Vienna, Austria to Bratislava, Slovakia

Day 67, Thursday, October 31, 2019

We need to return our rental car today.  We rented it in Bratislava, Slovakia, which is about an hour drive from Vienna.  We got the same type of car, from the same car rental company, for half the price we would have paid if we had rented it in Vienna!

It is so foggy that we can not see the tops of the wind turbines.  There are lots and lots of them along the highway.  When we pass some that are close to the road we can see just how enormous these wind turbines are.
As we get closer to Bratislava the fog lifts, but it is still a very grey day. This is the border crossing into Slovakia.  Because of the European Union there are no border checks or stops, but I do miss getting a stamp in our passports though. We return the car, and catch a FlixBus back to Vienna.  Just as the bus pulls up I realize I have lost a pair of sunglasses somewhere in the airport, but there is no time to go back and look for them.  These buildings under construction near the Bratislava bus terminal have scaffolding all the way up to the top!  I can’t imagine having to work on scaffolding that high off the ground. There is lots of construction in Bratislava, which has a population of 425,000.  We get settled into our apartment and then head out to a life drawing session at 6:30.  When we find the Kaffeebar it is in, we find out that the session was cancelled because it is Halloween.  Oh well, we got to figure out the way there and I will try again next Thursday.  Halloween in Austria is a time when adults get dressed up and party but the children do not go door to door for treats like they do at home.

Day 68, Friday, November 1, 2019

We both enjoyed having a quiet day.  I stayed home all day and Bob went for a walk in the afternoon while I made us a yummy chicken dinner.  Then we had popcorn and watched a movie.  It was a nice relaxing day.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Day 57, Tuesday October 31, 2017

On our way to the train station to visit Cinque Terre we pass street cleaners who use the same ‘witchy’ brooms as they do in Paris. It seems especially appropriate today on Halloween.We are rather surprised that most of the train ride to the Cinque Terre villages is inside tunnels! I guess, in hindsight, that makes sense as these towns are only accessible by train, boat, or walking. We are visiting Monterosso al Mare, which is the town furthest away from La Spezia where we are staying.
Cloths for sale spread out on the sand. There were lots of sellers but not many buyers.We have seen a few Halloween decorations here and there but this is the only real pumpkin jack o’ lantern we have seen.This huge rock was a popular spot. We walked all along this beach… and through a narrow tunnel to reach the oldest historic part of town.
Monday is wash day and we see lots of laundry hanging outside windows.We have noticed that churches in Italy are all quite different from each other. When we were in Spain a couple of years ago the churches seemed much more alike than they do here. These four churches are all in Monterosso al Mare.We walk down this street on our way to find the footpath that leads to the next Cinque Terre village of Vernazza about 3.6 km away. 

We aren’t exactly sure what we were expecting but we were definitely surprised at how many steps are on this path. By the end of the day we calculate we have climbed about 1,420 steps!! and of course what goes up has to come down. That is a lot of climbing up and down! These photos were taken on flights of stairs that had between 200 and 350 steps all in a row. Yes, I had to stop several times to catch my breath and rest my legs, but I did it! I am rather proud of myself.The path is also fairly rough in places and sometimes only just over a foot in width. It was quite an adventure. About half way along the path we found an older gentleman making fresh orange juice for € 2.00 a glass which seemed like a bargain! It was delicious. Way down there is Monterosso where we started our hike.We saw this little rat on the path. He didn’t want to get out of the way, despite being prodded with my hiking pole. I didn’t think he looked very healthy which may explain his strange behaviour.We even crossed a cute bridge over a small creek.There is our destination, the village of Vernazza.We found these little cat houses along the trail along with big containers of food and instructions to fill the cat’s dishes if they were empty. Someone here really loves stray cats.Finally, we are almost at Vernazza, after 2 1/2 hours of climbing up and down, and down and up.It isn’t a very big village and has a population of less than 900 however the Cinque Terre villages see more than 2.4 million tourists a year!I love peeking inside doorways and today I was rewarded with this interesting collection.
We arrive in Vernazza in this narrow street but…we have to climb down one more long narrow set of stairs to reach the main piazza, or public square, where we find an ice cream shop for a much deserved treat. The fruit sorbet in Italy is amazing, so creamy and delicious.Children in Italian towns play in the squares or on the streets, or in small playgrounds. Green spaces are far and few between. I think about how different their childhoods are compared to children at home who spend so much of their time playing outside in grassy yards and parks.After watching the sun set over the we take the train and then a bus home. We need to get off our bus a couple stops early because an accident that has tied up all the traffic. Two young people on a motorcycle have had a collision with a car. It looks very serious as neither of them are moving and there are several ambulances on the scene. It is very sobering to think of how quickly life can change. 

In yesterday’s post look at the windows in the last picture of the boat. One of them is covered in black plastic and duct tape. Not what we expected to see on a boat that costs millions of dollars.

Quiet Times in Portomáo, Portugal

Saturday, October 31, Halloween

Halloween isn’t a big event in Portugal.  We see a few kids in costume on their way into a party but that is about it. I am missing my grandkids today but we do manage to connect for a great FaceTime visit and then they send us these great pictures.imageI am fighting a cold and not feeling very perky at all so I have a pyjama day and Bob goes for a walk along the river in Portimáo.  This boat is actually a restaurant.  image

Sunday, November 1

The quiet day yesterday was nice but it hasn’t helped my cold very much so I decide to stay put again today. I’m taking lots of vitamins, Echinacea and drinking lots of fluids, doing everything I can to get better quickly, but so far no luck. Bob went for a walk again today, he forgot his map and the cell phone but he managed to find his way around and get back to the apartment.

Monday, November 2

Our Airbnb hosts are so nice and they have asked us to go to a local market with them this morning.image

We get some fresh fruits and veggies and then we go for coffee and pastries.  We have a nice visit and learn a bit more about what it is like to live in Portugal. They are a lovely young couple with two children fairly close in age to our own two grandchildren. I have been using this down time to catch up on our blog and I am very happy to finally be caught up! Now, if I could just get my journal caught up And get rid of this cold all would be well.