A Travellerspoint blog

September 2019

The Weather and the People

Both were absolutely amazing!!

sunny
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Hot and Sunny

After the rain in Salzbug I wasn't sure what we would find in the alps. It my great joy all three days were SUNNY and HOT. I even got a sunburn!!
This meant not a cloud in the sky to hide any of details in the mountains around us! That includes when were up at the Schiltorn with it's 360 view of Switzerland !!!

We even had mosquitos up there! Three bites to prove it. The first night I was an idiot and left the windows and door to the balcony open during the sunset... and yep! I had to kill two big heavy weight mossies..

Otherwise the temp and sky were beautiful throughout the day! I couldn't have been more blessed!

You Meet the Best People

I think Murren is a bit like how I would like heaven to be...
- clean
- logical
- and people from all over the world being NICE to each other...

How had can it be for the rest of the world, if it can be that way up in the alps??!!!

We met soo many amazing people!

A) Nick! Our VRBO host. British! He and his wife Sue took the gamble and quit their secure payrolls to follow their dream to live up in the alps -- in Murren. Nick was super fun, nice and just a really, all round cool/nice guy. He knows everyone up there ! and works all sorts of jobs in the village. He was the one who got Pat the gigs at the different cafes. AND .. AND.. (he is my forever gratitude) he helped get our luggage both down, AND back up the mountain. (more on that later - it was definitely part of the 'adventure'). He also came over to Grimelwald for Pat's 'concert' at the Mountain Hostel.. which was kinda cool cause both he and Roman (the guy who manages the hostel) work shifts at the Café Liv but had NEVER met before! I kinda really liked how on this trip Pat was instrumental in bringing together some cool 'moments'.. like that one. Anyway.. I really admire Nick and Sue and their commitment to their new 'life'. Its not easy but they LOVE it!

B) Speaking of Roman.. such a cool young man. Like, Nick, he is all over those two communities and knows a lot of people. He also works at multiple jobs. He was so gratious to Pat - and even collected tips for him after his gig at the hostel. NOT something that was asked for mind you!! Also Roman threw together a heaping container of pasta from their dinner that night for us to take back to our chalet. We ran into him in the CooP (grocery store) and he helped Pat pick out the best cheese for Raclette -- as Pat wanted to make some for himself. Yes he got some in restaurants but goodness restaurant food here is EXPENSIVE !!!!

C) Mary and Bart -- a couple from St. Louis. They just happened to be using the washing machines when I got the Bellevue to do catch up laundry. So they let me sit with him, and we hung out on the terrace together throughout our loads (aka a few hours). They were so much fun and amazing people. Bart is a retired social worker. And they have been traveling … OH !! And psst Christie? I got the lowdown on a hotel in Florence we HAVE TO GO TO!! Check this out.. Hotel Delglio Orafi I learned about this cause they were heading to Italy next and Mary just happened to have a laundry bag she had kept from this hotel!! She said in the breakfast room was a medieval mural high up in the walls..

Yes, we talked about everything and anything... the heat in the Midwest, the need for humidifiers in Idaho! (Its a THING for us!) They witnessed the little fan who was so taken by Pat's playing.. agreed it was adorable. We said if they ever got to Idaho we'd put them up ..
I was kinda sad to see them go, and so loved hanging out with the for the afternoon. It made laundry go by so much faster.

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D) I met another couple (which weighed down with two travel bags strapped across my body) in a VERY crowded bus heading from Lauterburren to Schetelburg -- to get up to Murren. We just chatted cause the seat right in front of them was the only place I could sit! Dan and (his wife's name is blanking out.. grrr) are from Oregon! So we had that natural 'neighbor' thing to bond us. LOL But what really stood out was that heard about Pat playing at the Mountain Hostel.. AND THEY COME TO HEAR HIM !! Such a sweet surprise and they stayed for the whole thing!! Really lovely people who I was grateful for on that 'very crowded bus' :)

I'm afraid I only got the back of their head's while they were listening to Pat play

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Posted by sstalpo 13:10 Archived in Switzerland Tagged people weather Comments (0)

Pat Found His Audience!

Summary of the Best Parts of Murren

sunny
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So I took a few days off to really breathe in the alps and the village of Murren. It was a lovely adventure and the culmination of my bucket list for the alps -- basically to SEE the alps in all their glory. It will take too long to write about everything that happened so here is a summary:

Patrick Found His Audience!

