Saturday, December 4, 2010


Brian and I spent Thanksgiving in Rome this year.  What a great time of year to visit this city!!  I did reserve tickets online for the Vatican Museum.  I also did my research and found that the Rome Pass is a great thing to get if you plan on going to two or more other sights.  I knew we would go to the Colosseum and I also had read about the National Museum of Rome, which both accepted the Rome Pass.  The Rome Pass allows free admission to the first two sights as well as free metro rides.  It also allows you to not wait in line!  Score!!  So with the combination of having the Rome Pass as well as going at a time of year when there are little tourists, it made for the perfect trip to such a busy city as Rome.  We flew into the smaller airport and were able to hop on a bus that brought us right to Termini Station.  Our hotel was just a quick walk or one stop on the Metro away from Termini.  The hotel was great..see more info in Trip Planner section.
We loved walking around the Spanish Step area and shopping..okay I loved that part!  We love food and we loved eating all over Rome.  Such fantastic homemade pastas and yummy gelato too!  Who needs turkey on Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Brian and I spent Columbus Day Weekend in Budapest, Hungary this year.  We rented our own apartment right downtown, an awesome location.  We did the Hop On/Off bus one day, which I would recommend in this spread out city.  It includes a Danube River Cruise, which was nice, especially to see Parliament from the river view.  We took the English tour of the Opera House, which is really beautiful inside and if you've never been inside to see an Opera, then it's worth the price.  We stood in line to get into Parliament, but obviously got there too late.  If you go, you must get in line super early to get your tickets.
We toured the Hospital in the Rock, Castle Hill, and the rest of Buda mostly by the Hop On/Off bus.  We took a separate bus tour out to Momento Park.  It cost extra, but was worth it for the convenience of it all.  Here's some pictures of me with the Statues of the Communist Era in Hungary.
See me dictating from up near Stalin's boots?!
 We wandered around Pest mostly on foot.  Our apartment was in a great location and we really only used the Metro to get to the Spa.  The thermal spa was a fantastic experience.  Somewhat different from the mineral spas here in Germany and very different from the Turkish baths in Istanbul.  We spent the day at the Mineral Therm Bath and really loved it!  I would highly recommend it if you find yourself in Budapest.  We follow the Rick Steves guide pretty closely no matter what country we're in.  We've just found it to always have great info and great hotel/restaurant recommendations.  Budapest was no different.  Although our apartment didn't come out of there, most places we stopped to eat at did.
 I did happen upon a Chocolate Bar one night as we walked home from a yummy Indian dinner.  We went inside and we ordered our "hot chocolate".  These were really like a thick, hot, drinking chocolate.  I got Hungarian Bon Bon, which had Bourbon in it.  It was amazing and so rich, I couldn't finish it.  Brian was happy to help me out.  The next time we went I decided that I better go light and instead got a banana with chocolate, which was perfect and I was able to finish the whole thing!  YUMMY!!

Monday, September 6, 2010


We spent a night in Baden-Baden this Labor Day weekend.  We went to the Friedrichsbad, and I would highly recommend getting both the soap and brush massage and creme massage.  We walked around this super cute town, which reminded me of Newport, RI.  If you go, definitely take a stroll along the Lichtentaler Allee and take a peek into the Gönneranlage, a free rose garden.  If your interested in rose gardens, then you have to take a drive (about 10 min. from town) and visit the Rosenneuheiten-garten., it's on Moltkestrasse.  This garden costs a euro to enter and is just beautiful!!
A visit to the Casino while in town is a fun thing to do at night.  Jeans are not allowed and we think a sports coat is mandatory for men.  It costs 5 euros to enter and you must present your passport to get your entrance ticket which lasts the day.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Trips in June 2010-June 2011

This summer we have traveled to the Alsatian region of France (one of my favorite areas and also where some of my family are from!), Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and London.  This Fall, we are going to be traveling to Budapest, Hungary and in December we're spending a week in Morocco.
A long weekend trip to Madrid in May.  We're heading to Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Denmark and Latvia this coming summer too!!  We will be heading back to Africa for Christmas, to Egypt!  What a year in travel!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Trips in June 2009- June 2010

