A Travellerspoint blog

January 2020

14. Off to Verona

Wed, Sept 25

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So today was another travel day - we were off to Verona - our first visit there. The train ride was a little over 2 hours and we arrived probably after lunch. We tried to figure out how to catch a bus to the area we were staying, but there was such a crowd around the bus stops, we couldn't figure it out, so we just decided to walk. It didn't look that far on the map, and it probably took us about 20-25 min or so, even tho it felt like an hour. Especially when dragging suitcases. Our hotel/B&B was only few streets over from the Arena, and there were tons of restaurants nearby. It was a little hard to find, but we only passed by it by half a block. The fellow who signed us in told us about the Verona City Card, which we picked up the next day - a 24 hr pass.

After getting settled, we were quite hungry as we hadn't really had any lunch and it was getting close to 4pm or so. They had a few things set out in the B&B reception, but not much (we opted out of the breakfast, tho the next morning the lady there kindly offered us a leftover pastry). We headed back to the main street and stopped at one of the nearby restaurants, having some chicken with grilled potato and lasagna. After eating, we decided to just wander and familiarize ourselves with the city. We walked over to the Castelvecchio and poked our heads in. We walked along the street nearby and came across a little grocery store - it seemed more of a bulk type store, as it didn't really have the traditional veggies/meat/canned goods/dairy sections - we picked up some crackers and chips and apple juice (we had a small fridge in the room), some yogurt and muffins for breakfast and some soda. And they had a great deal on some Ritter chocolate bars!

We went back to the room to deposit our goods then headed back out to one of the gelato places I had pinned on my map - along the way we passed some gals handing out free Lime Diet Coke and Mango Diet Coke - promoting the new flavours - it was pretty good (the lime). I recall the gelato being good, unfortunately, I deleted the spot off my map so I can't recall the name of it. We then walked along the busy shopping street, past Juliet's balcony then headed back to the room to plan the next day and have some snacks.

And the other thing about Verona - it was HOT! After the lovely temps in Prague and Vienna, the cool rain in Innsbruck and the comfortable temps in Bolzano - Verona was downright steamy!

Posted by u2traveller 07:39 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

13. Cable Car above Bolzano

Tues, Sept 24

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A big reason we went to Bolzano was to see Otzi the Ice Man. So in the morning we headed out after breakfast and hubs got some coffee at McD's, then we went into the Central Church which has an amazing roof (very colourful) and was quite nice inside. We then wandered thru the street market we had seen the evening before - lots of fresh food there. Then we just meandered a bit until we found our way to the museum that houses Otzi.

It was quite comprehensive, but I guess the best part was you could peer thru a window into a special chamber to see the actual Ice Man. I felt a little hurried as there were people behind me, but I did a second loop when my husband finally caught up and we both had another look. They had all the things found with him, and theories about his life and death and what he looked like. It was a nice way to spend an hour or two. There was another part of the museum with a different exhibition, but I was getting a little tired. We decided to grab some lunch and go back to the room - so we stopped at a restaurant just a minute down the road and ordered a pizza. It took awhile and I went back to the room while hubs waited for the order.

After eating and resting, we walked over to the Renon cable car that takes you up to Soprabolzano. The views were breathtaking on the ride up. At the top, we wandered a little and got a gelato - there isn't a whole lot up there. We sat and rested for 10 min, then took the little tourist train to (I believe) Collalbo. It was crowded but we managed to be at the head of the line going and coming back, so we were able to get a seat. At Collalbo - again, not a lot to see, so we just enjoyed the view and walked a bit, before jumping back on the train and heading back to the cable car and down to Bolzano.

We had seen some interesting looking shops, so we picked up some gifts for my mom and some items for us, then wandered around trying to find somewhere to have supper. We stopped at one place but left (can't recall why - maybe nothing on the menu, or people were smoking) then found another spot - we had pork and chicken but for the price it wasn't really that great. Ah well, I should have cooked again. Popped into the Lindt store for some sweets then back to the room to prepare for the next day as we were moving on to Verona. Overall - we really liked Bolzano - probably my fav spot of all the new spots we visited - it wasn't very crowded/touristy and the views of the mountains were lovely.

