The Colour of Fanta (or My Trip to
It’s funny how you notice the small differences when travelling.
Take Fanta for example, the normal orange Fanta, not the other flavours
it comes in these days. In Australia we have orange Fanta that LOOKS
orange. A bright almost Disney orange, not the pale yellowy orange
that we found in most of Europe. It did change though as you went
from one country to another though, much like Europe itself. Anyway
here is a brief run down of the places we visited followed by a
brief diary of what we got up to.
Prices of petrol and Big Macs are a reference to the buying power
of money in each city.
Hotel : Raddison - ¥12000
Tokyo price references.
Basic cup of coffee - 350 yen
Petrol (unleaded) - 85 yen per litre
People are all polite and helpful, though very few speak English
- though if there is someone in the store who does speak English
you will normally get to talk to them.
All that bowing really does happen. I managed to get 7 people bow
at me at once.
The rail system is supposed to be difficult to negotiate. This is
because every rail map you see is slightly different.
Europe in general
People smoke here! All over the place and with little or no regard
for anyone else.
There is a general feeling of letting people decide for themselves
what is good for them, unlike Australia where we seem to be making
sure that there is legislation to protect people from absolutely
People take their dogs with them everywhere.
Hotel : Ibsen's - kroner
Copenhagen price references.
Basic cup of coffee - 21 kroner
Petrol (unleaded) - 8.34 kroner
Big Mac combo - 45 kroner
Lots of bikes. The bike paths look like the foot path and you tend
to have at least one bike try to run you down before you get the
Most people seem to speak English and the one person we met who
didn't want to give us directions because we were both standing
looking at a map.
For my first European city, it had a very European feel.
Hotel : Jens & Illy's
Hotel : La Louisian - €115
Big Mac €3
Big Mac Combo €5.20
McClean - Toilets and showers.
- €1 Toilet €7 shower.
Dirty and shabby around the edges but with style and attitude. Very
few people speak English.
Hotel : President Nord. - €74
Big Mac €3
Big Mac Combo €5.00
The French speakers seem to be the upper class and the Flemish the
lower class and never shall they meet. Which is a pity as the Flemish
are nicer people.
In a 2 hour visit what can you see? It has a lot of old charm. And
hills. And lots of mobile phone (handy) shops, but then so does
Hotel Popp – Hamburg €70 (normally €75) including
breakfast. Unfriendly beds. Good breakfast buffet though.
Big mac €2.65 Combo €4.35
Didn't see much due to Audrey's cold.
Hotel : -
Big mac : Combo :
A big city. It's trying to become one instead of 2 cities, but it
has contrasts standing so close together.
Hotel : Day trip
Big mac : Combo :
Hotel : Day trip
Big mac : Combo :
Lots of canals, the views are magnificent. There are very few places
you can get Dutch food. The red light district is shown on the tourist
Hotel : Hotel Savoy
Has a Bavarian feel, which is what I was expecting of Germany in
general I think.
Hotel : Pension Neuer Mark - €112
Bigmac €2.50 Combo €4.75
Like Germany, but quite obviously not. There are fewer people who
Hotel : Medosz - HUF 13000
Big mac : HUF 459 Combo : HUF 749
A mix - Old infrastructure but new flashy "American" produce.
A city trying to become modern without the cost.
It's full of touters, working for the chance to take your money
- I must ignore them, I'm not used to it!
The communist housing blocks seen from a distance look bleak and
forbidding. The Metro gives a quick and smooth ride with escalators
at all stations except the M1, which is the first underground line
in Europe and is not very deep anyway. Two new Metro lines are in
The trams are another story. They are noisy and bumpy, but still
quick. The busses are small to cope with Buda's winding hilly roads,
but come frequently and are comfortable.
The hotel food was a bit bland, but was nice wherever we ate out.
Lots of public displays of affection, with couples young and old
kissing (full scale tongues down throats and only coming up for
air every half hour or so sort of kissing), cuddling and sitting
on laps in public.
A large village with the only Hundertwasserhaus in Germany.
Lovely little village just over the hill from Switzerland. Our hosts
The old town is very nice. It deserves more than the two and a half
hours we spent there. The churches have elaborate carvings and are
quite beautiful - the outside is hard to see due to buildings being
23/9/2002 - Melbourne / Tokyo
Left home at 5:30 and walked to Dorothee's to catch a taxi to the
Had breakfast in the Qantas club - raisin toast, fruit juice and
spinach quiche. We left 5 minutes before boarding to get Dorothee
No computers allowed for the first 20 minutes of the flight.
