A European Roadtrip: The Munich End Edition.

We got back to Munich early that afternoon after almost a 2 hour drive. We stopped at the Hotel first, & checked in. We were staying at the Le Meridian, which was directly across the street from the ALoft that we stayed at when we first arrived. (As a Christmas present, my mom has booked this one with her Starwood account points. She got us a beautiful suite, that really was too big, but was truly relaxing for our final night.) We were there early so we left  our bags at the front desk, and headed to Budget to drop off the car which was quick, and easy, much more so than picking it up. …I have no idea, at what point we went back to get settled into our room… Sometime between check in and dinner. haha.

We wanted to grab some food for the time being. We planned on using the rest of our Euro coins, and hopped over the sandwich shop in the train station. We couldn’t afford much with our coins, so we opted for a sandwich and a pastry. Enough to hold us over until an early dinner.

iphone latest 434.JPGWe spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out around town. There wasn’t much to do because the majority of stores are closed on Sundays. The hot spot that day was the Christmas Market. There were so many people there that it was almost too difficult too maneuver down the aisles of vendors. In light of this all the global events that have been occurring with ISIS, it was making me quite nervous. I tried my best to remind myself that to continually think of them possibly attacking is allowing them to win. FACT: “To live in fear is to deprive ourselves of the opportunity of adventure.”-Natalie Rathman. I settled my nerves with a delicious Nutella crepe. Of all the crepes I had on this trip, and I had way too many, the Munich crepes were still the best!

When we were momentarily burnt out the market we head back to The Hofbrauhaus for our very early dinner. The place was packed and so noisy. We were lucky that we even got a table. We ordered different things than last time, but didn’t enjoy it much. (I think we were just getting burnt out on the cultural food.) We ate as much as we could, which included a German pretzel (of course), and finally got the check. It was time to move on again, like it always is for us. (I think we have short attention spans.)

insta-9We wandered all over the city. We weaved in an out of all the Christmas markets and down small quiet streets. Eventually, we did end up back at the big market in Marienplatz. I still hadn’t found my perfect German souvenir… I had loved the concept of the German smokers, but was hesitant because I  was afraid they would be too German in style. I also debated between some of the more crafty holiday items, or even a nutcracker…  I wanted something that suited our home and/or suited us. Finally, after hours and days of searching I found it. There, at one of the large booths, was it. My German  smoker. A plump German man in a sitting position smoking his pipe with a dog on his lap, a rifle over his shoulder, and a fox on his back. He was perfect. He had a feather in his hat, and big bushy mustache. We were short on cash, so thankfully, the man there was willing to bargain with us and Brad saved us close to 20 Euros which was awesome!

Eventually, we decided we should eat once more before we headed to bed. We had early flights the next morning, but still had lots to do to prepare. After dropping off anything that wasn’t mandatory to carry, we headed back out for Indian food. We scouted a few options. One option was underground, and kind of sketched us out, so we moved on to the next option. It was quaint, but looked welcoming, so we headed in for this trip’s second round of Chicken Korma. It was delicious, and we were satisfied. With sad hearts, and full stomachs we headed back to the hotel.

Within a couple hours, I had everything packed up. I’m a slow, but very strategic packer. We had to be up early, as we both had morning flights, but we also wanted to try to find a market to try to get Pecans for Brad’s colleagues because they wanted the chef at their “camp” to make a Pecan pie. Early the next morning, we did just that. With tea & coffee in hand, we scouted the closest grocery store, and searched high and low for pecans. 4 small bags, and about $20 Euro later, we had the “contraband”, and Brad’s work-friends eventually had their delicious, homemade-in-the-Congo Pecan Pie.

Before, there was another Goodbye in the Munich airport… I cried as usual even though I didn’t want to. However, I knew that within a matter of weeks, Brad would be home, and we would be off on our next mini adventure!



1) I now appreciate that US stores are open on Sundays

2) It never hurts to ask… You won’t know until you do!


A European Roadtrip: The Neuschwanstein Edition.

iphone-latest-370We arrived at our tiny hotel, Landgasthof Zur Post, in Schwangau early that afternoon. We quickly checked in got our bags dropped off. Sadly, our hotel did not have any wi-fi for guests. We were trying to map out our route to the Neuschwanstein castle using the computer in the lobby, but it was too difficult, sadly. It was extremely outdated. We ended up just asking the front desk staff, and hoped that we would remember.

