If one is going to visit the La Verna Sanctuary, might I recommend not doing it on a hot summers day? Instead, go in January. But only if it’s misty, mysterious, and if you have proper time to wander through the forest and around the buildings, wondering if the monks get the same eerie feeling that you do.
On this day two years ago we visited the Hill of Tara, once the seat of the High Kings of Ireland. The little hills and ridges are the remains of ancient earthen structures, and it feels like the sort of place where you shouldn’t be allowed to tramp all over it… but you are. The 360 degree views of the surrounding Irish countryside are spectacular, even on a gray and windy late-December day like we had. We don’t often take bus tours (as evidenced by this post), but we did on this occasion and it was worth it for the color commentary of our fellow travelers alone. Maybe that’s a story for another day…
Is a castle in Europe even a castle if it doesn’t have peacocks freely roaming the ground? Or alternatively, birds of prey barely tethered something where they could easily be reached by the public?
A peaceful scene on a sweltering day near Kelheim. I haven’t been to Kloster Weltenburg since this day… should probably go back there and do a quality check on the beer.
February is not known for being the sunniest month around these parts. Indeed, that was the case on the day that my sister and I took a day trip to Bamberg. We were still able to find a fair few scenic corners, but a little sun would have improved the situation!
Why yes, we will climb this tower for a picture.
A short walk from the train station in Benešov, is Konopiště Castle. Like most things in the Czech Republic, it’s a perfect day trip if you just need to get out of Prague for a minute.
The main claim to fame of the castle is that it was the last home of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, aka the dude whose assassination kicked off the first World War. I honestly don’t even recall if we did a tour or not*, but my memories of the day spent there are that a cat followed us from the forest to the castle, and that the gardens were exceptionally lovely. I have a deep and abiding love of things that are symmetrical.
*This is what happens when they don’t let you take pictures inside.
May 1st is a public holiday here, but since it falls on a Sunday this year, it doesn’t do us any damn good. But considering the fact that in Bavaria there are four public holidays in May and three of them are during the week, I’d say we don’t have too much to complain about!
Last year though, May Day was on a Friday and we took advantage of it. A friend of mine had been wanting to visit Schloss Linderhof, and while it is possible to get there via public transportation,* BV and I thought we’d invite her to join us for a much more direct drive down. As you can see by the umbrellas, the rain deterred no one.
*From Nürnberg in only 4.5(+) hours and via two trains and two buses. King Ludwig was pretty into solitude.
Six long years ago today, before she left Europe to traipse around the world, my dear friend Katie and I took a day trip from Prague to Melnik. We had heard that the city was a big producers of Czech wines, and also had a castle, which meant it scored with us on at least two major points. What we didn’t think about was that visiting a vineyard in the depths of a Czech winter was fairly pointless. Oh well.
We still spent a very chilly day wandering the grounds of the small castle, and wandered its wine cellars. We seemed to be the only people in the town that day, and I wonder if the restaurateurs are still confused about where exactly the two random American girls came from.
Today felt almost as though the Great Spaghetti Monster in the Sky had flipped a switch. We had been enjoying the most gorgeous golden autumn weather, but this morning the sky was gray, the wind whipped clouds across the sky, and leaves flew past our windows. A week ago, we were staying and hiking in the Alps, and the contrast could not have been more striking.
As with most of my ‘Gone Hiking’ posts… this one is photo-heavy so click away…