Red River Rockhouse

 

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Never be so focused on what you are looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.—Ann Patchett

 

I have been trying to get the Missus to accompany me on a lunch date to the Red River Gorge.  I have been curious about the Red River Rockhouse since I heard about it from a friend about a year ago. I asked him what is so good about it and he said, “the cheeseburgers”.

Now I love a good burger as well as the next self-proclaimed foodie with a palate similar to eroding blacktop after a tough winter in Eastern Kentucky,  I just didn’t know if I wanted to drive the necessary forty-five minutes for the consumption. I realize most of us will drive even farther to proclaim a dining success.

The Red River Gorge is a gorg-eous place.  It draws tourists from across the country, most it seems come from Ohio.  On any given weekend, the population of Powell and Wolfe Counties is inflated with folks from north of the Ohio River.

The planets must have aligned last week because I got my lovely wife to agree to that lunch date.  We met some out-of-town friends (who amazingly were not from Ohio) through a planned consequence. Now I know you are not familiar with this term, so I will explain.  We talked about meeting for lunch the next day and I would send a text to confirm.  However my friend, who was staying in the lodge at Natural Bridge State Park, did not have cell service and did not get my text saying we would meet them at 1:00 PM that day.  The plan did not materialize, however they showed up anyway and we had really nice time.

Now the important stuff.  If you are going to the Red River Gorge to hike, camp, canoe, kayak, bird watch, or just get out of Ohio, you need to stop in at the Red River Rockhouse for a simple meal of good food.  The menu is not exhaustive, it is written on a chalkboard.  The food is simple but the taste is not. Evidently the Ohioans love a good burger or the selection of craft beers, because it was a busy place.

We started with guacamole and chips, both house-made. I highly recommend this as a starter.  One order was enough for the four of us.

Next I ordered the aptly named Heavenly Cheeseburger. The menu says it is local grass-fed beef topped with cheese made with milk from a local dairy.  I don’t know the difference in grassfed and grainfed beef as far as the taste (I refer to the previous description of my palate), I just know this is one of the best cheeseburgers I have ever eaten.  It came with a side of hand cut fries, or should I say a hillside of fries.  There were a lot of fries and all of them were good.

My wife ordered a burrito.  On the menu, it is described as “a fatty burrito”.  Hello Captain Obvious.  It was the size of a small sombrero.  It took three people two days to eat it all.

Don’t let the unassuming exterior fool you, this is high quality food served by a friendly staff in a beautiful area of Kentucky.

 

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Guacamole and chips for starters.

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Heavenly cheeseburger and fries, always a good choice here.

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Strap on an appetite to tackle the burrito.

Istanbul…Two Continents in One Afternoon

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Istanbul…the constant beating of the wave of the East against of the rock of the West.—Susan Moody

We had an afternoon to explore some of the sights of Istanbul.  We were visiting my son’s family and baby sitting our granddaughter while in Istanbul.  We spent a lot of time in a park and playground of Kadikoy.  However we were able to take an afternoon and see some wonderful sights.

We ferried across the Bosphorus Strait to the European side of Istanbul, or what you really old folks may call Constantinople.  We grabbed lunch off one of the boats selling fresh fish sandwiches and an order of pickles.  This was a very unique dining experience and I loved the taste of both the fish and pickles.  We ate on the landing.

After our lunch, we headed over to the spice market.  What an incredible experience this was.  Normally, I am not a shopper but I was enthralled at all of the stuff for sale here.  We bought some Turkish Delight, of course.  We also bought some decorative tiles and some scarves.  There was great temptation to buy more, but we showed great restraint.

After the spice market, we boarded a train to take us to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

We were not allowed to enter the Blue Mosque but were allowed in the courtyard.  It is an impressive mosque and the grounds were beautiful as the tulips were in bloom.

