The Grand Tour, One Last Time
Originally posted on December 11, 2017
It has been while since posting. No excuses, no writers’ block, just taking a break.
So we decided to take a real break and tour some of our favorite places in Europe. We decided to go in the late fall to avoid the crowds. And that worked out for a about half of our tour. When on our last visit, there was a 2 kilometer line to get into the Vatican Museum, this time we walked right in with no waiting. When there was a 4 hour line to get into the Ufizzi Gallery in Florence (which we declined and never got to visit one of the world’s great museums) , this time there was no line at all. And the weather was clear and in the 50s and 60s. So, visiting Italy? Late November is about as good as it gets.
Austria in early December is another story. Just around freezing every day and lots of snow in the mountains and our last day in Vienna the city had a nice white blanket.
Note: I’ll put links on each of my pics in case you want to do a little travel reading.
Rome (Roma), the eternal city
Florence (Firenze), into Renaissance art? This is the place.
We had train tickets from Florence to Venice. We gave ourselves enough time to get to the station – the taxi stand was just around the corner (no Ubers here). It was raining when we set out to the taxi stand with all our bags. When we get there all there is is a yellow police line. I use my duolingo.com Italian and find out that today is the Florence Marathon. All cars are banned from the city. If all things go smoothly on your journey then you have no stories to tell. Well, we will long tell of our mad 45 minute dash in the rain (me in my crocks). We made it, damper than we had planned for, and even in time to put on a real pair of shoes.
I get to check off a long held Bucket list item. Darin’s friend Owen, who came to visit us from Paris sat next to an American opera singer on the flight, Rebecca Nelson. She said she had a few tickets to Mozart’s The Magic Flute for tonight, where she would be singing the part of Pamina, daughter of The Queen of the Night. Anybody interested? he asked. Waaa? Yessss! So I checked the “See an Opera in Vienna” item off my bucket list.
And to top it off, we went out with Pamina (Rebecca Nelson) and The Queen of the Night (Beate Ritter) for drinks after the show. The whole tour was Made on that evening. Thanks Owen.
And the grand tour comes to an end after a 30 hour, 4 flight, journey back home. The two highlights of my trip happend in the last few days. Listening to Mozart in Vienna of course, and introducing my son to Mozart; and having the absolutely best hot dog I have ever had, a kaisekrainer (I think – not sure it could have been a bosna, it was dark red and way spicy; there were a dozen different kinds at the sausage stand) at an Austrian Christmas Market.