February 21, 2018

Charming Biarritz & Her Lighthouse

Sitting on the Atlantic coast of Western France is Biarritz.  Once a whaling village, Biarritz became internationally renowned when Napoleon and Eugenie built their summer palace here which today is the Hotel du Palais.Biarritz Panorama Atlantic Coast France

At the north edge of the main beach is the Biarritz Lighthouse.  Dating back to 1831, the lighthouse sits 73 meters above sea level, offering an amazing panorama of this gorgeous city.Biarritz Lighthouse Basque Coast France

Part of the Basque region, today Biarritz offers lovely beaches, casinos, nightclubs, shops and museums.  If you love chocolate you may want to include the chocolate museum to your visit.  You did know chocolate originated here in the Basque Country!

Biarritz Lighthouse Basque Coast France

Yes the lighthouse is in the distance!

Although Biarritz may seem a bit large it does have a small town feel to it.  Spend time wandering the lovely promenade that parallels the main beach or strolling the old fishing harbor.  This is one of the few places that surfing is popular in Europe!  Biarritz is both captivating and charming.


Have you explored Biarritz or the French Basque Region?


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.


5 Guiding Lights of Europe!

For years Lighthouses have been protecting ships as they navigate our shorelines.  With lamps shining bright, they guide captains past treacherous rocks, reefs and coastlines offering safe passage or entry into port.

Let’s take a look at some of Europe’s many guiding lights!

Finisterre Lighthouse

This lighthouse is located on a rocky peninsula on the west coast of Spain.  The coast in this area is known as the “Death Coast” and has been the location of many shipwrecks making the lighthouse even more important!  The lighthouse was built in 1853 and sits 138 meters above sea level.  Finisterre is also a well known pilgrimage site.

Finisterre Lighthouse Spain

Finisterre Lighthouse by Yellow.Cat, on Flickr

Cordouan Lighthouse

This beautiful lighthouse located on the Atlantic coast of France, sits at the mouth of the Gironde River near the coast of Medoc. This still active lighthouse is the 10th tallest traditional lighthouse in the world and is located about 7 km from the coast.  Construction on the Cordouan Lighthouse began in 1584 and was completed in 1611.  The lighthouse can be seen for miles both day and night.  Next time you’re in the area, you might want to visit this amazing site!

Cordouan Lighthouse France

By Thibault Grouas

Lindau Lighthouse

Yes, even lakes need lighthouses!  This very photogenic lighthouse guards the entrance to Lindau Harbor on Lake Constance deep in Southern Germany.  Sitting on the border with Switzerland this magnificent lighthouse was built in 1853 where it still sits waiting for you to visit.

Lindau Lighthouse Lake Constance Germany

By Taxiarchos228

Dover Lighthouse

Nestled on the grounds of medieval Dover Castle in the English countryside is this beautiful Roman lighthouse.  The Romans actually built two lighthouses but this is the only one still standing and today it is the tallest Roman ruin in Britain.  In its heyday, there was an open flame on the top that guided ships into the harbor.

Dover Roman Lighthouse England

The Roman Lighthouse by Mark Abel, on Flickr

Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse

Located on the North Sea in northern Denmark, the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse started lighting the way in 1900. Even though the lighthouse sits 60 meters above sea level, the shifting seas and winds have blown sand up the cliff until the light couldn’t be seen from the sea.  It was at this point on August 1, 1968 that the lighthouse ceased operation.

Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse Denmark

© Tester12345 de.wikipedia.org


What European Lighthouses have you seen?

Historic Guild Signs

Vestiges of history are all around you while traveling in Europe.  One of the great ways to experience this history is through the ornate Guild Signs dotting cities in Europe.

Dating back to the Middle Ages, a time when the majority of the population didn’t read, these Guild Signs were a way for shop owners to show the type of wares or services they offered.

Today these signs add to the charm of many cities in Germany, Switzerland and Austria and are a source of delight to us all.  Here are a few of the Guild Signs I have seen on my journeys.

Some Guild Signs adorn beautiful streetsGruyeres Switzerland

Maybe not historic, but even McDonald’s participates in Innsbruck!Guild Signs on Street Innsbruck Austria

Some streets are famous for its Guild SignsSalzburg Street Full of Guild Signs Austria

Spezial Brewery Bamberg GermanySchlenkerla Brewery Bamberg Germany

Others advertise Breweries or just add to the local scenery

Violin Museum Mittenwald GermanyInnsbruck Guild Sign by Inn River Austria

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.


Off the Beaten Path in Rostock Germany

Germany offers a lot for any traveler.  Unfortunately most of us only touch on a few destinations of this wonderful country – Munich, the Castles of Ludwig, Bavaria, Berlin and the Rhine river garner most of our travel dollars.  I’m as guilty as any and this is one of the reasons I’ve decided to dig into other parts of Germany and see what they can offer us travelers.

After I saw a few pictures of Rostock, I decided to Go North and explore this Baltic area.

Hanse Sail Rostock Germany

Hanse Sail © Lutz Zimmermann

Rostock was once one of the most powerful trading centers in Europe.  Today it is a more quiet and peaceful location offering unique architecture, coastal scenery, wonderful beaches and a maritime history that will fascinate us all!

In Rostock you will discover churches, gabled houses, town gates, a Fisherman’s bastion complete with canons, an astronomical clock and red brick building dating back to Hanseatic times!

Alter Strom river Rostock Germany

Alter Strom River © Angelika Heim

Here are 4 great reasons we all should spend time in Rostock –
Germany’s “Gateway to the North”!


