Stuttgart, Pumpkin Festival, and Waterfall Adventure

Our trip to Stuttgart focused around a Zelda symphony concert my husband wanted to go to, so I wanted to make the most of the long drive and discover other sights in the area. My favorite part of our trip was the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival, and not the actual city of Stuttgart. I’m sure there is more to discover in the city, but we were really short on time. If you have anything you’d like to as please feel free to leave a comment so that others can benefits from your advice.

Itinerary:

Saturday at the Uracher Wasserfall and the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival

Saturday morning we left around 6 am in order to get to the Uracher Wasserfall. I wanted to get there really in the morning to avoid the crowds. Well getting here was an adventure! I read on Trip Adviser to park at the train station in town and walk to the waterfall. This was our original plan but we ended up getting really lost. When we were about twenty minutes away both of our phones decided to do a system update. I wish I could remember exactly how to get to the place where we started walking but we just came upon it by accident. It was a really nice hike through this forested area and we could see some castle ruins at the top of the mountain where we began our hike.

To get to the mountain view from the waterfall just walk past the beer garden and to the right you’ll see a small stream of water cascading down. When you look to your left you’ll see a small path.

We ended up staying for a short amount of time, maybe about an hour and a half. I did see many children but no strollers. This might be a little too strenuous for smaller children and strollers.

The festival was just a short drive from the waterfall so we made our way there. Parking was a little chaotic, but we eventually found a garage that was very conveniently located. I’ll put the address below in the resources. We didn’t think the festival was going to be as big as it was, but I was actually really fun and entertaining. There was a lot to see and eat!

We spent most of our time in the kid area petting the goats and riding on the free boats that go around the kids section. I also spotted a train but we couldn’t find the starting point. There are little fairy tale houses along a path that depicted all the different stories. My favorite was Hansel and Gretel. I believe these are permanent displays that you can visit with entrance into the palace.  To get into the festival we did have to pay, I believe it was 7.50 Euro, but it is worth it.

That night we stayed on base at the Kelley Barracks Hotel. It was really cheap for both of us to stay there and breakfast was included! Our room was very nice and the hotel was located right by the gas station and gym.

Friday

The hiking and driving from the day before mad us both super tired. We both wanted to stay in the hotel room all day, but we found the energy and headed out for the day. Someone recommended the parking garage that was located behind the train station so we parked there. DO NOT PARK THERE! It was 2.50 Euro per hour!

My recommendation is to park by the Porsche Arena. The garage there was only 6 Euro for the whole day. Once you’re parked there you can get onto the Hop-on-Hop Off, which is 15 Euro per person. If you want to, you can also take public transportation. If you want a cheap meal, check out what the train station has to offer. My husband and I split a half chicken for 4 Euro.

From here we went to the tourist office. To get there: walk through the train station and on your right you’ll see stairs, go down the stairs and then up another set. The tourist office is right there. We purchased the Stuttgart Card and our Hop-On-Hop-Off tickets here. This was really expensive and we don’t normally purchases these but we thought we’d give it a try. I wouldn’t get this unless you plan on spending more time in the city. We didn’t get our monies worth at all and ended up losing money on even though we went to three museums. If you do go try to find a walking tour or do something self guided.

We spent the day riding around on the Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus and checking out the museums. Around 6 we made our way to the Porsche Arena and yet again paid for parking. When we left the parking garage at the train station we sent 17 Euro! The city left a bad taste in our mouths. On top of wasting money on parking and the Stuttgart Card we ate at Maredo, which is a steak place that was horrible and expensive. So take my advice and eat at the train station or a street vendor.

Resources:

Address for Bad Uracher WasserFalle: Kurverwaltung Bad Urach Bei den Thermen 4 72574 Bad Urach (I found this on the tourism website, we didn’t use this because our GPS wouldn’t work. I hope this address work out for you!)

Parking garage address for Ludwigsburg: Wilhelmstraße 26, 71634 Ludwigsburg, Germany

Website for Pumpkin Festival: http://www.kuerbisausstellung-ludwigsburg.de/en

Kelley Hotel Website: http://stuttgart.armymwr.com/europe/stuttgart/programs/kelley-hotel

Stuttgart Train Station Parking: Hauptbahnhof Stuttgart Arnulf-Klett-Platz 70173 Stuttgart (Folow signs for parking, it’s near what looks like a bank)

Cost:

Gas – $100

Spending money – $100

Hotel – $47.50

Total – $247.50

Four Days in Belgium

For our anniversary my husband and I decided to go to Belgium. We focused our trip around the Harry Potter Exhibition that was happening in Brussels. Our trip was during the last weekend on August and the weather was perfect! It wasn’t too hot or cold. We were very fortunate to not experience adverse weather conditions.

