Take 12 Trips: A Roundup

A little over a year ago, I decided to join in with a challenge inviting bloggers to take one trip every month for 12 months. If you’ve been paying close attention to my blog for the past year, you may have noticed that my trip to Weinheim in September was, in fact, my 12th trip! (Don’t worry, I don’t expect anyone to actually have noticed 😉 ). This fact seemed to call for some kind of roundup/recap of my 12 months of trip taking, just to bring things to a nice neat conclusion… or something like that.

October 2013

Triberg waterfallI started the challenge with a day trip to Triberg im Schwarzwald in October 2013. I had actually taken this trip shortly before learning about Take 12 Trips and decided to make it my first one rather than waiting until the following month to get started. In Clare’s original post inviting people to join the challenge, she told us to “Do anything – trip big, or trip tiny”. The point was to go somewhere new, perhaps even somewhere local that you’d been meaning to try out but never had. So a visit to somewhere in the Black Forest, which is basically on my doorstep, seemed like a fitting first trip.

November 2013

November 2013 saw me returning to Feldkirch in Austria for the first time since I lived there in 2005/2006. It was nice to see the place again, and also lovely to pay a visit to some friends from when I lived there and meet their baby son! After Feldkirch, we spent a night in Garmisch-Patenkirchen (famous for skiing!), then on the way back we stopped at Schloss Neuschwanstein (the famous fairy-tale castle in Bavaria) and in Augsburg. Not bad for a single long weekend!

December 2013

Fire show 1I live in Germany, so obviously my December trip had to be to a Christmas market! I chose a local one, the Mediaeval Christmas market in Durlach, which is a district of Karlsruhe. The market includes a fire show (pictured above) and, aside from the usual GlĂŒhwein (mulled wine), hot mead is also on offer. At the end of the month, I went home to England for Christmas, but I don’t count that as a real trip 😉

January 2014

Part of my January 2014 trip was actually in December – Jan and I went to Madeira for New Year! I absolutely loved this trip and would go back in a heartbeat – Madeira is beautiful! And it was nice to actually spend New Year somewhere warm for a change.

February 2014

A figure on the gate post
A figure on the gate post

As the end of February approached with no trip planned (and me not wanting my February “trip” to be the week I spent in England by my dying grandpa’s bedside), I spontaneously decided to take a train to Bruchsal. I had been to the castle before, but never into the town and it was about time that was remedied! Sadly, it turned out that Bruchsal as a town isn’t all that interesting. I found a few pretty buildings, but after only 45 minutes I found myself at the castle with nowhere else to go. I also discovered that day that I find day trips by myself pretty boring (although who knows, maybe I would have fared better in a more interesting town?). Oh well, onwards and upwards as they say!

March 2014

Gutenbergplatz

In March 2014, I finally did something I’ve been meaning to for about 4 years – visited the Saturday market on Gutenbergplatz in Karlsruhe. Thanks Take 12 Trips for the inspiration! I also went to Colmar, France in March, although I didn’t write a post about it til April.

April 2014

Amneville zooApril saw Jan, K and I on a day trip to Amnéville Zoo in France. It was the second visit for Jan and I, and it was just as amazing as the first time. The falconry display especially is well worth the three hour drive!

Also in April (although not counted towards the challenge), I went to my first ever bloggers’ meetup when I joined some fellow Germany-based bloggers in Heidelberg.

May 2014

Playmobil paintingIn May, I managed to persuade Jan to come with me to the Historisches Museum der Pfalz in Speyer to see an exhibition celebrating 40 years of Playmobil. What can I say… at heart, I’m a 5 year old 😉 The exhibition was overrun with kids, of course, but I enjoyed it anyway. And the rest of the museum was interesting too!

Roughly a week later I was in England for a funeral (not the best trip!) then at the end of the month Jan and I had a mini-break in Konstanz, since it was a long weekend.

