Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The weekend of November 6th and 7th (I know I am really behind!) I headed off to Salzburg with two of my friends, Nicole and Crystal. We decided in our excitement that an overnight train would be perfect for our trip in order to cut out a night's stay in Salzburg and still have a full two days. Looking back? probably not one of our brightest ideas. We arrived fresh faced and excited at 4:15am. Did you know? In Salzburg nothing much is open at 4:15 am. Instead we sat in a smelly compartment for 3 hours having a conversation which none of us remember.
Nicole was not happy to be awake this early

at 7:15 we decided to have a look around and managed to find a grocery store open 7:30. Lucky for us! We managed to have a nice breakfast and lots of coffee before heading out to the....wait for it.....SOUND OF MUSIC TOUR!! I know you are all incredibly jealous. This was a 4 hour tour that took us to all the places they filmed including some of the lakes around Salzburg. Probably one of the most fantastic tours I have taken. It was chock full of remaking the movie and singing. pure JOY! We got a lot of background on the real Von Trapp family and the filming lies that took place. (like the fact that running from the hill to the abbey in the beginning would have taken more than 3 minutes....like A LOT more.) Overall probably my favorite part of the trip!
Nicole and I in front of the glass gazebo from the 16 going on 17 scene
In front of the pond where the kids fell out of the canoe. Not the same house though.  Tricky Hollywood!  
Our tour bus. Oh YES. I know you're jealous!

On the bus. Note the people behind me. Mostly we had older couples.
Nicole and Crystal with our tour guide out in the lakes surrounding Salzburg. 
reenacting in Mirabell Gardens. I tried to find a movie picture but couldn't So just imagine it.
Picture with the gnome again from the Sound of Music.

After that we headed to the Mirabell gardens where we reenacted more scenes from the movie (clips to come) and walked about the beautiful gardens. including seeing the gnome garden. After taking full advantage of all the Sound of Music photo opportunities we decided to head into the city for a look around. One of the famous streets of Salzburg is Getreidgasse. It is a major shopping street with one of the coolest parts being all the signs for the shops.

see the old fashioned signs? Even Claire's is a darker color (although you can't really tell here)

Fun fact: McDonald's tried to put up their golden arches as the sign but the place was boycotted for 3 weeks until Mickey D's replaced the sign.

This street is also where Mozart's Geburtshaus (birthplace) is located. After some wandering through the shops and getting a few postcards we met up with our couch-surfing friend and had a quick stop back at his place before heading to one of the highlights of the trip a concert in the Salzburg fortress.
Nicole with our host Georg

I had wanted to have one experience of Mozart's music in his birthplace and the fortress was just perfect. It was candlelit and we listen to a Haydn quartet followed by a Mozart clarinet quintet and then a Mozart quartet. Overall very good and a really cool experience in the fortress.
The fortress where we had our concert.

the stage area of our concert

Sunday was filled with more wandering of the city. We went to Mozarts Wohnsthaus. The girls were not as excited as I was I don't think....

Not excited AT ALL

So excited I thought it deserved a jumping picture!
Mozart and I are pretty tight. NBD

They had a lot of Mozart's work and about the lifestyle and his development as an artist. After a bit of a sightseeing overload we ended our trip walking around the city and having coffee in one of the most famous cafes in Salzburg, Tomaselli's before catching our train back to Zurich.
We had a coffee break on the balcony overlooking the square. Nice people watching!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Munich Part 2 (a month late)

So back to Munich. Wednesday was filled with the Olympics and BMWs. I was able to head up the olympicturm (olympic tower) where a rock and roll museum is also located. There I I took the elevator up the 805 meters and got some great views of the city including places I hadn't yet been to that I was looking forward to seeing.
I was really excited to be there!!!

After that I headed to take a look at their Rock and Roll museum also at the top of the olympic tower (why? I have absolutely no clue) to see what interesting facts on singers they were able to dig up. Sadly, nothing of note was really there. EXCEPT THIS:
Is that a Britney Spears plane ticket?

