October 20, 2017

Colorful Buildings in Europe

With a history dating back thousands of years, its no wonder Europe is full of villages and cities whose streets are lined with colorful buildings.

 

These colorful buildings line rivers,

Bamberg Colorful Buildings GermanyBamberg Germany

Dress Up Old Town’s,

Mainz Colorful Buildings GermanyMainz Germany

Or are as colorful as their past!

Erfurt Colorful Buildings GermanyErfurt Germany

Some villages are even known for their beautifully painted buildings.

Mittenwald Colorful Buildings GermanyMittenwald Germany

 

No matter the reason they exist, the colorful houses found in Europe delight us all and help keep memories of our visit fresh in our minds.

Lucerne Colorful Buildings SwitzerlandLucerne Switzerland

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

Romance – European Style

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, romance is in the air!

There are cities like Paris that are known as romantic but to me romance is in the eye of the beholder.  With romance in the air, I thought it would be fun to look at a few European destinations that are romantic.

Here are three European locations that have the glamour, enchantment and fairy tale feel to them to bring out the romantic side in me.

Lucerne Switzerland

Lucerne Old Town Switzerland

Lucerne Old Town along River

What isn’t romantic about scenery like this?  Lucerne and her lake have to be one of the most beautiful and romantic places in Europe! Everywhere you look you’ll be rewarded with beautiful mountain views.  Enjoy a romantic stroll through the old town marveling at medieval buildings or along the river.  Another romantic adventure is a steamer trip on the lake maybe even stopping off at one of the villages along the shores.   Splurging on one of the romantic lake side hotels will cap off the romance of the city!

Salzburg Austria

View from Hohensalzburg Salzburg Austria

View from Hohensalzburg Salzburg

The storybook quality of Salzburg is palpable and oozes from every corner. Salzburg is a beautiful city full of gardens, history, architectural gems, music and other cultural events.  The views from atop the Hohenbsalzburg will take your breath away and leave you feeling peaceful.  A visit to the many Sound of Music locations will bring back fond memories and a smile to your face if not a song in your heart plus they are some of the most beautiful and romantic locations in the city. A leisurely stroll through the Altstadt after dinner is a wonderful way to end the day.  It is truly a serene time of day and the darkening sky will certainly put you in a romantic mood.

Ludwig’s Castles & Small Villages of Bavaria Germany

Neuschwantstein Castle Bavaria Germany

Neuschwantstein Castle by BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH

If you find mountains, castles, charming villages and beautiful vistas romantic then this part of Southern Germany is for you! The well known Neuschwanstein Castle will not disappoint those looking for a romantic retreat. The castle’s fairy tale feel has been sparking romance for eons.  After spending time at the castle, I suggest a walk in the mountains or visits to the many nearby traditional Bavarian villages.  Explore their streets lined with painted houses and buildings adorned with window boxes overflowing with flowers.  Enjoy learning about traditional crafts like wood working or violin making. For romantic lodging, experience a traditional Bavarian guest house!

 

What European city or area brings out your Romantic side?

This is my entry for Carnival of Europe hosted by Aleah Taboclaon at Solitary Wanderer. This months theme is “Most Romantic Places in Europe”.

European Lodging – The Choice is Yours

George Bernard Shaw said “The great advantage of a hotel is that it’s a great refuge from home life”. This too true statement is indicative of why the choice of hotel when traveling is so difficult and important!

Luckily Europe has many different lodging options which will add to the enjoyment of your escape! Here are a few that I’ve been lucky enough to have stayed at.Alpenrose Hotel Mittenwald Germany

Hotels can be wonderful traditional guest houses like Gasthof Fraundorfer in Garmisch-Partenkirchen or Hotel Alpenrose in Mittenwald Germany. Make sure you know whether they have elevators and are prepared for stairs if they don’t! Also make sure you know whether there is a bar or restaurant on the first floor. This may mean it may be a bit noisier than expected.View Schloss Hotel Rheinfels Germany

They can be Luxury class beauties set on the shores of an equally beautiful lake as with Palace Hotel on Lake Lucerne and Suisse Majestic Montreux Switzerland or seaside in the Hotel du Palais Biarritz France or even have amazing views of rivers like the Schloss Hotel Rheinfels in St. Goar Germany. I don’t have the opportunity to stay in luxury hotels often since the price is not usually in my budget but can say I’ve enjoyed staying in luxury accommodations even if I wonder if they are really me.

Gasthof Fraundorfer Garmisch-Partenkirchen Germany

Gasthof Fraundorfer by Q-BEE, on Flickr

There are 4 star large basic properties conveniently located for train travel such as the Intercity Hotel in Mainz and Hotel Excelsior Erfurt Germany. Not usually my first choice but I really did enjoy how close they were to the train station and the city centers of both were easily reached.

