Archive for the 'Travelling' Category

The first class traveller

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Today I went to Passau by train (ICE – InterCityExpress). First class. Of course. That’s what I deserve. ;-)

1st class in ICE (Inter City Express)

The great thing about travelling first class is that you have much more space than in second class. That and a waiter who serves anything you want. People travelling second class have to go to the dining car themselves if they want to order drinks or something to eat. In first class you just tell the waiter. :mrgreen:

Beck's in 1st class ICE

In Passau I met my brother who asked me to go on a trip with him to Frankfurt to have a look at a sidecar (motorbike). He’s thinking of buying it but isn’t 100 % sure yet.

parking meter in Passau (Germany, Bavaria)

We went to a shopping center where I indulged my passion in taking pictures of mannequins. ;-)

Naked mannequin showing tits

At the end of the day I tasted a really great beer from Passau – Hacklberg. If you ever get the chance to try it, don’t miss it! :)

Hacklberg (beer from Passau - Germany, Bavaria)

Ciao Venezia, alla prossima volta!

Getting back from our trip to Venice

On our way to the airport we came across San Marco for the last time. You can see the Doge’s Palace on this picture and the two columns at St. Mark’s Square.

Good bye Venice, see you next time! :-)

Doge\'s Palace at St. Mark\'s Square

Laguna in Venice

SkyEurope = mean

You don’t get anything for free on a SkyEurope flight. No drinks, no meal, no newspapers, no TV, n-o-t-h-i-n-g. Well, actually, you get something. Czech Stewardesses who hardly speak english.

Astonishingly other no-frills airlines like FlyNiki and AirBerlin serve free drinks, sandwiches and newspapers. Why is it, that SkyEurope is that mean but the flights are not cheaper than FlyNiki/AirBerlin? :-(

SkyEurope Plane

Piazza San Marco, Gondola and fine dining near Rialto Bridge

Our full day in Venice started with a great breakfast at our hotel in Lido. We had a full view of the laguna and Venice from the breakfast room. Even a Greek ferry passed by.

Piazza San Marco

Actually we wanted to visit the St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) on our first day. But we had to change our plans because of the suitcase incident. So the first sight we visited today was Piazza San Marco where we visited St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco a Venezia) and feeded some doves in front of it. There were hundreds even perhaps thousands of these dirty and distasteful birds. Why don’t they sell poison there instead of corn? That would solve the problem. At least for me. ;-)

Gondola

On our walk straight through Venice we passed a gondolier who invited us on a trip with his gondola for only EUR 80,-. ;-) After haggling for a few minutes we had him down to EUR 50,- and started the trip through the small canals. It was a really nice and romantic tour where we came across the former houses of Giovanni Giacomo Casanova Albanase de Seingalt and Marco Polo. I really recommend doing a gondola tour should you ever go to Venice.

Door at a canal in Venice

gondola with gondolier

Canal Grande and Rialto Bridge

We crossed the Canal Grande and had a really great lunch at a lovely restaurant with a perfect view of the Rialto Bridge. We were seated next to the water and enjoyed the sun while drinking white wine and waiting for our meal.

Canal Grande - Venice (Italy)

Rialto Bridge

A great lunch in Venice

The sauted mussels (“Cozze alla marinara”) were a perfect starter and were only surpassed by the main dish, king prawns with herbs (“Gamberoni alle erbe aromatiche”). Their taste was indescribable. Even “delicious” and “exquisite” are only auxiliary descriptions for this dish. :-)

king prawns - Gamberoni alle erbe aromatiche

The mussels in Venice fortunately were as good as the mussels in Paris.

sauted mussels

Venice Fast Food

In contrast to these delicious dishes you can also visit McDonald’s in Venice. If you should feel like eating some fast food.

McDonalds in Venice (Italy)

Eyes Wide Shut

The owner of this shop (La Bottega Dei Mascareri) is one of Venice’s most famous mask makers. His masks have been featured in the movie Eyes Wide Shut and in many other Hollywood motion pictures.

La Bottega Dei Mascareri

Horrible prices

Sitting in a café at St. Mark’s Square is a great thing and the view at St. Mark’s Basilica is grandiose. Even though the prices are crazy to say the least. A cup of coffee costs EUR 8.50, a Spritz (white wine, mineral water and Aperol) EUR 10.10 and one beer (0.5 liters) EUR 12,-. 8-O That’s absolutely mad when compared to the prices in Vienna – coffee: ca. EUR 2.60, beer: ca. EUR 3.50.

