Sunday, July 13, 2014

King's Castles in Germany

Our stay in Germany was in the town of Fussen.  This was a great place to rent bikes to get to and from the castles. We were able to get 24 hour bike rental starting saturday night until we left on Monday morning. It was about 5 mile ride to the ticket booth at the bottom of both castles. It was a nice wooded bike path to get there.

This was a building in Fussen that shows the typical painting around the windows in Germany. It is called Trompe-l'oeil  or illusionary facade painting.  Its made to look 3-D to resemble shutters, bricks, etc. This is the High Castle in Old Town Fussen.

These are the two castles we visited on our trip. The son (mad Ludwig) was building his own castle, he would watch with a telescope from this castle in the foreground.

This castle, Neuschwanstein inspired Walt Disney to build his  castle and was much more crowded. We visited both and chose to walk up to each. You could also take a horse drawn cart to the top. This was insanely large with over 360 rooms. Some interesting rooms were the throne room (looked like a cathedral) and his bedroom that he has gas lights installed in the ceiling to look like stars.  He never allowed anyone to live with him except for his servants. Not even his mom.

This is a view of the older castle, Hohenschwangau. I enjoyed all the beautiful paintings on all the walls. They were done in tempera directly onto the walls with beautiful scenes from the romantic art period.  You can see all the hills and mountains surrounding the castles. The lake to the left that we biked around.

This is lake Forggensee that we rode around. It was 23 miles up and down and took us through many little towns. Some were beaches  with people sunbathing in the water, campgrounds, and little cafes with great views.

It was a 3-1/2 hour ride with amazing views of the alps surrounding us. There were a few uphill strenuous parts but we all made it. It was tricky finding the route at times.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ian's Apartment in Mountainview

Ian started his new job in Mountainview, California. Here is his new apartment. This is the first time he will be on his own without any roommates.  I drove out with him so he could have the car to drive to work.

Mountainview is full of YP's. The main street downtown is called Castro street. There is every ethnic restaurant you can think of with lots of outdoor patio seating.

They have a bike sharing system but not related to B-cycle so I couldn't use it.

There were two Irish pubs.

Tea Shops and lots of new and used bookstores. A great independent bookstore.

There is a performing Arts complex with plays and shows.

There is a laundry room with washers and dryers steps from his front door.

We drove by the LinkedIn complex. There were many different buildings.

Google has bikes for their employees to ride from each building.

Here is the furniture I left Ian with. He picked out a dining room table and chairs. (only could get the chairs home). Ikea tv stand on the left. Still pretty bare. He has lots of room in the living room that he will also use as a dining room on one side.

This is the back patio with a rose bush and some kind of fruit tree.  He has a covered garage he shares with a neighbor.  Looks like a pretty nice place to live or visit. Hope to see some more of the town next time when we are not furniture shopping.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Layovers and Adventures/ Berlin Germany

In order to get to our Alpine Europe tour, we had to  go through quite a few layovers. We started with a flight from Denver to JFK airport in New York.  We had a 6 hour layover and found some comfy seats to pass the time. We were sitting near the Saudi Airlines gate and found it entertaining to watch how many suitcases (and the size) of each family. The scale was very busy as people unpacked and repacked their suitcases with all the purchases they had made. The muslim women would go into the ladies room and come out clothed head to toe in black, ready for the trip home.
In NY we boarded our Norwegian airline flight on the the 787 Dreamliner plane. We were lucky to get a bulkhead seat and had plenty of room. We had touch screen TVs where we could watch all kinds of movies, audio and tv shows.  The food we ordered left much to be desired. Certainly not worth the $28 for the dinner.
Next we touched down in Oslo, Norway. (Norwegians home base) Here the airport was very upscale. The food was very expensive and to our disappointment we could not get onto the wifi because you needed a phone to get the password.
   It wasn't soon enough until we were headed to Berlin, our last leg of the day.
Because our flight to Salzburg didn't leave until 1:30 pm we could do some sightseeing in Berlin tomorrow. We took the airport express train to the eastern part of Berlin in the Alexanderplatz area. This was where the Rick steves walking tour ended.

Here is our broom closet room in Berlin. Ian liked the fish screen saver on our TV. Very relaxing. It was right across the street from the return train to the airport. We left our bags in our room and was back from our walking tour to grab them for the airport. Note my Jacket vest ready for its use tomorrow.

Here is the Reichstag the starting point of the tour. There is a glass dome up top. You could climb up if you had a reservation. Its where the government meets here.
Berlin Wall victims Memorial. For those that died trying to cross the line. This is where the wall once stood. 136 were killed while trying to escape.

The Brandenburg Gate is the symbol of Berlin. This straddles the East and the West. Nov 9, 1989 the wall came down.

Memorial to the murdered Jews of the Holocaust. 2711 pillars.
As you start to walk between the hollow concrete blocks it seems there is no way out but up.
The pillars get higher and higher at the end.
It is like a maze.

Museum Island holds many buildings we didn't have time to see. 

Berlin Cathedral

Karl Marx statue with stainless steel monoliths with pictures of workers.

There were several fountains here.

This is Alexanderplatz with the TV tower 1200 foot. Meant to show the power of the atheistic state. This is where our hotel was located.
A great start to our vacation!