Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Seasons Change

Always loved the change of season, Fall is my favorite.

Austria is just gorgeous, the colors and weather combine for some lovely days.  I've changed seasons, literally, having just celebrated a milestone birthday.  I hope to weather this change as elegantly as the entrance of Autumn.  We celebrated in Salzburg, one of my favorite places.  While we are speaking of favorite things, The Sound of Music will celebrate the same milestone birthday in 2015.

If you've visited Salzburg once, you'll want to return again and again.  We highly recommend the Hotel Sacher Salzburg, a dip into luxury you will not forget.  The last time we stayed at this hotel, it was September 11, 2001.  We could not have asked for kinder or more generous hosts during a tragic time for Americans at home and a time of confusion and shock for those of us stranded abroad.

Hotel Sacher Salzburg

Lounging Made Easy

Our Suite

A Room with a View
What to do in Salzburg?  Well, wandering the pedestrian streets of the Old Town is high on my list.  There are shops, restaurants and an outdoor market on weekends, we especially enjoyed having an evening glass of wine standing outside a bottle shop.  With this view, it is really a no brainer.

And although we are seasoned Salzburg tourists (yes, we've been on The Sound of Music Tour and to Mozart's birthplace and boyhood home), we decided to purchase the Salzburg Card and made our way through the majority of the venues while enjoying all of the "savings".  The tour of the Stiegl Brewery is fantastic, a museum, beer tasting and free gift (yes, a bottle of beer each) makes the trek out on public transportation worth the trip.

We Closed Out Oktoberfest 

No doubt we will return for the Christmas Markets, the Westbahn train (www.westbahn.at) takes a little over 2 hours to get there, making a day trip a possibility for anyone visiting Vienna.

The wonderful part of this adventure was my dear husband, who planned our getaway.  Thank you from the bottom of my half century heart.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pipistrellos Gone Wild

This is what happens when you meet up in Milan with cousins who are traveling through Italy;  you join their club for a brief moment in time.  It's also a club you've belonged to for generations.  I met Carla and Gina in Milan following their visit with family in San Severino.  Yes, they were visiting the home-base Italian branch of the family.  People I'd like to meet someday and re-trace the footsteps of my Great Grandmother and Grandmother.  With love and devotion Carla has taken the reins of the Panicari-Martini Research Institute and continues gathering stories from all who have one to share, unraveling the mysteries and following the signs.

Shoes, Handbags and Chocolate......Enough Said


We explored Milan, hop on hop off Italian style.  That is, we explored once we were finally able to locate the stops along the route.  Then the buses arrived when they pleased.

Navigating the Maze

Milan is a city of sights.  High end shopping to street hustlers.  Il Duomo to Il Cenecolo.  Gnocchi to Gelato.  We saw as much as we could fit into two days.  Time well spent and when it comes to family, over way too fast.

Ti amo.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

We Salute You Sopron!

About a month ago, we ventured to Sopron, Hungary to visit the infamous frame shop recommended by my husband's colleague.  Having previously spent way too much in the USA on framing projects (what a racket), our 80 Euro "frame job" was a welcome relief and a brief glimpse of downtown Sopron went on the "return to do" list.

Today was that day, we were all home and looking for adventure.  Dear husband had a UN holiday, not for the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, but for Id Al-Hadha a Muslim holiday, the two overlapping for the first time in more than 30 years.   Dear son had a parent-teacher conference day off from school.  His was outstanding, by the way.

Our journey to Sopron is a quick one from Vienna, about an hour.  This small town is now a favorite.  Sopron is known as the Civitas Fidelissima "the most faithful city" in reference to the 1921 referendum where the city's residents opted to remain part of Hungary instead of being absorbed into Austria.  It seems that everyone has ventured through Sopron, Celts, Romans, Slavs, Turks, Germans and Magyars and eventually the Nazis and then the Red Army.  Luckily, much of the medieval town remains for visitors to enjoy.

They Make Exploring Easy, in English!

My Broom Awaits

Petofi Theater

Firewatch Tower and City Hall

Medieval Promenade

Oh, there is an added benefit to visiting Sopron:  A big TESCO!  I know, I should say the Dentist, since Sopron has over 300 dental clinics and is also known as the dental capital of the world.  But no, I was in it for TESCO and was not disappointed.  300 Fornits to the Euro meant we were able to stop, shop and save.

Hungary reminds me of the Czech Republic, you get there and spend time with happy people who smile and have a welcoming attitude toward "foreigners", on the streets, in the restaurants and the shops.  It is always a welcome change from Vienna and why we keep returning.  TESCO or not.

Sopron Scene

Of Course