23/9/02 10:30 On our way. We were given a menu for lunch, I'll
have the soy braised chicken with Japanese vegetables.
Waiting for the movies to start and for my drink to arrive. I like
the pointy end of the plane.
I had to wait until after lunch for "Spiderman" to come
on because it is the economy class movie. Lunch was nice, 3 courses
- mushroom noodle soup, the chicken and orange cake for desert.
13:20 Japan time and we are approaching the equator.
Three movies later and we are flying over Guam. The Sky Show shows
night catching up with us. It's -45 degrees outside and we are at
They feed us plenty of liquids. I'm sticking to water, but there’s
a lot on offer.
We were whisked through customs thanks to the magical powers of
wheel chairs. This meant that we ended up with a 40 minute wait
for the free bus, so we caught a taxi instead and beat the crowd
at the hotel.
After a bit of a walk around the hotel we went to bed.
24/9/2002. - Tokyo
Had a buffet breakfast in the hotel. It was mainly western style
but I had some rice and seaweed which was interesting.
Caught the bus into Tokyo station. Went looking for the international
tourist place and couldn't find it. Walked around the streets a
bit, then through Daimaru food hall. The food is all of top quality,
but dreadfully expensive - 9000 yen for a bunch of grapes.
Lunch was a sausage on a stick from Paul Bocuse's bakery in Daimaru
and a bottle of water from a street vending machine.
Caught a train to Sinjuku? and eventually managed to find a camera
shop. In line with my current upgrade plan I spent lots of money
- BG10 grip and a second AF360 flash.
The number of mobile phone stalls on the street surpasses even the
amount found at a show at the Melbourne exhibition centre.
We went through 2 department stores and a couple of other shops
looking for a kimono for Audrey, but ended up buying one from the
hotel once we got back.
Dinner was a couple of sushi boxes from Daimaru which we brought
back to the hotel and ate in the room.
Only took about 20 pictures today, and my first picture in Japan
was of an ant.
25/9/2002 - Tokyo / Copenhagen
Woke up early and had a sausage on a stick for breakfast, then went
for a walk down the street. The hotel is in a light industrial /
We caught the 8:30 bus to the airport. It took us 45 minutes to
get to terminal 2 for our flight - this included having an official
come on to the bus to check our passports. Our checked luggage was
X-rayed before we got to the check in counter.
As we planned to be first onto the plane we left the lounge at 11:05
to go to the gate. This was no great loss as the ANA lounge was
not that wonderful, though they did give us one of their private
We rolled back at 1200 and then spent about 40 minutes waiting in
a queue to takeoff.
The SAS plane is comfortable at the pointy end, and the food is
excellent. We started with a cold savoury - scallop and a couple
of vegetablely things. Entree was an antipasto plate with artichoke,
grilled capsicum, salami and prachuto with a side salad and bread
roll (warm and hand picked). Main was braised chicken with sautéed
vegetables. Desert was a selection from a trolley.
Slept a bit, walked around the plane, snacked a bit from the buffet,
read a bit until the next meal. I had the pork.
Landed and went straight through customs, into a VW taxi and to
the hotel - taxi was 240 kroner. Went for a walk before it got dark.
Audrey crashed at about 8pm so we went to bed.
26/9/2002 - Copenhagen
Woke early due to someone's alarm going off at 5am - the hotel has
openable windows into a courtyard. Showered and went to breakfast
at 7. It was a spread of ham and salami, breads and breadrolls,
fruits, danishes, croissants, eggs, jam and so on.
About 8:30 Audrey and I set out to explore the pedestrian only streets
nearby. The rain threatened.... Cobble stone streets, old buildings,
people driving on the wrong side of the street - it all felt very
European. Nearly everyone speaks English.
We had a hot chocolate for lunch (we ate a big breakfast), walked
a bit more and the rain finally forced us onto a guided tour bus.
125 kroner each, 3 different tours, get on and off as often as you
like for 2 days. Took pictures of the "Little mermaid"
in the rain. Audrey twisted her ankle getting off the bus.
Came back to the hotel and Audrey crashed at about 6pm and I couldn't
wake her until 9. I snacked a bit and we went to bed about 9:30.
27/9/2002 - Copenhagen
Got up etc all the same as yesterday. Went walking same as yesterday,
but today the sun is out and I could take pictures (which I did).