June 2014

For our ten-year anniversary(!) I had bought Jan tickets to see Pear Jam in Vienna, so that’s where our June trip took us. Apart from the concert, we visited the National Library, my favourite part being the Globe Museum, I ate Marillenknödel, crossing off another item on my 35 before 35 list, and we visited the UN headquarters then went to the Donauinselfest, a huge free music festival! We also took a day trip to Bratislava in Slovakia. My favourite thing there was the blue church, pictured above.

July 2014

Basel RhineIn July, my brother came to stay with us for a week. The trip I officially counted for the challenge was to Basel, but we also visited Strasbourg, the Black Forest and Frankfurt. Phew! I was exhausted by the time he went home!

August 2014

TaiwanI’m sure by now all of you know where I went for my August trip – I’ve bored you with enough posts on it 😉 Yes, it was Taiwan! My first visit to Asia was amazing! We saw so many fantastic sights, ate some great food (and also some truly awful stuff *cough* oyster omelette *cough*). Taiwan is a fascinating and beautiful country and I would recommend anyone to go.

September 2014

WeinheimIt would have been nice to finish the challenge with Taiwan, but alas I still had one more trip to go! Finishing the challenge with another day trip within the local area provided some nice symmetry though. This time we headed in the other direction to Weinheim, which is in the Odenwald rather than the Black Forest. It was a beautiful autumn day and the perfect way to finish my 12 trips!

Earlier in September, I also spent the day in Bad DĂŒrkheim at the Wurstmarkt, the world’s biggest wine festival, making it another multi-trip month.

Altogether, that makes 12 (plus) trips, seven countries (count them!) and a million memories! Thank you Clare for coming up with this challenge!

So, what now?

Just because my 12 trips are over doesn’t mean I’m going to stop travelling any time soon! In October 2014, I was in Bad Bergzabern (post to follow) and then spent Halloween Paris for a Night Vale live show, and I’m hoping that this month and next month will involve one or two Christmas markets. Then there’s the annual New Year’s trip that Jan and I always take (no destination confirmed yet). As for next year, so far only a trip to England in October for the Rugby World Cup is planned, but I’m sure there will be other opportunities to travel before then. There probably won’t be any big trips until the end of the year, but a few day trips will definitely be on the cards! Stay tuned…

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My top 5 destinations to return to

After leaving a comment on a similar post at On The Luce, I was asked to take part in the Booked.netTop Destinations to Go There promotion. The idea is to write a post about my top 5 destinations that I would return to, complete with pictures and then nominate five bloggers to do the same. Once 100 entries have been written, all the posts will be entered in a competition to win an iPhone 6.

I have a huge list of places I want to visit, and it’s growing all the time! But who doesn’t dream of going back to a place they’ve been before? Whether it’s an old, familiar place that you visit often and where returning is almost like coming home, or somewhere you’ve only been to once but that left such an impression that you long to return and do more exploring? Here are my top 5, not really in chronological order because that would be too difficult!

Edinburgh, Scotland

As a child, I used to go to Edinburgh specifically to visit the zoo (Newcastle doesn’t have one). As an adult, I’ve been three times, and still there is more to explore. I haven’t even climbed Arthur’s Seat yet! The beautiful architecture, the pubs, the friendliness of Scots, its proximity to the sea (which I miss so much in landlocked Karlsruhe!) all combine to make Edinburgh one of my favourite places on Earth! And the castle is pretty impressive too 😉

Edinburgh castle
Edinburgh castle

Austria

It’s probably cheating to choose an entire country rather than a city, but Austria is only a small country after all 😉 I lived in Vorarlberg for almost a year, so obviously that area has a special place in my heart, but I will always get excited about a trip to Austria, no matter what the specific destination. Innsbruck is gorgeous, Vienna has so much to offer and I adore Salzburg with its narrow, winding streets and views of mountains!

How could I not want to see this view again?
How could I not want to see this view again?

