I’ve not blogged in a few weeks as I have been traveling. I am typing this blog from a comfortable little hotel apartment on the base of the Austrian Alps. it’s about 0 degrees outside but not snowing where I am. If I were to drive up the road for about 10 minutes I would see the rain drops become white and fall more gently to the ground.
Austria really is a beautiful, scenic country and it’s reputation as a great place to ski, skate and snowboard holds true. Well organised and picturesque, its quite breath taking. While Innsbruck, where we are, is our base, we also love it here because its so central to other great places.
Germany is an hour away, great for a little historical visit to some stunning Bavarian castles, like Neuschwanstein, the beautiful castle that basically is the advertising logo for visits to Germany. It is stunning!
We are 90 minutes from Switzerland, which is great for 4-wheel drives over the border as you drive up and up into the Alps there. Meandering rivers below and breath taking views across the valley.
Mostly though, I love the 30 minute drive to Italy where we go to get a pizza for lunch! [ It takes longer to drive across the other side of Sydney!!} Italy is completely different to Austria, apart from the drastic change in language! We drove down to the partly ancient Roman, partly medieval, mostly glorious town of Verona. My favourite Italian town of all. The perfect mix of old and new.
You drive into the town and park your car, then walk down the strada to the old town, the medieval part where the original town gates and old wall are. as soon as you step inside and onto the cobbled streets you come face to face with a magnificent, ancient Roman stadium. A mini-Colosseum. Its in the centre of town and you can tour it. In summer they use it as an amphitheatre and for a fee you can watch an Italian opera, like ‘The Barber of Seville’, which is so much fun! You are given tiny candles as you go to your seats and you then light these up as the sun goes down. Eventually the 10-20,000 people there have turned the arena into a sparkling fairy land!
After the opera you exit to find all the restaurants outside still open for business. Well-dressed Italians stand around and talk, laugh and yell. Their arms wave about as they communicate with enthusiasm.
Right down the road of course is the famed house of Juliet Capulet. You can leave a love-message on the wall or stand by the statue of Juliet and have a photo with her. You can also tour the inside the house and wind your way up to the balcony that Romeo climbed to declare his love to Juliet.
It’s a wonderful experience.
The completely medieval town of Prague is also a wonderful experience. Left intact by Hitler when he invaded, its like a step back in time and you feel as though your modern jeans and t-shirt are out of date on the streets there.
Poland is also on our list of places to go, although Hitler was not so kind to Poland and he went there with the intention of flattening the whole country and wiping the Polish race out of existence. Poland has survived and gone onto become an economic force to be reckoned with. [while Hitler, fortunately, has been wiped from existence.]
Polish people are hard working and dedicated to bettering their lives. Every old town is being replenished and restored, although if you look carefully, you can still see bullet holes in the walls from World War 2.
Our next stop is London, which we love and we always make a bee-line for the bookshops, even before we are out of the airport. Being avid readers, we want to know what’s new or what can be had that we couldn’t find in Australia before we left. New releases everywhere!
We did give our son what he describes as the ‘perfect gift’ before we left; an e-reader, so that he downloaded 50 books before we traveled and this has been a life-saver on long waits at the airport and when waking up in the middle of the night when the time difference works against your body clock. The e- reader has been a wonderful tool and space-saving also as it is a lot lighter to carry than the usual 8-10 books he would take along.
The rest of us have been using our ipads, also great and convenient for travel and reading [ and games].
But I digress… London; an absolutely amazing place. in fact, all of England is. Whether you visit Bath or Stonehenge or the tiny Cotswold town of Burford. It’s all wonderful. we also check out the theatre in London, because at least 30-40 shows are on ALL the time. We sometimes see two a day, going from one to the other. in summer a production of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ was put on in Green Park, which was perfect as my daughter had just finished studying the book at home, for school.
This time we hope to see “Twelve Angry Men’ or ‘Pride and Prejudice’ or ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ or ‘Jersey Boys’ or ‘Mama Mia’ or even ‘Oliver Twist,’ because sometimes, Rowan Atkinson stars as Fagan.
After London, we go to a new place..Dubai. We haven’t been there before, so I will be able to put my Arabic in practice. Should be fun.
So, as I write this from my hotel/apartment at the base of the snowy Alps, I think about all the amazing places there are on this earth and I think that traveling is such an educational eye-opener that more people should try it.
Be careful though; once you start, it’s hard to stop!