Sunday, 29 November 2015

for she's a jolly good fellow

My wonderful Mum was 95 yesterday - and still partying
this time at the wonderful 60 Hope Street who put on an amazing spread for family and friends
and a little great granddaughter who was the star turn.
Sharing a birthday weekend - who'd ever believe they were nonagenarians
 why are we waiting . . .
and then back at the ranch- a lovely chorus of "Happy Birthday to you" from the assembled family
Happy Happy Birthday dear Mum - we all think you're amazing x x x x x

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

homeward bound

Wednesday 28 October 2015

The leaving of Saltzburg and awaiting the 11:56 to Zurich
Loved this station - open and bright and you can see the city beyond
Also loved, during our entire trip, the electronic train maps on every platform telling you exactly where to stand for your carriage.  SO organised.
 This was the first class treat of our holiday
 Luxury.  And lunch was even served at our tables as the morning went on!
This is one of the great train rides - through the magnificent Arlberg Pass.  Glorious scenery for the whole 5 1/2 hours which I didn't do any justice to, photographing through the windows at high speed!

But below is a great video done by Mark Smith The Man in Seat Sixty One, without whom we wouldn't have been able to plan this whole train holiday so brilliantly.  He takes you on the Zurich to Innsbruck part of the ride, so the opposite way to us, but you'll get the picture

And here are my high speed snaps which don't compare but at least prove we did it!! What I haven't captured were the amazing colours - the orange autumn trees set against the craggy snow capped peaks, the distant glaciers and the blue skies.  The glacial rivers running fast and high beside the train and the green flat bottomed valleys and nestling villages.  It was great to sit back and soak in the views on both sides of the train - wall to wall scenery - just amazing. 

Interestingly, according to Google maps tracking, we dipped into Liechtenstein briefly - but we'll have to investigate the route better when we have time.  If so that's two personal firsts for me - Liechtenstein and Austria.
and we finally pull in, on time,to Zurich hautbahnhof - very stark and dark in comparison to Saltzburg station
We walked across the beautiful expanse of the Limmat river to find our Hotel Adler
and had just one wonderful night in Zurich.  The tram system is amazing and the frequency of them was incredible.  We caught the number 4 tram to the trendy Industrial Quarter, where loads of old factories are slowly being converted into cafes, restaurants and clubs. Buzzing with life and we enjoyed walking around and finally settling on a lovely cafe bar with great supper snacks (and a fabulous cherry pastry to finish off)!   Loved the easy fusion of German, English and Italian all around us and the temperature was several degrees warmer than Saltzburg.

Thursday 29 October 2015

We had an early rise and off back to the station for our crowded TGV to Paris
Where we filled the journey with competitive rounds of sevens (which Mike kept winning grrrrrr)
and concentrated bouts of Suguru
Until we were at Paris Nord and awaiting the Eurostar back to London
Where we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Dishoom, behind King's Cross
and then our train home to Sheffield

So we did it - 7 great cities in 6 wonderful whirlwind days!  Sheffield, London, Brussels, Vienna, Saltzburg, Zurich and Paris (and back to dear old Sheffield). So if you haven't been following the blog and want to start at the beginning just click here: A tale of seven cities

Monday, 23 November 2015

hook a duck

I think everyone will agree that waking up to this view as we swept open our balcony doors in Saltzburg - then there really was only one song:
and a gentle early morning mist enveloped Saltzburg while the sun tried to peep through
It was downstairs for a tasty breakfast in our fairytale B&B Die Romantik Pension Haslachm├╝hle
everything we could have wanted
and the cosy stove burning away in the corner
and here's the hint of our morning surprise . . .
but first a final view from our stupendous balcony as the sun breaks through inch by inch and we start to see the city below
and the beautiful valley around us
still with a gentle misty layer
Our bed and breakfast and our very own balcony!
and off down the track we head
to wait in the lane
for our fairytale carriage pulled by two very beautiful Haflinger horses.  A very famous breed of Austrian horses previously only known to me as a horse-mad child through my Observers' Book of Horses and Ponies.  And now I've seen one in real life!
This was just magical - clip clopping at an unhurried pace for nearly half an hour into Saltzburg in the morning sun.
someone was definitely loving it as much as me!
One of the horses was an old hand and the other was younger and new to the job and was quite sparky and playful.  No run away dramas though - one very careful driver!
note the distant castle!
First view of the magnificent Salzach river
And here we were finally trotting into the centre of the lovely Saltzburg
and here were our lovely horses getting a bit of love and thank yous from us all
and now it was Shanks' pony for the rest of the morning
but such a beautiful little city to explore
Though don't be fooled by the blue skies and the smiles - it was absolutely FREEZING!
Tyrollean style?
Discovered a lovely market square just setting up for the day
and the Mozart ducks - well I've no idea what they were all about
But it's definitely time for a note from the great composer - I've chosen the Marriage of Figaro overture as I remember playing this back in the day with the Wallasey Youth Orchestra on one of our Burton Manor stays
and in timely fashion we happen upon Mozart's birthplace
and continue through the town
to the Makartsteg Bridge -weighed down with love locks!
with such beautiful views down the Salzach
and,on the other side of the river, Mozart's later residence when the birthplace became too small for the family
and the peaceful gardens of the Mirabelgarten and palace
where there was another horsey friend to bond with
but by now it was a dash to the station to catch our train over the famous Arlberg pass into Switzerland and Zurich - keep ready for the last leg of our adventures by clicking: over the Alps to Zurich . .

But if you missed the start of this holiday, then feel free to go to the beginning by clicking here