Snapshot Stories – Hohenwerfen Castle

Hohenwerfen Castle - 40 km south of Salzburg - in the Berchtesgaden Alps

Hohenwerfen Castle – 40 km south of Salzburg. In the Berchtesgaden Alps

Snapshot Stories – Open the first photo album you can find — real or virtual, your call — and stop at the first picture of yourself you see there . Tell us the story of that photo.

Several years ago I took a leap of faith and traveled to Italy to visit a friend while I was on spring break. While I was visiting we did a little sightseeing and decided to drive from Aviano Italy to Munich Germany. I could not believe all the castles and ruins that we saw along the way. I’d like to go back one day and take my husband with me. This was my first international trip all by myself. Since then we’ve traveled to Ireland…no more putting things off, waiting till later or the when the ‘time is right’. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow so go for it today!

Inspired by Snapshot Stories

Remember Italy?

Oh I know.. your ready for this story to end right? Well.. I think its going to be a long time before I finish telling this one!  Just teasing.. what can I say..I think of new things everyday!


On the way home from Munich (driving through all that snow too!) we stopped off in Treviso at this huge market..all full of leather. Leather jackets, purses, pants, you name it.. they had it. So many different styles to choose from too! Well we stopped at this one shop (he took Visa -)) and thats when it all started. If you’ve never been to a market like this, then stop reading now. LOL.. ok it wasn’t this bad, but for me it was like trying to ask a price from someone running an auction! At least Nikki was there.. she knew what was going on, but it wasn’t like she could really help me out, you know. As usual the prices start high.. then you work yourself down, and maybe you’ll get to a price you like.

After it was all over.. an trying on a couple different jackets (not getting the red leather one I wanted because they didn’t have my size) I got a light tan colored, waist length, fitted jacket for myself, and a bomber style dark brown/black one for Johnny. I won’t bore you with the cost.. but I bet you won’t find two Italian leather jackets here for what I paid for them! (BIG A$$ GRIN). Oh.. I got a nice leather purse that matched my jacket too!

Leather in hand its time to head back home. Once home its time to unpack and crash.. I think I’d been running on pure excitement for the last 5 days!

Next morning its off to Nove for pottery! More shopping and choices to make.. I got my mom and mother in law each a cute decorated plate, and one for myself too. I also got a very pretty pitcher that matches my biscotti jar that Nikki sent me earlier. One thing I did buy.. on impulse because of its history was a small rooster (cock) pitcher. Well of all the things I bought it cracked during shipping back to the states. No fear.. it was insured and I’m sure the good old USPS will help me out. -)

After shopping in Nove its time to head back home (Nikki’s house) and get ready for dinner. Now let me tell you.. I wasn’t ready for this dinner! Oh WOW is all I can say… we had dinner at Il Rifugio… Wow..can you tell I can’t find the words to describe it?? Oh my, this was one VERY nice place! The food was wonderful too!! We each had what they call the “Menu of Art”.. and you know.. it was all so pretty you hated messing it up to eat! Our main course was the meat that was in season.. ostrich. Yummmm! For our deserts we had a choice.. so many to choose from. We ended up with three different ones, and I/we all tried a little of each. Talk about being stuffed! Oh wow! So much food! Well Il Rifugio is part of a group of restaurants which when you order their ‘Menu of Art’, after the meal you each recieve a special ceramic tile which has their special design on it. Very cool! Hmm.. I wonder how I could use it to replace one of the tiles in our kitchen.. I’ll think more on this project! -D

Well after dinner it was back home (Nikki’s House) to finish up packing all my stuff for my Friday early AM flight. Then again to get surprised! A little Grappa to try. What’s grappa? Grappa is a distilled liquor made from grapes which you have a little drink of after your meal. Its supposed to help you digest your food. Well I say little.. like in half a shot glass full.. why? because more than that for me I’d be out for the night! LOL I brought a bottle back with me for J to try.. he said it reminded him of tequila.. but stronger! (I forgot to mention we visited a local winery and I picked out 6 bottles of wine to bring back home.. now those babies got the royal treatment.. they may have weighted quite a bit, but by the time I got home I was Queen of the Carry-On, and nothing was broken either!)

Well the rest of my trip includes maybe an hour of sleep.. then up at 3am for a shower and to finish packing. We were off to the Venice airport by 4:45am for my 7am flight. Once on my plane I wouldn’t sleep again for 24 hours.. thats when I landed in Birmingham, and then had my luggage into the car. I’m glad J picked me up.. there is no way I could have made the 1 1/2 hour drive home without falling asleep. After we got home it was off to bed.. I think it was a couple days before I was able to stay awake past 8pm! Wow.. time change and jet lag kick butt!