The Hagia Sophia was an incredible architectural marvel, considering when it was built.  I loved looking at the ceilings. I also loved looking at the remnants of Christianity before it was converted to a mosque, a microcosm of Istanbul itself.  Although I shouldn’t use the term “micro” in the same context as the Hagia Sophia. One minor disappointment was construction going on inside, so scaffolding blocked some of the views.  I realize this is the chance you take going to see old historical buildings that need constant repair and restoration.  I am glad it is being done.

I can’t wait for the next time to visit Istanbul and be able to see more of the historical sites.  One afternoon was memorable.

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Waiting on the ferry to take us across the Bosphorus Strait, from Asia to Europe.

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Seen from the ferry, the Blue Mosque on the left and Hagia Sophia on the right.

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A closer view of the Hagia Sophia.

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In the spice market.

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Of course there are spices for sale in the spice market.

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And delicious Turkish Delight.

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Colorful plates and cups for sale in the spice market.

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Beautiful lamps in the spice market.

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One of the many fountains in Istanbul.

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Tulips in bloom outside the Blue Mosque.

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Up close at the Blue Mosque.

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Courtyard of the Blue Mosque.

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Hagia Sophia

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Domes of the Hagia Sophia.

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Large carpet of tulips outside Hagia Sophia.

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Inside the Hagia Sophia remnants of Christianity and Islam can be seen.

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Remnants of a Christian mural inside the Hagia Sophia.

 

Istanbul…Sezer’s Barber Shop in Kadikoy

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Even though you know a thousand things, ask the man who knows one.—Turkish proverb

 

One of my favorite experiences in Istanbul was going to Sezer’s Barber Shop.

Sezer’s Barber Shop is in Kadikoy, a large borough of Istanbul on the Asian side.  I was staying with my son and his family in the area.  He likes Sezer and wanted me to meet him.  Sezer has helped my son with his Turkish.  Sezer was one of the few folks in Kadikoy I found that spoke impeccable English. Because of this we were able to converse all during my visit to his barber shop.

I think, while traveling, if you can find one person who is native to that country and engage in conversation about their life and culture, you have enhanced your trip tremendously.

Pardon me as I pontificate, but we Americans tend to be burdensome when we travel.  I’m sure you aren’t one of these Americans.  But as a whole, we seem to want things the way we get them in America.  If that is the case why travel outside of America?

Sezer and I were able to ask each other about the other’s country.  He was intrigued by America and curious as to what we Americans thought about his fellow Turks.  Turks love to engage about politics and from what I could surmise, probably handle their differences better than Americans at the moment.

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This was the first head shave I have ever received by a professional barber and I was glad Sezer was the one to perform this task.  As you can see, he did a magnificent job but could only work with the subject at hand.  After my shave, he offered us Turkish coffee or chai tea.  This is customary in his shop, part of his service.  My son and I opted for the coffee since I had been drinking chai tea the entire time in Istanbul.  I was also curious about making Turkish coffee.  He could be a barista, the coffee was very good.

My experience at Sezer’s Barber Shop was very comforting.  His hospitality was refreshing. Two people from different backgrounds and countries were able to enjoy each other’s company and that made my trip memorable.

If you need a shave or a haircut in Kadikoy, see Sezer.  He will treat you right.

Istanbul…Not just Turkish Delight Here

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Without effort, there is no food.—Turkish proverb

Like the history of Istanbul, this post is relatively long.  I am going to talk about all of the food we ate while staying here for five days…and I like to eat good food.

At one time Istanbul was on many travel lists as the most visited city in the world.

Though it has fallen some spaces on those lists, doesn’t mean the city has changed.  People’s perceptions of the city has changed and that is unfortunate, at least from my perspective.

My wife and I were in Istanbul, not so much as tourists but as babysitters for a week.  We flew in from Munich on Pegasus Air.  We went to visit some family and be with our granddaughter. We were in parks and playgrounds and did not see many of the traditional tourist sites.  We interacted with many people in shops, markets, restaurants, parks, and playgrounds.  Of course this was based on their ability to speak some English and our inability to speak any Turkish at all.  But let me tell you the people were very friendly.

