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Strasbourg is THE "City of Christmas" - California Globetrotter


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Strasbourg is THE “City of Christmas”

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If ever there was one place in the world that embodied the spirit of Christmas, it would most definitely be Strasbourg, France. Historically known as the town which held the very first Christmas Market in 1570, making it the oldest market in Europe.

Since 1570, the “Christkindelsmärik” (market of the Infant Jesus) has grown exponentially and today caters to some 2 million visitors every year, with hotels being booked a year in advance and selling out quickly.

The whole city is lit up with festive Christmas lights and half-timbered houses are extravagantly decorated, creating that extra holly jolly Christmas spirit. The smell of sweet mulled wine (here called Vin Chaud) wafts through the air, the mouth-watering smell of warm crepes entice you to be naughty and off in the distance someone is playing Christmas music on an accordion. Continue reading

The Splendor of the Munich Residenz & Why You Should Visit It - California Globetrotter


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The Splendor of the Munich Residenz and Why You Should Visit It

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Of all the times I had ever been to Munich, I had never much been interested in visiting the Munich Residenz. From the outside, it looked like a boring, plain building in the city center, no different from the other buildings. And then I was on Pinterest one day, you could call me a Pinaholic and I stumbled upon a picture that was so beautiful of the a room inside the Residenz. I pinned it for later and it soon got buried in my list of things to see and do in Germany.

Until one rainy day.

We had planned to go down to Munich for the day, but as the weather would have it, it was a day with torrential rain and a bit cold for a late Spring day (yes, this post is a bit late in coming). Well, I grew up traveling and never letting rain stop me from seeing what I want to see….Ok, maybe a little bit. It wasn’t the kind of day you wanted to do any sightseeing in Munich or sitting out at a biergarten.

So, we headed in doors for the day. To the Munich Residenz. And booooy, was I WRONG! Continue reading

Exploring Nuremberg's Christmas Market - California Globetrotter


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Exploring Nuremberg’s Christmas Market

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Of all the festive Christmas markets that fill every town center in every major city throughout Europe, Nuremberg‘s Christkindlmarkt is one of the most famous, along with Frankfurt, Dortmund, Dresden & Stuttgart. If ever there were one market you just HAD to visit, this would be the one!

Why you might ask?

Well, before I get into the specifics, first you need understand the fascination Europe and its visitors have for these exciting Christmas markets.

A Christmas Market, or Christkindlmarkt is a street market which is spread out throughout the town center, with stalls decorated in the Christmas fashion, selling knickknacks perfect for decorations or Christmas gifts lasting the entire four weeks of Advent. The very first of these began in Strasbourg, France in 1570.

The tempting aromas of roasting chestnuts, sweet gingerbread cookies (lebkuchen) and warm, cinnamony Glühwein (malted red wine) waft pleasantly through the crisp winter air. You are bundled up in your warmest winter jacket, with a festive Christmas scarf and the buzz of holiday shoppers “oohing” and “ahhhing” fills the air as they stroll up and down the market lanes. You warm your cold hands around a Christmas mug of Glühwein while strolling the cobbled-stoned market alleys.

Sound delightful yet? Got you in the mood for Christmas? Good! Now you’re ready to be introduced to Nuremberg’s Christmas Market.

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10 Affordable Hipster Gifts for Mr. Traveler - California Globetrotter


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10 Affordable Hipster Gifts for Mr. Traveler

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It’s incredible how fast 2016 has gone by. So fast in fact, it has completely caught me off guard and I haven’t even begun to start shopping! This is so unlike me! Normally I am practically finished with my Christmas shopping even before Thanksgiving has arrived. I blame our fall wedding!

Luckily, online shopping has become practically the norm, or at least for me! Thanks to Amazon Prime, I am able to buy gifts and have them arrive on my doorstep within a days time! No more endless waiting!

But when it comes to men, they’re an incredibly difficult species to shop for during the holidays (especially if you have a husband like mine who never actually says he wants anything!), shopping for a man addicted to traveling is possibly even harder. Luckily, there are some pretty awesome gifts out there to pick from.

Ladies, fear no more! Here are 10 of my favorite gift ideas for your Mr. Traveler! Gents, save this list for when your darling girlfriend or wife asks you what you want for Christmas and have no idea what you want!