As you might have heard, Patrick was living in Grimmelwald which is right down the hill (5 minutes by Bahn) to Murren. He played his guitar in the Youth Hostel every night, with another guy, for the month he stayed there... and when not playing he hiked the hills. So he got to have a little concert at the Mountain Hostel, after 45 years. I will share more details in a bit, but will say it was a great evening!

The thing is Patrick got to play at Cafe's across Murren while we were there and the fellow tourists and those who live there REALLY loved him!
He played at the Café Liv (twice), the Bellevue Hotel Terrace, and the Iger Guesthouse. What meant a lot to me was watching the people...
at EVERY place people clapped, came up to thank him for playing and told him how great he was. People just walking by would stop to listen and stay for the WHOLE song! And maybe longer. Some people would come sit down just to listen to him longer. People took his videos of him playing and took his picture. I snuck some pictures of those moments.... but here are the moments that really stood out to me:

A) While at the Iger Guest House -- which is right across from the train station - Pat was playing for the outside seating area of their café. I was having lunch .. and yes this was the view !!

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I notice a man way over at the bottom of the steps up to the train station. He has stopped and was listening to Patrick play. He just stood there for the longest time. Then his wife came out from the train station to find him and he waved her over and pointed to Patrick . She, too, stood with him for a long time and listened. THEN they BOTH come over, closer, to listen and watched him play. HIs wife was glowing and took a video of him playing. He finally was done she was the one who gushed over him and thank him for his playing.. .and how much they enjoyed him. Then they ran off to catch their train. :) (which I had gotten their pic)

B) There were two other couples who stood out. One was a couple from either Japan or China (I didn't ask) who were very sweet with each other. The girl has taken a video of Pat at the Café Liv. After Pat was done playing we were heading back to our VRBO Chalet and walked past them as the guy was taking a picture of her with the Jungfrau as the backdrop. Pat made a nice comment and she recognized him and got excited and said 'OH!! You are musician!' (I don't think Pat noticed her taking his video earlier and he just said 'yes' (course he was carrying his guitar case LOL). She said "OH.. you play earlier! Up there!" (I answered for him, cause I did recognize her.. and said Yes! He was!).. She just gushed and said he played so beautifully and she took a video. (It really touched him)

C) Then there was this couple ..

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Who stopped to listen to him... and stood there like that for a few songs. They looked very sweet together.
They finally come up the hill and got something to drink at the Café Liv... and sat down to continue to listen.

Very nice moment..

But the BEST fans.. where these ones!
The little ones! My top three favorites...

3. Jay, an eleven year old boy who was with his father. Originally from Singapore -- they were now living in Switzerland. He has just started to learn how to play a six string guitar. He was enamored with Pat's ability to play a 12 string. He and his father stayed to listen and stay down. Pat finished up and was packing to leave when Jay thanked him and told him how he enjoyed Pat's playing. He was very mature for his age in his demeanor. Pat asked him his name and his age. Jay then shared that he was learning to play a six string but was so curious about the 12 string. He thought it sounded 'better' and asked Pat what was different between the 6 and 12 string instruments. Pat stayed.. took out his guitar again and kneeled down showed Jay his guitar up close and they talked together about the differences..

I think -- that one day that young man is going to get his own 12 string :) And Pat had some influence in that.

2. Then this little one couldn't get close enough while Pat was playing. HE WANTED TO PLAY THE GUITAR TOO! LOL His mother kept trying to gently pull him away but he kept wanting to come back.

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1. And my most favorite is the one I call Pat's NUMBER ONE FAN!! While waiting for our laundry to get down, Pat was playing on the Terrace Café of the Bellevue hotel. This little girl came over … sat down right in front of him. And that was THAT !!! She loved him so much that when he finished and came over to sit with me at the table I was at the little girl got her mother's camera and came over to Pat.. trying so hard to take the camera out and take a picture of him!! She kept trying to get her mother to get a picture (but she wasn't helping). So the little one in pink came over and just stood close by and blushed. IT WAS ADORABLE !!

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So it was wonderful to see Pat in his element -- where the music was really appreciated and loved. Murren is his place!

Posted by sstalpo 12:47 Archived in Switzerland Tagged music guitar mürren 12 string Comments (1)

Alps! I've Arrived!

Settled into Murren

sunny
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Today was a travel day.
Spent the morning in Interlaken finding an ATM, going to a bank and the CooP, packing up and getting a taxi to the East train station.