Saw the changing of the guards at the palace. Caught a tour bus
back to the other end of town to take more pictures after a brief
stop for a sausage for lunch (wissworst on a cardboard plate with
a small hot breadroll and a squirt of mustard).
Came back to the hotel because Audrey's foot is hurting more. Audrey
napped while I went to the chemist to try to find a support bandage
(no luck, they didn't have the right size).
Went to the "Big Copenhagen Smorgasbord", which wasn't
bad but Audrey says is smaller than she remembers.
28/9/2002 - Copenhagen - Düsseldorf
Got up at 5 (it will be nice to be able to develop a regular sleeping
habit) showered etc and checked out at 6:25. The taxi was booked
for 6:30 and that is when it turned up.
The checkin at the airport was easy. except we missed getting the
tax free form stamped before security, so we will do it on the way
The lounge left a little to be desired in terms of food - breadrolls
cheese, jam, fruit, drinks and biscuits, but little else.
The plane was small and cramped compared to the others we have been
on, but they did serve a good breakfast - fruit, yogurt, orange
juice, hot breadrolls and a plate of cheese, ham, pate and lettuce.
A second breadroll was offered with extra butter and they managed
to do 2 tea runs, 2 coffee runs, 2 water runs and tidy it all in
an hour flight.
The wheel chair was not there to meet us, but came eventually. We
got the luggage and were met by Jens and Illi and managed to cram
all 5 of us and our luggage into their car and continued to their
We spent the day talking - mostly in German - and had vegetable
soup (complete with 2 types of meat) for lunch and roast beef for
Jens makes rubber products in his cellar and repairs old clocks.
We both managed to collapse shortly after 9pm.
29/9/2002 - Düsseldorf
It's a foggy morning. Audrey spotted a spider's web outside the
window - photographed it of course.
The shower in the upstairs bathroom is a bit difficult for tall
people to manage.
30/9/2002 - Düsseldorf
Went to town on the Regiobahn.
Sausage danish for breakfast.
Freshe pommes for lunch.
Berkenstok shoes are difficult to find, we have the factory address
and will try there.
Lovely old church - St Lambertus (crooked steeple) - allows sightseeing
when there are no services. There are donation boxes in various
places around the walls for the church, the organ, the poor etc.
1/10/2002 - Düsseldorf to Paris
7:18 Regio to Düsseldorf hbf (€3.30)
8:02 IC to Köln (€.)
10:02 Thalys to Paris (€124.50/26.00)
14:30 Paris Metro (€1.30 each)
Looked at Köln cathedral - need a monopod at least for the
interior. The outside is damaged from the bombing of the train station
during the war.
Ate a platform sausage which they provided in a bun. The sausage
was 4 times the length of the bun.
I'm still waiting for the Thalys to go fast.
Old churches dot the countryside.
Thalys finally went fast after Brussels, its interesting watching
cars on the freeway being left for dead by your train. It does suffer
from turbulence at 300 kph though.
The lunch they served was not bad but not great - smoked salmon
and salmon tureen with green lettuce stuff and dill mayonnaise,
pasta salad, bread rolls (no butter was available for the second
roll) and a small slice of cake which had gone stale from being
Got here and the tourist information was closed. We figured out
where we had to go anyway. We tried one payphone and it had been
vandalised. We tried a second and it ate our money. Then, the tourist
information office opened. So we waited in line and when it was
our go we asked if they could make a booking - they said no because
they weren't associated with the hotel. We asked which Metro line
we needed to take and she showed us on a map how to get to the wrong
side of Paris.
We took the map and left the advice and got easily to our hotel.
The left bank is a warren of thin streets, street cafés which
spill onto the road, delicatessens, motor scooters and so on and
has the feel I expect of Paris.
"Breakfast is breakfast" according to the hotel desk clerk.
Which means continental, not buffet.
We ate dinner at L'atlas - taking the cheap menu. The charge of
€9.40 for 2 half litre bottles of water did strike me as excessive.
The hotel bath is not big enough for 2 people, but it does have
a "friendly" bed. The travel water boiler works well.
2/10/2002 - Paris.
Slept in till after 8am.
Bought breakfast from local patisserie / baker - Paul.
Walked to St Chappelle (€5.50). Very overdone in the French
style, but then that's what you expect in France. There was scaffolding
up around it just like every other church I've seen so far in Europe.
Walked to Notre Dame, which ended up being free to enter, but is
a working church. It did however have collection boxes every 20
feet or so.
