February 17, 2018

Travel Photo Thursday-Anif Palace

Today’s entry for Travel Photo Thursday is a lovely castle on the southern edge of Salzburg, Anif Palace.

This privately owned castle has had quite a history in it’s life time but maybe it’s biggest claim to fame is it’s casting in one of the best movies ever (my opinion 🙂 ) the Sound of Music.  Yes this gorgeous neo-medieval castle can be seen in the opening scene.  Anif Palace outside Salzburg Austria

First mentioned in 1530 this castle was the summer residence of the Bishops of Chiemsee before being turned over the the Archbishop of Salzburg.

Later King Ludwig III of Bavaria hid out in the castle before abdicating his throne here.  During WWII both German and American soldiers stayed in Anil Castle for a time.

This romantic castle is part of the beautiful landscape of Austria but you will have to make do with seeing it from afar  since there are no public tours offered.

Or you could enjoy it in other movies it has been in,  like The Odessa File.


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.


Free in Salzburg means . . .

As I mentioned last week in my 30 Days and Counting post, I will be visiting Salzburg Austria late August.  In preparation for my visit I have been digging into all the things there are to do in Salzburg and found some pretty amazing things that are actually FREE!

Here are 6 things I plan on doing in Salzburg that are Free:

  1. Siemens Festival Nights
    During August Salzburg celebrates its art and musical culture with the world by hosting the Salzburg Summer Festival.  In an effort to make this accessible to more people, Siemens Austria presents the highlights from past and current festivals on big screens in the Kapitelplatz.  Concerts begin at 6 pm and the Operas begin at 8 pm.
  2. Explore the Altstadt
    This Medieval and Baroque treasure has been declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.  At the center of the Altstadt is the Cathedral which is surrounded by 3 beautiful squares – Domplatz, Kapitelplatz and Residensplatz.  The skyline is dotted with spires and domes from all the churches and the narrow lanes are full of fountains, arches and impressive buildings. 

    Salzburg Altstadt

    Salzburg Altstadt By Thomas Pintaric

  3. Hike up Monchsberg
    A hike up the Monchsberg is a great way to escape the crowds below.  Once at the top there are wooded paths that allow for spectacular views of Salzburg and the surroundings below.  One path leads to the Nonnberg Convent which is famous for being Maria von Trapp’s home for a bit!  Or you might need a refreshment at the Stadt Alm (not free though).  If you prefer, you could take the elevator up (for a small fee) and walk down.
  4. Schloss Mirabell & Gardens
    The gardens were designed in 1730 and have been open to the public since 1850.  Sound of Music fans will recognize the gardens as the site where Do Re Mi was sung!  Fans will enjoy the arbor and statues but the gardens offer great views of the city including the cathedral and castle.  The Schloss is only open to musical events but if you’re lucky you may run into a band playing a free concert in the park.
  5. Red Bull Hangar- 7
    Even if you are not a plane, race car, motorcycle or helicopter fan, this museum looks way to cool to pass up!  Designed in a very unique architectural style, the designers wanted to create a place where art, planes and technology could reside together and it seems they have succeeded.  There are bars, restaurants and cafes to add to your enjoyment. 

    Red Bull Hanger 7 Salzburg Austria

    From wikimedia Red Bull Hangar-7 GmbH

  6. St. Peters Cemetery & Church
    Salzburg’s oldest Christian cemetery dates back to 1627 and butts up against Monchberg’s rock wall.  Surrounded on 3 sides by wrought iron, this is the cemetery of Salzburg’s oldest families.  Buried here are Mozart’s sister, Haydn’s brother (most of him anyway) and other dignitaries.  St. Peters cemetery was also used as inspiration for the cemetery the von Trapp’s hid out in.  Don’t miss the St. Peters Church once you have finished at the cemetery.  This is the church that premiered Mozart’s Mass in C Minor.  Although originally designed in the Romanesque style, you will enjoy feasting your eyes on the beautiful Baroque and Rococo additions.

