I plan on making entries into the journal from the travel journals that we wrote on our trip. This hopefully will keep the entries fresh and spontaneous (although technically late entries hehehe). I am pairing photos with the journal entries, but unfortunately they have to be small or they are really bad quality. To see the photos larger (and good quality), click on the view all button in the trip photo album above.
Day 1 is the easy entry. Travel day. The only comments I can muster about travel day are.....the flight is too long, the seats are too small, team VT gets real tired (code word for crabby)........but we do it anyway for the adventure of a lifetime.
The flight took us around 14 to 16 hours with our layover in Philly. It was a very long day. The first flight was okay seat and leg room wise. The flight between Philly and Madrid made P look like he was in a sardine can. We watched around 4 movies so the flight went by pretty quickly.
Customs at the airport didn't take too long either even though about 150 people got in the same time as us.
The first stop we made was Puerta del Sol. It is a large square in the middle of a big shopping district close to our hotel. I was a little surprised at how small and relatively uninteresting it was given that it is listed in so many guidebooks. Then we headed off to Plaza Mayor.Plaza Mayor was at one time a huge market. Executions were held here during the Spanish Inquisition. Now it is a much more pleasant sight. It is lined with Cafes that make it a bit of a tourist trap. It has some great people watching. We ate lunch there and I had some Paella. The picture below of the building facade on the right is interesting. It is painted with a bunch of different stories with nude figures. The paintings were very beautiful. I am not sure very many places would allow that in the states.
Some highlights of the palace. The entry was beautiful. All marble with two giant lion statues with their paws on giant spheres. There was a huge tapestry with the current king and queen's symbols on it. It was very royal. When we got to the throne room I was really impressed with how beautiful the thrones were. The chairs were surrounded in gold and had red and gold fabric on them. I was really impressed how good they looked for being so old until I read in the guide book that they were made in 1977. Oh well, still beautiful. They had a few rooms where the walls were completely covered in porcelain. The walls were not tiled with grout. You could not even see the lines between one piece of porcelain to the next. They had this cherub pattern on them. The cherubs were actually 3 d and had green banners and ribbons that were 3 d too. The cherubs were about every foot or so in all directions. Now imagine that on a 20 to 30 foot tall room with giant frescoes on the ceiling. It was a bit over the top, but it was really cool. They had an Asian decorated room too. I guess that was pretty trendy at the time. Next, to the dining room. This was the largest dining room that I have ever seen. It is used for small intimate gatherings of say, 150 to 200 people. P and I decided that we would have to turn down an invitation if we were ever invited to dine here. The chairs looked extremely small and uncomfortable. We don't think we could make it through a whole meal. Lastly we went through the royal armory. I had never thought about how a man with a beer belly would wear a suit of armor until I saw some beer belly suits of armor. It would be funny to have to make a new suit every few years to keep up with an expanding waste line.
That is all for Day 2.
We went to the Prado on day 3 and saw the Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Van Aeken Bosch. It is a strange painting in a textbook and a strange painting in real life. It is larger than I thought it would be. We also saw the Las Majas by Goya. Cool paintings; one nude and one clothed of a mystery woman. They were very controversial at the time. They had a lot of roman and greek busts too. I have to say the Louvre is better then the Prado.
After the Prado we went to the Parque de Buen Retiro. It is a huge park. It was nice to relax in the afternoon with the Madrileños. There were a lot of people out relaxing, playing soccer and sunbathing. They have a statue of satan in this park. The base is covered with demons spewing water. No joke look at the picture above of the fountain. He is on the top of the statue. I guess I should mention that satan is getting tossed out of heaven (the big boot).They had a giant green house in the park that was appropriately named the Palacio Cristal (crystal palace). The steps of the palace went directly down into a pond with a giant fountain. It was very pretty.
We tried churros con chocolate today. I can't say that I am a big fan but I love the jamon and queso (ham and cheese) sandwiches. They are very good.Overall Madrid has been really fun. There is a lot going on at night here too and yet the people get up early. They must not sleep (or everyone takes a siesta).
