Monday, 29 June 2015

Austria - September 2014: Schafberg

Schutzhaus Himmelspforte

What a day to go up the Schafberg! The sun was shining and the air was beautifully clear. We took the mountain railway up the mountain and walked the shortish distance to the top.

The views were breathtaking, it was amazing just how far we could see in all directions and all from the comfort of an Austrian mountain sports hut.

The station at the bottom of the mountain.

On our way up the mountain. The gradient was unbelievable - but the rack and cog of the railway is designed to cope with this steep gradient.

A welcome drink ahead - it was hot!

The mountain sports hut - weather worn and with panoramic views. It would assume a very different character in other weather conditions.

The 'schutehaus himmelspforte'.

At last, that refreshing drink of Zipfer beer. A truly outstanding location from which to enjoy a cool beer!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Austria - September 2014: Seeboeckenhotel Zum Weissen Hirschen

Seeboeckenhotel Zum Weissen Hirschen

The busy terrace outside the Seeboeckenhotel Zum Weissen Hirschen offered an atmospheric lunch setting with magnificent views across the lake.

Artic char stuffed with herbs and served simply with potatoes.

An Austrian chicken dish in fresh delicate breadcrumbs.

Austria - September 2014: Stiegel Keller, Salzburg

Stieglkeller, Salzburg

The walk up to Salzburg castle is well worthwhile. Only walking up the narrow approach to the castle do you fully realise just how well designed was this famous castle.

Just below the castle is the famous Steiglkeller. Salzburg is the home of Steigl beer and this beer kellar stands in a unique loaction overlooking the rooftops of this famous city.

A view from the Steigl Kellar.

Pumpkin soup with added kurbis oil (pumpkin oil)

The Steigl colours are everywhere.

I was beaten by this lunch!

Austria - September 2014: Im Weissen Rossl

Im Weissen Rossl

Im Weissen Rossl (The White Horse) is one of the most famous hotels in Austria. It wonderful location on a lake amid the mountains and lakes of the Salzkammergut it truly wonderful.

A band were playing traditional Austrian music on our first night in the hotel.

The Zweigelt (von Haus) - a bottle of the house Zweigelt.

We had traditional soup to start.

And a small display (trio) of cakes to finish.

Austria - September 2014: Lunch in the rain

St Wolfgang - Lunch in the rain

When we arrived in St Wolfgang, it had been raining for most of the summer. On our first day it rained very heavily all day but this was not too much of a problem after all the travelling of the previous day (only arriving at the hotel late in the evening). What we did not now was that the weather was about to change to glorious (and unusually hot) sunshine. So on our first Sunday morning we ventured out into the heavy rain and quickly found shelter in a local hotel/inn..

I was very keen to taste the local food. As usual it took me only a few seconds to speed scan the menu and decide on my lunch, which would be pike/perch!

Although it was cool and raining we had been so looking forward to being able to drink Austrian wines again that we just had to order a bottle of Blaufrankish.

My wife had venison which was cooked simply and well. This was a lovely start to our holiday.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Florence - May 2014: Gelato

The gift of gelato

The gelato (ice cream) was incredible - a mix of the creamiest ice cream and the most refreshing and fruity sorbet. A perfect luxury for the heat of Florence and it seemed to be available everywhere - but good gelato is not cheap!

I tried to stick to strawberry gelato, which was so incredibly refreshing. I did try it from many different outlets and was never persuaded to change my decision. Each time the offering was just so good. I can still remember the taste as I write this - how I wish you could get such ice cream in Britain.

Gelato as 'street food'... in Britain we have kebab is offered... at the end of the evening. But here...

Ristorante food .... three delicious flavours of gelato. A truly balanced dessert.

Florence - May 2014: Caffe

Caffe in Florence

What better place to savour a coffee then the beautiful city of Florence.

Wonderful cakes and pastries in Florence.

There was excellent coffee, even at a small caffe. Here in the gardens of the museum in Fiesoli, outside Florence.

One of my favourites, a small caffe in the market in Florence. The barista/owner was very theatrical, serving all the customers and doing all the work at incredible speed. A great place to get an espresson on the run.. in the busy market.

A more leisurely espresso to conclude a meal. This one was at the Ristorante Pizzeria Santa Felicita.

A wide variety of coffee cups.

Espresson and latte.

 More latte, more espresso....

An espresso (and grappa) at the end of an evening.

Austrian coffee!

Grappa (and espresso)...

Florence - May 2014: Trattoria Bondi

Trattoria Bondi

A simple lunch in the Florentine sun.

Pizza at its most simple and delicious.

"There is a difference" - the English menu version.

A bright and colourful trattoria amid the street bustle of Florence.

Pizza and a glass of wine....

We loved the effect of the bright simple colours, lively in its street setting.

And of course classic espresso to finish.