Stockholm, Sweden

I went to Stockholm in the summer of 2012 and instantly fell in love with the place! Despite having a population of 905,184, it felt so open and spacious… probably because of all the water. Admittedly some areas were crowded, but finding a quite place to sit down or have a nice walk was simply a matter of switching islands. With so many museums, palaces, parks and other attractions, I imagine it would take me a very long time to get bored! And the temperature in summer is perfect for me, with my pale skin and tendency to wilt like a flower as soon as it gets above 28 °C!

So beautiful and peaceful
So beautiful and peaceful

Berlin, Germany

Despite living in Germany since 2006, it was 2013 before I finally made my to the capital! I had been once before with my grandparents, but it was just one brief stop on a tour of Europe and all I remembered seeing was Checkpoint Charlie. This time was different! We walked a lot, visited hundreds of historical sites, including the Stasi prison at Hohenschönhausen, admired the East Side Gallery, ate delicious food (including the obvious Currywurst) and left with the feeling that we hadn’t experienced even a small fraction of what Germany’s capital has to offer. I mean, they have an entire island just for museums… of which we visited precisely one! I definitely need to go back some time and remedy this situation!

Museum island
Museum island

Ireland

Again nominating an entire country rather than a specific place, but with so much on offer how could I possibly narrow it down? I’ve been to Dublin a few times, and while it’s always good I’ve seen most of what I wanted to see there, but there are plenty of places I do want to see again. The time we spent in Galway wasn’t nearly enough and I would love to go back there, but I also want to explore more of the area around Killarney and the Dingle Peninsular, actually make it to the North-East of the country and take a trip or two to the various islands.

How could anyone resist something this green?
How could anyone resist something this green?

And that would be five. What do you think of my choices?
Now I’m supposed to nominate five fellow bloggers to take up the challenge. I pick Charlotte Steggz, Amanda from Rhyme and Ribbons, Alex at Speaking Denglisch, Simone aka Lady of the Cakes and Elaine from I Used to Be Indecisive.

Vienna: The UN and Donauinselfest

Our last day in Vienna also happened to be the first day of the Donauinselfest, Europe’s largest free open-air festival, so obviously we had to go! It didn’t start until the afternoon, so in the morning we decided to go to the United Nations office in Vienna. We took a general tour, which lasts for one hour. Vienna is one of four headquarters of the UN (the others are Geneva, New York and Nairobi). As well as the headquarters, the Vienna centre houses the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime… and probably some more. Those are the ones our guide went into detail about. Did you know that, as well as stuff to do with nuclear weapons and nuclear power, the IAEA also does things like advising  countries on the disposal of old X-ray equipment? Me neither! Here are some photos I took during the tour:

Once the tour was done, we headed to the island. There wasn’t much going on yet, but I got an ice cream from one of the stands and we watched some of the performers on the smaller stages. As it got closer to the time that official events would actually be happening, we started walking towards the large Ö3 stage, stopping on the way for food. I had some potato spirals… literally a potato cut into a spiral and fried, then covered in salt! In Germany, they’re usually served on a wooden stick but these ones were in a bag.

The first act we saw had apparantly won the right to perform in a competition. I can’t remember whether they were from Vienna, but all the band members were pretty young… like around 16-18. They weren’t bad though. Next came the official opening act… somebody called Thomas David. Apparantly, if we were Austrian (or at least lived in Austria) we would have heard of this guy. The announcer informed us that he’d been all over the radio over the previous few months. Not being Austrian (or having access to Austrian radio), we had never heard of him. He actually turned out to be good, though, and will be looking out for him in the future.

Thomas David was followed by Revolverheld, a band from Hamburg who I had heard of but never seen. (Apparantly they’ve played Das Fest in Karlsruhe before, but that must have been before I came to Germany). I didn’t recognise any of their songs, but every single other member of the audience seemed to be singing along… including Jan! Never mind, I enjoyed their set anyway. After Revolverheld came Nico and Vinz, a hip hop duo from Norway. Neither of us is into hip hop, so at that point we headed off to get some food, and found a stall selling baked potatoes. For the record, it’s hard to eat baked potatoes when you’re armed with only a plastic fork!

