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Germany, Nuremberg, 18 – 21 September 2019

Salzburg to Nuremberg, cold through the mountains, a short ride of 304 km in 3:40 hrs with roadworks and trucks hogging one lane. The Germans are still checking cars at the border with Austria on the freeway causing long queues, I avoided this by using a back road to get into Germany and then onto the autobahn just past the blockage.

Nuremberg, it was the place chosen by the Nazi’s to hold huge rallies and it was completely destroyed during WWII. It has been restored to its pre-war state and has a very nice old town. This is also where the Nuremberg trials where held and Nazi war criminals executed.

Public transport consists of busses and trains and there is an app that you can use to buy tickets and find your way around, cost of a single ride is 2.75 and a day ticket is 8.30.

Today was Nazi history day, scary to say the least. First I visited the Zeppelin Field which is a huge area where Rallies with over half a million people where held. The grandstand complex is neglected and run down, part of it has been demolished but now there is a plan to conserve what’s left and make it safe for visitors. Currently there is a motor racing track in the middle of the field.

Next to the Documentation Centre (at the other end of the field) which attempts to explain the hysteria that engulfed the country during Hitler’s reign.

Quote from Wikipedia: “The permanent exhibition “Fascination and Terror” (Faszination und Gewalt) studies the causes, coherence, and consequences of National Socialism. It describes the Nazi Party Rallies and explains the fascination they exercised upon participants and visitors. At the same time, the exhibition endeavors to explain what led to the National Socialists’ criminal exercise of power and to reveal how the various causal factors were interrelated. A further goal is a frank presentation of the violent consequences that ensued for the population. The events that are inseparably linked with Nuremberg (“city of the party rally” — Stadt der Reichsparteitage) and the National Socialist period are also explained: the activities of Julius Streicher, editor of the anti-Semitic rabble-rousing weekly Der Stürmer (The Storm Trooper), the history of the Nuremberg Rally, the proclamation of the so-called Nuremberg Laws in 1935, the buildings of the Nazi party rally grounds and the trouble with Nazi architecture after 1945, and the criminal Nuremberg Trials against the chief executives of the National Socialist agenda in 1945-1946 and twelve succeeding trials. The exhibition concludes with an examination of the problem that has been with Germany since 1945: how Germans should deal with the legacy in stone left at the Party Rally Grounds by the National Socialists.”

Nuremberg Old Town – a good place to wander.

 

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Austria, Salzburg, 14 – 17 September 2019

Sankt Lorenzen to Salzburg – This was a crazy ride, first the road had fallen down down a cliff and I had to turn back and find another way. Next the Grossglockner road which costs €26.50 for a day ticket for a bike and for cars its €36.50, the most expensive 48 km I have ever ridden. There was a Tractor festival and a Ferrari/sports car festival going on and there were literally hundreds of these things crawling up and down the mountains causing chaos, absolutely hilarious.

Salzburg – crowded with  tourists, the old town is quite small and walking is the only way to get around. To travel further afield there are busses and and you can buy tickets with an app cost of a single ride is €2 and a day ticket €4.20.

Salzburg Castle – buy an early bird ticket (before 10 am) online and get there early before the tour bus crowds arrive.

Salzburg Cathedral and Mirabell Gardens

Schloss Helbrunn – built by a practical joker with trick fountains that spray guests unexpectedly hahaha. There are tours to this place but all you have to do is take bus 25 for €2 each way, its only about a 20 min ride from the old town.

 

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Austria, Sankt Lorenzen, 11 – 13 September 2019

Arta Terme to Sankt Lorenzen – another short ride deeper into the Austrian Alps. The road took me over the Plocken Pass and it deteriorated markedly in Austria. I travelled this route but in the other direction last year. Hundreds of bikes all going in the other direction as well.

Sankt Lorenzen – 1,120 metres altitude, a farming village where I can relax for a few days  and catch up on my blog. It has a supermarket and a restaurant that is open Thu-Sun hahaha perfect.

 

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Italy, Arta Terme, 09 – 10 September 2019

Trieste to Arta Terme – a short ride to the foothills of the Alps as I only slept an hour on the flights back from Iceland.

Butterfly House of Bordano – not far from Arta Terme is a town called Bordano where they have a Butterfly Park so I decided to investigate. It has a number of climate controlled enclosure simulating the different continents, an informative video on the butterflies life cycle and a museum of dead butterflies. There were not many live ones in the enclosures.

I passed through the village of Tarnep and almost every house had a painting on one of it walls.

 

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Iceland, Reykjavik, 02 – 09 September 2019

Trieste to Reykjavik – Well I got tired of the heat and humidity of the southern latitudes and decided to go somewhere to cool off, like Iceland hahaha. Good connecting flights from Trieste to Reykjavik via Frankfurt and September is off-peak made up my mind. There are busses every 30 minutes from Trieste to the airport cost 4.15 euro and the journey takes an hour.

Reykjavik – the capital of Iceland, being an island everything has to be imported and therefore it is a very expensive place to live. Iceland is known for its Hot springs and Geysers, Glaciers and Waterfalls and the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. The whole island is volcanic with some volcanoes under the glaciers and if one of them erupts, its fun and games for air traffic in Europe as happened in the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull.

The best way to get around is by bus, install the Strætó app on your phone, link it to your credit or debit card and you will be free to roam the island. My EE UK sim card continues to work here using my UK Data/SMS/Call allowances at no extra cost. You don’t need cash either as cards are accepted everywhere for even the smallest purchases. This is a useful local map of Iceland, it’s more up to date than Google maps.

There are numerous tours available and they are all well organised. Tourism is the 2nd largest income earner for Iceland after Fishing. Third is the processing of Bauxite into Aluminium which requires prodigious amounts of electricity and Iceland has a surplus of electricity.

My first day in Iceland was the best day, sunshine and blue skies, not bad I thought hahaha. The next 5 days were overcast with the occasional drizzle and the temperature varied between 8 and 10c. Though on the last day it was starting to clear up in the evening.

Another interesting fact is that Iceland is one of few countries that does not have an army, only the Police and a Coast Guard.

Natural History Museum of Kópavogur – This is a tiny museum meant for the local school children I think, there are no English translations and its free.

Golden Circle Tour – This is one of the most popular tours. On the way back into the city we got held up because the Vice-president of the USA was visiting and the roads were closed while he went past. The roads around his hotel were also closed causing busses to be diverted etc, etc.

South Coast Tour, another mandatory tour.