we headed for Munich after waiting 10 minutes for a couple of people from the bus who didn´t think it necesary to apologise to anyone for wasting our time.  Needless to say they´re dead to me on this trip.  Tough but petty.

Munich was great.  I´m happy to report that we slept in (as long as possible in a hotel with curtains made of glad wrap), njoyed a fantastic breakfast (bircher muesli, white sausage and meatballs that rivaled anything the Swedes have done (förlåt mig mina väner).  Then we walked the 3 or 4 km through one of the nicest parks I´ve been in (the English Gardens - huge and designed in a very natural) to the city centre, stopping off at a couple of beer halls on the way.  Then we went up a church tower for a view (including a glockenspeil of questionable quality) before meeting everyone else from he tour in the Hofbrauhaus beer hall.  At about 8pm Emma and I left to go swing dancing (which was fun, though Emma copped a stiletto from a couple of losers doing B grade latin flash and trash and acting like they thought they were showing us how it was done).  So, to summarise, we saw no famous buildings or galleries or even many streets, but it was one of the best days we´ve had on this tour.  Oh, and nude sunbathing is allowed in the park, though with a ratio of about 98 to 2.5 middleaged men to women.  It´s still cool that one can though (although Emma wouldn´t let me have a go) and people duck over at lunchtime, nude up, lie there fore a but with clothed nealy folded beside them and then head back to the office.  Also, when we were walking to the dancing throught the mall there was an odd rally going on with a crowd of people listening to a person speaking over a PA saying "Deutchland" an awful lot, while another groups of people were holding Israel flags and booing (though not violently, just literaly saying "Boo"), while some cops stood around.  Weird and a little scary.  We didn´t stop to take photos.

So then yesterday we drove to Viena with a topoff in Salzberg, which is nice enough but a bit wasted on someone who´s not massively into Mozart or the Sound of Music.  We found a nice lookout and some nice gardens.  They also played the Sound of Music on the bus the whole day.  It was nice when they weren´t singing all the time (and that nun singing Climb Every Mountain nearly smashed the windows on the bus) but I enjoyed it well enough.  Unfortunately the late night in Munich meant that I still have never watched it all the way through and I slept through the bit at the end again ("Nazis?  What Nazis?").

Today we´re taking it easy again in Vienna.  It´s nice being in cities where there´s nothing we desperately want to see (or will miss if we don´t).  We´re not art galery or museum people anyway so we just get to take it easy and just realy enjoy a city by osmosis.  It´s been a nice few days of rechrging the batteries and feeling like we´re actualy on holiday again.  Anyway, better go and osmose for a bit.

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