We got back in the car & managed to find our way, thankfully it wasn’t too difficult. We parked our car in the lot below and began our stroll up the hill. We got to the ticket counter, and purchased our tour tickets. TIP: The tickets were rather expensive (Iiphone-latest-344 they were a little over $60USD a piece), so if you are on a tight budget, keep this post in mind, and do the hiking around the area instead. When you buy your ticket, you are assigned a tour time because of that we had ample time to make our way up. We had the option to take a carriage or walk. We decided to walk because we had so much time & we both enjoy the exercise. FACT: One of the best parts of the walk up is the view. You can see out over the entire valley. You can see the other castle, Schloss Hohenschwangau, that was built for Ludwig’s mother, which is on the road to the main castle. You can see the nearby mountains and lakes.. It’s just all together stunning!

iphone-latest-345On our way up the hill we checked several of the restaurants because we were trying to find the one I had eaten at as a child. I was on the hunt for what I recalled to be the best chicken schnitzel of my life. We didn’t find it until we were almost to the top. …but that was okay. It was worth the hunt. I was hungry, and it was delicious! The touch of lemon & the tenderness of the chicken makes it soooooo yummy!

Our time for our tour was approaching, so we gathered our things & worked toward finishing our walk up the hill. Eventually we reached the front, and hung out until our time came. We lined up at the gates, insert our ticket into the turn-style and continued on the path behind the guide.  We were so excited! I remembered parts of it from when I was a child, and  couldn’t wait to see the grandeur once again. …and it was just that Grandeur. The ornamental design is almost overwhelming as you see all the intricate detail everywhere. FACT: You are unable to take photos through the main tour. So in order to see the inside of the castle, click here. iphone-latest-351The disappointing part of the tour is this: Despite the magnitude of the castle, you only get to see a fraction, because apparently the majority of it was never finished. So at a heavy price tag, you only get to see a small part of what could be amazing. It’s great to see the views that King Ludwig II had when he looked out his castle windows, but I will say that if you have seen it once, there is no need to go again, not for the cost. The part we did get to take pictures of because it was separate from the rest of the tour: the kitchen!!! They had so many copper pots!!!

nikon-2-031-2We eventually made it out of the crowded royal structure, and continued to explore.. We took the pathway up towards the bridge was closed temporarily for renovations… So, much like some other daring tourists we ignore the signs telling us to stay on the path, we wander off onto a fresh trail where we could see the castle in the sunset light with no one to block our view. It did feel ballsy to stand with our back to a cliff, and I got very nervous about others too. There were some people who were acting silly near it, and at times, I felt like I needed to leave before someone slipped and plummeted into a  gory mess below. But as far as I know… everyone has survived thus far! (Insert applause here).

iphone-latest-390We began our descent down the darkening hill after getting some photos of the front of the castle. As we came down we noticed the lights near the lake. We head toward them and realized it was the tiniest of all Christmas Markets. They offered hand-crafted art, Sausage meals, and Hot Wine. Brad & I wandered through for a little bit, but it was so small that really, there wasn’t much to do. It seemed like a big social gathering of locals & maybe small touring groups.

Considering the only true food option was sausage, and I’m not a big sausage fan we eventually headed out. We wanted to try and find something else in the nearby “village”. We began our walk back toward the car and stopped by a couple of the fires for warmth. (Their fires were made from a large split log, it was so cool.) We were in the car for quite a while and were disappointed to find that nothing in the nearby village was even open. We were screwed, and I was forced into hunger! All we could do was turn back. We headed to our hotel. I think we were able to snack on some things back at the hotel, but we were never satisfied. All we could was head to sleep and wait for our breakfast the next morning… We ate the same old stuff, but we were hungry… That’s all that mattered. We loaded up the bags, and hopped into the car.

iphone-latest-418-1We were heading back to Munich that day, but we still wanted to see a little bit more of Neuschwanstein before we left. So we headed back up the road toward the castle. I hopped out to grab a few photos of the swans in the lake. Once I hopped back in the car we saw a small road that led off into the forest. We weren’t sure where it led, but we followed it all the way to end. It was the best experience we had while there. It was beautiful to see the leafless trees below the cloudy sky, the mossy rocks and tree stumps lying among a field of brown leaves. …and the views overlooking the lake and mountain tops…. We don’t know if we were suppose to be there, but we don’t regret it!

We slowly made the descent back down by the lake, and pulled out onto the street in a inconspicuous fashion, and headed back for the main highway.



1) You don’t need to spend the night, a day trip would be fine.

2) Not a lot to do in the area. 

3) Breaking the rules isn’t always a bad thing, and can expose some wonderful surprises!

A European Roadtrip: The Rothenburg Edition.

iphone-latest-333-1Our drive to Rothenburg ob der Tauber was only about an hour, thank the good Lord above! …and our hotel, Hotel Rappen, was easy to find as it was on the outside of the city. Thankfully, this made getting there easier because driving through the small cobblestone streets didn’t look all that exciting. Well, it did, but it also, didn’t.  The tricky part was finding out which building. Apparently, there were two buildings to the hotel but each building served a different purpose! It was weird, but we got it worked out. We got checked in, then grabbed our bags from the car. We headed to the elevator, which seemed ancient. It had hardly enough room for two people and bags, and was so slow. iphone-latest-313I’m not going to lie… I worried about it getting stuck and/or plummeting. Thankfully, that never happened. We arrived on our floor in one place and found our way down the small hall to our pleasantly spacious room with a great view of the town outside the wall. FACT: One of the great things about the more central-eastern parts of Europe is that the rooms are larger than those compared to Western Europe… Remember how we could hardly move in London in Paris??? Well, this trip we had plenty of rooms for activities!

