June 27, 2017

Pesky Travel Details

When planning a trip there are a ton of details to consider. As we focus on which hotels to stay in, restaurants to enjoy, sightseeing, train schedules or car rentals we may overlook some very important details.

One of these is travel insurance.  Traveling in the times of non-refundable flights and hotel cancellation fees, travel insurance may be an important item to purchase.  Tragedy can strike at any time making it necessary to return home or cancel our trip.  I’m sure we’ve all heard the horror stories of a traveler getting sick requiring a special flight home or an elderly parent gets sick while we’re in a foreign country.  This is where travel insurance comes in and the decision is yours; just remember to take time to consider whether to purchase travel insurance or not early enough in your planning cycle.  There are many travel insurance companies or you may want to look at www.insuremytrip.com who works with many companies offering travel insurance.  Before buying any insurance, make sure you check with your credit card companies as some of them include travel insurance.

ATM in Bradford on Avon England

ATM, Bradford on Avon by nicksarebi, on Flickr

If you’re traveling to a foreign country, dealing with local currency is something you need to give some thought to before leaving home.  Today, ATM’s make traveling to foreign countries so much easier!  So much so that when going to Europe I don’t usually take Euros with me (unless I have some left over) but grab money from an ATM once I arrive in the airport.  I usually only use ATMs or credit cards when traveling but you could opt for a prepaid cash card or even get local currency from your bank before leaving.  If you are getting money before you leave, make sure you do this ahead of time as most banks require you order the money which adds a few days to the process.

Make sure you give some thought to how you’re getting to the airport for your departing flight.  If you’re driving, take a look at your parking options before leaving.  Doing research or even reserving a spot may save you some money.  There are even companies out there that will compare the pricing at different airports for you.  Companies like Parking4Less offer Meet & Greet, Valet and Long Stay parking or they can help you find a hotel that includes parking.

Airport Parking

By Jim D. Woodward, on Flickr

The last thing to consider is whether to take a cell phone with you or if your cell will work in the country(s) you’ll be visiting.  If you’re with Verizon they offer a Global Travel program that will help you stay in contact while you’re away or just have a phone for safety reasons.

 

What other details should we add to the list?

Signs of Spring

I have a love-hate relationship with spring. My allergies hate it but in every other way I love spring. Spring is a rebirth. The sun comes out a bit more, snow starts melting, rivers fill up, trees come back to life and flowers start blooming. There are a lot of destinations where you can enjoy the signs of spring one of which is Europe.

Here are a few of my favorite European signs of spring!

Trees bloom and push green leaves,

Spring Trees in London England

Spring Trees by celesteh, on Flickr

Driving is a joy as the wild flowers crop up,

Wildflowers in Loire Valley France

Wildflowers in Loire Valley by celesteh, on Flickr

But its not just wild flowers. Spring brings color popping up everywhere!

Daffodils in Kensington Gardens England

Daffodils in Kensington Gardens... by Paul-in-London, on Flickr

Which brings me to one of my fondest spring memories. Back in April 1984 my husband and I were in London England wandering through Kensington Gardens and were awestruck by all the daffodils coming up, literally everywhere, all while it was ever so lightly snowing. If you’ve never been to London in spring, I highly recommend it!

Tulips in the Flevopolder Holland

Tulips in the Flevopolder by ingo.ronner, on Flickr

Tulips are definitely a sign of spring and there isn’t a better place to enjoy them than in Holland. In the small town of Lisse, just south of Amsterdam, is the biggest and best known Tulip festival. From mid-March to late May Holland celebrates everything about the tulip. The tulips stretch for miles and miles making such a beautiful sight!

Along with flowers comes better weather which pushes people outside. Whether its for the Paris marathon or a walk in the park, people just start moving more. This must be why it is also the start of festival season!

Both Munich and Stuttgart Germany have Spring Festivals that are similar to Oktoberfest but much smaller. Those Germans like to celebrate their beer at every season, don’t they?