Revolverheld
Revolverheld

Once we’d eaten and been for a bit of a walk around, we headed back towards the stage for the act that I had actually wanted to see… Milow! Some people will be familiar with his cover of Ayo Technology (originally 50 Cent featuring Justin Timberlake), others may know him from the song You Don’t Know (people in mainland Europe that is… I have no idea whether he’s even known in the UK?). I actually like Milow, and enjoyed seeing him live.

The final act of the evening was Rea Garvey, but since neither of us was particular interested in him (I think I’ve heard maybe two of his songs…) and we still needed to pack ready to leave the next day, we decided to head back to the hotel after seeing Milow. As we were leaving, hundreds of people were still arriving… apparantly every teenager in Vienna wanted to see Rea Garvey!

A huge free concert was a great way to end our time in Vienna… but I’m still disappointed that we weren’t able to stay until Sunday, when Conchita Wurst was appearing as a special guest. I would have loved to experience her live!

~ I am counting Vienna (and Bratislava) as my June 2014 trip for the Take 12 Trips challenge ~

Animals and mazes in Vienna

My brother left this morning,  so now I can get back to my regular blogging. I’m so behind on the things I wanted to write about! So now I shall go back in time to the end of June and continue where I left off with Vienna…

On our second to last day in Vienna, we decided to head to the Schönbrunn area. Schönbrunn is the name of the palace, but that wasn’t what we wanted to see! Our first stop was the zoo, called Tiergarten Schönbrunn (Tiergarten is an alternative German word for zoo, and literally means animal garden). It’s the oldest zoo in the world that’s still open, having started as an imperial menagier in 1752, and as far as zoos go, it’s a really nice one. They have both red and giant pandas, rhinos and, most excitingly, a tropical forest house with flying foxes! Also known as megabats, these are right up there among my favourite animals ever! Those of you who don’t like the idea of animals being locked away in cages should look away now. For the rest of you, here are some animals to admire. Our first stop involved reptiles and sea creatures.

I spent ages standing in front of a giant fish tank trying to get a photo of one specific fish. Eventually Jan managed to get one for me. It’s not the best of photos cos that damn fish was fast and also seemed to be the only one of its kind (there were millions of the plain yellow ones), which meant catching it while it was actually in sight was difficult, but hopefully you’ll be able to see why I was so excited by it… (hint: I’m not talking about the blue fish!)

Vienna

Not sure whether you can tell, but the fish in the middle has a yellow body with a red and black striped fin. I have no idea what kind of fish it really is, but it doesn’t matter – to me, it will forever be Germany fish!

After leaving the acquarium/reptile area, we wandered around looking at some of the animals who were in their outdoor areas. There were various babies among them, including elephants, a young giant panda and even baby mongeese! Also, if you click on the flamingo picture to make it bigger, you should be able to spot some young (not really baby any more) flamingos. They fascinated me because I had never seen a flamingo that wasn’t fully grown (and pink!) yet.

Next stop: Tropical house. It was warm in there… and humid (well duh!). There was even a sign outside warning people of that. It was well worth it though, because flying foxes! (Flughunde in German – literally flying dogs). I’d never seen one before, and now I want to see one up close. Way too cool! There were also various tropical birds in there and some cool frogs – some of them were so shiny they looked almost plastic!

After leaving the tropical bit, there was a kind og walk through the woods over bridges. Below the bridges there was a huge crater, which the information said was from where a bomb had hit the zoo during World War 2! Then, in the wooded area after the bridges, came bees! Mostly there was just a huge information board explaining the lifecycle of bees, how a bee hive works, etc. The actual hives were mainly behind in an area you couldn’t get to, but in some places there were glass panels where you could see in. It was incredibly difficult to take a photo of the bees, but I tried! And I then also had to take a photo of one of the items in the small play area nearby, because that too was a bee! I may have got a little overexcited…

Just past the bees, we came past a little girl and (presumably) her grandfather. Grandad was reading while the little girl stood near him with a bag of buts. As we went by, we saw a squirrel come running up to the girl, whol held out a nut. The squirrel then took said nut right from her hand before running back into the trees to bury it, then running back, getting a new nut and burying that one in a different place. Watching the squirrel and attempting to get photos must have kept us occupied for a good five minutes!