Came back and bought picnic ingredients - bread rolls, pork, paté,
roullette and chocolate cake. Went to Point Neuf to eat it and discovered
the park closed and the trees at the point cut down. Still had a
Went to Gard d'nord to check train availability to Brussels and
Luxembourg - We'll go somewhere tomorrow. Next stop was the Eiffel
Tower. Went all the way up (€9.90 each) - very hazy at the
top, but still spectacular. The best level for viewing the surrounding
sights is the second level.
The metro works for getting from one place to another - though the
several flights of steps from one platform to another is annoying
- but you get to see nothing on the trip.
Came back to the hotel and bought more rolls for dinner. And hopefully
an early night.
3/10/2002 - Paris / Brussels
Mouscher - Chocolate frother.
Metro to Rue Mouftard
Metro to Gar d'les
Metro to Madelein
Metro to Odien
Metro to Gar d'nord.
Thalys to Brussels.
Boarded the Thalys and found rubbish in the seat pocket and crumbs
on the seat.
We arrived in Brussels and were welcomed by escalators. And signs
that point in the right direction. And polite and helpful people.
The hotel we got through the hotel people at Brussels-Midi. The
President Nord, normally €172 we got it for €85 per night.
Very nice, and close to several chocolatiers.
Dinner was in an Italian restaurant - Tavern St Michel. Cheese fondue
(cheese crumbed and deep fried) and spaghetti carbonara. Audrey
had grilled veal with croquettes.
4/10/2002 - Brussels
City hall and old market place. The "old" part of Brussels
- or part of it anyway that is not affected by modern buildings.
Statue of boy peeing. Various myths exist as to why the boy is famous.
First church without scaffolding, but it was only restored in 1990.
Very nice, not gaudy like the French.
Built for 1958 World Expo, and was never meant to go beyond it.
It will be restored next year. It is a model of an iron crystal
Bought chocolate. Leonidas for Illi and Godiva for us. The woman
in the Godiva shop must have been French.
Had dinner and rubbed Audrey's tired feet. The Belgium Metro is
friendlier than the French. It has escalators and an honour system
for tickets - no gates just validating machines like Melbourne trams.
The intermingling of old and new gives the city more the feel of
a new city than an old one. It still has some lovely old buildings.
5/10/2002 - Brussels / Düsseldorf
8:44 Brussels to Köln.
12:19 Köln to Düsseldorf
12:57 Düsseldorf to Kaarst
Illy's party. Met Nicole and family. Mark and one of his bands supplied
live music - Dixiland. A good evening was had by all, though Illy
should have spent more time enjoying herself and less running around
Ride to Koblenz and back in the afternoon. Some trees are just starting
to colour, but the vineyards are not. We will look when we go past
on other trips.
Changed Audrey's shoes and ordered some more and looked around the
Aldstat some more.
Put in 10 rolls of film for processing.
8/10/2002 - Düsseldorf / Hamburg
6:31 Düsseldorf to Hamburg
Everything is covered in a layer of frost and the fog is thick enough
to blank out the sun. I have no hope of talking photos from the
moving train. It's beautiful though, and I could wander countryside
like this and take pictures for ages.
11:05 Hamburg to Lübek
Lovely old city gates plastered with advertising. We only had a
brief look on the way to the Niederegger shop. We did see a busker
playing a didgeridoo, complete with a dog that looked part dingo.
14:05 Lübek to Hamburg.
Dinner at "Block House". Food was good but Audrey's mushroom
sauce was cold.
9/10/2002 Hamburg / Berlin
Breakfast at hotel - buffet but Italian style. The hotel cat took
a liking to Audrey and spent breakfast sitting next to her and purring.
Took Audrey to the doctor. €20
10:00 Hamburg to Berlin.
It's supposed to be a fast train (ICE) but it's going slow today.
We were late due to a computer problem and have been slow since.
Arrived late and had to go to Alexanderplatz for tourist information.
They charged us €0.50 for a cheap map and €3.00 to book
Walked down Kurfürstendamm near Alte Kathedral , a bombed out
church - the world needs a few such examples to make sure we don't
forget that no-one wins a war. This is the elegant part of Berlin.
The stores all have large price tags with small writing so all the
numbers fit, but there is a lot of nice stuff.
Had dinner at an Italian restaurant again - it seems to be flavour
of the month.
10/10/2002 - Berlin.
Berlin museum of ancient Egypt. Saw the original Nefertiti bust.
Lots of old Egyptian objects and temples, it's no wonder the Egyptians
want it back - there's probably none left!!