But, again, this blog is about the food I ate in Istanbul.  I would go back for the food alone, even if my granddaughter wasn’t there.

We stayed in Kadikoy, one of the boroughs of Istanbul.  It is on the Asian side. It is considered the most secular area of Istanbul and the most artsy.

We began our first full day with a trip to the markets to procure elements to assemble a take on a Turkish breakfast.  This is no light breakfast, but probably healthier than most American breakfasts.  A traditional Turkish breakfast includes cheeses, breads with jams or honey, eggs, sliced vegetables or greens, and of course…chai tea. We had most elements but did not have the eggs.

 

 

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One of the local markets in Kadikoy.

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The bakery was intimidating for me, since I don’t speak Turkish.  My daughter-in-law has workable Turkish language skills and she was able to navigate the crowded local bakery.  I just took pictures and enjoyed the experience.  I was able to go back to this same bakery later in the week to get some bread for  lunch.  I went on my own with my Turkish vocabulary of four words and was able to buy the bread I wanted.  The staff was really nice to me.

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This is the end result of our shopping for ingredients for the Turkish breakfast.

On Mondays in one of the parks in Kadikoy, there is a pazar.  I was not prepared for the amount of food that would be on sale.  It was incredible.  I could have stayed there all day.

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Beautiful olives.

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The yellow plums on the right were one of the best things I ate in Istanbul.

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Artichokes in water.

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I believe these are mixed peppercorns.

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The biggest raspberries I have ever seen.

 

One of my favorite things we did was ride the ferry over to the European side of Istanbul. You can buy some chai tea and drink on the ferry. Very nice.

At the end of the ferry ride we bought some fresh anchovy fish sandwiches right off the boat.  They were served with some sour pickles.  I loved it, my wife thought it was a little fishy for her.

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Fresh anchovy fish sandwich right off the boat.

 

After touring some of the historic sites, I bought an ear of corn from one of the many street vendors.  Corn in my home of eastern Kentucky is a popular staple. You may question my desire to eat some in Istanbul, but good roasted corn is good anywhere… and Istanbul street vendors are no exception to serving good grilled corn and it is cheap and easy to get.

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We had a sweet, late afternoon treat, stopping for baklava and chai tea at Karakoy Gullouglu.

 

We had an evening meal at Banadura Adana Kebapcisi. The owner was very nice and he informed us that he used only tomatoes from his native region of Turkey around Adana. He served us complimentary salads with these tomatoes.  They were so good.  Our food here was extraordinary, a very lovely meal with good, friendly service.

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Salads with tomatoes from the Adana region of Turkey.

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Delicious bread as a starter.

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Really good Adana kebap at Banadura.

Our last afternoon, we took the ferry over to the island of Heybeliada, one of the Prince Islands of the coast of Istanbul.  It is a lovely place, reminiscent of days gone by.  We had dinner at Adaturka Kafe Restoran.  This restaurant was just ok, however I did like the fried anchovies, the kaffka, and the salad.  Unfortunately, this was my wife’s least favorite meal in Istanbul.

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A row of cafes on the boat docks on Heybeliada Island.IMG_2738 2

I loved the fried anchovies at Adaturka Kafe Restoran, my wife did not.

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The kofte was pretty tasty here.

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Meals at home were very good. My daughter-in-law fixed delicious food for us with wonderful produce from the Istanbul markets.

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I think I assembled this plate of delicacies.  So easy with good food to choose from.

 

You will be able eat very well in Istanbul, my taste buds are longing for a return.

Of course if you are looking for some Turkish Delight, I can think of no better place than Istanbul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 6…Goodbye Austria, Hello Munich

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The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.—St. Augustine of Hippo

 

We woke up this morning to our last day in Austria.  We had a tasty breakfast in the garden of Hotel Nala and checked out.  We loved this hotel.