Vienna

Fiiinally moving on, we ended our trip to the zoo with a visit to the penguins and the polar bears.

After the zoo, we stayed in the Schönbrunn area. I had seen on the map that there was a section of the grounds labelled “Mazes and labyrinths” and I really wanted to go and check them out! First up was a simple maze where you just had to find a viewing platform. There were two entrances next to each other, so Jan and I decided to take an entrance each and see who could find the platform first. I won! 😉

Maze

Next was a labyrinth containing various activities (for want of a better word)… a square of rectangles that could be stood on to make music, a kind of pump to spray water and a kaleidoscope of mirrors. A second labyrinth had a pole with a bell a top (which I failed to climb) and a mathematical puzzle that kept us occupied for far too long! At only €3.50 for an adult it was certainly worth the entrance fee 🙂

The ultimate mirror selfie!
The ultimate mirror selfie!

We were forced to leave the maths puzzle unfinished when it was time to leave (well, we managed the simple version at least…), so we headed into town to watch the Germany vs USA match. Then we decided to have dinner at a place that our Dialog im Dunkeln guide had recommended – Jonathan and Sieglinde. Everything on the menu involves Äpfel or ErdĂ€pfel – apples or potatoes (Erdapfel, literally earth apple, being the Austrian word for potato). Since potatoes are one of my absolute favourite meals, this was right up my street! I chose the baked potato with a spinach sauce, and it was positively green! Jan went for potato and wild garlic pancakes. I tried a bit of one, and let me tell you it was delicious! Of course, we both had to drink fresh apple juice. There were so many tasty looking things on the menu… if I’m ever back in Vienna I definitely have to go there again!

And thus concludes our penultimate day in Vienna, and my June 2014 trip for the Take 12 Trips challenge.

Pearl Jam in Vienna

I don’t normally write reviews of concerts I go to because I’m even worse at that then I am at reviewing books! But a few people have expressed interest so here goes…

I actually bought the tickets for Jan as an anniversary present. I like Pearl Jam well enough, but he’s the one that owns several of their albums! So when I received an email saying they were coming to Berlin, I had to try and get tickets. Of course, the day they went on sale ended up being a day where I was travelling back from somewhere, and by the time I got online the venue had sold out. It wasn’t until the next day that I thought to check whether they were playing anywhere else in Germany. They weren’t, but Vienna was on the list and, amazingly, there were still tickets available. I chose the best seats that I could still get (standing tickets were obviously long gone!), but as I’m sure you can imagine, they weren’t exactly the best seats… (Although I have to admit I was actually glad we were sitting! It was so hot in there that I just know if I’d been in the crush at the front of the stage I would have fainted before the end of the first song and ruined the whole night!).

The sound wasn’t brilliant where we were, but halfway through the gig Eddie Vedder paused to say that when they were doing the sound check, he seriously thought the sound guy was screwed! Apparantly, the Wiener Stadthalle had the second worst sound of any venue the band has played ever. So maybe it wasn’t much better down in front? Although he did say that the sound was much better now the hall was full.

Despite the less than amazing sound, it was a really good concert. The music went on for about 3 hours with barely a pause and every member of the band played excellently. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t been so hot (partly as a result of sunburn!) and we’d had better seats, but neither of things are Pearl Jam’s fault! Based purely on the band’s performance, it was an amazing gig and well worth taking the trip to Vienna for!

