We have had a severe lack of internet, hence the lack of blog, but here is the last installment!
Salzburg, days 35-38
The saying “dynamite comes in small packages” is REALLY applicable to Salzburg. It’s tiny, but there’s so much to do! We got a 2 day Salzburg card which gives you free entry to EVERYTHING plus public transport. At €33 it was well worth it as we saved over €100 over the 2 days.
Day 1 we went up the Untersberg Cable Car, a steep ride with the most breathtaking view over Salzburg and the surrounding area. Truly shows what a beautiful country Austria is. The weather was crystal clear and hot, absolutely stunning. After that we went to Hellbrunn, a palace built by a mad old Archbishop, with trick fountains and ponds. Hilarious to watch people jump and scream as they get sneakily soaked! They are 400 hundred years old and work only with gravity and water pressure.
We caught the bus back to the centre of town to do a Salzach river cruise. A bit boring, but a nice outing nonetheless on a good day. We caught the lift to the top of the hill to check out the Salzburg view, and wandered around town checking out shops.
Day 2 we went up the funicular to the Hohensalzburg fortress, perched on top of the hill and parts of it over a 1000 years old. Inside there are torture rooms, museums and a marionette exhibition. Sadlky the weather was a bit sucky, but we still managed to see loads. We next went off to the Stiegl beer museum & tastings, which really good. The museum itself is a bit dull, and most of the signs are in German, but the tasting at the end is well worth it! 3 2/3 pints which was all included in the museum price (free for us thanks to our cards) plus a free gift of 2 glasses.
We still had some time so decided to check out the Natural History Museum. One of the beat museums I have ever been in. Really interactive, with varied displays, plus a lovely aquarium and (squee!) reptile zoo, where I could check out lizards, snakes, turtles and alligators to my heart’s content! (yes, 2 live alligators INSIDE the museum)
There was still so much we could do there, but on to Germany next.
Germany, days 38-40
We decided to do only the Romantic Road, as there is just so much of Germany that we wanted to see, which we just didn’t have time (or money) for. We started in Rottenbuch/Fussen, the very south of the route, where the castles Hohenschwangau & Neuschwanstein are located. This was a big disappointment for us. We had been so looking forward to seeing Neuschwanstein, indeed it was a bit of a highlight. The day we arrived, not realising how close we were, we spent exploring Rottenbuch, and it was hot & sunny. The next day we had planned to spent the whole day touring the castles. The next day it was so foggy you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. This made us mad as the weather report everywhere said it was due to be sunny. Well, the fog never cleared, so we never got to see the breathtaking sight of the so-called “fairy tale castle”, only bits of were to be seen peeking out of the mist. We still went through Neuschwanstein, which is one of the coolest castles I’ve been through, and we had a good time checking out the little towns.
Next day it was still foggy, even worse, so we decided to give up and head to Rothenburg ob de Tauber, which was of course, sunny & hot. And amazing!!! It’s just like a fairytale, something you would read about in the Brothers Grimm, with gingerbread buildings and little squares with tiny shops and restaurants, sooooo quaint and cute!
Saarburg/Luxembourg Days 40-41
On impulse we decided to head to the Moselle Valley to treat ourselves by staying in a little bed & breakfast near Saarburg. It was very basic but absolute heaven for me & Stu as we’ve been on an airbed with sleeping bags for the last 6 weeks. The duvets were about 10 inches deep, the shower was hot, and the included breakfast was huge and delicious and worth every penny.
Unfortunately we left our fridge on in the car and the battery went flat. While the alarm was set. Luckily we got it sorted but it was a bit stressful. We went off to have a lightning flash tour of Luxembourg which is a very funky wee town with loads of medieval walls and bridges with the old town in the middle of the gorge. Petrol is also stupidly cheap in Luxembourg and people are very friendly.
Amsterdam, days 41-44
Amsterdam is such a funky place. There are so many streets which remind me of Wellington, but the canals make it feel really European. We bought the I Amsterdam card, which was just like the Salzburg Card, but slightly more expensive & included free drinks and gifts. We managed to go through the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, The Hermitage, the Canal boat museum, the Handbag Museum, and we did a diamond tour where I held a €34,000 diamond in my hand!!! We also had amazing dutch pancakes, scouted out the dodgy red light district, wandered amongst the markets and did a canal cruise. It was a very busy few days and I had achy, achy feet & legs but sadly my camera was stolen so I have no pics of Amsterdam to show anyone.
Arcen, Antwerp, Calais, days 44-45
Our last stop was the spa resort of Klein Vink in Arcen, which has thermal baths, saunas and beauty spas. We spent half a day there just relaxing and enjoying our last days. We enjoyed warm thermal baths with Jacuzzi bubbles, and a deliciously hot Finnish Sauna.
Our last day was cold and grey. We had lunch in Antwerp which is a very cool place, crossed between old and new with loads of vintage & designer shops.
Our last stop was Calais & Dunkirk, we decided to leave a day early due to the heavy, pitch black clouds pulling in over the ocean. We did a bit of shopping, then before we knew it we were on the Ferry!