In fact, these are the prices for tourists. Locals get a different menu with cheaper prices. But it’s hard to pretend being a local if you aren’t able to speak Italian. ;-)

Caffé Lavena (Venice, San Marco)

San Marco

Some more impressions of Venice

a house in Venice

blue sky in Venice

decorated well

a church in Venice

canal with gondolas

canal in Venice at night

Masks in Venice

Benvenuti a Venezia

Time to disclose the “secret” behind yesterday’s screenshot. It was a screenshot of the Vienna International Airport website as we have been to Venice (Italy) from Tuesday to Thursday. My sweetheart invited me to celebrate Valentine’s Day there. Who else has a girlfriend who gives presents on Valentine’s Day instead of expecting some? I can count myself lucky! :-)

Airplane

Treviso is not the official airport of Venice

About noon we got on our plane (SkyEurope) to Treviso. No-frills airlines like SkyEurope like to call the airport “Venice Treviso” to make people think they are going directly to Venice. In fact, Treviso is not the official Airport of Venice – Marco Polo is the official one. It takes about one hour by shuttle bus to go from Treviso to Venice.

Don’t trust a Brazilian

In Venice, we were the last ones who got out of the bus. We had left Treviso with both of our two suitcases and two suitcases were still remaining in the luggage space of the bus but unfortunately one of them wasn’t ours. One of our suitcases was missing and we stood there with the suitcase of an unknown brazilian girl (according to the address label) who had mixed up the luggage and took one of ours’.

Luckily we had a mobile phone number on the address label of our suitcase so this crazy brasilian chick was able to call us. It took her all the way from the bus stop to her hotel until she noticed her mistake. About four hours after we arrived in Venice we finally met with Beatriz B.P. and got our suitcase back. She denied when asked if she’s drunk but I’m still not sure if she wasn’t lying. ;-)

Thanks anyway Beatriz

Amazingly this incident also had one positive aspect. Namely this wonderful sunset. If Beatriz hadn’t mixed up the suitcases, we would have been somewhere else at this moment and wouldn’t be able to see this beautiful scene.

Sunset at Venice (Italy)

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Paris

HAPPY NEW YEAR! :-)

We just came back from our trip to Paris which we really enjoyed. I have already been to this wonderful town with my girlfriend in August 2005. Back then we had a really narrow time schedule as we wanted to see as many sights as possible. Although the trip in 2005 was really great, we felt a bit stressed afterwards. This time we wanted to relax a bit more, so we didn’t really plan the trip and decided to act on impulse. As we do not book packaged tours for our visits at foreign towns we can manage our time as we like it.

Eat more mussels!

We did some shopping, went for some romantic walks through the city and enjoyed delicious meals (mussels, edible snails, french wine, tartlets …) at really lovely restaurants and very nice french confectionerys. Fortunately I speak a little French as it is much easier in Paris to talk to people in their mother tongue. The French are very proud of their language and apart from the typical tourist districts scarcely anybody speaks english fluently (if at all). Even though my French is far from being perfect, it’s enough for shopping, talking to waiters, receptionists, bus drivers, pastry cooks and for buying tickets at the cinema. Yes, we went to see a movie at the Champs-Élysées. We saw a very funny movie called Alvin and the Chipmunks, even though it was very hard to understand these three little squirrels with their squeaky French. We’ll better see the movie again in German because we missed a lot of the jokes. ;-)

Of course we also visited some sights. For example the museum Grevin which features waxworks alike Madame Tussaud’s in London. Additionally to international stars you can find a lot of french actors, athletes and politicians at Grevin. It’s really worth the visit but altogether Madame Tussaud’s is a bit better than Grevin as the waxworks in London are more realistic and lifelike.

I love Paris! (the town, not the Hilton-chick) ;-)

We celebrated New Year’s Eve at the waterfront of the river Seine in view of the Eiffel Tower. Sitting next to the water with an exquisite bottle of Champagne, kissing my sweetheart and looking at the sparkling and twinkling Eiffel Tower was the greatest way of spending the turn of the year ever in my life.

Eiffel Tower (Paris, France) at New Year's Eve 2007/08

A perfect way to start a new year and a great location to start my project 366. 17 minutes after midnight I took this picture of the Eiffel Tower. The sparkling was already over but some people were shooting fireworks even though it’s illegal in Paris to use them (even at New Year’s Eve). Fortunately they didn’t care. I love fireworks.

The sparkling Eiffel Tower

By the way, here is a short video I took there while the tower was still sparkling.

Tip: Moleskine City Notebook Paris

A really great tool for a trip to Paris is the Moleskine City Notebook Paris. It not only features a city map of Paris but also a lot of free space for your personal notes, the possibility to manage addresses, ideas, impressions in different categories (eating, drinking, shopping …). We kept notes about the restaurants we visitied, what we liked or didn’t like and marked it in the plan with a cross so we can find it again during our next trip to Paris. It is a handy little book bound in artificial leather with an elastic band to make sure nothing falls out. It comes for about EUR 15,- (USD 22,-) which is a steal – in my humble opinion – for the features you get. There are also other Moleskine City Notebooks available, e.g. for New York, Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rome and many more. Just ask at your favourite book shop or look at Amazon for it.