Minimundus in Klagenfurt is a great place to visit for the whole family ! You will find Minimunds at the west-end of Klagenfurt, in the very south of Austria, combine it with a visit of Italy or Slovenia !
In Minimundus you will see a lot of great buildings from all over the world, plus various different types of small trains and even a model of the Wuppertaler Schwebebahn running through these artificial landscapes, you can spend the whole day there and enjoy this interesting place. They even have a small-scale space-shuttle starting at least once an hour, that was great !
daytickets are 12 euros (or 6 euros for holders of the Kärntencard !)
Familycards are 26 euros !
Minimunds is open for visitors from April 2nd till October 26th in 2010:
April & October 09.00am - 06.00pm
May, June & September 09.00am - 07.00pm
July & August 09.00am - 08.00pm
and wednesdays they close not before 10.00pm
last entrance untill 1 hours before closing-times
Historama is the name of a great museum of transportation in the south of Austria, in Ferlach.
This wonderfull collection is not only for cars, but also for old trams,trains, buses and trucks plus some other technical achievements like steam-machines and old industrial machineries. You will find this museum inside an old production-hall and some of the old post-buses of the museum will take you from the station of Ferlach to the museum on a regular basis. from that station there is also a museum-steamtrain leaving every day in summer !
The car-collection of this museum includes a lot of unique cars of Austrian productions - there are lots of photos in the travelogues of my Ferlach-page !
Historama is open for visitors in 2010: July 3rd till Sept. 12th
Tue-Fri: 01.00-05.00pm, Mondays its closed
Sat & Sun: 11.00am-06.00pm
Sept 19 + Sept. 26th is open as well: 11.00am-05.00pm
Free entry for holders of Kärnten-Card !
entrancefee: 6 Euros for the museum alone, including the steamtrain-ride its 13,- euros !
Drivingtime from Villach to Ferlach is about 1 hour, from Klagenfurt about 30 min. Drive to the south from Klagenfurt.
When I walked out of the bahnhof at Erfurt, my first feeling was very encouraging. I don't think I can explain exactly why but I just felt that this was going to be a city worth seeing even though it was a bleak and miserable day. The area in front of the train station was bright and clean with a Tourist Info office in plain view. So I went and picked up the obligatory map and I was on my way.
In recent times Erfurt has been in the news on account of the infamous massacre of April 26, 2002 when an expelled student of the University, Robert Steinhauesser took a gun and shot thirteen teachers, two students and a police officer before turning the gun on himself.
This was not the only massacre to ever take place in Erfurt. Way back in the 14th century, 100 Jews were rounded up and slaughtered because the Jew were believed to be the cause of the Black Death. The rest of the Jewish population were forced to leave the town.
The University of Erfurt proudly claims Martin Luther as it's most prodigious graduate.
I had a short stopover for lunch in Rapperswil enroute to Maenfeld and Liechtenstein, but I chose to forgo the lunch in favour of a more extended look at this lovely little town. As it happened we were lucky to score some extra time as the air con on the bus was out of order and it was 33 deg. C. that day. So we had to wait for a replacement bus to be brought from Zurich. The extra time worked for me!
Rapperswil is known for its many rose gardens and its location on the shore of beautiful Lake Zuerich. It has quite an interesting history as well and is lovely for a day visit. The town is extremly walkable and features many lovely little shops and restaurants etc. When in Zuerich, this is a must. It is easily reached by boat from Zuerich. The boats leave at regular intervals most days.
Celle, like so many other German towns and cities has had a colourful history dating back many many centuries. I was not prepared for the size of the town which I was soon to find out, has a population of 71,000 people.
In the town centre alone, there are upwards of about 450 half timbered houses, all of which are protected and hence are extremely well kept. Some date back as far as the 16th century and most were spared during the allied bombing in April 1945, because the town surrendered quietly to the Allies and very little bombing took place.
The Baltic nation of Lithuania offers a fascinating variety of activities, from museums to architecture to hiking... and even a beach. It's a bit out of the way to get to from western Europe, but well worth the time. The capital city of Vilnius and its renowned architecture is on quite a few itineraries, but the Baltic coast is also very much worth a look, especially the port city of Klaipėda and the sand bar known as the Curonian Spit. The beautifully restored island castle of Trakai is also definitely worth a look, and an easy day-trip from Vilnius.
The main international Airport is in Vilnius (IATA Code: VNO), but there are also small airports in Palanga (PLQ) and Kaunas (KUN) which receive international flights. In addition, ferries from destinations such as Kiel and Copenhagen dock in Klaipėda.
Hundertwasserkirche in Baernbach bei Köflach is an important sight for all fans of Hundertwasser's architecture : It is the only church worldwide, that was decorated by Hundertwasser. The original church was quite poor and built in 1948, shortly after WW II.
The interior is quite simple, made by other artists, Hundertwasser made mainly the facades and the church-tower.The churchtower is my favorite part of Hundertwasserkirche in Baernbach. Take a closer look for the fine details in the decorations. Friedensreich Hundertwasser was born in december 15th, 1928 as Friedrich Stowasser. His mother was jewish and 69 members of her family were deported and killed by the Nazis. Between 1938 and 1945 he became member of the HJ / Hitlerjugend in order to protect his mother and in fact he was able to.
