February 23, 2018

Christmas Dinner Traditions

Before I begin discussing food, I wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Enjoy your holidays, be safe and see you back here in 2012!

As I am sitting here making my shopping list for our Christmas Dinner I started wondering what the traditional foods for Christmas Dinner are in Europe.

But first, I’ll tell you the traditional foods that are enjoyed in Casa Beardsley!  After all the shopping and wrapping is completed,  Christmas Eve starts off the holiday by sipping Mulled wine while enjoying Christmas Vacation 🙂  The next morning starts off with my husband’s sticky buns which have been rising all night and bake while we start opening gifts.  Dinner is Prime Rib, twice baked potatoes, brussels sprouts layered with Gruyere and Emmentaler cheeses and the best deviled eggs you’ll ever eat.  Dessert changes every year but this year will be Cherry Pie and Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes!  Of course, the meal is served with wine.

Christmas Tree in Berlin Germany

Christmas Tree in Berlin Germany

Now here are a few traditional meals in Europe!

Austria favors goose, ham, gluhwein, rumpunsch (rum punch) and Chocolate Mousse.

Roasted Goose and Dumplings

Roasted Goose and Dumplings by Ekki01

Families in the Czech Republic enjoy fried carp, potato salad and special Christmas cookies.

Traditional Christmas meals in Denmark include roast pork, goose or duck, potatoes, red cabbage and plenty of gravy!  Dessert is rice pudding with cherry or strawberry sauce.  Christmas drinks are Glogg (mulled wine).

Smorgasboard Feast

Smorgasboard Feast by Anders Jonsson

If you’re dining in Finland you may find ham or fish, served Swedish Smorgasbord style, with bread, mustard, potatoes, carrots and rutabaga’s all washed down with Glogi (mulled wine).

Germans enjoy goose or carp although port or duck may be served accompanied by cabbage, potatoes and brussel sprouts.

The Irish meal sounds very familiar with turkey, ham, brussel sprouts, roast potatoes, stuffing and vegetables.

Glass of Akevitt, Akvavit or Aquavit

Glass of Akevitt, Akvavit or Aquavit by Vadakkan

In Norway, the traditional meal is focused on “Svineribb” whish is pork belly prepared with seasoning that allows for the right amount of ‘crackling’.  Side dishes include sauerkraut, red currant sauce, bread and akevitt to wash it down.  From personal experience, watch out for that akevitt!!!!

Boiled dry-salted codfish with cabbage, boiled potatoes, eggs, chickpeas and onions is tradition in Portugal.

Christmas Pudding from Britain

Christmas Pudding by Musical Linguist

Last but not least is the Britain where turkey with stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, roast potatoes, brussel spouts, parsnips, carrots and Christmas pudding are standard fare.


What is your traditional Christmas dinner?

Merry Christmas to you All !!!!!!!!!

Get into the festive spirit with a visit to London’s winter ice rinks!

As we get ready for the Christmas holiday, I thought it would be great to share with you a guest post from Hostelbookers about the amazing ice skating rinks that have popped up in London!  My family and I have enjoyed some of the rinks that pop up in San Francisco during the holidays and am sure any one of these would be a great addition to any trip to London.

London is well and truly in the Christmas spirit now – traditional Christmas markets line the South Bank, mulled wine stalls are doing a thriving trade across the city, and temporary ‘pop up’ ice rinks are everywhere. There are so many ice rinks to choose from but this is our pick of the best – so that you can get your skates on, whether you live locally,  are staying in some cheap hotels in London, or just wish you were here!

Tower of London

Our first choice is a very iconic location for an open-air ice rink – the famous Tower of London. It’s a very popular attraction in itself, so if you’re visiting the capital, a trip to the rink here could kill two birds with one stone.  The rink is set in front of the imposing fortress on the tower’s moat, so skating here gives some great views of the castle.

Skating by Tower of London England

Skating by Tower of London by Graham Racher, on Flickr

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is famous for its dinosaur, planet and human science exhibits. However, in winter it’s also home to a 900 sq meter open-air ice rink.  We love the architecture of the Natural History Museum and, as an added bonus, the outdoor café sells hot chocolate and mulled wine. It’s a good place to take a date with the bars and restaurants of Soho just a short walk away.

