prague czech republic

4 Reasons Why You Should Visit Prague

Prague has been on my travel list for years. Photos of the stunning Eastern European city have always captivated me. When my friends decided to take me there as a girls weekend/wedding gift, I was thrilled. There are so many reasons why I would recommend Prague to fellow travelers, but for now here are my top four:

prague czech republic travel

1. Inexpensive Food and Lodging

I found Prague to be a very affordable city for travel. We stayed at the Emma Hostel in a four person room, for around 30$ per person for 3 nights. When looking for a place to book, we found many other options at decent prices, but ended up going with Emma for it’s great location and also it’s bargain price.

emma hostel prague

Emma Hostel (Source: http://emma.prague-hostels.cz)

Food in Prague was also very inexpensive. Of course in the main touristy areas the prices are inflated, so try to get yourself a few streets away from places like the Old Town Square. For Czech food, my favorite restaurant was Kozlovna Apropros. They prepared all of the meat so well and I was pretty jealous of the French Onion soup that two of my friends ordered.

My other favorite restaurant was The  Globe Cafe, a bookstore and American style restaurant. I understand if you are traveling from the U.S. you might not want to go here, but for an expat missing the food from home this place was amazing. Unfortunately, I was enjoying my food at both places so much I forgot to photograph it! But on my next trip back to Prague you will definitely find me at both of these restaurants.

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rothenburg germany travel

Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber: A Storybook Village

I’ve always loved a good fairy tale or princess saga, but thought the only to experience that in real life was by waiting in long lines and paying for overpriced food in Disney World. That was until I discovered the storybook little town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. As soon as I saw pictures of Rothenburg online, I knew that I needed to visit. It’s a bit of a drive from the Northern part of Germany, but luckily with our relocation to the South it became an easy destination.

We were there for about 24 hours with some visiting friends. While there was a lot to see, 24 hours felt like the perfect amount of time for me. If you are someone who likes to go into every shop and museum then I might recommend adding on a second day. Everything in the town seemed to shut down fairly early in the evening, which was surprising to me.  For this reason, I would try to arrive a little earlier in the day.

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canal amsterdam netherlands

Exploring Amsterdam: A Free Canal Cruise & More

After wanting to go for so many years, I finally made it to Amsterdam. We had some friends visiting for two weeks and so we decided to go. It’s one of those quintessential European cities that is probably on a lot of bucket lists.

I wish I could have spent more time there and I can’t wait to be back soon, maybe even in the summer. But for now I’ll review our trip and give you a few tips for yours!

Amsterdam

amsterdam netherlands canal

It only took me a few seconds in the city to already know that I loved it. Walking down the canals and passing so many cute cafés and bars was exactly what I had hoped for. The city is very cosmopolitan and I was struck by how many of the people spoke English. And not just a few words for the tourists, it seemed like everyone could have a conversation and was happy to do so. That’s definitely not the norm for a lot of other cities I have visited recently and so it was a welcomed surprise.

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lake lucerne switzerland

Lucerne, Switzerland: European Road Trip Part 4

Going on a European road trip/honeymoon with C was one of the best parts of fall 2015. We started off the trip in Colmar, France, then went south to Zurich, Switzerland, and drove through the Swiss Alps to get to Lago Maggiore, Italy. The last planned stop on our Euro trip was Lucerne, Switzerland (although we did take a surprise detour to Munich on the way home).

lucerne switzerland lake

Lucerne may not be the first city that comes to mind when thinking of Switzerland, but it is a beautiful city with a rich history. Although it was officially founded in 1178, it had been inhabited by monks since 750. It is home to the oldest covered bridge in Europe, the Chapel Bridge, which was built in 1333. Walking through the old town of the city was magical, I can’t get enough of historical areas. I hope that my recommendations and tips will help you have a great visit to Lucerne!

Lucerne

Hotel: Hotel Seeburg
lake lucerne switzerland

View from our balcony at Hotel Seeburg

I loved Hotel Seeburg. It was right on the water and we had a great view of Lake Lucerne from the balcony. There was even a military airshow over the lake while we ate our lunch outside, so it was a pretty spectacular afternoon. However, I would only recommend it to those who are traveling to Lucerne by car, otherwise you would have to take a bus into the city. It did not look complicated by any means, just a pain if you don’t have a lot of time in the area. The hotel also had the most adorable looking restaurant called Rigi Chalet, but it unfortunately was not open while I was there. I would love to go back and get to check it out.

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zurich switzerland rooftops

Zurich, Switzerland: European Road Trip Part 2

In the fall, I went on a European road trip/honeymoon with C. It started in Colmar, France, and then we continued driving south toward Zurich, Switzerland, and then onto Lago Maggiore, Italy. We also stopped in Lucerne, Switzerland for another night on our way home to break up all of our driving. Both cities in Switzerland were quick stops, but I fully enjoyed getting to experience a new country, as I had never been to Switzerland before.

The absolute hardest part about visiting Switzerland was not breaking our travel budget. I really could not believe some of the prices, even McDonald’s was expensive. We did a lot of research before hand on reasonable restaurants, so I’ve included our choice in this post. Switzerland is certainly worth the visit, I just recommend planning in advance if you know you need to stick to a certain price range.