What to do with all the money I saved by visiting these free sights?

Yup you guessed it, enjoy reminiscing about my day over a nice beer!

I think Augustiner Bräustübl will do quite nicely.   The Augustiner Bräustübl is a do-it-yourself kind of establishment that has been around since 1890.  There is a process to follow if you don’t want to look like a tourist – egads!  Pay for your beer, pick up a stein, wash it and proceed to the beer line where your beer will be poured straight from the barrel.  Join other Austrians by taking any open seat in the beer garden.  That is, after asking “Ist frei?”, of course.

Can you recommend any other “Free” things to do in Salzburg?

Other beer halls, breweries or gardens I shouldn’t miss?

Classic and Powerful: Neoclassical Architecture

A few months ago I started a series on the different architecture styles travelers usually come across in Europe.  So far we have covered Gothic  (Gothic Architecture of Europe), Romanesque (If it’s Tuesday, it must be Romanesque!), Baroque (Baroque: The Emotional Style), and Rococo (Rococo – Flirty & Decadent).

Continuing with this series, today’s post will delve into discovering Neoclassical architecture. This style came to prominence during the mid-18th century to make a symbolic statement against the extravagances of the past age.

Arc de Triomphe Paris France

Arc de Triomphe by Benh LIEU SONG

You could say Neoclassical architecture is the antithesis of Baroque and Rococo!  These styles were seen as over-the-top, shallow and the styles of aristocrats.  With the end of the French Revolution came a desire to move away anything having to do with “the regime” and towards a pure style, that of Ancient Greece and Rome.

Neoclassical architecture is very similar to the classical structures of Italy and Greece in its simplicity, symmetry and functionality.  Even though the style is the complete opposite of Rococo, it still is evocative and picturesque but in a self-restrained way.

Structures from the Neoclassical time will include most (if not all) of the following attributes:

Tall columns,

Vilnius Cathedral Lithuania

Vilnius Cathedral by Juliux

Clean basic lines replacing curves,

Prado Madrid Spain

Prado Madrid Spain by Fanghong

Shape is symmetric,

Marynkas Palace in Pulawy Poland

Marynkas Palace in Pulawy Poland by Ghalas

Domed roof, and

Lutheran Cathedral Helsinki Finland

Lutheran Cathedral Helsinki Finland by Purpy Pupple

Triangular pediment.

Pantheon Paris France

Pantheon Paris France by Kpjas

All of this together reflects the virtue, philosophy and harmony of ancient Italy and Greece.  In this style, the emphasis is on enriching and influencing lives instead of frivolous aesthetics and can be seen in libraries, schools, banks, capital building and monuments.

The imposing structures convey a feeling of superiority in an intimidating manner.  This commanding presence was seen as way to demonstrate state power and was one of the reasons Napoleon used it so widely in Paris.    Taking it further, Neoclassical architecture was the favored style of Hitler and the leaders in communist Russia.

Ostankino Palace in Moscow Russia

Ostankino Palace in Moscow Russia by Ghirlandajo

Even though you may not have known the name of this style, I know you have seen it in Europe and across the world!


Do you have a favorite Neoclassic building or monument?

30 Days and counting!

One month from now my adventure in Bavaria, Austria and Budapest begins!

It’s Travel Photo Thursday and I am kicking off the countdown with pictures of the places I will visit.


First stop –  Bamberg Germany where I will do my best tackling all the breweries in this village!

Old Town Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Old Town from Bayern Tourismus Marketing GmbH

After exploring Bamberg and enjoying many of their beers, it is off to Mittenwald!

Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Mittenwald by Bayern tourismus Marketin gGmbH

Next is Innsbruck and the reason this trip got started – Travel Bloggers Unite Conference!

View of Innsbruck Austria
View of Innsbruck Austria

After the conference is over my plan is to visit Salzburg,

Salzburg Austria

Salzburg by Andrew Bossi from Wikimedia

Before enjoying a lovely cruise along the Danube to Vienna.