One lesson from this trip? Definitely pack LESS! Even though we did pretty good at keeping the volume down, I could cut that in half!
We decided on a taxi to the train even though the West station was a .25 mile from our hotel. Due to the weight of carrying, and dragging everything. Better pay the $16 francs

One thing about the Hotel Post Hardermannli is the location was so close to everything we needed. Bus stop - 200 feet. Bank - across the street. CooP - 500 feet. Restaurants - all around.

We got the train to Lauterbrunnen (saw some of the famous waterfalls) then caught the overcrowded bus full of tourists to Stechelberg, from which all those tourists (a very large number from China) pushed their way into the Schilthornbahn (cable car). It kinda felt like a daily excursion in an city buss in Indonesia. Which trust me - were so packed with people some hung out the doors! We stopped at Grimmelwald where some got out - not really enough to open up any space though and we moved on to Murren. Where we let all the 'tourists' push their way out and then we go out with out the rush.

We had an hour to wait for our VRBO host "Nick" so had fondue at the restaurant right next to the Bahn station. The restaurant was going to close up early due to a private party being thrown by IBM for some of their employees. Can't complain if your company sends you to the alps for a party!!! LOL

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We met Nick. Really nice Brit, who he and his wife (and grown kids) bought property up here and are living their dream! He helped us with the luggage which was so nice of him cause we had to traverse down a LOT (multiple lot to A LOT!) of stairs down to his apt (which was UP on the third floor of stairs) in a really cool old Swiss chalet. Btw, did I mention that the Hotel Post Hardermannli did not have an elevator and our room was on the third floor there too?

Anyway we got settled in and we were going to meet up with Nick for dinner at seven. He left and we set outside on the balcony to enjoy THIS view! The Iger (aka Oger) is behind Pat.. we can't see the Jungfrau and Monk from here like we could from Interlaken. But whose complaining??!!

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It was very cool to listen to Pat play the very song he wrote here in Switzerland 45 years ago.

Pat already has three gigs up here. Everyone knows everyone so Nick set up a couple of things in Murren, and Pat has his gig playing again at the same hostel he stayed at when he was 19 - tomorrow night. I was bushed to took a nap while Pat went and played at the Café Liv. I was still bushed when he got back and begged off dinner, while he went back up the 'hill' (aka mountain side) to meet Nick for dinner and possibly play in the restaurant they are going to.

I took some Tylenol, did some stretching and really hoping I will be recovered for tomorrow. I got pain in my left knee, the back of my right leg and my back! LOL URG>. I need my own 19 year old body back!

ALSO - I'm going to take a break from the blog for the next two days so I can truly take in the alps and restore my soul. Don't worry about us, we are in good hands!

Posted by sstalpo 10:14 Archived in Switzerland Tagged mürren schilthornbahn Comments (0)

Caves, Parasailers and Fondue!

Our day in Interlaken

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===St. Beatus Caves===
From the official website- "Release the dragon! Hunted by St Beat, a 6th century monk, the story goes that the mythological creature took shelter in this this extraordinary geological site – St Beatus Caves, next to the the lakes of Interlaken".
After breakfast we headed out to explore the St. Beatus Caves. We took a bus there (the Swiss really do their public transportation right!) and was greeted by the great, long, pretty, cascade rich, steep climb up to the TICKET booth! Thank god for multiple benches along the way.

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We got a LOT of really good exercise! So many stairs, and steep trails. We started reminiscing about being in our teens and when hiking was FUN and we loved it! I hiked all around Strawberry Lake, BAREFOOTED, when I was 15.. and we talked about spelunking. Patrick loves caves, me not so much after an experience crawling through a black cave on a teen trip. Proud I accomplished that but not a favorite hobby choice. But this place has a ton of history - back to prehistoric times and the monk from the Middle Ages (who happens to be buried there).

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Not a lot of photos from inside but what was cool was the rush of water. That cascade on the outside is the river that runs through the inside of the caves. One of those photos, if you look very closely, is the amber color of a stalagmite with the light shining through it. So hard not being able to capture the intensity of things with my phone camera!!! Urg.