Change of plans. We went to Toledo on day 4. We thought that it looked like it had more to do so we went on an impulse. The Cathedral there is absolutely beautiful. I don't think I will ever see another one that compares to this one. The high altar is about 50 ft tall and is completely covered in biblical scenes that are very colorful and have a lot of real gold accents; actually, it was basically gold with a little color. Behind the high altar was a marble 3d mural that went up into the ceiling where there was a sky light of sorts. It makes it look like a progression of angels and Mary and apostles etc were going up into the heavens. It was absolutely beautiful. P was most impressed with the size of the sacristy. It had four rooms all of which are bigger than our living room. Not to mention that it is sparsely decorated with 20 El Grecos as well as some other artists you might know such as Goya, Titian, Peter Paul Rubens, Diego Velazquez, Caravaggio, Bellini and a Raphael. The treasury had very jeweled crosses and rings. The best part was the Bible that was made 700 years ago. It was illustrated in color. There were 987 copies originally made 700 years ago. It must have taken a long time to reproduce the intricate drawings over and over. Unfortunately we did not take any pictures because the sign said you were not suppose to.
When we were walking around we noticed that people were setting up garlands and linen sheets over the narrow lanes. The town was getting ready for a festival. It was neat to see all of the decorations. I saw a sign that said Nuestra Senora de la Estrella which means our lady of the stars. P saw a sign for Corpus Cristi. I wish we could have seen whatever was going on.We wandered around the medieval streets, took a cheesy tourist tram that took us to a panoramic view of the city (picure up at the beginning). Toledo is amazing. I can't believe that it is relatively unaltered in appearance since the time it was the capital of Spain. I can't imagine living in a house that hundreds of people had lived in over the generations. Imagine the dust bunnies in those walls. I think that Toledo would be magical at night. If I ever go back, I would like to stay a night.
So we took the AVE high speed train from Madrid to Seville on day 5. It took about 2.5 hours with a few stops. Once in Seville we wandered through the little streets "kissing lanes". It is very enchanting. Some of it is old and falling apart, but you can't help but like it. Very romantic.
We also walked along the Quadaliquvir or something like that river. Many people were out walking around. Very relaxing. We stopped for yummy tapas on our way back to our hotel.
After dinner we heard a live band and loud drums. We followed the noise until we found a Corpus Cristi procession. There was this huge statue of the Madonna and child in this huge silver structure. It was the same one that we had seen earlier. There were people underneath it walking it through the city. At least 6 to 9 people on each side. You could only see their shoes underneath the linens on it. There was a live band maybe military or police following the procession. In front of the Madonna were some people dressed in very fancy robes carrying candles and crosses etc. People were going from one street to the next to see the procession pass by. It was actually very fun to watch. We took some pictures too. So we got to see some of the procession after all.
That is it for day 5.
Day 6. We went to Los Realas Alcazares, Catedral, La Giralda and the Calle Sierpes (shopping).
I have to say that Los Reales Alcazares was what I was most looking forward to in Seville and it did not disappoint. It was like you were in a completely different world. I can imagine walking around the palace barefoot. The cool of the tile beneath my feet and the sound of water trickling in the background. I put my hand on the cool marble column. The arch above me scalloped blue and white in the mudejar design. I close my eyes and I can imagine a harem of women lounging around a pool of water just out of sight around a corner under another arch. The murmur of the other visitors becomes the murmur of the women. The women lean over the water where the fountain of Mercury sprays mists and streams of water into the air. I open my eyes. A woman is stretched out over the rail of the pool, her arm extended. I look at the water and the waves are too big for the fountain in the middle which is so small. The woman drops bread crumbs from her hand. One of the waves pulls apart from the rest up towards the bread. And then I realize it is not waves at all, but hundreds of koi. I continue down the walk until the gravel crunches beneath my sandals. A cool breeze in the garden rustles the trees and the cooing sounds of hundreds of doves are all around me. A wall of Bougainvillea stops me from progressing further. What a beautiful, magical, enchanting place.
We traveled from Seville to Granada this day. We were really tired when we got there and I was feeling a little sick so we just rested on Day 7. We walked around a little in the evening. They celebrate Corpus Cristi for a whole week I guess. There were all kinds of activities going on in the squares for the kids. We also watched some flamenco. There were teenagers and little girls dancing in the makeshift pavilion. It was cute. Some of the girls couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5.
Thursday was a travel day for us. We left Nerja and took a bus to Màlaga where we caught a flight to Rome. We were not sure how long the whole process was going to take so we left pretty early. We ended up catching an earlier bus to Màlaga than we had thought we would catch. We were 4 hours early for our flight. Ooops. Our hotel in Rome was really close to the train station so it was easy to find. I think that this is a great location. It is close to everything by bus and metro. You can even walk to the Coloseum.
