Today we took the train from Salzburg Austria to Chur Switzerland. It is a 5 hour train ride, but from a train you get to see the beautiful country side.
We arrived in Chur Switzerland around 6:00PM. Once again I had trouble with Google maps on my phone navigating from the train station to the hotel. We took an unplanned tour of Chur while we tried to find out hotel. We are staying at Zunfthaus zur Rebleuten in Chur. It is a comfortable hotel and we have a nice room on the top floor. When we arrived in the room it was like an oven. We opened a window and went out for dinner.
We wandered around Chur looking for a place to eat. After walking around the city for 30 minutes we settled on a fondue place in the old part of town. The restaurant was just opening for the evening and we were the first guests. The waiter spoke a little English, but during dinner I heard him speak German and Italian. I guess he need to know a little bit of everything. We had the traditional fondue for dinner with several large beers.
After dinner we went to the grocery store to buy lunch for the train ride tomorrow. I find it always interesting to go into a grocery store in another country. Some things are different, but somethings are the same. To me, a local grocery store give me a better understanding of how the locals live.
Today we did a Sound of music tour. It sound corny, but it was actually a lot of fun. It also gave us a 10,000ft view of Salzburg which I really wish we had done on the first day. We rode a tour bus to the various site around Salzburg where the movie was produced. At each location our guide had interesting details about the location and drama that happened behind the camera. We rode over to Mondsee Austria where the grand wedding scene was filmed. I used the word “Grand” because even when I was younger, I thought that the church must have been a cathedral. The inside of the church is very beautiful and ornate but actually quite small. I took a few picture inside the church.
Mondsee was a picturesque Bravarian town all decorated for Christmas.
When the tour was over we used what we learned and walked through Salzburg seeing things differently. We walked through Mirabellgarten, the park shown in the movie.
Today is our last day in Salzburg, so we walk through the Old Town one more time. We are not big souvineer purchasers, but we did buy a selection of Salzburg chocolates. We went to a grocery store and bought lunch for our train trip tomorrow and a selection of local beers and a big soft pretzel for dinner in room tonight.
Once back at the hotel we all changed into our Pj’s and sat on the bed and ate our pretzel and drank beer for dinner and then ate chocolates for dessert. Afterward we sat on the bed playing Uno. Before bed we laid out our clothes for tomorrow and packed up.
Before checking out, Albert and I walked down to the comic store so he could buy the two t-shirts that he wanted. I stopped at the hotel front desk to ask about mailing the postcard. The clerk was very helpful and said that she could mail it and charge the postage to our bill. She also admonished me for not checking out. It was 11:15 and check out time was 11:00. I told her we were running a quick errand and would check out by noon.
Albert and I walked to the comic store where he chose a Captain America t-shirt and an Arrow t-shirt. They had a nice looking cloth Avengers bag for our purchase, so we bought that, too. The store was cash only, so I paid the 42€ for the purchase. We walked back to the hotel and Shari was ready to leave. We rolled our bags to the lift and Shari walked down the stairs while Albert and I rode the lift with the luggage. Once in the lobby, we check out and started walking down the street to the Metro station
Once at the Metro station we took the U1 train to the main train station. We exited the train at the first stop because I was afraid we got on the wrong train. We were fine and boarded the next train. We exited at the Südtiroer Platz train station and had to walk quite a distance to find the train to Salzburg. Since we are not in a hurry, we took our time and eventually found the right place. We went to the ticket counter for the OBB railway. We wanted to buy a Eurorail pass and she directed us to the OBB Lounge were a very helpful agent helped us purchase a 5 trip Eurorail pass.
With tickets in hand we walked to platform 8 where a train was leaving at 12:55 for Salzburg. We boarded the train and took our seats for the 3 hour trip. It was an uneventful journey and we arrived in Salzburg at 3:50 in the afternoon.
From the train station we walked about a mile to the Imlauer Hotel Pitter where we had reservations. After a quick check in, we took the elevator up to the third floor Once in the room I got everyone’s devices connected to WiFi and then we started looking for a place to eat. We chose the PitterKeller which is located in the basement of our hotel. Very nice place, friendly staff, good, food and good beer.