Once we were settled, we ventured out the side of the hotel and into this small walled city. It was so beautiful. The quaint streets with the old fashioned architecture painted all different colors was truly something. Tourists and locals wandered the streets stopping in and out of cafes, and popping in and out of shops.  We wandered aimlessly, admiring it all.

iphone-latest-318-1We found an area of the walled city, on the southern edge, where the wall is low enough to look over because it drops down several storeis. You can look out over the valley which has quaint homes and small vineyards. It is a beautiful view, and should be seen.

Eventually, the sun set. We felt like we had seen everything, and really just wanted to eat. We found a small restaurant near by & popped in. We both ordered the French Onion soup, which was so unbelievably salty, that Brad couldn’t even finish his. I did it for him..

Eventually, we continued to wander  through all the small areas of the Christmas market, but we didn’t find anything that interesting. We did stop into St. James’ Catholic Church because we heard the organ playing. When we walked in, it was completely dark except for the lights from the candles. It was amazing! I think my soul was overwhelmed by the insane acoustics as the organ screamed… It was such an intriguing setting. If it wasn’t for the other patrons inside, I probably felt like we were part of murder mystery.  Eventually the music stopped, and the people began to clear out, and so did we.

nikon-2-029With the uncertainty of what to do next, we just began to head back toward the hotel, but then curiosity struck. Just to the right of the city entrance, their was a set of stairs leading up the side of the city wall. We knew. We had to climb. ..and we did. We climbed to the top of the wall and began to walk. It was incredibly dark. You could hardly see your feet move in the yellow glow of the city lights. The turrets were incredibly tricky, as they were almost 100% closed in. Some of the had steps, so at almost every one, you had to cling to the sides of the walls, and step slowly. At a certain point we decided to start using the flashlight application on our phones for piece of mind.  We walked until we could not walk anymore and had to turn back. It was a long way to the start, but it was so worth it. How often, do you get to walk a city wall in the dark!! It felt so medieval. All I needed was a bow and arrow, and I was ready to tar someone from the side.  TIP: The wall is well managed, but certain areas were kind of dirty, and some spots did make me a little nervous. If you are a major germ-a-phobe or just like to live life on the safe side, I’d recommend doing it during the day. Granted, it’s probably a fair amount busier then.

After our great wall adventure, we headed back to the hotel for some R&R. We watched a movie on our iPad, and passed out. TIP: Having movies on your iPad is a great way to kill time and stay warm in some of these smaller cities. Brad and I aren’t big drinkers,  so this was convenient for us. Shops in other countries don’t have extensive hours like in the US, so it’s nice to have that backup option of something to do. 

iphone-latest-342-1The next morning we arose with purpose. I was going to the Kathe Wohlfhart store to get myself some ornaments. (I told Brad that I would only be getting few, but ended up purchasing closer to ten. WORTH IT! ) But, first, breakfast. We wandered downstairs to the restaurant where we took part in the buffet. The same ole’ stuff as everywhere else… meets, cheeses, breads, produce items… Satisfying, but getting old.  We ran backup to the room to grab our coats and then headed back into the magical walled city. There are like four Kathe Wohlfhart stores inside the wall…. but I wanted one specific one… The BIG ONE!!! I found it… The place was literally a maze. They have it set up so that you can only go one direction, and that one directions winds you through the store in a strategic fashion…. It truly was magical. It was so shiny & sparkly inside with all the Christmas things you could ever want! I was in heaven. We were inside for probably about 45 minutes, and eventually took my basket to the counter. I will never forget the experience that came with checking out After the lady had rung everything up, I handed her my credit card, which I had never signed. This apparently was a huge deal. Apparently, if your card isn’t signed then they don’t want to use it. So after shaming me for it, she asked if I had ID, and I had to say no… my only ID was drivers license which had my maiden name & didn’t match my credit card (oops). I told the woman that if she put everything aside I’d go get it, or if she wanted to use Brad’s it was the same card and he had ID. lol.. All of this forced her to just accept it, and run my damn card. I’ll never forget her condescending tone as she told me that I should sign the back of my card. What a moment!

insta-8With ornaments in hand we were on our way. We wandered the city a bit more out of curiosity, but there wasn’t much to find. Brad was curious about trying a schneeball. He had been eyeing them the day before, as they did look like a delightfully enchanting pastry. However, to his dismay he said it was like eating pie crust covered in chocolate. Which, I think is all it is. I don’t think he’ll get one again if we ever go back!  As our curiosity began to fade, we headed back to the hotel. It was time to move on. Neuschwantstein was calling, and we didn’t want to miss the tour!



