August 23, 2017

My First Bamberg Adventure!

Upon arriving in Bamberg I dropped my luggage at my hotel, Barock Hotel am Dom, and decided to hike up one of Bamberg’s 7 hills to Michaelsberg!Walk to Michaelsberg Bamberg Bavaria Germany

The walk up hill is quite nice and takes you by some very lovely buildings complete with shuddered windows and even some with flower boxes.

The weather in Bamberg was cloudy and warm.  Of course, as I got to the top of the hill it started to rain.  I walked quickly to get into the church because my umbrella was where all good umbrellas should be, back in my hotel!  I did have a chance to notice the beautiful courtyard as I hurried along the gravel road and up the magnificent stairs leading into the church.St. Michaels Church Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Michaelsberg is home to the old monastery, which is now used as an old folks home, and the monastery church.  The complex of buildings was founded by Emperor Heinrich II in 1015.  Today the Baroque edifice looms over the city and offers amazing views down below as well as a picturesque spot looking up towards Michaelsberg from the city.View of Michaelsberg Bamberg Bavaria Germany

The Baroque face we see today dates back to the 18th century.  Despite the Baroque additions, the Romanesque beginnings are still evident once inside the church.  Inside the church you will be impressed by the vaulted ceiling, Rococo pulpit, richly ornamented organ and the frescoes featuring over 578 flowers and herbs.

Inside St. Michaels Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Inside St. Michaels By Berthold Werner

The rain had stopped so I decided to visit the Franconian Brewery Museum which is located to the right as you leave St. Michaels church and is in the old Monastery Brewery.  Inside you will enjoy an extensive collection of beer making equipment and documents dating back to 1122. There is also a beer garden but I decided to wait until I got back into town since the weather wasn’t completely suited for a beer garden!Franconian Brewery Museum Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Continuing around to the back you will find a beautiful terrace containing gardens, fountains and a café.  The views from the terrace are amazing, even on this gray cloudy day!View from terrace Michaelsberg Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Walking down the hill to town was as beautiful as the trip up!  Now it was time for my first beer in BambergAmbrasianum Brewery Bamberg Bavaria Germany

I managed to find a table at Ambrausianum under a fantastic umbrella so my first beer was outside and dry!

 

Whether religious or not, do you enjoy visiting churches while traveling?

Cahors ~ A French Gem

I’m sure when you think of France grand and romantic images pop in your mind!  There is a large part of France that is relatively unvisited, at least by US travelers.  I have had the fortune to visit some these less discovered areas. The French Basque region, Biarritz and St. Jean de Luz come to mind.

Today for Travel Photo Thursday I’m sharing a few pictures I took while visiting another undiscovered French gem, the Lot department in Southwest France.  We were specifically in and near medieval Cahors which is the capital of the region.  Cahors history dates back to Celtic times and besides the remains of a Roman Amphitheater offers a cathedral, wine museum and markets.Valentre Bridge Cahors France

The symbol of the town is the Valentre Bridge which dates back to 1308.  This bridge is a well used part of the Santiago de Compostela pilgrim trail.  Other villages in the area that are part of this trail include Rocamadour.

But today Cahors is possibly best known for its wine known as “The Black Wine”.Chateau de Mercues Lot region Cahors France

Since wine is an important part of the region you may want to stop for some wine tasting.  One wine estate that offers tasting is Chateau de Haute-Serre which is in the 13th century Chateau de Mercues. Besides wine the chateau is also a luxury hotel.Chateau de Mercues view Cahors France

Even in the haze, the surroundings are impressive!Lot region Cahors France

Truffles and walnuts are two items Cahors is also known for.  The walnuts make a great liqueur and you may want to enjoy Fenelon, a local aperitif made from local red wine, cassis and the wonderful local walnut liqueur!

The Lot and Cahors are a small part of the Midi-Pyrenees region in France and one of the areas I would like to explore in much more detail.

