Monthly Archives: October 2018

Chemnitz Germany to Prague Czech Republic via Dresden

Friday 19th October 2018
So in true Broadbent style we jam packed our last day, arriving at the airport with the required 2 hours till boarding. The end of the day was as usual a little stressful to say the least.

We woke to a dreary day, the first since about day 3 of our holiday. So we decided to just hang at Benny’s until lunch time. We thought we still had time to go to Dresden and have a look around before heading to Prague airport to fly home.

It took longer than expected to drive to Dresden so we really only had time for a late lunch (which was beautiful) and a quick look as we walked past the old Town square. The buildings were beautiful and old.

Then for the drive to Prague airport, we only had 2.5 hours to get there in time and the GPS said 2.5 hours.

So off we went, knowing that I had to drive confidently and to the speed limits of 120kmh when possible. The first part went well for a while on the freeway, then we were taken off the freeway and drove along narrow, winding streets through the most horrendous fog for the next hour. We finally crossed the border where we had to buy a vignette and whilst Benny did this I checked to GPS settings and realised I had “No Tolls” selected which would account for the back road journey. Once I fixed this it changed the time by 20 mins which gave us a little breathing space. We hit the autobahn running. We still had a little more stress to go, the roads were a little foreign as we had changed countries, Benny could no longer read the street signs and we had to go on automatic pilot, and to make matters worse it was now dark. We made it to the airport right on time but to say I was a little frazzled was an understatement. We said a quick goodbye to Benny and were on our way to checkin. I was little worried about Benny’s drive home but he assure me he would be fine, which he was. It only took him under 2 hours to get home. He was almost there as we boarded the plane. Our checkin was uneventful.

We are now sitting in Dubai airport waiting for our next flight to Bangkok and then on to Sydney. Only 20 hours to go. Can’t wait to see you all.

Love Fiona and Mum.

Ebensee, Austria toChemnitz, Germany

Thursday 18th October 2018
Our hotel in Ebensee was beautiful, the breakfast was amazing and it was cheap as well. Only 63 euro including breakfast.

Well today is going to be a big day for me. My biggest yet. I have to drive from Ebensee in Austria to Chemnitz, Germany. Distance is 507km and it took 6.5hours. A very long drive for anyone, but for me, in Europe, it was an enormous task. We left at 9am and arrived home at 4pm. I survived. Done and dusted. I needed some quiet chill time when we arrived at Benny’s place. A cup of tea and a big rest. Then takeaway for dinner as Benny is still on tour and won’t be home until midnight.

Salzburg to Ebensee, Austria

Wednesday 17th October 2018
Well today we start on our way home, still a bit of a tour day but we are hoping to travel about 300km of the 620km we have to travel back to Benny’s place at Chemnitz. We didn’t really succeed with this as we are still 507km from home and 5.5 hours away. Oh well, looks like it is a big drive day tomorrow.

We headed out and it took about 30 mins for us to find our way out of the city. There were road blocks, dead ends and more road blocks, causing me havoc. Finally made it out after having to set the GPS to go back to our hotel and start again. Things weren’t looking to good for my day of driving but once we got out of the city things did improve.

We drove to Hallstatt via Fuschl, St Gilgen, Wolfgangsee and Abersee – the scenery was amazing, magnificent, brilliant and spectacular. The adjectives were flowing today. The mountains, the lakes and the farmland was awesome.

We arrived at Hallstatt at about 12pm and as we walked towards the town Mum saw the funicular up the mountainside and like a little kid was keen to go up to the top. So up we went and also decided to include a tour of the Salt Mine (about 80mins). They didn’t tell us that you had a long uphill walk from the cable car to the start of the Salt mine tour. They also said there was only about 90 steps and a little bit of walking. Mum counted over 300 steps and we walked for most of the 80mins. They also didn’t tell us that we had to go on 2 slides and a train through the tight tunnels. Mum managed really well for an ‘old chook’ and was getting the thumbs up from a few fellow tourists for managing the slides. They were very steep and fast. What an adventure, besides the mountains of information we received. we went 400m underground.