Wachau Valley Danube River Austria

Wachau Valley Austria by jay8085, on Flickr

The last stop on my journey is lovely Budapest.

Budapest by ** Maurice **, on Flickr


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.


A Scenic Village In Switzerland

Switzerland is famous for many things including its alpine scenery and diverse climate.  But if you’re looking for that idyllic Swiss village you don’t need to look any further than Gruyeres.

This picture perfect medieval village is set at the top of a small mountain and is enclosed by a 12th century fortification.  Retaining its medieval feel, Gruyeres is considered a National Monument and its architectural purity is actually protected by the Swiss government.Gruyeres Switzerland

Gruyeres is easy to reach either by train or car and can be done as a day trip from the Lake Geneva area although you may want to spend some time in this serene area.  Car parking and the train station are at the bottom of the hill so before you make off for the village you may want to enjoy the Cheese Museum and Factory where you will see demonstrations of cheese making and also taste some of the fresh delights!

As you meander your way up to Gruyeres you will be awed by the beauty unfolding before your eyes.  Gazing over the meadows you will see green grass, happy cows with bells, and wildflowers all with the mountains framing the picture.Views walking up the hill to Gruyeres Switzerland

Once at the top, the cobbled streets will lead you past shops and restaurants on the way to the castle.  Castle Gruyeres was built between 1270 and 1282.  Today the beautiful fortress is home to 800 years of local history, culture and architecture.  Visit rooms that are furnished in the traditional Baroque style and others that house many works of art.  From the courtyard you will be afforded more of those views Switzerland is so famous for and we never tire of.

Gruyeres Castle Switzerland

Castle of Gruyères by Olivier Bruchez, on Flickr

Views from Gruyeres Castle Switzerland

Views from Gruyeres Castle

Before you leave make sure to stop for some of Gruyeres famous quiche or the equally famous fondue!  Since you are in the center of one of Switzerland’s dairy areas, make sure to leave room for berries with thick cream.  A good option is Le Chalet restaurant.   The quaint and cute restaurant is in a building built in the 1700’s and is decorated in the style of a Swiss chalet!

If you’re looking for a bit of the unusual, then a trip through the H. R. Giger museum may fit the bill.  Giger is an Oscar winner for his visual effects work on the movie Alien.  The museum houses some of his paintings, sculptures and movie sets.  If you don’t mind bizarre, mechanical and sexual art, the Giger may be for you.  Next to the museum is the Giger Bar all dressed up in a décor inspired by the movie “Alien”!

What other scenic Swiss villages have you been to?

Strange Games and Unique Festivals in Europe

We all enjoy festivals and outdoor events, especially during the summer, so I did a little digging and found some strange sporting games and unique festivals held in Europe that just might interest you.  Most are held during the summer but some are held at other times during the year.

Mobile Phone Throwing began as an international “sport” in 2000 with the World Championships being held each year in Savonlinna, Finland.  During the event, contestants can participate in up to 4 categories: distance throwing, freestyle choreography, team and a junior event for those under 12.  Guess we know what happens to all our old cell phones!

Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships

Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships by husin.sani, on Flickr

Imagine if you will, an Irishman goes with a few mates to a pub during lunch to discuss a new motor sport idea.  A few pints and hours later Lawn Mower Racing is born!  Beginning in England during 1973 the sport is now world wide with many events held during summer months including a World Championship.  That’s why men need to stay away from the pubs!

Lawnmower Races

Lawnmower Races by Fir0002

The Flour Festival in Viana do Bolo, a town in the Ourense region of Galicia in Spain, takes place each February during the Lent/Carnival season.  Yes, they actually throw flour, in fact, no clean face is safe including those of tourists!  Don’t wear your best clothes.

If you want to go to Hell then you might just want to go between September 1 and 4 when the Hell Blues Festival takes place in Hell, Norway.  Ok so this isn’t a strange festival but I thought some of you might want to go to Hell 🙂  They also accept volunteers to help with the festival, which allows one free entrance for every 8 hours of work!

