It's Better to Travel than Arrive?

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive"

Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881.

"Robert Louis Stevenson speaks utter tosh and has

obviously never flown long haul economy class"

Kristy, first ever blog post, 2011.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Restaurant Review : Blaue Gans, Salzburg, Austria

After a 400km drive, and a good walk around Salzburg old town, we were feeling the need for a sit down, a drink and a meal.  The outdoor dining area of the Blaue Gans really caught our eye and we sat up at a high bar table for a drink and look at their menu.

The food going out looked really good, and we all know that I can't refuse a schnitzel - they kept on coming past!  We decided that we'd stick around for dinner and our friendly waiter took our order and moved us to a larger table when the food arrived.

Of course I ordered the schnitzel, and hubby had some rather yummy nettle filled ravioli (I know that sounds weird, but it was really yum) and fried spatchcock.  Luckily we'd been seated under a protective sail, as halfway through dinner the heavens opened and many people had to be quickly relocated - but we were fine and finished our meal.

It was still raining after we got the bill and our waiter gave us his umbrella, then ran behind us in the rain to safely deliver us to our hotel door - that's service!

Yummy food, reasonable prices and friendly, helpful staff - you can't beat that.

Art Hotel Blaue Gans
Getreidegasse 41-43 (or Herbert-von-Karajan-Platz 3)
Salzburg  Austria  5020
Phone:- 43 662 84 24 91 0

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Goldener Hirsch Hotel, Salzburg, Austria

Character Filled Lobby

We had a great short break in Salzburg last weekend, a place that neither of us had visited before.  I know, it sounds very posh "Oh yes, we had a weekend in Salzburg", but it's closer than Adelaide - Melbourne and significantly cheaper to get to.  That's the beauty of living in Europe, everything is so close, it's fabulous!

Proper old keys on heavy fobs (none of this modern keycard business)

Anyway, we stayed on Friday night at The Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg, which is a glorious 600 year old hotel right in the middle of the old town.  The satnav got a bit lost in the last few hundred metres, so we had to do a few loops around the busy town (glad hubby was driving!), but eventually figured out that we could go down an apparently one way street, and parked our car right outside the rear entrance of the hotel.  A concierge nipped outside to take our luggage and park our car in their private carpark - a brilliant idea considering the scarcity of carparks and that the old town is actually a car free zone.

One of the hotel restaurants, in the old stables

The hotel is fantastic, quite higgledy piggledy, with lots of winding hallways, old staircases, original features and a tiny little lift.  We had a lovely room with opening windows (yay!) and a big comfy bed with the traditional European "duvet per person".  Quite unusually for Europe, there was also functioning air-conditioning - lovely.  The hotel very kindly supplied a bottle of red wine, Mozart chocolates and a scrumptious gingerbread heart (which I ate on the drive home!).  We dropped our bags and quickly headed out to experience Salzburg old town.

Our room was very similar to this one

The pedestrian streets were groaning with tourists, though many of the stores were closed or were closing for the night (at 7pm).  I always think it's strange that the shops in Europe don't seem to accommodate the hoards of tourists, but everyone seems to manage.  The shops are also closed on Sundays, so keep that in mind if you're only planning a short visit.

After a good look around, we decided on dinner at the Blaue Gans, next door to the Goldener Hirsch - review coming up soon!

Hotel Goldener Hirsch
Getreidegasse 37
Salzburg  Austria  5020
Phone:- 43 662 80840

Monday, June 25, 2012

In-Flight Movie Reviews - Part 2

In Darkness - It's another foreign one, folks.  This time we've got a mix of Polish and German with English subtitles.  "In Darkness" is the story of a Polish sewer workers rescue and concealment of a group of Jewish refugees in the sewers underneath the Lvov ghetto during WW2.  It's a true story, based around "The Girl in the Green Sweater" by Krystyna Chiger - one of the actual survivors.  These poor people were kept alive in the darkness of the sewers for 14 months by Leopold Socha.  This happened in living history - you should see it, think about it, and marvel at the strength of the human spirit.

Safe House - I watched this one on the advice of the woman sitting next to me, and it was a good way to kill time.  It's more of a boys movie though - action and shooting and blood and stuff.  A young CIA agent, looking to prove himself, is suddenly put in charge of a fugitive in a safe house in South Africa.  Then all the shooting, blood, car chases and mounds of bodies starts.  Starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds - you know who they are, I'm not going to link to them.  Apparently Denzel did all his own stunts, which is saying something considering he's now 57.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - I keep forgetting that I'm much more emotional when I'm on a long haul flight - I don't know why this is, but I have previously burst into tears whilst watching "Marley and Me" on the screen of the guy in the row in front of me.  Issues, people, issues.  Anyway, this is based on the day of 9/11 and the days afterwards.  A 9 year old boy searches NYC for the lock which will fit a key he found in the closet of his father, who died in the WTC on 9/11.  It's fairly improbable (the key/lock/search thing), but that didn't stop me crying.  Take the tissues along if you want to see it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

In-Flight Movie Reviews - Part 1

After I had folded myself up and wedged myself into my economy class seat for the 26 hour flight duration to Australia, I checked out what I could be watching to while away my time.

Living in Germany, in a small town without a cinema, we don't go to the movies anymore, so if I'm stuck in a seat for a long time then I might as well catch up on movies I've not seen.  Over the two long haul flights over and back I managed to watch 7 movies.  Yes, you got it, I didn't get much sleep!