Natural History Museum Ice Rink London England

Natural History Museum Ice Rink by iJammin, on Flickr

Somerset House

Somerset House is a very glamorous skating location. The rink is sponsored by none other than the famous jewelers, Tiffany & Co. The house itself is a magnificently proud building and they’ve even erected a sparkling 40 ft Tiffany Tree to add to the decadence. If you’re a little bit of a drama queen, this is the perfect skating location 🙂

Ice skating @ Somerset House London England

Ice skating @ Somerset House by drew_anywhere, on Flickr

London Eye

The iconic ‘eye’, giving 360 degree views of the city, calls its rink the Eyeskate. A little touristy, the Eye is the closest thing we Brits have to the Effiel Tower and, love it or hate it, it does look pretty lit up at night.  The best thing about the Eyeskate is its location on the South Bank – just a short walk away from countless cultural attractions, like the BFI cinema and Royal Festival Hall.

Hyde Park

Not only is the Samsung Galaxy Ice Rink London’s biggest ice rink, it’s also a part of Hyde Park’s famous ‘Winter Wonderland’, which is where the city’s largest open space is transformed with markets, fairground rides and even a circus.  One of the highlights of Winter Wonderland is the ‘carousel bar’ where you can sit on a plastic horse as you sip mulled wine. Winter Wonderland is so popular that it’s worth going just to experience the crowds and the atmosphere.

Skating Hyde Park London England

Skating Hyde Park by Donna_Rutherford, on Flickr


So, what do you think about London’s ice-rinks?
Are they a good way to get into the festive spirit?

Finding the Best Santa in Switzerland!

In Strange Games & Unique Festivals and Crazy Strange Sports we experienced some of the more unique games and sports that can be found in Europe.

Today I’ll share one that has a definite holiday feel to it!

Samnaun Valley Switzerland

Samnaun Valley by Fiesch Wikimedia Commons

For these games we will venture to Samnaun Switzerland which is home to the annual ClauWau Championships.    Samnaun is located at the border with both Italy and Austria and offers hiking and mountain biking during warmer months and an abundance of winter sports.  An added benefit, it is the only tax free resort in Switzerland!

The ClauWau competition is no joke folks as it crowns the World Champion Santa Claus!

While this is a serious competition, you will see it is also a grand Christmas celebration.

Group Photo ClauWau Samnaun Switzerland

Group Photo ClauWau Copyright Engadin Samnaun

Teams of 4 must all be decked out in Santa costumes to compete for the prize money!  Yes, there is actual cash to be had for the best 3 Santa teams showing their prowess in all events.  Each team will dance, climb, sing, run and act like children as they vie for the first prize money of approximately $5,800.

Sledding fun at ClauWau Samnaun Switzerland

Sledding fun at ClauWau Copyright Engadin Samnaun

To show they are capable of being the best Santa, teams compete in these events:

  1. The Zipfy Bob Race tests the speed and dexterity of each team as they race to the finish line in record time.
  2. The Santa Parade will judge each teams costume and Christmas spirit.
  3. Santa’s must know their way around the world and in Santa’s Journey each team will be able to show off their knowledge of the world’s sights by matching tourist sights to the city or country where they belong!

    ClauWau Samnaun Klauben Fun Switzerland

    Klauben Fun during ClauWau Copyright Engadin Samnaun

  4. As a way to show their artistic ability, Creative Santa asks each team decorate gingerbread and create an original and beautiful sculpture out of snow.
  5. Part of Santa’s job is to effectively distribute presents which requires Santa be a master at driving a sleigh, hence the Santa’s Sleigh Race!
  6. We all know how Santa gets into our houses, so it’s probably no surprise that there would be a Santa’s Chimney Climb.  Testing the ability of our competitors to scale a chimney while carrying a bag full of presents!

    Steinbock Race at ClauWau Samnaun Switzerland

    Steinbock Race at ClauWau Copyright Engadin Samnaun

  7. Santa Clauben is an event that finds all members snuggled under a very large Santa hat as they maneuver a course as quickly as possible while collecting presents along the way.
  8. The Steinbock Sprint is a relay race where teams compete while riding wooden rocking horses.
  9. With this much prize money at stake, each team gets ready to lay it all on the line in the Karaoke Santa event!  This grand finale is an ear shattering treat and a great way to end this amazing event!

