Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fun in Europe by Merrillee Whren

My husband and I recently took a vacation in Europe. We visited Germany, Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. We flew into Munich where we spent two days. One of the highlights in Munich was hearing the Glockenspiel and watching the carved figures move around in the giant clock.

Notice the sounds of foreign languages mixing with the sound of the Glockenspiel. 

From Munich we took a train to Passau, Germany, where we started out river cruise on the Danube. We did a lot of traveling by train, and most of the time it was a good experience, but the second leg of our trip to Passau was on a train without A/C. It was hot. We were expecting a relief from the hot Arizona temperatures, but the joke was on us as we encountered a heat wave. For the first dozen days of our trip, the temperatures ranged from 95 degrees to 102 degrees. The Cathedreal in Passau was my favorite church, and we saw a lot of churches.

Next we sailed from Passau to Linz, Austria. From there we took a bus tour to Salzburg, where we saw the place where Mozart once lived. 
From there we stopped in two small towns along the river, Melk and Dürnstein. Melk has a beautiful Abbey that you see in the photo below.

Our next stop was Vienna. We were disappointed not to be able to go to an opera, even though I'm not a big opera fan, but we did tour the Opera House, that doesn't have performances in August.
Bratislava was next on our itinerary. It is the capital of Slovakia. Our guide gave us a very thought-provoking talk about the differences in life there after the fall of the Soviet Union. Here is an very interesting photo I took there. People actually got down on the ground to have their picture taken with this. Not me.

The last stop on our cruise was Budapest, my favorite city on our trip. We sailed in at night and had this spectacular view of the buildings all lit up. Here's a photo of the Parliament.
After the river cruise, we spent another week traveling on our own. We took the train from Budapest back to Vienna, where we spent another day checking out the things we missed. The heat wave finally broke, and we had a pleasant day. Here was an interesting sculpture that was right outside our hotel.
The next day we took a train to Prague. We spent two days in the rain there. It was not fun trying to sight see in the rain. St. Vitus church had magnificent stained glass windows. This is only one of the dozen photos I took there.

After two rain-soaked days in Prague, we made our way to sunny Berlin. We were there a day and a half. It's a big city and not nearly as interesting as the other places we visited, but it does have a few remains of the Berlin Wall, the most fascinating thing, for me, in the tour of the city. You can see there were actually two parts of the wall with a no-man's land in between.

Our final stop before heading back to Munich and our flight home was Fussen, Germany. The Neuschwanstein Castle is located near there. It is said to be the model for the castle at Disney World. What do you think?
The only disappointment was not being able to take photos inside. It has some beautiful painting on the walls and ceiling, and the woodwork was spectacular.

These photos are only a few of the over seven hundred that I took. We had an amazing trip. If you would like to look at more of my photos, you can see them on my Facebook page.

If you could take a trip to any place in the world, where would you go?

I'll be giving away a copy of my latest book, Nursing a Soldier's Heart,  to one person who leaves a comment and an email address.


  1. Im planning to travel to western europe next year only limitations r money n leave hours, going to new zealand this year on a cruise with my mum

  2. This is a trip I hope to take some day. My grandparents came from what was then Austria-Hungary. They left from Prague.

  3. Okay, this trip just went on my bucket list :)

  4. Scraproni, I hope you get to take your trip. You'll love it. We hope our next big trip will be to Australia and New Zealand.

  5. Jean, you will love that trip. The countryside is beautiful, and there is so much history. It's hard to take it all in and remember it.

  6. Pamela, it's definitely a trip worth taking.

  7. Great fun, Merrillee! I loved seeing photos of places I haven't (yet) visited. The river cruises look fun from the ads on television. Would you do a river cruise again?