After the tour we still had to walk back down, catch the funicular and we hadn’t eaten any lunch and it was already 4pm. I convinced Mum togo for a little walk into the outskirts of the township as it is very beautiful. We rewarded ourselves with a hot chocolate and cup of tea and a couple of pastries for lunch. The town is very quaint and the views across the lake to the mountains is spectacular. Whilst having our late lunch/treat I managed to book our home for the night. About 1 hours drive from Hallstatt. Not as far as I would have liked to have made by the end of tonight, but all in all it had been a long day and I thought that was far enough.

We had a great day and were in bed by 7.30pm after a dinner of crackers, rice cakes and avocado. Too tired to go out for dinner. We will hopefully make up for it tomorrow morning with our hotel breakfast.

Hallstatt Salt Mine Tour – The oldest salt mine in the world, Europe’s oldest wooden staircase and the free-floating Skywalk with its “World Heritage View”, 360 metres above the ground: Hallstatt Salt Mine is a mine of superlatives. Take a journey of discovery, back to the very beginnings of salt mining some 7,000 years ago, and experience the history of Bronze Age mining, recounted today in spectacular fashion thanks to state-of-the-art multimedia technology, including a Bronze Age Cinema 400 metres below ground. Here, you will experience up-close the very breath of history. It was an amazing 2 hours.

Salzburg, Austria

Tuesday 16th October 2018

Well we are in Salzburg for another day. Benny is off to Frankfurt to perform for the next few days so Mum and I have to do it alone till we get back to Chemnitz. I quickly got used to Ben taking to the driver’s seat Sunday afternoon and Monday. The roads are a little different in Austria, especially in the city centre of Salzburg. The streets are narrow, there are many one way streets and there seems to be roadworks everywhere. Anyhow, I took Ben to the station at 8am, only drove in to one ‘one way’ street, which gave me a mini melt down before I dropped Ben off. Once I got it together Ben headed off to catch his train, then on the way back to the hotel Google and the car GPS both told me to turn right, I thought it was ‘one way’ as well but listened to the GPS, I was right, so I quickly turned out again. The lady behind would have been saying ‘stupid German’, as I have Deutsche number plate. Oh well. Two mistakes by 9am, it can only get better.
Anyway we are catching the bus in to the city to do the Hop on Hop off bus tour of Salzburg, as it is easier and costs less than the parking. 12 euro for the bus, 18 euro for parking. So off we headed to the bus stop at about 10am, destination Mirabelleplatz.
We then spent the day on and off the bus, we saw many of the sights from yesterday. We went for a longer walk in Hellbrunn Palace. We then caught the bus again and went to the Old Town where we saw some beautiful old buildings. At the last stage o the day we came across St Peter’s Church and cemetery, which I believe is where the Sound of music scene in the Abbey where they are hiding and are found by Fritz was filmed. We don’t know for sure, but you be the judge from some of the pictures.
We then headed back to the city centre and caught the bus home. Mum has been a champion, we finally made it home at 5.55pm. Another big day. It is 6.33pm and she is sleeping, not so quietly beside me. I will wake her for dinner shortly.

We had a lovely dinner at the hotel tonight.

Innsbruck to Salzburg Austria

Monday 15th October 2018
Today Benny and I went for a quick walk to get something for breakfast and did a brisk reconnaissance of the town. It was very beautiful. The buildings and the mountains were amazing.

After breakfast we headed on our way to Salzburg, Benny drove today. He was doing an amazing job behind the wheel, except for the possible speeding ticket. Oops! Anyway, on the upside the scenery was spectacular (today’s adjective), the mountains were enormous, the grass was so green, it was truly an amazing drive.

We arrived at Salzburg at about 12.30pm, giving us about an hour before our ‘Sound of Music’ Tour started. This was the same tour as David and I did a couple of years ago. There was one major difference, the guide was fantastic. She was dressed in traditional costume and she was very personable, energetic and informative. She managed to get the people on the bus singing the songs. The format was the same as last time. A drive around the city showing the street where Maria walked to the house, the gazebo, the lake at the back of the house, the front of the house, the abbey. Then we drove to St Gilgen, Lake Wonfgang and then on to Mondsee – the church where Maria and the Captain were married. This was a beautiful church. Then on to Mirabell Gardens – the scene of Do-Re-Mi. It was a great day.