Eight hundred years of history are preserved in Rostock’s gabled houses, brick warehouses, town gates and churches.  Of the important medieval and Renaissance buildings, the Hausbaum House dates back to 1490.  Other architectural beauties, many of which date back to the same era, include the Marienkirche (don’t miss the astronomic clock), Petrikirche (climb the tower for views of town and Baltic) and the Rathaus.  These are some of the buildings created using the deep red bricks characterizing the Gothic Brick style of architecture famous in Northern Germany.  Wander Rostock and you’ll find many more fine examples.

Brick Gothic House Rostock Germany

Brick Gothic House © HHoG/Mayerer

Maritime History

Founded by maritime traders in 1218, it is no wonder Rostock holds on to its nautical atmosphere.  A great place to learn about the maritime and shipbuilding history of Rostock is at the Maritime Museum.  This unique museum is situated on a ship that is moored on the Warnow River opposite the port of Rostock.  Not only will you find exhibits detailing shipping history but you will also discover sea plane construction and marine research.  There is also an open area portion of the museum where you can see a floating crane and other items dealing with the shipping business.

Waterfront Harbor Rostock Germany

Waterfront Harbor © Nordlicht

Hanse Sail Festival

The 2nd weekend of August brings fully rigged ships, schooners, cogs, cutters, steamboats, the ice-breaker “Stettin” and “Waltman” the tugboat to Rostock for the annual Hanse Sail Festival.  This festival is one of the largest maritime festivals in the world and will be any maritime history buff’s definition of nirvana!  Visitors are also able to view water-skiing demonstrations, rowing regattas and have the opportunity to actually sail on some of these wonders! If you need a break from the maritime themed events, enjoy the markets or fireworks.  The festival closes with a ship parade of nations.

Hanse Sail Beach Rostock Germany

Hanse Sail Beach © Nordlicht


In 1323, Rostock purchased nearby Warnemünde to ensure it would have free access by water to the Baltic.  Today, this is where you will find a long stretch of beautiful white sand beach and a 19th century lighthouse.  This old fisherman port is a great place to wander the streets looking for local food or just a nice respite from sunbathing.  If you’re looking for a beach town with a laid back small town charm, Warnemünde is it.

Lighthouse Rostock Warnemunde Germany

Lighthouse Rostock Warnemunde© Tourismusverband Mecklenburg-Vorpommern


I’d love to hear about your experience in Rostock!

European Travelista’s 7 Super Shots!

I have been enjoying reading everyone’s entries to HostelBookers 7 Super Shots!  As I don’t consider myself a good photographer I was secretly glad that I hadn’t been asked to participate.

Then it happened. . .

Both Sabrina from Country Skipper and Courtney of Haunt Jaunts asked me to participate.  Feeling good to be included, I now had to find some photographs that were worthy of the project.

I started by thinking what photos represent.  Photos keep our memories fresh and alive. All it takes is a glimpse and we are whisked back to that very day experiencing that trip, event or the fun as if we were there now.  The photos we take are snapshots of our life.

After getting over my initial angst, I wandered through my memories and found some photographs that represent each of the categories.

Here is a photo . . .

. . . that takes my breath away

It is no secret that I love mountains, lakes and small villages.  While I find them all remarkable in their own way, Gruyeres Switzerland just took my breath away.Bucolic Gruyeres Switzerland

. . . that makes me laugh or smile

I actually had a little trouble with this one but then it dawned on me that the one that made me smile every time was this shot taken on my very first trip to Europe.  In fact, this one is a lot of “firsts”.  My first time to Europe, Germany, Bavaria, Munich.  I smile each time I see this much younger me sitting by a lake in the Englischer Garten and, yes, I’m enjoying my first beer in Munich.

Englischer Garten Munich Germany

Enjoying a beer in Englisher Garten's Munich

. . . that makes me dream

This shot of the French Basque countryside makes me dream about all of the less traveled, peaceful places I have been and will go to.

Basque vista Southwest France

Basque Hills

. . . that makes me think

Looking down on the way up the Jungfraujoch is a tremendous sight!  This lovely village nestled at the foot of the mountain makes me think about how amazing Mother Nature is. . . The beauty of Switzerland isn’t too shabby either 🙂On the way up Jungfraujoch Interlaken Switzerland

. . . that makes my mouth water

As I look at this picture my mouth is literally watering.  I can still feel the relief as I sat down at this table at Klosterbrau Brewery in Bamberg Germany.  I can also remember how ravenous I was and how wonderful this schnitzel, potato salad, green salad and beer tasted!Schnitzel at Klosterbrau Bamberg Germany

. . . that tells a story

Visiting the D-day beaches in Normandy is a must see. This photo, taken at the American cemetery, tells the story of all the Americans that died during WWII.  More than that, it tells the story of all the lives lost from all countries involved.American Cemetery Normandy France

. . . that I’m most proud of

Gothic Royaumont Abbey gets the distinction of being my National Geographic moment!  The lovely Abbey and its grounds are a serene respite to busy Paris.Gothic Royaumount Abbey near Paris France


Now its my turn to nominate 5 bloggers to participate:



To Europe with Kids

This is My Happiness

Downtown Traveler



  1. Choose a photo for each of the 7 categories above.
  2. Write a short description for each image.
  3. Write somewhere in your blog post: I am taking part in HostelBookers 7 Super Shots.
  4. Tell HostelBookers that you have participated and tweet the hashtag #7SuperShots

Nominate 5 other bloggers by including a link to their blog in your post.