We ventured into Old Town again with the children in tow and the ladies went to shop and the men performed their duties admirably with the children and kept them alive. Innsbruck is such a lovely city to wander in, good shopping, good eating, good architecture to admire, and of course the Alps are everywhere in the background.

We spent our morning in Old Town and gathered for lunch on the main pedestrian walk, Maria-Theresien-Strasse, and ate at Sensei for very good sushi. Afterward we enjoyed some gelato at Tomasseli Gelateria which is nearby.

We had a wonderful stay in Innsbruck and we loaded up and headed off for the two-hour drive to Munich.

In Munich, we stayed at Hotel Olympic.  I need to say something about this hotel.  It was very nice and the staff was very friendly and helpful.  The hotel is located conveniently near the Viktualienmarkt and an easy walk to Marienplatz.  There are numerous multicultural restaurants in the area. I researched the hotel online and it had good reviews and I will give it a good review here.  Rick Steves book described it as “artsy”. However, I must tell you if you have an aversion to nudity in art, you may want to ask for a room that displays art that is more suited to your tastes.  My son, who has a small daughter was given a room with a graphic orgy scene.  The manager was called and he gracefully removed it and all was well.

We had already seen Frauenkirche on the day we landed in Munich five days ago. That day we had lunch on the plaza outside the church.  We had an assortment of cheeses and sausages and sauerkraut at Nurnberger Bratwurst-Glockl am Dom. The food was very good.  We used this time to have a reunion meal with our family that we hadn’t seen for many months since they had moved to Turkey.

Back to the day at hand.  After checking in at Hotel Olympic, my son-in-law took our rental van back to the airport.  While he was gone, we took the kids on a stroll to a park by the Isar River that runs through Munich.  We met up with him later and had our evening meal at an Afghani restaurant across from our hotel, called Bamyan Narges.

We had a wonderful dinner here. All the dishes were excellent.  My wife and I ordered Keema Bamyan for appetizer and an entrée of Quabelli Palau with grilled lamb.

Afterward, we went for a walk and found some good ice cream.  It had been a good day of Innsbruck and Munich.

Next, our first full day in Munich.

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One of the ornate facades in Old Town Innsbruck.

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A narrow street in Old Town Innsbruck.

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Row buildings in Innsbruck.

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A window in Old Town Innsbruck.

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One of the many outdoor sitting areas in Innsbruck.

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Sensei is upstairs, not the restaurant on the ground floor.

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Really, really good sushi at Sensei Sushi Bar and outdoor dining is available.

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Tomaselli gelateria has delicious gelato in Innsbruck.

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Hotel Olympic in Munich is a very good hotel with questionable art, but  very good service and the location is perfect for Old Munich.

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Wonderful dining on the plaza of Frauenkirche in Munich.

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I previously took photos of golf courses, now it is dining experiences.  This is another view of the outdoor dining on the plaza of Frauenkirche in Munich. We ate Nurnberger Bratwurst-Glockl am Dom, which is on the right.

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Sausage, cheese, and radish platter at Nurnberger.

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St. Maximillian Church in Munich.

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The bank of the Isar River is a popular gathering destination in Munich. St. Maximillian Church is in the background.

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Bamyan serves delicious Afghani food in Munich.

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Keema Bamyan at Bamyan.

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Quabelli Palau with grilled lamb was excellent at Bamyan.

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Street scene near the Hotel Olympic.

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Sunset clouds on our first night in Munich.

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Ice cream of course at the end of a good day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Innsbruck, Austria…Day 4

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The mountains are calling and I must go.—John Muir

 

I don’t know if John Muir was ever in Innsbruck.  If this is how he felt, he may never have left.

I don’t know who the official pretty city-rating people are, but if I was in that group, Innsbruck, Austria would definitely be at the top of my list. It sits in a valley completely surrounded by the Alps, which were snow-covered while we were there.  It takes effort to keep from being photo bombed by an Alp when taking a picture.

