February 21, 2018

An Afternoon at Augustiner Brauerei Salzburg

On the last afternoon I was in Salzburg I had the pleasure of visiting the largest beer tavern in Austria. The Augustiner Brauerei offers both a tavern (for enjoyment during bad weather) and a lovely beer garden (for those awesome summer days!).  I guess I should clarify, I did not visit the tavern but spent some relaxing time in the beer garden.Entrance Augustiner Brewery Salzburg Austria

Arriving by bus I just needed to walk across the street to find one of the best places to spend an afternoon in Salzburg! The beer garden at Augustiner Brauerei has 1,500 seats under wonderful chestnut trees.

The brewery is still partially owned by the Michaelbeuern Benedictine Monastery and if you’re lucky you’ll see some of the monks enjoying beer and conversation under the same trees!Beer Garden Augustiner Salzburg Austria

Producing over 250,000 gallons of beer annually, the beer is still drawn from wooden barrels.  Upon arriving, you will pay for a token, take a stein off the shelf and wash it before presenting it for filling.  It is a very fun experience!Augustiner Brewery Salzburg Austria

There are quite a few places to purchase food here but it is all self serve.  You are also encouraged to bring your own picnic!

This afternoon I was lucky enough to have musical entertainment while enjoying my beer. During the bands break a gentleman entertained the crowd.  I couldn’t understand a word he was saying but he must have been very funny because everyone else was laughing!Band at Augustiner Brewery Salzburg Austria

Beer Gardens are perfect way to relax while enjoying local company and customs.  I love spending time in beer gardens and highly recommend the Ausgustiner Brauerei in Salzburg!


These pictures are part of Travel Photo Thursday!  For more great pictures,make sure to check out Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

A Chocolate Festival in London

Calling all Chocoholics!

So maybe you don’t need to be a chocoholic but you do need to be in London early December and looking for a different Festival that also offers tasty treats!

That’s right, if you’re in London December 9 – 11 you’ll want to make a beeline to the Southbank Centre Square for The Chocolate Festival!  You read that right, there will be a chocolate festival in London and it’s waiting for you:)

Southbank Chocolate Festival by Magnus D, on Flickr

Southbank Chocolate Festival by Magnus D, on Flickr

This gastronomic fete of chocolate offers something for everyone from those of us that like chocolate to those of you who live by chocolate!   Enjoy samples from some of the world’s best chocolatiers, a tasty array of chocolate dishes and cocktails plus if you’re still looking for that rationale to calm your guilt, you can participate in a session learning all about the health benefits of raw chocolate.

Chocolate sign #1 by dicktay2000, on Flickr

Chocolate sign #1 by dicktay2000, on Flickr

Can you imagine the aroma wafting through the halls of this Festival?


Some of the treats savored at past Chocolate Festivals include hot chocolate, churros with chocolate sauce, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate soup, truffles, chocolate mousse, cookies and chocolate Bellini’s or Martini’s.   If you want to do more than eat chocolate, as with most festivals you will have the opportunity to purchase some of your favorites! Don’t be selfish, remember your friends 🙂



After wandering through the aisles of chocolate vendors you may opt for one of the chocolate demonstrations where you can learn about the history of hot chocolate which could include tastings, learn all about cocoa cultivation or even how to be a chocolate “connoisseur”.

This festival even offers Master of Chocolate Demonstrations where, in years past, you could learn to create caramel and rum chocolates, learn why using water is better than cream when making ganache, how to make the perfect chocolate curl or making the best Cocoa Bellini or Martini!

by André Karwath

So if you’re up for a weekend of nothing but chocolate head on over and indulge your taste buds in this most delectable treat!

Oh and did I mention, other than the Master of Chocolate Demonstrations, this event is FREE!

Can you think of a better way to spend a day?

Easily Save Money While Traveling

Many cities in Europe offer tourists a city card which includes discounts or free admission to many of the local museums, castles, tours and some even include transportation.

Munich has one.  London has one.  Paris has one. Prague has one.  Innsbruck and Salzburg both offer one too!Eiffel Tower Paris France

Have you ever wondered if they are worth purchasing?

