Saturday, 24 September 2016

Brom goes upper

Coocoo

Today we had our very own driver. Gera's friend Andreas came to pick us up a little after nine o'clock. The original plan had been to visit Schloss Neuschwanstein, which is a castle and is beautiful. But the path we wanted to take up was closed because rocks could be falling. So, Andreas came up with a few other ideas.

View from the car
One of his ideas was to go through a very narrow canyon and that sounded okay to us. It only took us an hour and a half to get there, but the view was beautiful and we didn't mind one bit. The canyon was real good fun. It was narrow, there was water and there were fantastic views. 

Is it a ghost?
No, it's Gera in a little tunnel
It wasn't very long before we got to another part where we would have to pay and where it got steeper and less interesting, so instead we turned back, because Andreas had another great idea.

Getting a good view of the canyon
Close to the canyon there were several villages and in one of those villages there was a cable car up the mountain. Up and upper! And if we got on after two o'clock, we would get coffee and cake included!

Going up
Guess what we did: we waited for two o'clock, got on the little cable car and went up the mountain. And upper and upper and upper until we were upperst! And when we got there:

FANTASTIC, BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING, STUNNING, WONDERFUL, MIND BOGGLING, BREATH TAKING!

I think it is the best thing we have seen during this whole holiday! The views were so wide and magnificent it was unbelievable. We could see for miles and I felt even smaller than I already am. 

Mara said we started at a little over 1000 meters (over 3000 feet) and we ended up at 1900 meters (over 6000 feet). 

I wouldn't have minded staying there a bit longer, but we needed to get back for some dinner and then back to the hotel. But I really hope to be back some day to see some more of the Alps! 

Thank you Andreas for the beautiful day we had. I loooooooved it!

YUM!!!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Brom meets firemen

Coocoo

We were on our way again today. First to Salzburg, because Gera loves 'the Sound of Music' and most of it was filmed there or close to there. Then on to Augsburg in Germany where we will meet and spend a day with a friend of Gera's tomorrow.

I think I just saw that numberplate Mara!
While driving we had our breakfast (just wondering if Papa wants a clean car back) and before we knew it we were on the motorway towards Salzburg. Nice roads, not too busy, good views, nothing more a teddy wants!

Our German numberplate bingo.
If you look closely, there is even a code for Gera (the town, not the sister)
Mara had found out where we were supposed to park and as we entered it, something went wrong. Very wrong. The front wheel hit the curb and then the front wheel had a hole in it. A big hole, since I could almost put my paw through it! 

It's flat
We parked the car out of the way and Mara and Gera set about unearthing the spare wheel and the jack and so on. Then they had to find out how it all worked, since neither of them had ever changed a tire in their lives! Gera found out how to use the jack and then Mara was able to loosen one wheel nut. There were however three more and those proved impossible.

How. Does. This. Work??
But, rescue was close at hand, because right in that minute about 10 firemen from the Salzburg Fire Department walked past. Mara looked at them in a very sad way and not a minute later two of them were busy changing the tire! Before long they could thank them for their work and then reload the car.

One, two, three and they fixed it!
Now, don't worry, Mara, Gera and me were not hurt in any way, shape or form. And after parking we made our way to Salzburg city center. We had come for the Sound of Music after all and that is what we were going to get.

The lake where Maria and the children toppled their boat fell in the water
The tour was wonderful. Salzburg is not a big city, but it is filled with pretty buildings and a lovely bridge and castles and big houses and Mozart and a lot more. We saw the lake where Maria and the children toppled their row boat. 

Taking a sneaky photo of us!
We saw the bridge they crossed while singing about 'their favourite things', we saw the road where Maria got off the bus and we were told the real story about the family. 

Castle Hohensalzburg.
Perhaps next time??
But after a little over an hour the tour had come to an end and Mara and Gera (on the urging of their Papa) needed to find a place for a new tire. So, back they went to the car and off we went to find the place the busdriver had told us about. 

We had to take out our luggage again
They had one tire left of the sort we needed, they gave us an ice-cream, they checked the air in all the other tires and only half an hour later we were on our way again. Our visit to Salzburg was cut short, but Mara says we will definitely go back there someday, it was too beautiful not to!

Fixing the new tire
We are now in our hotel in Germany. A little bit earlier than expected, but that's okay. Rather safe and early than the other way around Mara says and I think she can be quite clever at times. Unfortunately there was no time for yums today, what with everything that happened, but I think we have a spare one from last week!

A yum from Prague Castle

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Brom goes royal

Coocoo

Today was our last day in Vienna. Which is a bit of a shame, because it is a beautiful city. But we're in our last week and we need to take the car back to Mara and Gera's Papa and Mama. 

Mara and Gera took it easy this morning. Very easy and I was afraid we would never get away to see anything! But, they finally got their socks on and off we went. And it was the Schönbrunn Palace's turn. I had seen the castle in Prague and the one in Kraków, but I had never been inside one! 

It was so beautiful! Beautiful paintings and beds and chairs and walls and floors and everything. But it was hard to see everything properly, because there were so many people. Mara said she felt like an animal being herded forward and forward. And because of all the people it was sometimes hard for me to see anything too.

