Where in the World is Connie? travel blog

Brandenburg Gate, the way it was before the wall came down (courtesy...

Sunset on Brandenburg Gate

Berliner Dom

Secret spy exchange bridge in the old days, and new tower in...

War torn remains of Kaiser Welhelm Memorial Church

Viewing Platform on top of Reichstag

View of inside the Viewing Platform

Eastside Gallery, where pieces of "The Wall" still remain

Another shot of the Wall

Another shot of the Wall

Connie beside a chunk of the wall at Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie, the way it was

Checkpoint Charlie, the way it is now

Connie at San Souci Palace

Palace Sculptures (courtesy of postcard)

Victory Column

I think this was the first Russian tank to enter Berlin

Gabi and Volker, hosts extraordinaire

Okay, so here's the scoop. Once I started traveling in South America I pretty much realized it's impossible to continue writing stories about my European trip. Not only did I either lose or inadvertently ship back to Canada my Europe travel journal (without which my old memory is a bit blurry on details), but there's also the time thing, or lack thereof. No way can I write stories about Europe while traveling and writing stories about SA!

So all I can do at this point is write a quick summary on the rest of the Europe trip, add some pixs, and that's a wrap ... and if you want more info you'll either have to buy the book when it's published (ha ha!), send me an email, or (preferably) buy me a few glasses of wine when I get back to Canada in April.

Now, from where I left off in Lubeck Germany I traveled to ...

Berlin, Germany

- I expected to see more evidence of the War, the Wall, and that Nazi fella (yeah right Connie, like what decade are you stuck in?) but instead found a wonderful cosmopolitan city, interesting combination of old/new buildings/architecture, vibrant arts/culture/entertainment scene, trendy bars, shops and restaurants ... in other words, a real happening place

- had the great pleasure of meeting and staying with Gabi & Volker, residents of Berlin and good friends of my good friend "Ric the photographer" in Calgary

- Gabi played tour guide and translator extraordinaire, while poor Volker was totally immersed in a work project and didn't have time to play with the girls

- visited numerous tourist places inside and outside of Berlin, saw remaining pieces of the former Wall & Checkpoint Charlie

Prague, Czech Republic

- different currency, Czech Krowns

- known as "The City of a Hundred Spires", but I'm sure I counted at least 1000 spires with all the Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance churches & buildings

- lifting of the Iron Curtain in 1989, and recent lifting of visitor visa requirements for western world countries, has made Prague the most popular tourist destination in Eastern Europe

- currently hosting "Cow Parade" (similar to Udderly Artwork in Calgary a few years back) so there were 205 creatively decorated cows on display

- attended a fantastic free outdoor concert in Old Town Square by Prague Symphony

- had my one and only "Hostel Roommates from Hell" experience in Prague

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

- most picturesque town I've ever seen, quickly and easily erased the bad hostel experience from Prague

- named a World Heritage Site in 1992 for its historic importance and physical beauty

- 11th century Gothic castle high on the hill, complete with bear pit

Vienna, Austria

- city of music, museums, cafes, waltzes, parks, pastries, and baroque architecture

- birthplace of Strauss, the Lipistan Stallions, and the Vienna Boys Choir

- home of Mozart from 1762-91, where he performed for the very first time at the age of 12, wrote many operas pieces, and where he married and was eventually buried

- attended a concert with a string quartet, opera singers and ballet dancers, all dressed in period costumes, performing pieces of Mozart and Strauss on the tiniest stage possible but with the most amazing acoustics

Krems on der Donau, Austria

- located on the banks of the Danube River

- mellow town of courtyards, old churches, and ancient houses in the heart of the Wachau Valley, Austria's vineyard country

- spent an afternoon sampling some of the region's finest wines (shocker!)

- rented a bicycle for the day, hopped on a canal boat going upriver, then cycled back to Krems, sometimes cycling alongside the Danube with stunning views of the river, Wachau valley and monasteries, and other times through fruit tree orchards and rows and rows of grapevines

Salzburg, Austria

- the hills really ARE alive with "The Sound of Music"

- birthplace of Mozart

- went on (what else) a Sound of Music tour that included visits to numerous places used in the filming of the Sound of Music movie

- watched The Sound of Music which plays at the hostel every night (many people admitted to seeing the film "more than once")

- SOM tour guide taught us a different version of the "Do Rai Me" song ...

Do a beer, a German beer

Ray, the man who serves the beer

Me, the guy I buy beer for

Far, a long way to the bar

So, I think I'll have a beer

La, la la la la la la

Tea, no thanks I'll have a beer

And that brings us back to Do oh oh oh...

Munich, Germany

- had the pleasure of visiting and staying with my friends Peter and Andrea who I met last year while traveling in Myanmar

- was surprised that so much of Munich was bombed during the war, most of the city has been rebuilt

- didn't actually plan it, but arrived in Munich in time for the first weekend of Oktoberfest

- did a day trip to Dachau (the first concentration camp in Germany)

- also did a day trip to Fussen (home of Neuschwanstein, the fairytale castle)

- also did a scenic day hike in the nearby mountains

Barcelona, Spain

- considered the most European of Spanish cities, yet also Mediterranean in both climate and atmosphere

- stayed at a cute hostel that's a former church

- did a great city tour on bicycle which took us through tiny pedestrian-filled streets, fightening narrow roads filled with car traffic, and through parks and along bike paths (great way to see the city with limited time)

- caught an impromptu tango performance in one of the main plazas

Valencia, Spain

- city where El Cid faced the Moors

- did a hop on/off bus tour, visited some of the city's major sites

- saw an interesting blend of beautiful old and extremely modern buildings

Altea, Spain

- visited my friends Richard & Ken, this time in their beautiful Spanish home

- arrived in time for the Moors and Christians fiestas

- partied, drank & relaxed in the sunshine during the days

- partied, drank & watched parades at night

Toledo, Spain

- numerous churches, synagogues, and mosques show evidence of a time when Spain's three religions coexisted peacefully

- home of famous Spanish artist El Greco, Damascene swords/knives, colorful pottery, and Spain's almond-paste marzipan

- stayed in hostel that's a former arabic castle

- met a yummy young Spaniard named Carlos (sadly, no pixs available)

Cuenca, Spain

- home of the famed "casas colgada" (hanging houses) which precariously dangle half-over a high cliff

- colorful houses, a rarity in Spain where all buildings are normally white

- magnificent cathedral

Segovia, Spain

- home of an extremely well preserved double-arched acqueduct, the Alcazar (former palace and military fortress built around the 11th century), and an amazing gothic cathedral

- beautiful outdoor cafes and restaurants, famous for its suckling pig dinners

- last place I visited in Spain before heading to Madrid to catch my flight back to Canada

And that, in a nutshell, is the rest of my time spent in Europe. Check out the pixs if you're interested. And from here I'm head back to Canada for a brief pitstop, and then onwards to South America ... the adventure continues!

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