Friday, October 20, 2017

The Trip Part 3: Germany

On our last morning in Vienna, we woke up and get a taxi to the Hilton where we picked up our rental car. The first thing we had to do was change the GPS to English! That took a nice call to the friendly car rental dude to help and then we were on our way!

We got ourselves out of the city and into the Austrian countryside. We took a side ride that took us next to the river and through the cute little villages. One of them we stopped in and had lunch. Eventually, we made our way to a little mountain village in the Austrian Alps called Gosau. That place so beautiful I couldn't stop taking pictures. It was amazing. We had a little bed and breakfast hotel place and we just hung out and enjoyed.

The next day we drove to the nearby lakes and ate lunch and took pictures. Then we made our way to Salzburg, where we had one night at another Airbnb. On the way we stopped at the site of the where they filmed the scenes at the VonTrapp mansion for Sound of Music. Later we went to Mirabelle Gardens and the funky Red Bull museum. It started raining here and our perfect weather was over for the next few days, though I didn't at all mind the rain!

The next day we slept in and then drove across the border to Germany to another mountain in the Alps where Hitler made his home during the war. We joined a tour and they drove us up up up to the top of the mountain where Hitler had a "hideout" called The Eagle's Nest. The views up there were incredible. We ate on of our best lunches up there and then came back and made our way to our next place of abode.

This was in a town called Brannenburg in southern Germany, right between Salzburg and Munich. It was the same place we'd stayed at two years before when we where here. It was like coming home! We love this place!

The next day we had a sort of down day and just hung out at our place, did laundry, drove around in the area, found a quaint place for lunch, and then went to the same place for dinner that we'd found last time... they do a barbecue every Wednesday night and so we joined that party again. We shared our table with some people vacationing from Hanover and it was fun talking to them.

The next day we drove to Neuschwanstein but only looked at from the outside. We'd heard from the people the night before that they really liked a different castle called Schloss Linderhoff so that's the one we took the time to go inside. It was nice.. but quite small for a palace/castle. :)  We found another quaint restaurant in our tiny little village for dinner that night, where they hardly knew English and the menu was totally in German. That makes things quite fun!

We had to leave the next day for our next city... on the way we stopped in Dachau, which is so sobering, no matter how many times you visit. I got a little teary at the mass grave sites, which somehow we missed last time we were here. We made a jaunt to Munich too and walked around that main town square for awhile before heading to the next spot.

This airbnb was in a tiny German town called Kallmunz. And we loved it. We had a three level apartment set in the mountain side. The bottom was like a cave and the top like an attic loft. We spent the weekend here... Saturday we went to Regensburg and walked around.. then came back and hiked to the castle ruins right at our own place.. and joined a massive race celebration happening in our own backyard.

Sunday we drove to Nuremberg where we had local guy give us a tour of all the WWII and Nazi places. It was very eye opening and informative and sobering. We spent the afternoon there walking through their old town and getting lunch.

Monday we moved again to a place along the Rhine River called Bacharach. It was a little hotel this time, not especially nice, but did the trick. The next day we drove to yet another castle which was one of my favorites of the bunch. Very medieval-y this one! And we drove along the river and saw all the amazingness it provides! The next day we drove to Heidelberg and saw it's famous place and ate lunch. Nice city that is!

Then it was time to move again. A train to Paris!

The back view of our hotel in Gosau. A former hunting lodge back in the day.

The view from our window of that hotel.

A tiny little church on the hill.

Another view from that village.

The nearby mountain lake.

The other nearby mountain lake.

Another view.. Lake Hallstatt.

The hotel that was used as the outside scenes of the mansion in Sound of Music.

Mirabelle Gardens, also in Sound of Music.

Our tour bus for the Eagle's Nest.

The Eagle's Nest on the top of the mountain.

The lunch we had at the top. 

Another view from the top/

Selfie at Mirabelle Gardens.

The hotel where we had dinner one night.

Our quick view of  Neuschwanstein


Dinner at another very out of the way non touristy place.

Mass grave at Dachau.

View from our window in Kallmunz.

