Monday, June 27, 2011

Just a quicky

Hello everyone!!!
So as Im sure you can imagine things on this trip have been pretty outstanding! Its left me with basically no time to do any blogging however... when we get back to the US next week Ill be adding in all the locations that have yet to be discussed... as they are definitely worth putting in the blog. Needless to say... we are having the greatest time!!!

lots of love your way,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?

"Let's start from the very beginning... a very good place to start"...

That's right folks! Salzburg. So arriving in Salzburg kind of... sucked. When we arrived it was raining and coming from the amazing, magical town of Fussen to bad weather, a very cramped hotel room and not really having an idea of where we were was difficult. Not only that. We had a few guests in our room when we got there. At least 4 spiders.. maybe more and they were apparently thinking that it was their night in the room and not ours. It wasn't until we went for dinner and walked to a restaurant that the hotel recommended that we got our barrings. Getting there we had to walk through Mozart square which is just breath taking and in moms own words thats where we got his balls. Now don't be so perverted! It's chocolate and they're delicious. We're savoring them still! (Get those minds out of the gutter!)

We had the greatest ghoulash that night and when we got back to the hotel we told the staff about our room visitors. Honestly I wish you all could've been there to see what we did. First of all, this room... the shape is indescribable. It's not a rectangle, square, triangle... it's some where in between all of those. And small! So when the staff said it was safe and we could go back I almost felt that we were walking into a scene from that movie Arachnaphobia. We stuck together and slowly tip toed into the bathroom (where the spiders were living), eyeing each part of the ceiling, floor, tub... making sure they were all gone. At any moment you felt that one of them would just pop out in front of your face. It was very funny.

The weather report for the following days said that it would be raining so we prayed pretty hard that it wouldn't. The next day it seemed like we were heard. It was gorgeous! Sunny and not too hot. Kind of perfect really. We went for a walk in the morning (though brief... apparently ghoulash and my body don't agree with each other). Took a horse and buggy ride around the old town and I have to say... the horses leading this thing were incredible! Black Fresians. Google them... just stunning animals with good dispositions... at least the ones we were with. People were taking pictures of them left and right. The man who was driving us around gave us information along our way and I had to stop myself from laughing because he sounded just like Hanz and Franz from the old SNL skit. At any moment I felt like he was gonna to say "and I vant to pump (clap) you up".

The moment mom has been waiting for the whole trip came shortly after our buggy ride and that is the Sound of Music tour. Listen... I know how ridiculous it is... believe me. But it was actually fun in a very quirky way. Our guide was an interesting fella... he would hit the microphone before he spoke every time and start every sentence with "Soooooo". Made us chuckle. We visited the gazebo that the song "I am 16 going on 17" was filmed in. They won't let any one inside because apparently an 80 year old woman broke her leg while reinacting the scene by skipping from bench to bench. Hope she hade fun at least!

Then we saw the real Von Trapp home... then the back of the home that they used to film the scene where the kids fall in the water with Maria after a day in the city wearing drapes. However, nothing was more beautiful then the hills! We drove up into the country and saw hills and lakes that were all apart of the opening scene of the movie with the title song. It was incredible. They also had a summer tobagen that I got to go on. It's kind of like a bobsled without the side railing to keep you from falling. It was a lot of fun! Our last stop was the church where the wedding scene takes place. The outside was very pretty but the inside... I don't know. I need to watch the movie again because the inside of this church we went into was creepy. All the statues were very dark and the altar was dark as well. I didn't stay in their long because I didn't like the way it felt. But again... the outside was great!

The very best part of our Salzburg stay was visiting the cemetary in St. Peters Monestary... the one that the Von Trapp family hid in after the performance. This place... there are no words. It's spellbinding. I have some great pictures of it but even the those can't capture the details or the holiness of it. Each grave was different and beautiful. There were lots of flowers every where... not one grave didn't have some kind of flower or plant purposefully in front of it. It's the way every cemetary should look. Most of the graves had steps in front of them that you could kneel at to pray and the ones behind the iron gates had alters for loved ones and sometimes full families in one plot. I just can't even begin to accurately describe it all but know that it's been placed in the top 5 of beautiful areas we've seen so far (and that's a hard list to make).

All in all Salzburg was a pleasant stop along our way. The next stop is the one I've been looking forward to the most. The one that I've been dreaming about my whole life. Italy... and even better... Venice!

