Sunday 30 May 2010

Chelsea flower Show

Afternoon tickets from 3.30pm till 8pm- crowds!  Sloane Square station crowded and the Chelsea streets.  Lovely atmosphere and great viewing- if you could see ahead of the crowd.  But here are some pictures- for Natalie!

Lots of garden statues, lovely little glasshouses and these outdoor houses:
Inside the big pavilion were displays from gardening companies:
Wonder what country this display comes from?
We could see the Royal Chelsea hospital for retired Royal Guards from the show area.

Friday 28 May 2010

Vienna Heurigen Show

This was a mini tour- Vienna sightseeing has brochures in the many hotels across the city and pick you up from your hotel and meet the buses at a designated area and divide the tourists into destination, and language.  For example on the evening trip the Guide switched between four languages just like that!

To start off the night we had a ride on the oldest Ferris wheel in the world.  It is 65 ft high and has 15 cabins- which look like mini tram cabins.  It was built at the end of the last century and was set in this wonderful, elegant sideshow alley.

Every second carriage was a dining carriage- so you could book one and enjoy the sights of Vienna.
Or marvel at the other rides in the park.
 Yes those dots are people.

 Then back onto the bus and a ride into the hills- well it just seemed a few blocks away to a neighbourhoods full of small taverns- everywhere- these are the traditional wine houses- the one we went to- the Wolf was built in 1649.
We had a set meal of meat, fried potato and sauerkraut, followed by apple strudel- with a '1/4 litre' of the vintage of the tavern.  Our Guide told us that there were about 150 taverns in Vienna.

And music and brief operatic skits and dance were part of the deal- we enjoyed it.

The visit to Vienna drew to a close- not without a last event- robbery!  We were jostled in an elevator after leaving the underground- not a nice place in Vienna- and Kel's wallet stolen... hustled and hassled... so a visit to the police station- to try and get a bit of justice- how hard not to speak German- no one around to help- a salient lesson as we made our way to the Cat train to the airport..thankfully not much stolen and the cards were cancelled immediately.  Ah Vienna!  With an organised gang of pickpockets( on the tube) or station.

Thursday 27 May 2010

Vienna last day and Vienna Heurigen show

We walked through the Valksgarten, viewed the parliament building- so ornate
The Hofburg residence- winter home of the Habsburgs.
Nearby the famous stables of the Spanish riding school- we could peek through a gated area at the Imperial style quarters of these famous horses...
This would have been a good way to sight see- but we just ran out of time...

The courtyard of the Spanish riding school, horse boxes around the edges- this is  as far as we got.

Near the Imperial palace- was an excavation- right down to Roman times, medieval and 17th century apaartement- all under the present road.

Monuments, fountains, statues on roof tops, wonderful cafes with quick excellent service...

This is the restaurent in our hotel- a boutique hotel showcasing glass art- this is where we have an elaborate buffet breakfast- must go for our last Viennesse treat- back to London today- will do the heurigen show in my next post...

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Wachau region, Danube river Austria

First day in Vienna, we opted for a bus/ cruise to see part of the Danube valley.  It was a great trip, still hard to understand the guide with the mix of nationalities and a drizzle of rain to begin- but the coutryside is wonderful- of course as ex-farmers we look to evaluate the crops.
Above: the Durnstein ruin

Once we were on the short cruise, the wonderful aroma of fresh air, the different coloured buildings and very old castles began to appear, as did the possibilities for camper vans.

Schonbuhel castle

Tours were operating all day- tours embarking, disembarking, catching their buses again to the climb to the Melk Benedictine Castle.

And the Abbey!  We had an hour of free time before an escorted quick tour through the musuem rooms of the Abbey.  This garden pavilion is what we found.

 And the frescos on walls and ceiling were specatular.  A great place for coffee and apple strudel, of course!
 A close up of part of the fresco- just for Janeen!

And the view behind it was awe inspiring too.

And the Abbey library- a famous learning place for centuries with many hand written volumes...

And the church itself acheived what the monks wanted to do and still do that nothing is more important than the worship service.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Arriving in Vienna

Jared and Chayanie booked us into the Levante Parliament Vienna as a gift- three nights- so after a 3.30 am start- catching a hooper bus to Heathrow for a 6am departure, then that being delayed for an hour then arriving in Vienna, catching the CAT train to the city- then the fun began.  But we walked, trammed and got to the hotel in the historical part of of the city- it's an early 19th C building revamped into colour and glass and style.  The streets are wide- less traffic and less people than London.
Service is great and we've booked for an eight hour cruise tomorrow on the Danube.  Now its sleep, sleep.
(Not sure about tipping)
Kel read up on how to get around Vienna- doing a good job too!

Friday 21 May 2010

Royal Albert Hall and Monument, Kensington

It turned out a warm afternoon and after duly adding 600 words to the latest version of my manuscript we took a bus to Kensington Park to view this stunning over the top Victorian monument.

Queen Victoria's monument to her beloved Albert, flanked on four corners by statues representing the continents of Asia, Africa, Europe and America.  it is massive and gilt and ornate and completely extravagant.  Visitors flock to it and photograph and marvel- we followed alongside, then sat and viewed the structure with coffee and a muffin to share.

Royal Albert Hall looks wonderful- wouldn't it be grand to see a performance there?  Kel was lucky enough to capture a plane flying overhead!

Then a walk down to Kensington Palace(one visit inside a palace a week is enough)  and watching the masses of people walking, running, cycling, walking dogs and even mini soccer games for kiddies taking place on the green lawns everywhere.
Of course the squirrels came out- a notice says do not feed the squirrels or pigeons.