Posted by u2traveller 06:09 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

12. Innsbruck morning and Bolzano

Mon, Sept 23

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Woke up to rain this morning - I ran next door to the grocery to grab some breakfast (juice and some pastries) just as it began. It wasn't a hard rain, but steady. After breakfast we packed up and got the bus (after almost 10 min wait) and went to the train station, where we stored our bags then walked back around the downtown a little, hoping to go into some of the things we missed the day before. I think the rain def put a damper on things, as it's hard walking around a historical part of town which is busy with people whilst trying to hold an umbrella over your head and not get poked in the eye.

We decided to get out of the rain and went into the Innsbruck Hofburg Museum, which is a former palace. I don't think we got the tickets for the whole museum, but did walk thru some splendid rooms - it's honestly mostly a blur - we had less than 24 hrs in Innsbruck and it looked like it would be a great place to spend a few nights so you can have a whole day to explore. After the palace we walked around a little more, but decided just to get to Bolzano.

After grabbing some McD's (yes - again) it was a 2 hr train ride to Bolzano. Luckily, the clouds cleared on the way and it was sunshine and blue skies. Our airbnb apartment was less than a 10 min walk from the train station. It was a nice little spot - when you came in, there was the bedroom and bathroom, then upstairs was a kitchen/dining/living room and a lovely little balcony with views of the mountains. We were right in the historic downtown, so we wandered around a bit, then found a grocery store where I got some chicken, milk, pasta sauce (there was pasta in the kitchen), cheese, bread, small packs of jam, carrots, pop and chips and breakfast fixings. We had to go back twice more - once for salt (there was sugar in the kitchen but no salt) and hubs bought what we thought was small cubes of butter but was actually yeast (?!) so had to run back for butter. It was nice to make a home cooked meal after nothing but eating out - chicken breast and pasta with carrots on the side. There was also a small washing machine in the bathroom, so once I figured out how to work it (thanks YouTube videos) I got some laundry done as well.

After supper we went and just had a wander around to see what we should look at the next day.

Posted by u2traveller 05:45 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

11. Heading for Innsbruck

Sun, Sept 22

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We didn't do a whole lot today. It was our travel day to Innsbruck - about a 4 hour train ride. We are never fast in the morning, so we didn't really plan to catch the train until around lunch.

For our last day at our airbnb, the host's wife baked up an apple strudel that she had frozen - it was homemade and warm from the oven - it was def better than any I'd had at a restaurant! My hubs doesn't like cooked apple so I helped myself to his piece - but I wrapped it up in foil for later.

We got ourselves sorted and took the metro to the train station. We found the ticket office and got our tickets for the train. I had been hoping to pass on our public transport tickets for Vienna since they were still good for another 24 hrs or so. Fortuitously, there was a man who asked us about getting in to the downtown and he was going to buy tram tickets. So I gave him our tickets - he was only there for the day, but I figured he and his friend could use them.

Hubs picked up some food for the train (warmed up cheese and deli meat sandwich) - and I had my half club sandwich from the day before. There was wifi on the train to while away the hours - and the scenery was lovely. We arrived in Innsbruck around 4pm and it took us a bit to figure out the bus/tram. A man at the public transport stops told us which bus to catch and I misunderstood where he told us to get off (and I insisted to hubs it was the right stop - it wasn't) so we had to walk a few extra long blocks to the hotel - prob another 10 min or so. The Innsbruck Congress hotel was nice - we had some good views, the room was big and clean (other than the open concept showers -no door/walk in - which I hate because water always leaks out onto the floor) and the view was quite nice. The only bad thing was there seemed to be a wedding reception and we seemed to have a room right over where the reception was taking place - lots of music thumping and noise - but it stopped at 11pm.

