Blog: October 2010

Geneva

Posted on October 30, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Good news: David was able to drive us to Zurich despite his lakeside injury in Geneva. Phew, that was a relief to both of us! He is still a major cripple in a good amount of pain, poor guy. But we've had a nice evening in Zurich nonetheless. I took a short photography walk into the Old Town while he elevated his ankle and read a book in the hotel, then we had a nice Chinese dinner together next door...

Rösti in Bern and Ankle Injury in Geneva

Posted on October 29, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Thursday morning we left Lucerne for Geneva, at the far west corner of Switzerland, which was about a 2.5-hour drive. But we broke it up with a stop in Bern for lunch. Bern Bern is comfortable and familiar to us, as we've visited more than once and spent several days there. The most important benefit of this? We know where to get the best rösti! This is the place: Restaurant Anker...

Glorious Lake Views in Lucerne

Posted on October 29, 2010 by Holly Hayes
We spent Wednesday night in Lucerne, an lovely small city in central Switzerland. We had a great hotel on Lake Lucerne, just outside the city proper. It was magnificent. Our room was large and comfortable and views were absolutely amazing. Front of the hotel Room View! View from room of Lake Lucerne and Mount Pilatus (6,955 ft) Part of Lucerne can be seen on the far right The weather was just glorious when we arrived, too, as you can see...

St. Gallen

Posted on October 29, 2010 by Holly Hayes
We spent one night in St. Gallen because it was conveniently along our route and it has a World Heritage Site: the Abbey of St. Gall. The abbey was founded in 719 and was an important center of scholarship in the Middle Ages. The current building is Baroque, unfortunately, but impressively large. The abbey is especially famous for its library, which contains thousands of medieval books, many of them handwritten...

Innsbruck

Posted on October 27, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Lots going on lately and hard to keep up on the blog! I was planning to post last night but I came down with a bad cold as the day progressed and all I could manage to do after dinner was watch some TV (Bridget Jones dubbed into German) and go to bed. This morning in St Gallen, Switzerland, David heroically took over my photo duties while I tried to get more sleep and stay out of the cold...

Through the Austrian Alps to Switzerland

Posted on October 27, 2010 by Holly Hayes
We left Innsbruck around noon yesterday and headed west to Switzerland, which as you might imagine was a gorgeous drive, especially in the good weather. We made two unscheduled stops along the way, based on seeing historical markers on the freeway. The first was Stams Monastery, which was quite beautiful. I don't know much about it other than that it is Cistercian, Baroque in style, and still active (I spotted a resident monk)...

Erfurt Christmas Market

Posted on October 26, 2010 by Holly Hayes
I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! We spent our Turkey Day on a four-hour train ride, which was crowded and not too fun, and at the Erfurt Christmas Market, which was very fun! The market is the main reason we're here in Erfurt - it's an exceptionally big one and has a beautiful setting on the cathedral square. And it snowed last night, so it's extra pretty! And the food is great! I finally got my potato cakes, and we sampled several other delicious things as well...

Nuremberg to the Bavarian Alps

Posted on October 23, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Our three nights in Nuremberg were very enjoyable. It was nice to have two full days in one place and not too many sights to cover - we kept busy both days, but actually got to relax a bit, too. We needed that! It was seriously cold throughout our stay, getting below freezing at night and windy during the day, but we did have some sunshine occasionally, too...

Onward in Germany: Mainz to Heidelberg

Posted on October 20, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Old Town, Heidelberg Well, the strike and fuel blockade situation in France is only getting worse, so we have now committed to skipping it altogether and are heading the other way, deeper into Germany. It's sad, as there are a lot of wonderful things to see in France, but it's hard to be *too* sad since we will spend more time in Germany and Austria, which are also fabulous...

Highlights of London

Posted on October 17, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Tonight we are settled in our new hotel in Mainz and tomorrow we go to Heidelberg for two nights. Looking forward to it! But first, here are some highlights from our three days in London (Monday-Wednesday). St Paul's Cathedral We didn't go inside St. Paul's this time, because we've visited a few times before, the admission is overpriced and they don't let you take pictures...

