Thursday, October 6, 2011

Garmisch, Neuschwanstein Castle, and tiny towns in between

Hotel in Garmisch

Cameras strapped around our necks by day and kickin it with locals by night, Tres and I always manage to find a way around places the most fun way possible. In the daytime on vacation, you can find us snapping hundreds of pictures elbow to elbow with people whose zipcodes are miles away, just like ours. But at night, we are likely to end up with a friend or two, preferably whose zip code is right where they are sitting. We love locals!

Day number three, we hit up the tourist traps (which are most of the time reason for going on vacations in the first place... take that, Anthony Bourdain, you douche), and by night we were at a local hotspot. Neuschwanstein Castle was our tourism outing for the day, and like I mentioned, it was more than worth it.

Eating halfway up the castle... me wanting Tres food. Nothing new here.

I'm no historian, but I learned enough about King Ludwig to be pretty certain we would have been big buds back in the day. I am referring to BEFORE he went crazy and AFTER he built those two splindid castles. Attending a party on that mountain top in that lux would have been quite fabulous. Probably more fabulous than I would technically be invited to, but since he no longer exists, I can dream!

Castle tour down, I conquered my fear by walking across (umm... a fourth of the way across) Mary's Bridge. Tres talked me into it and the view was worth it, so close to tears I did it. We had another tourist take our picture, and I watched in horror as she climbed on top of a step on the bridge and leaned over backwards to get our picture "Just right." Nu uh, no mam... I almost had a heart attack for the gal, and at the time almost told her I could do without the picture. But wow... it really turned out to be one of the best from the trip. Thanks, brave lady for risking your life.

The "near death" picture. Oh, so worth it!

After picture snapping with the best of em, we hopped back in the family truckster and headed to the brewery we heard about right outside of Garmisch. Technology took over with the German GPS, and soon enough, we were on the top of a mountain where the "main road" ran out. Confused and about to be on our way down, we were still asking ourselves where the heck the brewery was. Out of no where, a man with an ax appeared. No big deal. We were a family of five on top of a mountain the in middle of Germany, and a stranger with an ax (and very thick beard, might I add), was walking towards our car. This could have very easily been the scene from a sick horror movie, but luckily the guy was extremely nice and gave us correct directions. In English? Nope. Thank goodness my family understands and speaks decent German.

The brewery turned out to be in a quaint little village that you can just vision the perfect Christmas ever taking place there. Beautiful cobblestone streets, tiny shops, interesting restaurants with little bistro tables set up outside. It was divine! As was the beer tasting. We tried them all and had a blast doing so.

Another car ride later, we were back at the hotel, and me, Tres, and my brother were on our way to dinner by foot. It was late, and at this time of night, we questioned any restaurant being open. But there's always a Local, isn't there? I say Local not in description of a person but as a restaurant. Maybe "Cheers" would better describe what I'm talking about. You know, a place..... "Where everybody knows your naaaaame... and they're always glad you caaaame!" The bar we came across was called Local, which funny enough, back home in Memphis, our favorite restaurant/bar is also called Local. We did not walk but RAN in the door.

The inside was better than the out... 80's music playing, people speaking both German AND English, and the best smell of burger I smelled since our layover before leaving the states. And the smell proved itself. Those burgers were so good we were back two other times on the trip for more! We met a few folks, discovering the restaurant was owned by an Irish family. And I thought a hamburger was an American food. English, German, Irish... who cares. If I go back to Garmisch, I'm immediately stopping there for lunch or dinner. YUM!

Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein

Did you know that in one day you can see four countries?! Here in the U.S., it's difficult to see four states in one day, but in Europe, you can see it all!

So on, day number FOUR, we went for FOUR, taking a FOUR-country tour: Germany (of course), Austria, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein. While it was a blessing and a blast to see a little bit of all these places, I would have liked to spend more time in each of them.

Switzerland is hands-down the most beautiful place I have ever seen in Europe, and I hear the food in Austria could make a Victoria's Secret model want to eat, so the little time we spent in these two places was a tad disappointing, but I don't think I would ever make an entire trip out of them either. So, all-in-all, it worked out for the best!

Our tour guide was hilarious, and the best part is... she had no idea how funny she was. She was old, grumpy, smoked about 10 packs of cigs in the 12 hours we were with her, and told the best stories in the heaviest German accent. If only I could type the pronunciation, you all would be laughing as much as we did!

My favorite snack when traveling through Europe (pretzel, butter, and salami...yum!) And so German!
Real Swiss beer
Her response after a near-death, extremely terrifying experience on the top of a mountain we asked her to take us to the top of was: "You VANTED it.... HAHAHAHAHA!!!" I can still hear the cackle... makes me laugh every time I think about it. And I can't forget to mention, her idea of German people's everyday way of living: "It's just a VAY of life!"
Enjoy the pictures... Switzerland is magical.

