Venice, Austria and Prague

Venice, Austria and Prague

Venice, Austria and Prague: In 1984 Sherri and I were in Salzburg Austria staying with our Swiss friends and we all ventured down to Venice (my second time there).

Left to right: The European Union Flag, Italian Flag, Venetian Flag.

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During my Air Force days, I was stationed in Southern Italy and had spent time in Rome, Florence, Sicily, and the Amalfi Coast. Venice doesn't require the amount of "tourist time" that those places (and Cinque Terra) require in my opinion, so I only allocated a full day and one night before driving up into the Italian Alps and the gorgeous Dolomite Mountains.

Venice Italy and the Grand Canal. Church of the San Giorgio Maggiore.

Founded in a lagoon to escape after being attacked around 421, Venetians used 60 foot long wood posts and had them driven deep through the mud into the hardened clay, then marble was placed upon the piers. From there, buildings were constructed.  In fact, Over time, those posts have petrified. One of the larger churches have over 1000 pilings under it. Over time, Venice became Europe's largest city.

All those little bridges? Connecting walkers from one island to the next. 118 islands in total. Thus, no cars are allowed in the city and you get around by Vaparetto's (Water Taxi's. like the city bus), walking or taking a more expensive private taxi or Gondola. Pretty fascinating city with its old churches and buildings, skilled glass craftsmen, and of course the Carnival. 

Taken from the Vaparetto, I took this same angle of this building 32 years ago.

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Going back to Venice with my kids, I knew I wanted them to take a Gondola ride.  Sherri and I did the same 32 years prior....8Z8A5110 Italy114a_1

One of the places I've always wanted to see is the Santa Maddalena Church in the Dolomites. With gorgeous weather and going out of our way a little bit, I got my wish. Ironically, being a wedding photographer, what was happening in this destination? A wedding by the church of course (in the circle about 5 o'clock from the church).8Z8A5304a

Prior to that we explored the Suditirol area of Italy and the area of  St. Cristina and Val Gardena . Originally part of Austria, "South Tyrol"  is now under Italian jurisdiction, but has that "Alp" feeling.

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The following day we drove to Maria Alm in Austria where we spent four nights and used that as a base to explore Salzburg and Berchtesgaden, Germany from our Hotel, the Maria Alm Alpensport Hotel.  Here is an image I took in 1984 and then in 2016 of Salzburg.

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Maria Alm is a quiet, peaceful little town and made for a pleasant stay.

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Just a four hour drive to the Northeast, is the historic city of Prague (Known as "Praha" to the locals). It escaped being bombed in WWII, so it retained its 1100-1800 era buildings in old town. I kept making the mistake by calling the country Czechoslovakia  (so 90's!) rather than the Czech Republic.8Z8A6117a

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Prices were much lower here than the rest of Europe and the craftsmanship found in the local markets made me wish we had an extra bag so transport things we wanted to buy (but didn't due to space).

We stayed at the Prague Hilton, which is conveniently located and beautifully appointed. 8Z8A5810

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like Israel, I elected to hire a 1/2 day guide service to understand more about the culture and history.They took us first to Prague Castle (over 600 yards long), which has been built and then expanded upon over several centuries. In the middle of the Castle (or collections of buildings surrounded by walls), was the St. Vitus Cathedral. From there we got to go on a boat trip that motored on the Vltava River, and under the St. Charles bridge (c. 1402).

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From there we walked through the old city.  8Z8A6124aAnd encountered another wedding couple (shades of Santorini) with their destination wedding photographer in tow.  (I'd LOVE the opportunity!) 8Z8A5916a

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Prague was absolutely an architectural delight. Excellent food to go with the crafts. Next time you go to Europe, I'd highly recommend it (Not over Murren or Ireland though :-) ). In 5 days: I will post Ireland, NYC and Rhode Island to conclude our trip.

Here is a trailer video of some of my favorite images from Venice, Italian Alps, Austria and Prague: .

Venice, Austria and Prague