    Karaoke at ClauWau Samnaun Switzerland

    Karaoke at ClauWau Copyright Engadin Samnaun

As you can see, the “competition” is full of fun and a perfect way to get in the Holiday spirit!


What is your favorite way to get in the Holiday spirit?

All I Want For My Birthday . . .

Reading through the posts here on European Travelista you can very easily pick up on how much I love Germany!  So this next statement will not come as a surprise to many readers.  One of the things at the very top of my Bucket List is to spend my birthday enjoying the Christmas Markets in Germany!

What is probably most amazing is that I haven’t made it yet.  I’m even amazed by this fact but it is sadly true, I have not been to a Christmas Market in Germany or any other foreign country.  Now that we are in the Christmas market “season”, I have once again been dreaming about my visit!

Erfurt Christmas Market Germany

Erfurt Christmas Market by Neumann, Barbara

I am lured by the quaint stalls all dressed up in holiday splendor and the smells of baked apples, cookies, and gluhwein!  Of course another draw is the seasonal festbier.  Besides food there are nutcrackers, Christmas ornaments, hand carved nativity sets, hand painted blown glass baubles, music and much, much more!  It all has been calling me for too many years.

There is one problem, with over 2,500 Christmas markets in Germany which ones should I visit?

Of course I’m always up for a trip to Munich where you can enjoy daily live alpine music as you wander the Marienplatz or Nuremburg would be awesome with its medieval atmosphere and wonderful bratwurst and roast almonds.  Cologne would be magical with the cathedral as the back drop but I really want to experience some of the markets in smaller villages too and since Christmas traditions vary by region traversing the country would be special!

German Christmas Market in the Harz

Christmas Market in the Harz by Goslar Marketing GmbH

A journey to the east brings you to the Christmas market at Dresden, home to the oldest Christmas market in Germany.  Dating back to 1434 this market is named after its famous cake or stollen.  Look for carved wood items, pottery, lace and gingerbread all made by locals! Or maybe a trip to Lauscha which is the birthplace of the glass ornaments that decorate so many of our trees.  If a ride through the snowy countryside in an historical carriage pulled by a steam engine on the Harz narrow-gauge railway would be appealing, then a visit to Wernigerode and its timber framed houses may be for you.

Lubeck Christmas Market View Germany

Lubeck Christmas Market View by Kruger, Norbert

For a more nautical theme, head north to the markets in Husum or Rostock.  Romantics will enjoy the market at Glucksberg Castle where a decorated bridge leads across the moat to the courtyard where you’ll be enchanted by the more than 70 stalls sitting near the Christmas tree.  By the way, the castle is open to visitors too!  Or visit Lubeck for the Iceworld Snow and Ice Sculpture festival.

Trier Germany Christmas Market

Trier Germany Christmas Market by Cowin, Andrew

Traveling west brings us to Schwalmstadt where you will find a Christmas market steeped in fairytales!  Schwalmstadt is where the Brothers Grimm wrote some of their stories, including “Little Red Riding Hood”.  Enjoy needlework from local artisans and local food specialties.  Lanterns and candles make the market at Broich Castle seem very medieval!  Enjoy storytellers as they wander town reenacting scenes from the Nativity while sipping wine and mead.  For a very international market, stop by Rudesheim am Rhein.  The market in the old quarter contains stalls from 12 countries who share their Christmas customs with visitors!

Ludwigsburg Germany Christmas Market

Ludwigsburg Christmas Market by Ludwigsburg/Neckar Stadtmarketing u. Touristik GmbH

Southern Germany is home to the Romantic Road and there are many villages near Rothenburg ob der Tauber that would be of interest.  Busy Rothenburg is one of my favorite villages and I would love to see it all lit up and decorated for Christmas!  Others villages that may be worth a visit include Prien with its Christmas market on an island in the middle of Lake Chiemsee!  A trip around Lake Constance on the Christmas ship would be equally amazing.  Also luring is Altotting with is celebration of Alpine Advent songs complete with alphorns!