The Prozessionsweg (procession-path) around the church was Hundertwassers idea and so he had built 12 gates and dedicated them to the main religions of this world. Unfortunately the path through these gates is quite un-even again at many places, one of the few details I hate about his kind of architecture.
it is certainly the best and easyest to drive to Baernbach in your own car, there are lots of parking-lots in Baernbach .
There are also direct buses and trains from Graz,they take 45 minutes one way and the destination you have to check on www.oebb.at is Bärnbach b.Köflach
DONT confuse this village with ANOTHER village called Baernbach in the VT-database !!!
The RIGHT Baernbach is the one close to the village of PIBER !!!
Stift Goettweig is a great monastery in a distance of 10km south of Krems an der Donau. From Krems you can take a bus in order to get there !
Stift Goettweig is one of the largest and most beautiful monasteries in Austria and it makes a great place for an excursion from Vienna, unfortunately you will need a car to get there !
Stift Goettweig was founded in the year 1083 by the bishop of Passau, holy Altmann - he is buried in the krypta under the basilica.At that time Passau was the largest diocese in the area and it included also towns like Vienna, and the bishop of Passau was also the bishop of Vienna.
Stift Goettweig - the way it looks today - dates back to the year 1739, when it was rebuilt after a fire by the famous architect Johann Lucas von Hildebrand.
The highlights of architecture in Goettweig are the Kaisertrakt, Kaiserstiege with frescos by Paul Troger, the chambers of the emperor and the basilica.
You may enter the basilica of Goettweig freely and without restrictions during the day, just for the museums like "Kaiserzimmer" etc. you have to pay an entrance-fee.
The big staircase in the Kaiserhalle of Stift Goettweig is one of the most famous works of art made by the baroque architect Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt.
He was born in Genua in 1668 and died in Vienna in 1745. He is the architect of Belvedere palace in Vienna (for Prince Eugene 1714-1716)
Palais Daun-Kinsky and Palais Schoenborn also in Vienna and a lot more buildings.
Read more about it on my Mautern-page !
Votkinsk is about 900km east of Moscow and close to the town called Tchaikovsky. Votkinsk is the birthplace of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. He also spent the first 8 years of his life there, before his parents moved first to Moscow and later to St. Petersburg.
Take a guided tour through the Tchaikowski-museum, it seems to be the only way to see all the exhibits. Our guide was speaking an excellent german and there will be also guides speaking english and other languages and I had the feeling that in every room there was an extra guide, closing the doors after the tour-groups and making sure nobody was left behind.
In case that you want to take some photographs, there will be an extra-charge, it was 200 Rubles (around 6 Euros) and the way this was handled gave me the impression that all of that money went directely to the guides instead of to the museum.
There was no radio or TV at that time and so the big hall with the piano and other musical instruments was a perfect place to enjoy the evening, while listening to music performed by young Pjotr Illich Thaikovsky.
Tchaikovsky's mother Aleksandra Andreevna d'Assier (1813-1854) died when he was just 14. he had 4 brothers (the youngest of them were twins) and 1 sister. His father Ilya Petrovitch Tchaikvosky was a wealthy inspector of mines, this is the reason why their house is much bigger than the ordinary houses of that time.
There are also some nice wooden buildings next to the museum.
Ostrov Solovetskiy is an island in the White Sea, close to Archangelsk.
Whatever you read about "Archipel Gulag" , the famous book tells the story of this remote island that was once built as a monastery and turned into one of the most horrible prison-camps of russian history.
We got there as a fullday-trip from the end of Belomorsk-canal, at first 3 hours in a horrible bus on terrible roads and then another hour by ship to the islands, but it was really worth all the trouble.
This monastery is really impressive, the walls around the monastery built of giant natural rocks and a lot of great antiques and works of art in its museums and churches.
Perm is in a distance of 1130km east of Moscow and I was lucky to be able to spend 2 days there before I started my cruise to Moscow from there.
The big mosque of Perm is in my opinion one of the most interesting sights of Perm, but when we made the official tour through Perm we saw it just from a large distance of maybe 200 meters, while sitting in the bus. In the afternoon I went back to see it again and I can simply recommend you to do so as well.
Dont forget to take a look into the innercourt of the mosque otherwise you will miss some interesting details of the great local architecture. There are 2 gates, where you can enter this public area and take a closer look at it !
The church with the 5 golden domes in my 2nd and 3rd picture is without doubt one of the most beautiful churches of Perm. This is another sight that will not be shown by the official sightseeingtours, so I went there on my own and I was lucky that the gate of the church-court was open, and inside the church there was a service going on and so I could enter and take a few pics without flash and without disturbing anyone.
Perm has a lot of other sights including lots of old wooden houses and it is a major station of the Transsiberian railway.
Nizhniy Novgorod is about 400 km east of Moscow and I got there on my cruise from Perm to Moscow.