It was clouding over a bit (calling for rain the next day), so we walked out along the river to the town proper, about 15 min or so. We popped into a small grocery for some snacks, but most things were either closed or closing, being a Sunday. Lots of restaurants on the main street, so we bounced back and forth trying to pick one...

Of all the ‘it’s a small world’ crazy things...we picked a place called the Orangerie and sat outside, since the temps were still nice, and a group of 4 sat down beside us. They told the waitress they were from Canada so of course hubs had to ask where. Well, they were in Victoria, BC now I think, but one was from Bridgewater (where my hubs cousin lives) and one actually lived in Truro back in the early 00s. I'm sure at some point I waited on her at my job selling shoes, as most people passed thru the store at some point. Really makes you realize it's a small world. We both got pasta, but it was only OK (the sauces were a bit thin and watery). We walked around a little more, thru the little alleys and picking out sights to see the next morning, before heading back to the room. There was a grocery store beside the hotel that I figured I'd go to in the morning for breakfast food.

Posted by u2traveller 06:54 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

10. Vienna - Schonbrunn

Sat, Sept 21

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Today we mostly did Schonbrunn Palace - but first - our airbnb hosts told us about the flea market that happened on Sat at the Naschmarkt - there are more parking lots that get filled up with stuff you would find at markets where we live. Mostly old ceramics and books and junk jewelry and art and nothing that we needed to buy. It was actually fairly big and I think we saw 2/3rds of it. We had a nice walk to get there - the morning was lovely and we went thru some interesting little alleys. From the metro station there we could take the metro out to Schonbrunn.

I had booked a time slot a day or two before for inside the palace - I believe it was for around 12:45 or so. We arrived around 11am, so we spent some time walking around the gardens close to the palace. Then inside to pick up a quick snack and to look at souvenirs. I believe they let us in about 5 min early - we opted for the grand tour which is about 50-60 min and 40 rooms. The shorter tour was 20 min shorter and only did 22 rooms. You got an audio guide and could move at your own pace. The rooms were lovely of course. Some interesting history throughout. At one point I was trying to keep ahead of a large tour group as they had a 'live' guide. But then I caught up with another tour in front, so we were trapped between two tour groups for a few rooms - we felt like we were getting crowded out. Eventually the group behind slowed down and we were able to have a few rooms buffer in between the two groups, so we could enjoy some of the rooms without being crammed.

After we headed back out to the gardens to make the hike up the hill to see the Gloriette a little closer. The hill is quite steep and you have to 'criss cross' to get up it, and since I didn't buy combo tickets for the Gloriette, we stopped and viewed it from one terrace down. The views back down to the Palace and over Vienna were gorgeous. The sky was a clear blue and the day was amazing. We walked around the gardens some more, and passed by the Zoo, but I get a little depressed by zoos now, so we didn't go in. We did find a nice restaurant in the gardens to eat at since we didn't really have lunch (I did nab a gelato before going into the palace, and we had some 'pocket' snacks - nuts and chocolate). At the restaurant we got some hotdogs wrapped in bacon and fries.

By now it was heading towards late afternoon so we decided to head back to the room to sort out our stuff a little as the next day was a travel day. We relaxed for an hour then headed over to the Belvedere, but I think we got there a little late and it seemed to be closed. The hill was a bit steep and we were quite tired from our day at the Palace, and we didn't want to see another old 'house'. We headed back towards the main drag to try and find hubs his 'wiener schnitzel'. We finally settled on a place that I had noticed the day before - the prices seemed reasonable - Café de l'Europe. Hubs had his schnitzel (chicken) and I got a club sandwich, half of which I took back to the room and ate it the next day on the train. The funny thing was I was wearing my Canada shirt and when I went into the restaurant (we ate outside) to use the facilities, the guy behind the bar was Canadian and spotted my shirt, so we had to chat for a minute.

We walked around the area a little more and I picked up some dessert, which we took back to our room to enjoy with some tea. Next day it was onward to Innsbruck.

Posted by u2traveller 06:24 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

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