  8. It was fun seeing your pics & descriptions--reminded me of some of our many trips (I follow my hubby around as he works all over--4 weeks at each destination...). We have been to Germany twice, but it was Frankfurt & a week in a smaller town for classes (I forget the name). While in that smaller town a couple other ladies and I took som day trips by trap in--we saw a couple cute medieval towns plus went to the edge of the Black Forest, & stepped 'inside' a few steps, so we could say we had been to the Black Forest (it was cold & icy so we didn't go any further than that...)while in Frankfurt we took a couple side-trips on the weekend. One to see Heidelburg--their castle was cool too, but we didn't have a chance to go inside (there was a private party going on...) & since it was Oktoberfest time, we went to Munich 2 weekends--and yes, we saw the Glockenspiel too. Another cool place there was Hofbräuhaus (a beir haus) where Hitler spent a lot of time. We just happened to be standing in the right spot at the right time to be able to get inside. We were surprised that the prices for food were pretty affordable (of course the multiple heaping steins of beer was where the money was made--plus tips). My hubby drank his stein of diet cola & I drank my apple cider & we clinked our glasses with the best of them while enjoying the oompah music. The highlight was the end, when several guy servers got up on the end of several tables & cracked whips to the music--so awesome. FYI--everyone was seated at long communal tables--no separate tables. We even met a couple who had just got engaged at Neufanstien Castle (did I spell that right? The next day, we stopped at the castle & got some beautiful pics of. The outside, but it was too late to be able to go inside (we were on our way back to the hotel in Frankfurt. BTW--my hubby LOVED driving on the autobahn! This surprised me, because he is such a conservative driver at home--but if it is legal--he enjoys driving fast! LOL

  9. We also had a trip where he spent 4 weeks in Brno, Czech Republic (FYI--we have now been to 30 different countries since he started this position 7 years ago!) and each weekend we drove to nearby locations including Slovakia, Vienna (2x). We found it interesting that when 'crossing the border' there were large border control areas, but there was nobody there--nobody checking your passport, etc! Only a small little building we you stopped to purchase a sticker for your windshield giving you permission to drive on their roads. We were told to do this (even though there was no sign telling us to do it) or you can be fined if stopped & you don't have one. Slovakia was fun walking around inside the walled old town where there were LOTS of old beautiful cathedrals & many cute shops & restaurants. We purchased a Pinocchio marionette in one of the shops. You could choose one painted in bright colorful tones that looked more modern, or muted tones that looked more antique--we chose the antique looking one. ;-)
    One weekend we drove to Vienna for the day, and we loved it so much, we returned the next weekend & stayed overnight at the Hilton overlooking the Danube River! Awesome, except we got totally lost trying to find our way back to the hotel that night! We drove in circles over & over, trying to find the one & only small (as in it looked like an alleyway!) road out of the city center (this city is surrounded by a circular canal and there is ONE street going in (that was very obvious) and one street going out (very small as I mentioned above! LOL). It made for a very long and stressful evening. FYI--they have VERY few street signs!).
    Our final weekend, we rented a van & my hubby drove the entire team (about 6 people if I remember correctly, including the two of us) from Brno to Prague where we were able to spend 2 nights and one full day visiting Prague. We visited the castle & walled city there and had to walk back to the hotel, where we again got badly lost & came close to just hailing a taxi to take us back--but we were stubborn & persistent! LOL. Once again very few street signs and at one point we looked on a city map board, but could NOT find a "You are here!" icon!!! Some day we would enjoy going back, but I would try to use the GPS on my phone to help us get around. LOL

  10. Loved your pictures you had on Facebook. Thanks for sharing. Love to win one of your books.

  11. I would love to win.

  12. Vicki, you have seen a lot of Europe. How wonderful! We met some guys from North Carolina on our train from Fussen back to Munich, who were working in Koblenz for several months. They said they took sightseeing trips every weekend.

  13. Mary Ellen, I'm glad you are enjoying the photos.

  14. Absolutely breathtaking. Thanks for sharing

  15. Wow! Thank you for sharing your trip with us, Merrillee, and I plan to view more of your photos on your Facebook page. :)
    I'm so glad you and your husband saw so many magnificent sights, but I'm sorry about the heat wave and the rain.
    Those stained glass windows in one of your photos are GORGEOUS - - I'm sure they were even more beautiful in person.
    Please enter me in your book drawing. :)


  16. Merrillee, I am loving all these beautiful pictures! I've also seen the ones on Facebook. The architecture just draws you in! And the Glokenspiel is fantastic to watch, I bet is was even better in person! What a wonderful trip :-)
    Two places I'd love to visit, Germany and New Zealand. Germany because my husband's descendants are from there.And our last name is the name of an actual province, so that would be neat to see! New Zealand because my mom lives there (since 2001) and from all the pictures she's sent me, it looks so pretty! Especially the beaches. She says it reminds her of the Oregon coast where I live.
    Thanks for sharing your pictures & talking about your trip! It sounds like you had fun in spite of the heat and rain you encountered. Hope you and your husband can do more traveling in the future! Blessings to you both :-)

    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

  17. I would love to see Budapest. Your pictures are beautiful. Being a nurse I would love to win your book.


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