Here is a MUCH better video someone else took. St. Beatus-Holden Caves Dragon and a Saint

We were both exhausted when done, so decided to stay there and eat lunch at the restaurant. The day was BEAUTIFUL ! The sun felt soo good after the cool of the caves. Even though it was very cool inside, I was dripping with sweat when we exited. Again the phone photo does not capture the beauty of the lake and the village on the otherside. Where I want to live. :) We had good solid Swiss food (Roesti and Pork Schnitzel). YUM!
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I was hoping to catch the boat back to Interlaken but we were still up way too high to make it in time, so again caught the bus back. I thought about doing the Lake Thun cruise but it was two hours long and I was bushed (aka old and wanted a nap). Pat wanted to stop at the CooP and pick up some things so I wait for him where the bus let us off. While waiting I saw an amazing site.. actually two.. the sight of the Jungfrau through the buildings and a 'gathering' of parasailers and hang gliders flying around each other above a nearby cliff. Again.. photo sucks compared to the real thing. I did get a movie but have to see if I have room still to load it up.

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With Patrick back (did you know its impossible to buy ice at a grocery store here?) we decided to go sit by the river and enjoy being outside .. and rest. We stopped by the hotel (which was amazingly well situation to EVERYTHING - train, bus, restaurants) and found an old lock in the river to sit by and rest. It was a VERY cool place and pretty.

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There are many old, and majestic, buildings on this side of Interlaken. Which makes it beautiful. There are castles around the two lakes, which are also majestic. So the city is a real mix of the modern and the old.

Overall what impresses me about every place we have been to so far:

  • They are peaceful - people work, but are respectful (for the most part). They laugh but there is a calmness about .. well them, the atmosphere in the air, everything.
  • Things are organized and run smoothly. Public transportation is amazingly smooth.
  • It's CLEAN !! In the cities a street sweeper is run 'every day' in the early morning. And there are guys around the streets picking up stuff in between. There is some graffiti but very little in comparison to you see along train routes in the US.
  • It feels SAFE.. you really could walk the streets without idiots bothering you.

There is a LOT the USA could learn from these countries.

Anyway, back to the hotel we had a long chat with one of the front desk people. She was the one who checked us in yesterday. She is a Kiwi! From New Zealand.. can't remember her name but very chatty and nice. She shared how she and her sister we telling their mom, who is 84, that she has lived past her social security years and cause everyone was going that it was draining their retirement coffers. It's not just in America guys!! LOL Poor mom though...

Btw, here is our hotel. Our room was the second story balcony - the one with the pink and red flowers on your left.
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So off to dinner which was literally 200 feet from our hotel in one of the top 5 restaurants in the area. Swiss food again! yum! Restaurant Baren We made reservations as recommended by TripAdvisor --glad we did as it filled up fast.
Pat and cheese fondue and I had braised beef. (I got some of the fondue too!)
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And back at the hotel the Jungfrau and the Monk did not disappoint with the light of the setting sun making them pick and purple..
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Good night!

Posted by sstalpo 12:11 Archived in Switzerland Tagged caves interlaken beatus Comments (0)

Finally - the Alps!

I mean.. got to see the 'real' big stuff..

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I am posting from the Post Hardermannli hotel in Interlaken
Our first Budget Hotel

And to my surprise (it took me a while to figure out what it was) the Jungfrau !! (translates to 'young girl') outside the window of my hotel room!!
It's beautiful and a TRUE ALP. There is also a building up there called the Top of Europe!
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Anyway.. we are not going up there. It's just cool that I can see it from my hotel room!
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It was hard to leave Lucerne (cause I so want to live there). I'm loving that we have been staying in every Altstadt (Old Town) so far. Same in Interlaken. We are staying in the Unterseen area. Horse drawn tourist carriages come by all the time. We can watch the parasailers high up above the city (They have ****S!)

But today's big thing was the Golden Pass train ride here !!! The first class car was super spacious! Great area for our luggage and only four other people in there with us. Plus a waitress brought be some hot tea (which I was thankful for cause it was really cold in there!). But off we went. Btw, I agree with everyone (aka Rick Steves) that the Swiss rail lines are super, super nice.. . clean.. easy to use..
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When we got up into the mountains and saw the real Switzerland in my mind! Cows, Beautiful waterfalls. Houses perched on sides of mountains. Green!! Cute Villages (where I want to live). Though the pictures from my phone are worthless to the impact of seeing the steep mountains and waterfalls. The snowcovered peaks which peak out from behind the green ones are huge and right there! In your face! The camera pushes them out and blurs the rocky crags which are crystal clear in my eyes.

