5 Epic Bucket List Destinations

My Jordan Journey

From the vast, timeless sands of Wadi Rum, Jordan to 12,000 feet above Nadi, Fiji, where the sky and water blur the lines of reality, these five epic bucket list journeys should be on everyone’s list. I’ve visited each of the five and recommend them as some of the best bucket list destinations in the world. Which ones have you experienced? Continue reading

The Naughty & Nice List for Airlines

Air Baltic Flight Riga

In the last month, I’ve used more than a handful of airlines. At the top of the “nice list”, Air Baltic offered exceptional service, quality food, and friendly, personal staff. At the top of the “naughty list”, Air Berlin might have been the worst staff experience in my history of flying. Air Berlin, unless you can fly on the coal you’re getting in your stocking this year, you really need to consider your attitude and quality of service. You should take a page from Air Baltic; besides offering low airfares and comfortable planes, they know how to treat their customers right. Continue reading

Innsbruck, Austria – One of the Most Naturally Beautiful Places I’ve Been

Hafelekar, Innsbruck, Austria

Readers always ask me where is my favorite travel destination, but the answer depends on what your looking for in a destination. I want different things at different times, but if you like winter sports and natural, alpine beauty, it would be difficult to top Innsbruck, Austria. Three times host to the Winter Olympics, Innsbruck has nine ski areas for alpine skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing. Their winter sports menu also includes tobogganing, ice skating, alpine-style curling and even a ride in an Olympic bobsleigh. Today, I toured many of the ski areas as well as the city center and was left wide-eyed, mouth agape at every stop. Here are a few photos from my day.  Continue reading

Try the Fritattensuppe

Fritattensuppe at Grand Hotel Europa

I kept seeing Fritattensuppe on menus around Austria. I had no idea what it was until I dined at Europa Stuberl in the Grand Hotel Europa this evening. The menu read, “Beef broth with pancake stripes.”  That in no way sounded appealing to me but as a local dish I thought I’d give it a try. Besides, it’s just a soup so if it was disgusting, I wasn’t wasting my entire meal.  Continue reading

Indulge at Grand Europa Hotel, Innsbruck

Grand Hotel Europa Front Desk

It’s still three more days until I get to see Athena and if you’ve been following my posts you know that I’m not taking it very well. Rather than moping around Innsbruck, I’ve decided to indulge in many of the things that I don’t often have time for as a toddler’s mother and Innsbruck’s only 5-star hotel, The Grand Hotel Europa is the ideal starting point for my indulgence.  Continue reading

“I Have Confidence in Me” that You’ll Enjoy The Sound of Music Tour

The Sound of Music Tour Locations

Today, I toured locations used during the filming of “The Sound of Music”. The story is based on real characters: the novice Maria, later to become Baroness von Trapp, and her children. It was Julie Andrew’s most successful role in the movie, “The Sound of Music”, for which she received the Golden Globe in 1966. The film won five Oscars and went around the world. Music fans fell in love with its songs and the picturesque scenery in Salzburg. The film locations at Nonnberg Convent, Leopoldskron Palace, the Mirabell gardens, and Hellbrunn Palace have not changed and still entice visitors to search for traces of the movie. Panorama Tours helped me, along with six others, relive the scenes from the movie at actual locations. Rather than telling you which locations were part of filming, I thought I’d test your knowledge. Do you recognize any of the photos as actual scenes from the film?  (Not all photos are from The Sound of Music locations.)

Even if you don’t like The Sound of Music, you’ll enjoy the tour of Salzburg.

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The Salzburg Hills are Alive

Salzburg, Austria

Have you ever arrived at a destination only to be so surprised by the majestic beauty that you’re at a loss for words? When I walked across the bridge into the heart of Salzburg, I was in shock. Hohensalzburg Fortress hung over the city and was an awakening of the senses. Powerful and grand from a distance, the Hohensalzburg Fortress is a real eye-catcher on the high baroque towers of the city. With bells literally ringing, I stared up at the fortress walls in awe. I had to go up!

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And Just Like That, I was Crying Uncontrollably

Judgemental Expression - Stockphotos

People judge. They judge others every day, haphazardly. It’s like a plague that eats away at you. Today, I judged myself and just like that, I was crying uncontrollably in crowd of people. I couldn’t stop but I was in the city and I couldn’t hide. So I cried and rather than people judging, a friend, in the guise of a stranger, was there. Kind, considerate, understanding. I wasn’t alone.

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Best Viewing Spots in Vienna, Austria

View of Vienna from The Giant Ferris Wheel, Prater

Vienna is not a 3-day destination getaway. There is simply too much to enjoy and experience in Vienna to visit for only 3 days. A trip to Schönbrunn Palace, for example, would best be experienced over an entire day. The same can be said for the Prater Amusement Park. Then you still need to visit the opera, see the cathedrals, cruise the Danube, visit castles, museums, and market places, and attend Mozart concerts. How do you fit it all in? In order to get a better view of the city and its majestic size, I found two great viewing destinations: the Danube Tower and the Giant Ferris Wheel at Prater Amusement Park. From here, I gained perspective on the size and location of things in Vienna.  Continue reading

Vienna: A City of Goliath Proportions

Vienna from the House of the Sea

I never imaged that when I stepped into the streets in Vienna, I would be surrounded by such significant and grandiose buildings. Hofburg Palace, Vienna Opera House, and St. Stephan’s Cathedral create extraordinary viewpoints in Vienna, Austria and these are just a few among many. Vienna is a city of Goliath Proportions.  Continue reading