Sunday, 23 June 2013

Trip home from Europe

Joe and I walked uptown 1 last night in Vienna and although I thought I had seen everything Joe managed to show me a few more things I had missed like a rose garden and then we went to a beer garden only to find it closed and accidently stumbled on a concert for a Jewish festival and watched for awhile but it was pretty much winding down by the time we got there so we went to another nice restaurant and had a lovely last dinner. The place was called Lavalire. Well I did not sleep much that last night in Vienna for worrying about that 50 min transfer in Frankfurt. Turned out with the delays I was right on time and worried needlessly. Landed in Los Angeles only 30 minutes late and the pilot put it down so softly you were not even aware the wheel touched.
Me sitting on Joe's new stool in Prague
So I landed in L.A. and called Ken and he was waiting at a shopping mall 5 minutes away from the airport. It took me 1 1/2 hours to get through US customs because of the sheer volume of people all getting there at the same time. Ken came just a few minutes after I called and we drove to Palm Springs. I had a good sleep and the next morning left for home on the F650GS. I fueled in 29 Palms and a fellow pulled up on a bike and of course after seeing the Alberta plates started talking to me. So unlike Europe. Then I headed to Roy's place in Amboy in the middle of the Mojave and there was a group of Germans there on a tour and of course I talked to them.
This is on Route 66
 Then I headed out and up through Kelso. I was surprised to find a lot more Joshua trees than I had seen in Joshua Tree Monument so stopped to take picture of the blooms and the fruit.
Not a lot of traffic. So proceeded on to Primm Nevada where I fueled up so I would not have to stop anywhere in Las Vegas. Just boogied on through.
Stopped here and had a cool drink and talked to a couple of guys on bikes that I had passed earlier. One was from Texas and the other from Angelfire New Mexico. This amusement park is in Primm.
Then I road steady to Cedar Utah and I was thinking of stopping but it was a beautiful evening so forged on to Beaver Utah and stopped at a Motel 6. You know your back in America. Look at the size of that US flag.
This was the view from my window. The next day I got up early and rode right through Salt Lake City and stopping for fuel and a bite to eat in Fort Hall Idaho. Then I stopped at the rest area in the Lava Hot Beds and took a little walk along the trails they have built in Hell's Half Acre.
They have a lot of interpretive signs along the trail but I will not put in all of them.
Anyway time to move on if I am ever going to make Missoula Montana. Betty is holding dinner.
1 More stop though at a rest area in Montana and later for fuel..Guess that is 2 stops. Got fuel in Deerlodge and
the next two pictures are the rest stop before that.
After a nice sleep and visit with Art and Betty I headed out and only stopped a few times and only took the next two pictures of Flathead Lake near Somners
And so ends this particular journey.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Cesky Krumulov and home

I remembered a few things I forgot in my prior blog so will insert them here before I head to my last weekend in Europe and home. On the ride back from Croatia as we were passing through Slovenia we saw many tractors on the road. Not with equipment on them but looking like they were used as the family car for a trip to town. Not that uncommon but when I saw a garden tiller , very large, where the driver sat very high and had handlebars larger than the ones on our motorcycles and towing a trailer, well I took to laughing so hard that I could hardly wait to catch up to Joe. When we stopped I asked him if we could please please take the garden tiller and trailer to town for a day out. Wish I had a picture.
The other thing I forgot to mention was the last night in Prague although we tried to stick to traditional food from the different countries. Joe was longing for a burger and when we were just about back to the apartment I spied a Hard Rock Café. Now I have never been to one..not even in America so I suggested it. We had a great burger, great service and I had a diet Pepsi in a glass with ice. Mind you it cost twice as much as the beer but oh did it taste great.
I also complained bitterly about not getting a cup of coffee in Europe. 3.10 Euro for 2 tablespoons of Expresso and no refills. Well it was in Prague I discovered if the MacDonalds has a McCafe that you can order a Coffee Americano and you get pretty much a cup of coffee. Still no refills but a full cup!!
On the Charles Bridge
The train trip back to Vienna from Prague was very relaxing and the next day Joe took me to the Nauschmarket  in Vienna. This is a giant flea market and on Saturday everyone brings their junk and I do mean junk and tries to sell it at this open market. Blocks and blocks of vendors and then the farmers and food stalls are located further on for several blocks. Here I am tasting cheese.
Well because it was the weekend and I was leaving Monday Joe asked me if I would like to do 1 more motorcycle trip. I could not ride the beautiful one as she was badly in need of a rear tire so it was decided I would double behind Joe on his F800GS. Thank God there were no video cameras around as this old lady tried to climb up on the back. Kudos to Joe for holding that bike up while I tried to pull him over and get on board. A couple of times we managed to get beside a rock  or cement structure and I could lower myself down over the bike. Once on board I was extremely confident with Joe as the driver. Too bad it had to rain. We did however go back to the Czech Republic to a UNESCO Heritage Site. A little town called Cesky Krumulov. Not sure of the spelling but you can look it up. It is a small town with cathedrals and castles and old old buildings. Sorry no pictures as it rained. However we did stop in a place 23 km away overnight. Very picturesque and the food was great and of course with me that is all that counts.
Joe and I went for a walk up the hill to the castle and abbey and in my wisdom I decided we would not need our umbrellas so Joe had to find one of his own as it started to rain before we got back.
.When we went for dinner at this place Joe liked they were all reserved. The back for a family reunion and the front for a birthday party but Joe managed to sweet talk the people into letting us sit at one of the tables and have a beer and we had greek salad and 4 cheese pizza for supper. This was a four cheese pizza like none other with 2 slices of mozzarella and 2 slices with blue cheese and 2 slices with Camembert and 2 with cheddar. It was delicious.
This bike was to let us know the restaurant and hotel were biker friendly. Joe sent me in to check in and because the monetary value was in kroner I had to go running out to Joe when she said the room was 1000 kroner so Joe quickly converted on his phone and it was 38 Euro. Cheap! and breakfast was an additional 3 Euro each. Unfortunately it rained all night and the next morning we headed for Cesky Krumulov but it rained most of the way and in the town itself they were sandbagging so we just took a look and left. We did small towns trying to see more of the countryside but as it continued to rain Joe headed for the highway and home. The next morning Joe had to work so I arose early and he put me on the train telling me to get off at the airport and I was on my own. Very reluctant to leave as I felt so comfortable and at home. I was rather worried about my flight connection in Frankfurt as I had only 40 minutes to find my new gate and did not seem to get much help but I just hurried fast only to find the flight was delayed and then once on board was delayed longer with a strange smell in the cargo hold. But it was a good flight and when our pilot landed in LA one barely knew the wheels had touched the ground. It took 1 1/2 hours to get out of the airport but I called Ken and he picked me up without a problem at all and we arrived in Palm Springs a couple of hours later. It was almost a 24 hour day for me but the next morning I arose and packed and headed for home. Will do that story next.