So thought I tried to get some shots, I gave up over time.
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Though the color of the water in the lakes was AMAZINGLY turquoise! This is lake Brienz! As we first came into the Interlaken area.
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The green is still getting to me. Is it possible to OD on that color? :)

We were pretty bushed so decided to just have dinner in the restaurant attached to the hotel. Though it was pretty darn good! Rated #2 in TravelAdvisor for the Unterseen area. Patrick has Swordfish with Veges, and cause it was an Italian place I had Spaghetti Bolognaise.
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and FINALLY - I got a good shot of the Jungfrau! I also tried to get one of the moon coming up next to it.. but as you can see (you kinda have to figure out the round white dot to the left is the moon. In real life it was like WOW!!!)
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btw, I didn't get a picture of Pat's gig at the Shamrock Pub! He did great! Played for a couple of hours. Got applause. There was a group of older people from New Zealand who particularly liked him. We chatted a bit with them afterwards and they really liked that I lived in 'Oz' for three years back in the day..
But he did great.. I had chips and lager.. it overall it went really well.
Trip Advisor's Page on the Shamrock

Posted by sstalpo 16:46 Archived in Switzerland Tagged jungfrau interlaken Comments (0)

Bells vs Alpen Horns

You decide...


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Both times I was surprised by these sounds in these cities.

Bells - Salzburg Altstadt -- 3 PM

You start to hear the normal chime of bells on the top of the hour. Then suddenly you hear another kind of bell join in. Then another. And another. With each new bell the layered effect is amazing, and a loud. The depth of sound - amazing. Who thought this up was brilliant. The chimes go on together across the city for a long time.
Then like they started.. one stops, then another, and another - till you are left with the original (now sounding very small) chimes at the hour.
Listen -

Alpen Horns - Lucerne Altstadt
I never really understood how these horns could have been used to communicate across mountains. Now I get it! They are LOUD - yet soft at the same time. Soft in tone, not in volume. When these started I had no warning (well it was the same as the bells). But the depth and melodic quality of the notes impressed me. I just 'heard' Switzerland. The horns started literally a few feet (though out of my eye sight) in the courtyard of the old City Hall - around the nearest corner to us. And it was so quiet outside.. no one talked while they played .
LIsten..

There is mostly no movement in these.. its just that the video on my phone was my only option to capture the moment.

What do you think? Which is more impressive?
Bells or Alpen Horns

Posted by sstalpo 14:46 Tagged bells tourist horns alpen chimes suprise Comments (1)

Update: Weddings in Lucern

I got to see it.. at least on the outside

semi-overcast
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More photos..

Here is a picture of the side of the Zunfthausrestaurant Pfistern - the old Grain Miller, Baker and Pastry Chef (gotta love that combination) guild hall - where I had my midafternoon meal. After my Chardonnay soup I had a plate of Swiss cold meats and cheese (YUM!) to finish off my glass of wine. Little did I know at the time that (and I'm stealing this from the culturetrip.com website - cause they just say it better than I could)

The building dates " back to the 16th century, when it was built as a guild hall for the city’s bakers and millers [and don't forget the pastry chefs!]. A beautiful fresco on the facade, depicting a tree bearing many coats of arms, makes the building one of the Old Town’s crown jewels. The typical, seasonal Swiss cuisine also comes with the fantastic view of the famous Kapellebrucke." Which was the wooden pedestrian bridge we walked across in the morning. While waiting for Pat's gig in the pub, we sat on a bench with this view. The light was amazing as the sun started to set.

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Anyway.. back to Pfistern (say that fast five times!) The coat of arms represent the members of the guild. Even though to Pat and I it looked like a family tree..

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OK so back to the weddings. As I was walking back to the hotel room (which is actually not a hotel a bunch of Air BNB type of rooms managed by a hotel around the corner.. I saw a line of people standing like a gauntlet outside the main door to the old City Hall. I remembered the cheering I could hear earlier and it all clicked. These were the friends of someone getting married waiting for them outside to cheer and throw rice and bubbles on them! Now it made sense why the cheering was so loud. So I thought I'd wait to see the celebration.

It took longer than I expected. I did find it interesting many of them were wearing the same company logo t-shirt. I guess it was a unity thing. Not sure I'd want my work friends to show up at my wedding with blue SLHS shirts on.. but I get it. LOL

FINALLY the wedding party came out.... annnnnnnnnnnnndddddddddddddddd THEN the groom and the bride! And the cheering commenced with the bubbles. You can just make out the bride by the white of her wedding dress showing through the 'gauntlet'. Everyone looked genuinely happy for the couple.