Itinerary:

We left our house very early in the morning (Friday) in order to make the best of our time in Bruges. It was a very easy seven hour drive and we left early giving ourselves enough time to have breaks along the way. We stopped to get gas and have a bathroom break every half tank.

Bruges was one city that I will never forget! This city is absolutely gorgeous and I promise you will not want to leave. The only downside to the visit was our hotel. It was awful! I’ll leave the information below if you want to check it out but I do not recommend it. If I could do this trip over again I would get a hotel room within the city along the canals and just park at one of the many 24 hour park houses located throughout the city.

Some pictures from our horrible nightmare of a hotel:

After we checked in, we headed right into the city. I packed us some PB & J’s, so we ate as we drove into the city to save us some time. Once in the city we spotted a man selling tickets for canal rides and we hoped on. There are numerous starting points for the boats, they are literally everywhere. If I remember correctly the price was 8 Euro per person and the tour was around 30 minutes. I recommend doing this little tour because it helps you see little gems throughout the city and gives you an interesting perspective from different vantage points.

We spent the rest of our time wandering the city and taking pictures of all the fantastic architecture. During our walk we came across The Chocolate Line and this place was featured on Rick Steves, where he tried one of their Cuban Tobacco chocolates. Of course was had to try one! You could definitely taste the tobacco. I found that the chocolates here were pretty pricey so we didn’t purchase any there.

For a taste of Belgium beer we stopped at Brown café ’t Brugs Beertje, which was a recommendation from LonelyPlanet. We ordered a cheese board and some drinks. I had a Cherry Lambic, which was really sweet. This was such a fun place that we stayed for two rounds. I wanted to spend more time here but we still had more to see and taste.

The Basilica of the Holy Blood was something I wanted to see so we popped in right before they closed and took in the sights.

For dinner we went to De Halve Maan Brewery. We were not impressed with this place at all. I was very disappointed because both Rick Steves and LonelyPlanet recommended it. We shared the three course meal that came with mussels. The mussels were good but not worth the price. And the seasonal beer was nothing special.

The next day (Saturday) we slept in a little and headed into the city. We were surprised to come across a busy market. We spent our morning there trying some of the interesting foods and Belgian coffee. Once we had our fill we walked into the city to try a waffle on a stick at Go.fre.

It’s not the most traditional way to eat a Belgian waffle but man was it good! You get to choose exactly what you want on it. I had the caramel with chocolate sprinkles, which was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. If you to go get there right when they open because they get really busy. We also took this time to go to different chocolate shops. We bought some gifts for our families and friends, also brought some treats for ourselves. The chocolate isn’t cheap but it’s so good. We spent around $100 making sure we bought something for everyone. When you make a purchase they give you an insulated bag to keep it cool.

Go.Fre Location

The Church of Our Lady is where the Madonna of Bruges by Michelangelo is. You have to pay to get in and see it but I think it was worth it. The church is beautiful and worth some time to examine the artwork.

Around 1 o’clock we left for Brussels for a short one hour drive. We stayed at a hotel that was outside of the main city so it was really cheap. I would absolutely recommend this hotel! The staff was super sweet and our room was clean and modern. On the weekend we stayed the onsite parking was free, but I believe during the week its 20 Euro. I’m not sure on the cost so I would contact them ahead of time.

Video of our Brussels Hotel Room

There’s a subway station with walking distance so we hopped on and went into the city. When you exit the station in the city just walk down the hill and you’ll be right in the mix with all the other tourists. I wasn’t that impressed with Brussels. We spent our time exploring all the sites and churches.

For drinks we went to a place called Delirium, which is right by the Manneken Pis. When you get to the Manneken Pis you’ll see a hoard of people vying for a picture with this little statue. Delirium was busy but we found a seat right away. You just walk in and sit down wherever. I found out after our visit that there was a whole other level to the place that had seating so don’t be afraid to check it out like I was.

Dinner in Brussels was a letdown. We ate at Chez Leon, which Rick Steves recommended in his book. Our waiter was rude and the food was just bland and not special. Definitely check out other places within the area because I’m sure they’ll be better than this place. We found dessert in a little shop in Les Galeries Royales de St. Hubert.

There are tons of things to see in Brussels. We followed this walking tour to see everything: Website for Self Guided Walking Tour

*Keep in mind that the Royal Palace closes at 4 so make sure you get there to see it. We didn’t because we thought they were open until 5.