Our airbnb house in Kallmunz.

The party we crashed!

View from the hike to the top of the hill behind our place.

At the ruins at the top.

German families partying hard!

 I think this is Nuremberg. Or Regensburg. Not sure! Pretty though, eh?

One of the places Hitler gave speeches from.

One of my favorite lunches... cheesy spatzel.

The fairy tale place we stopped at on our drive.

Our hotel in Bacharach.

The Rhine River.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Book: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Genre: Science Fiction

This book was our October/Halloween-y book for book club this month. We'll be discussing it tonight and it should be interesting since I'm getting vibes that there is a variety of opinion. As for me, I thought it was awesome and suspenseful and thought provoking.

It's about a dude who is happy in his life, and yet, he wonders, in the back of his mind what would have happened had he chosen a different path. The other road, if you will. Well, and so he gets to find out and it's not a good thing.

He gets abducted one night and when he wakes up, he realizes he's in a different world, a different reality. And in fact, it's the reality of the very thing he's been wondering...what would things be like if he had chosen differently.

And now all he wants to do is to get back to his family, and his world.

It's not easy.

I thought it was a great page turning and twisty story. And it made you really think about all the different decisions you make in life and how things would be if you chose other things. And how we should love and appreciate the life we're in at the moment. Because what if you woke up one and it was all gone. It's like everyone's classic worse nightmare.

I thought it was great. It's been awhile since a book held my attention like this one. I'd been looking forward to reading for quite some time. I'm glad it lived up to the anticipation.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Kdrama Review: The Best Hit

Drama: The Best Hit
Genre: Fantasy/Rom Com
Starring: Yoon Si Yoon, Kim Min Jae, Lee Se Young, Cha Eun Woo
Rating:  ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This is the drama that I had started before the trip, but couldn't finish up until after I got home because... DramaFever. Anyway...

I watched this one because of Yoon Si Yoon, who is an irresistable cute actor. I find him just that... cute. Not the kill me kind of gorgeousness, or the jaw dropping acting, but just plain cute. Also, the premise sounded especially funny.

And that is, we have a guy who is a kpop star in the 90s. One night, there's a strange storm phenomenon and he falls and when he wakes up he's in 2017. And so he proceeds to find out what's happening with the people he loves from the 90s. And it's not at all what he expects.

It's funny in the since that he has to learn how to deal with new technology and advances after 20 plus years. (It's weird how much has changed, and we take it for granted until we watch something like this and then it's like.. wow.) And he learns about stuff that happened AFTER the time period he comes from. (Don't think about it too hard. Time travel stories are very mind boggling as we know and usually don't make much sense. This one dealt with that VERY loosely.) And it messes with his brain and he doesn't know what to do next.
Yoon Si Yoon after he gets used to 2017

While I watched this one for Si Yoon, I stayed because of Min Jae. What freaking doll. He was the young king in Goblin and didn't make a huge impression on me there (I know some fell in love with him just from that) but he killed me in this one. Sadly, he was the second male lead, and we all know what that means. Now I need a drama were he is the first. PLEASE!

The irresistible Kim Min Jae

The story is complicated in the romantic storyline and is all over the place. Which can be both fun and frustrating. But the heart of the drama comes with the way everyone's lives have turned out and what our star dude thinks of that. And should he go back and change things? Or make sure things stay the same? Dilemma.

Oh, also I loved the fact that another kpop star in real life (Eun Woo from Astro) was in this playing an obnoxious stuck up kpop star. The fact that I started this drama right after I actually saw him IN REAL LIFE made this especially fun! And to know that he is totally the opposite of the dude he was playing. Anyway, there were TONS of kpop references and cameos (Monsta X! WJSN!) that were a blast. And now I know Eunwoo's face way better than I did before and so when Astro comes around, I have them all figured out now! Love that.
EunWoo from Astro
All the Astro boys. :)

So I was worried to death about the ending of this one and my fears were founded, though by the time it came, I was okay with it. Mostly. Sigh. Most of the time these dramas have perfect endings, you know, but sometimes they surprise you. Just saying.