I did have a really great time.. and got to spend some quality time with a really special friend and her family. Thanks again you two!! and thank you J for floating a few notes so I could catch that plane, and putting up with my 4am phone call! Love you all! -)

Italy Continued

Miss something? Here are all my entries about my trip. Well I really need to finish this up.. otherwise you’ll think I didn’t have fun.
Off to Munich we go…I forget how many miles the actual trip was, but I don’t think I was really keeping up with the time either.  Every turn there was something new to discover.

While heading out of Italy towards Austria we could tell the weather was getting colder and colder. There were so many tunnels that went through the mountains that I lost count too. I’m just amazed that they even exist.. some were a couple miles long.. straight through rock! I can only imagine what it was like to travel this route before tunnels were built.

Once we got to the Austria border we had to stop to get a ‘permit’ for the car.. otherwise if stopped, you could possibly be fined. Well right now its snowing.. not too bad, but the rain has turned to snow. I’m sitting in the car.. watching these flakes come down that are big!! Did I say big?? Well they were huge! (If you have a good connection..watch this movie.

Well after getting the needed car pass we were on our way. Once we crossed the Alps, and into Germany we finally left the snow behind. We soon stopped at a gas station to fill back up, and I do remember one special thing about Germany. The smell! Ok.. it stunk.. just teasing.. but really it did. There were so many farms in the area where we stopped, and everyone was getting their fields ready to plant, and boy they know how to use the manure! Germany is really pretty too.. so green and lush considering spring was just barely there.

After getting our gas we were on the way. Soon we were into Munich and the buildings were huge! I remember one huge silver/chrome building that stuck out from all the rest.. a very modern city.

We checked into our hotel hotel then headed over toOlympic Park to look around.
We went up into the Olympic tower and got a wonderful 360 degree view of Munich. What can I say.. Nikki showed me all of Munich in less than a hour! We waited around for a little while (it was freezing up there too) and got to see a very pretty sunset.. even though the picture doesn’t do it justice.

After the tower we walked over to the swimming hall and boy was it big! I just thought I knew how big a ‘olympic size’ pool was! After watching the swimmers for a bit (and warming up too) we headed back to the hotel for some dinner. Yep.. American dinner.. the resturant was American, burgers, fries, chicken fingers.. but it didn’t matter.. top that off with a great German beer on tap! Oh.. and we discovered a new drink too! Nikki noticed a drink that the person at the table next to us had (it had a lot of limes cut up in the bottom of the glass) so we proceeded to ask our waiter what the drink was. He said, “Its a Caipirinha, a drink from Brazil. I’ll get you one.” Well he actually brought us one to try (no charge of course) and lets just say we now have a new favorite drink! Its hard to describe.. its like a rum drink with sugar and lots of lime. (The following night we had a couple more too!)

After dinner it was time to try and get some sleep as the next day we were headed down to Marienplatz by subway to do some sightseeing and shopping. Well for most of the day we fought the rain (but we really didn’t mind.. gave us a great reason to go into stores and spend money!), plus there was always a pub to try too. What a better way to warm up than in a several hundred year old pub with a great beer! We also got to watch the Neues Rathaus figures dance around at 11am too.. it was like watching the worlds largest musical clock!

We shopped so much that day that I really can’t mention all of it.. other wise we’ll be here for day still reading about it. I did buy a very nice crystal wine carafe, a handmade rosewood hair brush, a nice bottle of German wine at the market, a scarf (a necessity..it was cold!), and several 1/2 liter beers, and a liter beer for dinner!

Dinner was at a place called Hofbräuhaus.. great beer, food, traditional music and dancing. I ate so much I thought I was going to burst.. and that plate sized pretzel didn’t help!

After dinner we walked back to the subway station.. caught the train back to the hotel.. boy were we tired! Oh.. we did watch some tv.. it was funny seeing shows like ‘Home Improvements’, and ‘Fresh Prince’… all in German! For some reason Will Smith just didn’t sound right.. I mean they tried to make him sound right.. but they just didn’t get it!

Another funny… they have an addiction to ‘ring tones’ for cell phones too! Almost every commercial was for ring tones to download to your phone.. now I wished I’d taped some of those.. it would be funny to show everyone.