We took it easy once we got to our hotel and went out for some YUMMY Italian food. The food here is great!
So we got up late and decided to walk to the Colosseum. On our way there, we saw a big parade going on. There were men from about 7-10 different cities. They were all wearing red and yellow and some were carrying signs with the name of their city. We saw signs for La Spezia , Florence , Venice and others. They were playing music, throwing poppers (those things that sound like gun fire when you throw them on the ground) and waving flags. P thinks that it might have been a Union parade. They did have a flag that said PACE which I think means peace in Italian. The one funny thing is that they had a bicycle with a cart attached to the back. On the cart was a laptop that was connected to speakers that were playing the music. It was an interesting way to broadcast.
The Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheater) was very impressive. I cannot believe that something so old is in such good shape. One interesting tidbit I learned was that they could fill up the floor of the Colosseum with water and bring boats in to have naval battles. How cool would that be? A funny thing about the colosseum is that there are a bunch of Romans dressed up in Halloween type costumes of Gladiator outfits standing around the outside. Some people end up having to pay 100€ to take a picture with them I guess (per the guidebook). I doubt very many people actually pay that much though. The part that makes it funny is that some of them are really old dudes and I am sure in no way do they fit the characteristics of a gladiator. Some of them had down right chicken legs.
We also toured the forum and palatine and Capitol Hill. We had to buy this book with overlay pictures so we could envision what the actual area would look like. It is definitely hard to image without them. My favorite parts were the temple of the vestal virgins and the temple of Saturn . Its columns were beautiful against the blue sky.
It was soooooooooo hot at this point we took one of the tour buses around the city for the rest of the day. We saw the Trevi fountain which is definitely beautiful and Piazza Novona (it has painters selling paintings out in a square).
Fun day but very tiring and hot. ;)
So we got up early on day 14 to try to see the Sistine Chapel before the Borghese Gallery. We were kind of tired and out of it. The metro was so crowded and I bet you can guess what happened. P got his wallet picked. So we headed back to our hotel where we canceled his credit card and ATM card. Luckily we are only out the money that he had in his wallet. So we had to skip the Sistine Chapel because our reservations for the Borghese Gallery were for 1pm .
The Borghese Gallery was absolutely worth it. It was built by the Cardinal Borghese in the 17th century. His Uncle was the Pope that appointed him Neopote Cardinal. He had an unlimited supply of money in this position. They say this is where the term nepotism comes from. Anyway the Cardinal had unlimited funds so he built himself this great palace and became a massive art collector/confiscator/ person with a five finger discount. Some works he commissioned, others he purchased and lastly some of them he obtained by saying you will give/sell this to me or you will go to jail.
Each room in the palace was decorated to hold a certain type art. The entry is the Roman room for example. It has ancient Roman mosaics inlaid in the marble in various places. There are also Roman busts in this room. There is a statue of a horse in this room that is above one of the door ways. The horse is coming out of the wall and it looks like it is falling. On top of the horse is a rider with his torso and arm stretching out into the room as he is falling off of the horse. It is really cool. There were many statues by Bernini (the younger) that were amazing. My favorite was one of Apollo chasing Daphne. The myth goes that Apollo falls in love with Daphne and so he tries to get her. But Daphne is not interested so she runs away from him and calls out to her father for help. Her father helps her by changing her into a tree. This statue shows Apollo just as he is catching Daphne. He arm is gripping her and she is in the process of changing into a tree. Her toes are turning into roots and her fingers are turning into leaves. Her torso is starting to turn into bark. Apollo is still in motion. His back foot is in the air like he is running. It is such a cool statue. There is so much space between the figures of Apollo and Daphne in this statue that helps you feel the motion that it depicts. Very worth while stop.
It was interesting how many nudes and pagan artworks that the Cardinal had for a time period that was not know for its tolerance. They said in the tour that he could get away with a lot because of his position of power, but even somethings he had to justify. One of the statues of a Greek myth (it might have been Apollo and Daphne) he had to add a comment to the base of the statue that basically said that the pursuit of earthly delights will lead to futility. Then it was acceptable to have the art work that was not socially acceptable at the time. Although I do not think that he could get away with a simple sentence to justify the multiple paintings of female nudes that he had in his bed chamber. But I guess the only way that he would have to worry about people finding out about those was if he invited too many people to his bedroom.
We also window shopped by the Spanish Steps too. Ouch. That area is so expensive.
