Posts Tagged ‘wine’

BIG WHEEL KEEPS ON TURNING

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Staring up in awe at the blazing red, 72’ diameter wooden water wheel the lyrics of Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” come to mind:

“Big wheel keeps on turning.  Proud Mary keeps on burning………”

We are on the Isle of Man and today our proud Manx friend and tour guide, Ally, has bought us to see the “world’s largest operating water wheel” – The Laxey Wheel.

Thankfully I mounted my wide-angle lens onto my Canon because trying to capture the sheer size of the wheel when you are up close is almost impossible.

The Laxey Wheel, located on the north-eastern side of the small Irish Sea island, was built in 1854.  The wheel’s job was to pump water out of the “Great Laxey Mines” complex in the nearby hills – a lot of water.  Indeed this massive wheel is capable of extracting over 1000 litres per minute from mine shafts the extend to  1500’ below the earth’s surface.

The water that feeds the wheel runs along a beautifully designed viaduct. Towering above the landscape the white washed stone arches of the viaduct provide avid photographers with some wonderful “perspective” shots.

Visitors to the Laxey Wheel complex can visit one of the old mine shafts that leads into the Glen Mooar part of the Laxey Mines.  A short track leads from the wheel up to the shaft’s entrance and, after donning a hardhat, you can walk 100’ into the mine. Be warned though.  Even if you are not claustrophobic, the short trip into the mine will get your attention.

Immediately on entering the shaft the temperature begins to drop and the water logged walls and low roof drip all around you.   The narrow gauge rail lines disappear into the darkness and the shaft seems to close in around you. The shaft is fenced off around 100’ into the mine but by this point you are in far enough to gain a sense of how brave and tough the Laxey miners were.

Exiting the mine into the bright, cool day is like being born again.

If, after a visit to the mineshaft, you are up for another challenge you can climb up to the top of the beautiful tower in which the Laxey Wheel is mounted.  A narrow, “one-person-at-a-time”, spiral staircase allows visitors to get to the top of the tower and view the surrounding hills and the Laxey Valley.   The climb also means that you get to see the very top of the 6’ wide wheel as it rotates gracefully – a very calming experience after the steep climb to the top.

After all the exercise and a lot of photos we walked down the hill to the small café located near the wheel.   Visitors can take in some of the café’s delightful offerings while listening to the water flowing from the wheel and into the nearby stream. We settled on the obligatory tea and scones.

The Laxey Wheel is open from 10am – 4pm in winter and 9.30am to 5pm in summer. The very reasonable entry fee of £5 goes toward keeping the “Lady Isabella” (as the wheel is called) turning for the generations to follow.

Share This Post

African Vino

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

The distinctive taste of the full bodied South African red wine slips across the pallet as the sun descends slowly in the southern African skyline. The stunning mountain range to the north towers over the Stellenbosch wine region and we soak it all up at the Rust En Vrede winery’s cellar garden.

We have spent the day touring the Stellenbosch area – the pride of South Africa’s wine industry.  Hundreds of wineries are dotted throughout the spectacular landscape and visitors to the area could spend days here soaking up the delights which the area has to offer.

Tasting Rust

Whilst Stellenbosch is known for its spectacular wines, it is also home to a large university and a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Indeed, one could stay in the region for a week and not get through half the wineries and activities.  We just might have to come back!

As our wine tasting comes to an end we reflect on the fact that “life is very good indeed”.

Share This Post

Goodbye Alps, Hello Flatlands and Motoring The Motorways

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Goodbye Alps, Hello Flatlands and Motoring On The Motorways

Interlaken, Beatenberg, Schmocken, Thun, Bern, Baden-Baden, Kelsterbach, Frankfurt Airport

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Our plan this morning was to be on the road by around 10.30am. The drive to Frankfurt would take around 5 hours and the car was due back at the Hertz rental return around 6.00pm.

We slept soundly during our last night at Gloria despite the very loud snoring from the room next door. We assume that the guy’s wife elbowed him in the ribs shortly after we settled into bed because neither of us heard the roof lifting sounds after our heads hit the pillows.

We had packed most of our belongings last night so this morning’s priority was to sort ourselves out and enjoy a casual breakfast and a long look at the alps and Lake Thun. We achieved this aim between 9 and 10am.

After our substantial breakfast we spent time talking to Bernhard and took some photo’s with him on the balcony overlooking the lake below.