I hope everyone is doing well and we're both sending lots of love your way. Please please forgive any spelling errors. Mom's computer doesn't have spell check for blogger... and unfortunately I'm just too lazy to look things up. I'm sure you understand.


PS- We are sick of CNN.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Hey New York! Miami!

It has been incredibly hard to make the time to update you all on our journey. Alas, I’m on a train with a bit of time to spare so here we go!

I’m not gonna lie. I cried leaving Paris. There’s something about that place that makes me feel like I’m at home. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s a city and it’s what I’ve been used to for the past 5 years of my life. But I think it’s more than that. The language, the culture, the buildings… it’s all beautiful and somehow comforting… as if I’ve belonged there all along. Needless to say, I can’t WAIT to go back!

Our next stop along the way was Fussen, Germany. Shout out to Jose Picos for recommending this place to us. He described it as a magical and was adamant about the fact that we’d love it there. Well… Jose you were absolutely right! What an enchanting place to visit! The entire town reminded me of a quaint Disney-like street. The people were incredibly nice, the food was insanely good, and the room in our hotel was spacious and comfortable. We even had a little balcony. It was the perfect place to quench my Paris blues. The only exception to this is that it was raining when we got there... and cold. Now all my NYers know that we've had the worst winter in years... 9 snow storms in all and it was just starting to warm up when I left town. So leaving nice weather just to get back in the cold again was not exaclty fun. We were so cold we actually had to purchase jackets. So far... they're our best buy yet. We used them every day and it's not like I won't be needing it again come late Fall. The rain has been following us since Paris (I think Paris was sad to see me leave and that's why it was raining). :-)

The main reason for visiting this particular part of Germany was to see the castles one of which you can see all the time at just about any Disney. Getting to the castles takes a bit of time, patience and lots of walking uphill. On our way to the first castle mom and I were huffing our way up a steep road and I thought I’d lighten the mood up. Acting like a game show host I said “Paaat… you’re walking up to visit the castle… how do you feel???”. Let’s just say she answered using a few choice #$%&*&^#... I laughed for several minutes afterwards. She’s feisty sometimes!

Both castles are amazing! Built in the 19th century, each is filled with lush decorations from floor to ceiling in a gothic style. It was intended to be King Ludwig’s summer home… and who could blame him. The surrounding area was gorgeous! However, he died shortly after it was finished and then a very short 6 weeks later the town opened it to the public as a museum. No hesitation there. One of the stories I found fascinating was the story of King Otto who never really acted as king. When he came back from the war he suffered from what I guess we would now call post-traumatic stress. They didn’t know how to handle it so they basically locked him up in a room for the rest of his life. A little harsh… I can’t imagine how that’d make him better but I guess back then it was out of sight out of mind.

Getting back from the castles to the town we were staying in was… fun. You had a couple options. You could take a little horse carriage down or the bus. We opted for the bus because it was less walking. This bus driver was… insane! He went down this very windy road incredibly fast making tough turns and dodging horses and tourists. It was Mr. Toad’s ride come to life! I wanted to video it but the bus was so packed I wouldn’t be able to get it. Mom and the “oh shit” handle got very well acquainted during those rides.
Like I said before, our hotel was great. Even better was the restaurant just inside it. I had the best schnitzel I’ve ever had in my life! Honestly it was the greatest meal yet! They also had this wonderful desert that was something like an apple donut with ice cream. So yummy! The town of Fussen is very small but filled with lots of places to shop. Along our way to the train station earlier we had to ask for directions from a very nice man who made small conversation with us… he asked us where we were from, where we were going, how long are we here… really nice guy. Later on when we were shopping out of nowhere we hear someone say “hey New York, Miami!”… it was our friend and apparently we were in his store. This store had some of the prettiest household things I’ve ever seen…beautiful angel statues and lamps. A bit of everything I’d say. It’s been nice meeting and talking to the locals along our way.

I was a little sad to leave Fussen and its little bubble of wonderful-ness… but Salzburg was next and the hills were beckoning.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Madame... you dropped your bananas"

We're wrapping up the end of our time in Paris and I finally have a few free moments to update you all on our adventures! So far it's been incredible and there are a lot of details to report so here it goes!

Our luggage is the bane of my existence. We both over packed. What's worse is that we didn't over pack clothes... we over packed everything else! This is after making mom unpack and repack 3 times in my apartment in NY just to make sure she absolutely needed everything she was bringing. I'm a bit guilty of this myself. There are some bathroom products that I just can't live without and though I know you can buy them here... they're more expensive then they'd be back home. Anyway, I'm sharing this because it's important for you to remember when I discuss dragging luggage with us throughout our journey.