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A last little thing - cause you know my fondness for the creatures of the world. All day long I noticed how the itty bitty sparrows around town would face someone who was eating and look up at them expectantly - hoping for a scrap. But it was in a group.

Oooooooooooooooooooooooo I just heard Alpen horns outside !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wow that beat the bells in Salzburg !! I took a move to capture it. hoping YouTube will let me load it up.

OK random amazing moment !!!! LOVED I !! Totally unaware that was going to happen. I think they are outside the old city hall which is literally steps from here. They are playing another song!! *sigh* I am in Switzerland - finally.

So the little birds. Here is what they looked like.. all looking up - hoping. Bless their little hearts.

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Posted by sstalpo 10:10 Archived in Switzerland Tagged hall guild Comments (0)

The Sun Shineth in Luzern

Retirement by the Lake.. YES!

semi-overcast 63 °F
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I admit, I didn't think Luzerne would outshine Salzburg when we arrived yesterday in the grey, drench soaked town. But this morning the sun came out and warmed my heart and eyes.. and the town turned beautiful !

We needed to do laundry and found a laundromat nearby which would do it for us. Yay!!! After breakfast in the sister hotel Aldstadt Krone (which again was lovely) we planned the day.

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FIRST I need to note I am writing this while sitting at a café table (part of a restaurant in the historic grain and pastry chef guild of old) right on the river, by the historic pedestrian bridge having Chardonnay Soup and the House White. LOVELY !! I'm loving it. It is 3 pm so I didn't want a big meal and this is perfect. Tastes wonderful, and warmed me up to take off the edge of the slightly Fall-like cool air. The water is sooo calm! The water a really nice greenish blue. Peaceful!!

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Also the old guild hall is right next to the old City Hall -- and I noticed a line of couples out in front of on my way here. Then I saw one women in a wedding dress and it all clicked. THEN I could hear 'cheering' from there and 'of course'! It is civil wedding day at the old city hall!

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What happened before now? I got to take two items off my bucket list. We walked around the Old Town. The amazing variety of the murals on the buildings and the 'feel' of this area was so cool. Its one of those things that Disney world could try and recreate but really you can't. The buildings look like something in Epcot but knowing that people lived and worked in these buildings as far back as 700 AD. It would feel artificial. Our hotel is RIGHT on one the squares in the old town area so just looking out the window is 'cool' (I have lost the ability to find the right words). :) There is so much variety. And the building murals mean something. I will add a picture of the side of Pfistern hotel/restaurant where I am eating. Their mural was created so long ago and shows all the family crests of the members of the Grain and Pastry Chef Guild.

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We did the tourist thing of walking across the wooden pedestrian bridge.. but everything so much better in the sunlight !

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I really wanted to go out on the lake, but couldn't figure out the timetable on the ferries. Happily I found an 1 hour cruise (per Patrick insert Gilligan's Island theme song here). So we went for it. It was on a converted yacht and took us around the main part of the lake. My mind exploded though when I saw the ALPS (the real alps) -- appearing out from behind the clouds. Covered in snow!! There is no way a picture can do them justice!! Mount Rika was beautiful. Unfortunately Mount Pilatus was still under clouds.. but the stories of hidden dragons and the volume of lightening that hits that mountain make the tour fun. It was so comfortable. I thought it would be super cold after yesterday but the water was calm as glass, and the they drove slowly so the wind (even though we sat at the very front) was not bracing.

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I could have stayed on that boat all day.. and drunk in the beauty.
And yes.. it actually surpassed Salzburg. I didn't think it was possible
The blue, the calm, the warmth, the light... so much fun!!

AND I really love sitting here by the river on my own (Pat is taking a nap before his gig at the Shamrock Irish Pub tonight) writing to you. Last night I had green chicken curry and tonight will be cottage pie .. it truly is an international world. :)
I would love to retire here. It's amazing how much open space there is around the lake --- I could put a house in one of them. :)
Can Switzerland keep it up??

Posted by sstalpo 06:24 Archived in Switzerland Tagged lake lucerne lucern aldstadt Comments (0)

Glad the rain was today..

And trains are warm and cozy...

rain 51 °F
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I'm already a day behind. This will be a light post as yesterday was our travel day to Lucerne and it rained all day. A LOT of rain. Looking out from the train at the people standing in each of the train stops we went by made me grateful that for the most of the day we would be inside the train where it was warm and dry.