With our planned departure time drawing near we returned to the room, grabbed our luggage and packed the car before completing the final checkout. After a short farewell to the staff we left the hotel and returned to the car.

I had prepared the GPS for the trip to Frankfurt so after getting our “travel setup” sorted we backed out of the carpark and started our trip down the mountain toward Interlaken – the time was very close to 10.30am!

We took it easy during the trip down the winding roads toward Interlaken because we wanted to enjoy the views of the alps and the last of our time in the spectacular mountains.

We made a short stop for fuel just before we entered the motorway that took us on the southern side of Lake Thun and north west toward Thun. We had not traveled this part of the lake before today so it was nice to look back, across the lake and up toward Schmoken. Indeed, we could make out Hotel Gloria perched high on the mountain to the north. Beautiful.

The light traffic meant that the trip around Thun and past Bern went without a great deal of delay. Little did we know that this pace was not going to continue.

We left Switzerland and entered Germany – a trip that took us out of the towering mountains of the alps and into relatively flat farming lands. We passed through the remaining low mountains of southern Germany then paralleled the Rhine for quite a while and enjoyed the seemingly endless vineyards and the views of distant castles perched on hilltops – we will return to Germany and tour the Rhein one day.

After close to three and a half hours we decided to stop for some lunch. The time was approaching 2.00pm when pulled off the autobahn and drove into the town of Baden-Baden.

We found a shopping mall close to the outskirts of the town and parked the car undercover – it was warming up as we headed north!

We enjoyed a light meal and some juice for lunch before finding a very well laid out grocery store in the mall. We decided to “eat in” at the hotel in Frankfurt so we bought some lovely salami, cheese and bread rolls and some red wine to wash it all down with. We have forgotten what a well stocked grocery store looks like and we had some fun walking around the store before paying for our treats.

We left the mall around 3.30pm and pointed the car in the direction of the autobahn. As we turned to join the autobahn we came to a grinding halt – there was an accident somewhere up ahead. Plan B – reverse the car (like everyone else was doing) and find another way to Frankfurt. This is where a GPS comes into its own.

Without any idea of alternate routes the GPS allowed us to quickly work out another way to Frankfurt. We gave “surfer dude” his Plan B instructions and despite the occasional ” new route is being calculated” order he eventually complied and we were on our way.

The Plan B route took us into France for short while – it was nice to spend 30 minutes or so reading French signs. The Princess and I start each year with the intention of visiting at least 10 countries. France was not on our agenda for 2011 however, despite the very short visit, we can include the land of bread and wine on our list for this year’s list.

On reentering Germany I made up for some lost time on the autobahn by making the most of the unlimited speed options in the fast lane. I am happy to report that the little Ford Focus was able to achieve the imperial 100 mph or 160 km/h plus. There is something to be said for being able to legally travel at this speed. Most of the trip was spent at 130 km/h – a more comfortable speed to travel at. Several times during the trip we felt like we were standing still when BMW and Porsche marques passed us like we were standing still. They must have been traveling around 200 km/h. Impressive. Mental note – next time we are in Germany make sure that we hire something that can travel at 200 km/h plus.

Driving conditions continued to be affected by roadworks and the occasional downpour from Mother Nature. However, we made good time on the alternate route and “surfer dude” gave precision guidance to our hotel in the little village of Kelsterbach near the Frankfurt airport.

We arrived at the Mercure Airport hotel around 5.30pm – a 7 hour trip from Schmocken. On exiting the car we both noted now warm it was compared with the alps. A lovely afternoon in/near Frankfurt. We checked in and took up residence in room 220 before I departed the hotel and drove across to the airport to return the car. Kelsterbach is located about 10 minutes from the busy airport but you would swear you were in the middle of nowhere. Wheat fields and country lanes defined the short drive to the airport.

After filling the car at the airport Shell service station I followed the signs to the rental car return area and handed the trusty and well used Ford back to the helpful Hertz agent.

The hotel’s shuttle bus ran every 30 minutes and the stop was conveniently located near the Hertz return area so it wasn’t long before I was on my way back to the hotel.

On the return trip the route took me past the incredible building that the Hilton hotel calls home. This stunning modern building looks like part cruise ship and part airship. It is an enormous structure that proudly stands out in the otherwise drab landscape around Terminal 1 at Frankfurt.

