Yesterday I took a USO bus tour to Wurzburg. It is the center of Franconian wine and home to the Residence Palace which was the former residence of the Prince Bishops. Pictures taking wasn't allowed inside the Palace but the frescoes were breathtaking reminding me of the Sistine Chapel ceiling and the Mirror Cabinet room reminded me of the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.
After the tour of the Palace, we walked around the city exploring a few of the many churches. A little bit was free time was given, so I grab a quick bite to eat at Schonborn which was an Italian restaurant. I had Spinach lasagna which was very yummy.
After lunch we met at a local winery for a cellar tour and tasting of local Franconian wines which is one of the largest wine estates in Germany. We tasted a total of 6 wines and had a meat and cheese plate.I found two that I enjoy.
A weekend in Paris
Last weekend, my friend and I headed up to Paris. It has been nine years since I have been there. Even though this was my third time in Paris, I saw some new sights. One of the many reasons I love living overseas is being able to plan last minute trips around Europe!
There are many options in transportation here. Driving is always an option but with the number of tolls in France and rainy weather, we decided to take TGV high speed train. This train was like a double decker bus with two levels, we were on the top level in 2nd class. It took us about four hours to get to Paris. The train was travel at times at 310km which is 192 miles per hours. It was a very smooth and comfortable ride which allowed me to catch up on some reading.
When we arrived in Paris we needed to take the metro to arrive at our hotel. Our hotel was in the La Defense district of town, a new area for me. Our hotel was located near the Grand Arch, see below. After looking at the metro map we decided we need to take the 4 to the 1 and then walk a few blocks to the hotel. When traveling it is wise to pack light, Paris metro system has a lot of stairs and not ideal for large suitcases. We got on the 4 which lead us to the 1 where we realized there was technical issues with the train and it would be closed for the evenings. Of course all announcements are in French and neither of us speak it, so we ask a friendly bystander to translate. After looking at the map we figured we could take the red RER which is a train but goes to boarder areas of the city. Finally, we arrive at our stop and walked to the hotel where we saw the Grand Arch.
Friday night we explored the area around the hotel, we can across a Chipotle and we were super excited. Being over here you miss certain type of fast food places and we were like kids in a candy store when we say it. Chipotle has never tasted so good.
With the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, security measure were tighten. Every entrance had a x-ray machine and purse checks even at restaurants and malls. France soldiers were patrolling everywhere.
We woke up Saturday morning achy from an uncomfortable bed but ready for a day of sight seeing. Our room package included breakfast at the hotel, two days worth of unlimited metro travel and museum pass to collection of museum which covered most of the places we saw.
Our first stop was the Lourve which is one of the world’s largest museums and well known monument in Paris. We walked around and saw some of the well known sites such as Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace, and Seated Scribe, and Sacrophagus. As we left the Louvre we explored the shops in the Galerie du Carrousel.
Then we toward the Tuileries Gardens which is the largest and oldest public garden in Paris. For beginning winter, it was still pretty. We walked through the Place de la Concorde on our way to the Eiffel Tower. The weather was cool and foggy which made the view from the top of the tower full of fog.
After we explored the Eiffel Tower, we walked toward the Musee del' Armee Invalides which houses Napoleon’s tomb and the Tomb Church, which was very pretty. Then took the metro and explored Notre Dame and Arc de Triomphe.
Then we walked down the Champs Elysee which is one of the streets which run into the Arc de Triomphe and decided to find the Hard Rock Café and eat there for dinner. Then we headed back to the hotel and figured out we did 20,000 steps which was around 13 miles.
0n Sunday was our last day in Paris and another option in our room package was check out was at 4pm which let us explore more of the city. Our first stop was the Musee d Orsay which was an old railway station which is now a museum full of great artist such as Van Gogh and Monet. Then went to explore the catacombs of Paris. We stood in line for about 45 minutes since only 200 people are only allowed in the catacombs at a time. We climbed down 130 steps and walked 2km which is 1.2 miles. The journey took 45 minutes and then we climb up 83 steps. We grabbed a quick lunch and our luggage and headed to the train station. On Sunday we walked about 7,000 steps.
Two Castles in one day
Yesterday we took a USO bus tour to Neuschwanstein & Hohenschwangau castles. The weather was very chilling, but that didn't stop us from exploring the sites both inside and outside the castles. Since both castles sit on a hill, your options for getting there, were a shuttle bus, horse & carriage or walking. We picked walking to the top.
Hohenschwangau castle served as a summer residence to King Ludwig II and he also spent time there in his youth. Neuschwanstein is only half finished because King Ludwig ran out of money and the family never finished it. It was built as a retreat where the King could escape to his dreamworld. The tour takes you to the king finished rooms which were awesome. According the Neuschwanstein website, it is one of the most popular of all the palaces and castles in Europe. Every year 1.4 million people visit "the castle of the fairy-tale king". In the summer around 6,000 visitors a day stream through rooms that were intended for a single inhabitant.
Marienbrücke, the bridge over the Pollät gorge was closed due to maintenance, which was a bummer. I bet the view from the bridge would have been awesome! I guess I will have to go back this summer to see the view.
We walked Little Schwansee Lake which is at the base of the castle. From the pictures you can see the Black Mountain in the background and the turquoise water. It was so pretty.
Happy New Year 2016
Welcome to 2016.
We started the year off by crossing another place off our list. The weather was cool and foggy but that didn't stop us from going to Strasbourg, France. Gloves and a winter hat was a must! It took us about 1.5 hrs to get there and once we parked we started to explore the city. We visited the Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg, which is the 2nd most visited cathedral in France. We stood in line and walk through the chapel. Then walked towards La Petite and found the Ponts Couverts or covered bridge. Most of the shops, restaurants and museums were closed due to the holiday, but there were still a good amount of people. The Christmas decoration from the market were still hung around the city.
A teacher who loves traveling the world.