Monday, 21 July 2008


There's been a bit of water under the bridge since the last post. We've moved on from waterbound Venice by train. We spent a wonderful few days in Vienna. What a civilised place that is. It's like a perpetual lazy Sunday. The transport system is great and there aren't too many cars on the road. Interestingly the buildings aren't very high. St.Stephan's church towers over the surrounds. It must've seemed an awesome structure to the locals all those years ago.

I was just about churched out by the time I saw it, but St.Stephans still managed to leave a huge impression with it's magnificent gothic interior. What a sensational piece of architecture. We took the mandatory visit to the top of the building. I can't remember ever being so terrified! We got out of the elevator to find ourselves on scaffolding which you could look right through to the ground so far below! I walked around gingerly for a bit and then headed back to the elevator only to find myself in a queue stuck on the scaffoling waiting. I had visions of the scaffolding collapsing and me clinging to the side of the building. I decided right away that I wouldn't be brave and try to cling on for life, I'd just accept my fate as I let go. Well, the scaffolding didn't collapse and I didn't need to make such momentous decisions. The elevator eventually came bringing me down to safety; my heart still pounding.

We then ventured into the catacombs below the church to see the macabre sight of thousands of skeletons of plague victims who'd been tossed down a hole, from the street above, into the catacombs back in the 1600s. Apparently way back when ... the stench got so bad, that they couldn't hold church services anymore, so they had to seal the catacombs for years!

After Vienna, where they can't make a decent martini - but that's another story, we jumped on a train to Budapest where we were ensconced in an apartment on the Pest side of the river where the Blue Danube certainly isn't blue!

From Budapest we moved onto Berlin which we loved and then on to Hamburg which we didn't exactly fall in love with, but where we entertained ourselves by searching out all the Beatles' haunts.

We checked out the Bambi Kino where they lived and several clubs where they played including the Kaiser Keller and the Indra. From there we drove down to Nienburg where my family hails from. It was interesting to see the area, the house my family lived in and all the old streets and haunts they talked about over the years. It's a lovely town on the River Weser. Then it was on to Bremen and a train to Norway. Norway. It's lovely and Bergen IS the most beautiful city on the planet.

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