Our last morning in Salzburg had some really cool moments. After the usually great breakfast the Elefant's glamourous breakfast room, in packing up we had the window open (the rain had stopped at this point) and we were listening to the Sunday morning call to worship. When we suddenly heard loud banging of drums and a guy shouting. We thought maybe it was a protest of somekind or other.. it went for a like 15 minutes. Then we heard the cadence of drums into an easy march and looked out the window. There were guys in period costume marching down our street. Then it dawned these is a staged thing and with the historic City Hall just steps from us it made sense.. this was like a morning 'proclamation' event.

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With the morning news being delivered to the masses from the steps of City Hall. So cool !!! Glad we got to see that..
We also heard fake gun shots as they got down towards the square and then later a marching band going through the street behind us.

So we checked out and caught a taxi to the train station. One the way there we drove right back the Mirabelle Gardens... so got an even closer view!! Yay.. Salzburg was amazing, beautiful, romantic, peaceful... I kinda miss it.

The majority of the day was the train ride back to Switzerland. No pictures... just rain and more rain. We got off the super smooth rail jet and onto our first Swizz local train. Thank God we only had to move over one platform... we thought we might need to run. There were very few people in the first class car.. which was nice. We played cards till we got to Lucerne and chatted with a very lovely lady from Zurich.

The most fun last night was in the Shamrock pub! The one Melinda, the stewardess from Swiss Air told us about. Unfortunately she had woken up with a cold and sore throat, so could not meet us there but we went on our own. And had a GREAT time. We met two couples, who we hung out with. One, Janet and Dan, also known as 'Danette' (as a couple). Super sweet, and fun, it was their very first day on their European vacation. From St. Louis they were on their way up through Germany and ending in Amsterdam.

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Crazy thing is that Dan works in IT.. and just any IT but Healthcare IT. He works with an insurance company doing software development. Their goal is to support providers in meeting HEDIS Goals in order to both safe money and provide quality care.
it was pretty amazing and such a small world.!

Michael and Stephanie were next to us as well and were very helpful in finding a good restaurant in the area.

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We were going to head out to that place but instead decided to stay to join everyone in the Pub Quiz night! We did pretty good.. not great .. but not bad. LOL Did very well in the music quiz (big surprise). For a rainy night it was VERY nice to land here our first actual night in Switzerland ! I'm so excited for the rest. Tomorrow's forecast is for the rain to stop. And Pat is on deck to come back to the pub and play as much as he wants .. yay!

Posted by sstalpo 23:58 Archived in Switzerland Tagged lucerne Comments (0)

Musical Rainy Salzburg

I'm a day behind.. so catching up


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The morning started early.. and the rain was gently falling.

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Tried to sleep in a little more and both of us got up and off to breakfast around 8:30. After going over the plans for the day - in agreement that the rain make it nice and was not going to stop us. (Really it made it more of an adventure). First need to note that the breakfast was amazing and it felt really good to have a 'real' hot breakfast - eggs, bacon the whole works. The hotel's breakfast room had a warm, Georgian feel to it and everyone was calm, quiet. It was nice to hear all the different languages around us.

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Though as we headed out and it was raining lightly outside, the light in the Aldstadt (Old Town) itself wasn't gloomy. Our goal for the morning was to get to the Fortress above the city. One the way we stopped in at the Salzburg Cathedral. It was a nice break from the rain, and it was on my list to see the ceilings - which did not disappoint. The works of art in every ceiling space, and walls, where amazing in both the number and quality of the actual artwork. So impressive. The cloudy skies outside made it too dark to take any pictures that captured the impact of what it was like to see them in person. I kept thinking of how stories in the bible were painted in these massive places to those who could not read. This church was founded in 711 and rebuilt in 1181 after a fire. Looking at the details in those ceilings it impressed me again how workers who did not have electrical tools, and worked with plaster and oil paints, did all of this. They earned my respect! There was one weird thing too in the church - it looked like there were FIVE pipe organs. Four small ones - at each corner around the transit - and a HUGE on up in the gallery in the back. So wish there was a service or concert to confirm what it 'looked' like.. (think I need to do some research)

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I found some better pics online than mine. One even captured the weird four small pipe organs.

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Entering back out into the rain, we entered one of the many 'squares'. This one was at the base of the hill with the Hohensalzburg Fortress looking down on us. Pat decided we should buy an umbrella (*grin* I forgot to pack one), and off we went to find the funicular to get up to that Fortress!