Irish Road Bowling has been around since the 17th century and is now governed by the Irish Road Bowling Association.  Literally played on a road, 2 players throw an iron ball down the road with the one going the furthest crowned winner!  With terms like Bullet, Road Shower, Bowl of Odds, Butt, Faugh a Ballach and Kitter-Paw, how could it not be an exciting sporting event?

Road Bowling

Road Bowling by fergie_lancealot, on Flickr

Dragon Boat Racing has been taking place for at least 2000 years.  There are many festivals throughout the world but in Europe you can enjoy races in Lubeck (Germany), Budapest or, the largest, in Malmo Sweden.  The human powered boats are long and usually decorated with a dragon head and tail.  The crew is about 22 people including a drummer who controls the beat of the rowing.  The brightly colored boats are quite a sight as they glide over the water!

Dragon Boat Racing Budapest Hungary

Dragon Boat Racing Budapest Hungary

Splashdiving events are held throughout Europe and, from what I’ve seen, would be a fun event to attend!  Splashdiving or “Freestyle Bombing” was developed in Germany and the goal is to make as big a splash and as much noise when hitting the water as you possibly can.  This means you want a lot of skin smacking the water, ouch!  There are 12 sanctioned jumps each with a different degree of difficulty.  To see Splashdiving in action, watch this short UTube video:

Wife Carrying World Championships are held in Sonkajarvi Finland where the event was introduced in 1992.  As the name indicates, this “sport” is made up of the male competitor carrying his female teammate through an obstacle course.  The winner is the fastest and the prize is their “wife’s” weight in beer!  While there are other Wife Carrying Contests only in Finland do you win the beer.  After the events are completed stick around for awards, karaoke, dances and other festivities.

World Wife Carrying Championship

World “Wife Carry” Championships by jurvetson, on Flickr"

There you have it, some weird and strange games and festivals.


Which one would you most like to attend?

France Celebrates Bastille Day!

Today is Bastille Day!

The day that France celebrates the storming of the esteemed prison and the beginning of the end of the monarchy.  This is a very symbolic day for the French as it was seen as the beginning of the Republic.

Today there is a huge celebration in Paris with a military parade down the Champs Elysees complete with a flyover and ending with fireworks tonight.

As with our 4th of July celebrations, you will see the flag of France being waved in all their glory.  The Tri-color symbolizes Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity for all French citizens.

So get out there and celebrate!  Enjoy French food, Champagne or just wear a beret in honor of the French.

In honor of Bastille Day, here are a couple photographs of one of the iconic symbol of Paris – the Eiffel Tower.

Viva La France!

Eiffel Tower Paris FranceEiffel Tower Paris France












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.

Do the French hate Americans?

If you have listened to any news recently you have probably heard about all the hoopla over Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s, the former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), recent run in with the law in New York City.  I don’t really want to discuss the merit of the charges levied against him or his treatment by the police.

What I really want to discuss is a comment I heard once his bail was revoked.

One of the news pundits made the statement that now that he was free on bail,  DSK would be free to return to France, run for President on an anti-American platform and win.   

Screech. . . Wait, What? Rewind!

Why would anyone run on an anti-American platform and why would that help him win? 

French flag

by ChrisO

I’m sure we’ve all heard about how the French hate Americans.  In fact, a quick Google search produced these musings:

“The French loathe Americans that is well known.”

I have long heard that French people can’t stand us Americans?”

“Why do so many French dislike Americans?”

A word to the wise.  My French teacher told our class if we ever go to France, say you’re Canadian.”

Do the French really hate Americans?

I have been to France quite a few times and in all honesty have never felt the slightest bit of hate, dislike, hostility or loathing focused at me whether I am in Paris or the countryside.  In fact, I have found just the opposite.  During my travels the French have been helpful, friendly, funny, kind and caring.   I actually really like the French.  I know a lot of people find the French, maybe especially Parisians, aloof and rude but I would take a French person over a New Yorker any day (ok let ‘er rip New Yorkers)!