Lunch in Lichtenstein
My lunch... white fish, risotto, with a tomato basil sauce

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dachau & Munich, Germany

Pictures tell a thousand words. Sure, what a way to start off my next blog post about Germany with a cliché. But in this case, a cliché, and the pictures of course, are the only way to describe both Dachau and Munich. It’s been three months since I was miles over the Atlantic, and on any trip with a significant amount of time passed, it’s easy to forget in details. Until you look at pictures.
We started our first full day with the family off in “the family truckster.” You will hear me refer to the family truckster on more account than one. .. more like every post, but it was a big part of our trip because we spent a lot of time in there. Dad driving, mom in the passender side, and me in the back-middle with a husband on one side and a brother on the other, driving across the great country of Germany. Believe me, if there’s a city or town in south Germany you are wondering if we saw, WE SAW IT. No doubt.

A little over an hour of the first day, and the family truckster had us from Garmisch to Dachau. The experience of walking through and collecting images of a true concentration camp is more than words can say. And that’s where the pictures come in. Shock, sorrow, fury, disbelief are only a few of what one feels when visiting such wretched grounds, but history is history and we got to see it up close and personal.
It’s impossible for me to ever visit a piece of history and not daydream about what happened right where I am standing. I nearly get in a trance trying to imagine actual people – not characters – that experienced the “stories” I have grown up hearing my entire life in history class, through books, and in movies. Visiting Dachau may have been as real as it could get.
After such despair, we needed a little pep in our step, and Munich was just the right stop. A big city with beer and good food, and Tres and I were in our element. The old buildings, beauty, and traditional German food of the city were added bonuses. We walked around, drank beer on the streets, and ate brats and sauerkraut like we belonged there. The wake up call was in the first restaurant we showed up at where English was very limited. Thank goodness for dad and brother. Did I mention they speak German? Yes, pop is pretty fluent, as he lived there for several years and brother is not so bad himself, as he’s taken classes and the time to learn. I will tell you, nothing feels more uncomfortable than not knowing a language in a huge city.

Later that afternoon with several beers thrown back, there was only one place we hadn’t been: Hofbrauhaus. No crazy people or tents lining the streets needed… for fun gal like me, I may as well had been at Octoberfest! And when the music started playing, the people got a little louder, and the waiter brought me a beer in a glass almost big enough to wear as a hat, my October party pants were on… right in the middle of June!

Dare you ask my favorite city in Germany? I think you know the answer. And if we ever go back to Germany, the arrival letters will go from FRA to MUC!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Frankfurt, Germany

Walking the streets... All alone

Imagine walking through a city cleared out just for you as your plane lands. No other people – just peace and quiet as you walk the streets. All you see are beautiful, ancient buildings towering over you with fresh flowers in the windows, and all you hear are stone water fountains flowing as you pass them with the pitter-patter of your feet behind them. That much quietness in a big city seems nearly impossible at any given time of the day, especially in the largest financial Centre in Europe. But the morning we landed in Frankfurt, Germany, the people of the fifth largest populated city in the country were all in slumber. Of course I was just kidding when I said it was cleared out just for us, but as for the town being asleep as we went on our first exploration, that was no joke.
Bull of Frankfurt Yum Yum... German Festival Food

Our flight landed in Frankfurt right as the sun rose. Me, Tres, and my brother, ready to take on the country of Germany. However, my parents’, who’s flight was supposed to land before ours, were stuck in Atlanta. As soon as we landed, Tres received a text saying they were eight hours behind us. The initial plan was to meet them, hop in the car, and head south to the mountains of Garmisch, but we learned as soon as our plane touched down, that wasn’t going to happen.

Drinks on a fun patio just as people started to wake up in this city... haha

So the plan changed. And before we knew it we were walking off of a subway into the gigantic city of Frankfurt, dragging our luggage behind us. Sure, we could have set up camp at the airport until 5pm when my parents finally landed, but instead, we decided we had a fun city to explore. So bags and all, off we went, into the city. The quiet city, that is. The Friday night party must have lasted until 4am with the entire city of Frankfurt invited because on Saturday morning, there wasn’t a person on the streets.
First view of a German country-side from the drive

For the first several hours we walked, admiring the unique, longstanding architecture of the city. Finally, a few shops started to open up, and though the party was assumed to have lasted all night the eve before, it wasn’t long before the beer was flowing again. As we walked, we stumbled upon none other than a German festival – right in the center of Frankfurt. Carnival food and beer on the streets are two of my favorite pastimes, and when the smell of sausages, sauerkraut, pretzels, and German beer started seeping through streets that were completely uninhibited just hours before, I was in my happy place. We had clearly arrived… we were officially in Germany!
Eating pizza and drinking beer after a long day and drive... sleepy

