We had a wonderful day in the countryside on Thursday. Followed the Danube out into the quiet countryside and discovered some beautiful little towns.
This is wine grape country with little towns tucked in amongst the vineyards.
We saw lots of bicyclists traveling from town to town and large barges on the Danube filled with site seers. I've heard of trips where you can cruise the Danube and get off to bicycle into the little towns. Sounds like fun (and maybe just a little too much hard work for this ol' bod)!
I just can't get enough of these window boxes. I have a renewed appreciation for geraniums and am trying to figure out how I can mount some of these boxes on the front of my house.
This church clock tower in Durnstein, Austria was the most wonderful shade of blue
and these narrow cobblestoned walks led to quaint little restaurants and shops.
Sorry, this is the last photo of window boxes, I promise...
only because we leave for home tomorrow. I'm posting this from the Airport Hilton in Zurich. We board the plane in the morning for home.
I just want to say how special this trip has been for me partly because I was able to share it with you. Even Bill now looks for blog photo opportunities (had to take a picture of his fruit plate this morning before digging in) and has been so good to let me spend time on the computer typing my blog.
Thanks for letting me share this incredible trip with you!
Good evening princess, your carriage awaits...
won't you join us for a little night music?
Mozart to be exact. In full costume.
Here is a shot from our hotel window of the Vienna Opera House
Here is the view of the opera house from our front row seats
and the concert mistresses music stand from my seat! Holy Mozart, I hope she doesn't ask me to turn the pages!
At the intermission we were invited to the emperor's private tea room for some bubbly and as we walked in the door these guys were standing there to greet us. OM Gosh, it's the conductor and the soprano! The baritone was there too but I didn't get a good photo of him. You talk about your awkward moments. What do you say to these people who only speak German?
I couldn't wait for them to leave because I was totally distracted by the 17th century wall coverings! Gorgeous HAND APPLIQUE!! Now you're talk'n...if you know what I mean.
With metallic thread
The hand appliqued Austrian crest
Here's the final curtain call
What a very incredible evening and memory of Austria. Thanks honey, you always make me feel like a princess.
BTW We are renting a car today and driving towards Salzburg so if you don't hear from me, send out the search party. LOL
Still haven't found a fabric store, but with a little imagination this could be the fabric wall at Strawberry Patches. Hey Lois, look at all the orange. It's popular. I keep tell'n ya.
Did I tell you I miss my store?
Here we have Lang & Amanda's wedding gift -"Mr Spatula-man". OM Gosh today is the 27th! One month from today and Amanda will be a married woman!! Yikes!!
So tell me what kind of tourists hang out in home stores and the cemetery? The concierge said we were very unusual visitors to want to go here...
The families have to pay an annual rent on the cemetery plots and if they don't pay they dig up the graves and throw the bones in a community crypt and sell the original plot to another family. The families must also pay to have the graves maintained or do it themselves.
The headstones were beautiful, ornate and mostly very old. Amongst the three million graves of common folk are the graves of some of Vienna's more famous citizens. Just as the artists seemed to gather in Paris, the composers gathered in Vienna.
Pretty impressive neighborhood huh?
Hey, how do you like my new photo editing program? I know this post looks a little disjointed and without much of a theme, but I just wanted to try some of the features out. Did I tell you it's free and super easy? It's called Picnik. Check it out.
Well Bill's looking at me like I'd better get dressed for the opera, so I'd better.
Won't you join me for a...
...as I show you around our new digs?
This is our home for the next three nights...the Hotel Bristol in Wien (that's Vienna Austria to you and me)
Right outside our lace curtained window is the Vienna Opera House
with its beautiful fountains and costumed greeters.
Inside our room the walls are covered in brocade with gimp trim all around. I've actually been having fabric withdrawals so at least I can run my hands over the walls. (We walked for miles today and not a fabric store was to be found). = (
Lovely old brass fixtures .
The carpet is quite ornate with its golden flourishes
and the window treatments are lavish and opulent with double rows of tasseled trim.
Austria is as fancy as Switzerland is plain.
And what have we here? Humm...
Somethin' for me lady? Oh yes, I've heard of these. Think I'll be pack'n that cute little towel in my suitcase! Do you think folks at home would know what that towel is really for? LOL
Tomorrow it's more site seeing then dinner and the Mozart Opera across the street.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed your visit!
Bill and I love fondue.
We stopped one afternoon and enjoyed this at a little sidewalk cafe. Add a cold beer and you just go into a carb coma! It's definitely nap time right after lunch. LOL
Next day it was raining so we stopped for lunch and tried racalette. More yummy swiss cheese.
You let the cheese wedge melt in this cheese toaster kind of thing and then take those spatulas and scrape the melted cheese from the wedge and spread it on bread, spread it on veggies and spread it on fruit.
You can almost feel your back-side spread as you're sitting there eating all that cheese...and we did. The two of us ate the whole huge wedge!
And for dessert, a little wedge of Swiss ice cream with whipping cream. Now, I ask you. How come the Americans are so fat when it's the Swiss that eat all these fattening dairy carbs?