Green hotels like Hotel Victoria Freiburg Germany which boasts they are the “most eco friendly hotel in the world” and they just might be! All electricity and heat come from renewable sources like solar, wind and wood pellet heating. The thermal solar panels on the roof and the natural materials used throughout hotel make for a wonderful experience and the Victoria is also convenient to both the train station and city center!BarockHotel am Dom Bamberg Germany

Historic architectural treasures in perfect locations – Old Town city centers – but not completely convenient for train travel BarockHotel am Dom Bamberg Germany and Kasererbraeu Salzburg Austria. The beautiful building housing the Barockhotel dates back to 1520 while the Kasererbraeu is from 1342 and was once a monastery and brewery before becoming protected by UNESCO!

Hotels I’m glad I read the online reviews of so I wasn’t completely frightened by the entrance, Panorama Central in Budapest. A wonderful oasis once you got inside but honestly a little unsettling getting to! Moral to this story, READ online reviews!

Known for its history and spa, Schwarzer Bock Wiesbaden. I’ve been lucky to stay here two times and can say this is one of my favorite hotels. Dating back to 1486, the Schwarzer Bock is a classic beauty- luxurious and yet very comfortable. And in a wonderful location!

Hotel I fell in love with because there was a heat wave and it was air conditioned refrigerated, Grauer Baer Innsbruck! I would stay at this property again because it was very convenient to Old Town and train station.

While my preferred type of lodgings are guest houses and architectural and historic beauties, in some way, all of the hotels I’ve stayed in have added to my enjoyment and experience I had in their cities and villages.

What do you look for when choosing a hotel for your trip?

A Flowering Europe

Flowers are those little colorful beacons of the sun from which
we get sunshine when dark, somber skies blanket our thoughts.
~Dodinsky

To me, there is nothing better than gazing at the magnificence nature offers.  Flowers can truly brighten any day and make us smile even through tears.  As flowers start blooming, Europe becomes more dazzling and life just seems that much easier. Flowers add color and beauty to any setting and show up anywhere!

Flowers bedeck bridges as they span beautiful waterways,

Lucerne Bridge Switzerland

Lovely Chapel Bridge Lucerne Switzerland

Lovingly adorn houses,

Flower bedecked house Switzerland

Flower filled window boxes along Glacier Express in Switzerland

Offer a sea of color in gardens that have been carefully crafted,

Montreux Garden Switzerland

Garden along Lake Geneva in Montreux Switzerland

And add surprises around every corner!

Flowers Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Flower bedecked street in Mittenwald Germany

Yes, everything looks better with flowers!

Street view in Gruyeres Switzerland

Picturesque Gruyeres Switzerland

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.
– Emma Goldman

 

I’m still thinking about this one and while I do enjoy the other wonderful photos
being shared on this Travel Photo Thursday over at Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Above it all on Mt. Pilatus

Tending watch over Lucerne sits the brooding Mt. Pilatus.

There are many mountain tops in Switzerland offering amazing views and one of these is Mt. Pilatus.

Steeped in legends that say there is a dragon living on the mountain or that Pontius Pilate is buried here, Mt. Pilatus offers views of meadows, mountains and lakes.  In fact, this 7,000 foot high mountain boasts views of 70 peaks and 5 lakes!Mt Pilatus Lucerne Switzerland

Your trip up the mountain can start with a boat ride on Lake Lucerne continuing with a journey on the worlds steepest cog railway.  After you’re finished exploring Mt. Pilatus, your trip down can be the same way or by a combination of aerial cable car and panorama gondola.Mt Pilatus Lucerne Switzerland

At the top there are 2 hotels, 7 restaurants and many options for your day!  These include a toboggan run, tubing, walks and hikes for every level, mountain climbing, biking and paragliding.  During the winter there is snow biking, minibob and more.Mt. Pilatus Lucerne Switzerland

Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite pictures from the top of Mt. Pilatus.  Yes, Pilatus is famous for its views but on this cloudy October day the weather wasn’t cooperating.Mt. Pilatus Lucerne Switzerland

But I feel the clouds just add to the mystique of this legendary mountain, don’t you think?

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.

 

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

Biarritz

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
EuroTravelogue

Photogenic Lucerne Switzerland

Lucerne is one of the most photogenic cities there is in Europe.

View of mountain from Lucerne Switzerland

Mountain view from Lucerne Switzerland

Located in the center of Switzerland, Lucerne offers a sampling of what defines Switzerland – lakes, meandering rivers, mountains, charming bridges, flowers, boats, frescoed buildings and a medieval old town.

