Monday, May 29, 2006

Greg & Bryte's Visit

Last Monday Greg & Bryte came to visit us as part of their vacation to Europe. We showed them some of the unique sights of Graz.
We took the "elevator to nowhere" which simply goes up parallel to a statue so you can gaze upon it at eye level.

We went up the Schlossberg for another view.

And went to the Murinsel for a closer view of the river.

G&B: Road Trip!

On Tuesday we rented a car and headed out on our "European Road Trip." We headed south-west through Austria towards Italy.

We took a short detour near Klagenfurt to see a castle which claims to be the inspiration for Snow White's castle.

G&B: Venice

Venice is unlike any other place we've ever been. It is mezsmerizing and bewildering to see old, ornate buildings silently standing with the water lapping at their bases, slowly eating away at the structure and leaving a patterned story of weather and time.

The magnificent city has a strange feeling of a ghost town. It is packed full with tourists and as you explore around you hear more American accents than on the street of New York City. Where are all the locals? Everywhere you look, every corner you turn, there is a new jewel for your eyes to feast on. It is a very memorable city.

This is the door I was trying to photograph when I dropped, and broke, my camera. A good lesson for me to always put the strap around my wrist! Luckily, I found a camera shop with a very helpful, friendly, honest, and English-speaking salesman and I was soon back in action. I felt almost naked without my camera, but thanks to Bryte who let me take pictures with hers, I never had to panic.

The second night we ate dinner at the restaurant Al Colombo. It was recommended to us, and we definitely recommend it to anyone else who visits Venice. The best moment of dinner was when Greg ordered a second bottle of wine for the table and he told the Italian waiter we wanted to "bump it up a notch." Amazingly there was no language barrier and he knew exactly what Greg meant. We got an amazing bottle of wine complete with all the rituals of letting it breathe etc.

G&B: from Salzburg to the Danube

On Thursday we drove to Salzburg. It was quite a relief to be back on Austrian roads, driving in Italy is quite stressfull! Of course, it was raining in Salzburg...

hmmmm.... some form of art in one of the center squares:
We had dinner at the Augustiner Brewery that night and explored a bit of Salzburg the next day.
We decided to continue the road trip to show Greg & Bryte Vienna. We drove along the Danube river on the way and stopped at the Monastery in Melk which David and I had seen back in September during our Fulbright orientation.

Here is the library in the Monastery. The German word for monastery is "Stift." It is also the German word for pen. At first this seems odd, but it makes sense since the monks were the ones originally in charge of writing books and documents.

We crossed to the other side of the river on the ferry at Spitz...

... and continued on to the village of Durnstein. We climbed up the hill to the fortress ruins.

After a wet hike we warmed up with some dinner in a small restaurant in the village before continuing on to Vienna.