Posted By Mark

Ah Venice... It truly is an extraordinary place like no other. We arrived shortly after sunrise and experienced the city on foot with no shops open, no crowds and just the stillness of the water. It was very peaceful. Venice was probably our favorite city of the trip, not for any specific site but simply the uniqueness of the town. Once again, we spent a significant amount of time with camera in hand roaming the streets, covering a large portion of the islands.

Europe
Europe
Europe

We visited St Mark's basilica and reveled at the oddity of the Doge Palace.

Europe

Stephanie's only concern throughout the planning of the trip was a gondola ride in Venice. Like most things in Europe, we had heard mixed reviews, but weren't disappointed with sliding through the less trodden side of Venice. As "physicians in training" we had a special appreciation for our gondolier who was accompanied by his father giving him minor instruction and helping him with his English phrases.

Europe

 
Posted By Mark

As you can see, the frequency of blogs rapidly decreased our last week in Europe. This was attributed to our lack of internet in Vienna and Venice as well the increasing amount of things we wished to see in Italy. To summarize, we had an amazing time and were blessed with beautiful weather and no major setbacks. On to where we left off...

 

We returned to Munich after a brief trip to the Neuschwanstein castle and spent the day near the Mariepnlatz until our train departed that evening. There we visited the Royal Residenz, the Hofgarten, Odeonplatz, and roamed the streets some more.

Once in Vienna, we stayed at a charming hotel near the Belvedere gardens and palace. The next morning we learned about the life of Franz Joseph at the Schonbrunn palace followed by a little stroll through the beautiful gardens.

Europe
Europe

Now Steph and I aren't exactly opera connoisseurs, but we thought it fitting for Stephanie to see her first at the place arguably the most renowned opera. We watched Die Tote Stadt about a man who struggles between his dead wife and a new love. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves but won't be purchasing any opera glasses anytime soon.

 

Europe

We finished our time in Vienna up with Stephanplatz, Rathaus, Hofburg palace and our second night train. The lotto-bahn was good to us as we shared a car to Venice with an American from Colorado teaching English in Vienna. We enjoyed talking with her and thank her for the tip on the chocolate covered Leibniz I am eating as I type this on the plane.

Europe

 
Posted By Mark
For  some reason, I have always been intrigued and maybe obsessed, if you ask my wife, with Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria Germany. Do a Google image search for Neuschwanstein castle and you’ll see why. Although it’s a castle in the loosest sense of the term, built 50 years before the Empire State building and complete with running water and telephones, its beauty was enough to inspire the Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyworld. After touring the castle and Ludwig’s “magic forest” the architecture wasn’t all Mr. Walt Disney pawned off as his own. The weather was a perfect day for photographing an “ice castle” with some leftover snow and eerie fog to boot. We were a little sad to see that our normally photogenic subject was undergoing a few cosmetic enhancements, but fun none the less.
Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein

 
Posted By Mark

After experiencing City Night Line’s trade embargo on cleanliness, we headed to our Munchen accommodations expecting to drop off our bags. We were elated to find we were able to check into our hotel and take a much needed shower even though it was only 8AM. We have been very busy and still haven’t gotten on a good sleep schedule since our arrival, and took this opportunity for a lengthy nap.

Our afternoon consisted of experiencing German engineering at its finest at the BMW Welt (BMW World). It was very interesting, explaining how much of their technology works. They especially know how to make science and numbers more fun with a plethora of plasma televisions, colored mood lighting encased in intriguing architecture. More on this later… 

Munchen

BMW Welt

Munchen

Olympic Stadium


 
Posted By Mark

Steph and I returned to the Louvre today to finish going through all the different sections, the bulk of which was spent in History of the Louvre, French sculptures, Asian antiquities, and Napoleon’s apartment where he lived when the Louvre was still a palace. The next stop was Notre Dame on the isle of Cite. It was not dissimilar to other European cathedrals but distinct in its gothic influenced exterior complete with gargoyles. Unfortunately, my Quasi Motto impression was thwarted when the bell tower tour line was estimated to be roughly 2 hours. Say la vie.

 

Paris10

The Louvre

Paris11

After refueling, once again with a banana and Nutella crepe, we roamed the streets while Stephanie got her Paris shopping fix. We finished up the day at Les Invalides admiring narcissistic-sized tomb of Napoleon. Les Invalides is also a tribute to the French military with weaponry ranging from jousting armor, marble laden muskets, and numerous canons.

Paris8

Les Invalides

Paris9

Napoleon's tomb

 

In the spirit of frugalness, Stephanie and I bid au revoir to Paris with our first experience on a night train. It wasn’t exactly fit for a James Bond movie and more of a hostel on wheels, but we endured our snoring Frenchman companion, thankful we were not bunking with the body odor looming down the hall.

 


 


 
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Mark
Memphis, TN

 
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