The Romanoff Church is in a distance of just 200 meters from the cruiseport and it looks great already from outside and it was obviously also restored quite recently. The church is still used by the russian Orthodox church so you will hardly ever find a time, when you can enter it like a museum. A service was going on while we were there, but the local people seemed to be used to see lots of tourists there, so it was also no problem to take some photographs !
The belfry of the Romanoff church is something that you might easily oversee, because you will not see it from the street, you actually have to step up a steep hill in order to take the photos from the place, where I did. The belfry is placed next to the church and it is also the only place to enter the church.
The Chkalovskaya stairs is the first sight that you will see of Nizhniy Novgorod, when arriving by cruiseship from the east, like I did. This staircase is really impressive, although it was never mentioned again by our local tourguide, although we finally passed by the top of it in quite a short distance, when we walked through the Kremlin.
It was also nice to see that ship in the lower part of the stairs as a part of the architecture.
Next to the stairs you will see the old walls of the Kremlin and this Kremlin is one of Nizhniy Novgorod's best tourist-attractions, because from outside it still looks the same as hundreds of years ago, with a strong wall and severeal towers it was built high above the hill with a great view of the rivers.
The Kreml is still used as a seat of the local government, you will find parks there, restaurants, a permanent exhibition of war relicts and a lot more.
Kazan / Kasan is 790km from Moscow and in quite a distance from the ordinary tourist-streams in Russia and I was glad to get there during my cruise from Perm to Moscow.
In my 1st picture: The Kul-Shariff Mosque of Kazan is a modern mosque that was built inside the Kremlin of Kazan just a few years ago. There used to be a mosque already in medieval times at this place, but it was destroyed by the troops of Ivan IV.
You are allowed to enter the mosque and most members of our group did, BUT all of your belongings will be scanned like at the airport , when you want to go inside, and I did not want to remove all of my batteries and other photo-equipment, just in order to see a modern mosque.
Photography is NOT allowed inside anyway !
You dont have to take off your shoes, BUT
will get plasic-bags to cover the shoes !
My 2nd - 4th pics:
The church of St.Peter and St.Pavel in Kazan looks quite unique already from outside. It was built in 1723 on top of a small hill that will allow you also a great view of the city of Kazan. This church is still an active Russian Orthodox church, so photography inside of it is not allowed, BUT nobody of the other tourists in our group did care a lot about it, so I have taken some pics as well. At least I did not use a flash and I always take my pics, when nobody watches me, so I wont hurt anybody's feelings.
The interior of St.Peter & St.Pavel church is especially beautiful : First you get into a large hall and then you walk through an arch and will see the large Iconostasis, with ornate decorations of gold. The real altar is behind of the iconostasis and in orthodox churches only the priest will get to the altar and celebrate the service for the believers always in front of the iconostasis.
My last picture:
The Kremlin of Kazan is really impressive and it is still totally surrounded by strong walls that were built by Ivan the Terrible. And like in the ancient times the Kremlin is also used as the seat of the local government and there is a mosque and a russian orthodox church.
Siyumbike Tower is the name of this leaning tower inside of the Kremlin of Kazan. It was misconstructed from the beginning and there are various ledgends about this tower, one of them is that a princess did not want to marry the Tsar except that he was able to build a tower within 7 days. The Tsar succeded to build the tower but the princess climbed on it just in order to jump down....
Ivanovo was totally off-limits for tourists before 1989, because it has a large military airport, but I came to this place in 2008 for a "A technical Stop" during a dayexcursion to Suzdal. This funny expression is used by most russian tourguides, when they are making a short stop for people who need to powder their noses...
So we had about 20 minutes to take some photos around the train-station and I could also take some photos from the bus, while we were driving through town. There are a lot of interesting buildings in Ivanovo, some of the typical old wooden buildings are still to be found in the city-centre.
Opposite of the trainstation we also saw an impressive monument for Olga Genkina, a woman of the revolution, she was a revolutionary who was killed in November of 1905, after the police had found revolvers and patrons in her luggage at the train station.
Now we would call her a terrorist but then she was a hero.
This monument was erected in 1977
in my last photo: the reason why this place was top-secret for quite a long time: its one of the largest airports for military airplanes.
When taking a cruise between St. Petersburg and Moscow you will see something in Kalyazin that you will never forget for sure: an old belfry standing in the water !
Kalyasin is a town of 14.500 inhabitants, 30 km west of Uglitch, directely at the river Volga.The belfry of Kalyasin is the only remain of a part of the town that was totally flooded in order to build an artificial lake for a power-plant there back in 1940.The belfly of the former Nikolski-cathedral was standing on a small hill, so it could survive and nowadays it makes a great landmark for all ships passing by on their way to Moscow. You will pass by there some hours before arriving in Moscow.
The giant telescope is another attraction of Kalyazin, but unfortunately it is in quite a distance from the river Wolga and most probably it is top-secret anyway.
Before getting to Kalyazin you will also pass by some other interesting churches along the river, see them in my last 2 pics !
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