Following this we walked through Mirabell Gardens to the Old Town where we walked around a little then went and had a traditional Austrian dinner at a Bierhaus. It was a lovely meal. Today is Benny’s last night with us as he has to go on tour with the Ballet Company for a couple of days. We will meet up with him again for our last day on Friday. It has been lovely sharing this time with him. It has also been great having someone who can speak the language and decipher the signs. Oh well, back on our own to work it all out ourselves for the next few days.

Füssen Germany to Innsbruck Austria via Zugspitz Germany

Captions have been added to yesterdays post now.

Sunday 14th October 2018
Another big day was on the agenda today. Not so much driving but a big sightseeing day. I started the day with a lovely run beside the lake. I would have loved to go all the way around but thought it was too far, but in hindsight I ran half way round and back. Could have done the loop. We had a lovely breakfast at the hotel and got on our way about 9.30ish.

We drove to Zugspitze, this involved heading into Austria which requires a vignette (sticker) to use the Freeways (cost 9 euro for 10 days). This was easy this time as we had to buy one last time we were in Austria. We actually bought it from the same service station. The drive to Zugspitz was a bit harder as the roads were narrower and winding through small towns, Benny was a little anxious as he felt I was hugging the kerb too closely on the right hand bends. So I slowed down a bit to put him at ease and tried to concentrate more on those bends.

On arrival we decided to catch the train and cable car to the top of Zugspitze. The highest point in Germany 2962m. It was a 45 minute ride in the train and about 10 minutes in the cable car. At the top it was icy cold and very windy as is expected at such high altitude. We walked around the top and then took Mum in for a cuppa in the restaurant as I wanted to climb to the peak. This required Alpine experience and safety gear to use the via ferrata. I have done this sort of climb with David before so was going to do it but it was a bit icy and I didn’t have my hiking boots so erred on the side of safety and declined this opportunity. Will have to go back with DB another time to do this next time. A little disappointed. Instead we headed in to Mum and had a cuppa and Apfel Strudel. Yummy.

We then headed back down, enjoying the beautiful view of Lake Eibsee. Then on to Innsbruck. The drive there offered magnificent scenery all the way. Benny drove this leg of the journey. The roads were a little wider until we got to Innsbruck where the township through up a few challenges. Our airbnb apartment is very nice. We had time for about 30 minutes rest before heading to our entertainment for the night. A Tyrolean Folkshow. They offered singing, dancing, yodelling and musical instruments – harp, cello, accordian, xylophone, drums, trumpet and traditional instruments. It was very entertaining and as expected, Mum loved it.

Another late night. Oops!!

Chemnitz to Füssen, Germany

Saturday 13th October 2018
After our late night last night we really needed another sleep in but that was not possible as we are starting our road trip today. So up and at it early was in order. We were aiming for a 9am start but only managed 10am which was pretty good considering.

Our destination today was the Neuschwanstein castle near Füssen 514km. For me this is a really big deal as my European Chauffeur is missing in action. I hope I will survive this day. After yesterday’s practice run I really did show some promise. I started of with the driving and managed to drive for about 340km and then handed the job over to Benny. Unfortunately for him it was at a difficult stage of changing from one autobahn to another via about three different links. A very challenging 30 mins, 5 mins after he started driving. OOOOOPPPSS! Sorry Benny. Anyway after this he settled in nicely for the remainder of the drive. We arrived at the Castle just after 4pm and decided to tackle it today as our schedule is quite tight over the next few days.

We caught a horse and cart ride to the top as it would have been too challenging a walk for Mum, even with the ride up there was still a few decent hill climbs to the view points of the castle and the outlying areas. It really is an amazing structure.

We then checked in to San Marco – our hotel for tonight. This is the same one DB and I stayed in 2 years ago and I think we are even in the same room. Room 5. The hotel is on the lake and we enjoyed another lovely Italian meal here tonight., as we did last time we were here. The only disappointment was they were out of Pannacotta. Boohoo!

FACTS – Seven weeks after the death of King Ludwig II in 1886, Neuschwanstein was opened to the public. The shy king had built the castle in order to withdraw from public life – now vast numbers of people came to view his private refuge.

Today Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular of all the palaces and castles in Europe. Every year 1.4 million people visit “the castle of the fairy-tale king”. In the summer around 6,000 visitors a day stream through rooms that were intended for a single inhabitant.