Here's what I watched and what I thought:-

Man On A Ledge - starring Australia Sam Worthington (with a scratchy American accent) as an ex-con masterminding the biggest diamond heist ever.  Highly improbable, but watchable.  It lost me after he wiped all his fingerprints off everything the hotel room that he touched, he then used his bare hands to open the huge window and climb out onto the ledge - leaving his great paw prints all over the glass.  Also, the window opened all the way up so he could comfortably climb out.   In a hotel in NYC.  On the 22nd floor.  Never going to happen.

Wish You Were Here - four Aussie friends travelling through South East Asia attend a Full Moon Party and one of them goes missing.  Joel Edgerton was the stand out actor for me, though I've been gone from Australia for a while, so some of the other cast might be more well known by now.  It was okay, but the entertainment system died with about 15 minutes to go, and when they re-installed it I didn't even care enough to go back and watch the end.

The Intouchables - no, I didn't make a spelling mistake, it's French!  This is a SERIOUSLY GOOD movie.  An aristocratic quadriplegic hires a young man (the utterly gorgeous Omar Sy) from a dodgy background to be his new carer.  It's all in French, but has English subtitles.  It's fabulous, funny, brilliantly written and acted and it's based on a true story.  Find this movie and watch it, you won't regret it (and you might even be able to polish up your French!).  Go!  Watch it now.

W.E. - Madonna wrote it, Madonna directed it, but luckily for all of us, Madonna didn't "act" in it.  It's an odd mix of the story of the affair between King Edward VIII and the American divorcee Wallis Simpson - and a unhappy married woman and a Russian security guard.  Hmm.  Yes.  It doesn't make much sense and features Abbie Cornish with black hair, black clothes and sad expression as the married woman, and actors I didn't really recognise in the other parts.  I nodded off a few times whilst watching it, but it wasn't too bad.  It did pique my interest in Wallis Simpson, so I think I'll toddle off and find a good book about her.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Restaurant Review : Lenzerheide, Hawthorn, South Australia

I was lucky enough to be invited to High Tea at Lenzerheide by some of my girlfriends when I was back in Adelaide.

I used to dine at Lenzerheide back in the day (15+ years ago) when I was in the IT industry and expense accounts were fairly limitless (ah, those were the days)!  From what I saw, Lenzerheide hasn't changed a jot.  The interior is still decorated in 80s pastel tones, and the food I saw coming out to other tables looked pretty much the same as what it used to be.  This is not a bad thing!  A meal at Lenzerheide was always pretty good, so it's nice to know some things don't change.

The High Tea is priced at $AUD45/head and I think it was well worth it.  We had been to High Tea at the Intercontinental last year and it was a similar price, but was VERY average with astonishingly poor service.  The Lenzerheide's High Tea absolutely knocked the Intercontinental into a cocked hat.

The staff were very attentive, starting us with a lovely glass of champagne and leaving us to read through our great Tea Menu (the Intercontinental had one pot of caterers blend tea which they sloshed out to each table right at the end of the High Tea - yuck).

Out came the gorgeous tiered trays of goodies.  Hot nibblies (mini shepherds pie and aroncini) and lovely fresh sandwiches on the bottom tier, with the top two tiers groaning with yummy little cakes and tarts.  There was also a large plate of "just out of the oven" scones with pots of thick cream and jams.

It was all absolutely scrumptious and we had a great time.  There weren't very many people partaking of the High Tea throughout the restaurant, which is a bit of a shame - maybe they need to advertise it a little more?  Anyway, we loved it and will definitely be back.  Oh, and they do High Tea Gift Vouchers, which I think is a great idea for Christmas/Birthday pressies - take your Mum or girlfriends along!

146 Belair Road
Hawthorn  SA  5062  
Phone:- 8373 3711

Monday, June 18, 2012

Restaurant Review : Ying Chow, Adelaide

On my last trip home to Adelaide, I had to gather the posse together and head back to our old favourite, Ying Chow, in Gouger Street.  We've been going there for about 12 years and I get back there about twice a year when I'm back in town.

Now, as I'm only there about twice a year, I can really tell if things have changed.  And things have changed.  Not the food though, the food is still fantastic, yummy, wonderful and "eat until you burst".  The decor hasn't changed either, it's basic and cheerful, and it's absolutely packed all the time.  The things that have definitely changed are the quantities and the prices.

Every person in our group noticed independently that the serving sizes are now about half the size that they used to be, and that the prices are about double what they used to be.  It's BYO, and they charge very little for corkage, so alcohol wasn't a factor in our bill - and our bill came to nearly $AUD220 for five people.  For a cheap Chinese meal.  Sitting at a semi sheltered plastic table on the footpath in drifting rain.  They're taking liberties.

I know things increase in price, I'm not daft, but we used to feed twice as many people for half as much money not that long ago.  Don't get me wrong, we'll go back again, but it kind of takes the shine off things a bit.

If you do go (and you should, it's still great food), try the Salt & Pepper Ribs, E-Shand Chicken, Crispy Shredded Beef and the Beans With XO Sauce.  Don't forget to order custard pancakes to finish off.

114 Gouger Street
Adelaide  SA  5000
Phone:- 8211 7998
(Make a booking unless you want to be standing outside for ages)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Annual Flight Count Update ...

Now you know the reason for the break in blog posting, I'm just back from 3.5 weeks "home" in Australia and it's bumped up the flight counter ...

Not only has the trip bumped up the flight count, it's also bumped up the weight count - sigh.  So now the diet is going to start (but not until Monday!), exercise is going to be kicked back into gear, and normal blogging service will resume.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Where Am I?

I'm in my favourite airport, which one is it?

And, yes, it really does have a pool in the airport and anyone can use it.  Pack your bikini in your hand luggage!