A folly that looks like Roman remains. Sort of.
I was very disappointed as well that Mara was NOT allowed to take any photos inside. And she was told from the beginning, so she hadn't even snuck one in! Anyway, it was all beautiful.

After our 'lunch' we went to visit the gardens and they were pretty big. A lot bigger than our garden at home in Norway and really pretty as well. There were orange trees and lemon trees and a place to put them all during the winter. There were beautiful views and fountains and waterfalls and statues and big strange buildings. 

Ehm, left or right! I think...
The best thing though was the maze and the labyrinths. Mara explained the difference: a maze is a place where you have to find your way to the center without getting lost in all the dead ends. A labyrinth is just one path that you follow and will go on and on through the whole garden. Sometimes with funny things or games at some places.

I think we have to go this way
The maze was the most difficult and even though I peeked over the top of the hedge, Gera beat us to the center! But she had a trick to get there first. She did tell us, but I won't tell you, because that's cheating.

The labyrinth was great fun. There were some things that spurt water. Once when Gera stood on something and rocked from one side to another (everybody stayed dry) and once when Mara crossed some stepping stones and there was a spurt of water. She screamed and jumped and got a wet foot! Very funny.

Right before she got spurted
We went back to the hotel quite early, since last night was so late and they had to find out a little about tomorrow. But it was a good day again.

Yum! Apfelstrudel

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Brom goes up

Coocoo

Today was a busy day packed with fun stuff. The first thing this morning was a visit to the Lipizaner horses at the Spanish Riding School. They were having their morning training and we were there to see it. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take any photos, but Mara had snuck a few in before they said that. 

An 'eleve' or pupil who is in the first stages of learning how to become a Lipizaner rider
Lipizaner horses are a special breed. The foals are dark brown to black but within a few weeks they start to 'whiten', starting with the tail. By the age of twelve they are completely white, although some only take six years. 

This is where the horses and their riders train and perform
The boy horses are used for the trainings and the shows because what they do or train to do is something they would do in their natural behaviour as well. The girl horses are either sold or used for more foals. 

The world's largest horse walker with room for up to 20 horses!
We only saw two
We did see a dark brown horse as well and they said it would never change colour! He was a special horse because as long as there are dark horses, there will be the Royal Spanish Riding School! 

Horse Mara is a bit younger than Mara
These horses can live up to 35 years!
Another special thing about the boy horses is their names. Their first name is the name of their father and the second name of their mother. But then they will be called by their mother's name! We even saw a horse called Conversano Mara and he was a boy horse!! Mara wasn't allowed to take a photo of the horse Mara, but the plaque was okay!

After the afternoon's tour around the stables (no photos of the horses) and the training areas, we had a few hours left to do something else. First we went walking around a bit and took some photos of really nice buildings. And an elephant!

We love this photo the best
But then Mara thought: why not go to the Prater. You can't go to Vienna and then not visit the Giant Ferris Wheel!

On our way up
A few stops in the U-bahn (underground or metro) and we arrived at the Prater park. Mara bought the tickets and only a few minutes later we were going up and up and up. Gera didn't like it very much, but I loved it! I could see all of Vienna. I could see churches and the amusement park in the Prater park and houses and tiny little people. I thought it was brilliant.

Right before it started
Our last stop (after dinner) of the day was another treat for me: a concert with music from Strauss and Mozart. 

He was a funny drummer!
There was a drummer who did bird noises and hit an anvil and stole the conductor's Playboy (with a picture of a little dog as a centerfold), there were singers and there was beautiful music. It was a perfect end to a perfect day!

Yum!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Brom can't take it all in

Coocoo

Today was our first day of sightseeing in Vienna. And I have seen so many beautiful buildings that I don't even know where to start! Mara said she had the same problem, because every time she wanted to take a photo of a beautiful building on her right, there was one on her left as well and in the end she didn't take any photos at all!!

These goals were only agreed upon in September 2015!
Mara and Gera wanted to visit something a bit different as well, apart from the usual castles (I like castles) and museums and churches, so they had a tour at the UN headquarters. If you live in the United States, you may think they are in New York, but the guide told us there were four headquarters in total. In NY, in Geneva, in Nairobi and in Vienna. The one in Vienna deals with nuclear issues (both good and bad), industry and commerce, drugs and crime and outer space. Oh, and refugees.

Several different beans and peas and such
We saw one of the big conference halls, where hundreds of delegates from all over the world could gather for large meetings. There was a man who told us a bit about the nuclear application to pulses (it's the year of pulses), so they grow faster and more resistant and give more people a steady diet, be it people who have no access to meat in any form or vegetarians (like myself). 

Yes, it's too men waiting for the traffic light!
There were a lot of flags of all the countries who are part of the United Nations and several pieces of art from countries all over the world. It was a short but very interesting tour. 

And now they can cross.
Thumbs up for those lights from all three of us!
After that we took the second of our tours, this time towards the Schönbrunn Palace. Mara said we would probably visit that on Thursday, since tomorrow is completely booked. 

Find the Dutch flag
Oh, Mara and Gera think that during this holiday they have taken more photos of me than of Mara and Gera put together! I like that very much.

Yum, Sachertorte!