And why do these guys look so sad?
Cause they have to say goodbye to us!
This is during our farewell dinner.
Don't look at our hair. We all blew up our flat irons and curling irons while we were in Switzerland so all the women just went all naturale. (Have you ever noticed that my eyes are different sizes?) Has nothing to do with the two vodka tonics I had before dinner! Wonder what Bill is thinking about here? Probably about how much it will cost to replace all the blown appliances! LOL
With us are our new BFF's from Cozy Quilt Shop.
Even without hair help, our hair looked better than hers...I'm just say'n
Sheez, woman! Show a little Swiss pride and get a new hat! Actually she was the local yokel yodeler. There was also a boys choir and some men with really big horns.
The entertainment was such fun and a perfect ending to five fabulous days in Switzerland. Our best trip here ever! Thanks Bernina!
Now it's off to Austria before returning home on Friday. Hummm, wonder what they have to eat in Austria? Chocolate tortes, sausage, and schnitzel with noodles...oh, these are a few of my favorite things!
All aboard the Zingg express as we continue our travel log through Switzerland.
You cannot imagine our excitement as Bill & I spotted this truck at the rest stop this morning! "Zingg" is such an unusual name in the US, but quite common here. So here we are, all excited; taking pics of a big eighteen wheeler in the parking lot of a rest stop. What losers!
Now we are off to bond with Bernina's newest family member, the 830 with a day of sewing at the factory in Steckborn. But first a quick stop at the chocolate factory just down the road.
I call this stop "eye candy". Just an incredible store FULL of chocolate. The displays were perfect and the chocolate delicious! After purchasing a small bag of assorted candies (about $45 US - everything is SO expensive here) Bill and I took a little walk to check out the neighborhood.
Everything is pristine and so lovingly cared for. Every house has window boxes of red geraniums and we were told that women compete for the most colorful houses. If I had a vote this lady wins hands down. Those are grapevines with huge grape clusters growing around her windows and doors. They were so perfect that I had to walk up and touch them to see if they were real!
We drove on just a little way further when the bus driver suddenly pulled over so we could get our first glimpse of the factory.
Nestled along the banks of Lake Constance in the tiny town of Steckborn, Switzerland is the Bernina factory. The sight was absolutely breath taking and so emotional for me. Nearly two hours from the closest big city, this factory has made its home here for over 100 years. Bernina employs a good share of the people in this area and you can just feel the pride that these dear people put into each machine they make seemingly by hand.
Waiting for us in the Creative Sewing Center were 150 Bernina 830's (and a welcome box of Swiss chocolate for each of us) ready to show us what they could do.
This machine is amazing. Huge, solid and oh, so luxurious! The Swiss quality and pride is so evident.
Expensive? Well yes, but just like a fine watch or a luxury car you can really feel the quality and workmanship that has gone into this machine. Compared to other top of the line machines I think the 830 is a real value! I can't wait to get this one home to show you what I have experienced! It's so much more than any of us had imagined and does far more than I ever thought possible!
After sewing we all got together for a group photo before we were off to Mr. Ueltschi's home to meet his family. He lives in the same house his grandfather built over sixty years ago just a few miles from the factory.
Bernina has been the most gracious host. They have kept us so busy and very well fed I might add. Tomorrow we go to the Swiss Embroidery museum in St. Gallen and then conclude our trip with a farewell dinner complete with Swiss folk dancers and alpine horn blowers.
I just want to say how proud I am to be a dealer of such a fine product. Thank you Bernina for taking such pride in what you create, for keeping the Bernina brand in your family for four generations and for caring so much about continuing to make the very best sewing machines in the world. You have done yourselves and your dealers proud!
American Airlines...The only way to fly! (Love those hot nuts!) The wine wasn't bad either and it certainly helped relax a girl on a very long flight!
After thirteen hours of flying we are here in Zurich, Switzerland. Dropped our bags off at the hotel and took a two hour walking tour of the city.
Don't you love these old signs. I want a big strawberry out front of my store (but then people would think I was selling produce).
This is grill work on the front door of a home. Just beautiful.
Window shopping - gorgeous fabrics in pink and gray. Gotta come back without the 26 other people so I can get my fabric fix! How frustrating to not be able to go in and shop!!!
This shot is for you Amanda - purple shutters!
Good thing we wore good walking shoes. All the streets in the old town were cobblestone.
We met Daniela and Rick from Cozy Quilts in El Cajon, CA.Such a nice couple!
We're off to dinner with the Bernina dealers and then early to bed.
What is it about certain foods that, with just one bite, can pick you up and carry you back to your childhood?
For me it's figs! Yup, FIGS!
Figs take me back to when I was seven; sitting under the cool canopy of our backyard fig tree playing cars in the soft, damp dirt and building roads to heaven knows where. It's climbing the low sturdy branches in late summer to pluck its sweet ripe bounty for my mom who would stand at the kitchen sink and savor my succulent gifts.
Although I never really liked figs back then, today they bring back such delicious memories!
Enjoy the last few days of summer and all its sweet goodness!