The setting of Neuschwanstein could not be more idyllic. However, movement in the foundation area has to be continuously monitored, and the sheer rock walls must be repeatedly secured. The harsh climate also has a detrimental effect on the limestone façades, which will have to be renovated section by section over the next few years.

Chemnitz – Day 6 (Day trip to Bastei Bridge)

Friday 12th October 2018 
Today we hired a car and it was to be my first solo drive in Europe (with Mum in the co pilot’s seat). I have driven a couple of short distances with David but not very much at all and I was average to say the least so I was a little nervous. After driving Benny to work to get a feel for the car, then a little melt down before we took off and a reassuring phone call with DB, Mum and I headed off on the 130km drive to Bastei Bridge. I managed OK considering and was feeling a lot more comfortable by the time we got to our destination. A couple of hiccups along the way, but all in all, quite good.

After parking we caught a horse and cart to the Bastei Bridge entrance. Only a 10 minute walk but we decided to save Mum’s legs for the stairs she was going to have to climb. The views and the bridge were magnificent. A slight hiccup on the way down, I realised I only had 20% battery left on my phone and had forgotten the cable, power bank and Mum’s phone as a backup. Time to stress, how was I going to find my way home when the battery ran out. After a quick call to DB I turned off my phone, which was a shame, we missed out on quite a few beautiful photo opportunities. But it was more important to be able to find our way home. This put a bit of a dampener on the outing. Oh well.

On our return to the car I managed to get the GPS in the car to work, albeit in German but at least we could read the pictures if not understand the language. Once on  the autobahn we could then follow the signs to Chemnitz and then I used my phone for the last 10 minutes. We arrived home with 1% battery life and luckily for me that was enough.

We then had a short rest before heading to Benny’s Premiere of North Lights. This was amazing, energetic and a great night. We then attended his function. Loved it.

Chemnitz, Germany – Day 5

Thursday 11th October 2018
Another rest day for Mum. The last four days have been mammoth but amazing. Something she never thought she would experience. She slept soundly from 8.30pm last night until 10.15am, to say she was exhausted was an understatement. So for the rest of the day she rested. I enjoyed a walk to work with Benny and a run a little later on.

Tonight we are headed to a dress rehearsal of his Premiere (North Light) which we are going to tomorrow night. Only Friends of the Theatre and other known people are allowed to attend. You can watch, they may have to stop if there are any technical issues but they try to do a full run through. You are not allowed to clap as it is considered bad luck. So we will have to concentrate on that one. We are really looking forward to it. I will let you know how it goes later on.

Later on – It was lovely to watch the full dress rehearsal. A preview to tomorrow night’s show. loved it!

Rome to Prague to Chemnitz

Wednesday 10th October 2018
Another big day of travel. Mum is totally exhausted before it even starts. Up early (5.45am), taxi arrived early putting us in a little bit of a flap, we arrived safely at the airport at 7.15am. Mum was a little concerned with the speed the taxi travelled but it wasn’t as fast as they can go. Checkin and bag drops with Alitalia is all automated, do it yourself. Mum would like to have gone to the counter as was suggested by one attendant and the next sent us to the machine. I like to have a go at the new stuff, so that we did. The only thing I struggled with was how to attached the luggage label which gave the guy that helped us a bit of a giggle. Always ready to give someone a laugh. We boarded the plane on time but then were delayed 45 minutes for take-off. A little worrying as we only had a 2 hour time frame to catch the bus, but all good we made up time in the air. We arrived in Prague only a little late, our taxi was on time and we were at the bus station with an hour to spare. Not quite enough time to go exploring in the Old Town as I had hoped, so we just sat, ate some lunch and rested at the bus stop. The bus trip from Prague to Chemnitz is very pretty, lovely countryside. We arrived at Chemnitz Bus Station about 5.30, so we had been going for almost 12 hours. Mum was pretty tired even though she had slept on and off all day on all forms of transport – taxi, plane, taxi, bus. We had hoped to catch a taxi from the bus station to Benny’s but there were none available, so walk again we did! It was a very slow walk as I wouldn’t let mum carry or drag any bags as she has had a couple of little trips on the cobblestones (luckily she was on my or Benny’s arm) and we need her to stay upright. She was very tired and my load was heavy. We made it and our day was done at 6.30pm. Mum was asleep by 8.30pm and slept soundly all night. Zzzzzzzzzzz or should I say SNOREEEEEEE!