We arrived in late morning after a night in Schloss Matzen Castle.  We checked into the Hotel Nala which has to be the coolest hotel ever.  Even the website is cool.  I can’t express the level of coolness of this hotel…and very artsy.

While waiting for all the rest of the crew, my wife and I had a glass of Riesling in the beautiful courtyard.  We then headed out for lunch at Machete Burrito Kartell. I must say this was the best burrito I have ever eaten.

We found a nice playground and park across the Inn River that runs through Innsbruck.  We let the children play and some of us older adults rest. Of course on the way to the park we stopped so my daughter and I could get a pretzel and a croissant to eat on the way to the park.

We walked around the Old Town in Innsbruck.  It is a very easy stroll through this part of the city.  We loved the wide pedestrian Herzog-Freidrich-Strasse with its outdoor cafes and shops and historic buildings.  Innsbruck’s Old Town has a nice mix of old and new.  The old buildings intertwine with modern shopping.

We saw the Golden Roof, probably the most recognized spot in the Old Town. Built around 1500 and used by Emperor Maximillian I and his wife to gaze down on the festivals and stay above the tourists.

We also saw St. Anne’s column on Maria-Theresien Street.  It was built in 1703. When you are lost from your group, this is a good place to meet, very easy to find.

Old Town in Innsbruck is very lovely and relaxing. Innsbruck has such a different feel from other cities in Europe that I have seen. It is much more laid back.  We were there in early April, so I’m sure it gets much more crowded in the summer.  We had a pleasant day, in the 60’s and sunny.

We decided to get take out pizza for our dinner since we were tired and didn’t want to take the children out again.  There is a really nice pizza place across from the Hotel Nala called Gusto Pizzeria.  It is owned by a lovely Turkish couple.  The pizza was really good.  But a word of warning, if you want a Margherita pizza, it means cheese only in Turkey. There was a communication problem but it was my fault because I did not read the description that was in English. It was a really good cheese pizza.  The other pizza was very good also.

It was a good day in Innsbruck.

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We started with a nice glass of Riesling in the courtyard of the Hotel Nala.

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Christ’s statue on the Innbrucke Bridge.

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Triumphal Arch leading into the Old Town.

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Best burrito ever was eaten here.

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Row buildings overlooking the Inn River.

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One of the parks in Innsbruck.

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Trees were in bloom in early April.

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The Alps are always peeking into the Old Town.

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Many wonderful outdoor cafes are in Innsbruck on the main pedestrian thoroughfare.

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The City Tower was built in 1450.  You can climb the 133 steps to the top for a stunning view.

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One of the many interesting buildings in Innsbruck.

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Beautiful row of buildings in Innsbruck.

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St. Anne’s Column in the old marketplace.

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So much fun in Innsbruck just walking around.

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Modern stores in old Innsbruck.

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Interesting display on a balcony.

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Good pizza here with friendly service and owners.

Next up, another day in Innsbruck and a train ride to Garmish, Germany.

 

 

 

Schloss Matzen Castle

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Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.—C.S. Lewis

 

My son-in-law booked us rooms in a castle for one night, at the request of my daughter.

When he informed me of this, I thought maybe I told her too many stories when she was a little girl about a princess with her name.  She definitely watched too many Disney movies about princesses.

I didn’t think too much about this night in the castle as the trip materialized.  While we were spending time in Salzburg, I didn’t think much about it either.   We decided to eat in Salzburg before we left for the castle. As we were eating a late dinner, by our standards not European standards, I didn’t think about it. Only when they called my son-in-law to ask if we would be present for the evening meal and tour, did I start thinking about it. I was going to miss a meal and that caused pause for reflection.

This castle is about midway between Salzburg and Innsbruck in the municipality of Reith im Alpbachtal in Tyrol.

