Vienna to Bratislava

I’d decided to get the fast boat down the Danube from Vienna to Bratislava. After the somewhat overcast Saturday, the Sunday was wonderfully sunny! The boat wasn’t exactly packed, either, so I was able to not only have a seat on the front row, but wander round & explore it – though once I realised how blowy a boat going at 70kph was, I didn’t hang round on the outside!

Bratislava was wonderfully sunny when I got there – so dashed into the room & then out to explore. The castle wasn’t mostly an art gallery, very little in the way of furniture; however, there were two links with the Schoenbrunn Palace – mostly that Marie Theresia had allowed her youngest & favourite daughter to marry for love – which lead her to Bratislava (the other 10 daughters – including Marie Antionette – got married into useful families). In addition, the gilding on all the walls was similar. Snuck a few photos in Bratislava, as there were far fewer guards!

Vienna! (Sat 20th)

Just a day or so in Vienna, en route to Bratislava for an Erasmus (work) trip. The central station, arriving late Friday (11ish) from the airport seemed very deserted; much busier when I then got off the subway at Stephansplatz by the Cathedral; my hotel was just round the corner.

So, on Saturday I decided to get one of the tourist hop on, hop off buses & go exploring. The highlight was definitely the Schoenbrunn palace – my main difficulty was the fact that progressing through the rooms, you hopped from century to century, so it was hard to keep track of the different generations. Most of the rooms had furniture in; so you got a bit of an idea of how they lived. It was only the state rooms they’d got – but there were human & family touches, such as the dining room that the last Emperor had used, mostly with his family. When they had family meals, it was Austrian; they only had French Cuisine when they were entertaining. Maria Theresie had a vast marital bed!
After the bus ride, I then had a wander round the Hofburg area and also the Art Museum area, though by the time I’d got there they were mostly closing.

A busy day – but enough to whet the appetite for another visit!

A little up and a little down …

Last day of walking today which was the earliest start. The first section was beautiful, through a forest. Lots of spring flowers & cool despite the sun. Yesterday & today had been so much clearer, we’d have been able to see the view from the castles!

Today also saw the 3rd monastery, another we had to admire from afar, due to its condition. To the bus & then to Girne (Kyrenia), for beer.

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In the forest

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Kyrenia reflections

Bronze Age tombs, yellow flowers & waves!

Friday saw a visit to a bronze age village, which was surprisingly well preserved, followed by orange & loo break, before starting the walk the longest of the week, at 15.5km.

Not long into the walk we went through an ancient olive grove, which included a 800 year old tree. Then across open farm land, past a bird reserve (shy birds, we didn’t see any!) before finally ending up on beach. Given it had been such a warn day, we were hoping for calm, swimming sea. It was rough & as shingly as Southsea. So, beer was order of the day. Back in the hotel I decided to test the swimming pools, outdoor was too chilly, but indoor was lovely 🙂

Singer & dancing at dinner …

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Girne

Girne or Kyrenia is the largest town in this area. Today, we’d decided to take it easy, so rather than joining the optional group tour we spent morning in hotel then headed into Girne for a wander & lunch. We’d seen the castle on Monday, so today explored the harbour, most of the older larger boats were, perhaps predictably party board, but still pretty.

Lunch – managed to get waiter to understand we wanted the salami on half the pizza, which was a bit more challenging than 1 beer, 2 glasses 🙂

Back to hotel, with the intention of sitting by pool but far too windy. Tomorrow we’ll be back to the walking, possibly to a bronze age village, though might have remembered wrong …

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In Girne town

Monasteries, Castles & Walks

The second day of walking saw us start by tackling steps up to the highest of the Crusader castles, at just under 1000m (though we only had to walk the last few hundred! )
A steep climb, apparently you could see North, East & South coasts from there – and even mainland Turkey on a clear day. Or so we were assured!
Then a walk, through a forest – all the flowers just coming in to bloom, lunch, and onwards, past the very ruined Armenian Monastery ( not allowed in, due to recent collapses), and on to the end. Dinner that night in a sea front restaurant (though we sat inside, as warm though it’s been during the day, it is still early April)
Yesterday saw us starting in a cave, before heading to Kantara castle definitely the most photogenic of all those so far. It wads a shorter walk, starting after lunch, mostly down hill (apart from the little big hill near the end) ending up on the beach, where paddling and beer was my preferred choice 🙂
Dinner in The Tree of Idleness restaurant in Bellapgais village.

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To Bellapais Monastery

First day … after the obligatory meeting & fruity drink we headed off.
The first walk was through the hills, interspersed with Engin’s potted Cypriot history. Lots of flowers enroute. We ended up at Bellapais monastery, then back in the bus to Kyrenia Castle – with the obligatory dungeons – and a shipwreck that makes Mary Rose look positively recent.

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