That evening I started getting hives. By the next morning they were bad enough that I had to go to the doctor and get a shot of cortisone. I am not even sure what I was allergic to, but it was so bad my eye was almost swollen shut and my neck was almost completely red. Luckily for me, Italy has a great health care system. A trip to the doctor at the train station, a shot of cortisone and two prescriptions for medicine only cost me about €20. But do not worry. The hives did not slow us down any. I just felt a little embarrassed because I looked pretty bad.
Anyway that is all for Day 14.
We decided to stay an extra day in Rome since we thought we could see the Sistine Chapel. But we forgot that it was closed on Sundays. It turned out that this was good anyway since I had to go to the doctor for the hives.
Today we went to Saint Peter’s Basilica. It was huge and beautiful. There was a mass going on in the very front of the church while we were there. You couldn’t get close to the front (which is good because I would not want to interrupt people’s worship), but you could hear the voice of the priest and the choir echoing around the whole church. The choir’s singing was beautiful. The voice of the Priest was terrifying. It was very low, gravelly and scary sounding. I am sure he could be intimidating.
After this we went to the Pantheon. This was neat, but not as neat as I had expected. It was interesting to see how much of the Roman building interiors would have been decorated if they were not in ruins. It was originally built as a mausoleum to Augustus I believe.
Lastly we went to the National Museum of Rome. It had many of the statues saved from ancient Rome and also many mosaics. As you guys know, I love mosaics so this interesting. I would not put it high on the list if you have a limited time in Rome though. It is good for a Sunday because it is open late.
We travel from Rome to Florence on this day. Right away I liked Florence better than Rome . It is much more aesthetically pleasing and cleaner. It is also a much smaller city (around 400,000 I think.)
When we got to Florence we went to the Istituto E Museo di Storia della Scienza (the Science Museum ). This museum was really cool. Florence was a very scientifically minded city in its heyday. You can see and feel its importance during the Renaissance through just about everything. They had many of the inventions and works of Galileo (they were the originals that he had made himself). Some of the telescopes he made were there. They were really cool to see. They also have one of his fingers on display there. It was actually kind of creepy. It is mounted on top of this little pillar. You can see the bones and the fingernail.
They had all kinds of inventions here ranging from telescopes to clocks to barometers, to surgery instruments. Most of them were the originals that had been saved at the science institute/university that King Cosimo Medici funded. One of my favorite parts of the museum was the surgery room. There was a man in the late 17th early 18th century that documented what type of surgical tools he had and how he used them. This was the first time this type of information was recorded. This was the bridge from when Surgeons became more than barbers. Then doctors could read about conditions and what tools they needed to "fix" the problem. The neat part was that there were wax and terra cotta replicas of different problems encountered during childbirth. For examples there was a replica of a breech baby, a baby with the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck, twins and about 15 to 20 different conditions. These models were used to train doctors in the 18th century.
There was also a special exhibit in the basement about sundials. It was really neat. Almost all of the churches in Florence have Summer Solstice lines in them in one way or another. One interesting story is about the Duomo Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato . This church was built to protect the image of the virgin in a site where a miracle had occurred. The architect carefully designed the building and the builder placed it in the correct alignment so the following would occur. On July 6th, the light will enter the church through an opening and illuminate the spot where the miracle occurred on the same day of the year and the same time of day that the original miracle occurred. This spot is right in front of a painting of the virgin. On the Summer Solstice, the light will enter the church and illuminate the painting of Mary. Pretty cool.
So today we had the whole day in Florence . In the morning we thought we were going to cheat the lines at the Uffizi and the Accademia and reserve tickets through a smaller museum for the same day. That didn't happen. I guess they had already reserved all that they could. So we decided that the replica of David in the Piazza di Signora was good enough for us. We didn't want to wait in the 2 plus hour line. Instead we went to the Museo dell Opificio delle Pietre Dure (the museum of precious stones). This was a museum that housed inlaid marble and precious stone artwork that was made by the craftsmen for the Medici family. The inlaid marble was beautiful. Some of them were composed so well that you could mistake them for an actual painting from a few feet away. They also had some of the instruments and work benches that were used to make the art. It was actually a fun museum. It was a quick tour that didn't get tiring like some museums do.
We also decided to tour the Pitti Palace . This was the palace for the ruling family of Florence (at various points it included the Hapsburgs, Savoys , Lorraines , Medicis and the Napoleons). The palace was stuffed full of artwork that had been purchased over time by the royal families. They happen to have the biggest collection of Raphael there. This worked out because Raphael happens to be one of my favorite artists. His paintings always have such great color.