Lucerne Switzerland along the River Reuss

Lucerne along the River Reuss

Lucerne is a great city to wander charming cobblestoned streets or stroll along the river promenade stopping at cafes that dot the River Reuss.

The Kapellbrucke is probably the most famous bridge and sight in Lucerne.

Kapellbrucke Lucerne Switzerland

Kapellbrucke Lucerne Switzerland

To enjoy Lake Lucerne, spend time at one of the beaches or enjoy a steamer to marvel at the scenic mountains, stately homes and castles or even enjoy a wholesome breakfast.

Leave some time to enjoy the Swiss Transport Museum.  This museum displays many forms of transportation including train cars, planes, cars and ships.  You can also see the oldest steamboat in Switzerland and there is a model depicting the crossing of the Gotthard Pass.

Mt. Pilatus Switzerland

Mt. Pilatus Switzerland

Mt. Pilatus is one of those Swiss mountains steeped in history and myths that comes with incredible views.  Part of the adventure is the transportation getting you to the summit and returning you to the floor.  To begin your trip, take a steamer to Alpnachstad where you will transfer to the cog railway that will whisk you to the top.  This cog railway is the steepest in the world with a 48% gradient.  Your return can be by a pair of cable cars or via the cog railway.

Clouds below Mt. Pilatus Switzerland

View from Mt. Pilatus Switzerland

At the summit, besides marveling at the panorama unfolding before your eyes there are many hiking paths and restaurants.

The William Tell Express, one of Switzerland’s scenic rail trips, begins in Lucerne.  Board your steamer to Fluelen where you transfer to the scenic train for the remainder of your trip to Locarno.  But this is for another day. . .

 

Have you been to Lucerne?

What is the most photogenic city you have been to?

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

What’s Your Favorite European Hotel??

Recently I was reading an article in Travel+Leisure titled “500 World’s Best Hotels”. Even though I don’t usually stay in hotels that would be considered “the world’s best”, I scoured the list to see if there were any that I had stayed in. I actually found 4 but all of them in the US. So this got me thinking about the best hotel I have stayed in while traveling Europe and, from their list, which one(s) would I love to spend a few days in.

View from room at Palace Hotel Lucerne Switzerland

View from Palace Hotel

I would have to say that my favorite hotel I have stayed in, but was not on the list, was the Palace Hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland. In full disclosure, I was in Switzerland as a guest of the Switzerland Tourist bureau, and I am quite sure that is why I was placed in a corner suite with amazing views of the nearby lake and mountains but I am not complaining! To say this hotel is stunning would be an understatement. The lobby is exquisite, breakfast was vast and yummy and the views from the hotel are breathtaking! As I am a huge fan of historic hotels, I was delighted to find the décor of my room keeping to the architecture of the building. The colors and fabric allowed the room’s warmth and comfort to come through.

Palace Hotel Lucerne Xwitzerland

Palace Hotel Lucerne

While scanning the list, I noticed one hotel that I have always wanted to stay at, Hotel de Crillon in Paris. Years ago I found this hotel on the web and put it on my list of hotels to stay at. Why has this hotel made my list? The location can’t be beat! I’m a sucker for old world architecture and the exterior of this hotel is exquisite. Being right on the Place de Concorde, the Crillon has witnessed much history. The building was built by King Louis XV in 1758 and it was here that France signed a treaty recognizing our Declaration of Independence! In my opinion, elegance and luxury seep from every corner of the hotel. Everything about this hotel invites me in!

Hotel de Crillon Paris France

Hotel de Crillon Paris

Another hotel that I would love to stay at, but did not make the list, is the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz. A few years ago, as a guest of the French Government Tourist Office, I had the opportunity to tour the hotel and enjoy dinner in the restaurant. This hotel also has quite a history attached to it as it was built in 1855 as the summer home of Eugenie and Napoleon III. In those days it was known as Villa Eugenie. The Hotel du Palais has maintained the style of the era both inside and out. The elegance shines from the gilt chandeliers to the sun glistening off the pool with its seaside vistas. Yes this would be an excellent hotel to spend a few relaxing days in while enjoying the charm of Biarritz and the surrounding environs.

Hotel du Palais Biarritz France

Hotel du Palais Biarritz

While I am sure I could enjoy staying at all the hotels on the list, I kept it to a few and would love to hear your favorites? Tell me about your favorite European hotel you’ve stayed in or would love to??

Hotel de Crillon picture by Bruce Tuten, on Flickr
Hotel du Palais picture by owlhere, on Flickr

Palace Hotel picture courtesy of Lucerne Tourism Ltd.