During my trip this summer I purchased cards in both Innsbruck and Salzburg and I can definitely tell you that the answer to the question is a definite . . . maybe!

Let’s look at the details of what they offered.Innsbruck Card Innsbruck Austria

The Innsbruck Card says it offers “free entrance to all museums and places of interest in and around the city.  Plus free use of cable cars, local public transport services, the “Sightseer” city tour bus and the “Kristallwelten Shuttle” bus, discounts on shopping, sports and fun.”

Due to my schedule I only had about 24 hours to enjoy Innsbruck on my own so I purchased a card for 24 hours which was 29 Euros.  It is important to note, these cards are good for 24 hours from the time you start your touring and not just 1 day.Innsbruck Austria

During my 24 hours I was able to visit the Hofburg, Hofkirche, Schloss Ambras, Swarovski Kristallwelten and the Nordkettenbahnen plus the buses getting to/from both Schloss Ambras and Swarovski Kristallwelten.  If I had purchased each of these separately I would have spent 64.50 Euros.

So in Innsbruck my 29 euro expenditure was worth every penny!


Salzburg Card Salzburg Austria

The Salzburg Card includes “. . . free admission to Salzburg’s museums, free use of the Fortress funicular, the Untersberg cableway, Salzach ship service and public transport. Salzburg Card holders can also take advantage of a number of discounts on concerts, theater performances or excursions to destinations in the Salzburg vicinity.”

I decided to purchase a 48 hour Salzburg Card for 34 Euros.  While in Salzburg not only did I visit many of the sights included for free; Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountains, the Catacombs, Hohensalzburg Fortress and Cable Railway, Residenz Gallery and State Rooms and the Stiegl Brauwelt; but I also used the bus system fairly extensively getting to my hotel, Hanger 7, Stiegl Brauwelt, Hellbrunn and Augustiner Beer Gardens.  If I had not had the Salzburg Card I would have spent 58.70 Euros.Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountain Salzburg Austria

Again my expenditure was worth every penny!

Besides the savings both cards afforded me I enjoyed not waiting in line for tickets, not needing to carry so much cash, and the transit systems were very easy since I was able to get on the bus I wanted.

So why did I say they were maybe worth purchasing?

While in my case both cards were worth purchasing but every traveler or city may be different.  My advice is to look into the cards beforehand knowing what you would like to visit. Also make sure you temper your wants down a bit because reality can be a totally different thing! This is the only way you can see if it makes financial sense to purchase the cards.

I have heard that people don’t recommend purchasing these cards because the savings is only a few Euros.  I disagree.   Even if I had not saved any money on these cards, the ease of use at each site or transportation was well worth it, in my humble opinion!


Have you purchased any city cards?
Did you think they were worth it?

A Little America in Budapest

As I was wandering around Budapest, I came across a little bit of America and thought I would share it with you for this edition of Travel Photo Thursday!

Look who I found in Budapest!

Ronald Reagan Statue Budapest Hungary

Earlier this summer, this 7 foot statue of Ronald Reagan was unveiled on Freedom Square in Budapest to honor his role in ending communism.

Also nearby is the US Embassy.

US Embassy Budapest Hungary

This was a bit harder to see because it really doesn’t stick out except for the large fence surrounding it, barricades to automobile traffic and signs that say Don’t Take Pictures (oops am I in trouble?).  Plus the flag wasn’t waving freely, but I eventually figured it out!


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.


Ugly History in Budapest

When traveling I love learning about history of the area I am in.  The thing with history is, it isn’t always pretty or doesn’t always make us proud of those who came before us.  Nope, but it is history and important to look at as a way towards understanding people and societies.

Today we are a sum of all the events that have taken place in an earlier time and to evolve we need to embrace history.

Unfortunately Budapest has its fair share of the type of history that is really ugly and makes us uncomfortable.

