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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

TODAY: Aug. 29 in London

Aug. 29 - Does this city ever sleep?

CURRENT UPDATE:  We arrived yesterday from Marsta, Sweden.  We spent the past month in Sweden and Norway because we were able to get our Schengen Visa extended.  YEAH!  We had met my 4th cousins and they went to the embassy with us and with many hours of waiting in lines and a few days of waiting for the card to come in the mail, we got the month extension. (Family Extension).   Our 90 days had come due because you're not allowed to spend more than 90 days in the Schengen countries withing 180 days time.  Our time doesn't re-set until the middle of September, so in order to spend more time with my "new Swedish cousins", and to see Norway and Sweden, we paid our $300 and did all the paperwork necessary.

So here we are in England, Scotland, and Ireland for 3 weeks...they are in the European Union, but are not part of the Schengen agreement.  We will be madly traveling and seeing all that we can in these three countries, so I will try to keep catching up on our blog, but it may be a bit difficult.  Last night, for instance, we walked the streets of London on a tour called "Ghosts, Gaslight, and Guinness" -scary stories....ooohhh! By the time we took three underground subways and walked 15 minutes back to the flat we are staying, it was almost midnight.  Tonight we are going to try and see "Lion King" - so excited!  So...when to find time to write on the blog and still find time to sleep?  Pretty crazy!

At least you know we're still alive and enjoying our 200 days couch surfing through Europe.  AND...remember from our June 24th entry, we have to spend time requesting and responding to couch-surfing hosts trying to line up places to stay.  That's a full-time job in itself.  SO...if you know of anyone in the Derby area (place where my other ancestors came from), please let me know.  THANKS!

Day 101 - Salzburg (Part 2) blog post will be coming soon.   Love to all my family and friends.  Feel free to communicate through here or my email.  I'd love to hear from you.                         Love ya - Shari 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

DAY 100 - Mozart & the Sound of Music (Part 1)

June 27 -  Salzburg:  Our 1/2-way Mark

Salzburg's "Old Town" (Altstadt) has internationally renowned Baroque architecure and one of the best-preserved city centres north of the Alps.  Host to three universities and a large population of students, Salzburg is noted for its attractive setting and scenic Alpine backdrop.

Historic Center of Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg was the birthplace of 18th-century composer (my favorite) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  In the mid‑20th century, the city was the setting for parts of my favorite musical The Sound of Music.  At first I could think of no other reasons to even go to Salzburg, so my attention focused on those two topics, but I soon found out there were many more reasons to see this area of Austria.

Julie Andrews stars in this classic of 1965.
 The Sound of Music won five Academy Awards including Best Picture and displaced Gone With the Wind as the highest-grossing film of all-time.  It made a big impact in my life when we went to see it as a family on the big screen at the age of 13.  In 1978, I portrayed the role of Maria while a young mother in Denver, Colorado.  We did around two dozen performances in two month's time period.  Nearly 50 years later, I still sing every song and have seen around 10 live performances of it and I stopped counting how many re-runs I have seen on TV and DVD.  One of my daughters gave me a special 50th year collection with all kinds of footage, booklets, memorabilia, etc. for Christmas this past year.  I will treasure that forever.  :)

The Anschluss (the occupation and annexation of Austria, including Salzburg, into German Third Reich)  took place the 12th of March 1938, one day before a scheduled referendum about Austria's independence. German troops were moved to the city. Political opponents, Jewish citizens, and other minorities were arrested and deported. The synagogue was destroyed and several POW camps for prisoners from the Soviet Union and other nations were organized in the area.  Nearly 50% of the city was destroyed, especially around Salzburg train station. Although the town's bridges and the dome of the cathedral were demolished, much of its Baroque architecture remained intact. As a result, it is one of the few remaining examples of a town of its style.

The first thing we did when we walked into the city was to go window shopping (without buying anything).  Each city is always so different.

Petrushka Dolls - you see them everywhere; not just in Russia.  I had never seen so many until here.

I LOVE gummies....this store had everything made out of gummies.

Interesting shapes and things made out of bread.

 Many shops are only for Mozart souvenirs

Feeling kinda 'sassy' today!
 We wandered into the most beautiful cemetery nestled by the rocky hillside of the castle we were about to go up into.  I think it would be nice to be buried here someday.  :)



We purchased a Salzburg card and tried to do as much as we could in two days.  First we took the funicular up to the top of the mountain to see Hohensalzburg Castle which overlooks the Old Towne.  It is one of the biggest castles in all of Europe.