1) One day is plenty!

2) Hi, my name is Natalie & I have an addiction to Christmas ornaments.

3) Just because you are in Europe doesn’t mean the French Onion will be good…

4) If you plan on using a CC in Europe, sign the back of the card. They don’t like if your card isn’t signed. (and make sure you have your ID)

A European Roadtrip: The Nuremberg Edition.

nikon-2-013-1After a grueling three and half hour drive, and a rest stop at McD’s to use the bathroom, we arrived within the small walled city in the late afternoon. We stayed at the Holiday Inn where parking and checking in was a breeze. We had a nice view of the street below where we were able to watch antics take place.

As soon as we were settled in we decided to head to the Museum of Germanic Art & Culture. We knew they closed soon, and didn’t want to miss it. We did have a difficult time finding the main entrance. It felt like we were wandering all over the place aimlessly. Once we did find it, and we did… find it. We walked to the counter where we were pleasantly surprised to find out that they do not charge for tickets within the last two hours of business. It was perfect! We love seeing antiquities, but I don’t love spending hours reading and what not because realistically it goes in one way and out the other.

iphone-latest-243In hopes of finding our way, we headed toward our hotel initially to ensure we had everything we needed for the chilly night. As we left again we decided to go right. That was a mistake. We were going to walk along the wall, but that also meant, and we were completely unaware of this, that we were walking through the red-light district… As a very conservative and private person, this was a little awkward for me, but thankfully it didn’t last too long. We followed the dark road around for a  little ways, but eventually decided to cut back in towards the center of the city. We found the main shopping area that was just south of the river. We wandered through & explored a bit, and had the pleasure of finding an almost fully living Nativity, meaning the animals were alive the people were mannequins. The double humped camel, named Ivan, clearly found Brad to be interesting as he came right up to him almost smacking their heads together. It was fun to see!  As we strolled through the city we came to the river. It was truly beautiful. It was a great place to stop for photos, and there were many different vantage points to choose from.


Dinner time was approaching, and I could feel myself starting to lose my cool. I wanted pizza. Pizza Hut, which we had seen earlier that afternoon, sounded fine to me because I just needed my fix, but Brad insisted that we push onward in search of something better. I was starting to get irritated, but thankfully as my mood began to worsen about Brad’s persistence the Heavens smiled down upon him. He found for us Provenza near the Hauptmarkt which is where the Christmas Market was set up, and it was hopping! . The food was exquisite… But then again, all I got was a cheese pizza… (Yes, I am a child… I also like my cheese burgers with ketchup only… Haters gonna hate.)

With full bellies we were able to enjoy the Christmas Market that was right outside the restaurant. We got to admire the beautiful glass ornaments, smell the hot beverages, and take in all the merriment.  Our night was not over, and we were getting a little burnt out on the Christmas Markets..( I also knew that when we got to Rothenburg we would be going to Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop…. I was holding out!)

iphone-latest-252From there the adventure continued North, and uphill, toward the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg. With curious spirits we pressed on. We made our way through the winding cobblestone streets, and made the climb to the top. The view was rewarding. We enjoyed staring out over the skyline, and seeing how far we had come.  Our journey continued as we wandered throughout the open Castle passage ways… We ended up finding a small staircase that was not blocked off that allowed us to head down into what I imagine was once a mote. It was huge, and a little bit creepy, but so worth the exploration. I believe the area now is considered part of the gardens.  It was fun to see how deep the mote once was, and how small you feel standing next to it, and pretending to try to climb out of it.  We eventually found our way out, as the road below eventually led us to a street corner. We followed the road for a ways on the outside of the city wall, but once again eventually cut back in as it was more familiar to us at that point, as well as more visually pleasing.  When we reached the river, we took a city on a bench to rest our feet. It was peaceful, and it was beautiful, even in the dark the glow of city lights in the winter air seem to be so relaxing. With Brad as exhausted as he was, eventually we decided to remove ourselves. We took the familiar path, eager for sleep, and exhilarated to the see this beautiful Germanic city in the day light.

The next morning we awoke fairly early. We dressed & repacked our bags, and headed out in search of breakfast. It was cold and raining, so we went with something familiar, Starbucks. We didn’t feel like aggressively hunting, and not many places had opened yet.

iphone-latest-276-1A tea, a coffee, and a couple pastries, and we were set. We took our time, as Brad perused CNBC, and I worked on trying to get my Christmas music uploaded onto my phone.  As we sat there, we waited for the rain to clear a bit. Finally, it began to clear. So a little bit warmer, and a little bit drier we ventured back out. It was great to see the city with less people and in the daylight. It was beautiful. We took a left near the front of St. Lorenz Church, and it led us right back to the river, where I was able to grab some beautiful and idyllic photos. From there we pressed on, crossing the old wooden bridge and winding our way through cobblestone streets lined with colorful homes and buildings. It was one of those moments where you think, “I’d live here”, and then you remember the brisk cold that you feel you are barely surviving, and there isn’t even snow!!