Whew, too many Christmas markets for one trip or maybe even a lifetime!


What German Christmas markets can you recommend?

My Travel ABC’s

Before Thanksgiving I received an invitation from Katherina  of 1000 Miles Highway to participate in the A to Z survey about travel called The ABC of Travel!

Thanks Katherina for including me!

Now, European Travelista’s ABC’s of Travel.

A: Age you went on your first international trip: At 23 I made my first international trip to Europe which was also my first solo trip and is still my favorite!

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where: The best foreign beer I’ve had was at Stiegl Keller in Salzburg.  If I’m honest, I’m not sure why it is my favorite but I think it might have something to do with the amazing views of Salzburg or the fantastic meal I enjoyed. Whatever the reason, it was memorable!Schnitzel at Klosterbrau Bamberg Germany

C: Cuisine (favorite): Mexican Food!  I love it spicy and could eat it for every meal.  While in Europe, my favorite cuisine would have to be German.  Can’t get enough of schnitzel, spatzle, sausage and sauerkraut or goulash soup 🙂

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why: Bavaria Germany holds a special place in my heart!  This was my first stop on my first trip and Bavaria just feels so comfy to me.  I can’t seem to get enough of the mountains and tiny Bavarian villages. My least favorite would have to be Budapest which just left me feeling Bleh!  Although I am going to give it another try.

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”: This summer I had the unexpected opportunity to witness Lederhosen clad goat herders bringing the goats back to the barn! An event I thought only lived on in books.

F: Favorite mode of transportation: Ooh that’s hard.  I actually like all modes of transportation and have used them at different times.  Trains, buses, cars are all amazing and offer different perspectives.  I guess my favorite mode is via an airplane because when I get on an airplane it means I’m going somewhere!

G: Greatest feeling while traveling: The feeling of awe when seeing amazing scenery, experiencing the peace and serenity of mountains, flower bedecked houses or realizing how old the city or building really is.

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to: Ixtapa, Mexico during July!

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where: Once we were eating at a café in Paris and we had a great waiter.  He would joke with us (yes it was Paris France) and when we asked what type of Dijon mustard they had on the table he gave us a bottle!  It’s the little things that make a difference to me.

J: Journey that took the longest: Driving through Austria and Switzerland during my 2 week honeymoon!

Kathe Wohlfahrt Rothenburg Germany

In Front of Kathe Wohlfahrt Rothenburg Germany

K: Keepsake from your travels: I love buying Christmas ornaments from any where I travel because I get to relive my travels while decorating the tree with my family!

L: Let-down sight, why and where: The Terror Museum in Budapest. This museum left me wanting more. . . much more.  Upon entering you hear intimidating music, see an old Soviet tank and busts of some of the more notorious characters of the soviet period in Budapest.  I was expecting many more items of torture and not the narration in Hungarian I got.  The museum was really very stark without many exhibits of actual devices of terror.

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel: My first trip to Europe in 1981 filled me with a love of Europe that has lasted to this day!  I love traveling anywhere and am the one that does all the research and planning for trips no matter where we are going.

View from room at Palace Hotel Lucerne Switzerland

View from Palace Hotel

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in: My personal budget doesn’t include luxury hotels very often but I do enjoy luxury when I get it.  The nicest hotel I have ever stayed in would have to be the Palace Hotel in Lucerne Switzerland!  I had a corner suite which had amazing views of the lake and mountains surrounding this lovely city.  My next choice would have to be the Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, California. I love old historic hotels and my room in the old portion of this beauty was perfect.

O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?: I’m not sure I have an obsession but would have to say amazing views usually from or of mountains!

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where? Oh if only they consistently stamped my passport!  Many places in Europe including London, Paris, Biarritz, Toulouse, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, Zurich and Copenhagen.  Add in Mexico and Tahiti.

Biarritz Seaview France


Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where: The Alligator Farm in Buena Park, California.  I loved this spot as a child since those alligators were really scary but alligators right across the street from Knots Berry Farm?!!

R: Recommended sight, event or experience: Spend a day in Auvers sur Oise (outside Paris) reliving Van Gogh’s last days, then visit the Orsay museum to view his art work!  This will make an art lover out of anyone!

