In the past few weeks...

Minneapolis Travel Blog

 › entry 38 of 38 › view all entries

...I have been all over Austria, been to Italy and Croatia. After leaving Sweden we spent a day in Vienna getting ready for our hiking trip then it was off to Salzburg to visit Nico’s parents. We walked through old town and saw many of the Sound of Music sights. We also toured a salt mine in Hallein. That was my first trip into Germany, but underground a few hundred feet. The salt mine lies in Austria and Germany. Salzburg is a beautiful area. It is probably one of the only cities I have visited where it’s hard not to find trees and grassy fields everywhere! All the trees and flowers everywhere make it smell great too! So, after Salzburg the original plan was to spend a couple weeks hiking through the Alps. That didn’t work out so well. Little did I know I literally can’t breath in the high altitude with asthma. We spent one day hiking; we did make it to the top of one mountain. We returned to Salzburg and spent a couple days trying to figure out what we should do with the time we had left. We finally came up with a plan that was a road trip down to Venice for a visit and then off to Croatia for a week for island hopping, camping and hiking. We set out for Venice and camped nearby in Jesolo. The campsite was huge and full of families but we were only spending a couple nights there and it was right next to the beach. We spent one day in Venice walking around, eating and doing a little shopping. Venice is a beautiful town but full of tourists. We didn’t really use a map and just got lost on the small intertwining streets where there weren’t as many tourists. To be honest, if you can walk fast and aren’t all that into museums, you can do Venice in a day. Plus the hordes of other people get really annoying after one day.

After our day of seeing Venice before it sinks, we headed off to Trieste in northern Italy near the Slovenian border. It’s not as pretty as Venice. It does have a very cool old Roman theater that they still use and if you wander you may see an old Roman arch ruin somewhere. We only spent a couple hours there wandering; it is a somewhat dirty city with not much to see. Although we did have the best gelato ever there but I can’t remember the name of the place! So it was back into the car and off to Croatia! We drove through Croatia a bit and ended up on the island of Krk. There is a small town at the southern end called Baška. It is beautiful there. It’s surrounded by tall rocky hills with little vegetation. The bay is a deep blue and covered in rock beaches. From what little I saw of Croatia, it is a beautiful country; I’ll just have to get back someday to see more. Our plan was to stay there for two or three days before heading of to Rab. Our plan was once again changed after we spent our first day in Baška but I’ll get back to that. Baška has three campground areas; the first is similar to the one in Italy but mostly full of German couples on vacation (where we stayed), then the small place whose lot was not shaded at all and had many sites crammed in, and finally the nudist camp. No joke, we considered staying at the nudist camp just for fun and to say we’d done it. After setting up camp at our nice little spot in the giant campground we walked around the small town and sat at a pub to watch the Euro 2008 games. The next day we went hiking on the island. We found a hiking path that went to another side of the island with two little secluded bays. We hiked all the way over there with the intention of swimming in one of the bays but we had to hike down to get to them and the weather wasn’t looking so pretty either. We headed back to our campsite and took a path that led through what used to be a small river valley. One of the coolest hikes I’ve been on. We finally made it to the seaside and hiked along cliff areas about twenty feet above the water. It was fine when we first started hiking there but then it started raining and all of sudden it was a downpour. Running on the rocks was impossible because they got really slick when they were wet so we just got drenched and didn’t care. The cliff path we were on happened to cross the nudist camping area and their beach. We were walking along the cliff path and all of a sudden a guy comes running from behind us; turns out he was from the nudist camp and of course had nothing on. We both just laughed as we watched him run along the cliffs to get back to the nudist camp. We were both wondering why he was running since he didn’t have any clothes on and only his sandals and towel were getting wet. Needless to say, we made it back to our camp soaked. We managed to change and go somewhere to warm up but it just kept raining the rest of the day. We managed to get all of our warm clothes soaked and only had summer weather clothes left. The next morning we checked the weather and the next week in Croatia was supposed to be rainy. So with all our wet clothes, tent, and sleeping bags we headed back to Salzburg. We didn’t see much point in camping a whole week if it was just going to be rainy and cold.