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I should of taken a pic of the funicular cause it was quite impressively STEEP. I'm not a fan of heights but it was still pretty cool watching the city take form under us the higher we got. We stepped out into the courtyard of a world that was initiated in 1077. I still get goosebumps walking in places where others did eons ago. We just do not have that kind of history in the States.

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WOW - did I get my steps and stair exercise in !!! Traversing up to the high tower, in through the battlement walkways, through the torture chamber, kitchen, in through the museum which had exhibits on the military of the regiment attached to the fortress over the years. There were WWII, WWI and earlier armenment and uniforms and trinkets. One of the coolest items was a guitar from WWI that was signed by all the soldiers in the trench with the owner.

Then we got into the even older section with the medieval armor, and musical instruments, gold coins, and toys.

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From the view I saw the Mirabelle gardens afar and made the decision that I therefore 'saw' it and was ok not to expend the energy to see it in person. I really is just a garden. So back down into the Old Town, and a more than a bit damp, it was off to the hotel to dry off and figure out what was next. Pat grabbed a couple of huge pretzels as we went through the little market stalls. I grabbed the photo of this statue which was kinda hiding in an alcove attached to the cathedral. Very interesting.. very nice patina on the bronze which made it even more mysterious and enagaging.

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Pat was taken by some lederhosen in the window of store. They were brilliantly embroidered - just beautiful. He bought a pair for himself 45 years ago, so wanted to try them on and 'see'. They didn't have his more 'adult' size and offered to make him a pair 'custom' … for $700 Euro. Um. yeah.. beautiful but not really practical for Boise. ;)

After a change of clothes we decided for the afternoon to go our own ways. I needed to rest my feet, and wanted to see Mozart's birthplace etc. Pat wanted to window shop. He wended his around, walked along the river and across the 'pad lock' pedestrian bridge. My feet were not cooperating so it was nice to hear what he saw, while Mozart's birthplace was LITERALLY right around the corner from our hotel. So a perfect destination for ME! Not that impressive, but it supported one of Pat's first night lightbulb moments -- how small this town was it made sense how it would have influenced Mozart and his whole family. I kept walking and ended up in an outdoor market, which had Mozart's father's family house. I grabbed a spicy sausage from a street vendor at the market. I've heard they were better than what we had in the states - it was 'ok'.. I've had better as home. But it was on the list to 'try'.. so I did. :)

To top off the day we had dinner in the upscale St. Peter Stiftskulinarium, attached to the St. Peter's Monestary and right up against the mount on which sat the Fortress. They say there has been a restaurant since the year 803 AD! It was beautiful, with 10 very different dinning rooms. We were in the brick alcove one.
St. Peter's Website

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My pics of dinner

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We had amazing service, and I loved the food as I got to accomplish my two food goals for Vienna -- Wiener Schnitzel and Salzburger Nockerl (a dessert unique to Salzburg). The Wiener Schnitzel came with lemon and Lingonberry sauce and buttered/parsley potatoes. YUM!! But what I died and gone to heaven with was the S'Nockerl. It is a meringue 'souffle' which takes 25 minutes to make and comes out looking like the mountains of Salzburg. Under the meringue was lingonberry sauce and it came with a bowl of cream with more lingonberries in it (which did help to cut the sweetness). I made it through two and half of the 'mountains'!! It not overly sweet, but light and the outside was like the outside of a toasted marshmallow. I LOVED IT!!!

On the walk back to the hotel it hit me how Salzburg is really a very beautiful city and I am so happy we decided to stay in the heart of Old Town. It felt so unique with beautiful views in every direction, seeped in history. Our little pedestrian street was beautiful in it self.. and the hotel was only a 'few' steps from the historic City Hall which rang a bell every 15 minutes.

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OH! The Musical Salzburg notation in the title is related to the bells that went off to the tell the hour. And every day at 3 pm the all ring together.. starting with one, then layering the others on top, till they are all playing at once. It is loud and quite magical. I was resting in the room, before heading out to wander and opened the window of our hotel room to really enjoy it. I took a video, as I wanted to share the experience, but YouTube said it was too large to upload.. so going to need to figure that out.

LOL Patrick just showed me the postcards he bought for people back home and joked 'we didn't have enough stairs' LOL OH YES WE DID!

I better wrap this up. All in all it was a very lovey day! And I fell in love with Salzburg!

Posted by sstalpo 05:25 Archived in Austria Tagged salzburger nockerl Comments (0)

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