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The next morning (Sunday) we checked out of our hotel around 9 and headed to the Brussels Expo for the Harry Potter Exhibition. There was already a line when we got there but we were let in right at 10 am. It was really packed but I got my nerd on and had a blast. My poor husband had to follow me around bored as can be, he’s such a trooper!

At 11:30 we headed out for Zutendaal for the barefoot park. I think this was the most fun we’ve had in a long time. When you get close to the park follow the signs and turn right at the roundabout. We followed the GPS and it took us to a back entrance so we had to back track. Once you park it’s a five minute walk. You’ll come up to two buildings. The toilets are to the right through the restaurant and the barefoot path is to the left. They have lockers for all of your stuff and we felt safe leaving our backpack there. Bring a pair of sandals because your feet will get dirty. They have a cleaning station but I still had dirt on my feet when I got home.

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Video of the Walking Path!!

As a side note Bruges and Brussels are so close that I think it would have been fun to stay in either Bruges or Brussels and taken the train to either city.

This was a super fun trip and I’m glad we did it! The one regret I had was the hotel in Bruges. So good luck on your trip and I hope this helps!

Time Frame (tentative):

Friday

6 AM- Leave for Bruges

2 PM – Arrive at hotel in Bruges

2:30 PM – Spend afternoon and evening in city

Saturday

9 AM – Check out of hotel

9:30 AM – Find some breakfast in the city and make some chocolate purchases

1 PM – Leave for Brussels

2:30 PM – Check into hotel

3 PM – take train into city and do self guided walking tour

Sunday

*you will be on your own for this day because the Harry Potter Exhibition was temporary*

– you can go into the city and explore

– head to barefoot park

Resources:

Hotel in Bruges: http://www.booking.com/hotel/be/hotelolympiabruges.html

Self Guided Walking Tour: http://intentionaltravelers.com/a-self-guided-walking-tour-of-brussels/

Hotel in Brussels: https://www.booking.com/hotel/be/silkenberlaymont.html?aid=356985;label=gog235jc-hotel-XX-be-hotelolympiabruges-unspec-us_nm-com-L%3Axu-O%3AwindowsS7-B%3Achrome-N%3AXX-S%3Abo-U%3Ac;sid=eb9b528e788c37d31dbe284bfd423565

Website for Barefoot Path: http://www.lieteberg.be/blotevoetenpad

GPS Address for Barefoot Path(remember to follow the signs, it’ll be two little footprints): Zuurbroekstraat 16 3690 Zutendaal, Zutendaal, Belgium

Cost of Trip (This is just an estimate!! Use more of as a guide, each family will be different depending on need) We packed sandwiches and lots of snacks. Also, we save money by not purchasing souvenirs.

Lodging: $168

Gas: $100

Spending Money (including food, gifts, boat ride, entrance fees, etc.): $200

Total: $468

How the heck can you afford to travel so much?!

My husband and I travel at least once a month. The first thing that people ask us is “how the heck can you afford to travel so much?”. Now don’t get me wrong, it does help that we live here in Germany and the many places that we have traveled to are within an eight hour road trip, but these trips still cost money. I’m going to show you exactly how we’re able to travel and still buy groceries when we come home.

When I plan our trips I try to stay within a reasonable budget. Small two day trips I’ll plan on spending between $200 to $250 and for the longer four day trips I’ll plan for $1,000 to $1,500. I do my best to stay within these budgets but surprises happen that may or may not be in my control.

I use an Excel spread sheet to make sure we stay within our allotted budget. When we first started to budget did a test month where we made regular purchases so we had an idea of how much we needed to live comfortably and save money for travelling.

Excel

Example 

We save about $400 per month for travel by strictly sticking to our budget. This doesn’t mean that we eat Ramen and grilled cheese all month but we do only eat items that are on sale and I try to make homemade meals during the week and on the weekends. This means that we do not eat out nor do we spend money on take out. If I do have a lazy day we just go to Edeka and pick up something to throw on the grill or a frozen pizza.

During months when we have no travel plans we rarely go out to eat and only do things that are very cheap or free. We usually take a drive and find a nice place to hike that’s close to our home. Sometimes we’ll go to a mall, downtown area, or market of a surrounding town just to window shop. Beware when window shopping because it takes some self discipline. On our last outing to Amberg I ended up spending money on home décor that I have yet to put to use. I also use coupons when I shop for products and food. I’m not a crazy couponer but I do use coupons a lot and I keep an organized binder. (if you live overseas the ACS has a coupon program that provide donated coupons)

This is the budget guide we use and I’ve listed some example bills and budgets. Your bills and your budget will be different so don’t forget to do your test month. This spread sheet will keep you on track for success if you use it regularly. Make sure you input your receipts the same day you make purchases. There is a specific place on my kitchen counter dedicated receipts , that way my husband and I can both see it. At the end of the day after dinner I just set aside five minutes to plug in the numbers.