After the 7 hour trip we were both rather exhausted so we were glad that we had purchased something to eat and drink in Baden-Baden. After my return to the hotel I repacked my suitcase for the trip back to Hong Kong then The Princess and I settled in for a short evening of blog updates and a wind down.

The “lights out” for today’s events occurred around 10.30pm – an interesting day of traveling through Switzerland, Germany and France.

Side note: Whilst the Mercure hotel was comfortable, the service in a chain hotel is not a pinch on that of a family run establishment. We were blessed with the accommodation choices during this holiday and we both agree that we will be avoiding the chain hotel option in the future. A huge thank you to the incredibe staff and owners of Hotel Miralago, Hotel Haidenhof, Hotel Sonnenhof, Hotel Alpenrose and Hotel Gloria – very special indeed!


Share This Post

Altitude Flowers, Spectacular Views and Knocking Knees

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Altitude Flowers, Spectacular Views and Knocking Knees

Schmocken, Beatenberg, Niederhorn

Location – Switzerland

I opened the outside blinds that cover the room windows this morning and learned that the Interlaken weather Gods had received our message. The clouds had lifted and we had a spectacular view of the Eiger mountain face and some of the other “Top Of Europe” mountain peaks. It was going to be another good day here in Switzerland.

Despite making the most of the very comfortable bedding we did manage to extract ourselves from under the doona (duvet) around 8.30am and prepare for the day’s activities. I even managed to have a shave before venturing down to breakfast!

This morning’s window view was very special given that the clouds had lifted over the Alps. We enjoyed the view and the substantial breakfast we managed to consume – not a bad thing given that we were not going to have lunch today (of course we didn’t know it whilst sitting at breakfast).

We departed the hotel around 10.30am and covered the short walk to the Niederhorn cable car terminus in around 8 minutes. Hotel Gloria is so very well placed here in Beatenburg.

The weather continued to improve as the morning passed and by the time we arrived at the cable car terminal the day was shaping up nicely.

See You Thun

Our accommodation in Beatenburg came with a voucher that gave us 15% discount on the cable car trip so our one way trip to the top of the mountain was quite cheap.

Being a Sunday meant that the cable cars were running quite regularly so it wasn’t long before we were boarding the gondola and heading up the steep mountain cable car track.

The view from the very smooth gondola improved with each passing cable car tower and we both enjoyed the spectacular scenery that opened up below us.

We reached the top of Niederhorn in around 12 minutes and exited the gondola to a cool but sunny day. The gentle breeze and relatively thin mountain air were the reason we packed our warm weather gear for today’s outdoor activities.

Despite it being a Sunday, the number of people on the mountain was low so we did not have to compete for viewing space at any stage. Indeed, there would have to be a very large number of people on the mountain to stop one achieving time to take a very good look at the spectacular 360 degree views that are on offer from Niederhorn.

We took our time to walk around the area near the cable car terminus and we enjoyed the wonderful views on offer. The sun continued to warm the mountains and this mean that the cloud base continued to rise. More and more of the alps began to reveal themselves as the morning turned into afternoon and we enjoyed capturing the sights on offer.

From Niederhorn you take in 360 degree views for miles around. Views of lakes, mountains, valleys and distance towns are available from this 6000′ plus mountain top and all of the sights are spectacular.

All Paths Lead To?

In winter Niederhorn is a ski paradise. In summer it is a hiker and paraglider paradise. Indeed, it seemed that for every hiker on the mountain there was a least one or more paragliders. The Princess and I enjoyed spending time watching the paragliding fanatics prepare their rigs, don their warm flight suits and helmets and then negotiate the fickle winds before launching themselves off the slopes of Niederhorn.

We didn’t count the number of paragliders in the air over the Interlaken region but, suffice to say, there were dozens of them. The brightly colored wings stood out against the white snowcapped mountains and green forests and filled the sky like prehistoric flocks of birds soaring above some prey below.

We opted to hike back down to Schmocken so, after spending time near the summit of Niederhorn we made our way along the well trodden hiking paths to the village way below.

Our progress was slow because we couldn’t take more than a few steps before stopping to photograph another beautiful scene or some beautiful spring wildflowers that were blooming on the exposed parts of the mountain.

We were also fortunate to see some of the mountain’s wild goats albeit that they were not too keen to stick around for photos.

The number of hikers crossing the mountain’s hiking paths thinned out as we moved further down the mountain – all of them taking one of many different routes that are available on the mountain. Young and old alike venture out here in Switzerland and make the most of the excellent hiking available here. Some people are in a hurry and some, like us are just taking in the many distant views and natural beauty on offer.