War is ugly but WWII and its repercussions to  Jews was especially this way.  This was true for the Jews in Budapest too. Early during the war the Jews in Hungary were basically left alone since Hungary sided with the Nazi’s.  But as the war dragged on Hungarian support changed and so did the treatment of the Jews.Dohany Synagogue Exterior Budapest Hungary

In March 1944 Germany occupied Hungary. Ghettos were formed in Budapest and 200,000 Jews were moved into squalid conditions.  Food was not let in, waste and trash was not collected and the dead were piled high or buried in a mass grave at the Dohany Synagogue.Dohany Synagogue Interior Budapest Hungary

Budapest has many memorials to its Jews that lost their lives during WWII.  Some of these monuments are at the Dohany Street Synagogue, the 2nd largest synagogue in the world.

In the courtyard of the synagogue is the mass grave of thousands of Jews from the Budapest Ghetto. This is very unusual for a synagogue since according to Jewish law the dead are not to be buried on the grounds of a synagogue.  In this case, there really was no other option.Mass Grave Dohany Synagogue Budapest Hungary

As a memorial to all Hungarian victims of the Holocaust is the weeping willow. Made out of steel with each leaf containing a name of a victim, this commemoration was built in 1989 and sponsored, in part, by the Emanuel Foundation which was created by Tony Curtis in honor of his father, Emanuel Schwartz, who emigrated from Mateszalka Hungary to New York.Willow Tree Memorial Dohany Synagogue Budapest Hungary

One of the most disturbing is the “Shoes on the Danube” monument. On the edge of the Danube near the Parliament building you will see bronze shoes standing at the waters edge.  As the war was coming to its end, the Nazi’s realized they were loosing.  They installed the faschist Red Arrow Party in Budapest and empowered them to round up groups of Jews, take them to the rivers edge and shoot them so they would fall into the Danube.  Prior to shooting them, they were required to remove their shoes.     Estimates are that 10-15,000 Jews died in this manner.Shoes Along Danube Budapest Hungary

In 1941 there were about 246,000 Jews living in Budapest and at the end of the war almost 50% had died with most of these deaths occurring after May 1944.

History is philosophy teaching by example and also by warning.
Lord Bolingbroke


What’s your take on history?  Like it, love it or leave it?

Cities that leave you Bleh!

This summer I visited Bamberg Germany and loved it.

Mittenwald, loved it.  Innsbruck, loved it.  Salzburg, loved it!  Budapest. . .

. . . I don’t know what to say about Budapest. 

I arrived by train expecting to find a beautiful city on the Danube that I would love.

Instead, I am ambivalent. 

Due to its place in history, I found Budapest very interesting and would love to spend more time learning about all the events and people that have shaped this city.  The WWII history alone is fascinating. I didn’t realize or had forgotten that it was Budapest where the Russians defeated the Nazi’s.  Or the history surrounding the revolt during the 1950’s.  Fascinating history!

But I was still left wondering, where is the beauty?  What is the attraction? 

I have seen the pictures of Budapest that are so beautiful they take my breath away, but it was hard to find this.Budapest and Danube River

I finally found the beauty.  It is down on the water.  From the Danube Budapest is beautiful.  From either bank looking across, Budapest is beautiful.

As I explored the Pest side of the city, I would come across an occasional architectural gem – St. Stephens Basilica, Dohany Street Synagogue, the Parliament building and Szechenyi Baths are a few.   Heroes’ Square is pretty amazing due to its size.Pariliament Building Budapest Hungary

But the real beauty is along the river. 

I was even told by tour guides that the grand boulevard, Andrássy út, looked just like the Champs Elysees because it was modeled after it.

I didn’t see it!  I don’t get it. 

I couldn’t get the feel of the city and, therefore, had trouble getting my bearings which resulted in an unsettled feeling.  I never got lost but just didn’t feel comfortable until Friday, my last day.Across the Danube with Basilica Budapest Hungary

I spent Friday exploring Castle HillNow this is beautiful! I loved it up on Castle Hill.  It had the feel of “Europe”.  The old world feel and small crooked, cobblestoned streets all combined to have a much more familiar feel to it.  Which is amazing considering it isn’t that old at all due to the carpet bombing during WWII!