 

These photo’s are shared as part of Travel Photo Thursday.  For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

Moravia: Exploring the Czech Republic

In recent years, the Czech Republic has become a major tourist destination and rightly so!  Prague has become the number one stop for tourists to the republic but should you stop there?  That answer is No, there are many other areas to discover of equal interest.

One of these regions is Moravia.

Located in the eastern part of the country, Moravia is known as the quieter and more “real” Czech Republic.  The region is full of quaint villages, lush green vineyards, history, outdoor activities and has held on to its traditions.

Brno Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul Moravia Czech Republic

Brno Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul by Millenium187

Below are 5 reasons to include Moravia in your itinerary of the Czech Republic:

  • Castles & Chateaux

There are more than 2,000 Castles and Chateaux in the Czech Republic and Moravia has more than its fair share.  Among these are medieval Helfstyn Castle with its imposing walls and setting above the Becva river; gothic Buchlov Castle; lavish baroque Kromeriz Castle was built in 17th century and includes must see gardens ;  Slavkov Chateau was the site of a famous victory for Napoleon at Austerlitz; and gothic Lednice Chateau whose grounds include an English style park and a Temple of Apollo.

Lednice Chateau Moravia Czech Republic

Lednice Chateau by Zp

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens Moravia Czech Republic

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens courtesy of Czech Republic Tourist Bureau

  • Wine

Wine is up and coming in the Czech Republic and Moravia produces the vast majority of it.  Most notably known for its dry white wines the reds are coming up.  There are many wine festivals held during the harvest time with the largest held in Znojmo, Mikulov, Brno and Melnik.  Twelfth century Valtice Castle houses the Czech Republic’s National Wine Center where you can enjoy tasting some of the best wines produced in the country.

Valtice Castle Moravia Czech Republic

Valtice Castle courtesy of Czech Republic

 

  • Towns & Villages

The towns and villages of Moravia include thousand years of history and were once the stomping grounds of the Liechtenstein’s.  Visiting the towns and villages of Moravia will help you understand the long and varied history of the region.  One of the most ancient towns is Znojmo where you can see wall paintings in the Romanesque Chapel of St. Catherine.  Telc is known as one of the most beautiful towns in the Czech Republic and is listed on UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  Olomouc has long been a cultural center and is full of cobblestoned streets, stately cathedrals and grand palaces.  Mikulov offers history, architectural wonders and nature.

Telc Moravia Czech Republic

Telc courtesy of Czech Republic Tourist Bureau

 

  • Tradition

The diverse folk customs can still be found in Moravia, in fact, they have seemed to flourish.  During travels, visitors will come across people in tradition clothing as well as many folk festivals including Easter, music, Gypsy Song and Kings Ride festivals.

Moravian Costumes Czech Republic

Moravian Costumes Czech Republic by Jialiang Gao

 

  • Outdoor Activities

Moravia is full of beautiful and varied natural wonders.  These include many trails for bikers or hikers, parks, gardens, lakes, rivers as well as caves and chasms. The Litovel Morava Natural Park is best explored by bike as its trails are smooth and wide.  In the Jesenik Mountains adventurers will find waterfalls and the eerie Hill of Crosses.  Those wanting to explore the underworld, sights include Javoricko caves and Karst caverns.

Moravian Karst Czech Republic

Moravian Karst courtesy of Czech Republic Tourist Bureau

 

Yes, there are a lot of reasons to visit Moravia! Whether you want history, architecture, wine, nature or castles and chateaux you will find it here.  The one thing you won’t find are the crowds of PragueLife is a little slower in Moravia.

 

Would you visit Moravia while in the Czech Republic?

Early One Morning in Innsbruck

One morning while I was in Innsbruck I decided to go for a walk before the Travel Bloggers Unite conference got started.  As I roamed and wandered this city that captivated me, I noticed a large gathering of people under the Goldenes Dachl or Golden Roof.Under the Golden Roof Innsbruck Austria

As I came closer I noticed a group of men and women dressed in traditional clothing.  At first they were milling around but eventually got lined up in a military fashion.Milling around Innsbruck Austria

The men carried rifles and sabers whileInnsbruck Austria Unexpected Event

Most of the women seem to be carrying small barrels that must be full of liquid libation!Innsbruck Austria waitng for Inspection

Even though I had not clue what was going on, I did stop and watch as it progressed for a few minutes.

