Alan and Jonna's Central Europe trip

Another summer vacation and another motorcycle trip. This year we decided to go our fifth tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel. This tour, called the Kings and Castles tour, involved two weeks riding in central Europe. Since we were heading across the pond, we tacked on two great visits onto the front of this trip. First, we flew Denver to London, UK and then across the channel to Brussels, BE. There, we spent a day visiting our good friend (and frequent Edelweiss co-tourer) Corinna. Then we hopped a flight from Brussels to Vienna, AT. There, we met up with our friends Steve and Melissa for a couple of days exploring the Austrian capital. Finally, we started the Edelweiss tour which took us through Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and then back to Vienna. Then a flight back to Denver via London. This tour was equal parts riding and having days off to explore some of the great cities of Europe (Prague, Dresden, Krakow and Budapest). Alan took the chance to ride a BMW F800GS (and sneaked in a ride on the new Ducati Multistrada!) while Jonna rode a BMW F650GS.

Here are some of our favorite photos from the trip (each photo is a thumbnail linked to a higher quality picture. There are four pages of photos in total):

1) Our day trip to Brussels started with breakfast on the balcony at Chez Horst - the home of our friend and fellow motorcycle enthusiast, Corinna, in the Uccle district.

2) Jonna walking through the Albertplain Park approaching the Mont des Art.

3) La Grande Place. Ground zero for historic (and touristy) Brussels. We passed through this square at the end of the day, only spending a few moments admiring the architecture.

4) Art Nouveau is a big part of Brussels. We visited the Victor Horta house musuem and then afterwards Hotel Hannon. Here we are in the lobby of Hotel Hannon with it's Art Nouveau frescoes, stained glass, mosaics and iron work.

5) Looking down the spiral staircase onto a mosaic floor in the lobby of Hotel Hannon. Beautiful! In addition to being a city owned museum to preserve it's architecture the building is also a photographic art exhibition space.

6) The view from Chez Horst, showing some of the typical Brussels architecture. We enjoyed our day in Brussels but just scratched the surface of things to do and see there.

7) We had two days to explore Vienna so we started our sightseeing, like in so many European cities, with a visit to the city cathedral. In this case to Stephensdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral). This photo shows the interior of this massive 500 year old gothic church.

8) Melissa, Jonna, Alan and Steve on tram #2 - following Rick Steve's self-guided tour around the Ringstrasse in Vienna.

9) On our Ringstrasse tour we happened upon a film festival happening at on a massive screen hung in front of the Rathhaus (the city hall building). One free movie shown each night for the month of August, along with a food festival held in the city gardens. A clear example of the socialist Austrian government ruining life for it's citizens.

10) Another Rick Steve's recommendation, led us to Turkish/Greek feast for dinner at a place called Gyros. The owner was friendly and the food was excellent.

11) The Habsburgs did everything to the nines. Schloss Schonbrunn, considered the Versailles of Austria, was the home of the Habsburg kings for nearly 500 years. The palace, gardens and park are unfathomably luxurious.

12) Alan surveying the Crown Prince Gardens at Schonbrunn palace. This small garden is on the east side of the main palace building.

13) Jonna peaking out to look at the Crown Prince Gardens from within the pergola "tunnel".

14) Steve and Melissa at the stunning Neptune Fountain overlooking the Great Parterre gardens. The sheer scope of the park and gardens is massive with manicured gardens covering more than an square mile and filled with fountains, pools, gardens, greenhouses, a zoo and even a maze.

15) Artsy shot, looking through the falling water of the Neptune Fountain at Schloss Schonbrunn.

16) Jonna and Melissa at the Naschmarkt outdoor market in Vienna on a rainy afternoon. It is hard not to get hungry just walking through the stalls of fresh fruit, vegetables, olives, spices, herbs and teas.

17) We were burnt out on Baroque architecture after visting the Schonbrunn palace, so opted to skip touring the Hofburg (the Habsburg's winter residence). However, we did visit the Schatzkammer which is the Habsburg's royal treasury. This is the crown of Kaiser Rudolf II from 1602, one of the many prize items of the collection.

18) Jonna checks out the handiwork on the the royal coronation cape of Roger II, in the Schatzkammer. This cloak was originally sown and worn around 1100 AD!

19) Some of the sacred relics of the Holy Roman Empire (of which the Habsburgs were the rulers). This photo includes the Holy Lance (supposedly the spear tip with which Jesus was stabbed on the cross), the Imperial cross (paraded before the Habsburg emperors in processions) and a Holy Cross reliquary (supposedly containing a piece of Jesus' cross).

20) Demel is THE place in Vienna to buy chocolates and sweets. We were not tempted to buy anything but we were reminded of how much we missed our cats.

21) Walking Graben street in Vienna, headed towards the Pestsaule (a column commemorating the plague). This typifies the architecture of the Inner Stadt (city center).

22) The most ornate museum in the world, the Kunsthistorisches (Museum of Art History), with Jonna hidden amongst the marble beams. The Habsburgs knew how to do a museum.

23) Art and couches - Jonna's favorite. The Kunthistorisches is one of the best museums in the world. Incredible architecture and the collection is the art of the richest dynasty in Europe, the Habsburgs. This room, for example, was one of many containing paintings by Peter Paul Rubens.

24) View onto the plaza in front of the art museum and of the Naturhistorisches (the Museum of Natural History of Vienna).

25) One of the most iconic images of modern Vienna. One of the seemingly millions of men dressed like Mozart stalking the tourist attractions of Vienna trying to get tourists to attend expensive concerts.

Go forward to the second '10 Central Europe Trip Photo Page.

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Alan Fleming