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Forging a Dynasty

It’s our final day here in Vienna and we are heading slightly out of the city to visit Schönbrunn Palace. Referred to as ‘The Summer Palace’, it’s where the Habsburg’s spent the warmer six months of the year when they were not holding court at The Hofburg.

After a hearty breakfast, we take a cab past the industrial and more run-down outskirts, to what would once have been considered countryside and where it would have taken about three days to reach by horse and carriage. It takes us only 20 minutes by car, and as we round our final turn, suddenly there it is – lit up in all it’s glory by the mid-morning sun.
Continue reading “Forging a Dynasty”

A Viennese Whirl

It’s a beautiful, crisp cloudless morning and we opt for omelettes at breakfast time in a vain attempt to soak up some of last night’s alcohol, but everyone is still feeling pretty delicate as we head out into the early-afternoon sun.

We amble along just behind the town hall to a quiet little row of buildings where the Rueff Dance School is located. We head up a  stone spiral staircase and are welcomed into a lovely little studio with a colourfully decorated waiting room. There’s a waggy-tailed dog who comes to greet us and collect some belly rubs, her affectionate nuzzles helping a little with the hangovers.

There’s no-one else here save us, for our activity today is private Viennese Waltz lessons.  Continue reading “A Viennese Whirl”

Oh, Vienna

Today we are up before it’s light, only slightly marred by the effects of last night’s wine consumption, to head to the airport and jet off to Vienna.

Austria’s capital is our chosen destination for celebrating the baby bro’s 30th birthday, and as none of us have even been before, we are all pretty excited (despite the hangovers).

It’s a short two hour flight and we take off as dawn is breaking and land mid-morning – the whole day still ahead of us. The airport is in the industrial outskirts of the city and so we hop a cab to our hotel which is central.

Once we leave the smoky chimneys behind we are greeted by strange trees whose leaves grow in little blobs, reminding me of a child’s painting, and apartment blocks in varying shades of cream and yellow, their windows framed by ornate stucco trims. keeping us company on our ride is the great Danube river, not so blue today, but rather a murky green.   Continue reading “Oh, Vienna”

The Great Crusade

Today is our first full day here in Venice and we wake to the sound of church bells mixed with the low rumble of boats passing beneath our window.

Breakfast and coffee consumed in the little pink and green panelled dining room worthy of a Wes Anderson film, we venture back to the Piazza San Marco to further investigate what Venice’s famous square has to offer.

We head straight to the Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco, originally build around 830 AD, and dedicated to Saint Mark the Evangelist after merchants stole what was thought to be his body from Alexandria and brought it back to Venice. The cathedral is the most famous of Venice’s churches and a stunning example of Byzantine architecture –  with an Italian twist. Continue reading “The Great Crusade”

Down and Out in Genoa

Today we bid farewell to Alba. As we rise, early doors and pack up the car, I am overcome with reluctance to leave our beautiful little piece of paradise here in Piedmont. But alas, we have places to go and things to do, and so we say our goodbyes, heading off to our intended destination, and the final stop on this Tour Italia, Genoa. Continue reading “Down and Out in Genoa”

The Michelin man

Today we are up early to collect our car and take a drive South-West of Milan, to a tiny little place called Alba. Continue reading “The Michelin man”

Drops of Jupiter

Today is our first (and only) full day here in Milan, and so we rise early to make the most of the time we have. Continue reading “Drops of Jupiter”

Day Tripper

So today I’m up before 7 (and on a weekend no less) as I have an early morning summons to be detained at her majesty’s (passport office) pleasure.

Continue reading “Day Tripper”

Some like it hot.

Now I like it hot just as much as the next person. For example, the current pleasant weather we are experiencing across the UK?  I very much like this hot. I also like a good cup of hot strong coffee, hot peppery chillies in food, and a hot glowing fire in deepest darkest winter… Continue reading “Some like it hot.”

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