Since we had already done the sightseeing in Salzburg, we went to Hellbrun. It is this beautiful garden in Salzburg that also has trick fountains that were built by the archbishop of Salzburg way back when. We toured the fountains and they were beautiful. The next day we went to Mondsee, near Salzburg, to go sailing with Nico’s parents. It was a beautiful day on a great lake. The water was so clear and blue from all the Alpine stream run off. The lake is towered over by the Alps. It was a day very well spent. The next day we headed down to Innsbruck to go see the Swarovski Crystal World. It was a little pricy to get in but it was well worth it. Crystal Worlds is somewhat of an art gallery. It has different rooms done by different artists that have all incorporated Swarovski crystals in some way. It was one of the coolest places I’ve been to. The entrance to the place is supposed to be a giant. After that, we drove into Innsbruck and walked around for a while before heading back to Salzburg.

The next morning it was off to Vienna to spend the rest of my time. We’ve been sightseeing and just walking around the city. We went to Schönbrunn, a giant garden and zoo. That took up most of a day for us. We also went to Michealaplatz, a church in the old town the next day. They have an old crypt that is still full of coffins and such. We took a tour and it was one of the coolest and most interesting tours I’ve ever taken. You get to go into the crypt and see some of the old coffins of the rich from different time periods. There were also mummified bodies that you could see; the bodies and their clothes had been preserved because of the air conditions in the crypt. You could also see old bones sticking out of the floor in places. When the crypt used to get too full they would clean it. Cleaning entailed taking some bodies out of their coffins, putting the bones on the floor and covering them with earth. After that we went to the torture museum which covers the history of torture/punishment mainly in Austria. Also a very interesting museum. We also made it to the famous Sacher Hotel to have original sahcer torte. Very delicious chocolate cake, not much more can be said about that! That night we headed out to Swiss Beach, a bar on the Danube canal that is covered in sand and palm trees. We went to watch the Croatia/Turkey game of the Euro soccer. One of the dullest games I've watched until the end. Croatia scored in the last two minutes of overtime, then Turkey scored a minute later. That meant a shoot out. I was a little sad about Croatia losing the shoot out but getting home was interesting because of the Turkish fans. Vienna has many Turkish immigrants which meant a big fan base. Within minutes of the end of the game people were driving around honking horns and waving flags from their windows. Many of the main streets were full of people walking around singing the Turkish anthem and celebrating like crazy. We went to bed about 2 in the morning and the honking car horns were still going strong. Apparently that went on for a few more hours. The next day we rented city bikes and went out to Prater, an old amusement park. We were just going to walk around but ended up going go karting and into the fun house. That was the excitement for the day since it was quite hot outside. We also went to Nico's cousins' birthday party. My last day in Vienna we spent mostly lounging around the flat, walking along Mariahilferstraβe (the shopping street), driving up Höhenstra \ βe to get a view over the city and making fondue.

The past couple of days has pretty much been airports and planes. We went to Vienna airport on Monday morning and had our last fika before I had to leave. I made it back to Stockholm just fine and met up with Annika from my corridor and we headed off to our hotel. We spent the evening catching up and just trying not to get to bored. Neither of us slept much that night because we were both afraid of oversleeping our flight. Yesterday we flew home to Chicago. We were very embarrassed on the plane though. We were surrounded by big, obnoxious, rude Americans. We watched movies most of the flight home just so we wouldn't have to listen to the people around us complain. I made it through my last flight home from Chicago just fine. I was excited to see my parents and to get away from the airport. So far today, I've been doing laundry, unpacking and missing the European lifestyle. I'm just sitting here watching news stories that deal with rising gas and food prices and violence. All are things not seen in European news, I'm already tired of watching it; the culture shock is starting to hit. Anyways, that's the end of my journey, who knows when the next one will start! Hope you enjoyed following me around Europe and enjoy the pictures!


lonlee2 says:
This was a great blog! Thanks for sharing it.
Posted on: Jul 22, 2008
inkie1010 says:
Nice blog, it was nice to read all your experiences! Glad to see you had such a wonderful time in Europe :)
Posted on: Jul 11, 2008
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