Our trip back down the mountain took around 5 hours (from the time we left the cable car terminus area) and the “quoted ” time is around 2 hours 30 minutes. However, we were not in a hurry and the sun doesn’t set here until around 9.00pm at this time of the year.

On our way back down we passed by a farm house and spent time talking with the manager of the small but productive farm. He was managing the farm on behalf of a large Swiss co-op and he was happy to answer the many questions we had for him. This “large” farm (with about 30 head of dairy cows and 12 pigs) produced cream, milk, cheese and ham for Alp. It seems that 30 head of dairy cows in these parts is a substantial farm indeed.

As we descended the mountain the tree line was obvious and we left the wide open grass fields and prolific wildflowers and entered into darker pine forests with lush undergrowth.

The hiking paths we took crossed wet open areas before re-entering small forests and they also meandered around steep drop offs and under towering overhangs. Very spectacular.

Despite having a map, the signs on the trail didn’t really indicate that we were heading in the right direction but we were content with enjoying the beautiful views that were offered from our high vantage point.

We eventually left the higher areas of the wooded landscape and descended toward one of the many villages located below us.

Our knees were not happy with us as we made our way down into one of the villages. Indeed, if we had to hike downhill for much longer we would have had to have made a stop and give the knees a break.

Around 5.15pm we arrived in one of the small villages in the Beatenberg area (so small that we couldn’t find it on a map) and went in search of a bus stop. The buses here run every hour and, as it turned out, the next one was due through this town around 5.29pm.

Delicate Mountain Dwellers

Like a Swiss watch, the bus rolled into town and stopped to pick us up. Our accommodation voucher allows us to travel for free on the buses in the Beatenburg area so, on boarding, we showed the friendly driver our voucher and took our first comfortable seat since dining at breakfast! Our knees, backs and bums were very thankful indeed.

The bus stopped a few meters from Hotel Gloria so after a short walk we were back “home” and ready for a late afternoon treat. We did not eat lunch however we did have a banana and some trail mix – not bad going for over 5 hours of hiking.

The friendly staff at Gloria welcomed us when we walked through the door and were happy to serve us a nice hot latte and a delightful plum and apple slice. Like all the food here at Gloria, the slice was excellent.

We drank our coffee outside on the balcony overlooking the alps – a nice way to finish our day of outdoor activity here in the Jungfrau area.

When we returned to the room I ran The Princess a warm bubble bath and she happily lowered herself into the deep bathtub. Indeed, as I took some time to update our website, I didn’t hear a sound from her from around 20 minutes. She definitely enjoyed relaxing after the long day of hiking.

When The Princess had had her fill of relaxing I too spent time giving my muscles a treat in the warm water.

We made an 8.00pm reservation in the restaurant for dinner so after our long baths we changed into some non-hiking gear and made our way down for another sumptuous feed. The Princess dined on a beautifully prepared piece of salmon and I rapidly downed a lovely Thai green curry. Despite not having lunch we could not finish the ample meals that Bernhard and his team prepared for us.

Bernhard came out of the kitchen and spent time talking to us about our day and giving us some more tips on other attractions in and around Interlaken. Indeed, tomorrow (our last day here) we will follow Bernhard’s suggestion of taking a paddle steamer trip on the lake and visit an beautiful old hotel that is located near a waterfall. We will let you know how it goes in tomorrow’s blog.

Until tomorrow – Ciao!

Reclining Beauty
[Map]
Cheese Protector
[Map]
Minimal Fencing
[Map]
Mountain Smiles
[Map]
Winging Above The Eiger
[Map]
Tread Carefully
[Map]

Share This Post

Goat Tracks, Castles and Torquoise Lakes

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Goat Tracks, Castles and Turquoise Lakes

Beatenberg, Schmocken, Thun, Sigriswil

Location – Lake Thun

Maybe it was the fog. Maybe it was the cold mountain air outside (our room was toasty warm) or maybe it was because we had no where in particular to go. For all, or none, of these reasons we surfaced slowly this morning here in Beatenberg and, in particular, Hotel Gloria.

The very comfortable beds, the almost “impossible to extract yourself from” pillows and the silence pervading the hotel made for a wonderful night of sleep on so many levels.

