Regular readers know that this is not a travel blog. But my wife and I are traveling and I thought I'd share a few observations and thank you's to some of our hosts.
While in Munich, we took a long walk along a creek through the Englischer Garten. At the south end of the downtown park we came upon the creek inlet (the Eisbach, a small canal) and were surprised to find surfers. Here's my brief tribute made using Viddy and my iPhone.
Hallstatt Austria, is a picture perfect UNESCO world-heritage village perched between a mountain and a beautiful lake. We only spent one overnight there, but it was enough time to see why the city is such a big hit in China. We found out from a local shopkeeper that Chinese investors are building a replica in China. Here's my Photosynth of the [actual] Hallstatt town square from our hotel room.
Trieste Italy is a city usually overlooked for Venice, it's more glamorous neighbor. As one Italian shopkeeper in Verona quipped - "Is it in Italy?" We found Trieste to be a colorful mashup of Italian -Slovenian - Austrian food, architecture and culture. We stayed at a terrific hotel - Albero Nascosto. It'sl is a loving restoration in the old city, steps away from all the major attractions. Breakfasts feature local delicacies but the real assets are the owners and staff. A special shout out to Julio. He gave me lift from the parking garage on the back of his scooter and a quick tour of his neighborhood.
Verona Italy has great art, food, architecture, and shopping in a walkable and historic central city. We spent a few days exploring all of the above based in Tenuta Delo Relais - a agriturismo only a short 15 minutes drive out of the historic city center. Delo is an idyllic restored farm house set high on a hill and surrounded by a working vineyard. A big thanks to our gracious hosts - Ettore and Antonia.
While visiting Verona's Duomo, I suddenly heard beautiful choral music. A recording? Then I noticed a woman conducting a group of students. I never found out who they were - all I was told was they were "Russian school girls." (I think you could safely add "choral" to that description.) Right after this song they got up and quietly left.
One more must-see in Verona is the Castelvechio Museum - as if this view (below) from the castle keep isn't enough - the entire complex houses a first class art collection in a restoration that imaginatively blends historic and modern design elements.