Our second year in Germany, we traveled to six new countries and also visited some new cities.  We went to Naples, Italy and drove the Amalfi Coast all the way to Paestum, which has some of the best Greek ruins.  We also took a drive to Lake Constance.  The micro-country of Liechtenstein was also part of the long weekend trip.  We spent Thanksgiving in Krakow, Poland and for the second Thanksgiving in a row, explored Concentration Camps.  At Christmas time, we packed up our Mini complete with our two dogs and drove all over Northern Italy, spending Christmas day in Sienna.  We also spent some days in the micro-country of San Marino.  For my 30th Birthday, we were in Paris.  For the long weekend in February, Porto, Portugal was where we went.  This is the place where Port Wine is made and we spent the entire long weekend, tasting this yummy wine.  We bought a lot and shipped it to our home in come visit and taste some Port Wine.  In April, we spent two weeks in Turkey, spending the second week trapped due to the Volcanic Eruption in Iceland.  For Memorial Day weekend, we took another driving trip.  This time to Bruges, Belgium as well as a night in Luxembourg.

Krakow, Poland

Trips in June 2008- June 2009

When we moved to Germany, my personal goal was to visit 12 countries in our first 12 months.  I met my goal!  That first year we traveled to Germany (of course!), Poland, Austria, Italy, Croatia, Greece, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, Czech Republic, and Switzerland.  

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Paddington Station, London

Santorini, Greece

Hotel Info

I'm going to try to remember to always add our hotel info in this post in case anyone is interested in doing a trip we've already done.  I'll also include a little write up of the hotel.  As an FYI- We are budget travelers.  I chose hotels based on location and reviews.  None of these hotels are going to be amazing looking, but ALL will be safe, clean, and have a great location.  How much time are you spending in your room anyway??


Best Western Hotel Leipziger Hof, Innsbruck
Allows dogs, within walking distance to downtown


Hotel Cordoeanier, Bruges

Fantastic little B&B.  No parking, but great location and a great Trappist Beer Bar right next door.


Hotel Prince, Paris

Great location, Rue Cler neighborhood.  Close to Metro.

Diana Dauphine, Strasbourg

Close enough to downtown.  Has private parking garage.

Hotel De La Couronne, Riquewihr 

Sweet little place right downtown.  Has parking spaces.


Hotel Bella Vista, Constance

Includes a bus pass with room to get downtown.  Parking and dogs.

Motel One München Sendlinger Tor, Munich

Within walking distance of downtown
Hotel Forsthaus, Oberau
Great little hotel owned by German and American couple.  Allows dogs and is close to Garmisch (by car only).
Piesporter Goldtröpfchen, Mosel Region
Nice hotel, within walking distance of some wine tasting places.
Hotel Roemerhof, Baden-Baden
Great location, allows dogs (5 euro each) and has private parking (11 euro a day)

Shaftesbury Premier London Notting Hill, London
Super small room, but a nice location.  Close to metro.

Gozsdu Court, Budapest

Fantastic!  We had a studio apartment complete with kitchenette and living room.  Great location!  Parking and pets are welcome.  There are a couple little cafes for breakfast options.

Hotel Bogart 2, Milan
Within walking distance of train to get downtown.  Private parking area.  Allows dogs.

La Meta Alghero Casa Per Ferie, Sardinia

Great location across from both beach and bus stop.  Buses however do not always run.  Parking available.

Hotel Firenze, Venice

Fantastic location right in St.Mark's Square.  Allows dogs.

Hotel Montecarlo, Rome
Great location, 5 min. walk to metro.

Vilnius Rent,
Awesome apartment right in the old town!


Mercure Luxembourg Centre

Bed and Breakfast Durderdam, Amsterdam
We rented the yellow vacation house.  Free parking, about a 5 min. drive from a lovely grocery and the park and ride.  Parking/tram tickets 8 euro per car..not per person..awesome deal!  One separate bedroom (inside a sauna, but perfect for baby or a child), loft space for two people, and a double bed on main floor.  


