HAMAD AIRPORT, DOHA, QATAR

WEDNESDAY, 28th June

HEADING HOME FROM VIENNA TO ADELAIDE (Transit stop in Doha).

Our day started with the alarm at 06:00 at the Hotel in Vienna. We had booked a taxi for 07:00 and it was waiting for us when we got to reception. There were three of us travelling to the airport as Erika was flying back to Zurich a little later in the morning. We were not sure whether she would be allowed through to the overseas International    Departure area so were pleased that, with a bit of sweet talking (in German, of course) she was able to join us for breakfast.  Time to say Goodbye – not easy when parting from a friend. The word “goodbye”originates as a parting prayer of blessing, “God be with Ye” (from the heart).

HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – In its bid to become a tourist destination of the future, the oil-rich nation of Qatar has gone all-out to impress visitors. With eighty designer stores and shops selling gold, travellers can spend while they wait.There are works of art like the over-sized Lamp Bear by a Swiss artist. Extravagance has been taken to another level with gold-plated coffee kiosks.There are huge futuristic play areas for children.

We had 5 hours on the ground so had plenty of time to walk, explore, have a light meal and chat to other South Australians awaiting the direct flight to Adelaide, South Australia arriving at 17:35 on Thursday 29th June. Pat’s home is in Western Australia so she had a Domestic flight to Perth the next day. We certainly had a wonderful 8 weeks together and I am thankful to her and to all friends, both old and new, who made the time so memorable.

In future days I may add to this, my Diary, as I know that special times will come to mind as I revisit my photographs.

VIENNA – FROM CASTLE TO CHURCH TO MARKET

SATURDAY, 24th June

This is the day of our final train journey using our Eurail Pass – Salzburg to Vienna. We have thoroughly enjoyed the train travel through France, Switzerland and Austria on a 3 Country Pass. Our advice to others is to travel First Class with seat reservations. The only momentary testing time is when manhandling (or woman handling) cases on and off the train (some easier than others).

Erika, who had flown from Zurich, was at the station to meet us and had already checked the direction of Hotel Beim Theresianum so we caught up on news as we trundled our cases on the ten minute walk. This is a Hotel I would happily recommend. We have an accommodation budget when planning our travels and most would be in the 3 star category. The Staff here were very welcoming and helpful and suggested a great place for lunch so we were soon on our way on an “Erika Walking Tour” with lunch being our first stop. My Haloumi and Mango Salad was certainly a good choice.

Map in hand, our first point of interest was the BELVEDERE.                                                                 The two Belvedere Palaces were built in the early eighteenth century to be used as the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736). One of Europe’s most stunning Baroque landmarks, this ensemble, comprising the Upper and Lower Belvedere and an extensive garden is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today the Belvedere houses the greatest collection of Austrian art dating from the Middle Ages to the present day.

HOCHSTRAHLBRUNNEN (high jet fountain)                                                        The fountain was built in 1873 to celebrate the completion of the First Vienna Mountain Spring Pipeline. The jets symbolise a calendar: 365 on the outer ring for days of the year, 6 little fountains and the central island for days of the week, 12 high water jets for the months, 24 smaller jets for the hours of the day and 30 big ones in the middle for the days of the month.                                                                                                                                                                THE SOVIET WAR MEMORIAL behind the fountain was built in 1945 to commemorate 17,000 Soviet soldiers who were killed in action during the Vienna Offensive in World War ll.

KARLSKIRCHE (ST. CHARLES’S CHURCH) is a church located on the south side of Karlsplatz. Widely considered the most outstanding baroque church in Vienna as well as one of the city’s greatest buildings, KARLSKIRCHE is dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo, one of the counter-reformers of the sixteenth century. KARLSKIRCHE contains a dome in the form of an elongated ellipsoid and this plus its two flanking columns of bas reliefs has brought fame to the architecture of the building.In 1966 an association of friends and patrons of the church started a thorough renovation of the interior including the world-famous dome frescoes in the year 2000. Tourists are still offered the opportunity to access the platform erected for the renovation via a temporary lift for a unique view of the frescoes at close range.

THE SECESSION BUILDING is an exhibition hall built in 1897 as an architectural manifesto for the Vienna Secession. Secession refers to the seceding of a group of rebel artists from the long-established fine art institution. The building has been selected to figure on the national side of the 0.50 Euro Austrian coin. The leaf work dome (“golden cabbage”) is the symbol of the Secession and visible from afar. When it opened in 1898 it touched off a scandal. Today, it is one of Austria’s most photographed structures and a leading centre for contemporary art.

NASCHMARKT is Vienna’s most popular market. It is about 1.5 kms (0.93m) long and has existed since the 16th century when mainly milk bottles were sold. Milk bottles were made out of ash (wood from the Ash tree). Asch (German for “ash”) led to the name “Aschenmarkt”. From 1793 onwards all fruits and vegetables brought to Vienna with carts had to be sold there, while goods arriving on the Danube were sold elsewhere. The atmosphere of the NASCHMARKT is famous far beyond the borders of Vienna and large numbers of tourists visit the market every year.

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VIENNA TO BUDAPEST FOR A DAY

SUNDAY, 25th June

In Vienna we are three again as Erika has come to join us for the last few days of our travels. Some months ago we had booked a full-day tour to Budapest and she was able to come with us as the bus had not been filled. We all arrived in Vienna yesterday. The shuttle pick-up was at 06:45 and the bus left the Opera House at 07:15 for the 250 km 3 hour drive.  The speed limit on the Motorway  is 130 kph for cars and 100 kph for buses.