After dinner we walked to the closest Christmas market. Nothing spectacular. Since it was still early, we walked to the main shopping area and then across the river to the old town. It was decorated for Christmas.
We walked through one part of old town before heading back to the hotel. Albert was getting tired and I didn’t want to wear him out the first night. Back at the hotel we changed into out pajamas and each did our own thing before going to bed. It was a really nice day and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
After finishing our tour we walked back to the Metro station and rode the train back to the Karlplatz station. From the Metro station we walked to Stephensplatz. It was a nice walk and gave us a different tour of Vienna. We approach Stephensplatz from a different direction and we saw more of the shopping and restaurants. Shari saw a Swarovski store and wanted to go in for the experience. We wandered around the store for about 20 minutes looking at all the beautiful items they make out of crystal. There were some nice pieces, but I’m too practical to spend that kind of money. Albert was getting hungry so we walked around Stephensplatz looking for somewhere to eat. We wandered for a while before reluctantly settling on a restaurant named “Chattanooga.” We went inside and chose a table. It took some time before a server helped us. Albert ordered a bacon cheeseburger, Shari ordered the Veal medalions, i order a bratwurst plate with frites. However, they brought me two ground veal patties with mashed potatoes. I ate it and it was tasty, but not what I ordered. After we finished eating we all made the trip downstairs to the restroom. I took this picture outside the bar that was downstairs. We had to walk through it to get to the restroom. The bar was closed at the time.
After lunch we walked over to St Stephen’s Cathedral and went inside. It was nice inside. Access was restricted unless you paid 6€ for the audio tour. We decided just to do the free part. It was crowded, so we didn’t stay long. We lit 3 votive candles and each said a prayer and then left
Once outside, we walked down the street to catch the Ring tram. This is a sightseeing tram that takes you around the perimeter of the old city. It was nice to sit and see the sites, but for 12€ each, I thought it was over priced. You can get off at a stop, but we didn’t. Maybe it would seem like a better value if you used it that way. Once back at our original station, we walked up the hill back to our hotel to relax for a little while. I took a short nap, but my snoring kept waking me up. Around 6:15 we left the hotel room again to wander around Stephensplatz. We started out at a comic store that we passed and Albert just had to go into. We looked around and he saw a couple of t-shirts he wanted. I told him that we would sleep on it, but if he still wanted it in the morning, we would come back and buy them.
We continued to walk down the street towards Stephensplatz. The Christmas decorations over the street were lit tonight. We walked though the Christmas market that ringed the back side of the Catheral. We saw some interesting things, but nothing worth buying. It was crowded, too. I felt in the way. We continued to wander around Stephensplatz looking for something light for dinner. I really didn’t want to do the sit down restaurant dinner. There were several street vendors selling “ hot dogs” but their menus were in German and I didn’t know what I was ordering. Shari suggested that we go back to a restaurant we had stopped in for lunch, but it was too crowded earlier. It was not as crowded now. It was called Aida and was mostly a pastry shop. We each ordered dessert and decided that it was going to be dinner for the night.
We rode the Metro to Schonbrunn Palace. We paid for the guided English tour that started at 11:00. We had about 45 minutes before the tour started, so we walked around the gardens. Everything was brown and leafless, but it gave you a better perspective of the size of the garden. It was not as large as Versailles, but it was close.
We started wandering back to the palace and stopped at a building that was a large bird cage for pigeons. There was a placard that explained the building and the types of pigeons that were housed there. Albert and I lingered too long. At this site. As a result we missed the guided tour of the palace. We tried to catch up with the group, but never succeeded. At one point I think we passed them, but all the group members had headphones, so I didn’ both to try and join. On our own we walked through the 40 rooms on the tour. It was interesting, but the gilded opulence did not impress me. I’m sure part of my skepticism is because I’m an American. We don’t believe that God chooses certain among us to rule over the rest.