The next morning we were up pretty early.. and guess what.. it was snowing! Yep.. snow all the way back to Italy.. you’ll see alot of those pictures over in the photo album.. I have now seen my share of snow, and I’m good to go for a while too.

More trip story tomorrow.. next we will stop at the leather market in Italy.. I get my first experience in trying to talk down prices on leather jackets!

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Italy Continued

Off to Venice we go!  We left out early headed to the train station.. since Nikki had already purchased the tickets all we had to do was wait for the train.  We didn’t wait too long..just as scheduled it was right on time.

The train into Venice stopped at a lot of towns along the way.. each town with its own style.  Lots of color, many flower boxes on windows, and pretty much each home you could see from the train had a grape vine or two or twenty growing in their yard.  The yards were amazing.. all the vines pruned just right, so homes had different styles of growing them, but most of them were the same.  Each yard was also fenced in.. not chain link or anything like that, but usually some type of fancy block, wood or iron work.  The yards were all full of color.. lots of flowers in bloom, nicely trimmed trees and shrubs, and small garden plots that I’d love to have here…such rich soil.. none of this red stuff like we have here.  Oh.. and don’t forget the fruit trees!  I saw several large pots on porches that had huge lemon trees in them, and just loaded with lemons too!


We arrive in Venice about a hour or so later.. and thats when it hit me. Its amazing how your brain will suddenly go into information overload when its put in a place its never been before! All the building.. the people.. the sights! You’ve seen the photos.. what more can I say.

We walked most of the day, except for taking a break to get a cappuccino and a sandwich for lunch. We looked at masks, lots of Murano glass, candles, beadwork, jewelry, and many more shops that I can’t even think of right now.

If you go to Venice.. be prepared to walk. Even if you arrange to stay at one of the hotels located there, once you arrive my train (or some other transportation) from the airport, get ready to carry your luggage for a walk. We passed a lot of people all dragging their luggage on rollers, following the street signs like us, but headed to their hotel. I’m sure you could go by boat to a spot closer to your hotel, but there will still be some walking involved too.

All the little shops are on the small streets or walk ways (here we’d call it an alley), all brick walkways and building that have been there for many many many years. Lots of colorful buildings, lots of different styles of architecture. Then you may turn a corner and find yourself in a large courtyard with trees and a fountain…and small children running around playing soccer. Its odd to think that now we’re in ‘their neighborhood’ and this is where the people of Venice live, work and play.

Later that evening after all our shopping was finished.. we found a small restaurant for dinner. Dinner was a fixed menu, I had:
spagetti with clams, polenta, calamari (these babys were huge!! but good!), a red wine, and tiramisu for dessert. (Ok Nikki.. if I’ve forgot something let me know -) I can’t get to my ‘food’ pics to see that I covered it all).

Dinner was great and yes I had clams.. you know me, I won’t even order them here! After dinner we headed back towards the train station.. now everything was lighted up in Venice, and was even more beautiful than before. We’re now finally back to the train station and find our seat.. bags of goodies in tow, we’re headed back home.

(I’ll share goodie pictures later..when I can get my CD drive repaired.. I’ve worn it out!)

…to be continued!

Italy – Continued

Saturday, March 20, 2004

After waiting for my connecting flight from Paris to Venice I was finally on the last leg of a long long day.  Once I arrived at the Venice airport all that was left was to claim my bag (if it made it) and find Nikki.  Well Venice airport was smaller than I expected which was good, because I didn’t have a clue where I was.


I was waiting for my bag to be unloaded.. along with everyone else from the flight.. it just seemed to take forever. Well I spotted Nikki waiting outside the baggage claim area, and I felt a lot better. Well finally with both of my bags I was finally on my way out of the airport. I was greeted with the prettiest bouquet of flowers too!

Off to Aviano to do a few errands.. I’m so awake now its not funny, and I haven’t even had a coffee yet! We stopped off by an ATM to make sure that I was able to get Euro from my account back home.. worked great, plus the rate was a lot better, and I didn’t have to pay a $10 fee! We then stopped by a bakery close to the city center and then went for cappuccino.. the best I’ve ever had too!

… later we were finally home.. time to unload and start catching up.

This night for dinner we went out for pizza.. now forget ordering one large pizza for the three of us to share.. here you order one each. Talk about a big pizza! I think I was able to finish half of mine.. but boy was it good! (Shame on Domino’s..your pizza sucks now!) Oh.. and don’t order a Diet Coke.. order a Coke Light -)

Tomorrow we’re headed to Venice by train!