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Europe

Vienna, Austria

For the final leg of our trip Mei Ling and I hopped on a train and traveled from Salzburg, to Vienna.  We’d heard that Vienna is a pretty amazing city, so we were excited to end our trip there.

The best part about Vienna, from our perspective, is that it is where Liz lives!  Liz was another roommate of ours in college, and she’s been all over world since we all graduated.  She’s lived in the Ukraine, in Moscow, in Texas, and now she and her family (!) live in Vienna.  It was great to see her, and Matt, and their little one, Naomi who we got to meet for the first time!  She’s cute as a button.

It rained a bunch while we were in Vienna, but we still got out and did as much as we could.  We climbed up to the top of St. Stephen’s Cathedral to get a view of the city.  Look at the rooftop!  I loved the patterns. Those are ceramic tiles, glazed in all kinds of bright colors.

We visited Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the Habsburg emperors.  It has 1,441 rooms.  Goodness.

We walked through a few of those rooms, but what we liked best was the garden surrounding the palace.  It covers 435 acres and includes hedge mazes, miles and miles of walking paths, a greenhouse filled with tropical plants, an orangerie (for growing oranges, of course) an aviary filled with birds, lots of fountains and pools, and a zoo!  With pandas!

We tried the famous Sacher Torte at Hotel Sacher – Vienna’s special chocolate cake.  Yeah, it was good.

And, we became acquainted with Austria’s favorite soft drink, Almdudler.  It’s similar to ginger ale, but maybe not quite as sweet.  And, it comes in some pretty great bottles.

 

Salzburg, Austria

If you asked us to name our favorite stop on our trip I think both Mei Ling and I would say that it was Salzurg.  We LOVED it.  Salzburg is a little town just over the border into Austria, in the foothills of the Alps, and it is beautiful!  We loved wandering the little streets and exploring the fortress that sits on the hilltop overlooking the city.

We declared this to be our favorite place in Salzburg…Cafe Tomaselli.  We may have eaten there more than once.

Salzburg is famous for a couple of things.  First of all, it’s the home of that boy genius – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  That kid sure could play the piano!  We visited his house and learned all about him, and even got to see his piano.  But we weren’t allowed to take any photos.  Sorry.

Second of all, Salzburg is famous for being the town that brought us the Sound of Music!  That’s right!  Apparently, Austrians don’t really get excited about this, but I can tell you that Mei Ling and I did.  We learned that the Sound of Music is a (mostly) true story.  There really was a Captain von Trapp, and he did have seven kids, and they did have a governess named Maria.  The Captain and Maria really did fall in love and get married in real life, but their story wasn’t as dramatic and dangerous as Hollywood made it seem.

 

We visited some of the places that were used as sites for filming the movie.  This is Mirabell Garden, and you might recognize those steps at the far end of the photo.  Did we hop up and down those steps and sing “Do Re Mi?”  You bet we did.

Remember in the movie when the von Trapps hid behind the headstones when they were running away to escape from the Nazis?  That scene was based on this place, St. Peter’s Cemetery.

Yeah, we kind of got into it.

:: Carrie ::

 

Munich, Germany

Mei Ling and I tried our hardest to talk Kristi into coming with us on the rest of the trip, but she wouldn’t budge.  She said something about being responsible and that she had to work.  I don’t know. We finally gave up and made our way down to Munich.  We were only in Munich for about a day and a half but we crammed in SO much.  We visited Dachau, the first Nazi Concentration Camp established during WWII, which is just outside the city.  Wow.  It was such a somber place, but we were so glad we went. It’s hard to fathom what the people who were held there went through, but walking the grounds and seeing the buildings and reading their stories made it so much more real to us.

Most of our time was spent wandering around the city center.  We climbed to the top of a bell tower to get a good view.

We visited an outdoor market.

We hung out in a Bavarian Palace for a couple of hours.

And we watched some guys surfing in a canal in the big city park, The English Garden.  Crazy, but true!

:: Carrie ::

Cologne, Germany

Well, I know that I promised that I’d give you updates as I made my way across Europe, but I guess I got too caught up in it all, and that didn’t happen, did it? I hope you weren’t too worried about me. The good news is that I saw so many amazing things and I took a bunch of photos!

I think I mentioned that I was traveling with one of my college roommates, Mei Ling. She lives in San Diego now, so any time that we get to spend together is always fun, and especially when we can be together in Europe! When we were in school at Mizzou we actually lived in a house next to campus with five other girls…seven of us!  Today we are scattered all over the world, literally, and it’s not very often that we get to see one another. So, after our time in Amsterdam we hopped on a train to Germany. First stop was Cologne, the home of one of our other former roommates, Kristi!

Reunited!!  So fun!

Kristi gave us the grand tour of her city, and even took us to a 4th of July picnic, complete with live country music.  Felt just like home, sort of, aside from the fact that people around us were speaking German.  We also visited the huge Cathedral, took a cruise up the River Rhine, and got to explore an old castle!

The view from the top of the Cathedral.

The Cathedral was beautiful.  Huge and gothic, but what impressed me the most was the tile mosaic floor.  Everyone else was looking up at the domed ceiling and marveling at the gigantic pipe organ and colorful windows, but I couldn’t stop looking at the floor.

I was also fascinated with the ornate signs on the storefronts and restaurants.

Cruising on the Rhine.

:: Carrie ::

 

Amsterdam!

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Well, I’ve taken off on a little adventure and found myself in Amsterdam! What an amazing city! I can’t get over how everyone in the city rides a bike. Everyone. It’s great! I’m visiting a friend who lives here now, and this is actually just the first stop on a little European tour that will last a couple of weeks. I’m traveling with a college roommate and we have several more stops and several more friends to see. Fun times…I’ll keep you posted!

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:: Carrie ::