Vienna: Day two

Most of our second day in Vienna was spent at Dialog im Dunkeln, which I’ve already posted about, but I would now like to reiterate that it’s a really cool experience and you should give it a try if there’s one near you. (Also, we are now planning to visit the one in Frankfurt while my brother is here). Before we headed over there, we stopped at the station to buy train tickets for a day trip to Bratislava the next day. Once we’d done that, it turned out we still had some time left before our tour was due to start, so we popped into a church. I don’t remember the name of it…

We also had time to stop for a coffee, which I just had to take a photo of because art!! Having a pretty picture on your coffe may be an everyday occurrence for some, but it’s not something you see much of in Karlsruhe so I still get very excited about it.

Vienna

Once we’d done Dialog im Dunkeln, we decided to head to the Natural History Museum, stopping on the way for lunch. We ended up stopping at a cafe where we both had Mango Lassis to drink and ate the Indian Dal (spicy lentil soup).

Vienna

After walking for aaaages, we reached the Natural History Museum only to discover it was closed! We later found out that a lot of places had closed for the afternoon, although at that point we didn’t know why. The cute elephant outside the museum kind of made the wasted walk worth it:

Vienna

Next, we decided to try going to the butterfly house. On the way, we randomly discovered another exhibition, so we had a look at that. It was something to do with cables as art and featured a lot of extension plugs and wires, plus a weird video. I didn’t really get it…
By the time we reached the butterfly house, it was 5:30 p.m… 45 minutes after closing time. *Sigh* Since it seemed like museums were a lost cause, we decided to find somewhere to sit and watch the football instead, seeing as it was the day of England’s last match in the World Cup! (Yeah… we suck and didn’t make it past the group stage.) We found an Irish pub, where I drank Stiegl, a Salzburg beer.

As we were leaving the pub, we found out the reason for various things closing early… Putin was in town and there were various demonstrations/protests going on because of it. Here’s one that we saw for LBGT rights (I know there is sometimes a Q in there, too, but the sign we saw only had the four letters):

Vienna

We were both hungry by this time (even more so after watching people eating burgers and nachos at the Irish pub), so we went looking for something to eat. Jan found a brew-pub called Salm BrĂ€u that had good reviews on TripAdvisor, but mostly from tourists. It turned out to be an okay place, but not somewhere I would recommend. The food was nice but forgettable, and my beer mostly tasted of yeast. Jan had a dark beer, which I tried but can’t even remember what I thought of. Never mind, have a photo of our beers anyway:

Vienna

By the time we’d eaten, it was pretty late, so we decided to head back to the hotel. On the way, we passed some kind of monument/memorial with cyrillic writing on it that had been cordoned off earlier in the day. Jan was curious, so we went to have a look at it. It didn’t take me long to get bored with his attempts to interpret the cyrillic, so I turned my attention to the fountain opposite that was all lit up.

I also took a photo of it in green, but I think two photos of the smae fountain is enough for a blog post 😉
After I went back to Jan, a Russian couple came up to us and helped with the translation of the cyrillic so we could finally get on our way! 😉 I wanted to get some sleep as we had an early planned the next day…
And that was Tuesday. Coming up next: A day in Bratislava, Slovakia.

*I am counting Vienna (and Bratislava) as my June trip for the Take 12 Trips challenge*

Vienna: The beginning

We arrived in Vienna late on Sunday afternoon after a seven-and-a-half hour train journey (including one change in Munich). Needless to state, we were quite tired and not up to doing too much that evening! Coincidentally, fellow Germany-based blogger Stephen of Doing Time on the Donau was in Austria at the same time, also for a concert! We had originally planned to meet for breakfast the following morning before he had to catch his train, but as it turned out he got back from his day-trip early and still had some time before the concert that evening so we decided to meet for dinner instead. On the train, Jan had spent some time looking for a restaurant that served Marillenknödel (surprisingly difficult to find in Vienna) and before meeting Stephen we went to scope it out and decided it looked nice, so that’s where we ended up eating. It was a warm evening so we sat in the pretty little outdoor area.