The flag the men are holding says “Zur erinnerung an das Gründungsfest” and I have no idea what the meaning is.  I thought it would be some kind of festival but when I translated it online I got “In Remembrance of the Foundation Laid.”  Whatever that means!?!  If anyone knows please let me know in your comment below!Innsbruck Austria Gathering

I couldn’t stay very long but this unexpected “event” was one of the special highlights Innsbruck offered me! Seeing locals in traditional clothing always brings a smile to my face even more so when they seem to be enjoying every minute!

I highly recommend early morning wandering!

 

What surprises have you run into during an early morning walk?

 

These photo’s are shared as part of Travel Photo Thursday.  For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

A Year at European Travelista

Today is the first anniversary for European Travelista!!!

It’s Been a Year and What a Year It’s Been!

As I looked back at the year, I discovered that during this time I’ve written 134 posts which received 2,868 comments.

Together we’ve visited 18 of Europe’s countries!

The countries we’ve visited include France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  Along with those we’ve also touched ground in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Holland and even Estonia.Views walking up the hill to Gruyeres Switzerland

We’ve looked at food, aperitifs and experienced European wine beer and beer festivals!

Our journey has been by train, feet, bikes and post bus crossing rivers, bridges and scenic routes. We’ve taken a look at the awesome waterfalls in Europe along with some festivals, even if they are a bit crazy!Budapest and Danube River

Because I had a hard time telling the difference between Baroque, Gothic or Romanesque, we spent some time learning a bit about all that wonderful architecture found in European capitals.

I’ve shared my love for Germany and in particular Bavaria.  Heck one of my first posts was titled “Bavaria, Bavaria How do I Love thee?”.  That should have been your first clue 🙂

Hohenschwangau Bavarian Castle

View from Hohenschwangau

Together we delved into my passion for those small little quaint charming picturesque mountain villages.  Yes you know that I am a mountain girl!

We’ve spent time in castles, feasted our eyes on jewels, taken drives and just dreamed.

Cesky Krumlov Castle Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov Castle by Docsj

Yup it’s been quite a year!

And it’s not going to stop yet!

I have many more adventures lined up for 2012 but I also want to include some of your interests.

Where do you want to go?

How do you want to get there and what do you want to do once you get there?

Where or where in Europe shall we go during 2012?  Help me out by leaving suggestions in your comment!

 

Before I go, I want to send out a BIG thanks to you all for making 2011 such a great year!

Gracias.Köszi.Merci.Takk.Grazie.Obrigada.Danke.

 

Bamberg Germany and Little Venice

It’s Travel Photo Thursday again and today I’m sharing a few pictures of a beautiful town in Germany – Bamberg.

Located in northern Bavaria, Bamberg is known as a charming town that if full of picturesque views at almost every turn.   Even though I don’t think Bamberg is visited by many Americans touring Germany, I wonder how many people recognize it by it’s city hall which is located in the middle of the river!!Bamberg Town Hall Bavaria Germany

To say this Unesco World Heritage city is gorgeous would be an understatement.  Situated along the Regnitz River and the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, this Beer City has many reasons to visit.

It’s not hard to find amazing views along the river but one of the more splendid areas is known as Klein Venedig or Little Venice.Little Venice Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Little Venice is a row of fishermen houses dating from the 19th century.  I’m not sure where the comparison to Venice comes from but it is striking.  Do you see a resemblance to Venice?
Little Venice Bamberg Bavaria Germany

The Regnitz river is a grand frame to these small half-timbered houses which are indeed very picturesque.

Maybe including gondola reminds us of  Venice! 