Saw the Brandenburg Gates and looked around what was East Berlin.
Now the first shop on the east side of the Brandenburg Gates is
"Starbucks Coffee". The Americans win again!
Bought breadrolls and meat for a quiet meal in the hotel room. My
feet are definitely letting me know that they don't like cobble
11/10/2002 - Berlin (Düsseldorf)
Checkpoint Charlie. There is now a replica of the first checkpoint
hut, complete with sand bags. New buildings have sprung up next
to ones with old bullet holes. There are street vendors with eastern
style souvenirs, and I started to look at some of the funny hats
when the Polizei turned up and caused a ruckus. The vendors are
only allowed to be there as long as they carry their goods, but
carrying a 3' x 4' table all day would break their backs. So they
use stands, which upsets the Polizei. The vendor seemed very upset
to have lost a customer.
More of Kurfürstendamm. It's a long street! We had lunch at
"Morado's" which is a chain of Spanish restaurants. We
passed another 3 of them as we walked down the street! The food
was quite nice and they had an option for a 500ml drink for only
€2.80 (300ml was €2.00), so we both had big drinks. The
high class shops eventually gave way to smaller shops and cheaper
shops. We bought more chocolate.
Back to the Zoologisher Garten bahnhof where we had left the luggage
in the morning when we also reserved seats for the train in the
evening and we found the most expensive public toilets so far. At
"McClean" for the mere sum of €1.10 (AU$2.20) you
can go to the toilet. Men do have a cheaper option of a pissoir
for only €0.60.
And now the train speeds through the night - it is rather dark out
there - and we should be back in Düsseldorf some time after
12/10/2002 - Düsseldorf
Slept late, picked up pictures. Went into Altstat to pick up Audrey's
13/10/2002 - Düsseldorf
Dorothee's birthday. A quiet day planning the rest of our time here.
I've come to the conclusion that everyone in Europe (except for
the French) will be speaking English in another generation. When
I booked the hotel in Hungary the woman who answered spoke perfect
Dorothee (Dora) took us all out to dinner at ?? which has been in
business since 1386, but run by the same family since only 1729.
14/10/2002 - Day trip to Aachon
The cathedral had more scaffolding than any other church we have
yet seen. It is lovely inside though.
Had lunch at a restaurant which has been around since the early
1300's. It was destroyed by fire in the mid 1600's and rebuilt with
a change of name to "Rose am dom". I had the jagerschnitzle
which came with rosti and a side salad which itself came on a soup
plate the size we normally have a full meal from. The meal was huge!!!
15/10/2002 - Day trip to Amsterdam
Caught the Regio to the hofpbahhhoff and discovered that due to
planning 3 trips at once we were half an hour late or early for
our train. So we waited for the next one. This one ended up running
35 minutes late. And to top it all off we were thrown off the train
at ?? and made to take a Dutch train to Centraal Station.
When we finally arrived we paid €2 for a tourist map and then
went on a canal tour. This is a very good way to see Amsterdam as
the canals run all through the interesting parts. We will have to
see if talking photos from a moving boat works..
We passed 2 McDonald's "restaurants" while looking for
lunch. Both were full of pigeons.
We had lunch in one of only 3 restaurants left in Amsterdam which
serves Dutch food (according to our waitress anyway). The restaurant
Audrey went to last time is now a pizzeria.
We managed to see a fair bit of the Reijks museum before it closed
at 5. Lots of interesting paintings, but the French antiques were
over done and gaudy (to me anyway).
The train back ran only 2 minutes late.
16/10/2002 - Düsseldorf
Went to the Aquazoo. It's an interesting place, not just an aquarium,
it has bits on everything. The information displays are good, showing
cut away 3D models
17/10/2002 - Düsseldorf / München
vineyards at 60 degrees
Rhine in Autumn
castles and keeps on the hills above the river.
We threw Dora out of the train at Plockingen - we were continuing
to München. Nicole struggled with her and her wheelchair and
her frame and her suitcase. I think we need to come up with a set
of instructions on how to put her together when travelling.
It rained in München. We looked around on our way to the opera
house to pick up the tickets, on the wayback to the hotel to get
changed and on the way back to the opera.
We had a cup of goulash soup on the way to supplement the sausage
we had when we got off the train.
Fidelio - annoying lighting. Everything was lit from the back and
they had gauze at the front of the stage which they used only once
during the night. The singing and orchestra were good though. We
had standing room - a place to stand and a bar to lean on - and
I've decided I'd rather sit.
