Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Flying Home

My last day in Europe was quite short. L and I got up early Tuesday morning, grabbed some pastries, and headed to the airport. I'm glad he was able to come with me!

My flight to JFK was delayed by about an hour, but it worked out okay. Flying towards America is easier because you don't need to sleep but seems so much longer because you don't sleep. I mostly read my books and watched the in-flight movie, Thor 2.

If you've never been through customs before, it sucks. First you have to go through passport control, then you have to get your checked baggage, then you have to go through customs, then you have to recheck your bags, then you have to go through security again, then you have to find your gate and make your flight. JFK has a program that, in theory, helps you through security if you've got a tight conection. They give you an orange pass that gets you in a seperate line from everyone else. The problem, though, is that as soon as you get your boarding pass checked (only one SUPER SLOW person checking too), they mix your short line in with everyone else so I'm pretty sure it actually took longer in the special line. LAME.

Really, the whole reason I'm writing this post is because when we were landing in Raleigh, we somehow kind followed the belt line in then curved back up through Cary to get to the airport. It didn't really make much sense, but I got to see both Lake Raleigh, where our wedding venue is, and Lake Johnson, where we live. So that was pretty cool.

My mom picked me up at the airport in my car with the intention of taking me home then dad picking her up on his way home from work. Unfortunately, she couldn't catch one of our cats, Nobby, so we had to go back to her house to get her. I ended up eating there then finally got home, with both cats, around 7. I did a couple loads of laundry and forced myself to stay up until 10.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Walking Distances

Landon had his phone recording his steps most of time we were vacationing around Europe-- Here is the results:

Madrid 1- 22.0
Madrid 2- 19.2
Madrid 3- 14.4
Madrid- 55.6

Berlin 1- 15.7
Berlin 2- 16.7
Berlin 3- 17.1
Berlin- 49.5

Praha 1- 18.2
Praha 2- 21.1
Praha 3- 20.0
Praha 4- 11.3
Praha- 70.6

Wien 1- 18.0
Wien 2- 21.9
Wien 3- 20.3
Wien 4- 21.0
Wien- 81.2 

Total- 256.9 km or 159.6 miles 

Wien - Day 4

Our last day in Wien was pretty relaxing. We started off pack our bags and having leftover hummus, bread, and olives for breakfast. Then, we headed up towards the city center to have cake and coffee/hot chocolate at Cafe Central. Its one of the most famous and oldest cafes in Wien. Its so famous, in fact, that it plays a central role in a Daniel Silva book where Gabriel Allon goes after a holocaust baddie -- I reread the book during my time in Europe. It was pretty awesome. I had a Altenbergtorte and L had a Topfentorte and a coffee with apricot (?) liqueur.

After our cake, we headed to Hundertwasserhaus which is a crazy apartmnet house designed by the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Its pretty sweet!

From there, we headed to the Prater, a very large city park on the Donau. Its really more of a sports/activites park than a hang out park but it was still cool to see. One of the major features is a permenant carnival with one of the oldest, largest (or, it used to be) ferris wheels in the world.

Then we wandered towards Stephensdom to do a bit of souvenir shopping (which didn't end up happening until later). We had to make a detour though, because the cobblestone road exploded!

We wandered around there for quite a while and saw this monument and this nice view of the Stephensdom.

From there, we headed up to Lichtenthaler Brau for lunch. Their beer was good and their daily menu had a broth soup with a meatball and pork schnitzel with potatoes. After we ate, we grabbed our bags from the hotel, did our real souviner shopping, and headed to the airport.

When we got back to Zurich, we headed from the flughafen to hauptbanhof to get dinner (because everything in Baden was closed). I got my last Swiss sausage and L got another Kebap.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wien - Day 3

Our third day in Wien was dedicated to the Schloss Schonbrunn. We headed towards the palace and got breakfast right by the gates. The breakfast place only had one (pretty pissed off) server for the whole restaurant so it took forever. We both got the Wiener Fruhstuck again and were much better at eating the soft-boiled eggs!

Then, we headed into the Palace. The grounds were beautiful! We had done some research and knew that we only wanted to do 22 rooms in the palace and the mazes outside. We walked through the gardens to buy our tickets.

The main palace

The Gloriette

After buying our tickets for the tour later in the day, we headed to the mazes! I was so excited because Harry Potter and a maze! obviously.


The second maze was pretty lame but did have these fun challenges for "kids".

The we walked up the hill to the Gloriette. You can pay to go on top of it, but its so much higher than the rest of the estate, its really not necessary.

Then, we headed in for our tour (no pictures inside!). On the way down, the clouds were looking pretty ominous so we walked pretty quickly through the forest on the right side and saw the small, ruined Gloriette, an aviary, and the fountain on the way down. Right after we got inside the main palace, it started pouring and rain throughout our entire tour, then stopped for our walk to the subway! The tour was really crowed, but really good. They give everyone an audio guide with short information about each room and some history behind the palace. It was a really good way to convey all that information without having people line up at signs in multiple languages. We opted for the shorter tour, but the longer one would have been fine too.

After the tour, we headed back to the hotel, grabbing Kebap on the way! So tasty!

At the hotel, we researched Viennese breweries then headed to a few! The first one, Sebien Stern Brau, had a pepper beer that L just had to have. I'm pretty sure he wanted to cry.

After Sebien Stern, we headed to to the northeast part of town to see the Donau (Danube to you). First we went all the way across but that was too big city so we made our way back across the various canals and the actual river.

Then, we headed through the Statpark to Salm Brau where we had dinner. We started with an appetizer of rye bread covered with green peppers and melted Brie. Then, I had Schinkenfleckerl which is Austrian pasta with ham and cheese in a casserole and L had Kloster - Pfandl which is beef with mushroom sauce and spaetzle. For dessert, we got an Apfelstrudel and it was amazing! From there we headed back to hotel for the night.