One of my absolute favorite things to do in Germany is spend an afternoon with friends hanging out at a biergarten. And after many years and beers later, I have found that German beer really does live up to it's hype. In the states most of the beer I would try was too hoppy, or worse, was way too carbonated. After one beer you'd be so full you couldn't even eat. Ever felt that way? Well, for whatever reason, whether it's the Reinheitsgebot (the German Beer Purity Law) or voodoo magic, the beer here is delicious and goes down like water. And it's actually cheaper than water too (really, and yes you have to pay for water)!Read More
Back in May I visited Croatia for a short weekend. Roughly 52 hours to be exact. You can read a bit about it here. We took one of our two days to explore the Plitvice Lakes and opted for a tour instead of driving ourselves. The Plitvice Lakes are northeast of Zadar. We flew into Zadar, then took a 4-hour bus ride south to Split, and then the next day took a 5-hour bus ride north to get to the lakes. Logistically this was a nightmare because it meant we were on a bus for a solid 18 hours of our trip. This was completely my fault, and I apologized profusely to my friend. Luckily she's very easy going and didn't mind all the travel (at least that's what she told me).Read More
What happens when you get six friends together and head to Vienna for a long weekend? A lot of fun and a little bit of shenanigans, that's what. While we toured a little and stopped into some shops, we managed to fit in a few pub crawls and meet many people along the way!
I went once in January with a friend but it was snowing and we were basically frozen the entire weekend. We still had a blast, but it was very very cold and with the icy snow fall it was difficult to really take in the city. Most days I wore a pair of long underwear under my jeans, leg warmers, warm socks, boots, two jackets, and a hat and was still shaking in the cold.Read More
What do you do when you want to plan a trip? More than likely you will first decide where it is you want to go, then find flights, then a hotel or other accommodation, and figure out what there is to see and how you'll get there, among a growing list of other items as well. This summer we really wanted to see Scotland and (like many places) knew very little about the place. In fact, I really wasn't sure if Scotland was it's own country or not until we visited (at which point I really learned all about that!).Read More
The other weekend we drove a mere two hours down to the Swiss border and then another hour(ish) to reach Interlaken, our destination. I've lived in southern Germany for almost three years and had yet to drive to Switzerland. Why? Because I figured Austria has plenty of beautiful alps and lakes and is probably less touristy and much cheaper than Switzerland. To be honest, cost was really the bigger hindrance for me. I like a good deal, and the country of Switzerland is not in a business to provide deals to tourists. Switzerland also uses the Swiss Franc, and while generally the exchange rate is 1 to 1, the actual numbers to purchase things are much higher (as in a Starbuck's coffee will cost you 8-10 Swiss Francs, depending on what you order).Read More
I was in Munich a few months ago and before we left had been reading up on the English Garden (englischer garten). Along with being larger than Central Park, the English Garden also has many beer gardens and surfing as well. When I was reading through the information I had to do a double take to make sure I read it correctly. Sure enough, there's a river flowing through the park and a wake has been created which is set up perfectly for a surfer wanting to catch a few waves in the city. I grabbed some photos and video of people lined up to take their turn. If you're in Munich it's a pretty cool sight to see.Read More
July has been a busy month for me. A group of friends went to Vienna for the fourth and bunked up in a hostel with a room big enough to hold a dance party (yes!). Then the next weekend me and the hubs took off for Scotland and the Highlands and then Switzerland. Right after all that I had training for work further north in Germany complete with my car breaking down, or rather completely dying on me, while driving on the Autobahn. THE AUTOBAHN! I'm so glad I get to face so many fears of mine...heh. To round it out I had a 20 page paper to write last weekend for one of my grad classes. I still don't know why I ever thought taking classes during the summer was a good idea. I think I love torturing myself.Read More
Near Verona, Italy is one of Italy's most notoriously stunning lakes; Lake Garda. Seated in the north near the Dolomites and nestled partly in the Alps, the views all around the lake are the type of thing that poet's dream of. We visited for a very short day Bardolino, a small town along the eastern side of the lake and also home to the famous bardolino wines. The next time you go to your local liquor store check out the Italian wine section and you'll see many varieties of this tasty red.Read More
A girlfriend and I had a short two and a half days to spend in Croatia the other weekend. If you don't read any further, I'll sum up by saying Croatia is great and it's beautiful and an inexpensive place to visit. It was cheap (oh so cheap. I love a good deal and found MANY while there!), beautiful, culturally interesting, and had plenty of history to keep even the anti-history person interested (you know who you are).Read More
My parents were here recently and we took a trip to Verona in northern Italy. It's about a 90 minute drive to Venice and close to Lake Garda as well. The drive south from Germany through Austria, and then on to Italy gets more and more scenic the further south you go. The Alps in Austria were all dotted with green pastures and animals on mountainsides, and once crossed over into Italy the scenery changed to castles and vineyards lining the mountains. I didn't realize just how many castles, ruins, and palaces there were in the Italian Alps until we actually drove through the area. There are so many beautiful towns that looked more than inviting. I wish I could explore the whole region further, could easily spend your entire time visiting just this area.Read More
My parents recently hopped on a nice long flight over from Alaska. My mom has celiac, meaning that she cannot have anything with gluten in it (such as wheat, barley, rye). By now most people have heard of gluten intolerance or celiac so I won't go deeply into the details here. So when my mom mentioned she wanted to go to Italy, I began searching restaurants and places we could go that have gluten free dishes. When I began my search my assumption was that Italy isn't exactly the best place for someone with celiac, but from what I discovered I couldn't be more wrong.Read More
Markthalle is a fun place to visit in downtown Stuttgart. It's an international open indoor market filled with spices, meats, cheeses, desserts, truffles, wine, beer, and everything else in between. Each section is labeled by country and offers local specialties from their particular country. One of my favorite things to do in other countries is to visit the grocery stores. If you want to look into the culture particular to that country, just head to the local grocery store. It's a great way to see a completely different side to a country and something that you might not think to do while on vacation.Read More
I went for a nice stroll this afternoon with my dog, as we do every day. Today I thought I'd bring my camera along with me. This spring has been absolutely beautiful, and hopefully summer is just nice.Read More
My parents are heading to Germany in May. Ever since I found out they were coming I've been searching for things to do and places we can visit. It took me months of scouring the web to make a decision on where to go. I'm quite indecisive, so this was very exhausting for me, hah! Anyway, since I put in all this work creating travel itineraries, I thought maybe someone reading this might find them useful. These all have the base point of Stuttgart, but you can cater them to fit any route.
This is what I ultimately decided to do. It's a slower tour and includes traveling around Italy with a base point of Verona.
Day 1: Leave from Stuttgart and drive down to Verona. Travel through the Alps and stop for photos along the way. Explore the town of Verona and visit the Colosseum that's there.Read More
Monaco is a city...ahem, I mean country...that lives up to the hype. When we first got off the train this was immediately apparent with the incredibly clean and modern station. We walked outside after going up the elevators to leave the underground train maze, and found ourselves at a busy street. We decided to go right which led steep down the hill toward the beach. Had we gone left, I think we might've found Monte Carlo quicker, but don't worry we made our way there eventually.Read More