18/10/2002 - München
It rained in the morning, which is of course when we were walking
around. We climbed the tower to the "new" town hall (built
around 1900) and took some pictures through the rain. On a clear
day this would be a wonderful place to look over the city.
We planned on taking a bus tour of the city, but due to having a
sausage for lunch we arrived 1 minute after the bus left and despite
8 other tourists wanting a tour and 3 busses - and drivers - sitting
doing nothing, we couldn't get another tour for 58 minutes. So we
went to look at the "Residence" instead.
We ate dinner in a place near the opera where Audrey ate 13 years
ago - Spatenstube. She had the duck then, and this time, she had
the duck. I had the pork and it was delicious.
19/10/2002 - München / Wein
Autumn has come to München, all the leaves are turning yellow
and red and today is sunny and fine. And I am on a train. Still
this travelling by train does let you see a lot of the countryside,
if not actually experience it. I'd like to have more time to go
out into the countryside a bit, but I knew I wouldn't have time.
Maybe next time.
We are on a Hungarian train. It is similar to all the others, a
bit more red in the colour scheme. The menu in the restaurant car
is Hungarian, and the portions larger. I had the paprika chicken
and Audrey had pork goulash. Both came with "gnocchi",
but it was actually spaetzle. Both were very nice. They are taking
customer surveys on quality and we told them what we thought.
Caught a taxi to the hotel and wandered around until dinner
at the Sacher cafe - potato soup, hot chocolate and sachertorte.
Plenty of whipped cream and all very nice. Audrey says their sachertorte
is better than the Mozart cafe's.
20/10/2002 - Wien
Picked up tickets to "Die Walküre".
Walked to Imperial palace and went through the treasury.
Tour of the opera house. Much was destroyed in the war (so what
else is new?) so there is old and new, but well integrated.
Lunch at Mozart cafe - I had Wiener schnitzel, Mozart torte and
Die Walküre - good music, good singing and acting, good seats
(though quite cramped) and a good story line.
21/10/2002 - Wien / Budapest
We hung around Wien to buy a book Audrey saw and to look in an antique
shop in which Audrey saw some Rosenthal figurines. We got the book
but the antique shop grew an "I'll be back in a week"
Crossed the boarder on the train. Our passports were checked twice
by armed guards (only hand guns), and our tickets checked. After
each stop the guards walk down the corridor and look into the compartments.
Stranger in a strange land. In a way it is more alien than Japan.
The writing is in letters that I recognize, but the words make no
sense! The phrase book has helped a bit and so has menus in Hungarian
and English, but I have yet to attempt to speak Hungarian.
The guide book says tipping is expected. The taxi driver seemed
happy with the idea. The waiter in the restaurant seemed to think
it wasn't required. I'll stick to that in future. The guide book
also says to beware of young Hungarian girls who ask you to buy
them a drink which then turns out to cost US$1000. I'll trust Audrey
to chase them all away.
There are touters out for the tourist dollar and I have to get used
to ignoring them (it's my nature to listen to people).
22/10/2002 - Budapest
I don't really like organized tours, but they do give you a basic
orientation of where you are. The Budatours tour we took drove very
slowly, but it gave you a chance to look around. They had a pre-recorded
commentary which Audrey could hear well using the "T"
switch on her hearing aid.
When you buy a Budapest Card, time it to start when you will first
use it. This way a 48 hour card will cover 3 days.
We had a quick bite at (please forgive us) Burger King. Just chicken
nuggets and chips. Audrey is not sure about the food here, the German
style sausages and salamis have disappeared and the goulashes require
you to sit down which is not how we have tended to eat.
We did find a little pastry shop selling fresh cooked pastries (well
you expect that in a pastry shop) by weight. We only had a couple
each but they were nice. A nice young Hungarian girl (who did not
ask me to buy her a drink) translated the menu for us when she saw
us looking in our lonely planet phrase book. She went to Spain with
only a Lonely Planet book and took pity on us. Her English was very
good but she occasionally developed an American (US) accent.
We looked at the basilica, which is undergoing a complete refit
inside and out. There is more scaffolding here than in bigger churches
(even the one in Aachen). And that does not even include the square
out front, which is also being redone.
We went looking for a market at the end of the number 19 tram. It
is now a Spar supermarket. The building was the same, but the content
was gone. And of course it was raining.