When we did rise we took our time to get ready then headed down to the hotel dining room for breakfast – a delightful “spread” that would satisfy a team of hungry footballers. These two “bench reserve” team members didn’t need too many carbs or calories to satisfy them after the delightful meal we experienced in the hotel’s restaurant last night.

The view from the dining room window seat was not too appealing – rising fog, an obscured Thunersee (Lake Thun) and absolutely no sight of the mountains to the south. The balcony 5 feet away was about the extent of our view for breakfast. The sight of The Princess opposite me however was spectacular and, in reality, would have made even the most sensational view pale into insignificance!

Over breakfast we thought about the advice that Bernhard gave us last night and decided that we would take the precarious “back road” to Thun and spend the day walking this historic town.

After our light but fulfilling breakfast we prepared our cameras, the video camera and our warm weather gear and headed out for the day.

Despite our talking GPS trying to take us the “sensible” way to Thun we ignored his protestations and headed west along the narrow mountainside road. In reality, we were well prepared for this short trip having spent time negotiating the precarious roads around Lake Como when we arrived in Italy. Indeed the lack of Italian drivers (and drivers in general) made this road very enjoyable to drive along.

At one point on the journey our GPS took us on an interesting side step (or maybe we were too engrossed in the scenery) and we ended up driving down a lane that was barely wider that the car. In fact, the side mirrors were caused to retract by themselves at times! However, we know that “surfer dude” (as he is known) never lets us down and the views from the goat track that we drove on were spectacular.

After our short diversion we reentered the road west to Thun and felt like we had entered a motorway. We passed through several picturesque villages before arriving in the small village of Schoren – home to the lakeside Castle of Oberhofen (Schloss Oberhofen).

The weather at “lake level” was relatively clear so we parked the car in the not so full carpark and spent the next 90 minutes walking around the castle and taking quite a few photographs and some video. In addition to being able to view this beautifully maintained castle, we were able to enjoy the arrival and departure of the original paddle steamer that plies the lake’s waterways. Indeed, at one point the sound of the steam whistle (announcing the steamer’s departure) made us jump a couple of feet! A beautiful sound when you are expecting it.

From Schoren we continued our drive along the lake front into Thun – a short trip that took around 10 minutes.

Despite it being Saturday (market day) we were able to find a parking spot close to the city centre and, after sorting out the parking fee, we arranged our gear and set off to explore Thun.

It didn’t take too long for us to spot some things to take photographs of and so our day in Thun began.

As I mentioned above, today was market day in Thun and the streets were quite busy with tourists and locals alike. However, the weekend foot and road traffic didn’t stop us from taking in the feeling of this beautiful town.

The town is “split” by two watercourses that flow from Lake Thun and west/northwest to the city of Bern and beyond. These two watercourses form an island in the middle of the city and we spent time walking along the pathways that line either side of the watercourses.

Beautiful old bridges cross the two “channels” and historic buildings line the streets that front the banks of the channels. The Saturday afternoon market atmosphere, the turquoise blue water running swiftly through the channels and the beautiful old buildings lining the streets provided us with plenty to digest. What a wonderful way to experience Switzerland.

We enjoyed walking the markets and wandering past the many stalls that were setup on the “pedestrian only” mall. There was plenty to look at and buy but we were “good”. Indeed, we only walked away with memories and a few photographs.

From the market place we took in some more of the small inlets that Thun is built around. It was easy to find quite isolated places to take in the sheer beauty of the town and the lake despite the crowds that seemed to be in “town”. It was nice to stroll along almost deserted lake front walkways and appreciate the architecture of the old buildings that had “prime real estate” positions on the stunning lake. One could spend weeks in this place.

One of the main attractions of Thun (other than the lake) is the beautiful castle built on the town’s highpoint. From the lake we made our way back toward the castle, along the old cobble stoned streets, and up to the cathedral that is located near the castle.

We took photos from quite a few vantage points along the way and enjoyed experiencing some different parts of Thun.

Unfortunately the cathedral was closed when we arrived however, we both enjoyed the deep sounds resonating from the cathedral’s bell tower. The sounds rang out across the town below and seemed to go on for 20 minutes or more! A wonderful soundtrack to some of the video we took.

From the cathedral we took a short walk to Schloss Thun and viewed it from the outside as it too was closed. Schloss Thun, like Schloss Oberhof, is beautifully preserved and being near it makes you feel like you have stepped back in time. Short of guards and men on horseback the castle seemed to have a pulse. It felt very much “alive”.

