So far - Venice, Slovenia, Vienna...
03.10.2010 11 °C
Venice, days 29-32
We have had to stay an extra day here as this morning was pelting down with rain so we decided to take a day off and just chill out. We went to a small mall to do some shopping, watched the Godfather, had a coffee at the camp cafe and tidied up all our bags. Tomorrow the weather is looking to be loads better and we will spend the day in Venice.
Venice was amazing, everything we expected it to be. The day was a little cold and grey, but the sun soon came out. We caught a water taxi & bus from our campsite to the city and first off went up the Campanile for a view over the whole area which was stunning. We spent the rest of the day meandering around the alleys and canals, shopping for gifts and looking at interesting things. At midday the tide came in, and they put up board walks for everyone to walk on. It was only a couple of inches, but we were very happy that we wore flip flops so we were free to roam off the boards!
Slovenia days 32-33
This has probably been our favourite place so far. Slovenia is so much like NZ, clean, green and beautiful, with charming people. The only difference is the history and architecture! We stayed in Bohinjka Bistrica, just down the road from Lake Bled, probably the most well known part of Slovenia. On the way we also went through Ljubjana, the Capital, and Lipica, where the breed the Lippizaner horses. Lake Bled is a breathtaking lake with an island in the middle where there nestles a small church, cafe and shop. We took a boat ride (called a Plent) to the island. There are no outboards allowed, only rowboats, so it remains peaceful and quiet. After lunch we went to Vingar gorge, a dramatic hike set mostly on boardwalks that criss-cross a raging river, so clear you can see right through it. Amazing scenery, and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the Sounds or the Abel Tasman.
We treated ourselves to Bled Cake – NOT to be missed! It’s similar to a custard square, but a million times better. Layers of soft, sweet custard and whipped cream sandwiched between sweet fluffy pastry. It was a 5 star restaurant, above the lake - €10 for 2 cakes and 2 hot drinks. Slovenia is very cheap. Paris cost €18 for 1 cake and 2 drinks.
We had our first experience with real cold in Slovenia, as we were about 500mtres above sea level, in the mountains. You can tell by the pitched roofs it snows a LOT! Lake Bled freezes over and you can walk to the island. We wished we could just stay there for ever!
Vienna days 33- 35
Vienna is a lovely city, old but still sophisticated feeling. In the morning we went to Schonbrunn, the beautiful palace of the Habsburg kings & queens. The palace and gardens are beautiful and very different to other garden we’ve seen so far.
We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around Vienna. We saw the Spanish riding school – where they train the above-mentioned Lippzaner horses to perform the most amazing dressage & ‘horse ballet’. Ironically, the Spanish Riding School is in Vienna, with horse from Slovenia! Truly multicultural. We also went on to Huntertwasser Village & Haus, we both fell in love with the work of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, so we had to see the work of the artist/architect who was so inspired by him. We will be visiting the Huntertwasser loos in Kawakawa no doubt!
The rest of the evening was spent whizzing around looking for a heater as it has gotten so cold in the tent that we were looking for any excuse not to be in it! We managed to find one and it is worth it’s weight in gold. Next to our camp is a heated swim centre, where we spent the last night swimming and relaxing before heading off to Salzburg. The lady at reception gave us free vouchers for it since she thought we were mad for staying in a tent this time of year!
I think the day count might be slightly off, but hey, it's more or less right. Can't believe we start our 6th week tomorrow, and we've only got 13 days left.