Before I can share other recent adventures with you, I have to clear out the gazillion pictures that are taking up all the space on my computer. So let's start with one of my favorite (and fairly recent) trips.
Reasons you should go to Austria:
1. It's an amazing place
2. See #1
3. If you really need a third reason then you're not paying attention....and, um, I love you...
Austria is simply stunning. I wish I could put emoticons on here because I don't think words accurately describe how fantastic this place is! It seems like there's a never ending amount of things to see and do, nooks and crannies to explore and uncover. If Austria isn't on your travel list it should be added immediately and bumped to the top. During our time there, we stayed in Vienna and did a quick trip to Salzburg as well. It wasn't enough, friends. It wasn't enough. I could spend two solid weeks exploring all of Austria and it wouldn't be enough. It's breathtakingly beautiful, architecturally dreamy, and it seriously pulls at the heartstrings with it's rich history.
While in Vienna, we went on a bike tour with Pedal Power. Now, I know I say this about basically every place I go, but the people of Austria are so nice that I don't think "nice" even does them justice. They're kind, polite, hilarious. They tell you stories of Hitler sincerely and compassionately, but they also throw in some good hearted humor to lighten the mood. I learned more about Hitler and World War II than I'd ever learned in school. This- this is another reason to travel. Books will only tell you so much. You need to experience, you need to see. You need to walk where people walked, where people bled, where people died.
Austria is full of theaters and museums, music stores and art stories. In Austria even horse training is an art.
One of the my favorite sights of Vienna was all the graffiti. To be clear, Vienna is very neat and clean, but Vienna is also very wise. The city gave the people of Vienna a giant, popular, widely used canal as a canvas for their art. The hope was that this would prevent graffiti from making it's way onto buildings. From what I can tell, it's working pretty well. The canal is amazing. It's great for biking, running, taking your kids to the little playgrounds, grabbing a bite to eat, shopping...there's so much to do in this canal, of all places!
|This is my favorite. It is a remarkable piece of art.|
|Central Park - Vienna Style|
|Just me making friends with a terrifying looking clown. |
I'm saying "Don't kill me. Please."
|We're not sure what this was, but it had football and that's all that mattered to The Fiance.|
|HundertwasserHaus (The equally cool shopping village is right across from it)|
|KunstHausWien - Also has a shop inside|
Before I go off on a Monsanto tangent, let's get back to the eating. Ragusa had tons of allergy friends options for anyone with any kind of food allergies. This is a seafood restaurant but they had other options as well. If you're in the heart of town, check out Plachuttas Gasthaus Zur Opera. Get the boiled beef. Trust me.
Almost every single menu I saw in Vienna had a list on it from A-Z of food allergies, labeling every menu item so you knew exactly what to avoid. The tricky part: gluten was not G on the menu, but A. Outside of that, easy to understand entirely.
Salzburg - The City of Salt
When in the land of music, what do you bring back for your friends and family? Salt, of course. Bath salt, garlic salt, spicy salt, salt rocks. You name it, they've got it! And yes, you want it.
Salzburg- gloriously beautiful and filled with things to do, see, eat, buy. I was in heaven. Absolute heaven.
Back to this whole salt business. Salt, while seemingly boring (yet tasty), has a rich history. On our day trip to this magical place, our guide (who happened to look just like Dexter!) told us story after story of the way salt has shaped the world. It's had an impact on religion, politics, wars. It's been used, in essence, as a weapon. (If you're interested...Salt - read all about it!)
We started at Mirabell Palace, and worked our way through the "new" city, over the bridge, to the "old" city.
One of my favorite things about the city were the signs that lined the main streets. Our guide informed us that signs, in the past, were meant to be a visual representation of what the shop offered, not something you read as not everyone could read. The old signs are now intermixed with new signs, but they're beautiful none the less.
|This was in a different part of the city, but it made me LOL.|
Mozart Balls. These balls are a big deal, people. There's a serious scandal between two families over who created this very popular treat. From what I was told, these are gluten free and I have to admit, they are REALLY good. However, there is a difference in flavor between the two main types you'll find here. I suggest trying both versions and deciding for yourself which is better!
On this particular trip we used Austria as our home base while we went out and had adventures in Hungary and the Czech Republic, my other two new Favorite Places Ever. While we didn't have nearly enough time in either, it was a good taste of what we one day hope to go back and revisit. Here's info on those two lovely places.
Hungary - Budapest
Buda, Budapest. You da, you da best. Hey! (repeat x100)
Amazing, right? Right?
I feel like this is one of those places that has a little something for everyone. There's fantastic shopping, amazing sights, great food, and of course, the people are wonderful. Don't be dummies like us and only spend one day here. Give yourself time to really invest in all there is to see and do.
|Mathias Church and sorbet from Varosliget Cafe|
|I don't know what I'm doing here.|
For more shopping, more eating, and maybe even a sighting of Budapest man, go to Vaci street.
This is a fraction of the gorgeousness of Budapest. There are so many other sights to see, I encourage you to spend quality time in this beautiful old city...and then tell me about all the awesome stuff you saw that I missed!
Czech Republic - Prague
I realize I've already said that about the other two places, but it's like that quadrupled. Like being in a never-ending maze of awesome. Just when you think you've reached the end of one super amazing place, you turn the corner and BAM. Another street full of awesome. Over and over and over.
First, we started with this gigantic and breathtaking church, St. Vitus Cathedral, which just so happens to be next to another giant architectural beauty, the Prague Castle. This is a great starting point.
From here - make sure you have a map - you can wind up and down, following paths full of people across the countryside. Fair warning, from here on out it gets very crowded, but for good reason- so much amazingness to see! Keep navigating your way around and following the path which will lead you to your next destination...
...Charles Bridge. This is the spot to be. What I came to discover was that you'd really only gotten started once you hit Charles Bridge. Should you go left, right, up, down? Who knows! You are surrounded by options. If you choose to go toward Old Town Square you'll come across vendors galore that line the bridge with their art and handmade goods, not to mention views from every angle for miles.
From there, believe it or not, it just keeps multiplying. More to see, more to do. As you cross the bridge to the old town, you then come across the Prague Astronomical Clock. There are plenty of places to eat at and some very good food stand vendors that sell ham and potatoes. I would recommend those as a fast and easy meal.
|Old Town Square|
This was the end of our journey in Prague. What a lovely, remarkable place. I hope one day you too will get to see this beautiful city.
You can find most of these pictures, and a whole lot of other ones, on my Society6 page.