Last Stop in Western Europe

Trip Start Mar 17, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Austria  ,
Friday, June 8, 2007

Hello Everyone,
Before we forget (which happens every time we update the blog), we want to thank you for all your encouraging emails. They mean a lot to us and we recite them to each other when the going gets ruff ruff - which happens when it rains, or gets too hot or we get lost or we miss you guys and Smokey. 
The amazing friendliness of the Germans never seazed until we crossed the border and that explains why Bryan is dressed up in Lederhosen and all the good stuff if you care to look at the pictures. Robert was one of the "crazy" Germans to whom we asked directions and ended up camping in his sister's garden. The next morning we woke up to a "Americans, Americans, wake up, I bought breakfast for you!". He fed us, let Bryan borrow his lederhosen and gave us big bear hugs when we left. "People gave me shelter, fed me when I toured with my bicycle" he said, "I'm just passing it on". We want to say thank you again, however we know that he will never read this, since he does not own a computer, or a car or an Ipod or anything else that he calls "Just stuff".
In Salzburg, we did the ultimate tourist thing and went to the "Sound of Salzburg" show. The setting was an old tavern in the middle of downtown and it included a traditional dinner. Well, the dinner was less than spectecular (read: barely edible. our food standards have dropped drastically on this trip!) but the show was fun. The story behind the Sound of Music is actually somewhat true, we had no idea. Bryan got on the stage and did some funny things. I have it all taped with our camcorder, hopefully we'll watch it together some time.
We also visited the largest ice caves of the world located in the mountains surrounding Salzburg. Discovered in 1913, the water in the mountain has frozen and formed amazing shapes. We also walked through halls of ice shaped by the wind. When our guide sparked a light behind the ice, we saw the most beautiful turquoise color we had ever seen. The whole walk was unreal and it was one of the best things we have done on the trip.
We recommend the Danua Radweg tour to all of you. If you ever rode a bicycle in your lifetime, you can do this tour! We have seen families with 5-year old kids with loaded biycles or women who have their dogs in the tow. The path is full of guest houses, camgrounds, beer gardens, coffeee houses, tourist offices, biycle ferries if your heart desires to cross the Danube and even bicycle taxis that will take you to the nearest train station if you decide to bail out.
Vienna is very impressive, it's as if the whole city is built with marbles. It is a city that would impress even the most jaded travelers, and that is us! At this point, we are sort of Europed out and we are ready to head to the Eastern European countries for a change of scenery, reasonable prices and food that is not a pizza or a doner kebab!.
Austrians are wonderfully grumpy, so much so that sometimes we can't tell if they are really that grumpy or just faking it for the sake of the tradition.
Headed for Slovakia, Hungary and finally the Czech Republic. We are taking the train from Budapest to Prag, since we are running out of time before we head to Istanbul to meet Bryan's parents.
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