The royal chambers and the throne room were fun to see too. In the throne room, the throne was on a pedestal underneath this huge tapestry curtain. Then a few feet from the pedestal there was a little fence. The rest of the room was completely open. The walls were covered in red tapestry and the ceiling had an elaborate frescoed. I can imagine a very spoiled man sitting in that chair barking out orders from behind his fence. All his minions would be standing around the edge of the room. The room next to it was also empty except for the benches that lined the wall. This was clearly the waiting room. I can imagine men sitting on the benches with their hats in their hands hoping they will gain entry into the King's presence.
We also toured the Duomo today. The outside is very beautiful with the pink, green and white marble. The inside is not nearly as beautiful. It was clearly done for show on the outside though.
We also checked out the leather markets. They had some nice stuff. P bought a new wallet. Now he just needs to fill it again. I predict some standing in line at the DMV in his near future.
We took the train from Florence to Siena in the morning. It was a small train. It wasn't very full so we had a whole booth to ourselves. I was sitting there with the sun shining on me through the window watching the beautiful scenery go by. The train was rocking gently and clanking slightly on the tracks. We opened the windows on both sides of the train so that there was a slight breeze. It was so relaxing. The countryside was just how you would imagine it in Tuscany (just like all of the paintings).
After we checked into our hotel, we walked to the main square in Siena (Piazza del Campo). It is a huge Piazza that is actually shaped like a sea shell. It was lined with cafes so it was really relaxing to sit here and people watch.
We also toured the Duomo that had huge marble mosaics on the floor depicting both secular and religious images. The most interesting thing about this Duomo is in the history. The outside of this Duomo is pink, white and black (but it really looks like green) marble. Does this sound familiar? So I guess Florence and Siena have always been arch rivals. In medieval times, Siena was actually a more wealthy and important than Florence . Siena built their Cuomo way back when and then Florence built a bigger and better Cuomo. So Siena decided that they were going to build the largest Cuomo in the world. The original Cuomo was going to be one branch of a cross shaped basilica rather than the whole church. They laid some foundation stones and even built some arches. And then the plague came and wiped out a third of Siena 's population. All the artist that were working in Siena left for Florence and to do commissions there. Siena was devastated by the plague. At this point they became less important than Florence . They were also broke. So the Duomo was never added onto. You can see what they started, but it is all bricked in now. Since Siena was broke, they did not modernize. That is why it is such an enchanting walled city today. The buildings external facade and the city layout within the walls is pretty much what it was like in the medieval times.
Siena is a pretty competitive city in general. Every year in July they have a giant horse race in the Piazza. They make a circular track and cover it with special sand. There are 17 neighborhoods in Siena . 14 of the 17 neighborhoods have a jockey and a horse participate in the race (every year it rotates on which neighborhood has to sit out). Every neighborhood has a symbol such as a turtle, a fish, a unicorn etc. that represents them. The neighborhood that wins the race is the one whose horse crosses the finish line first with or without the jockey. I guess they are crazy competitive about this. Some of the neighborhoods have fountains in them with their symbol. Such as a unicorn fountain where the water comes out of the horn. People that live in this neighborhood baptize their children in the fountain making them forever a part of the neighborhood. Even the light post in the neighborhoods are competitive. The posts are very decorative and each neighborhood has somehow incorporated their symbol into the light post. It was neat.
We also just wandered around the city. We tried to lose ourselves in the maze of medieval streets. I would highly recommend staying in Siena . It got even better in the evening when all of the day trippers left and all the locals started hanging out.
When we got to Florence , we decided to go to Verona and stay overnight rather than going straight to Salzburg . The trip to Salzburg would have been an additional 7-8 hours of travel while Verona was only 3.5 hours from Florence . When we arrived in Verona it was so hot. We thought we were being slick and hopped on one of the buses that looked like it was going to the city center. We did not have hotel reservations so we thought the city center would be our best bet for finding a hotel close to the sites. Well it turns out we hopped on a bus that did a full route of the suburbs. Oops. So we road the bus for the whole route back to the train station. Once we arrived back at the train station, we walked in the heat to the city center. We found a great hotel at a very reasonable price. After cooling off, we headed to the Piazza Bra for a little site seeing.