We were satisfied with Nuremberg even though we had been in the city for less than 24 hours, we found it to be amazing, but once again it was time to move forward with the itinerary. We quickly scampered back to the hotel collected our things & in a flash were in the car headed to the Nazi Party Rally Grounds, which is now a museum documenting the Hitler & Nazi Regime and their crimes committed.

iphone-latest-311-1Originally, This tour wasn’t at the top of my list. I’m not a big history buff, but I knew Brad would enjoy it, and I knew there were things that I would find interesting. However, now that I have gone, TIP: EVERYONE SHOULD GO DO THIS. This was a truly emotional and moving experience. It held my attention pretty much all the way through. There were a few parts where I kind of skipped ahead, or just didn’t listen to the audio guide, but it is truly well-down and worth the affordable ticket price. The nice thing is that it was quiet, and easy to move through. But seriously, if you are in Nuremberg, this is truly an incredible experience.

After a few hours of gaining insight & wanting to cry at the sight of food-deprived bodies in a ditch, I needed food to renew my spirit & stop my stomach from grumbling. Nothing seemed that great at the cafe in the Museum, so we settled on McD’s. FACT:You’ll find out that we spend a lot of time in McDonalds when we travel, it’s kind of pathetic, and we know it. Also, if you are like me, and you like chicken nuggets with honey… You have to bring your own honey, they don’t have it there. One quick meal later, we were back in the car headed to Rothenburg. I couldn’t wait!



1) Red Light Districts are now in Germany… Apparently it helps cut down the sex trade issues there…

2) Last minute museum entry can pay off

3)  Nuremberg is a fantastic place to spend at least one full day… 2 would be ideal.

A European Roadtrip: The Prague Edition.

That brisk Vienna morning we gathered our belongings and loaded up our small car once again. We were so excited for Prague, but we had no idea how much enjoyment was still to come. nikon-1-057-1

Since breakfast was not included with our hotel in Vienna, we decided to stop at a McDonald’s on the outskirts of the city. Once again, it was fancy… Making American McDonald’s look pathetic! (What the hell, McDonald’s?!) This was longest leg of driving (almost 4 hours) that we faced, and we knew we would need food, because without it, there could be murder.

It was probably one of the more dull drives. It was filled with simple sights of rolling fields that went on for miles (or should I say kilometers). We passed through a few tiny villages, and eventually found ourselves on the outskirt of what we found to be the massive city. Thankfully, this time, we did not lose our GPS signals on our phones, and had an easier time locating the hotel, Hotel Majestic Plaza, which was definitely crucial since it was tucked back on a one way street.

Once we were there, we parked our car & brought our bags to the front desk, made arrangements to valet the car, got our room keys and headed for our room. However, our mission was lunch. We headed back out right away toward the main square, Wenceslas Square, which contains a large number of big name stores, and restaurants. They literally have something for everyone.

We wandered past many restaurants and shops along the way, but wanted to see what awaited us further ahead. There were several options, but I wanted vegetables (and a break from all the bread) & a familiar sense of home so we went to the Hard Rock Cafe since we stumbled upon it during our journey.

One decent cobb salad later & we began to explore the city. We wandered through the small streets examining the small shops & restaurants, making notes of where we might want to return. I found a shop that I thought looked quite intriguing called Manufaktura (I would return there the next day!). There were a few street vendors selling paintings as well. TIP: A painting is always a good souvenir to bring home. Once you have it framed, you have a keepsake that you can always show off in your home.  Also, framing it allows you to personalize it a bit too. NOTE: Don’t buy a painting just because you want a painting or because it’s done by someone grand. Do it because the painting moves you. It should speak to your soul. 

iphone-latest-148All that aimless wandering really worked up an appetite within us. We ended up stopping at a cafe right next to Old Town Square (which features the beautiful Church of Our Lady before Tyn & The Astronomical Clock). I was able to get a delicious pasta dish filled with veggies which is exactly what my body had been craving. The food was exquisite, and our waitress was fantastic!  TIP: The great thing about Prague is that it is very culturally diverse. Everyone speaks great English which makes it easy to get around, and there is a culinary delight for everyone, too. 

Once we were re-energized we were back on our feet and headed out to explore some more… We headed toward the river and walked along it’s edge for a while, taking in the beautiful lights and the magical views of a whimsical city.  From the rivers edge we were able to view the Prague Castle (sadly, my evening photos didn’t turn out well, but there will be more).

iphone-latest-143As we continued on our journey we reached a bridge and decided to cross. It was Charles Bridge. It’s structure was hypnotizing, as we had never seen another like it. With large statues on both sides staring at you as your cross from one side to the other, it had almost an eerie feel in the light evening fog.  As we approached the end nearing the castle we decided to explore a bit. Unfortunately, we reached a couple dead ends, and didn’t want to go too far as we were in uncharted territory. We decided to save it for the next day. We headed back and marveled at the beautiful tower ahead of us that we would pass through as we re-entered the heart of the city.  Following it on our left was the beautiful structure housing the Charles Bridge Museum. We stopped there to take a quick photo, and then continued on our way.