I was not uncomfortable wandering the streets on the Buda side of the Danube and maybe it was this new found confidence that followed me as I returned to the Pest side of town. I was much more comfortable as I searched for the monuments I wanted to see.

Too bad it was my last day! 

I just don’t know how to describe Budapest because I don’t know how I feel about it.  Bleh, is the best I can do.


Have you felt this way about a city?

Cool and Relaxed in Innsbruck

While in Innsbruck Austria I decided to enjoy a trip on the Nordkettenbahn a series of cable cars that whisk you from the center of town at 1,840 feet above sea level up to a height of 7,400.

The trip to the top is completed through a series of 3 different cable cars. Along the way you will be treated to amazing views of the valley below as well as have the opportunity to visit the highest zoo in Europe, hike or bike down, enjoy some quiet time relaxing at the Alpenlounge Seegrube or simply sit and enjoy the views and quiet. Although I didn’t see any climbers this day, you can also enjoy climbing.Inn River from Hungerburg Innsbruck Austria

There are many hiking and biking trails at each level of the Nordkettenbahn.  Some are for experienced hikers but there is something for everyone.  On my trip up there was a mountain biker that looked like he was dressed more for a football game (US style) than bike riding!  Later that day, I did see him again in the old town so I know he made it down safely.View from Hungerburg Innsbruck Austria

On this day, my goal was not only the views but also to escape the heat that had settled in over the area. I was successful on both parts although my pictures show more haze than I remember seeing!  Someone later told me that haze is the moisture in the air and comes with heat.  Who knew?View from top of Nordekettenbahn Innsbruck Austria

While the pictures didn’t turn out quite like I had thought, the view from each level as you rise is stunning.  From one direction you see the Inn river as it winds it’s way through Innsbruck and once at the top you will be amazed looking at layer after layer of stark mountains.View from the Hafelekar Innsbruck Austria

My trip up the mountain was the perfect way to relax and beat the heat.


For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

My 4 Best . . . Meals That Is!

Whether food is something you travel for or just something you enjoy while traveling, it is a necessary part of any day.  Personally I don’t usually travel for food but enjoy local cuisine while traveling although I’d travel to Germany just for some schnitzel 🙂

I know it may have looked like I only ate Goulash soup during my summer trip to Europe but I actually ate other things!  Today I’m sharing my favorites and I’m hungry already!

In no order, here are 4 meals that really stood out above the rest!

First is a lunch I devoured at Klosterbräu brewery in Bamberg.  After a morning of walking the streets of Bamberg’s Old Town I literally fell into my seat at Klosterbräu eagerly ready for some food and drink!Schnitzel at Klosterbrau Bamberg Germany

I can’t tell you how wonderful the Schnitzel Wiener Art mit Kartofellsalat und Salat was! The pork wiener schnitzel was cooked to perfection and the potato salad was scrumptious!  German green salads have been one of my favorites for many years.  I love the tender butter lettuce on top that is hiding little secrets like carrots, radishes and some kind of cured cabbage.  Delicious!

Next up is the wonderful dinner I enjoyed at Pfudel in Vienna.  From the English menu I ordered Veal Goulash with Gnocchi.  Imagine my surprised delight when the plate arrived layered with beautiful goulash on top of Spätzle and not gnocchi!!! You probably don’t want to get me started telling you about how much I adore Spätzle so I’ll just tell you they are tiny little flour dumplings that are wunderbar!  The picture I took was blurry (I think I was shaking in delight at the Spätzle!) so I can’t share with you this delightful meal 🙁 but will entice you with a picture I found of Spätzle.

Spatzle Tiny Little Dumplings

Spatzle by Kobako

Imagine these small little dumplings topped with thick red gravy full of tasty tender pork, veal or beef and the wonderful aroma of paprika! I accompanied the goulash with an absolutely wonderful glass of Grüner Veltliner wine.

One evening I wandered up to the Stiegl Keller in Salzburg.  The Keller is located at the base of the Mönchburg and is a bit of a walk up but the views, beer and food make it so worth it! For this meal I had an amazing pork chop with brown gravy, roast potatoes and green beans with bacon. I know it sounds like a basic meal and it was but, oh my god, it was so delicious!