The day was spent eating German festival food, drinking champagne and beers at every cool restaurant patio we saw, and walking the finally busy streets of Frankfurt, luggage still being hauled behind us. Exhaustion set in later than afternoon, and we took the subway back to the airport to wait on my parents. I took an hour nap in the most comfortable position a person could possibly be in laying on a lobby seat in an airport. Finally around 6pm, my parents were landed and we were in our “family truckster,” a Volvo station wagon, driving across the country of Germany. We arrived in Garmich, ate a quick dinner composed of pizza and more beer, and went to bed.

Spending the entire day in Frankfurt was a treat, and there’s plenty more Frankfurt stories where that one came from because we weren’t quite done with it just yet!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

July 14 post below… sad! Two months later… I’m back!

One of many things we have been doing: Dinner on our balcony... has become more common with good weather

Today was a dreary, rainy day in Memphis. I like nothing better on an ugly day than to go to the gym for a workout (because there’s nothing better to do), take a hot shower, and relax on the couch with Tres. Well, today I decided to do something a little different. So, as I sit here in my comfy, cloud of a housecoat with my feet propped up, I am blogging. Different? Yes. Why? Because I haven’t done it in months. Not because I haven’t wanted to, or because I am lazy, or because I have nothing to write. No… simply because I lack time. Seriously.

Time is so precious to me. So, when I’m working all day with a workout to follow, then I go to school two nights a week, then I have homework that includes more writing than I’m sure anyone does on their blogs, then I cook, then for heaven’s sake, when it’s finally 9pm, I just may want to have a little fun down the street at a local restaurant or bar or sit on my couch and watch mindless television, so with all that… I choose not to blog. Did I mention I write and write and WRITE in graduate school? I am a journalism major, so it’s no surprise, but geez, when you write that much in school, you just may decide to not do it in your spare time.

So, that is my confession. My excuse. Whatever you want to call it.

Most recent pic of us... in North Carolina at a wedding

But the conclusion to this post is not a “farewell, I’m too busy to blog anymore post. It’s a “Hey, friends, I’m back to blog consistently.... can I get a whoop whoop” post!!! At least that’s the goal… to get this Southern Kind of Love back to being documented!

TN - Cinci game last weekend... our most recent excursion

Next month, Tres and I will be celebrating our One Year Anniversary, and today I got to thinking about how much fun we’ve had our first year of marriage. We have done a lot, experienced a lot, and traveled a whole lot, yet, I haven’t written much of anything. This made me sad, yet it inspired me!

So what’s long overdue? I’m just going to include the highlights:

• My new job and the change of no longer working with my husband in the same office
• Trip to Europe: Germany, Austria, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Italy
• Trip to Vegas… this will be a good one
• Weekends in Memphis… oh the fun Tres and I have living downtown in this awesome city
• Redecorating: The new Enemy (the old one… wedding planning)
• Anniversary trip plans to New England: Portland, Boston, Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod

Our decor inspirarion... we both agree on this. That could change as often as my blogging habits though... haha

Looks like I’m going to have my work cut out for me! Luckily, Tres and I are in Memphis this weekend. Hopefully football, fun, redecorating, and dare I say, homework wont distract me. We shall see!!! Wish me luck, bloggettes!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Well I have managed once again to not write a blog post about one trip before going on the next one. I SUCK AT BLOGGING!!! Honestly, I just don't have time anymore. I sure wish I did but work, school, travel, and all the fun on the side is killing me :)

I promise to post about our trip to Europe soon enough, but until then, we will be in Vegas. I am thrilled about this trip!!! We are meeting friends, staying at the Mandalay Bay in a fantastic suite, we have a Cabanna booked for the pool, and of course have great restaurants already listed out!!!

I look forward to sharing it... Sure ya do, Andrea!!! Sure ya do!!!! I'm sure that's what you are thinking. But at some point, the Vegas and the post-poned European excursion will be posted!!! I need more time in each day :) I have plenty to write when I return!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Travel To Do List

After recovering from my European Vacation with Tres and the fam, I didn't have the time to post about this last week, but I wanted everyone to know I finally wrote something I have been wanting to write for a long time... A Top Travel List. Let's just call it:

I was lucky enough to have a friend of mine, Nicole, invite me to guest blog on her fabulous online diary while she was off to New York City, so what better to write about than travel?!

Take a read here, and stay tuned to my blog for exciting posts on my trip to Germany and beyond!