The spread sheet is very easy to use and I’ve made it so that you don’t have to do any math! Woohoo! The program does it all for you, all you have to do is put your bills and receipt totals in. The spread sheet is here for you to use! You can add or take away whatever you need but just remember to change the formulas. The amount that you have remaining will be what you stash away for travels!

Budget Guide

 

Weekend in Pilsen and Prague

Our exciting weekend in Prague was full of fun, food, and beer! This time our trip focused around beer and began with a tour at the Pilsner Urquell Brewery in Pilsen and ended with a stop at U Fleku. I’ve discovered that I love Czech beer, and I’m not a big beer drinker. I feel that it is slightly sweeter than German beer, with a less bitter after taste.

Tips:

  • Pack your own food
  • Arrive early
  • Utilize public transportation (We used the 18 Kc tickets to get around because we only stuck to one zone and were off the subway within 10 minutes)
  • The subway is faster than the tram but we had to walk around 300 – 500 meters to get to a stop

Itinerary:

In the late afternoon we headed out for the Pilsner Urquell Brewery in Pilsen. We arrived at noon, which was an hour before the English tour started at 1 o’clock. During out wait we purchased a mug at the souvenir shop and had it etched. It’s actually worth it! The mug 20160501_191444was ready by the time the tour ended. While you wait for your tour to begin there is a movie playing in the lobby that shows how they make the storage barrels, it’s fascinating to watch.

 

During the tour we got to learn about the brewery history and how the beer was founded. They even shuttle you over to the bottling plant to see how the bottles and cans are filled. You’re shuttled back to the main building a get an up-close experience with the main ingredients, yeast, water, hops, and barely. At this portion you get to taste the hops before they’re processed. Beware though it’s super bitter! After that the guide takes you to where the beer is brewed. You’ll notice the temperature difference right away. It’s really warm because the copper cookers are being heated. You’ll learn all about that when you go.

Toward the end of the tour you’re guided into a whole underground area were the beer ferments. It’s a little chilly down there so make sure you pack a hoodie or jacket. You’re shown a map of how big the underground area is and you get to see the beer in various stages of fermentation. The most exciting part about the tour is getting the opportunity to try the unfiltered version of the beer. I personally thought it was extremely bitter and hoppy. There’s a cool little “bar” down there where you can relax and drink your beer.

Video of Our Beer Being Served!

*Quick notes:

  • When you get to the brewery drive throw the gate, someone will open it for you. There is plenty of parking.
  • Book your tour ahead of time because they can get really busy.

After the brewery tour we headed toward Prague. We decided to try a different place to say and used Airbnb to book an apartment outside the city. It was not the most ideal location because it was really far away from everything, but there is public transportation right behind the apartment so that was a plus. And I also felt very safe parking our car on the street. I think this place would be nice for couples and families of five. There were two beds and a futon that folded out. It was a good price at $50 per night, but I think we’d rather stay closer to the city and pay a little more.

Here’s a Video I Made of the Apartment

Once we settled in and freshened up a little while we set out for dinner. My mom is a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain and one of his shows is in Prague! So we found the restaurant he ate at. It’s called U Medvidku and it’s located in Old Town. This restaurant is amazing!! I wanted to try the beer cheese that I saw on No Reservations, so I ordered that as a starter. It was a different taste than I’m used to and had a very fermented flavor. It was like stinky blue cheese than this is for you! We tried the wild boar and the pork neck, both were really good, but the wild boar was way better. They have non-smoking seating, which is great because the main restaurant was full of cigarette smoke. Also, you get to eat inside of a re-purposed copper beer cooker!

https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=digNmLMN56M&video_referrer=watch

 

When were finished with dinner we wandered around town, visited the Palladium Mall, and sat outside to people watch. We decided to go to our favorite beer spot, U Fleku just to stop in and have a beer or two. I really love the beer they brew there but I’m not a big fan of the food. It’s not as tasty as some of the other places you can go to. This is just my personal opinion though.

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The next day we took the subway to the Castle District where we walked around the Wallenstein Garden. It was the perfect time of year to come see this because all the flowers were in full bloom and the grass was so green.

The next stage of our day was the hike up to Prague Castle. This walk was steep and not very good for my feet on the cobble stone, so make sure you wear good walking shoes. I booked a concert for the Lobkowicz Palace, so that was our destination goal but we wanted to see some sites on the walk. Once we got to the Lobkowicz Palace we ate at the cafe. We shared a salad and had drinks to keep our spending low. The concert was not full at all so I don’t think you need to book online. We sat in the third row and felt very content. It was really a nice experience to hear Fur Elise played right in front of you.