Here's a little trailer:


 And the song:


 And a scene with Eun Woo just for fun:


And for more fun... here's Astro live at Kcon... not my video footage since for some reason it's not letting me upload it (and we haven't yet put these guys on our channel) but this was taken from nearly the same spot we were and in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if my head shows up in the bottom right corner now and then. Anyway, can you pick out Eun  Woo after seeing him in the above clip? He's the one wearing the black jacket, with the white shirt, with DARK hair. :) I was more about Moonbin during kcocn (the one with the maroon-ish jacket) but watch them both at about 2:58. Aren't they the cutest? :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Trip Part 2: Vienna

After our Prague adventures were over, we moved on to Vienna. That morning we met our driver at our apartment and he (his name was Milo) drove us the four hours to Vienna (we used a new site we found called On Day Trip and loved it.) On the way, he took us to a couple of different places to see. 

The first one was the bone church. I forget the real name, but they always need to make more space to bury people so they dig up bones and use them to decorate this church. (Paris has done the same thing and made the famous catacombs.)  It's both creepy and cool at the same time. Nearby, we also went to another cathedral that was up on the hill and had a cool view and was really beautiful.

Then we stopped to see the palace. We took a tour (it was all in Czech, but we had an English paper to read, lol) and then ate lunch there. 

Milo was a fascinating dude and talked our ear off the whole trip. He dropped us off right at the door of our next airbnb apartment in Vienna and made sure we connected with our next host, then he went on home to Bratislava in Slovakia, only 45 minutes away. I wish I would have managed to take a picture of him....ah well.

The apartment we had in Vienna was amazing. The first thing we did was go grocery shopping. When doing airbnb's it's vital to have at least some breakfast stuffs on hand. So we always buy things like bread, jam, yogurt, cereal, milk, juice, maybe a pastry type thing, bananas and etc. Sometimes we get cookies and cheese and lunch meat things too. Anyway, it was good to be now in a German speaking country. Strange that German suddenly seemed familiar after Czech!

The next day we walked to the main center of Vienna, taking pictures all along the way. We ended up visiting Mozart's house (that dude lived in a lot of places, but I guess this where he stayed for the longest time during his Vienna moments) and we ate lunch on the busy tourist-y square. We came back to the apartment and rested up in order to be ready for our big evening out! The Vienna Boys Choir! Strangely, they have switched locations I guess and are now performing in a new place so our taxi driver had a struggle finding it, but we arrived and joined the tourist-y crowd for a fun and awesome performance by these amazing boys. Boys of all shapes and sizes, all races, all beautiful. It was a much less formal event than I expected, and felt a bit like going to a school performance, only with these boys who can sing like no regular school kid! It was fun. 

Afterwards we had schnitzel for dinner at a place recommended to us by the girl at the theater (it was very good!) and got an Uber dude to drive us home. 

The next day we braved the subway to get out Vienna's famous palace. It's where the Hapsburg family lived, if you are into history, and is much like Versailles in France. We spent most of the day there going on a tour of the place and then walking around the gardens. So beautiful. I can't remember what else we did that day except eat Italian at the restaurant just below our apartment. One thing is certain, I didn't get to see as much of Vienna as I would have liked, which only means, we have to go back!


A bone chandelier!

A church in the Czech Republic somewhere
on the way to Vienna!

Inside the church.

The view from the church.

Palace in the Czech Republic

The door to our Vienna apartment

The kitchen inside our apartment

Main square in Vienna. This is a monument to the plague.

I loved this picture that meshes old with new.

Random shot as we walked through Vienna.

Mozart's apartment.

The famous public WC there at the main square in Vienna.
Beware the grouchy attendant!
(They had a dude running the women's, which was
especially off putting. He leads you to your cubby and locks you in, all with a gruff demeanor!)

The Vienna Boy's Choir theater

Pork Schnitzel

The Palace in Vienna: Schloss Schonbrunn
The front.

A selfie showing the garden and the back of the palace.

View through the fountain.

Me in the maze.

The fountain


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