To our fun surprise, the streets became more lively in the evening, there were men with large eagles, and one with a trio of tea-cup pigs that just melted my heart(I have a thing for tea-cup pigs, which is why I suppose I almost cried with excitement when I saw them & got to give them a little piggy snack). There were people playing music & some pretending to be statues, and others roasting tasty Czech treats like trdelnik (not our favorite thing that we tried). It was lively… More lively than any of the other cities we had been wandering through at night. Prague’s winter night life did not revolve around a Christmas Market, and I think we found that to be refreshing.  On our way back to our hotel we stopped in to a small gelato shop, for some of the best Nutella gelato we have had (the best is still in Barcelona, though)…  We arrived back at the hotel completely beat. Rest was in order. We knew the next day was gonna be a doozy with so much to do.

nikon-1-058-1On our second day we awoke hungry and willing. We headed downstairs and enjoyed a tasty buffet breakfast full of all the usual European options… eggs, Deli meats, cheeses, fruits & veggies, breads, pastries, tea and coffee… We munched until we were satisfied and headed back out into the chilly Prague air. We were going to visit the castle & it was going to be a long journey. All bundled up in our coats we head back toward the river to Charles Bridge. Once we crossed over we made the trek up the hill and towards Prague Castle. It was quite the winding adventure, as we made our way toward the stairs to the top.  Funny enough, when we got there we found a Starbucks just off to the side. We stopped in for a quick bathroom break which required a rough climb down a steep spiral staircase. Once that was through and reconvened on top we took a moment to take in the city view which truly is breath-taking.  Nearby, we found a grouping of “huts” serving up all sorts of delicious snacks, and also some selling souvenirs and toys. We continued on with the intent to eat later. We arrived in the front square which was a very small park or what was just a large plot of grass surround by interesting architectural buildings, of which I do not know the purpose. nikon-1-059-1


After quick admiration we decided to press on through the gateway. We embarked upon the palace grounds. We wandered through various structured palace walls, until we reached St. Vitus Cathedral. A beautiful structure that reminds me of Notre Dame, as they share in that same Gothic feel. iphone latest 168 1.jpg

nikon-1-074There was a really cute nativity set up outside of the cathedral along the side in honor of the holidays. The whole thing was made of hay, and was truly something to admire.

amiptheatherFrom the Cathedral we moved on, wandering through the village that sits on the Castle grounds. It was a magical area. Different buildings were painted in different colors. The area was lively with students & tourists. It was a morning of shenanigans. We didn’t tour the palaces or any of the other tour locations because each came at a price, and we were a little burnt out on tours, so we just laid low on foot. We eventually headed back toward to the entrance, but we did find a fun spot. A small amphitheater. It was quite unusual. The acoustics were amazing! We had a lot of fun playing there for a few minutes, and it even got us interacting with other patrons.

We did stop off at the huts for an amazing snack break. We feasted on mushrooms, a pasta thing, and perhaps a meat dish??? It was soooo delicious!!! A true taste of the Czech Republic, and it was like eating a reward.

 iphone-latest-173-1We headed back down the stairs to the heart of the city & took in the gorgeous view once again.

I stopped into a couple of the ornament shops on the way that had a great array of beautiful blown glass ornaments in all different designs. HINT: Beautiful glass ornaments are one of the fantastic things that the CR is known for.

We took ourselves back across the bridge & headed back into town.  We were still hungry so when we reached the main square we grabbed some schnitzel & fries from one of the food stands. It was amazing!!!  After putting a hot meal in our bellies we began to wander once again.

I found it… one of the fun shops I read about. The egg shop. They had many beautiful hand-painted  eggs in all different sizes. I wasn’t sure if wanted to dedicate my attention and funds to eggs & I still had my heart on a painting. So once again, we were on the hunt for the spot I had found the day before. Once we found the spot, on my second glance, none were as I remember, and there was not one we could agree upon so we moved on.

We ended up finding our way back to Manufaktura. I was so excited.  I spent some time wandering through & finding some great Christmas goodies (one of which is a beautiful painted wooden angel, that I am certain I will love until the day I die). FACT: I can’t wait to go back to Prague, just to revisit this shop. They have great bath and body products, wooden toys, and small home goods. I’d definitely recommend to anyone visiting in the area.

iphone latest 183.JPGAfter some shopping, we were back on the streets, and brad wanted to try to different breweries… I’m not a big drinker, so I had to say Nay. But we did find one gastro-pub that seemed interesting. We both ordered our brew and a couple small dishes off the menu & decided to chill. We scrolled through our phones, talked business, and just shot the breeze. It was a nice time relaxing with my favorite man-friend (J.K. I only have one).

