The view from our living room window before we left on Friday
And after a mere 30 hour journey we are in Hanoi
Yesterday we went to the fine art museumToday the Temple of Literature
And the Ngoc Son Temple
On an island in Hoan Kiem Lake
!!!!!!! ROAD TRIP !!!!!!
Yesterday, we dropped Heather off at the trailhead of the the Highland Hiking Trail in Algonquin Park. She doesn’t start at the village till next week (…long story), so she is hiking this week to kill time, and I suppose because it is one of her favourite things to do. I had the day off and Alan took the day off so we could go together to take her up. Her cousins will pick her up on Saturday on their way through the Park to mums for the long weekend.Here they are. What Alan is covering up is the part of the sign which says don’t hike alone. Which is one of the reasons I am awake at 4 in the morning, although it is dawn and so time for the other people to soon find her lifeless body on the trail, don’t you know…It was great to be back, however briefly in the land of Tom Thompson. I spent five feild seasons in Algonquin park when I was Heather’s age, back in my biology days. It is truly one of my favourite places on earth. No matter where I go, it will always be one of the best. This church on the way up to the Park has always killed me. It is literally in the middle of nowhere, yet it is so huge. When you google the nearby village of Wilno, Ontario, you find out about its “famous” annual chicken dinner.This nearby plaque explains the history of the Polish settlers in the area. There was probably a lot of timber money in the past to bankroll the church. They clearcut the whole area and sent it floating down the Madawaska River and on to the Ottawa River and the world at large. I remember seeing the log booms from the Peace Tower of the Parliament buildings as a kid, when they were finishing up the process 50 years ago.This is the trees now. Still beautiful but not really very old.
Just before my flight was supposed to start boarding, I heard my name over the PA system. When I got to the flight crew, they handed me a new boarding pass for business class. YEAH!
This was my first and maybe only time in business class so when I was greeted with a tray of wine, beer, fresh squeezed orange juice, and Champagne, I chose the Champagne to celebrate, even though I pretty much hate it. The next time I had a Heineken, cause I am much more of a beer gal.I was also given a flight kit with socks, blindfold, earplugs, lipbalm, toothbrush and paste.They have WAY better food in business class, served with a ‘tablecloth’ over your tray and real glassware, china and heavy cutlery wrapped in a cloth napkin (so you know you are in a classy joint). This was dessert course of the first meal. When the flight started, the pilot announced that there was someone with a peanut allergy on board, so there would be no peanut service… No problem in business class, they serve your choice of gouda or mixed nuts (the no peanut kind) Of course, being me, I spent most of my time watching movies on a much bigger screen than I would have had on the other side of the curtain. The chair reclines and changes shape infinitely. I was using those buttons constantly. No chance to get uncomfortable! Oh, and did I mention the massage feature? And the two rounds of hot towels.At the end of the flight, they gave me this little ceramic house. I had previously been unsuccessful in finding a small object to join the collection I have of little mementoes from my travels. This will do nicely. If I had actually paid for this experience, the difference in price would have probably equalled the amount of money I spent on 6 weeks of hostel accomodation. Would I pay for it? No way. Anybody who knows me knows I am too cheap for that. But it was a perfect ending to a perfect trip and it was by far the shortest 7 hour flight I have ever been on.
Yesterday, I crossed the chain bridge past this guy and entered the Buda side of the river. Six weeks ago. Charles and I had done Pest.This time, I eschewed the funicular, mainly because the lineup was huge and it cost $10 one way.I have been trying to walk around a lot anyway to get some exercise every day. I got the lovely surprise of this view of Matthias Church as I rounded the corner.Then this view of the Parliament buildings in Pest on the other side of the Danube.I am now at the departure gate waiting for the first leg of my journey home. It has been a great trip but I have to work tomorrow. Yikes.
So I have been doing some power touristing in Vienna. I bought a two day Vienna Pass which gets you the hop on/off bus plus numerous museums. Yesterday I visited:The MAK museum of decorarive art and did two routes of the hop on/off bus.I also went to the Votive church, which for some inexplicable reason has weird coloured lights on the alter section.…and the museum of natural history which, amongst other things, has an extensive meteorite collection.Today was even fuller, starting with a visit to the art history museum. As well as a fine collection of paintings, they have an exceptional collection of decorative objects, which left me awestruck by the craftmanship.This was followed by a visit to the Leopold museum. After 5 solid hours of art galleries, I took the hop on bus.…to the world heritage site. Schonbrunn Palace and gardens. This is a picture of the Belvedere, the picture at the top of the post is the actual palace, as seen from this building.The tour of the actual palace was impressive. So were the grounds. I was already dead tired at this point so I took the silly tourist train through the gardens.And if that wasn’t enough, I cued up for half an hour to buy a standing room ticket for the opera. I gave myself permission to leave before the end, fearing I might collapse if I didn’t.
I took a short walk in the train station area of Innsbruck before heading out.We got to Feldkirch, Austria yesterday and we are staying in the youth hostel. It is a building that was used as a leper/plague sanitorium in the late 1300’s.Today we bought a day ticket on the Lichtenstein bus service. We overshot our stop and ended up going through and into Switzerland accidentally before turning round.On the way back we stopped in Vaduz, Lichtenstein and walked around a bit. Lichtensten is lovely, full of mountain views, but it is quite built up and super expensive. We didn’t visit the castle you can see on the cliff above the building in the foreground. Charles is a bit castled out and I was happy enough not to bother myself.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love to travel?Spending a day swiching from train to bus to train with easy connections. Hearing the announcer say ‘Kitzbuhel’ and realizing this is where they ski on tv.Having a couple of hours to kill in a town that ends up being super pretty.With really random statues.Rolling past mountains and lakes and rivers and streams. And ending up in Innsbruck with a half hour walk to the hostel, and seeing mountains through every break between buildings and breathing the famously crisp mountain air.