Saturday, August 22, 2015

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Making plans again!

Lots of planning going on here! We weren't sure if we would be able to take vacaton this year due to changes in our work schedules, but we managed to get the time off! This time we are going to..........Austria

We liked Vienna so much on our Danube River cruise in 2009 and we have always wanted to go back so we could spend more time there.  The area around Salzburg is so beautiful, too. So we're planning a couple of weeks touring around Austria, sightseeing and hiking and eating their wonderful breads and pastries (that's why you need to hike).

In just a few days' time I had the plane tickets purchased, a loose itinerary planned, and all the hotels booked! Whew!  Now I'm deep into the nitty-gritty part of the planning- figuring what exactly we want to see and how best to do it, as well as helpful hints from other travelers about cool things to do that don't make it onto the "Rick Steves" type tours (thank you Tripadvisor and all the lovely people on their travel forum!).

I also buy one good guidebook, usually a DK Eyewitness guide, but this time I downloaded a Lonely Planet guide to my iPad.  I also checked out some German language CD's from the library- hopefully I'll at least be able to understand a little bit of German before we go.  I always try to at least learn some basics- hello, goodbye, please, thank you, etc. People appreciate it when you make an effort and do not assume that everyone you meet will speak English.

 I just got a new camera for Mother's Day so I'm hoping to take some good photos. I always publish photos to my blog as we are traveling (no chance to photoshop anything) so I have to take as good a picture as I possibly can.

Hopefully the weather will be much better than our trip to Germany 2 years ago when we experienced record-breaking rain and flooding. We still had a good time on that trip, but it's nice to have a few sunny days!

whales near shore

Hanging out in Monterey

I know it's been a few months since I posted anything, but we've been staying pretty close to home.  We've made a few trips to Monterey and one to Reno for a concert. 

Monterey was great, it always is.  We saw Humpback whales from the shore! They were breaching and lunge feeding for a few hours and were not very far out in the bay at all. As a matter of fact, two of them swam inside the buoy markers that warn the boats to stay away form the rocks near the beach. I'll post a picture of those two. I only had my little point-and-shoot camera with me so I couldn't get super pictures,but you can see how close they were to the shore. The last time we went down there, in March, there were gray whales in the bay. Those are harder to spot and take pictures of because most of their body stays under the water- you just see the "blow" as they exhale air from their blowhole.