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling: Local food, but not at trendy fashionable restaurants, including beer, wine or local cocktail!

T: Touristy thing you’ve done: A tour including the Changing of the Guard in London.  Couldn’t see a thing but I went back early in April and was able to visit on my own and see the entire procession without any one in my way!

U: Unforgettable travel memory: Visiting Zermatt Switzerland for the first time!  This charming village took my breath away.  Explore the village and mountains during the day and then enjoy an exquisite meal of fondue that night.  It is so warm and comfy!

V: Visas, how many and for where? To date, I haven’t need any visas 🙁

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where? So I don’t remember what type of wine we had  but my husband and I had some great Italian red wine in Stresa overlooking Lago Maggiore!

Hohenschwangau Bavarian Castle

View from Hohenschwangau

X: eXcellent view and from where?: Ooh there are a lot of great vantage points.  How about the amazing views from Neuschwanstein castle or the top of Mt. Pilatus?  Or the view of Paris after climbing the stairs at Notre Dame!  Or locally, the view of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge from Fisherman’s Wharf.

Y: Years spent traveling?: I have traveled my entire life if you include some vacations.  Unfortunately, my life has not afforded me the opportunity to spend years abroad . . . yet.  That is on the bucket list!

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?: I am not a zealous sport fan but my first ice hockey game was very memorable.  My friend got tickets about 4 rows from the glass which makes for an exceptional game.  I didn’t know I had so much testosterone in me!


Well that’s my ABC’s, I would love to read the ABC’s of these fine bloggers:

Inside Journeys
Devour the World
Adventures with Ben
A View to a Thrill

5 things to do in London for less than £5

As I am getting back in the groove after a long week off for Thanksgiving, I thought we should enjoy an awesome guest post about visiting London on a budget.  Enjoy and hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Visiting London can really pull on the purse strings – lots of the famous tourist attractions are very expensive and, if you’re on a budget, it can seem impossible to stick to it! Thankfully we’ve come up with a list of great things for the thrifty traveler to do in London, all for less than five pounds…

Test your brain at a museum

Visiting one of London’s world-famous museums may already be on the top of your list – so you’ll be glad to know that it’s actually the cheapest suggestion here! Many galleries and museums in the UK are ‘not for profit organisations’, which means that they’re absolutely free to visit. Famous attractions include the real life Egyptian mummies at the British Museum and a 26 meter dinosaur at the Natural History Museum. Other smaller, less well known museums, are devoted to everything from design to dentistry – and with over 240 to visit in the capital, there’s sure to be something to suit everyone.

Kings Library British Museum London England

Kings Library by Mujtaba Chohan

Fill up at a farmers market

Borough Market has been trading since 1014, so visiting the famous food stalls near London Bridge isn’t just about filling up on tasty treats -it’s also about experiencing a bit of London’s culinary history. Eating out in London can be very expensive, but farmers markets are a great place to track down good quality traditional British cuisine. You should be able to find a chunky meat pie for under a fiver!

Borough Market London England

Borough Market by Magnus D, on Flickr

Take in some Shakespeare

The Globe was a fantastically ambitious project- to replicate the original Elizabethan theatre where Shakespeare’s plays were first performed, by creating an identical structure, built exactly as they would have built it back then. The resulting fully-functional theatre, not only allows people to step inside and experience a piece of London’s history, but also brings the work of one of the most famous playwrights back to life. Taking a tour of the Globe costs £12.50 but, in the summer, you can get standing room at a performance for just five pounds. So, if you can cope with standing up for two hours or more, you can watch some of the best Shakespearean actors for next to nothing – all whilst feeling as though you are actually part of the original Elizabethan audience!

Hop on the back of a Routemaster

Is there anything more ‘London’ than a red, double Decker bus? Seen in countless films, they are true icons of London, along with big tourist attractions like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. Very few of the original 1960’s buses survive, however the ‘heritage routes’, otherwise known as London Bus Routes 9 and 15, still use an original red Routemaster. You can hop on the open back of the bus, just like in the movies, and enjoy a very rickety ride past icons like St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square and The Royal Albert Hall. At just £2.20 per journey, it’s a much cheaper alternative to a £25 guided coach tour.