With the temperature dropping in the late afternoon/early evening air we headed back to the car and set course for “home” – Hotel Gloria, Schmocken.

We opted to take the shore front drive back toward Interlaken then up the mountain road to the hotel. We were not disappointed. The road back along the shore line of Lake Thun was beautiful. We passed through some tunnels that must have been made back in the 1800′s (not lined or seemingly touched in anyway) and viewed some stunning scenery. The sun was getting lower in the western sky and this meant new arrangements of shadows and colours. Perfect.

The steep and winding mountain road up to Schmocken did not have too many cars on it so this meant that we were able to make good time back to hotel.

We arrived back at “Gloria” around 7.15pm and we were welcomed back by the Jacky (co-owner) as we entered the main door.

I ventured out on the the balcony to take in the cool mountain air while The Princess prepared for dinner. Jacky called our room to let us know that the restaurant was busy and asked if we could delay coming down for around 15 minutes. A very nice touch! We were not in a hurry so the delay in dining worked well for us.

After a little bit of “surfing the net” we made our way down to the dining room and took up “residence” at a window seat. The view from this place is superb and dining with a “bird’s eye” view is very special.

Tonight we sampled Bernhard’s cooking for a second time and, again, it was spectacular. We shared a mushroom risotto and a mediterranean salad and there were many “eye rolling” moments as we savored the meals. The preparation, presentation and taste of the meals at Hotel Gloria are something that must be experienced. Exceptional. The excellent service compliments the superb meals.

With our ‘bellies topped up to “just the right” level we made our way back up to the room and retired for the night.

I will finish up this blog then sink into the beautiful bed next to The Princess and make acquaintance with the inside of my eyelids.

Tomorrow we are aiming to head up to Niederhorn – the mountain behind where we are staying. We are planning to take the cable car up to the top of the mountain then hike back down.

A special request has been submitted to the Interlaken weather Gods so we are expecting high to nil clouds and warmish temperatures.

We will let you know if our request was accepted when we blog tomorrow night.

Gut Nacht!

Paddling The Lake
[Map]
See You Thun – I’m Schlossed
[Map]
Pondering Brass
[Map]
Princess Opening Her Castle
[Map]
Crossing The Bridge
[Map]

Share This Post

Seeing The Boden At Bregenz

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Seeing The Boden At Bregenz

Bregenz, Egg

Location – Austria

We had quite a sleepless night last night because The Princess was up most of the night coughing. She contracted a bug over the past week and it came to a bit of head over the past 24 hours. Today was the day to find a doctor and sort it out before it worsened.

The weather was rather inclement when we woke up so we were not in a particular hurry to depart the hotel (other than finding a doctor) so we took our time to ready ourselves before heading down for something to eat.

We enjoyed a very nice breakfast in the hotel’s dining room – a comprehensive “spread” that provided us with a good start to the day.

The daughter of one of the owners (Anna Marie) introduced herself while we were eating breakfast and we really enjoyed talking with her about her background and learning more about the local area. She is a perfect host and we appreciated the time she took to help us learn more about the region.

After breakfast we asked Anna Marie (the hotel manager) where the nearest doctor was and she directed us to the Ganthaler clinic just on the edge of town. We sorted ourselves out and headed off for an “walk in” appointment.

The waiting room was full when we arrived (around 11.30) so we didn’t get into see the doctor until close to 12.30. The staff spoke excellent English and we were processed very efficiently once we were called into see the doctor.

Plated Entry

Dr Ganthaler, an emergency medical specialist, was very thorough with his examination of The Princess. He took some blood and, before long, we learned that she had a serious bacterial infection in her body (probably in the lung cavities). Within about 15 minutes The Princess was having an intravenous injection of antibiotic and some steroid treatment. The doctor didn’t want to take any chances with the bug and was determined to get it under control quickly. The Princess spent about 30 minutes in the treatment room under the expert care of Arthur (the specialist paramedic) and then Dr Ganthaler. The treatment was completed around 1.30pm and we left the very well appointed clinic with a bag full of antibiotics and some natural remedies too. The Princess was feeling 100% better after the injection of antibiotic and steroids and we headed off to Bregenz for lunch.

The drive into Bregenz takes around 45 minutes and the road into the small city winds its way through some beautiful little towns and alongside of towering mountains. The low clouds were hugging the tall mountains and rising from the lush green valleys and this made the scenery appear very mystical.