Riad Zitouna, Fes

Awesome, awesome, awesome!  The best hotel ever!  If you stay here, definitely stay for dinner.  It's cheap and probably the most amazing food ever!  It's not heated in the winter months, so bring along an extra sweater for dinner.  We used the Airport Shuttle service, and although it's more pricey than just getting a taxi yourself, it's worth it in my mind.  They meet you at the gate to the medina and save you the walk lugging your suitcase.  

Ibis Krakow Centrum, Krakow
Great location, within walking distance.


Pensao do Norte, Porto

Great location, within walking distance of downtown and Hop On Bus stop.  Although we wouldn't recommend doing the Hop On in this city.  Not necessary.


Hotel Titano

Super nice hotel.  Allows dogs and is a great location.

Edinburgh- Airdenair Guest House- about a 10 min. bus ride from city center.  Great location, nice B&B.  Awesome breakfast!


Catalonia Mirador des Port, Mahon, Menorca

If you have a scooter, than it's a great location.  Otherwise, it's a bit of a walk.

N.H. Brenton, Madrid
About a 5-10 walk to nearest metro.  Nice hotel and comfy rooms.  

Bahia Blanca, La Palma, 1, 35130 Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Great resort.  All apartments have ocean view, kitchenette area, patio, AC.  A quick walk to beach and downtown taxis to that area if you're feeling lazy.  :)


ETAP Hotel Luzern City, Luzern

Within walking distance of downtown.  Has parking and allows dogs.

SiDE Hotel and Pension, Istanbul
Can't say enough about this pension.  Stay on the pension side.  They take only cash, but it is super cheap and a great location.  Roof top deck!


This post is a work in progress.  But I thought it could be helpful to those of you planning trips to these places.  Most of these places I had been to way before I started this blog, thus the limited amount of restaurants, but as I remember their names and as we continue to travel, the post will grow!

Salzburg- StPeter Stiftskeller- so amazing!  Great fish!  Be sure to get the salzburger nockerl, no matter where you eat!   


Paris- Le Souffle- Each course is a souffle dish!
Paris-Restaurant L'Ardoise- WOW!
Reims- Brasserie du Boulingrin- awesome French food!!
Epernay- La Cave a Champagne- amazing!!


Fellbach- El Mero Mexicano- The best Mexican I've had in Germany so far..
Baden-Baden- Le Provence- Great food, nice setting, romantic


Budapest- Chocolate Bar- A-mazing!
Milan- Mozzarella Bar- Need I say more??
Vilnius-Medininkai- This restaurant is fantastic!  It's right in the old town.  This is the street address-  Aušros Vartų gatvė 8 
Vilnius-Radisson Blu Astorija Hotel Restaurant.  I know it's in a radisson, but we had a lovely French meal at this restaurant.  Would recommend if you're in the mood for French or at least in the mood for Mussels like I was.
Amsterdam-  Pancake Bakery- amazing!  We had the apple/bacon.  Not to miss!!
Krakow- Miod Malina (Honey Raspberry)- The tastiest pirogies!  We got the sampler!
Edinburgh- The Outsider- I think we had the most amazing food at this place.  I had the mussels and the rhubarb dessert.  I would go back in a second!
Edinburgh- Mum's- Awesome homemade sausages, even vegetarian.  Great milk shakes!
Edinburgh- The Dog's- I had the veggie haggis and while it wasn't my favorite meal, I would go back and try something else.  The dessert, honeycomb parfait, was a bit of heaven I didn't want to share!  AMAZING!
Madrid- Toma Jamon, C/Cava Baja 10- has the best jamon!!
Zurich- Sprüngli confectioner- So this is not a restaurant- but a must stop for Luxeumburgerli's.  :)
Istanbul- Doy-Doy- Great prices for great Turkish cuisine.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


In August, we spent five days in Sardinia.  Sardinia is a beautiful island off the coast of Italy, south of Corsica and north of Sicily.  It was purely a beach vacation, which is just what we needed and wanted.  We were there to celebrate our 3rd lucky!!  We rented a scooter one day and drove along the coast to Neptune's Grotto.  After a long hike down nearly 600 stairs, we entered the Grotto.  Beautiful and would definitely recommend if you are in Sardinia.  We ate seafood every night and enjoyed gelato every evening at a different Gelateria.  Although Brian and I have done a lot of eating of gelato all over Italy, we still think that Germany has the BEST..and more specifically, the shop near our house has the BEST!  