The Routemaster 9 to Aldwych London England

The Routemaster 9 by zawtowers, on Flickr

Boat along the Thames

The Thames River is the second longest river in the UK and, aside from its cultural and historical significance, it’s also a pretty cool way to get around. If you’ve bought a travel card for your duration in the city, you can travel via the Thames Clipper for just £3.70 – and pass by the London Eye, Tower of London, and under Tower Bridge. If you want to incorporate the river into some of your cultural sight-seeing, then traveling from the Tate art gallery to the Tate Modern art gallery by boat costs a mere £5.


Share your favorite ‘budget’ thing to do while in London?


Amy Heritage writes about short break destinations for idealshortbreaks.co.uk which is dedicated to news and ideas for short break holidays!

Thanksgiving in Holland?

This week the US will be celebrating Thanksgiving, a day spent with family and friends celebrating all we are thankful for.

The first Thanksgiving actually combined both European and Native American traditions of celebrating the good harvest. It was this tradition that Pilgrims brought with them to their new land but it was not only the good harvest they celebrated on the first Thanksgiving.  They also were celebrating their safe voyage and peace in their new country.

There are quite a few Thanksgiving celebrations held in Europe but I found one that has special ties to the Pilgrims and where you can still enjoy a celebration of Thanksgiving!

Leiden harbour Holland

Leiden harbour by Qiou87, on Flickr

A village about 25 miles from Amsterdam was home to many of the Pilgrims for a few years before they set sail for what is now the US.  Leiden Holland is where many of the Pilgrims who came to the New World were from and to this day there is a non-denominational service held in Pieterskerk the morning of the US Thanksgiving commemorating the Pilgrims and the role Leiden played in their lives.

East Gate in Lieden Holland by Erik Zachte

East Gate by Erik Zachte

The Pilgrims, or Separatists as they were known back in the early 1600’s, fled England for religious freedom.  They settled in Leiden before returning to England and boarding the Mayflower for America.  It is said that some of the values the Pilgrims cherished, free-market capitalism, civil marriage and separation of church and state, came from their time in Holland.

Rhine in Leiden Holland

Rhine in Leiden by Erik Zachte

Located near the mouth of the Rhine River, Leiden is full of canals, old wooden bridges, windmills, churches, and many museums.  It is also the birthplace of Rembrandt!  Situated in the middle of beautiful meadows and little villages, Leiden is also a great place to rent a bike for a ride among the famous flower fields.

Windmill Museum in Leiden Holland

Windmill in Leiden by Erik Zachte

Among the museums in this University town are the National Museum of Antiquities, National Museum of Ethnology and the National History Museum whose collection includes bones from a Dodo.  The American Pilgrim Museum may be of interest to those from the US as it is dedicated to the Pilgrims.  Set in a house built from 1365-1370, it is furnished in the style that was common to the Pilgrim era.

West Gate Leiden Holland by Erik Zachte

West Gate by Erik Zachte

Pieterskerk, named after the patron saint of the city, was built in the late-Gothic style and is associated with the Pilgrim father’s.  Some of the pilgrims are buried here and there is an exhibition on the Pilgrims from Leiden.

Yes this village has a link to the US and I am sure it would be a great place to celebrate Thanksgiving if you can not be at home. But I think it has a lot to offer at other times of year too!


What do you think; would you enjoy spending Thanksgiving in Leiden?

Happy Thanksgiving to you all where ever you are in the world!!!

Nagy: A Hungarian Hero in Budapest

There are a lot of statues in Budapest.  One day I was roaming around and stumbled upon this very unique statue.

Even though I didn’t know who it was, I was really drawn to it. The setting is actually very beautiful and I was drawn to the look on his face.

This is Imre Nagy who was Prime Minister of Hungary twice.  Even though he was a communist he promoted a “new course” in socialism which caused him to fall out of favor with the Russians.  They fired him but he was put in place again by public demand during the 1956 revolt against Soviet imposed policies.Imre Nagy statue in Budapest Hungary

His reformist ideas meant that his new government was not supported by the Russians and when the revolt failed, Nagy was captured and eventually executed for treason.

Despite his political agreement with Communism, his role in the Hungarian Revolt of 1956 brought him admiration among  Hungarians and he died a martyr.