Time Frame (tentative):

Saturday

10 AM – Leave for Pilsen Brewery tour (2 HR drive from Vilseck)

12 PM – Arrive at Pilsen

1 PM – Tour begins

3 PM – Leave for Prague

4:30 PM  – Arrive at apartment

6:00 PM – Take tram into town for dinner and exploration

Sunday

9:30 AM – Depart from apartment and take tram to start castle tour

12:30 PM – Be at Lobkowicz Palace for concert

1 PM – Concert begins

2 PM – Take subway back to apartment and head home

Estimated Cost:

Spending money: $100

Gas: $30

Apartment: $50

Total: $180

Resources:

Pilsner Urquell Brewery Website: http://www.prazdrojvisit.cz/en/tours/pilsner-urquell-brewery-tour/

Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com/reservation/itinerary?code=2FSRAX

Airbnb Credit: https://www.airbnb.com/c/jbalvin?s=8 (Click this to get 17 Euro off your booking!)

U Medvidku Website: http://www.umedvidku.cz/index.php/en/

Castle Walking Tour: Castle walking Tour map

Wallenstein Garden Information: http://www.avantgarde-prague.com/prague-guide/things-to-see-in-prague/parks-and-gardens/wallenstein-garden/

Website to Book Classical Music Concerts: https://www.pragueticketoffice.com/

 

Weekend/Day Trip to Kutna Hora Sedlec Ossuary

Sedlec Ossuary is a chapel located in Kutna Hora, which is a small town located about an hour from Prague if you’re driving. The church is filled with skulls and bones that have been placed in a decorative manner, that is interesting, beautiful, and disturbing. It’s a very small chapel and it took us about 20 minutes to look over the whole place twice and take pictures.

The Good: It’s a short drive from Prague and can be easily added to a weekend trip or can be a day trip on it’s own.

The Bad: The chapel may be disturbing for younger children and adults who are not comfortable being around actual human remains.

The Reality: It’s a very popular spot for tourists and it takes away from the experience of being in the chapel, but it’s still something you should not miss.

Itinerary:

We left our hotel late in the morning in order to arrive at the chapel before big crowds arrived. If you can leave earlier there will be less people at the chapel. When we arrived we found free parking in the neighborhood. There is free parking directly in front of the chapel but it was crowded with cars and pedestrians so I felt more comfortable parking in the neighborhood.

Bring Kuna! If you pay in Euro you end up over paying, we made that mistake and realized wr paid almost 2 Euro more. We paid 4 Euro each for entry, so if you don’t have Kuna you can use Euro. Once inside there are stairs that lead down into the chapel where you can see stacks of bones ad skulls. You are free to take pictures at your leisure.

There was a small Easter market going on directly next to the chapel so wandered around and tried some of the local cuisine. When we were leaving we drove by the entrance to the chapel and the line was out the door and past the gate, so do get there early to avoid the large crowds of people.

Time Frame (tentative):

10 AM – Check-out of hotel if in Prague and start driving to the chapel

11:30 – Entrance into chapel and exploration

1 PM – Leave for home

Resources:

http://www.ossuary.eu/index.php/en/

Sedlec Ossuary Address: Zámecká, Sedlec, 284 03 Kutná Hora, Czech Republic

Weekend in Prague, Czech Republic Old Town Sight Seeing and Foody Adventure

We have fallen in love with the city of Prague. Every time we visit, there is something else to explore and discover. Our first time visiting we came with a travel group called Explore Europe. If I would have know what I know now I would have saved a lot of money and just gone on our own because the drive is so easy. A6 turns into E50 and it’s a straight shot to Prague. If you do visit as a day trip without a hotel, parking is available at the Palladium. The Palladium is a huge mall located near old town. I’ve never parked there personally but I’ve heard the space are wide and there are video cameras.

The Good: Prague is full of surprises and you’re sure to find something you love about this city.

The Bad: I’ve noticed that they treat tourists a little differently than locals. It’s a tourist hot spot so be prepared to have your personal space invaded.

The Reality: Even though Prague is a tourist destination, there is much to be discovered a few steps beyond the main sites.