HEROES’ SQUARE has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002. It is an iconic Statue complex including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as a landmark for Budapest. The Millenium Monument in the middle of the square was erected in 1896 to commemorate 1,000 year history of Hungary.

Budapest, Hungary’s capital is bisected by the River Danube. Its 19th century CHAIN BRIDGE (COMMON NAME) connects the hilly Buda district with flat Pest. This is a 19th century suspension bridge which spans the Danube. It was the first permanent bridge across the Danube in Hungary and was opened in 1849. At the time of construction it was regarded as one of the world’s engineering wonders.

ST. STEPHEN’S BASILICA was named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary. Construction on the basilica lasted for over 50 years and saw the deaths of two of its Architects. It was completed in 1905 in the neo-renaissance style. This stunning church holds an astonishing 8,000 worshippers and its interior is laid out in a Greek cross.The acoustics of this church allows concert goers to enjoy not only the beauty of the church but also the beauty of the music.

MATTHIAS CHURCH is a Roman Catholic Church located in front of the Fisherman’s Bastion at the heart of BUDA’S Castle District. It is over 700 years old and is at the top of Buda Castle Hill. It has been the scene of several coronations. Fisherman’s Bastion is a terrace situated on Castle hill around Matthias Church. The bus delivered us part way up the hill and we were led on a walking tour with a local Guide.

HUNGARIAN PAPRIKA.  Paprika is a symbol of Hungary’s Cuisine. It is added to countless dishes from soups to sauces and stews and even to some sweet delicacies. It is a major spice in the world famous Hungarian Ghoulash. The powder is produced by grinding the air-dried fruits (pods) of deep red Capsicum annuum.

For any followers who enjoy photographing unusual post boxes – this one is on Castle hill, Budapest.

 

Our day was a long one but very interesting and informative. We crossed the border back into Austria at 20:15 without any delays as can sometimes be the case when going through Passport control.

INTO INNSBRUCK

SUNDAY, 18th June

Tonight we sleep in Innsbruck after departing Zurich this morning on a train to Bregenz where we had a stopover just long enough to enjoy a schnitzel lunch before boarding the train to Innsbruck. This was the route we needed to take as there is work being done on the line from Zurich to Innsbruck. It was most picturesque.

INNSBRUCK is the capital city of Tyrol in western Austria. The name translates as “INN BRIDGE”. The city is located in the broad valley between high mountains. Innsbruck is an internationally renowned winter sports centre.

Having arrived at our Hotel Zach mid afternoon we had an introduction to some architectural history of this area by walking through the Old Town.

 

Innsbruck’s Trademark is THE GOLDEN ROOF which is situated in the medieval Old Town. On the orders of Emperor Maximilian l, the splendid balcony with 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles was added to Archduke Friedrich lV’s residence. The stone relief on the balcony shows Maximilian’s wives.

FAREWELL TO REGENSDORF, SWITZERLAND

SATURDAY, 17th June

Today has been a day to stop and to try to take in all that we have been so privileged to share with Erika over the past ten days – what a wonderful hostess and Tour Guide. We have caught up on washing, accompanied her to the Shopping Centre and have packed cases ready for an early start in the morning when we move by train from Switzerland to Austria. At 19:30 Pat and I walked in the local area in bright sunshine to complete our memories (and photographs) of the area in which she lives.

A SPECIAL THANKYOU TO OUR FRIEND.

MURTEN/MORAT – THE CITY BY THE LAKE

FRIDAY, 16th June, 2017

Today has been a “TRAVEL BY TRAIN’ day, making good use of our Eurail Pass. This enabled Erika to have a break from driving . We set out at 09:00 on a bus to the Regensdorf Train Station taking a train to Zurich Hauptbahnhof, the next train to Bern (at 10:06) and the third train to MURTEN, repeating the route to return home at 21:00.

This medieval town in the heart of Switzerland has a Mediterranean feel. Approximately 76% of the population is German speaking (hence, MURTEN) and 13% is French speaking (MORAT).  It is the Lake District’s main town in the Canton of Fribourg. The lakes are MURTENSEE/LAC DE MORAT, NEUCHATEL and BIEL. Today’s  cityscape was mostly built during the 17th and 18th centuries.

TODAY we strolled the cobbled streets of the town and walked around the rampart walls which were built in several stages, the lower 15 layers of stone dating from before the town’s construction in the 12th century.

The Main Street (Hauptgasse) and Arcades, the Baroque-styled town enhanced by various arches.  Even today business signs must be kept simple – neon lit signs have been banned helping to keep the charm of the old town.

Fountains in the Town –

An afternoon on the Lake –

A DAY IN MARSEILLE

FRIDAY, 2nd June

Marseille, the front door of Provence, on France’s south coast, was founded in 600 BC by Greek mariners from Phocaea. It is the oldest city in France and the second largest after Paris. In 1720 Marseille was hit hard by the Plague and lost half of its population. The city now is a growing industrial and commercial centre, home to a University and a School of Fine Arts.

Now we are three once again as Erika has joined us in Avignon. Today we went by TGV to spend the day in Marseille – first to the markets with their exuberant character. The quality and variety of Mediterranean produce provides for a wide range of street markets.  Seafood lunch was enjoyed (whole Loup for me) as we sat facing the amazing number of boats in the marina.  Our walk then took us through the streets of the Panier (Old Town) with its tall narrow houses draped with washing and Criss-crossed by steep cobbled streets and many steps. This area, together with the Old Port, has been the beating heart of Marseille for over 2,000 years.  It was good that we chose to follow through with our original plans even though the suggestion had been made along the way that it would be better to go elsewhere – a GREAT day.