Blog: March 2008

Arrival in Puglia

Posted on March 30, 2008 by Holly Hayes
We haven't had as much free time as I expected these last two days, so just a quick note to say we have arrived in Lucera and our journey south has gone very well. The weather has continued to be lovely (high 60s and sunny), the Autostrada and Italian drivers have been better than expected (though occasionally more "exciting" than Germany) and we saw two bonus religious sites along the way (both very interesting)...

Living La Dolce Vita on Lake Como

Posted on March 28, 2008 by Holly Hayes
Villa Balbianello on Lake Como (a filming location for Casino Royale, the new Star Wars, and several other movies) Buongiorno from Italia! What a change it has been to come to Italy. When we arrived in Como from snowy Switzerland yesterday afternoon it was still cloudy, but noticeably warmer. And today it was gloriously sunny and reached a high of 67! It is like we've been transported into another world, yet we only drove a little more than two hours...

Alpine Train to St. Moritz

Posted on March 26, 2008 by Holly Hayes
Today we took a train ride from Chur to St. Moritz, which takes two hours each way. The Alpine scenery was just as lovely as you would expect - magnificent white peaks, small villages, clear blue mountain streams - and the train was clean and efficient, as always in Switzerland. We spent two hours wandering around St. Moritz, which has a fantastic location among the mountains and overlooking a large lake (currently frozen over)...

Arrival in Switzerland

Posted on March 25, 2008 by Holly Hayes
This morning we packed up and departed for Switzerland! It is really fun being in a new country. We've been in Germany for over four months and it's time for something new. Mostly we are ready for new weather! But for the next two nights, it's more snow for us, as we have stopped over in Chur, Switzerland. The drive started out really bad, with swirling snow and strong wind blowing the semi-trucks around...

Day Trip to Neuschwanstein

Posted on March 25, 2008 by Holly Hayes
Yesterday we made a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle and we had such a good time. The castle is located in the very south of Bavaria, close to the Austrian border. The drive was beautiful and a lot more Alpine than I expected. As a bonus, we found a great radio station with traditional German music, just the sort you'd hear on a Rick Steves show about Bavaria...

Easter in Augsburg

Posted on March 23, 2008 by Holly Hayes
Happy Easter and greetings from Augsburg! Augsburg is a fairly large city not far from Munich in Bavaria. It doesn't have the narrow-winding-street charm of Bamberg or Regensburg but it has a fine Old Town and some very nice churches. We are staying in the Dorint Hotel, which is about 10 minutes walk from the Old Town. It is in an unusual concrete round tower and the rooms are decorated in a retro '70s style...

Journey into the Czech Republic

Posted on March 21, 2008 by Holly Hayes
And now for something completely different! Yesterday we made a day trip into the Czech Republic, the primary purpose of which was to visit the hometown of some of my ancestors. My grandma had supplied me with copies of the information that various relatives had gathered about our family's origins, in the hopes I would get a chance to visit while in Germany...

Snow and Sun in Regensburg

Posted on March 18, 2008 by Holly Hayes
{ph4856} View of Regensburg from the Old Stone Bridge Regensburg is another fantastic Bavarian city full of lovely things to see. We've changed our plans from staying here two nights to staying four nights, not leaving until Saturday. To say the weather has been variable here would be an understatement. The only thing that has been consistent, unfortunately, is the near-freezing temperatures! Remember in Bamberg when I said it was much warmer than it had been and we had a nice night walk? That's over now...

Beautiful Bamberg

Posted on March 18, 2008 by Holly Hayes
We had such a nice time during our three nights in Bamberg. Neither of us had ever heard of it before, but its Old Town is a World Heritage Site and a very popular destination for German tourists. As I mentioned in the last post, it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable cities we've visited in Germany - highly recommended! We got a bit lost upon our arrival Saturday afternoon, as a bridge was closed that our satellite navigation didn't know about...

Last Morning in Erfurt

Posted on March 17, 2008 by Holly Hayes
Greetings from rainy Bamberg! This is such a beautiful and interesting city, one of our favorites yet. But I have to back up to our last morning in Erfurt (Saturday), which we crammed a lot into. It was sunny and comparatively warm - perfect for seeing a few more sights before leaving Erfurt. We started with a tour of the Augustinian Monastery, where Martin Luther was a monk from 1505 to 1511...