Sunday, 16 June 2013


Well I have been home 2 weeks and things are not happening by themselves. I am back at work every day and last weekend was CubORama with the cub scouts out at Camp Gardner and this weekend was a very wet Alberta 500 campout in Castor Alberta. So on to Prague. I arrived home from Salzburg and Joe was still at work so I just waited for him to arrive home. The next day we left for Prague on the train. He had an apartment booked with 2 bedrooms. living room and kitchen. The location was wonderful as it was just a few blocks from the Charles Bridge and the Astrological Clock. Beautifully situated.

This was the view out my bedroom window. We had traveled on the train through many towns that I cannot remember the name of. Brno was one. The train is a very stress free way to travel in Europe. Just sit back and enjoy.
This was my bedroom. So European. Once we arrived we dumped our gear and headed for the Charles Bridge and the castle.

I took this picture the second night of the VLTANA River with the castle and the Charles Bridge in the background. I guess they are doing a lot of sandbagging here now and everything is flooding in Prague and Salzburg and Germany and other European countries. You can see there are lots of rainclouds when we were there and I guess it got worse after we left.
Prague had much of the same old architecture as Vienna and Salzburg but more of it. I wish I had had time to research a little more so that I knew more of the history I was viewing. After a dinner of Pig's knee and way to much to eat at a place called Mle.Inice. It was delicious.
Joe at the castle overlooking Prague. The next pictures were  taken on the walk over the Charles Bridge and up to the castle.
One of the many statues on the Charles Bridge that have turned black with age.
 Over looking Prague from the castle. Looking down the next picture show a spit with a whole mock cow on it. They were advertising a beef BBQ.
The following pictures were taken in and around Prague. It was raining a lot. Joe and I took a Hop On Hop Off bus the next day and saw a lot more of the city. But the first night we lucked out going to one of the main squares and finding a big band marathon. So we listened to big band music, drank beer and all the time surrounded by 300 year old buildings and lots of people.
Noticed this beautiful purple flowering tree as we were leaving the castle and then I saw them again in Los Angeles as I was landing. My friend Karen thinks they are a Lantana but I still need to do some research. Did some research still uncertain but believe them to be a jacaranda tree.
 This is the famous astrological clock and on the hour the door above and figures appear in them.
This is a memorial to the young man Jan who set fire to himself in Wencelas Square to protest communist rule and then another young man named Jan also did the same thing. Their memorials are referred to the symbolic downfall of communism in the Czech Republic.
There is also a cross right outside the museum of Natural History at the head of Wencelas Square. Joe and I tried to go there but it is closed for renovations.
We also stumbled upon another square where some real artisans were at work and the next day we went back there and Joe bought a wonderful stool just for putting boots on and off. It is perfect and so well crafted but it was kind of funny to see him carrying this stool all around Prague and on the train home. But it did come in handy when I wanted to sit down.
One of the other bridges in Prague. The Hop On Hop Off bus tour included a 1 hour boat trip and again we saw and learned many things about this wonderful warm city.
Because of the rain and the fact that the museum was closed Joe and I headed for the train station and home. It was an amazing place to visit. One more bike trip to Cesky Kumulov which I will do tomorrow and then it is on the plane heading for home.
Here I am in Wencelas Square taking advantage of the lovely stool Joe bought.