Monday, March 16, 2009
Back in My Own Time Zone
... And having a difficult time resetting the body clock, I must say. But who cares! What a week -- it was fabulous! I could go on for hours, but I will spare the hardy souls who might drop by to read this, so, as I told Judy A., my favorite enabler, here’s a Reader’s Digest version:
The first few days were in Prague. The astronomical clock, Prague Castle, the Jewish Quarter, a concert in the Spanish synagogue, a rabbit warren of an Old Town. We walked everywhere -- and I'm in love with my cowboy boots all over again. Miles every day. Cobblestone streets, uphill, down hill, me and my Ariats. By the way? When you get scolded in Czech, you know you've been scolded. Trust me on this.
A Saturday afternoon in Prague:
The Astronomical Clock. Marionettes of the Apostles rotate through the doors at the top at the strike of the hour. Huge crowds gather and cheer:
And then head off to do whatever it was they had planned.
They do churches and graves very well there. This is a small portion of St. Vitus Cathedral. It's quite pointy.
These two names might ring a bell. Their graves are in the cemetery at Vysehrad, near the Sts Peter and Paul Church.
Naturally, just when I was starting to feel comfortable navigating the streets, it was time to herd everyone into the bus and head for Salzburg. But first, a night in a village called Cesky Krumlov – i had a brief “Under the Tuscan Sun” moment when I saw a few For Sale signs, but came to my senses quickly – Czech makes my brain hurt and I had to admit that, really, what would I do there. Besides, everywhere you go, it's uphill both ways …
This is the WinterReitSchule, on the grounds of the castle overlooking the town. It was the royal indoor riding arena. Wow.
Looking out across the town from the castle. With the exception of electricity, indoor plumbing and cars, not much has changed here for hundreds of years. It's now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
When in Cesky, have a cup of hot chocolate on an outdoor patio, especially on a chilly March day. In the U.S., we have hot milk with some chocolate syrup poured in, there we had melted chocolate with some milk poured in. To. Die. For.
Look how green this ivy was and it was the first couple days of March.
There were a couple of times on the trip when the kids were quiet. The stop at Mauthausen was one of them. The Nazi officers' swimming pool is in the foreground.
The camp is a museum now. The displays were in German, but sometimes translation wasn't necessary.
More than 100,000 people were killed at this camp, worked to death or sent to a gas chamber such a this or executed or tortured -- some prisoners were made examples of by being stripped of their pajamas and killed by being sprayed with cold water on a frigid day. Ice rocks, they were called.
The walls of the room that had the ovens were full of memorials to lost loved ones. This humble display spoke volumes.
The last day or so was spent in Salzburg. I marveled at Prague, but I loved Salzburg. It, like much of Europe, is as old as the hills around it. The city got its name from the nearby salt mines -- but its fame from Mozart and OK. The Sound of Music. The younger brother of Joseph Haydn, Michael Haydn, an accomplished musician himself, also lived here for many years.
We stayed in a family-run pension, a few minutes outside of the city. A room with a view? O ja.
Want to boggle the mind of a teenager? Ask them how many times they think that Mozart used this same tunnel.
He was born on the third floor (4th floor, counting American-style) and lived there until he was about 17. W.A. was on the road alot, so didn't get home much. The guide said he spent half of his life traveling.
There she is, one of my favorite children, striding down the Getreidegasse.
Doe a deer, anyone? This is the lane in the Mirabell Garden that they ran along in the movie. And yes, I did run around on the fountain that Maria and the kids did. No picture, though. Sorry.
This angst-ridden woman was just to the left of the lane. Statuary is another thing Europeans do very, very well.
Recognize this? It's where, in the movie, Maria, the Captain and the kids hid from the Nazis.
And this is where that weenie Nazi wannabe, Rolf, betrayed them:
As for strikke action? Very little. I found one shop, in Salzburg, but it was smoky and the owner didn’t appear to have anything that Sheepy doesn’t carry, not counting the cute Westie napping in the corner. But I did find a couple of knitting magazines, in German naturally, at the Munich airport, and yes, I bought them. Other than one of the other chaperones -- Hi Avis! -- , this woman was the only knitter I saw, in action anyway. She was sitting in a small park between the Prague Castle and the Charles bridge, cranking out a doilie, presumably for sale -- 3 euros, I believe. "Italiano! Italiano!" she said, pointing at herself. When I indicated that I, too, am a knitter, she smiled. It's one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip.
I was glad to get home and squeeze my other favorite child. And now? Back to my real life.