The flight from Vienna to Venice was fine but the logistics of Venice made it someone tiring. We were immediately struck by how interesting Venice seemed. We were also surprised at the sheer number of tourists.
The first afternoon we walked around St. Mark's square. Zoe and I marveled; the boys were a bit tired. So that night we went to Antiche Carampane for high quality, albeit adventurous seafood. Max and Zoe l-o-v-e-d it, Nick endured, and I was only mildly impressed. It was worth doing but we wouldn't do it again. The stroll home was lovely though ...
We traveled. We toured. We walked a ton. We ate. We shopped for paintings and sculptures. The boys read a lot on their Kindles. And we continued our HAW tour. In fact, we played lots of basketball (including on a court right behind the hotel) to the point where we wore out our basketball. The boys are improving greatly, although a few smackdowns still occurred. Max and I backpacked to and from a laundry service to have our clothes cleaned. We ate lots of mediocre fancy meals and some great inexpensive ones at Nasche market (which is very cool), as well as the local mall (we needed to get a new basketball :). We visited a crappy palace and played in its hedge mazes. But most of all, we had a great time being together. Nonetheless, we are all looking forward to Italy. Next stop: Venice!
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. For Zoe, it was an amazing bus tour through the annals of her favorite movie. The hills were really alive, and each of the stops and the resulting pictures has some special (God only knows what) meaning! For the boys, it was an early indication of what dating will be like when you actually have to invest in the interests of someone you love. But they did get strudel and a great lunch in the restaurant where our tour leader got an obvious kickback.
Later that day we hunted down a basketball court that was locked to the outside. This put Max is bad humor and caused him to declare his disdain for Salzburg. But at least our last dinner in the old town at Gasthaus Zwettlers Stifskeller was excellent: Zoe (8.5), Max (8.5), Nick (8.5), and Lou (8.5) for a perfect 8.5.
Today we marched up to the Fort for some of the best views of Salzburg. The boys raced up various parts ensuring great exercise for all. On the way down, and to break the monotony of German cooking, we had Indian (Indiya) for lunch that was surprisingly delicious! Max (8.5), Zoe (8), Nick (4), and Lou (8) for an average (w/o Nick :) of 8.2. Later that day, Zoe and I went to the Mirabell Gardens.
It was a particularly active day too. Unfortunately, there were no basketball courts to be found, so Nick enjoyed rock wall climbing and both boys enjoyed practicing their dribbling against one another. The nights dinner found us near Mozart / old town square at a relaxing restaurant called Triangel -- it was a nicely run restaurant with colorful locals and fresh (albeit gamey) fish, but the boys seemed to love it in particular: Max (9), Nick (10), Zoe (7.5), Lou (7) for an average of 8.4.
Like all travel so far, the train to Salzburg was very easy. Again, the weather was cold but provided some awesome vistas. That night for dinner we went to a tucked away gothic-ish restaurant called Paul Stube. Hearty, fatty, salty, and otherwise very filling, the service (and beer) was great. Nick was a bit cranky from travel though :). Ratings: Zoe (7.5), Max (8), Nick (7.5), and Lou (7.5) for an average of 7.6.
Meanwhile, back at my hunting camp along the WA coast, this bruiser gets caught on the trail cam.
The next day we went antique shopping where Zoe and I are eyeing a bronze statue of Hercules and a stag (story about it here: ). Then the boys went swimming ahead of a lovely dinner a restaurant called Gaststatte Burg Pappenheim where we were the only tourists, which is always the goal. Ratings: Zoe (8), Nick (7), Max (8), and Lou (7.5) for an average of 7.6.
For Father's Day the family took me to a (lame) hunter's museum, which left me with a very strong desire to hunt red stag. Otherwise, we walked around Munich going to various museums, squares, stores, etc. For dinner, back we went to to Andechser am Dom where the boys got to enjoy all delicious things German . . . and the Bubba made a face. The only rating that matters for this restaurant is Dad's ... and it's a 9.5!
The de'Ogenblik restaurant where Max had the fish carpaccio gave him food poisoning. So, we arrived in Munich to cold/drizzle and him not feeling well (on a lighter note, we took Uber from the airport to great success). Thankfully, I brought a host of prescriptions for just such matters -- we treated him, got him into to bed, and off the 3 of us went to dinner at Bratwurstherzl. It was very perfunctory meal -- nothing special. A 7.5 at best.
The next day the 3 of us wandered more while Max stayed home. We saw the palace and the jousting on the clock on the Neues Rathaus. And that night, Zoe and I ordered room service for the boys and headed off to Andechser am Dom where I had spicy sausages and then Wiener Schnitzel; Zoe had a goat cheese salad and roasted lamb. Holy smokes was it a phenomenal meal!! A 9.5!! Along the way we came across the (silly) Michael Jackson shrine.
Lufthansa and the Brussels' airport were super comfortable. And the lounge was like a self-serve heaven of Europe's best nosh! Plus, our carry on backpacks are working like a charm.
A friend of Marc and Hollie Levy recommended this place for lunch and it was a big hit. The service was impeccable, the langoustines to die for, and the pomme frites as we imagined them to be. Lou (9), Zoe, (8.5), Max (8.5), and Nick (9) for a solid 8.75. And it had to be good, it was near "Zoe" (sign got cropped out :).