Wartburg Castle and Eisenach

Posted on March 14, 2008 by Holly Hayes
Today we visited the Wartburg Castle, which is on a forested mountain overlooking the town of Eisenach, 45 minutes west of Erfurt. It is a really good castle. It was founded in 1067, is a World Heritage Site, and Adolf Hitler is said to have called it the "most German of German castles." We really enjoyed our visit, but it did not start out all that well...

Enjoying Erfurt

Posted on March 13, 2008 by Holly Hayes
We are having a really nice time in Erfurt, where we are based for two more nights. The two-hour drive from Wittenberg, on two excellent high-speed *Autobahnen*, was efficient as always. Erfurt is in the dead center of Germany, in the province of Thuringia (known for its forests and sausages). The landscape became almost immediately more beautiful as we entered Thuringia, with rolling hills and thick forests replacing the flatter landscape and industry further north...

Worlitz and the Luther House in Wittenberg

Posted on March 12, 2008 by Holly Hayes
Oy vey, it is hard to keep up with the blogging at our new travel pace! I really hate to leave out any details or interesting photos from each of the places we visit, but it seems I am going to have to resign myself to becoming increasingly brief. On the bright side, we finally have good wireless internet at our current hotel, so at least I can catch up from the comfort of a desk in our own room...

On the Luther Trail in Wittenberg

Posted on March 10, 2008 by Holly Hayes
It is our second and final night in Wittenberg and we have had a really good time here. We are staying at the Luther Hotel, appropriately enough, which is pretty nice and very central. Absolutely everyone we have seen and heard here is an American, mostly from the south and mostly on a Christian-themed group tour, complete with name tags. Our spacious room in the Luther Hotel We do have free wireless internet here, but it is only in the lobby and a little bit intermittent, so again not ideal...

German Celebrities and Other Berlin Sights

Posted on March 7, 2008 by Holly Hayes
We saw two big celebrities in our last two days in Berlin, although you may have only heard of one of them! The first was Boris Becker, who strolled past while we were eating delicious Italian food in the KaDaWe department store yesterday. That was pretty fun. He was by himself and wore a green Nike baseball cap. The KaDaWe (short for Kaufhaus des Westens) is Berlin's answer to Harrod's in London, but even larger - in fact, it is the largest department store in Europe...

More from Berlin

Posted on March 5, 2008 by Holly Hayes
I'm very sorry the blogging has been sparse since we arrived in Berlin - it turns out the only internet we have is down in their computer room, so it's not that fun to spend the usual hour or so I do on blogging down here (in addition to all the work e-mails I have to keep up on). Plus we really wear ourselves out with sightseeing in the big city and all we want to do at night is collapse, watch TV and read our travel books...

Snowy Arrival in Berlin

Posted on March 4, 2008 by Holly Hayes
David here reporting that we have made it to Berlin safely and are having a great time despite very cruddy weather. This morning I woke to find it actually snowing outside! Not exactly what we are looking for right now but still fun. Here are some pictures from the doorway of our hotel: We have done better then usual at getting to know the city train system, which is good as our hotel is about 15 mins out of the center of the city in what used to be East Berlin...

Churches and Museums in Hildesheim

Posted on March 2, 2008 by Holly Hayes
We had a very nice day out in Hildesheim yesterday. The weather was no better than when we arrived, unfortunately, and it was all we could do not to blow away out there. But we adapted by spending as much time as possible *inside* churches and museums! We passed on the breakfast buffet at our hotel, for which they want €16 each, and found a much better option on the Rathausplatz (Town Hall Square)...

And the Adventure Begins!

Posted on March 1, 2008 by Holly Hayes
Greetings from Hildesheim! We have begun our grand European tour and we are having a great time so far. And it sure is nice to have reliable internet again so I can tell you about it! I'll get our only complaint out of the way first: the weather. Last night a hurricane blew through northern Europe, and particularly Germany. It even has a name: Emma...