Alghero, Sardinia 
The King's Pub has a great drink menu!  We went there almost every night for cocktails.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Riquewihr is one of the places along the Alsacian Wine Route.  This is one of my favorite areas in Europe.  Usually we stay in Strasbourg, but this trip we added a night in Riquewihr.  This is one of those towns that seems like it's straight from a book.  It is so pretty!  Not really much to do but walk around and eat!  However, it is along the Wine Route, so it's a great place to set up camp while you taste your heart out.  Be sure to pick up some macaroons while in town too.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Castles in Germany

There are so many castles in Germany!  We've been to a few and tend to save them for when we have guests to show around.  Burg Hohenzollern is a castle that is close by to Stuttgart.  An easy half day trip.  You buy your ticket in the shop by the parking lot and can either hike up to the castle or take the lazy man way (which we like) and ride a bus up the mountain.  Don't bother paying for the tour inside.  We did and did not think it was worth it.  It was nice to just walk around the outside and enjoy the breathtaking views!


Linderhof and Neuschwanstein

Linderhof is a great castle to do with visitors.  The tour inside is worth it.  And the grounds are so pretty.  It was Kind Ludwig's summer castle.

Neuschwanstein is the castle that Disney one is modeled after.  We did not do the tour inside as we had heard it was not worth it and the lines were super long.  But we did take the bus up to the castle to check out the courtyards.  You can hike up there too!  Once up there, follow the signs to the bridge.  The bridge is a great way to take photos of the castle.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


A beach we hiked to.  

The old city center

We went to Menorca for an extended long weekend.  Our friend, Celeste, was getting married there and we were so happy we could share in her special day.  Menorca is lovely.  It is small and a scooter is the best option for transportation.  The beaches are nice and there are restaurants all lined up along the water.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Luxembourg City

Luxembourg is a beautiful, lush, green city.  It was nice to just walk around and window shop.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


What a picturesque city!  We had the best chocolate and beer ever.  We visited Orval and took a tour of the Monastery.  We bought cheese and beer made by the monks.  It's said to be one of the most beautiful Monasteries in Belgium.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Due to the fact that we had seen EVERYTHING in Istanbul and were still stuck in Turkey for at least another 4 days, we opted to make the best of it and take a side trip.  I would recommend a trip here if you are in Turkey.  It is so relaxing and is a great place for some hiking.  It all looks like something out of Star Wars or something.  We hired a guide who drove us around and brought us to the outdoor museums.  I wouldn't have known how to do this otherwise.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Tulips are everywhere!!

We spent two weeks in Istanbul, one week being forced upon us due to the Volcanic Ash in Iceland.  But who are we kidding, it wasn't such a bad place to be stuck!  Check out the hotel post to see info on our hotel.  Some of the highlights of the trip were: going on a Bosporus River Cruise to the Asian side of Turkey, visiting the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia, and walking around this lovely city.  We had some great meals downtown and smoked a hookah a few evenings.

In Hagia Sofia-
Sticking your finger in the center brings you good luck.

    The view of the Bosperus.
We hiked up to the fort.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Porto was one of our best trips!  We were there for a long weekend and spent the whole time wine tasting and eating!  We did do the Hop On/Off bus here, although I would not recommend it.  If you stay in town, you don't need to even get on the public bus.  The food here was probably my least favorite, but the wine was fantastic!


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mosel Region

We took a weekend to drive up to the Mosel Region for some wine tasting.  This link will bring you to the restaurant/wine place we bought from.  Really good wine and a nice ambiance.  

Saturday, January 16, 2010


The Louve

Paris is one of my top favorite cities and I got to spend my 30th Birthday here!  Visit everything!  My two favorite restaurants are Le Soufflé and another I can't remember the name of!  When I do, I'll add it in here.