The staff was very accommodating even though they wanted us there for the evening meal and the tour.   Now I have been on vacation property tours, but it was because I signed up for a cheap vacation and had to endure a high pressure condo sale.

After spending time at the Schloss Matzen Castle, I wish we would have gotten there sooner.

The castle was first mentioned in 1167 and has undergone different renovations.  President Theodore Roosevelt was friends with one of the owners and spent much time there.

As soon as you walk through the huge doors into the open-air courtyard, you start to feel special.  We stayed on the third floor in a room by itself down a long hallway past the chapel and the knights dining room.  The rooms are large and spaced far apart, I think there are only twelve rooms for overnight guests of the castle.

Since we got there late, it took time to get the grandchildren settled in and we did not get to explore much.  We saved that for the next morning.

The morning brought a wonderful surprise as we really got to see the castle in daylight.  The granddaughters were ecstatic, running everywhere and since it is mostly stone, not too much was breakable.  There wasn’t hardly anyone staying there so the long hallways and big rooms were easy for them to explore (or as we say in Eastern Kenucky, run wild).

The breakfast that was served, was the best of the trip…so many choices of breads, cheeses, jams, fruits, bacon, sausages, soft-boiled eggs, smoked salmon, yogurt, and the very best coffee.  All of the choices were delicious and believe me, I sampled almost everything they had to offer.  The highlight of the morning was being with my granddaughter when no one else was there and she was so excited to see all of the food displayed, a look of pure excitement…a girl after my own heart.

After breakfast, we toured the castle and the grounds.  All of us were wishing we had more time here.  So my advice to any of you thinking about staying here…do it and spend an extra day.

I have a few photos to show…then on to Innsbruck.

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Our room is the door at the end of this long hall.

 

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The long hall before you get to the long hall to our room. The girls loved roaming these halls.

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Breakfast in this room.

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I could have stayed another night just to get the breakfast again.

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I told you the coffee was really good.

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The courtyard.

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A view of the tower.  The spa is located in the tower and also a self serve bar is in the top of the tower.

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The knights dining hall.

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The beautiful chapel.

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Colorful flower boxes.

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A cozy sitting room.

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There are many vignettes of art and flowers all through the castle.IMG_1492 2

I wonder if Teddy Roosevelt is responsible for the large stuffed buffalo head.

 

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Stone couch on the grounds.

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One last look.

 

 

Austria, Day 3…Salzburg, Goodbye Golling

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These are a few of my favorite things.—Oscar Hammerstein II

Today was our last day in Salzburg.  It definitely has a few of my favorite things I look for when I tour a city…historic buildings, narrow streets, scenery, wonderful vistas, and good food.  If you are looking for these few things, go to Salzburg, Austria.

We began our day with coffee on the deck, viewing the Alps, had an impromptu breakfast, and then said good-bye to our rental house owner in Golling an der Salzach. It was a wonderful place for us to stay.

We arrived back in Salzburg and I wanted a mid-morning snack.  I found the perfect hold-me-over till lunch at a small bakery near Mirabell Gardens, called Resch & Frisch.  It has a big picture of Mozart, so it is easy to find.  I did some research on this place and found that it is part of a larger corporation.  Nevertheless the croissant and pretzel I purchased here was very, very good. We shared it on the walk over to Old Town.

We found a wonderful, intimate Vietnamese cafe in Old Town. It is called Wokman Natural Kitchen.  Some older guides may list it as Pho 18.  The pho was so good here.  We dined al fresco and they were able to accommodate all of us and our three strollers.

We meandered through Old Town for a bit after lunch and then headed up the big hill to the Hohensalzburg Fortress.

This fortress sits high atop Salzburg.  Like a guardian angel, it watches over the city below.  It was built in 1077 as a protection for the principality and archbishops from attacks.  It has never been taken over… except now, by tourists.  There are amazing views of the city and of the Alps from this fortress.