Can you see it? A Britney Spears plane ticket. A really hot item, I think. I then took the elevator back down and headed to the BMW museum. Now, normally I am not one who is into cars. Sure there are nice cars but I'm not one that is really into them at all. I decided to check it out anyways and actually saw some pretty cool stuff. They talked a lot about the history of the car and what they produce.  I saw the different models over the years, including the 007 car used in one of the James Bond movies. My favorite part by far in the museum was the art cars, which were designed by various artists including  Andy Warhol, Matazo Kayama, Frank Stella, and the most recent one Jeff Koons.  These started in 1975 and use both racing cars and regular cars. Full list here
The car done by Andy Warhol

After the museum I pretended I was rich enough and headed to the show room to check out the current models ( and a few older ones).
Car I want to have

Car I will actually have

Thursday I headed to the Nymphenburg Palace on the outskirts of Munich. A beautiful palace that used to be the summer home of the Bavarian rulers. 
Pretty grand. This is only part of the building. I wraps all the way around a garden

Today it is the home of a Duke of Bavaria as well as a chancery (Wikipedia: a type of building that houses a diplomatic mission or embassy.)  I went inside the house but a lot of the paintings were blacked out from being destroyed in WWII. The furniture was just so-so and I got out of there pretty fast to take a walk on the grounds which were pretty stunning. There were a few different buildings on the walk I took that had been built by later Bavarian rulers which was interesting to see in the contrast between the architecture. 
This building was actually built to look like Ruins which I thought an interesting take for architecture.

I then headed to the carriage house to see the old carriages that had been used for the rulers. There were quite a few that reminded me of Cinderella's carriage (Thank goodness got those right!) as well as some small sleds for children and an old fashioned merry-go-round (it was unclear how that worked...).
See? I told you. CINDERELLA!

After a morning at the Palace I was ready for my last tour. The Olympic soccer stadium! I was strangely excited to be taking this tour. And although I contemplated taking a walk on the Plexiglas roof of the stadium my fear of heights and expensive tours kept me on the ground.
the tour I thought about taking but didn't.

Olympic stadium!
We walked through the VIP rooms,  the locker rooms and onto the field during our tour. My accomplishment of the tour was that I had taken the entire tour in German. A major feat for me, when I had only taken one month long class! The tour guide was Canadian however, and after bonding over the fact that we were both from North America decided to over-share on her life and the fact that the reason she was there was because of an unplanned pregnancy....I did NOT see that one coming! Overall a very successful tour!
see? I was glad I took it!

Friday was spent mostly wandering the city as I had completed most of the items on the top ten check list and at this point was museum'd and artifacted out. I managed to do a little more walking around the city before heading home to Zurich on Friday afternoon.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Munich part 1

I'm doing my trip to Munich in two parts because frankly I don't want to tire you out from reading a ridiculously long post This was about 2 weeks ago ( I know I'm suuuuuper behind!). I did quite a bit during the week I was there. The worst part was doing it by myself. Now I don't mind hanging out by myself occasionally and for short periods of time but this trip was me by myself all week (well except for dinner with the family I was staying with) I had to go to Munich for the week to visit some family of my host family. I got there Sunday night and stayed til Friday night. Besides the occasional picking up of the kids and making dinner twice, I was mostly on my own to do things.

Monday! I got up early (and by early i mean 7:45 because that is about an hour and a half before I normally wake up every day.Yes i do get 9 full hours of sleep every night. Disgusted? I am and I LOVE it!) I decided to head to the main platz Marienplatz. Here I got the top 10 things to do in Munich map from the tourist office and wandered about the area poking into shops and figuring out what my best plan would be for the week. The top ten list was extremely helpful in planning the week and I was able to narrow down where I wanted to go. The good part was that I could be pretty relaxed about the whole week and didn't feel the need to pull out my parents expertise in seeing as much as possible in as little time as possible (Eurotrip '98, oh yes mom and dad that trip will never be forgotten!)I went into the Frauenkirche, and went up in the tower. I saw the market place that was near Marienplatz and ate some weisswurst (never again, one of the worse meals of the trip). This was a day mostly to get my bearings and just be able to wander and see a little bit of architecture along the way.

view of Marienplatz from the ground

Inside the church- love the ceiling!

the view of Marienplatz from Frauenkirche

View from the FrauenKirche the mustard yellow church is the residence palace area

The Frauenkirche towers. Sadly one was being renovated!

Tuesday: I went into the residence palace and around the gardens near there as well as a beautiful old (obviously) church which had no stained glass and all the sculptures were carved into the stone (As seen below). The gardens were really picturesque and it was cool to walk around the area. I also tried desperately to get into the Munich opera house for a tour, but unfortunately they didn't have tours available until Saturday which was after I was leaving. In the museum there were lots of furniture and usual household items but what was interesting was how affected it had been by WWII. The descriptions often said that the ceiling or certain other paintings were destroyed in WWII and so they had very little to help put together a room. Stuff was also switched between this palace and the Nymhenburg palace (I'll talk about there in part II)

view of the park near the residence

residence kirche really really beautiful

note all the carvings and the non stained glass windows.

I lit a candle for my grandfather that recently passed away. It was too beautiful a church not to.

This is the only picture i have inside the residence palace. A really cool banquet room filled with so much art!