We stopped in the small town of Egg (that’s right – Egg) for an early afternoon coffee and a locally baked delight before continue our drive into Bregenz. Shortly after leaving Egg we saw a sign for the town of Hard and we were wondering if this is where Hard boiled Eggs originated from!

Our wonderful talking GPS made light work of guiding us into the city center and to an undercover parking area that was conveniently located near the main plaza of the old town.

It was raining lightly as we exited the car park and started our walk around the historic streets of Bregenz – an Austrian city located on the Bodensee (or, in English, Lake Constance). It has some lovely historic buildings and a beautiful water front.

Despite the light rain we persisted with our photography and video efforts and managed to get some reasonable photos between the showers.

After a short stroll through the city’s outdoor malls we made our way down to the Boden See shorefront and took in the misty views of the lake across to the German side of the lake. We were able to sense the beauty of the lake and enjoyed strolling along the treelined pathway.

It was around 3.30pm when we decided to eat lunch and we chose a lovely restaurant located on the waterfront. We chose to eat inside Wortshaus Amsee even though there was very good outdoor covers – The Princess didn’t need to sit in the cool air today!

We chose a tuna fish salad and a cream of tomato soup for lunch and, even though that choice sounded rather plain, the servings were certainly not. The tuna was mixed with a delightful balsamic vinegar dressing and full of black olives. The soup was full of croutons that melted in our mouths. Mmmmm. Another gastronomic feast that was complimented by the wonderful waitresses that helped us to learn some more German – “E Zut Deer Wreck Nung” (not the German spelling but it is how is sounds to us). It should translate to: “I would like the bill please”. Any advise from the German readers would be appreciated!

Wounded Warrior

Our waterfront stroll continued after lunch. As we walked a short distance to the sight of the spectacular Bregenzer Festspiele water stage we thought our eyes were deceiving us when we saw three naked men swimming in the Bodensee. It took us a few glances to realise that they were indeed naked. Two things that were surprising about this scene – 1. It must have been very cold in the water and 2. No one seemed to be too concerned about three grown men “mooning” in the shallow water beside the busy waterfront pathway. I guess there wasn’t too much to look at because their combined anatomies must have been rather shriveled up in the cold water!!

We approached the very impressive Bregenzer Festspiele stage and readied our cameras and videos with a view to capture this wonderful sight. We learned that the stages change every two years and, during summer, are the pride of the Bregenzer Festspiele.

The festival has been running since 1946 and, as it turned out, we met an elderly gentleman that had worked on the festival as a stage hand when he was 18. This lovely Swiss man and his wife were visiting Bregenz to check out the construction of this year’s stage (a new one). He shared the story of the Bregenz Festspeile and explained the theme of this year’s production – an opera about one of the main characters responsible for the French revolution.

The Bregenz tour continued after we left very impressive waterfront although we quickly realised that we had seen the highlights of the town. With the rain increasing and the highlights of Bregenz covered we returned to the shopping centre where our car was parked. We planned to relax with a bit of retail therapy however, the shops were closing (it was approaching 6.00pm) so we returned to the car and set off for our accommodation in Au.

On the drive out of Bregenz we stopped off at a small shopping village on the outskirts of town and bought some fruit, salami and cheese and fresh rolls for tonight’s light dinner.

The trip back to Au took us around 40 minutes (it always seems quicker to drive a road again after driving it for the first time) and we arrived back at Hotel Alpenrose around 7.30pm. Anna Marie was still working the front desk when we walked into the hotel (a long day indeed for her) and was most interested in how our day went and, of course, how The Princess was feeling. Staying in a family run hotel makes you feel like you are a part of the family – particularly here in Austria where the people are so very friendly and welcoming. A wonderful country on so many levels!

We are planning an early evening tonight. The Princess is feeling 200% now and she is looking forward to a solid sleep tonight.

Tomorrow we are aiming to visit the tiny nation of Liechtenstein and the Swiss town of St Gallen so we want to have a reasonably early start. Early starts mean early finishes and this is tonight’s plan.

We look forward to reporting on tomorrow’s activities when we return from our three country tour tomorrow evening.

Smoken In Bregenz
[Map]
Waiting For Summer
[Map]
The Death Of A Revolutionary
[Map]
Bregenz Water Dragon
[Map]
Spring Goslings
[Map]
Scrambled, Fried or Boiled?
[Map]

Share This Post