The Castle in the distance from Mirabell Gardens

During the early 20th century it was used as a prison, holding Italian prisoners of war during WWI and Nazi activists (before the Anschluss with Germany) in the 1930s.
Dating from 1077 A.D., Salzburg’s fortress was never conquered and serves today as one of the largest fully preserved castle complexes in Europe.

Having fun on the funicular - going up to see Hohensalzburg Castle

Some scenery from on top - one lone house in the middle

Oh boy - another fortress and another castle - love 'em!

Love these panoramas of the city

Beautiful view of Salzburg on the Salzach River

We're getting pretty good at taking these photos of ourselves.

Inside the fortress of the Castle

Majestic Austrian Alps in the background.
Oh to have been a princess ...I would look at these mountains every day.

Could it be a more beautiful  day today?

This is OLD.

Gothic wood-carvings and ornamental paintings decorate the Golden Hall and the Golden Chamber till today.

From inside the castle there are still weapons that were used from years ago.

Some of the old ruins of the castle
 We went to the Marionette Museum inside the castle - amazing puppets and how they made them

Rich thought this would scare me when I opened the door, but I had seen someone else do it - I was prepared, but it was still really cute.
"The hills are alive with the sound of music."

Such a nice background with the Alps and the Flag of Austria
We explored state rooms formerly belonging  to the influential archbishops.  There were medieval rooms, a romantic courtyard, bastions, and plenty of paintings and history.  I let my imagination get away from me.
A painting from a scene in WWI

Encasement of various soldier uniforms through the ages

An old telegraph from one of the wars

Looks like an old well - do you think?
Our host played piano very well.  We had a nice evening sharing music.

He gave up his own bedroom so that he could couch-surf" in his own flat.   What a nice guy!

 We'll go to Salzburg again tomorrow and take you to more of the Sound of Music sites.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

DAY 99 - Vienna: The City of MUSIC (Part 2)

June 26 - My Favorite Composers all Died Here

Vienna is the capital and largest city in Austria.  Until the beginning of the 20th century,  Vienna was the largest German-speaking city in the world.

The Ringstra├če  is a circular road surrounding the Inner City district of  and is one of its main sights. It is typical of the historical style of the 1860s to 1890s.
  Apart from being regarded as the City of Music because of its musical legacy, Vienna is also said to be The City of Dreams because it was home to the world's first psycho-analyst - Sigmund Freud.  Vienna attracts 5 million visitors a year.

     Vienna was the residential city to the Habsburgs, who also ruled over the Holy Roman Empire and therefore the Roman Catholic church. This is why Vienna attracted so many orders that built monasteries and churches.   St. Stephan's Cathedral was built in the 12th century and is the "heart" of Vienna.

Vienna's main cathedral and landmark for centuries

What a gorgeous organ - I sure wish I could hear an organ concert here.

Special Stars on the pavement for Musicians.  Here are a few that we saw.
Giuseppe Verdi
Fritz Kreisler

Gustav Mahler

 There were probably many others throughout the city just waiting to be discovered.

Hofburg Palace
The Hofburg is the location of the Schatzkammer(treasury), holding the imperial jewels of the Habsburg dynasty.

Vienna City Park

The statue of Athena in front of the Austrian Parliment (oh....and that's Shari there in front.)

Yoo Hoo....Can you hear me?

Then I just had to go to the south of town to the Central Cemetery of Vienna where all my favorite composers are buried.  The gravestones are just beautiful.  It is a large cemetery and the composers are all together, which made it easy for Rich to take a video of me with them.  I didn't rehearse - I just did it on the spot and I was crazy (like I always am). Just click on the colored lettering below the picture.- ENJOY!

Brahms - Who doesn't know Brahm's Lullaby?

The "Waltz King" of the 19th century - Strauss
How many Beethoven pieces have I played or accompanied?  MANY!

Schubert - a favorite composer of Lieder is my favorite - Wolfgang A. Mozart

What a great time we had in Vienna, but if you thought there was music here, wait til you see what lies in store for us in Salzburg.  That's next  for Day 100.  We're almost 1/2 way through for our Adventures in Europe Couch-surfing.