Monday, July 11


I am in Austria now. We left Portugal last Thursday. Had a long day flying to London, sitting in Stansted airport for 5 hours, and then flying to Salzburg. ONefun thing was to be in London airport when they announced that Londo won the bid to host the 2012 games. Picked up at the airport by Erika Lange - the wife of Mum´s uncle. (Its complicated, because actually Graham was married to my grandfathers sister before she died.) We were stunned by all the mountains we could see in every direction!

The next day we got a train to Vienna. While we were travelling we had messages from Australia to ask whether we were in London, and were we alright, as it was at this time that the bombing in London became known. We arrived and fuond our hotel where we spent a while watching CNN (the only available English station) until it began another repeat of the same information before embarking on Vienna. We were remarkably dead - managed to walk past the cathedral, have a quick look inside and find a ´kaffeehaus´ for cofee and cake to perk us up a bit. Tahnee managed to take a photo of a scary street performer dressed up as Mozart just for the record but then his even scarier accomplice came and squeeked like mad at us (and made wierd noises) until she point a coin in his bucket... then he blew her a kiss which was equally as disturbing (he was painted white too). We went to an unhepful tourist office, and took a tram loop to sit and watch the the impressive buildings of Vienna go past. There was the apparently necessary visit to net cafe... dodgy but cheap, and near hotel, and who needs to breathe anything except smoke anyway?!
We found a good place for dinner and had a big salad and a plate of mixed meat. And good beer! As we left, our helpful waiter said ´so back tomorrow for ribs?´and we were!

Friday in Vienna: After retrieving Mum from the internet cafe we went to a museum but then found it was free the next day so we left and went to a differnt one. We went to the ´KunstHausWein´which was designed by Hundertwasser. It was also a museum of this guys work. Even the timeline of his life was very interesting - he travelled a lot, particularly to New Zealand. He was behind the public toilets somewhere in New Zealand that are aparently facinating! He was politically and environmentally active, but also had strong ideas on design - straight lines ´are evil´! This meant that even the floors of the buildings were uneven!
Here is one of his pictures:
After the museum, we walked to the nearby Hundertwasser something else - some appartment buildings designed by the same man. From there, we walked along the Danube back to the centre, planning to see the palace from the outside, but instead got the U-bahn back to eat ribs! After our delicious feast accompanied by beer, we gave Mum a headstart at the internet cafe, and then joined her before all collapsing in our hot and stuffy hotel room with a noisy street below.

Saturday: Went in the rain with our packs to the Secession Building (museum!) to see the Gustav Klimt Beethoven Freize, then left our bags there to wander around the nearby market and find lunch in the rain. There was lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, as well as dried fruit, Turkish things (baklava!), stuffed olives and peppers, and further to one end, the flea market part. After fantastic turkish kebabs for lunch, back to the museum, but the rest of the art was wierd (even I think that printed out pictures of planets (the even say on the image `courtesy of hubble´) up different ways are barely worth framing... but maybe I just don´t get it! From there we went to the MAK (Museum Angenwandte Kunst or something which means Museum of Applied Art). Enjoyed another Klimt freize, a Margaret Macdonald freize, and some other attractive art nouveau objects. Another coffee intermission, some more museum (amazingly detailed lace, and beautiful glass) then with our packs to the train station. Apparently we got the wrong train to Salzburg and made Graham wait - i think the other one must have been going through to somewhere else and not said ´Salzburg´on the board... oh well we got the extra stops train!

Sunday: Church with Graham and Erika. It was in german of course, but Graham who has no doubt had a lot of practice translated very well for us. He is in fact not just bilingual but trilingual because he speaks fluent French as well! Makes us feel ignorant! The songs at church were mostly unfamiliar, but those that we knew the tune for were quite old! Lunch was at Graham and Erika´s with Erikas daughter Ruth and Husband, and there 2 girls age 6 and 7. They had little English, but Tahnee and I played with them for most of the afternoon - if we stopped or tried to sleep on the couch they tugged and pulled and tickled us until we did!! In the evening we went to a concert in a castle. It was most enjoyable - despite the solid rain outside, the programme was varied and lively and the musicians all seemed to be enjoying themselves! Tahnee (the discerning musician) says that most of the times they smiled it was because they made a mistake, but I wouldn´t know!!

Monday: It is raining and we got up late, and spent the morning dong emails and postcards. Maybe we will go into Salzburg later. We did some washign yesterday which we took to a friend of Erikas with a drier. In the mean time, i´m wearing 3/4 shorts as i washed my other 2 pairs I have here! Then again thats less material to get wet in the rain!

Tomorrow Tahnee and I go to Munich by train, then a few days later to Paris, and then we fly to Luton (London) on Monday. Mum will pick us up there, and we have another 2 nights in Podington (great uncle and aunt David and Margaret near Northampton) before Mum and Tahnee fly home. My grandfather is flying to London as I type this to see his brother David who is unfortunately getting sicker, and then he flys back on the same flight as Mum.

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