We took the cable railway near the chain bridge to the palace. After
a quick look we bought some souvenirs and leapt on a bus we hoped
went somewhere useful.
It did, this is where we got the pastries and the Metro back to
Had dinner at Keresztapa Restaurant, garlic soup with frog's legs
and duck steak with pear and cranberry sauce.
23/10/2002 - Budapest
Busy day. Started with a visit to the Citadel. We bought some leather
cases for us and my girls and wandered through the place. It's a
wonderful view of the entire city. Information on the various occupations
is on display. Today being a national Independence Day holiday meant
that there were lots of locals up there as well - It was also a
beautiful day, which helped the crowd.
Had lunch at the pastry place from yesterday and then went to the
zoo. Many of the animals were on display with very little care for
their welfare, though it can't be too bad the kangaroos would have
been able to jump their fence if they had wanted to.
The elephants and hippopotamuses live in an old bath house, with
the hippopotamuses getting the bath as a pool. I don't think the
sloth liked the flash on my camera as it started moving away - rather
rapidly for a sloth. The 2 humped camels are onto a good thing -
they stand at the front of their enclosure and the tourists feed
On the move again to the Natural History Museum and a look at real
moon rocks. Well more large grains of sand, but genuinely from the
moon. We missed them the first time through because they are so
small and had to ask in German where they were. We also saw the
world's largest quartz crystal - which my eldest daughter would
love but wouldn't fit in the luggage.
Dinner was paprika chicken from the Grand Cafe Oktogon.
24/10/2002 - Budapest / Plockingen
We used the last bit of time on our Budapest cards to ride the Metro
to the station for our train. We have found that even in peak times
the front carriage of the metro is not crowded. This is a good thing
when dragging a suitcase along. I would have liked to have spent
more time here, but another few hours would not have made much difference
in getting a better understanding of the people. Next time.
9:20- Budapest to Wien
12:20 - Wien to Salzburg
Salzburg. Just a flying visit. Walked from the hofpbahnhof to the
old city. Saw the house where Mozart lived and where his wife lived
with her second husband. And of course bought some Mozart chocolates.
We also took a peak at the "Residence" and the 3 churches
in the old town. I found the Cathedral with it's intricate carvings
to be one of the nicest churches I've seen so far. The other 2 were
nice as well.
Salzburg deserves another visit next time.
19:05 - Salzburg to München
Dinner in the Hungarian dining car.
20:43 - München to Plockingen
Arrived late at Nicole and Michael's.
25/10/2002 - Plockingen
Slept in. Had lunch with Nicole & Co (sans Michael) at Sands
Sächer. Very nice food, I had the wild boar with mushrooms
and specula with hazel nuts.
There is a hundertwasserhaus in Plockingen which we went to see.
Interesting to see, but with it's crooked walls and uneven floors
I wouldn't want to live there.
We had the grand tour of Nicole and Michael's business - printing
and direct mail. Very interesting to see the latest machines.
Sat up till about 11 talking to Nichol and Michael (Who came home
26/10/2002 - Plockingen / Tiengen
Up early and waited for the taxi. Then to Stuttgart in the dark,
changed trains and dawn as we pass through the Black Forest. Which
was quite dark but then got brighter (morning tends to do that though,
so I wasn't surprised).
Spent about 40 minutes in Switzerland - About 10 in a train station
and the rest in a train.
We were met at Tingen by Richard and his children Anika and Lawrence.
And his lovely wife Sonja at his home. He took us on a tour of Tingen
and his office. It's a lovely little village and makes me want to
do more travel in the countryside next time.
Our "light lunch" turned into a rather large lunch and
we went for a walk in a park in the black forest. It was cold and
windy and of course Audrey found a snake sunning itself on the path
and picked it up to show the children.
Sonia made us a nice lasagne for dinner and we spent the evening
27/10/2002 - Tingen / Düsseldorf
Sonia provided a large spread for breakfast and we were taken to
the station to catch the first of 4 trains for the day.
Tingen to Singen - passed through Switzerland again.
Singen to Stuttgart.
Stuttgart to Plockingen - picked up Dora.
Plockingen to Düsseldorf.
The train is taking it's time, we have crossed to the other side
of the Rhine due to fallen trees and are now waiting as the line
on this side is apparently impassable also. Stand by for further
Eight hours and 20min late the train arrived in Düsseldorf.
28/10/2002 - Düsseldorf
A day of catching up on things we meant to do.
Benrath - We finally got there, only to find it is closed on a Monday.
