# "Hemingway, Eichmann, Stranger in a Strange Land... Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion!" # - Billy Joel
10 years ago I was fortunate enough to be able to take a 2-month break
from "my day job" at the time and embark on an epic trip around Europe...
My travelling companion was the person who little did I realise then
would one day become my wife,
and we were travelling with the Busabout network.
I wrote a collection of articles en route and sent them back home
to the Northern Cross newspaper via small net cafes all around Europe...
These are those scribbles from the humble pen
of a wannabe European correspondent...
(C.G.Allan, Summer 2013)
(Czech Republic to Munich - Tues 24th June to Fri 4th July, 2003)
|Climbing the hills to the castle was a lasting memory...|
The first thing to get used to was the Czech currency – “Krone”. £40 was about 1700 Krone! It took me a while to get my head around this but I missed using the distinctive coins and notes once we moved on again.
|The centre of city life in Prague|
is the bustling Charles Bridge
We took a walk on our first day here through the parks leading to the huge Royal castle on the hill overlooking Prague. It has a really beautiful gardens and a huge old church called St Vitus.
Another church which was in Prague itself, just off one side of the famous Charles Bridge, was St. Francis (of Assisi) – we didn’t get the chance to look inside this and I regret that because I took the saint’s name as my Confirmation name.
Leaving the Czech Republic was difficult because everything was so cheap! We moved onto Vienna next and were back in Euro land. The Euro isn’t too bad, incidentally, and having travelled through Europe i can see how it would benefit Britain to change to the single currency if only to boost tourism alone!
|More objects I collected,|
including a wooden disc
from Terezin in Czech,
a harrowing former
Nazis labor camp
We rode through the 17th century squares and heard classical music being played by buskers on a street corner – Ave Maria and The Four Season – definitely a memory we’ll keep for a long time because there were as good as any concert you’d pay heaps to go to back home.
St. Michael’s Plasse in Vienna was something which crept up on us as we cycled around a corner but I was so taken with it that we went back there on our own the following night to take in the atmosphere and “people watch”! The square itself was more of a circle with huge statues of St. Michael defeating the devil at either side of the arched entrances. There’s also a glassed area in the centre of the square with the original Roman settlement ruins to Vienna!
|People-watching in the majestic|
St Michael's Platz is highly recommended!
We were singing (or at least humming) all the way to our next stop of Salzburg in Austria because we were booked onto a Sound of Music tour! Alison and myself both grew up watching this film and so we were pretty excited about the whole thing.
|We were treading the same pavements as Julie Andrews & co,|
humming as we went in Salzburg!
On our tour we visited Mondsee, a small town outside of Salzburg which was used in the filming of the movie when they needed a church for the wedding scene at the end. The altar inside the church is every bit as breathtaking as it looks in the film but we weren’t allowed up to the organ balcony to take a photo from the same point of view as the film!
The tour was really good fun and I’d recommend it to anyone going to Salzburg. The scenery around the city though is reason enough to go there, and we’ve put it on our “places to come back to stay longer” list.
|Not sure why I needed a photo|
next to a big triangle! But when in Germany...
|Never leave home|
|The gobsmacking Rathaus in Marienplatz.|
(I have memories of using an international phone card
to ring home and speak to my family from a callbox
in the lefthand side of the square in this picture!)
The cooler weather in Munich was to prove to be short-lived when we got to our next stop of Venice where we encountered mosquitos literally the size of small birds at the camp site we stayed at...
|The second leg of our grand European Vacation|
was at an end but the adventure was just beginning!
Next, we made a beeline due south into sunnier climes...
TO BE CONTINUED... NEXT MONTH!