It turns out that Verona has the nickname of the Rome of the north. The myth concerning the founding of Rome is as follows: Romulus and Remus were twin sons of Mars. They were nursed as infants by she wolves in the Rome area. They ultimately founded Rome . It is legend that Romulus killed Remus and became the first Roman Emperor creating a senate and many of the Roman traditions. It is also legend that Verona was founded by one or both of the brothers of Rome . You can see the statue of Romulus and Remus being suckled by the she wolf in many places in Verona .
But Verona is mostly famous because of a little play that was written and first published in 1597. It is the location for a story about 2 people that fall in love and yet cannot be together because their families are dueling. You guessed it. Verona is the city that Romeo and Juliet takes place in. There were actually two feuding families that lived in Verona although they were not the Montagues or Capulets.
Piazza Bra is a beautiful town center lined with cafes and an arena. It is like the Colosseum only it is smaller. It is called L'Arena. It is made of beautiful white and pink stone. They still use L'Arena for plays, operas and classical music venues. We walked around the outside of L'Arena, but it was closed so we were unable to go in. We did a little shopping nearby on this really cool street where the street itself and the store fronts were all made of marble. In an alley near this street, we went to the fictional home of Juliet. (La Casa de Guilletta). The city definitely exploits Romeo and Juliet. It was a very convincing looking house complete with Juliet's balcony. It had a charming little court yard. However we did not pay to go inside. It seemed a bit of a rip off to go into the house of a fictional character. We did not visit the fictious house of Romeo either (or their fictious graves).
We strolled around for awhile and happened onto a castle by a river. It is called Castelvecchio. It had a draw bridge and a moat (water absent). It also appeared that there was some Moorish influence in the architecture. There were arches similar to many that we saw in Spain . From here we strolled across this enormous brick bridge that spanned the river Adige . There were beautiful views of the city from here.
In the evening we ate dinner at a little Italian restaurant. We sat at these tables in a little lane that were covered by an open air tent. There were candles on all of the tables and the murmur of all the conversations around us gave it a really charming atmosphere. The waiters were very cute and friendly. A musician was walking around playing the saxophone for money. When I close my eyes and think of an evening in Italy , this is what I picture. The food was delicious (it actually was in all of Italy ).
Afterwards we strolled around before heading back to our hotel. Verona is a great city. We didn't get to see much since we were only here for a short while, but I would definitely go back. In fact of all the cities I visited in Italy , Verona is the place that I would choose to live if I moved to Italy .
We got up early today to try to catch an early train to Innsbruck , Austria . We hoped to look around Innsbruck before heading onto Salzburg . We made it to the train station in plenty of time only to find that the train union was on strike and we would have to wait 4 hours to get on a train to Salzburg . So we had our entire luggage with no place to go (plus we were tired). We parked ourselves in the train station waiting room and watched people (and read). You can see people do funny things when they don't realize anyone is watching. Luckily Verona is a medium sized city so their train station is nice unlike some of the bigger cities.
The ride from Verona to Innsbruck was amazing. There were great views of the country side and the Dolomites. There were huge mountains completely covered with trees. There were little quaint villages all around. I wish we had time to stop somewhere and hike (without the luggage).
When we got to Innsbruck it was raining so we immediately headed for Salzburg . We ended up in the same coach as two teenage boys that chained smoked and had a six pack of beer. I think we were their kill-joy or party stoppers. They were polite, but the smoke was really obnoxious. I cannot believe people are allowed to smoke in trains. Actually, I cannot believe how many people smoke in Europe in general. I think P and I inhaled more smoke on our vacation then we do in 5 years in California . It is puzzling to me that so many people still do it even though they know about the huge health risks. They even light up around their children. But that is part of what vacation is for, to learn about how places are different from where you live.
When we got to Salzburg it was raining, so we took a cab to a hotel that we knew had openings. After check in, we headed out to Steingasse (a trendy street lined with pubs and locals). They were having a music festival on this street for the weekend. We bought two beers and this really great sugar pretzel at an outside stand and listened to the live band for a little while. It was too cold and rainy outside though so we went to a pub/restaurant for dinner. They had the cheese dumpling soup that was so incredibly good. I hope to find a recipe on the web for something like this so that I can make it at home.
By this point it was around 10pm and it was raining so we called it quits for the day. One more observation: At this point we started to fit in. People would come up to us, assume we spoke German and start talking to us. It was kind of cool to fit in and be mistaken for a local.