Itinerary

We left early in the morning in order to park at our hotel and have the day to explore. I called ahead to the hotel and asked if we could park there before check-in. The hotel link is in the Resources. We chose to stay here because they offered parking and it was about a 20 minute walk into the city. When we arrived we parked our car (very tight parking) and the lady running the hotel gave us the key because we told her we weren’t coming back until way later that evening after they close. I would stay here again in a heartbeat. The only down side to this place was that the couch in the room (which we didn’t use) was filthy and stained. However, the rest of the room was very nice and we were comfortable.

I made us a walking tour to see all the highlights of the city. (Link to walking tour is in the Resources) We stopped at the Strahov Monastery to see the famous library and try to beer that is made on site. The library is to the right and the restaurant is to the left.

After walking into town and seeing the Memorial to the Victims of Communism we ate at Café Savoy. It’s a little pretentious but most of their clientele were tourists so we felt more comfortable after being seated. It crazy busy and the waiters are running around like crazy but the food is unbelievable.

We continued following the walking tour and made some detours along the way if things looked interesting but for the most part was stayed with the tour I made. We stopped for a hot chocolate at one of the many chocolate places located in Prague.

Bonvivant’s CTC is a tapas bar that we stopped at to have a small snack before heading to U Fleku (the oldest brewery in Prague). Their menu changes constantly and they have small menu with only about five or six things to choose from.

After eating at the tapas bar we walked to U Fleku which was quite a walk from there so I knew we’d build up an appetite. Try to get here early or make a reservation ahead of time because this place is packed and very popular. When we got there we had to stand in line outside, the wait wasn’t very long because we arrived around 5 PM. Once we were seated it was pretty rowdy in there with the accordion player and the patrons singing folks songs. I had an awesome time just being there and people watching. I do not like beer at all and I’m not a big drinker but the one and only beer they brew here is out of this world. Please give it a try and I promise you’ll fall in love. It looks intimidated because it’s so dark you can’t see through it but believe me its life changing. I swear it tastes like chocolate and caramel.

Absinthe is something I’ve always wanted to try so we went to a spot called the Absintherie that wasn’t too far from U Fleku, so we decided to give it a try. We ran out of Kuna so I had to settle for just a mixed drink. If we go back I’d like to try Absinthe with the water drip and sugar cube. This place is great for your first time though because they walk you through the process and answer any and every question you may have.

By this time it was 8 PM and we had a 45 minute walk back to our hotel. The city was still full of tourists but there were some drunk people stumbling about so we wanted to call it a night. Walking across Charles Bridge at night is breathtaking and very romantic so make sure you check it out.

Time Frame (tentative):

Saturday

7:30 AM – Hit the road towards Prague

10 AM – Arrive at hotel and park car outside of city centre

10:30 – begin walking tour

7:30 – head back to hotel

Sunday

Head home or take a trip to Kutna Hora Weekend/Day Trip to Kutna Hora Sedlec Ossuary

Prague Resources:

Palladium Website for Parking Information: https://www.palladiumpraha.cz/en/

Prague Hotel: https://www.booking.com/hotel/cz/apartments-praha-6.en-gb.html?aid=304142;label=gen173nr-1FCAEoggJCAlhYSDNiBW5vcmVmcgV1c19ubYgBAZgBLrgBBsgBDNgBAegBAfgBC6gCAw;sid=891db58096bde3a06ebdf0009686d70c;dcid=5

Walking Tour:

Prague Trip Walking Tour
Prague Walking Tour II

Day Trip to Luisenburg Rock Labyrinth in Wunsiedel

 

We are not very outdoorsy but we love to hike. This place is a goldmine for people who love to hike and feel like a fairy. This was a year ago so I’ll do my best to provide all the information.

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The Good: It’s very surreal how green and lush it is, it’s very easy to spend your whole day here. The rock labyrinth is only an hour away from Vilseck.

The Bad: It’s a little difficult to find, but once you find the signs it’s very easy to get to.

The Reality: The rock labyrinth is really the only thing I found worthwhile in this small German town, and it is nice to connect with nature.

 

When you get into town follow the signs for Felsenlabyrinth and you’ll start driving a little ways down a long road going away from the town.

We paid 3 Euro to park at the parking lot that was the closest to the entrance, which is located at the top of the stairs. It’s 4 Euro each for adults to get in and it is NOT stroller friendly.

It is easy to spend all day there getting lost among the rocks and foliage. During our visit it was the off season so we basically had the place to ourselves and it was wonderful.

Wunsiedel is a very small town and there wasn’t much to do besides hiking. There are some castle ruins right off the highway and there’s also a place where you can feed deer. When you first come into town off the highway the Labyrinth is to the right and the castle ruins are to the left. If you’d like to go to the castle ruins you’ll be travelling through a narrow road up to a farm. There’s plenty of parking.

