Sunday, November 7, 2010

European Vacation

We have had a busy year around here. Between work, training, taking care of the animals, and all the other life stuff that we all have, Jarrett and I were ready for a break. About 8 months ago, we booked a trip our first trip to Europe. We decided to visit Munich, Vienna, and Prague.

My parents were kind enough to take care of our pups while we were gone. We dropped them off and then flew from Chicago to Amsterdam and then on to Munich.

Munich was a beautiful city. The people were very kind. The first day we we visited the Marienplatz, Michaelskirche (St. Michael's Church), Frauenkirche, Peterskirche, Viktualienmarkt (outdoor food market), and the Hofbrauhaus (Bavarian Beer Hall).

Day 2 we visited Shloss Nymphenburg. It was the suburban royal palace and home to the royal stables. The palace was huge and the grounds were amazing. There was a museum dedicated to the carriages and sleighs of the royal family.

We also went to the English Garden and walked through part of the park. It was a very beautiful area and we could have spent an entire day just in the park. The one thing Jarrett and I both loved about Munich was how bike friendly the city was and that you could take your dogs everywhere! The only place they seemed to not be allowed was in grocery stores.

On day 3 we took the train from Munich to Fussen. From Fussen we took a bus to Shloss Neuschwanstein and Shloss Hohenschwangau. Neuschwanstein is often referred to as "the Sleeping Beauty Castle." Walt Disney based the castle at Disney Land off of the architecture of Neuschwanstein. This was Crazy Ludwig II's fantasy castle that he never finished. Only 15 rooms were completed before he mysteriously died. Hohenschwangau was Ludwig's boyhood home and is complete. It is not as fancy as Neuschwanstein but it was still very beautiful. The castles are built on a mountain. You have to climb a very steep hill to get to the castle but it is well worth the hike.

Day 4 we traveled by train to Vienna. It was about a 5 hour train trip. We did a quick walk around the area surrounding our hotel and grabbed dinner at a very good Italian restaurant. The local wine in Vienna was great.

Day 5 we spent at the Spanish Riding School. It happened to be a national holiday and all of the stores were closed and the museums were free. Sounds great? Well, that means everyone in Vienna was out and trying to visit the museums. The Spanish Riding School is not owned by the government so it was open and we were lucky enough to have a chance to watch the morning practice and take a guided tour of the stables. It was very cool! The Lipizzaner stallions are amazing horses and having a chance to watch them up close was a great experience. In the evening we attended a concert held at the Hofburg palace. There was a small orchestra that played some standard Vivaldi, Strauss, and Mozart while accompanied by opera singers and ballet dancers. Vienna loves it's desserts and there were tons of cafes and coffee shops with pretty treats. They also love their Schnitzel.

Day 6 we headed to Prague by train. It was about a 6 hour trip from Vienna. Prague was an amazing city. We saw so many beautiful churches and buildings during the three days we were there. It was by far the most beautiful city we visited. The people were very kind but it was a bit expensive. Our hotel was amazing and the location was perfect. We visited all of the standard must-see sites: Astronomical Clock, Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, Church of St. Nicholas, St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague Castle, Wencelas Square, Tyn Church, Kampa Island, Basilica and Convent of St. George, Loreta Church, and much more.

We stayed in Prague for three days and then flew home via JFK. The flight was long and we were tired. We walked a TON. We estimated that we averaged 14 miles a day during the trip and took 435 pictures.
The pups were very glad to see us when we got home. After spending the night with my parents, we headed back to Indy. Chloe cat missed us and decided that while we were gone she would open all of our cabinets. Luckily she doesn't destroy anything. She just thinks it's fun.

We loved Europe and are looking forward to going back soon! We are thinking of France or Italy for 2012. 2011 is already busy. Ironman Idaho is in June and we may be going to Disney in the fall.

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