First let's start with the plane. Wow! This plane was huge, quiet, the staff was efficient, chairs were relatively comfortable and they had a ton of movies to choose from while waiting for dinner. Shout out to James who told mom that their seats were lined with charcoal so if you farted it wouldn't smell. Now I'm a pretty gullible person... and this may or may not have been true. I wouldn't put it past him to have fibbed on that one. But alas... I tried it out... and viola! No smell! Granted I didn't exactly eat something that would make my normal brew more pungent than usual however it seemed to in fact work.

As we were landing in France I couldn't help but get very teary eyed. I had to hold back from crying several times at the airport. I've always wanted to go to Europe and have talked about it at length with the poeple in my life. Really being here is so unbelievable that I'm still pinching myself. Everything at the airport was fine until it came to shlepping our luggage. In the airport, to the train, to the metro, to the apartment and not to mention up and down several stair cases. I felt like a work horse. There was one point while we were walking that moms bananas fell from her bag and this man said to her "Pardon madame you dropped your bananas". He said it loud enough for everyone around us to stare at her as she unwillingly picked them up. I know sinking in a hole at that point would've been a good option for her. Her words... "I wanted to die". The bananas' fate was soon met in a nearby trash can.

The apartment we're staying in is lovely and is in the part of Paris called Marais. It's gorgeous here! They haven't invented words to adequately describe the beauty of this place. The buildings, the stores, the Seine is just 2 blocks away. It's perfect! Fighting the urge to crawl into bed we dropped off our things and went for a walk in the neighborhood looking for grocery stores and just taking it all in. We wound up walking across the Seine to Notre Dame where there was a full orchestra playing in the park in the back of the church. The weather was so perfect. We sat back and listened for a bit where they were inronically enough playing snippets from the score of Les Mis and then Gershwins an American in Paris.

Our first morning here we stumbled across a brasserie around the corner from our apartment and decided to go there for breakfast. With in the first few moments of being there we were approached by a waiter who spoke to me first... in all things... Spanish. Guess I can't get away from it. (There was a man at the airport who thought I was from Brazil--obviously a compliment... those women are so beautiful.) We learned quickly that he spoke fluent English and even more so was from Texas. Our mornings have been spent with Tex and the worlds best croissants and coffee.

The past few days have been spent doing all the typical touris things. Seeing the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomph, Champs Elysees, The Louvre, The Orsay, Rue Cler and the Latin Quarter. We actually took one of the double decker bus tours... you know the one I mean. The type of tour I wouldn't be caught dead in back home. But what the hell... we're in Paris!

A few facts about Paris I've observed:

-It kind of smells like a giant ash tray. (I don't think they've heard of lung cancer yet)
-The sun goes down at 10:00. (Still not used to that)
-The metro is incredibly efficient! SO much better then the NYC MTA.
-Language barrier is not a problem as long as you know the basics and aren't rude about it. Mom had a Miami moment in the Louve. She walked up to someone and said "Do you work here?" but in that pushy American way that I'm sure they all hate. We laugh about it now.. but since then I've been doing the majority of the talking. My french, though very limited, is better.
-The language kind of sounds like our version of baby talk. Think about it. When you talk to a baby you talk in nonsensical words... "a boo boo baby", "bee bee boo boo", "Merci beaucoup". I'm just sayin... it sounds pretty similar to me. Don't get me wrong... I actually think it's a beautiful language and would love to be fluent in it.
-Anyone who wouldn't want to up and move here from no matter where they are is crazy. I've already talked to mom about it. She's pretty adamant that I don't though. Upping and moving to NYC I think is enough for her. But... we'll see. :-)
-All the older heavier set men here remind me of Clogsworth from Beauty and the Beast.
-I've had a mash up of Les Poussons and Be our Guest running in my head since we arrived.
-The ice cream at Berthillon is seriously the best I've ever had.

-Not even the rain we've been through can dampen the cities obvious charm and beauty.

In a nutshell, we're having a wonderful time! It's been raining the past few days but that hasn't stopped us from going out and experiencing as much as we can. We'll be visiting Sacre Coeur tomorrow before getting on our over night train to Munich for our final destination (at least for the next few days) Fussen, Germany.

Au revoir for now...


PS-I saw this mural outside of Sacre Coeur and cracked up!