Stiegl Keller sign Salzburg AustriaView from Stiegl Keller Salzburg Austria









Sadly, no pictures of this one either.  When I remembered to take a picture I looked down and my plate was already empty and I mean empty.  I devoured this meal!

I’m actually a little embarrassed to share this next “meal” with you.  To start, I’ll admit, yes I am a cheap date! Wandering Salzburg and not wanting to take the time to sit down and eat lunch I came upon Salzburger Imbiss Grill which is basically a fast food hot dog/sausage joint.  I ordered an “Original” Bosna which is grilled sausage with spicy mustard and grilled onions.  First bite and I knew I was in heaven. The grilled sausage was perfection.  The sausage was encased in white bread that was grilled on a type of Panini press which made it a little crunchy and equally heavenly.  Add in the accoutrements and you have a winning combination! This one didn’t last long either 🙂 and is the best “hot dog” I have ever had.Bosna from Salzburger Imbiss Grill Salzburg Austria

I highly recommend all of these wonderful meals but suggest you eat more regularly than I did so you can enjoy your meal and remember to actually take a picture!


What are some of your favorite meals you’ve had while traveling?

Mittenwald: Pictures Tell the Story

The only reason I decided to visit Mittenwald Germany was it’s status as one of the most beautiful Bavarian villages.

As divulged in Magical Mittenwald – Bavaria at its Best I am a complete sucker for the quaint villages so often found deep in Bavaria near the Austrian border.  So off I went to Mittenwald in search of “that” village.

This is what I found!

Beautiful street view Mittenwald Germany
Mittenwald is known for it’s storybook quality which reeks from every nook and cranny of the village.Street outside Violin Museum Mittenwald GermanyYes it is touristy but it doesn’t really seem to take away from your enjoyment of the village.

Painted Building Mittenwald Germany

This peaceful alpine village is known for it’s painted buildings and they are everywhere! The frescoes depict both religious themes and details of the history of Mittenwald.

Frescoed Building Mittenwald Germany

Surrounding Mittenwald are the mountains, which are right there!

Mittenwald Germany the mountains are right there

As in most European villages, the church takes center stage.  The lovely Sts. Peter and Paul church is at the center of Mittenwald.  You can’t miss the lovely frescoed tower!

Street View with Church in Background Mittenwald Germany

Even though this church is slightly more modest than other European churches, the inside of the church is very beautiful and full of tiny details.

Inside Mittenwald Germany ChurchCheck out the wood working details on the ends of the pews!

Inside Mittenwald Church Look at detail on pews

It doesn’t take long to tour Mittenwald, a couple hours will do.  Don’t rush your visit, though, as you will need time to soak in all the atmosphere.Facade Alpenrose Hotel Mittenwald Germany

Which may include a lovely dinner outside with a couple local boys playing great Bavarian music!Dinner outside Alpenrose Hotel Mittenwald Germany


I love these alpine Bavarian villages, what is your favorite type village to spend time in?

Travel Photo Thursday-Lautersee

For today’s Travel Photo Thursday I’ll share a few more pictures of Lautersee, a peaceful  lake above Mittenwald Germany where I spent a very relaxing afternoon that was also a bit cooler!Lautersee a lake near Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Lautersee is an alpine lake about 3,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by the Wettersteingebirge mountain range.Lautersee View Mittenwald Germany

This beautiful lake is surrounded by forests, mountains and even has it’s own little Chapel!Lautersee Chapel Mittenwald Germany

Lautersee is easily reached either by bus or you can walk.  I took the bus up and walked down.  Once at the lake you can relax under the trees, walk around the lake, swim or hike one of the trails. There are signs marking the many hiking trails dotting the area around the lake.Signs leading to the many hiking trails

Families will enjoy the lake as there is a designated beach area that has playground equipment and diving board for the children to enjoy.Lautersee with beach Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

The Bavarian Alps offer a lot of activities and Mittenwald and her environs are included!


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.