Still, the gardens are open and impressive and it is a nice summer
Shopping - We went out and bought all those things which are more
expensive or impossible to get in Australia (chocolate - the right
sort of chocolate, scissors - the right brand of scissors, baking
powder - 2 types which Australia has never heard of. That sort of
thing). I fear for our luggage allowance.
Dinner at Mark's - Mark lives about 10 to 15 minutes walk from Jens
& Illy's where we were staying, but we never managed to go and
look at their house. It's a lovely old 5 level (including the cellar
and attic) house with loads of space, but lots of stairs. I need
to improve my Germany for the next visit so I can keep up with the
29/10/2002 - Köln
Packing in the morning. Köln in the afternoon. Looked around
the Cathedral again, very nice but dark. I need a tripod to do serious
church photography (pity none of them let you take tripods inside).
Then we wandered the streets of Köln and it quickly becomes
just another city. It's a good thing I like watching people or I
might have gotten bored!
30/10/2002 - Düsseldorf
Schlossturn - We knew this was closed on Monday, so we came on Wednesday.
Marvellous views of Düsseldorf from here, and in the cafe on
the 4th floor you can open the windows and point the camera - some
slightly better weather would be nice, but we need to come at a
different time of year for that.
Crooked steeple church - It's right next to Schlossturn, so we had
another look. It's a beautiful little church. Some of the really
big cathedrals rely on their size to impress, but some of the smaller
ones like this impress in other ways.
We went to visit Audrey’s Internet and Rosenthal friend Carla.
Well actually she came and picked us up and took us to her place.
She has 3 floors of a house with a doctor’s surgery below,
plenty of room to show off her Rosenthal collection. And show it
off she does. Carla owns an entire shop worth of official Rosenthal
display cases (very nice they are too for showing off Rosenthal,
pity they wouldn’t match our decor at home). We chatted for
several hours and Audrey drank lots of very good coffee and we all
ate cake and cream. We eventually decided that we needed to go back
to finish packing and have a final bit of time with Jens and Illy
before we left in the morning.
Of course we stayed up late talking to Jens and Illy, it would help
with re-aligning our body clocks to Australian time if we were tired
the next day on the plane.
31/10/2002 - Düsseldorf / Tokyo
We threw the last of our possessions together and went to the airport.
The woman checking us in was worried about our luggage allowance
when the first 2 of our 4 suitcases both weighed over 30 kg (30.1
& 30.4). The others were light only 15.4 kg and 12.2 kg. This
gives us about one and a half kilograms to spare. I shan't mention
the six items of cabin luggage or the disability equipment for Dora
which only weighs 10 kg.
The Düsseldorf lounge left a lot to be desired, but it did
at least have comfortable seats.
Copenhagen airport is different. This is the first time we have
had female assistance for Dora, and we were driven in a little electric
car. We were followed most of the way by an electric cart. Both
of these were fitted with bicycle bells. As we stretched our legs
later we saw several workers roaming the airport on scooters - one
person dressed as a waiter carrying a large milk crate full of drinks
on one shoulder as he scooted rapidly along. They also provide little
trolleys for hand luggage.
And our plane seems to be running 2 hours late. The Copenhagen lounge
is better than the Düsseldorf lounge, but it's not THAT great.
We finally got away shortly after 6pm. I had the reindeer for dinner
and watched Men in Black II and then tried to sleep. I managed about
2 and a half hours which will hopefully keep me going.
1/11/2002 - Tokyo
The fog is getting thicker. Driving back from Aeon shopping centre
through winding narrow streets, it's almost rural. The shopping
centre had all sorts of interesting things which seem to be popular
with the Japanese - little 2 kg capacity washing machines, electric
heated rugs (and vinyl flooring), fridges with 5 or 6 doors or drawers.
As we came to land in Tokyo all we could see was fog (or clouds).
All of a sudden a tower was sticking out of the clouds. It looked
wonderful, but we didn't realise we were so low.
2/11/2002 - Tokyo / Melbourne
A quiet sort of day. We are all a bit tired of moving around and
I'm tired of lugging luggage across the planet. We had planned to
go find some temples or shrines in Narita, but in the end we just
didn't feel like walking that far. It doesn't help that Audrey and
I both have colds.
We did manage to find origami paper and thanks me getting my business
class upgrade we have the luggage capacity for it.
3/11/2002 - Melbourne
Got home to find a fuse blown and most of the lights not working,
the computers not wanting to talk to each other and the car dirty.
Apart from that all is ok.