Last time I posted, I was preparing for my European adventure while creating cityscapes for One Little Word's word-up - ADVENTURE! (And there's still time for you to link up!)
I'm back from our whirlwind trip, and it was quite a time.
The impetus for the trip was a visit to my oldest daughter, Mariel, who has been living in the Czech Republic as a Fulbright Scholar/English Teaching Assistant this year. She had a few cities to check off her bucket list, and we were happy to help her!
We met her in Vienna on Wednesday, 4/16, after an overnight flight from Newark, NJ. Our first day included some selfies in the car on the way to the airport, Freddie's first wiener schnitzel, the first of many potato dumplings for Samy, a quick look at Vienna's town hall, and a happy reunion with Mariel, who took the train to Vienna from Brno, Czech Republic, to meet us at our hotel.
The next morning, we got into our rental car (a brand new Mercedes!) with an English speaking GPS, and headed for Salzburg. On the way we ooh'd and aah'd at the beautiful Austrian countryside, which was truly picture perfect. And of course we had to break into "Climb Every Mountain" at our first sight of the alps. Once we checked into our hotel, we strolled into the old city, went to Mozart's birth place, and checked out lots of churches.
The next morning, we were excited for the "official" Sound of Music tour, and weren't ashamed to re-enact scenes on location, sing our lungs out on the big bus, and take a zillion photos while dancing in around singing "Do a Deer!" We also learned from our tour guide that in 1731, Roman Catholic Archbishop Count Leopold von Firmian demanded that all non Catholics recant their non-Catholic beliefs or be banished, leading to many Protestants forcibly exiled from Salzburg, where they were forced to leave their children behind. Have we learned?
Later that afternoon, we headed West to Slovenia, a country I only recently learned about. It's capital, Ljubljana (pronounced Lee-you-bli-yana), is rumored to be the "next Prague." It did not disappoint. And on the way, we stopped and had dinner at Lake Bled - truly one of the most beautiful spots I've ever seen.
We saw lots of cool signage, had a mid day beer at a Mexican restaurant (!), and climbed a windy staircase worthy of a Hitchcock movie to the top of the castle.
After two days in Ljubljana, we headed to Znojmo, the Czech town where Mariel is living this year. We wanted to be there for Easter Monday, when the Czechs have a unique tradition, which Mariel explains on her blog. It's worth the hop and will definitely make you smile! In addition to experiencing this tradition, Samy got to hold a baby fox, which we encountered in Znojmo's excellent vegetarian restaurant.
After barely 24 hours in Znojmo, we headed to Bratislava, which is just over the Czech border and is the capital of Slovakia. There, we toured the beautiful old city in our day of worst weather. We walked to the only remaining synagogue, and toured the Jewish Museum which contains what is left of the once vibrant Jewish culture. We also got free shots of Tequila after I sang with a lovely violinist in a local restaurant. He was playing American jazz standards - go figure!
Then it was back to Znojmo, where we accompanied Mariel as she taught some of her classes, and was interviewed by the Znojmo newspaper for passing her level one Czech exam!
As I said to my daughters, I believe that seeing how a country deals with it's own history is as important as the history itself. I was very impressed with the museum, it's frank look at the past, and the work it is doing in the present. I was touched by the gold markers that are ubiquitous - memorializing Jews whose footsteps are just ghost-steps. We can only hope that history does not repeat itself.
I had minimal journaling supplies with me, but was able to do a bit with a pen, a glue stick, Neocolor II crayons, and two paint brushes! Told you there was some art in this post!
Anyway - I hope you have enjoyed this travelogue and a glimpse of the type of journaling I did while I was on the road. I look forward to being back in my studio and getting my hands full of paint!
Your comments make me so happy and let me know you were here. I read and treasure every comment and will happily answer any questions as soon as I can.