On the way back down, we stopped for a break at a small cafe that seemed to be built into the wall.  I could not find the name of this little place, but the location was fantastic. We ate at a table tucked into a little cranny on the walk to the castle.  The sausage and cheese plate with olives were very good.

We made our way back across the Salzach River and found a nice place to eat our evening meal.  We dined at Zum fidelin Affen.  We ate inside since it was becoming very windy outside.  The restaurant had dark paneling and was cozy.  I had more wild garlic soup and Austrian goulash  with a dumpling.  The entree was good, but a little heavy.

All in all it was a good last day in Salzburg.  Now on to Innsbruck, but first a night at a castle!

 

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First stop…a cheese croissant and a pretzel with mustard.

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I can’t describe how good this pho is at Wokman Natural Kitchen.

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Bicycles were everywhere…very European.

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Outdoor cafe taken from our outdoor cafe.

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Hohensalzburg Fortress sits above Salzburg.  Did we really walk up there with three children under 2-yrs old?

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Yes, we did.  A most major accomplishment.  This is part of the walk up to Hohensalzburg Fortress.

 

The following are views from the walk up to the fortress…

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The view from Hohensalzburg Fortress.

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A great place for a rest and a plate of sausage and cheese on the way up or down from the fortress.

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We loved the owl cushions.

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The entrance to the small cafe on the way to the fortress.

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Church towers in the late afternoon sun in Salzburg.

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Crossing the Salzach River for the last time on the Makartsteg Footbridge.

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We had a cozy dinner at Zum fidelen Affen.

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The last bowl of wild garlic soup, a very good memory of Salzburg.

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Austrian goulash with a large dumpling for my entrée.

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One final good-bye to beautiful Salzburg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Austria…Day 1, Golling an der Salzach

 

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I grew up so poor in Austria that we never took a family vacation.—Wolfgang Puck

 

With all due respect to Mr. Puck’s upbringing, I don’t doubt that he grew up poor.  However if there ever was a place to live where one could not go on vacation, this place is the place to be in that situation. There are postcard views everywhere.

We had a long day of travel.  Indy to Philly to Munich to Golling an der Salzach.  We were up for 23 hours before exhaustively going to bed.  We had been traveling with family, including two grandchildren under two years old.  We met more family in Munich who had come from Istanbul by way of Berlin with another grandchild under two.

We picked up our rental nine passenger van at the airport in Munich after a fourteen hour trip through the night and drove to the central train station in Munich to meet the other family members.  After a great meal outside on the Frauenkirche plaza, we toured the inside of Frauenkirche then left Munich for the two-hour drive to our rental house in Golling an der Salzach, Austria. The drive to Golling was very scenic.

We arrived at our rental house in Golling in mid afternoon.  We met our host from Air BNB, a delightful lady.  She was most pleasant and had the house ready for us.

These are photos of our house in Golling.

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Here is a picture of our view off the front deck for morning coffee…

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Golling an der Salzach is a lovely town surrounded by Alps, about a forty minute drive south of Salzburg.  We stayed here two nights.

Golling an der Salzach is a small town of about 4300 and the first mention of a history of people living there is in the 1200’s AD.

Our first meal in Austria was the evening meal at Hauslwirt. This is a lovely hotel and restaurant in Golling.  We had wild garlic soup with a semolina dumpling for starters.  This was maybe the best tasting dish we had all week.  It is a seasonal dish in Austria.  We also had a pasta dish with green and white asparagus and a very good Riesling.  We shared a piece of sacher torte, a wonderful chocolate cake with whipped cream.

We strolled through town and went back to our house, exhausted.  Some of us had been up for 23 hours and looking for a good nights slumber.  I have found the best way to battle the time change going to Europe is to stay up the first night until my regular bed time and that helps me get back on track.

In retrospect, a good plan with traveling with children would have been to stay in this house longer and used it as a base to travel to Salzburg and Innsbruck.  It is also close to Hallstatt. The kids had to get use to too many beds and sleeping arrangements, but they were troopers and did OK.