From there we ended up back in the Old Town Square & got to admire the architecture in the day light. We watched the Astronomical clock as it did it’s hourly performance, then walked through the small church across from the Cathedral. It was a great spot to grab some great photos. iphone latest 200.JPG

iphone-latest-189We pressed on still to find a very small synagogue, The Old New Synagogue. I believe it was the first synagogue in Prague. We were curious and wanted to check it out. We found the ticket counter a little ways away. The tickets were rather pricey, we completely understood what the ticket was for. We thought we were getting a great setup, especially for the price. I think Brad considered to be one the great heists of the year because it turns out the only other synagogue we could tour with it was on the opposite end of town, and would be difficult to get to.


When you do the tour of the Old New Synagogue, you go through a tricky-to-operate old wooden door, once through, an elderly woman takes your ticket & suddenly you step back in history. It’s such a quaint space that you can’t help but find intimate & intriguing.  The best part of this tour was this picture of my wonderful husband. It easily makes the top five .  The tour was quick since the synagogue was so small, and Brad was really irked about the ticket prices, so we decided to walk it off.


While on our journey we had the pleasant surprise of finding a performance of traditional dance & music in Old Town Square. It was fun to watch for a little bit as other patron observed or passed through. We were right by the Christmas Market, and there was alot happening around us. We eventually branched off into the small streets near by to explore the shops, one of which was an old fashioned toy shop with tons of fun wooden toys and puppets. It was fun to go play with things that I hadn’t seen in years. It kept us entertained and warm for a little bit. Brad began craving a beer, so we ended up going into an old fashioned pub-style restaurant near by. The type where they serve up pig knuckles on what looks like a wooden cutting board. We got some light food to share and hung out until Brad was ready to go once again. We decided to take the long way back towards our hotel and walked along the river once more. It was a beautiful time to oversee the city in the foggy evening air. It was probably one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.iphone-latest-210

iphone-latest-215-1From there we headed back to the hotel. We were cold and tired, and I could shake the feelings I was having for painted eggs. We took our direction toward the main square, and our way into their beautiful courtyard, and walked through their french door once again. I quickly perused over the option and settled on 2 beautiful pieces. This shop is must if you are in Prague. Its a great way to enjoy a Czech tradition.

Eventually, we did end up back at the hotel. We dropped off all the goodies, and rested for little bit. However, trying to get back up seemed impossible for me. I was exhausted after a long day of adventure and shopping.  We needed to eat. Brad suggested Indian food, of which I was inexperienced and hesitant about. (Apparently, they have Indian restaurants in the DRC, who knew…) Indian it was, I wasn’t feeling overly hungry, and I knew it would make Brad happy. A dish of chicken korma, basmati rice, and garlic naan; we were satisfied & it was a great surprise for me. I really enjoyed it… That was the night that Indian food became a major craving for me. After dinner, we wanted more gelato, so we trolled our way through the city back to the place we had gone before and it was worth the exhaustion. However, after we were done we headed straight back to the hotel to pass out.

The next morning it was time to go. We got our buffet breakfast & headed back to the main square once again. Why? I wanted another egg.. There was one that I didn’t get the day before that I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about. I knew that I would regret it if I didn’t try… However, when we arrived we found out that the shop was not open that day, and because of that we turned right back around, got our bags from our room, checked out, collected the car from Valet, and headed off to Nuremberg…

iphone latest 221.JPG


1) Prague is one of the most beautiful and unique cities.

2) Anyone can survive Prague, even as a new traveler

3) Prague is crazy affordable, as it is not a part of the Euro.



A European Roadtrip: The Vienna Edition.

iphone-latest-113-2We arrived in Vienna late that night, at our hotel, Aparthotel Adagio Vienna City ,which we had booked early that morning via hotels.com. It had been a rough drive for me, which in turn made it rough for Brad. For whatever reason, my body was exhausted. I felt feverish & could not for the life of me stay awake in the car. I think my body was burnt out from the weather, the constant wandering, and probably by bazaar sleep schedule.