Maastricht and Strikes in France

Posted on October 16, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Friday afternoon we drove from Cologne to Maastricht, in the far southwest corner of the Netherlands. It is a historic city and seemed to make a good stop on the way to France. Best yet, we got to sleep in a Gothic monastery! We stayed in the Kruisherenhotel, an ultra-modern hotel built inside a 15th-century church and monastery. Our small, pretty hotel room is in the monastery and overlooks the cloister...

Great Hotel and Great Dinner in Mainz

Posted on October 16, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Today we drove from Maastricht, Netherlands, to Mainz, Germany, a sizable and historic city along the Rhine River. The drive took about two and a half hours, and other than intermittent rainstorms and a major traffic jam near Aachen due to road work, it was a really pleasant drive. We'll be here two nights. Tonight we are staying in a lovely room at the Hyatt Regency with a view of the river (above), thanks to the super-cheap rates that business hotels offer on Saturday nights...

London to Cologne by Train

Posted on October 16, 2010 by Holly Hayes
OK, I promise London highlights are coming soon, but there are a lot of pictures to deal with for that post and I don't want to get too far behind on what we're currently up to. So here's the latest. We are changing countries at a rapid rate these days and it's getting a little dizzying! In just the past few days, we've been in England, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Germany again...

Thames Cruise to the Tower Bridge

Posted on October 15, 2010 by Holly Hayes
One of the most enjoyable experiences we had in London was an afternoon cruise in the sunshine on the Thames River, from the Embankment Pier to the Tower Bridge. It wasn't a fancy cruise, just a river taxi that is marketed as an extension of the London Underground. But it was really fun and an efficient way to get us to the Tower, which was a long way down the river from our hotel...

A Nice Surprise at Christ Church, Oxford

Posted on October 15, 2010 by Holly Hayes
For me, the biggest highlight of our brief return to Oxford was my visit to Christ Church College on Monday morning. The morning light was gorgeous and I arrived around 9am to take photos of the east side of the cathedral. It's hard to get a good view of the small cathedral from this angle (or any angle really), but there is a great spot through a gate that I knew about...

Highlights of Oxford

Posted on October 15, 2010 by Holly Hayes
OK, finally catching up on Oxford. We had lovely weather in Oxford during our short visit and it was really fun to see all the old familiar places again. Our hotel in the former prison was pretty fun, too! Hotel hallway - the architecture and railings are all original from the prison. Our small but very comfortable room. Loved the plaid...

Quick Update: Last Day in London

Posted on October 13, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Another long, busy and fun day in London today, mostly spent in museums and doing a foot-numbing amount of walking. I walked over an hour west - which took me through Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Chinatown, Green Park, and a quick stop at Harrod's - to visit the new Medieval & Renaissance galleries in the V&A. It was wonderful and totally worth the pilgrimage - but I did take a cab back! Meanwhile, David walked a long distance south to visit the Tate Modern, which he didn't really like except for the Picassos...

Gloucester to Oxford via the Cotswolds

Posted on October 12, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Saturday morning we visited Gloucester Cathedral, which we have visited once before. It's a great cathedral and it's wonderfully friendly to photographers, even in the crypt. It also doesn't have an admission fee or photo permit fee, and the staff are friendly and enthusiastic, all of which made me happily give a whole lot more to the donation boxes than would have been asked for in fees (listen up, stingy cathedrals!)...

Herefordshire Churches

Posted on October 12, 2010 by Holly Hayes
We had a great full day in London today, with lots more sunshine than forecasted, including a long (but not long enough!) visit to the medieval galleries in the British Museum by myself and a cruise on the Thames that we both really enjoyed. But first, some catching up with photos from the last few days. On Friday we visited some little country churches and a cathedral in Herefordshire, which shares a border with Wales...

Technical Difficulties Continue: Please Stand By

Posted on October 9, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Just a brief note tonight to say that we've been having a good time and been busy getting lots of good pictures in SW England. Today we visited Gloucester Cathedral and the Cotswolds, and this evening we drove into Oxford for dinner at our favorite noodle place, Wagamama. It was so fun to see our old home city again. Tonight we're sleeping in a nice B&B on a farm in Abingdon, a few miles south of Oxford, and tomorrow we move to a hotel in Oxford proper...