Website: http://www.bavaria.by/gardens-in-bavaria/a-garden-luisenburg-rock-labyrinth-wunsiedel

Four Day Weekend in Croatia and Slovenia

In April of 2016 we set out to visit two beautiful and extraordinarily different countries, Croatia and Slovenia. Croatia is a country that borders the Adriatic Sea and offers a very mild temperature throughout the year. Slovenia is a small country that boasts its own natural wonders. This trip was a whirlwind and was full of adventure, laughs and stress. We drove from Vilseck to Zadar, Split, and Bled.

The Good: We saw the beach and the Alps all within a few hours!

The Bad: Getting lost in the countryside of Croatia and driving two hours in the wrong direction.

The Reality: Trying to see two countries within four days is very doable as long as you triple check your GPS.

Itinerary:

Zadar, Croatia is about ten hours from our town in Germany so we had to leave really early in the morning. To save money for this trip I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of a whole loaf of bread and packed a lot of snack that we could eat throughout the trip instead of buying meals. We didn’t stop to eat at all on the way there, we only stopped for gas. Make sure you get gas in Slovenia before you get into Croatia because it can be expensive there. On this trip I accidentally typed in Zagrab instead of Zadar into our GPS so we ended up driving two extra hours, but we eventually made in Zadar  two hours later than planned. Thankfully we still had enough daylight to explore the city.

Once in Zadar we met our airbnb hosts and saw our room. After our first airbnb fiasco in Munich we decided to try it again and we loved it! This place was better than the pictures and we had a wonderful experience. The only downside was that it’s in a working class area next to an early morning market so there is no chance to sleep in. We spent the afternoon wandering around Zadar and exploring the beautiful parks.

The whole reason we came to Zadar was to see the Sea Organ. It’s an architectural wonder! The waves of the sea push air out through this man made structure to create haunting, yet delicate sounds. The best time to hear it is during the evening when the tide has come in. The sounds really start to pick up. There’s also the Greeting to the Sun, which is better to visit at night because it’s had all day to soak up the power of the sun.

Split on Saturday was something else! This city is really small and you can see everything within an hour. The drive was also super easy and the highway lead right into the city. We got a late start and left an hour later than we wanted, but we were exhausted from the long drive from the day before. Split is about two hours from Zadar. We parked in a parking garage and the parking garage is a good walk from the sites but it was free to park on the day we went so we didn’t mind at all.

The walk from the mall was down hill and easy. It was literally a straight shot to Diocletian’s Palace. Everything you need to see is in this little area. There’s a outdoor market, restaurants, and shopping. We were able to see all the sights within about two hours.

Out next stop on Saturday, Krka National Park was breathtaking and I didn’t want to leave. There’s a bus at the entrance that’ll take you to the famous waterfalls but we took the treacherous hike down. Take the bus! Once you get down the hill go to the left and follow the walking path OR go straight to the falls. We walked and did not regret it at all. We walked along the wooden path and saw nature at its finest. Once at the falls there’s a restaurant and a stand to buy souvenirs. In the summer months you can swim but it was spring when we came and still very cold water so swimming was not permitted.

Sunday was a really busy day. Plitvice Lakes National Park was our first stop that day. Get there early because when we left the parking lot was full. If you can manage to leave Zader earlier than we did it makes your trip even better. Once at Plitvice Lakes National Park go to the information booth first and have them help you set up a plan depending on how much time you have. We told them three hours but we were having so much fun that we were there for five hours!

We had planned on being at Lake Bled 2 PM for check-in but stayed way past that time. So we didn’t get to Lake Bled until 7 that evening. We also got lost for about an hour and had to back track. We were so lost that our GPS couldn’t find us. Just follow the main road and it turns into the highway.

Glamping!! Is like camping but way better. We stayed at Garden Village and we absolutely fell in love. I wish we had more time there. This place is a dream.

We had a nice clean tent all set up and a personal hot tub that we enjoyed after our dinner.  That evening we ate at the gourmet restaurant on site and it was a really healthy and filling meal.

Sunday we woke up early and had breakfast, which is included in the price. After breakfast we lounged around until check out and then rented two bikes for a morning ride around the lake. We left right after our bike ride for our five hour drive home. You could also spend some time in the city but we opted to head home instead.