Zurich

Hotel: Guesthouse Anwandstrasse
hotel zurich switzerland

Guesthouse Andwandstrasse – Image Credit: http://guesthouse-anwandstrasse.hotelinzurich.net/en/

We booked this trip fairly last minute so we didn’t have many options of hotels. (This was before a friend introduced me to Hotel Tonight). Guesthouse Anwandstrasse was reasonably priced and seemed nice enough. Overall, I thought it was a decent hotel. If you are looking for a place to stay, my only complaint would be that it seemed to be in a sketchier area of Zurich and was around a 20 minute walk to the center city. Also, if you are planning on driving into Zurich, you may want to look into the ParkU App. Through the app, you can rent a parking space from someone for a set amount of time and a predetermined price. It was such a convenient way to park in a city where the parking prices were extremely high.

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city colmar france

Colmar, France: European Road Trip Part 1

After C and I got married, we couldn’t decide where to go on our honeymoon. So instead, we decided to see as many places as possible on a honeymoon/European road trip. The first stop on our list was Colmar, France, a storybook town just a five hour drive from our home outside of Düsseldorf.

colmar france canal

Here are a few of my favorite sites and eateries from the trip:

La Petite Venise

La Petite Venise Colmar, France

La Petite Venise

La Petite Venise is probably the most famous landmark in Colmar. Like it’s name, it certainly does feel like a miniature version of Venice, Italy. You can take a boat tour down the small river or eat along the water at one of the many restaurants. The area is so picturesque, I think I could have sat by the water all day.  The weather was a little rainy while we were there, so I didn’t get to eat outside or take a boat ride, but I did enjoy just walking through the area.

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Plane Flying Travel

Why I Travel

When I was 15, I left the US for the second time and traveled to Lima, Peru. I remember before I left, I was terrified. I had no idea what I was getting myself into and that it would completely change my life.

Ocean Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru

From the moment I stepped off the plane, I fell head over heels in love with travel. I could never have guessed that this passion would lead me to visit over 20 countries, across six continents, including living long term in multiple places abroad. When my other friends in high school were discussing their next soccer tournament or football game, I was dreaming up my next international trip.

I guess you could say that not a lot has changed. I find myself sitting here, writing this blog entry, while looking out my window on my new home in Germany. I think the biggest difference in my travel addiction is that I moved my focus from short-term trips to long-term living.

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building leuven belgium

Top 5 Things to Do in Leuven, Belgium

My parents were here last month to visit. If you are an expat and are close with your family, you know how exciting this is! It was the first time they were able to experience the area where C and I live. I loved getting to show them around and take them to my favorite local places.

Of course we also had to do some traveling. We went to Belgium for a week and I can safely say I’ve had enough fries and beer to last me until next year. We saw a few cities, but for me the best part of the trip was our day in Leuven, Belgium.

leuven belgium top five

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Leuven, as I had never really heard about it as a tourist destination. I only saw a handful of other tourist during the whole day, which for me was a huge bonus. I love just being surrounding by the locals. As the day went on, I was more and more impressed by the city. There was so much history, architecture, and as always, beer. I would highly recommend stopping in Leuven, even if it’s just for a day trip. Here are five of my favorite things in Leuven:

Groot Bengijnhof

Groot Begijnhof Leuven Belgium

Groot Begijnhof

Groot Bengijnhof, known as the Grand Béguinage in English, was by far my favorite area of Leuven. It is a historical area of the city dating back to the early 13th century and has been well preserved. Originally, it served as a community of semi-religious women. Now, it feels like a tiny town inside the city. It was so peaceful and I felt fully transported back in time as I wandered around the cobblestone streets.

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genval belgium lake

Dinant, Genval, and Lovain-la-Neuve, Belgium

On my recent trip, I got to check out a few Belgian small towns that aren’t necessarily at the top of everyone’s Belgium bucket list. It was fun to see some areas that showed me what life is like in a tiny Belgian town. I love to travel, but sometimes rather than seeing the top tourist destinations, I like to experience normal life. Maybe it’s a little strange, but I enjoy walking into a grocery store or observing a local neighborhood. I always picture what my life would be like if I lived there. I’ve written a little about each city and included my must-see places & restaurants.

Dinant

Dinant Belgium Citadel

Dinant, Belgium

Out of these three towns, you may have heard of Dinant. I found it on a few “Most Beautiful Destinations in Belgium” lists. It’s not too far outside of Brussels, so it’s perfect for a day trip. And I would recommend just doing a day trip there. While I fully enjoyed the gorgeous view of Dinant, from what I observed there isn’t too much to do in the city apart from the main tourist attractions.

Church Dinant Belgium

Notre Dame de Dinant

The church in the photo is the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame de Dinant, which dates back to 1277. The inside is beautiful and worth a look. The Citadel of Dinant, located at the top of the hill, is also available for touring. I sadly made it there after it closed. I will be honest and say that I only spent about two hours in Dinant. Totally worth it for the view, but not a lot of options in terms of restaurants or shopping.

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