Gondola along Canal Bamberg Bavaria Germany

 

 

 

 

These photo’s are shared as part of Travel Photo Thursday.  For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

Fondue-Is it Swiss or French?

When you think of Switzerland I’m sure mountains, scenic trains, chocolate, banking, cows and more pop into your mind.  But in this small country the king of the food items has got to be Fondue!Cheese Fondue Switzerland

The history of fondue isn’t really clear.  The oldest recipe for cheese fondue dates back to 1699. In 1735 a French chef named la Chapelle published a recipe for fondue and hence the reason some believe the dish is actually of French beginnings. By the time the first recipe for modern cheese fondue was published 1875, it was already a Swiss national dish.  This is probably due to the fact that true cheese fondue use Gruyere cheese which means it must be Swiss!

Traditional lore says fondue started out of necessity as a way to use scraps of old cheese and stale bread during the winter when food was scarcer and villages were more isolated by the weather and snow.

No matter where it really got started, today fondue is a traditional Swiss dish and one that I love!

It is probably not surprising that each of Switzerland’s 26 cantons claim to have the best Fondue! However, in its simplest form fondue is all about local cheese and wine.

Le Chalet Gruyeres Switzerland

Le Chalet by Tomasz Wachowski Klondek

“Traditional” Swiss Fondue is made using Gruyere and Emmenthaler cheeses which are melted with white wine and a splash of Kirsch.  Other local cheeses like Walliser Bergkase, Appenzeller or Vacherin may be used along with mushrooms, garlic, peppers or other herbs.

In Fribourg, the fondue is made using Gruyere and Vacherin cheeses.  The wine and Kirsch are not added but you will be dipping your bread in plum schnapps before diving into all that hot melty goodness!

I was recently reading an article on Fondue which got me reminiscing about Switzerland and all the fantastic fondue I’ve dipped into while traveling in this fabulous country!Swiss Fondue Switzerland

While in Zurich, I enjoyed a wonderful pot of traditional fondue with green peppercorns and mustard at Restaurant Swiss Chuchi in the Hotel Adler.  During the warmer months, there is outside seating which, IMO, only adds to the enjoyment of your meal.

If you’re in Montreux I can recommend Le Museum Restaurant.  The restaurant is located in the wine cellar of a 13th century convent and has quit a history.  This cozy place has a great atmosphere and is known for its fondue!

In the village famous for its cheese, Gruyeres, make sure to visit Le Chalet.  This traditional Swiss restaurant is dressed up as a chalet complete with open beams.  In a village that is equally charming, Le Chalet serves wonderful fondue!  I also enjoyed a green salad that was served in a cute little wooden bowl that really looked more like a very small wood bucket!

I know Fondue is a simple meal of bread and cheese but I find it to be a great way to slow down, enjoy a meal and the company of those that are with you.  It really doesn’t get much better than this!

 

Where have you enjoyed Fondue?

When You Can’t Get to Germany for New Year’s

What do you do when you want to spend New Year’s in Germany but can’t?

Bring Germany to you, of course!

And that is what we did this New Year’s Eve!

Since we couldn’t spend our New Year’s Eve in Germany we decided to grab a little bit of Germany by enjoying traditional drink and food at Schroeder’s restaurant in San Francisco.

Schroeder’s has been in San Francisco since 1893 and has a definite German Beer Hall feel to it.  The restaurant is festooned with Herman Richter murals depicting life in Germany, a rosewood bar and beer steins decorating the walls. 

The hearty Bavarian menu includes Ham knuckles, schnitzels, wursts, potato pancakes, spaetzle and, one of my favorites, Goulash Soup 🙂Schroeders Goulash Soup San Francisco

There are many German beers on tap and even more in bottles.  If beer isn’t your style, you may want to enjoy some great German wine.Schroeder's San Francisco Decor

Besides the food and drink, Schroeder’s also offers Polka nights that are complete with music, dancing and competitions!  Take a look at this YouTube video showing the fun that can be found at Schroeder’s!

