A Travellerspoint blog

Stratford upon Avon

Today we made our way to Shakespeare country.
The clouds have been threatening all morning but we decided to take the chance.
Our first stop was the Stratford Butterfly Farm.  I've never seen so many butterflies in one place !  The were landing on you, sometimes I had up to 5 of them on my head and shoulders,  and they were really pretty.  We spent quite a bit of time there ... picked up a butterfly identification booklet so we can see how many of them we photographed between us.
After the butterflies, we walked over to the Avon River for a picnic lunch ... under umberella's :(
As soon as we finished eating and put everything away, the rain stopped ... figures.
We then took a walk around the old part of the city, stopping at Shakespeare's birthplace before heading for home.
I really nice day, despite the rain :) 
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Posted by DiverDebs 14:12 Archived in England Comments (0)

Village Life

I've landed just in time for Village Fete season !
My Aunt's next door neighbour has organized a local village fair to raise money for the local library, so we decided to go.
It was a fun morning with games and draws for prizes, along with bake sales and a band.
The local 12th century church was also giving tours of the tower belfry so my cousin and I decided to give it a climb.  The stairway lead up to the bellringing platorm which is used to ring the 10 bells that live at the top of the tower.   The climb up to the belfy is a steel vertical ladder that leads to a platform where there is access to the church's tower clock and a secondary vertical ladder that goes directly into the belfy amongst the bells themselves.  Not much room up there so we had to go one at a time.
In the afternoon, we went to another village fair that had some more activities going on.  There was a 'welly wanging' area (you'll have to look it up), sheep sheering demos, arts and crafts, games for the kids and adults and a full hour of dedicated to the Morris dancers (also need to google that !).
It was a sunny, fun day !
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Posted by DiverDebs 14:04 Archived in England Comments (0)

Auf Wiedersehen !

My time on the European continent has come to an end.
It has been a fantastic journey and many memories that I will cherish.
Caught the airport bus in the morning as I needed to be checked out of my flat by 11am although my flight doesn't leave until 4:14pm.
Got to the airport arount noon and after check in, I found my way to the lounge ... thank goodness for my priority pass.
My destination is Birmingham, UK to spend some well deserved time with family before heading home.
My blog entries will be sparse during this last leg of my journey as family time won't be of much interest to anyone :)
I will do a few as there are a few trips planned over the next 2 weeks.
I leave you with a few more pics of Austria and see you in England !
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Posted by DiverDebs 13:13 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Let 'em eat Cake

May 28
Well,  today was my last full day in Vienna before flying to England.
I'll did some wandering around this morning ... there is still plenty to see.
Making my way to the first district, I decide to follow the canal.  It's raining today so had to make sure I kept my camera dry.  I took some small streets and after 30 minutes or so I was in the Landstrasse area which is where the 'people' live and work.  There was a lovely high street with shops and restaurants ... not a tourist kiosk in site.  I walked for hours slowly making my way back toward the Museum Quartier which is an area I hadn't full explored either. 
I found the Schonbrunn Palace (this was the Royal Palace) quite by accident with it huge garden.  It was hosting an event for Klimt art but I didn't have time to go in due to a tour I have booked in the afternoon, so I wandered the grounds and gardens. 
I started making my way in the direction of the Opera House looking for a place to have some lunch.  I found a nice restaurant and had an omlette and salad ... padding my stomach with some healthy food before the onslaught of what was to come later ... Cake Tour !
I met my tour group just before 3:00pm at the Opera House (there were 6 of us plus the tour guide), the tour was entitled 'Vienna's Best Kept Secret's + Cake Tour'.  I assumed we would wander around for a bit and she would show us quaint historical oddities and then we would sample some Austrian made cake.  It was WAY more than I thought.  It was the best tour I had been on yet.  The 'Secret's' part of the tour was all about espionage, fraud, murder and mob activity of Vienna hidden from view by the dessert industry ... in particular, cake !
The host had been a lawyer for the UN and decided that life was not for her so she started investigating and writing books on the very busy crime activity in Vienna's past and present.  The cake tasting at the end of the tour took place in another palace just behind the Spanish Riding School .. beautiful inside.
There were eight cakes to sample plus some croissants.  Did you know that croissants originated in Vienna ?  me either ... they were taken to Paris by the Archduchess of Austria, Marie Antionette, when she married King Louis XVI.  Some of the cakes we tasted had history behind them like the 'King Cake', the 'Queen Cake' (this one is also known as an Empire Cake) and some were just because the tasted yummy !
After leaving the cake tour, my final event for the day (and for my Austrian adventure) was a Classical concert held in the Palais Auersperg featuring Mozart and Strauss.  The concert was really good and had a little bit of Opera sung by a duet and some ballet.
Very nice end to a culture filled few day in Austria.
Tomorrow I head to England to spend a little quality time with Family and maybe see a few things on the way.
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Posted by DiverDebs 06:48 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

A day to wander

Today was a 'free' day ... nothing planned.
Leisurely left the flat around 11am after blogging for an hour ... needed to get caught up.
Started walking along the canal instead of over it this time, just to see what was about.  This side of the canal, called the 2nd district, is dotted with modern buildings as this really is where the office culture works and lives.  I crossed the canal on the fourth bridge down (about 1.5 kms from where I started). 
This area is also a bit residential and not much going on so turned my direction back to old Vienna.  I hadn't explored this area as yet so was keen to get lost.  The architecture is very nice, very baroque, the Viennesse say the buildings have 'eyelashes' as the tops of these ornate buildings have lovely carvings that seem to complete the look.
Next corner, I discovered the Tourist Information place and decide to get a 24hr pass on the Hop On Hop Off bus so see if there are more things of interest.  I spent the next hour riding around taking note of where my next walks will be.
While on the bus, the recorded guide pointed out the apartment, where, on the third floor, Beethoven composed his famous Symphony #9 and in the next apartment one Johannes Brahms composed Requiem. It was actually a really informative tour.
Back at the bus starting point, I got off and found my way to the Sacher Hotel.  Decided, that as the line up wasn't to bad, I would take the time to see what the fuss on the cake was all about ... after all it was lunchtime :)
Now, I've heard a lot of discussion on how dry and gross Sacher Torte is ... including a case of lady who got a cut in her throat when swallowing it.  I actually found it really good !  not dry, full of flavour and just actually delicious ... don't be scared of the Torte !
Walked around for several more hours ... located the Opera House where I need to meet a group tomorrow and the Palais Ausersperg where I will be attending a concert in the evening tomorrow also.
I past by an authentic looking Austrian restaurant and decided to take the time to have dinner at that point then I could just casually head back to the flat.  Had sausages with mustard and shaved fresh horsradish and a side of german potato salad (not the way we have it) ... and of course ... a beer.  The food was really good and set me up for the rest of the evening.
Today's images are a mishmash of pictures from around Vienna ... it's really a beautiful city.
Tomorrow is a 'Cake' tour and my classical concert !
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Posted by DiverDebs 15:55 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

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