His name was not allowed to be uttered after the revolt but once the communists were expelled, he was buried as a hero and this statue was built in 1996.

For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.
Every Thursday they post new photos from their travels and invite others to join in!

Maybe I’ll see you there.



Worlds 2nd Largest Tomb is in Innsbruck!

If you were of nobility how would you design your memorial? Would you opt for something regal but understated?  A beautiful place where people could come and remember you surrounded by beautiful gardens?  Or would you opt for a grand tomb in the center of a magnificent church surrounded by larger than life statues of your family members and ancestors?

Hofkirche Innsbruck Austria

from wikimedia

Well if you were Maximilian I of Innsbruck your tomb you be the grand scale of the last option.  In actuality, he didn’t make this decision but his Grandson Ferdinand I did.

Statue Hofkirche Innsbruck AustriaStatue Hofkirche Innsbruck Austria











Ferdinand designed and had built what is today the 2nd largest tomb in the world (the first being in Xian) which is located in the Hofkirche (Court Church) in Innsbruck.

Marble relief on tomb in Hofkirche Innsbruck Austria

from wikimedia

The highlight of the Gothic church is the giant marble tomb of Emperor Maximilian.  The tomb contains 24 marble reliefs depicting the Emperor’s accomplishments.

Hofkirche with embellishments Innsbruck Austria

from wikimedia

Embellishments were added in 1584 and include the wrought iron grille surrounding the tomb plus the kneeling emperor and the four virtues adorning the top.

Statues Hofkirche Innsbruck AustriaStatue Hofkirche Innsbruck Austria










Surrounding the marble tomb are 28 larger than life statues of Maximilian’s relatives including legendary King Arthur.Statue of King Arthur Hofkirche Innsbruck Austria

Alas, after all the expense and effort Maximilian’s remains were never moved here.  They are still in their original burial site in Wiener Neustadt, which is south of Vienna.


So what type of memorial do you want?

European Villages Discovered – Giethoorn

In European Villages Discovered-Kuressaare we discovered a small but amazing village in Estonia.  I thought it was time to discover another gem Europe has to offer us.

Today’s excursion takes us to the northwest portion of Holland where we encounter an extremely lovely village that only has canals for roads.

Beautiful and Picturesque Giethoorn Holland

Giethoorn by --{@rwen, on Flickr

There are many reasons to visit Holland – Amsterdam, Delft, Rotterdam or the cheese and tulips are just a few of the joys waiting for you.  Venturing out from these more well known reasons to visit Holland is a small village that is charming, picturesque and waiting for you to discover it!

House along Canal in Giethoorn Holland

Giethoorn House by Bj.schoenmakers

Sitting about an hour from Amsterdam lies Giethoorn. Known as the “Venice of the Netherlands”, Giethoorn has over 5 miles of canals running through the little village of approximately 2,600 people.

Punts lining the Canal in Giethoorn Holland

Punters by Michel Ehrenhard

Founded by fugitives from the Mediterranean region in 1230, today there are no roads within this old villageWhere did the canals come from?  Peat.

Peat was a big commodity of centuries past and it was the digging of the peat that formed the many small lakes in the area.  The canals were made to transport the peat out to market.

Lovely Thatched Roof House in Giethoorn Holland

Lovely Thatched Roof House by Huji

Today you can enjoy the wonderful canals either by taking a guided canal tour, renting your own “whisper boat” or canoe, or by walking the many paths sprinkled through the village and along the canals.

Bridge over Canal in Giethoorn Holland

Bridge of Giethoorn by CrazyPhunk

Floating the canals will introduce you to the many wooden bridges spanning the canals and the 18th & 19th century thatched roofed houses hiding between the trees. Many of the homes are only reachable via the canals or by crossing one of the many bridges dotting the village.  How cool would it be to arrive home in this manner?

I think this would be one of the most relaxing and wonderful ways to spend a few hours or a day.  Picnic anyone?

Giethoorn Holland

giethoorn by sara_vh, on Flickr

Geithoorn is a wonderful little village that is full of unparalleled beauty. The beautiful and peaceful atmosphere of this village is  calling me to visit.

Does it call you?  Do you have a favorite small European village to share?