I have to say our visit to Schroeder’s was very enjoyable and we are thinking of going back for their Fashing celebration but an actual visit to Germany may need to be on tap for next New Year’s eve!

 

These photo’s are shared as part of Travel Photo Thursday.  For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

Travel:The Best of 2011

Jeremy from Budget Travel Adventures started an awesome year end event about Best Travel of 2011.  Ben from AdventuresWithBen asked me to participate and I thought it was a great time to reflect back on the good, bad and ugly before setting off on this year’s adventures!

Best Domestic Travel Destination 2011Our Little Cabin Sorensen's in Hope Valley California

Over Memorial Day we spent the weekend at Sorensen’s Resort in the Hope Valley and completely fell in love with this area. . . again.  Sorensen’s is lodging comprised of little single cabins but without TV or internet although you can get internet access in the restaurant if you really need!  Being Memorial Day weekend, we expected warm dry weather so much that we didn’t even check the weather prior to leaving home!  At least we were better prepared for the 4+ inches of snow than those that were out in shorts and capri’s!  If you haven’t been to the Hope Valley, I highly recommend it!

Best Travel Experience 2011

Another area I loved was Mittenwald Germany but my favorite part of my stay was the Goatherd Encounter along the Lautersee above Mittenwald!  I wouldn’t have been at Lautersee if it weren’t for the suggestion of my hotel, the Alpenrose.  Yes trying to cool off allowed me this amazing encounter!

Best International Destination 2011Innsbruck Austria in Altstadt

As I mentioned in Innsbruck You Captivated Me, I am in love with Innsbruck Austria and can’t wait to go back to explore the city more before stretching into the surrounding area.  Armored Schloss Ambras, The Bizarre World of Swarovski and Worlds 2nd Largest Tomb is in Innsbruck are just a few of the reasons  I fell in love with Innsbruck.  I would love spend more time in the city exploring the nooks and crannies more fully and walking in the mountains plus discovering the nearby quaint villages and the Oetz Valley!

Worst Travel Experience 2011

I would have to say Budapest Hungary was my worst travel experience of 2011.  Budapest is one of the Cities that Leaves Me Bleh!  I am completely bummed about my feelings because I really wanted to love Budapest!  But I didn’t.  As I was watching Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol I was struck by the beautiful views of Budapest.  Yes while I was in Budapest I found the beauty along the river but not elsewhere but the views shared in the movie has left me knowing I will return and give Budapest a second chance.Pariliament Building Budapest Hungary

Most Embarrassing Travel Moment 2011

Fortunately or unfortunately my personality doesn’t allow me to have ‘those’ embarrassing moments.  During the past year I have enjoyed reading AdventuresWithBen partly due to all the amazingly crazy pictures of himself he shares with us all!  I find his smiling face infectious 🙂  So a New Year’s resolution to allow myself ‘those’ silly moments and share them with you has been made!

Best Local Destination 2011Columbus Day Parade San Francisco California

By far, I’d have to say San Francisco is the best local destination!  We have enjoyed exploring the city more as our children have left home.  This year we biked the Bay Bridge, enjoyed a free walking tour of Nob Hill, wandered the Haight and spent a very pleasant day watching the Columbus Day parade pass us by while being entertained by the jets flying over hear during Fleet Week.  We have spent more time using the rapid transit system and shared that with my brother’s family over Thanksgiving weekend.  The ‘colorful’ people you run into on transit is worth the price of admission 🙂  Yes being less than an hour away from San Francisco is a very enviable place to be!

Best Travel Lesson from 2011

Four inches of snow over Memorial Day weekend taught us a lesson!  Oh did I mention that the windshield wipers on our car stopped working too?  Yup not checking the weather made for an interesting and fun weekend but taught us to always check prior to leaving home.

To continue the Best Travel 2011, I’d love to hear from:

EasyHiker
Country Skipper
The French Way Blog
Traveling With Sweeney
Pinay On the Move

 

 

Moving forward, tell us your travel plans for 2012!