 

 

Time Frame (tentative):

Friday in Zadar

4 AM – Leave for Zadar

2 PM – Arrive at hotel/airbnb rental

2:30 PM – Follow walking tour (link below) to see all of the sites

5 PM – Find a place for dinner

6 PM or 7 PM – go to the Sea Organ

Saturday in Split

8 AM – Leave for Split

10 AM – Park at Joker Shopping Mall

10:30 AM – Walk from mall to Diocletian’s Palace

12:30 PM – Leave for Krka National Park, we were there for about three hours

4 PM – head back to Zadar and spend the evening leisurely walking the coast line

Sunday at Plitvice Lakes National Park and Bled, Slovenia

7 AM – Leave for Plitvice Lakes National Park

9 AM – Arrival at Plitvice Lakes National Park and beginning of hiking adventure

2 PM – Leave for Bled

5:30 PM – arrival at Lake Bled and check in

Monday in Bled

10 AM – Check out but we still rented a bike and rode around Lake Bled for two hours

12 PM – head on home

Cost of Trip (This is just an estimate!! Use more of as a guide, each family will be different depending on need)

Gas and Tolls: $350

Rental Car: $370

Spending Money: $100

Hotel Rooms: $300

Vignettes for Slovenia and Austria: $27

Total: $1,147

If you drive your own car or find a better rental deal this will be cheaper for you!

Resources:

Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/7529045

Zadar Walking Tour Link: http://jetsettingfools.com/zadar-a-self-guided-walking-tour/

 

Krka National Park Website: http://www.np-krka.hr/en/

Plitvice Lakes National Park Website: http://www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr/en/

Garden Village Website: http://gardenvillagebled.com/en/accommodation/glamping_tents

Weekend in Munich and Dachau

In November of 2014 we wet out on our first adventure away from the small town of Vilseck where we live. We knew we wanted to stay close to home but still have a fun adventure. Munich is one city that has captured our interest because of the history and culture. It’s a bustling city with new and old world charms that have survived and grown out of the destruction of World War Two. 

The Good: The city offers tons of different restaurants, famous sites (most of which are free to see), and a rich historical background.

The Bad: Parking! Parking in this city is expensive and the parking spaces are really small. We have parked at the same parking garage for all of our visits and spent around 30 Euro for about five hours.

The Reality: This city is worth every penny. I recommend taking the train into the city center and finding a nice hotel on the outskirts.

Itinerary:

We left our home early in the morning in order to catch our walking tour with Inmunich Tours. I highly recommend taking this tour, they take you to all of the sites and also take you to some lUntitledocals only food and market places.

After the tour we wandered around and took some time to revisit sites from the walking tour. I do regret not staying to eat at the famous Hofbrauhaus, so if you find yourself in the area do eat there. We did eat at the local market and it was awesome. Try and do both!

 

We booked a room through airbnb and it was awful so I will not post a link to it. Our room was not what we reserved and the room didn’t come with a private bathroom. We had to share the bathroom with other people the host had there. It was a strange experience that I’ll do my best to avoid in the future.

The next morning we set off around 10 am for Dachau. Dachau is a historical site where there once was a fully operating concentration camp. We were there during an off season and we did not have to pay for parking (or we missed it completely), but they do charge 3 Euro to park. The museum is very well organized and it is very easy to do a walking tour on your own. Information is provided at each stop on a marked walking path.

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We opted to do the English tour that leaves daily from the lobby at 11 am and 1 PM and costs 3 Euro per person. I honestly would not do this again because we couldn’t really take our time at the different points of interest. Definitely do the self guided walk if you do go because I felt like we wasted our time on the tour.

After the walking tour we walked around the camp and took some pictures. There was a Thai place near the museum which was good but not great. They had fresh sushi so if that’s something you’re in to go ahead! I can’t remember the name of it but you cannot miss it once you exit the museum parking lot.

Time Frame (tentative):

Saturday in Munich

8:00 AM – leave for Munich

10:30 AM – Park and meet free walking tour in the Marienplatz (two minute walk up Rindermarket)

10:40 AM – The walking tour begins

2:00 PM – Tour ends and you have some free time to explore Munich

Sunday in  Dachau

10AM – Leave from Munich to Dachau

10:30 AM – Park in the museum parking lot and purchase tickets for guided walking tour

11 AM – Go on walking tour

1:30 PM – The tour ends and you can explore the site on your own

2 PM – Head back home or check out some of the places to eat in Dachau (there aren’t that many but there are some fast food places)

Cost of Trip (This is just an estimate!! Use more of as a guide, each family will be different depending on need.)

Gas: $50

Hotel: $65

Parking:$30

Tip for free tour: $15

Dachau tour: $7

Food: $40

Total: $207

Munich Trip Resources:

Address to Parking Garage: Parkhaus, Rindermarkt 5, 80331 München

Inmunich Walking Tour Website: http://www.inmunichtours.com/

Dachau Museum Website: https://www.kz-gedenkstaette-dachau.de/index-e.html