Friday was the day of Thomas and Nicole’s wedding. They had the ceremony in the late morning, and then we all headed up to the reception which took place at a ski resort in the mountains. It was such a beautiful area, and I loved the hotel where the reception was. It was so fun and had so much character. I loved that for the couple’s first dance they did the Viennese waltz. It was so fun to see how our wedding traditions differ.
Saturday we met back up at the hotel for breakfast and said our goodbyes. We all are all so happy to have Nicole be added to our family! 🙂
We then drove to Salzburg. We only spent the afternoon there, and I wished we had a bit more time, I really loved it. The city is situated so beautifully, with the castle being on top of a hill in the middle of a valley with mountains around it and a river running through it. Actually I think that could describe many of the towns we visited on this trip… 🙂
We took a tour of the castle which had really great views of the city. And I loved that they had models showing the building progression of the castle since it was added onto over the course of many centuries.
From Salzburg we drove to Hallstatt which is one of the most adorable town’s I have ever seen. It was so picturesque. We got there pretty late in the evening, just before the sun was going down, so we just got some dinner and walked around the tiny streets and shops. We following some old stone foot paths winding up the mountain to a waterfall. I loved the stone walls and staircases, you can just feel the history.
After we checked into the hotel, Rachel, Andrew and I took a little drive out to one of the lakes in the area to see the moon and lights in the dark reflected in the lake.
Sunday we left Hallstatt and drove into Czech Republic. On our way to Prague we stopped in a small medieval town, Cresky Krumlov. It was the cutest little town. We wandered around, had some traditional Czech food for lunch, and toured the castle. I loved all of the red roofs.
We got to Prague late and walked around old town and to the Charles bridge to see the lights.
On Monday morning we had to do laundry then when we were finsihed we went to Petrin tower, which they call a mini Eiffel tower, and Rachel and I climbed to the top for the views. Prague also has all red roofs and it was so pretty!
From the tower we walked over to Castle Hill and St. Vitus Cathedral where we spent the afternoon. Almost every city that we visited has artists selling their painting along the street, and we came across one here that had the most amazing watercolors. They were so good that every single one of us bought one.
St. Vitus Cathedral had so many beautiful stained glass windows.
From the castle we went back down to Old town and did some shopping in the market then walked to the Clementium which houses the National library. There was the most amazing Braque library but of course they wouldn’t let us take any pictures. There is also an astrological tower that also has great views of the city. It started raining at the end of our tour when we were at the top of the tower and then really started pouring. We had to wait around a while for it to slow down long enough to run between the building to the subway stop. We still got pretty soaked. I love the rain though, so much more than heat and it was almost perfect timing at the end of our day.
Tuesday we started at Wenceslas Square where they have these large signs about the history of Prague. These were so interesting. I know very little about Eastern European history and it was fun to learn a little bit more. We found a toy store that had a bunch of Sylvanians, which all of my siblings and I played with when we lived in England as children and were some my favorite toys. Rachel, Chani and I spent quite a bit of time in that section… the little animal families are so cute! Especially the little babies. We continued walking from Wenceslas Square to Old Town Square. There was a street performer blowing huge bubbles which were so fun. We went into the cathedral which had soooo much gold, then waited for the chiming of the Astronomical Clock. It was installed in 1410 and is apparently the oldest one still working, and the crowd waiting there was huge but I thought the actual chime was kind of anticlimactic.
You see these Vetrnik everywhere in Prague and all 6 of us tried one at various points and at first we didn’t think they were that great, until we tried one that was hot and freshly made and realized that the quality decreases significantly in just 5 minutes. Most of the vendors make them in advance and give you the ones that have been sitting there for a few minutes. It is definitely worth finding one that is hot enough to hurt your fingers…
We spent the afternoon in the Jewish quarter visiting the museums, synagogues and cemetery. That evening Dad, Rachel and I got tickets to go to a concert. The venue was right next to the river and the Charles Bridge. It was a small show, with just 5 string musicians from the Prague Symphony and a small audience and it was so fun. They played a lot of my favorite classical pieces, including Die Moldau which I loved because the song is about the Vltava river that was right next to us.
On Wednesday we drove back to Austria to the town of Melk and toured the Monastery. It is huge! We did the tour first and the museum was surprisingly modern. There is another amazing and enormous library, that once again we couldn’t take any pictures of. Always the library. So sad for me. The tour ends in the chapel which I think had even more gold than the one in Prague.
We walked through the gardens which had the most amazing lilac hedges and long wisteria covered paths.
I really liked this monument showing the river flood levels over the years. After we left the monastery we drove along the river as it got dark. It was such a pretty drive, with the hills, small towns with their church towers and castle ruins and vineyards, especially as the sun set.