So, do the French really hate us or is it just a talking point on the nightly news?

Within 6 months after the US went into Iraq during 2002 I visited France twice.  The first time was in June and I was astonished at how many people I knew were worried about my family traveling to France!  At the time, the French were angry at us for going into Iraq and people were concerned we would get caught up in anti-American demonstrations or feel some other kind of backlash.  I went anyways and took my 2 teenage kids with me.  There were no demonstrations, backlash or negativity just the same nice French people.

Is it hate or just politically expedient? 

US Flag

by Jnn13

My second trip that year was in October and there was still a lot of talk on the wire about Americans abstaining from anything French as a protest.  As a guest of the French Government Tourist Bureau, I had the chance to talk with the head of the Paris Tourist Bureau who told me that the merchants of Paris were feeling the pinch of the Americans not traveling to France.  That’s when I fully realized that the Parisians were just like me, hard working people who just wanted to feed their families.

Hmmm . . . Maybe they don’t really hate us!

Now I may be naïve but I don’t get why the French would hate Americans just because we’re Americans.  Yes, we are not perfect but neither is France or any other country.  We all have our little quirks, irritations and different ways of doing things but isn’t that what makes the world so interesting?

Do you think the French really hate us?

What are your thoughts?

Viva La France-Back to Burgundy!

As we saw in my post Burgundy France – Land of Plenty, there are a lot of reasons to visit Burgundy and one of them is definitely the quaint, captivating, enchanting, picturesque, and charming villages that dot the countryside of this region southeast of Paris, France.

Here are 7 that fit the endearing, remarkable, wonderful and special category.


Semur-en-Auxois Burgundy France


Artists flock here to gather inspiration from this medieval jewel. This village is full of grand houses, narrow and cobbled streets, cafes and shops. Wander through the medieval gateway on your way to visit Chocolatier Bruno Coeur who was part of the movie Chocolat. No visit is complete without a visit to the gothic church, fortified castle or crossing one of the bridges spanning the Armancon River. A stroll along the ramparts offers amazing vistas!


If you enjoy old villages,  this is the one for you. Dating back to prehistory (the first mention was in 800’s) Bligny holds a marvelous 12th century church and many vestiges of yesterday – a sundial, wood gutters, crucifixes, washing wells and water mills. Enjoy a ride on a steam engine or visit the Hemp and Woodworking museums.


Overlooking the Canal du Bourgogne is the fortified village known locally as just Chateauneuf. This is one of those medieval villages that will transport you back to the Middle Ages upon arriving! Besides the normal narrow streets and alleyways, shops, restaurants and arts and crafts, this village has a magical castle at its center. After visiting the 12th century Chateau de Chateauneuf-en-Auxois that is when it is time to wander the medieval streets before stopping to enjoy the atmosphere of this beautiful village.

Chateauneuf-en-Auxois Burgundy France

Chateauneuf-en-Auxois Panorama by Christophe.Finot


Built on top of a hill, the village people work hard to preserve the history found in Favigny. Another village with ties to the movie

Flavigny-sur-Ozerain castle Burgundy France

Flavigny-sur-Ozerain Castle by Christophe.Finot

Chocolat, this medieval marvel is surrounded by 3 streams and has many alleys and walkways that lead past interesting architecture at every turn. Make sure to visit the Benedictine Monastery with its Carolingian crypt and the local confection, Anise of Flavigny. If you are lucky you may experience some Gregorian chants!


Sitting high atop a hill, this town has an enchanting feel to it. This pilgrimage city offers strollers a chance to explore the alleyways and courtyards while gazing at the preserved 15th, 16th and 17th century houses. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is also home to one of the most beloved churches in France; the Romanesque Basilica of St. Mary Magdalene. Its relics

still draw many visitors today. In 1190, Vezelay is also the place where King Phillip Auguste of France met up with Richard the Lionheart of England before departing for the 3rd crusade.