Almond Blossoms near Neustadt Germany

Almond Blossoms near Neustadt Germany courtesy of Neustadt a.d. Weinstrasse, Tourist Kongress und Sallbau GmbH

But the Germans don’t just celebrate beer! The first wine festival of the year, the Almond Blossom Festival, is held in Gimmeldingen every March and April. During spring, the entire area is bathed in a beautiful pink hue from the blossoming Almond trees. Gimmeldingen is in the Rheinland-Pfalz region and is also known for its wine so don’t get so taken by the blossoms that you forget to have some of the local wine!

Trimming White Asparagus in Mannheim Germany

Trimming White Asparagus in Mannheim Germany by Andrew Cowin

One of my favorite times to visit Germany is during Spargelsaison (White Asparus Season). This spring event is brought on by the warming sun which brings White Asparugus to villages all over the country! Once only eaten by nobility, today the lovely asparagus is enjoyed by everyone. There is even a Baden Asparagus Route where you can enjoy a lovely drive through the countryside providing most of the asparagus plus encounter an Aspargus Festival or two! Maybe you’ll run into the Asparagus King or be the champion asparagus peeler!

These are a few of my favorite signs of spring,

What are yours??

 

 

This post is part of the spring-themed blog carnival hosted at Traveling with Sweeney.
Be sure to check out all the spring related posts!

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all  a very Merry Christmas!

Happy Christmas, painted by Johansen Viggo

Happy Christmas, painted by Johansen Viggo

 

And to many new adventures in 2013!

Christmas Dinner Traditions

Before I begin discussing food, I wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Enjoy your holidays, be safe and see you back here in 2012!

As I am sitting here making my shopping list for our Christmas Dinner I started wondering what the traditional foods for Christmas Dinner are in Europe.

But first, I’ll tell you the traditional foods that are enjoyed in Casa Beardsley!  After all the shopping and wrapping is completed,  Christmas Eve starts off the holiday by sipping Mulled wine while enjoying Christmas Vacation 🙂  The next morning starts off with my husband’s sticky buns which have been rising all night and bake while we start opening gifts.  Dinner is Prime Rib, twice baked potatoes, brussels sprouts layered with Gruyere and Emmentaler cheeses and the best deviled eggs you’ll ever eat.  Dessert changes every year but this year will be Cherry Pie and Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes!  Of course, the meal is served with wine.

Christmas Tree in Berlin Germany

Christmas Tree in Berlin Germany

Now here are a few traditional meals in Europe!

Austria favors goose, ham, gluhwein, rumpunsch (rum punch) and Chocolate Mousse.

Roasted Goose and Dumplings

Roasted Goose and Dumplings by Ekki01

Families in the Czech Republic enjoy fried carp, potato salad and special Christmas cookies.

Traditional Christmas meals in Denmark include roast pork, goose or duck, potatoes, red cabbage and plenty of gravy!  Dessert is rice pudding with cherry or strawberry sauce.  Christmas drinks are Glogg (mulled wine).

Smorgasboard Feast

Smorgasboard Feast by Anders Jonsson

If you’re dining in Finland you may find ham or fish, served Swedish Smorgasbord style, with bread, mustard, potatoes, carrots and rutabaga’s all washed down with Glogi (mulled wine).

Germans enjoy goose or carp although port or duck may be served accompanied by cabbage, potatoes and brussel sprouts.

The Irish meal sounds very familiar with turkey, ham, brussel sprouts, roast potatoes, stuffing and vegetables.

Glass of Akevitt, Akvavit or Aquavit

Glass of Akevitt, Akvavit or Aquavit by Vadakkan

In Norway, the traditional meal is focused on “Svineribb” whish is pork belly prepared with seasoning that allows for the right amount of ‘crackling’.  Side dishes include sauerkraut, red currant sauce, bread and akevitt to wash it down.  From personal experience, watch out for that akevitt!!!!

Boiled dry-salted codfish with cabbage, boiled potatoes, eggs, chickpeas and onions is tradition in Portugal.

Christmas Pudding from Britain

Christmas Pudding by Musical Linguist

Last but not least is the Britain where turkey with stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, roast potatoes, brussel spouts, parsnips, carrots and Christmas pudding are standard fare.

 

What is your traditional Christmas dinner?


Merry Christmas to you All !!!!!!!!!