We landed this morning at Paris’s Charles de Gaul Airport at 5:45am CET. After getting off the plane we had to go through security again and passport control. We ate breakfast in the 2F concourse near our departure gate.
Our flight to Vienna left on time. It was a two hour flight and I took a little nap in route. We landed on time and took the shuttle to the city. I had a little trouble using Google maps to navigate the walk to our hotel it took us way out of the way. We checked in our room and since Shari wasn’t feeling good we took a little nap.
We are staying at the Hotel Austria it is located close to St Stephen’s Cathedral in the heart of old Vienna. After our nap we walked around Stephanslpatz looking for a place to eat dinner. The Christmas Market is setup around the Cathedral. We strolled for a while before settling on a place for dinner. It’s a beautiful area of Vienna and I could have walked longer, but some in our party are hungry.
Aboard the Carnival Legend docked in Juneau, Alaska
Today we are going whale watching in Auke Bay and going to the Mendenhall Glacier. It is raining this morning and the winds are out of the north. It’s colder today then it has been the whole trip.
This morning there are 4 other cruise ships docked in Juneau. The bus picked us up at the parking lot near the cruise ship terminal. I think we were going to the glacier first, but the weather changed the sequence of events. The bus took us to the whale watching boats first.
We were some of the last passengers to board the boat and we left the dock within minutes of boarding. We cruised south in Auke Bay. After about 20 minutes a juvenile whale surfaced about 300 yards away. He put on a nice show for us showing us his tail and slapping his pectoral fin several times on the water. The captain cruised further south looking for more whales. At some point he turned the boat north and that is where the rough seas started. After about 20 minutes of being tossed around, Albert couldn’t take any more and got sea sick. That was the end of the fun and the whale watching. We continued to cruise around Auke Bay for another 30 minutes, but never saw any more whales. The seas were getting even rougher when the captain finally decided to head south and back to port.
After leaving the whale watching boat the bus driver took us to the Mendenhall Glacier. It was a National Forest Service park. You couldn’t get real close to the glacier, but it is so large you could easily see it. We took a 1.5 mile trail to the base of Nugget Falls. From here you could see the glacier better, but also has a wonderful view of the falls and the lake.
Aboard the Carnival Legend docked in Skagway, Alaska I woke up this morning when the alarm went off at 5:50. Yes, an alarm on a vacation. We have to be off the ship by 8:30 for our shore excursion, so we had to set an alarm. For our Excursion, a bus took us to Fraser, Canada where we boarded a train for a one and a half hour ride down the mountain the scenery was spectacular. At the end of the train ride the bus took us to an old Alaska gold rush town of Liarsville (true name). We had a great lunch that included grilled wild caught salmon. Everything was delicious. We were suppose to attend a gold rush reinactment and pan for gold. Unfortunately, we talked and visited with family at lunch that we missed the start. Next the bus took us to a scenic overlook above Skagway, Alaska. We had birds eye view of the town and could see our ship. We returned to the ship around 4:00. We went to the room and opened a bottle of wine. Since we are in the US, I had Verizon cell phone service. I sat on the balcony and read a few blogs to see what was happening in the world. We went to dinner at 5:30. After dinner we went to a Launch Party on the stern. Not many people attended, but it was interesting to see how the crew maneuvers the ship away from the dock and gets underway.
Aboard the Carnival Legend off the Pacific coast of Canada
I woke up in the middle of the night with tummy troubles. I took another Pepto Bismal tablet and drank some water and went back to bed. I was hot, but eventually managed to go back to sleep. I woke up again around 7:30. Shari wanted to go get some coffee and take a walk. We left the room and went up the Lido deck were coffee and breakfast was being served. We found a spot to sit near a window and drink our coffee. We were getting ready to leave and go to the gymnasium when the rest of our crew arrived. Jimmy said they were going down to Truffles for brunch, so we joined them. After eating, I had to excuse myself and go back to the room where I dealt with my upset tummy. On the bright side, at least I got the stomach virus on the days we are at sea.