I decided to go for the Faschiertes  Kalbschnitzel (pictured above), which is basically meatloaf. Faschiertes is Austrian German for minced or ground meat (ordinary German would be das Hackfleisch) with the meat in this case being Kalb – veal. Der Kalb is also the German word for calf – unlike us English speakers, they don’t bother with different words for live and dead animals 😉 Dessert obviously had to be the long-anticipated Marillenknödel, but I’ve already told you about them…

Once we’d eaten, Stephen had to head off for his concert, so Jan and I walked down to the Donaukanal (“Danube Canal”), a former arm of the River Danube that’s now a regulated water channel. It borders right on Vienna’s city centre. Down by the water, there are a number of little huts selling drinks with sandy areas and beach chairs beside them. Obviously a beer had to be consumed – we were on holiday after all! 😉 I chose Gösser because I remembered it fondly from when I lived in Austria.

As the evening wore on, it started to get a bit chilly, so once we’d finished our beers we headed back to the hotel where Jan switched on the football. I saw part of it but fell asleep before it was over. It had been a long day!

The next day, we decided to go to the National Library because we hadn’t made it there on our previous trip to Vienna. The library complex contains various museums, and we bought tickets for four areas. The Prunksall (Great Hall in English), the Papyrus Museum, the Esperanto Museum and the Globe Museum. The Prunksaal is absolutely gorgeous! So many old books, and such a beautifully painted ceiling! When we went, they also had a special exhibition about the First World War (which, as I’m sure you all know, was triggered by the shooting of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on 28 June 1914). Unlike other exhibitions, this one concentrated on what life was like for the people left back at home in Austria and was quite fascinating. Apparantly the Austrian Emperor, assuming that the war would be short and that Austria would win, had encouraged people to start sending in items relating to the war while it was still going on, which makes the collection at Austria’s National Library quite unique – everywhere else, documents were only sent in years after the war ended.

Our next stop was the Papyrus Museum, which contained numerous examples of writing on Papyrus, including Books of the Dead, extracts from the Koran, recipes for medicines and accounts (the financial kind). The Austrian National Library has one of the largest collections of papyri in the world and around 200 items are on display in the museum.

By the time we’d done the Papyrus museum, we were hungry and, in my case, incredibly thirsty, so we headed to the park in front of the library to eat the sandwiches we had bought at a supermarket near the hotel that morning. As we approached a fountain, we saw a crowd of people looking into the water and taking photos, so of course I wanted to know what they were all looking at that was so interesting. It turned out to be ducklings! All together now: “Awwww!”

We followed lunch with a visit to the Esperanto Museum, which was small but interesting. There was one station where you could listen to various constructed languages (including Esperanto). Then, last, but certainly not least, it was time for the globe museum. I adore globes, and this museum did not disappoint! They had enormous globes that I would need a ladder to see the top of and teeny, tiny globes. As well as ordinary globes showing the Earth at various points in history, they had celestial globes (showing the constellation), globes of the moon and even a Mars and a Venus globe. Something particularly interesting with the moon globes is that the very earliest ones only showed half of the moon… the side that could be seen through a telescope! The “back” was only filled in gradually once recording devices started to be sent up there and people actually made it to the moon! Until then, the other half of the globe was filled with explanations or symbols with a key.

Once the globe museum was done, we stopped for a quick beer then went to book a place on the tour for Dialog im Dunkeln the next day. There are no tours on Mondays, but staff are present in the building to take books. That done, we decided to try and find a place to watch the football. At the first place we tried, all the tables where you could actually see a screen were taken, so we went to the same beach hut we’d been to the day before, where there was a large screen. Of course, all the chairs there were taken too, but we sat on the ground by the water where we could just about see something. The match was pretty boring and the ground not exactly comfortable, so we ended up leaving at half time. Neitther of us was particularly hungry (we’d had a big breakfast and it was after 2 by the time we got round to eating our sandwiches), and I had a headache from spending so long wandering around museums without a drink, so we decided to go back to the hotel.

… And this seems like a good place to stop before this post gets even longer! More will follow soon. I’m counting Vienna as my June trip for the Take 12 Trips challenge.