Once we were checked in, we headed up to our room, and pretty much immediately I climbed into bed, and passed out. The next, morning, as usual… I was up before the sun. Preparing for our next drive & picking our hotel for Prague. {TIP: A great way to get through a road trip adventure such as this, is to not over prepare because you can get some great last minute hotel deals, and it allows flexibility in your driving schedule.} Since Brad continued to sleep, I decided it would be a great idea to get up & shower. This plan ended in frustrating because the blow dryers in European hotels are inadequate by American standards. It took forever to get my hair to dry. …and you can’t wander around in the frigid Austrian cold with wet hair… 

iphone-latest-087-2Eventually Brad was up, and it was time to explore the city of Vienna. We were on the hunt for good, and one of the first places to pop up was sadly, Starbucks, but it was easy. It was wrapped up in a busy shopping area. Locals were going to work, and tourists were passing through. We each got a sandwich of sorts, Brad had coffee, and I had tea. We were content & enjoyed relaxing and talking, but we knew the time was drawing near to hit the streets once more. The square was calling our name.  It was such a great walk, we got to see so many sites that day including the Austrian Parliament building. {FUN FACT: The Austrian Parliament is composed of 183 National Council Members whose terms last 5 years}

iphone-latest-092From there we continued on to Rathausplatz. This is where the Christmas market is held annually. It was quite large. We had a lot of time exploring. We walked up and down each row of booths, and were able to see all of the beautiful colorful things that were available to the passerby. Tasty candies, pretzels, bratwurst, hot wines, and trinkets… trinkets everywhere! We decided to embrace the culture & try the bratwurst stuffed with cheese, that was shoved into a hollowed out piece of bread & the condiments of your choice… It was fairly tasty, but a lot for me to handle, since I’m normally not a cased meat type of person. However, it was fun to try something new…  Does it look appetizing to you? Because it didn’t to me, but I ate it anyways. We tried some of the German candy that reminded me of the licorice ropes because of the size. They were labeled as sour, but they had nothing on Sour Belts (an American treasure). I am pretty sure that Europeans just don’t use as much acid in their sour candy as we do. Brad made the decision to try the hot wine in Vienna, and I think he liked it more than the one he had in Munich, but I don’t know that he would label it as one of his favorite things, but we did keep the souvenir mug, and I can’t wait to bust it out this holiday season!

iphone-latest-094We took some time to sit on a nearby bench and relax, while we watched others wander through. The area was beautifully decorated, and it was fun to watch the children ride on the horses nearby. Eventually though, it was time to move on, and we began to wander aimlessly through random Austrian roads. They led us all over the city. At one point we ended up in a large barren park where we watched a man play fetch with his 2 Jack Russel Terriers. We wandered on and through a beautiful architecturally designed tunnel into another random cobble stone square  full of horse drawn carriages where we were stopped by men in costume inviting us to a classical concert that included ballet & opera. We went back and forth on whether or not it would be a good idea or if it’s something we would want to do, but Brad made the executive decision that we should go (It was a great idea).  Once we knew what our evening plans were we continued onward in search of the next great thing. it turned out to be Starbucks. Brad needed to use the restroom & I need a pick me up…. A bagel & hot chocolate. It turned out to be one of the worst bagels I have ever had, but the hot chocolate was divine.


We enjoyed our refreshments as we headed back to the square because we knew that we would need to be at the concert hall with time to spare. We decided to sit on the steps of a building directly across from Rathausplatz and watch the people go back and forth. You could tell as the day went on, the social nature of the area was on the rise.


iphone-latest-103-2With our  hot drinks and bagel finished, we were at it again. The slow decent t to our hotel to find some decent outfits for our concert, and to drop off my bag and any unnecessary extras. We took a different route that led us past St. Stephen’s Cathedral & and through Stephansplatz which was full of shops and small eateries.  We stopped in St. Stephen’s for a quick peak. The outside was so beautiful, that we were curious about the inside. I would say it equally as decadent. {FUN FACTS: Groundbreaking for the Cathedral took place in 1137 AD & was originally completed in 1160 AD prior to add on contrustucion in the centuries to come. Also, the spire at the front of the Cathedral stands at 447.6 feet tall.}

Once we had what we needed and left what wasn’t, we were back out and about. We still a while before the concert so we stopped by the Christmas market once again for some quicky snacks (aka pretzels). We ate what we could, and then held onto the rest & headed for the concert location. Sadly, I don’t recall where the concert was held & we were not allowed to take photos inside, so it is hard for me to say. However, the tickets were sold through Music of Vienna. The performance we saw was by the Vienna Residence Orchestra, and it was truly fantastic. Brad & I both enjoyed it, which says a lot for the quality of the show. Pictures were not permitted, so sadly I have nothing to share with you. Because of the large amount of tourists they take in, they were not picky about our clothing which was very nice. {TIP: If you are going to Vienna, and have a free night and don’t know what to do, add this to your list! It is so enjoyable, and really creates a special night.}

When the concert was over we decided to take the long way back which led us back through Stephanplatz. It was really a fun night outing because all the streets had amazing Christmas light displays, and a massive tree to match. It made our holiday trip so much more enjoyable.  We got back to our room relatively early, got somewhat repacked, and were off to bed. We were headed to Prague the next morning, and wanted an early start… and that’s just what we got.





1) Hot Wines apparently aren’t that good

2) There is such a thing as too much bread…

3) A musical concert in Vienna is always a good idea