Nevertheless, on to Salzburg…

 

 

The following are pictures taken from our van on the drive from Munich to Golling an der Salzach, Austria.

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The following are pictures of Golling an der Salzach.

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Wild garlic soup at Hauslwirt, the best dish of the week in Austria.

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Pasta with green and white asparagus at Hauslwirt.

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A fitting end to a good day, sachre torte at Hauslwirt.

 

 

 

Paris…Treating the Taste Buds

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First we eat, then we do everything else.—M.F.K. Fisher

Before I begin, let me proclaim that I am not a chef, or a writer of culinary persuasion, or an expert of any kind in the food services.  I am however one who loves to eat and try new foods.  This is about some of my favorite things I tasted in Paris.  My wife and I spent a week in this iconic food city and we ate well.

One thing about our food experience we did not count on, was the effect of the temperature on our appetites.  As I had mentioned in a previous blog, we were in Paris during the first week of July and it was hot and humid.  Because of this we weren’t in the mood for a lot of heavy and rich food.  However we still found things on the menus that were quite good but a little lighter than we anticipated we would eat during the week.

PASTRIES…just wow.

We never met a pastry in Paris that we didn’t love, so we loved pastries every day.  We had chocolate au pains at Coquelicot in Montmartre.  We had a really good croissants, cheese bread, and almond triangles from Poulain near the Eiffel Tower on Boulevard de Grenelle.

WORTHY MEALS…in Paris, really??

The first day we met some friends at Chez Casimir for Sunday brunch, near Gare Nord.  This was a wonderful beginning to our eating itinerary.

I had a delicious crostini topped with smoked salmon at a small cafe near Hotel Invalides. I’m sorry I can’t recall the name of the cafe, but really…just pick an outdoor table anywhere and sit down, a great meal awaits.

I mentioned the chocolate au pains at Coquelicot, well their Quiche Lorraine was also very good.

We had a very relaxing stop at St. Georges Square and sat at an outdoor table for a light meal. My wife had a crepe and I had an assortment of cheeses and breads at A La Place St. Georges.

I had the best sushi in my life on rue Balard at COKIsushi.  They had a sweet soy sauce that was made on sight.  I was not able to get the recipe for the sweet soy, but it is worth a return trip just for the soy.

Probably the tastiest dish eaten was served at Bistrot Beaubourg in Pompidou center.  I had a simple plate of fresh sardines on tomatoes with olive oil and basil.  My wife felt it was a little too fresh and went with chicken. The service was not the best here, however.  I realize the cafe culture allows the patrons to sit and relax, a foreign concept to most Americans.  This waiter just ignored us even when we got his attention that we were ready to leave,  but it was an ignoring that didn’t seem rude.

We had a very good dinner one night at Cafe Eugene near our hotel. My wife had a tomato and basil gazpacho, which was very tasty.  I had duck confit atop mashed potatoes and arugula.

One day we grabbed some quiches, some marinated salad, and macaroons for a picnic in the Luxembourg Gardens.

Near the Eiffel Tower, we had a good meal at Le Petit Suffren. My wife had been looking for chicken crepes and finally found them on the menu here. I had another simple dish of mozzarella on tomatoes with pesto.

My dining goal in Paris was to find some cafes and bakeries in various sections of the city and circle them on a map.  If we happened to be in those areas of the city when it was time to eat something, we would search them out.  This worked on some days and other days we didn’t feel like searching. I felt like we didn’t go wrong in any place we stopped to eat, everything was very good.  My wife had one dish that was “just ok”, which is her way of saying she should have had something else.  I had no regrets.  You can’t go wrong eating in Paris, unless you are searching for average food.

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Best tasting meal of the week.

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This place served my favorite dish.

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A La Place St. Georges.

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A good cafe near the Eiffel Tower.