Everything here is medieval! This village has truly preserved its history and it is waiting for you to explore. It all starts with the amazing views as you drive up the steep road leading first to the castle. Dating back to the 10th century this castle still has preserved walls and turrets. Continuing into the village, you will find a 12th century Romanesque Church, 14th century covered market and many medieval houses to marvel at.

Martailly-les-Brancion Burgundy France

Martailly-les-Brancion by D Villafruela


One of the more picturesque villages in the region, Noyers’ has a very well preserved medieval center dating back to the 15th century. Inside the town walls, you will find 78 monuments that have been classified as historic which include the remains of a castle, church, town hall and a 19th century public washing area. Wandering the cobbled streets you will find beautiful half-timbered houses, medieval squares and arches. There is also a very nice river walk outside the walls.

Noyer-sur-Serein Burgundy France

Noyer-sur-Serein by Palamède

There are many other gorgeous villages that could have made this list,

What did I leave off?

Six Months In “My 7 Links”

Being a new travel blogger, I was honored by the invitation to participate in the My 7 Links project I received from Cathy of Traveling with Sweeney.  The timing of this actually coincides with the 6 month anniversary of European Travelista so it is a great time to take a look back at some of the posts I’ve published.  It was much harder than I thought to choose the posts to include even though I only have 6 months to sort through!

But I jumped in and here are My 7 Links .  .  .


Most Beautiful – Italy’s South Tirol: Wine and the Dolomites

Majestic Dolomites South Tirol Italy
Majestic Dolomites from Suditirol Marketind/Frieder Blickle

Spurred by a wine tasting my husband and I enjoyed in Avila Beach, California this post has relit my interest with the Dolomites.  I just can’t get over how dramatic and beautiful this region is.  This is where I can combine some of my favorites:  quaint villages, dramatic mountains, outdoor activities and wine!

Most Popular – Rocamadour – A Miraculous Village

This post could have also made it in the Most Surprising category!  At the last minute, I put up a few pictures I had taken while in Rocamadour France for Travel Photo Thursday.  I wasn’t very happy with the photographs but was out of time so that is what went up.  Who would have known it would be so popular!  I still can’t figure it out.

Rauchbier Spezial Bamberg, Germany by Ethan Prater, on Flickr

Rauchbier Spezial Bamberg, Germany by Ethan Prater, on Flickr

Most Controversial – Bamberg plus Beer equals Dilemma

Well I’m not sure this really fits in the most controversial category but I really don’t write about controversial things.  But this could be controversial, right?  I mean if people get all upset because of a sporting event someone could get real positional about a beer or brewery, don’t you think?! ?  Go with me here on this one 🙂

Most Helpful – Baroque: The Emotional Style

I have written a series on the different architectural styles you will find in Europe.  So far I have covered Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque and Rococo but chose Baroque because it was my personal favorite.  I’d like to think this series has helped us all learn a little more about the styles we see so often when traveling.

Most Surprising Success – Rhine Falls – Europe’s Biggest

Who knew everyone loves a waterfall?  I sure do now.  This one is another submission to Travel Photo Thursday and I never really expected such a reaction.Olivier Magny O Chateau Paris France

Deserved More Attention – Wine Tasting in Paris with O Chateau!

This was my first and only interview I have ever done and I was so excited to share O Chateau with everyone.  I really enjoyed putting this together as I was really tickled by Olivier’s sense of humor and  I like wine (in case you didn’t know 🙂 )!  It didn’t totally bomb but I was surprised it didn’t get a better reception.

Most Proud Of – Welcome to European Travelista. . .

This was the very first post I published on European Travelista.  I am most proud of this one not because it is an example of exemplary writing or because the topic is so grand but because it was a huge step forward for me to launch this blog.  By pushing the “publish” button I stepped into a foreign world and I am so glad I did!  I have learned so much from you all and appreciate your camaraderie even if we have never met.  So thank you all for a great 6 months!



My nominations for the My 7 Links project are:

Sensible Travel Advice

Quirky Travel Guy

Lisa Overman

Quiet Wanderings

Travel To Sun