All of the following gifts can be found on Amazon for less than $100 and won’t break the bank but will certainly add some spice to your travel life!

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10 Gifts EVERY Female Traveler Should Have - California Globetrotter


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10 Gifts Every Female Traveler Should Have!

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I can’t believe I’m about to say this but today is Thanksgiving and you know what that means! Tomorrow is Black Friday and it’s time to officially start your Christmas shopping, if you haven’t already!

Goodness, where the heck did 2016 go!? I still feel like it was yesterday Hans and I were ringing in 2016 in Prague on the Charles Bridge cuddling as it started to snow just before the stroke of midnight and the fireworks rang in the new year.

Much to my husband’s displeasure, (yes I can say husband now!), I am a bit of a shopaholic especially when it comes to finding awesome unique travel-related must-have knickknacks! And thanks to Amazon Prime, I get my purchases within 1-2 days! No more endless waiting!

When it comes to shopping for your darling, it can be quite difficult to find something tangible. Like me, I’m sure most travel babes are more interested in booking that next holiday trip rather than filling up our homes with stuff that will become a dust collector.

So today, I will share with you 10 of my favorite travel related goodies I think all travel babes should have! Ladies, look no further for the ultimate travel-related Christmas list! Boyfriends and husbands, pay close attention!

All of the following gifts can be found on Amazon for less than $100 and won’t break the bank but will certainly add some spice to your travel life!

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Your COMPLETE Guide Using the Deutsche Bahn in Germany! - California Globetrotter


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Your COMPLETE Guide to Using the Deutsche Bahn in Germany

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One of the greatest things about living in Europe is the ease at which one can travel nearly the entire continents without a car. But before you can go and hop on any train, you need to know the ins and outs of using the Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s most powerful train service. You will be hard pressed to find another train in Germany which offers high speed trains throughout the entire country as DB is the ONLY option. So, please allow me to walk you through traveling through Germany with the Deutsche Bahn! Continue reading

The Most Picturesque Half-Timbered Towns in Germany - California Globetrotter


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The Most Picturesque Half-Timbered Towns in Germany

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Let’s be honest. When you think about Germany, everyone pictures Germans wearing Lederhosen, drinking beer and eating bratwurst, magnificent fairy tale castles perched high above the towns people and beautiful landscapes. While this is partially true, there is certainly much much more to this wonderful country.

There are three types of dwellings most Germans reside in: Big cities like Berlin, Munich or Frankfurt. Villages out in the countryside with endless fields of crops. And then there’s half-timbered storybook towns that we imagine all of Germany must look like.

Unfortunately, these are a dying breed and only make up a small fraction of Germany. There are dozens of amazing small towns, especially along the Deutsche Fachwerkstraße –  “German Half – Timbered Houses Route”, leading from the river Elbe in northern Germany to Lake Constance in the south. Along this route, 98 towns have united to protect these historic half-timbered towns!

Here are some of the most hidden, half – timbered towns throughout Germany, some not on the Half-Timbered route, all worth a visit if you’re looking to truly learn about the history and architecture of this amazing country. If you make it to the end of this post, you’ll find an interactive map showing the towns! Continue reading

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Germany’s Magical Christmas Markets

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If there was one time of year you should come to Germany, winter would be it. Yes, it’s cold and often gloomy but with the approach of the Christmas season, comes the warmth of the holiday spirit and a warm cup of Glühwein surrounded by friends and family.

Towns, villages and cities throughout Germany deck out their city centers in the most vibrant, jolly, Christmas decorations and line up rows upon rows of adorably decorated wooden stalls filled with the most exciting Christmas gifts and goodies!

The smell of roasted chestnuts, spiced red wine with Jack Frost nipping at your nose truly bring the spirit of Christmas alive in the towns across Germany.

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Schloss Hohenschwangau, Schangau, Bavaria, Germany - California Globetrotter


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Schloss Hohenschwangau

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When you think of romantic castles, fairy tale love stories and majestic scenery in Germany, your first thought is instinctively the Neuschwanstein Castle. Walt Disney immortalized this dreamy castle in all opening scenes of his movies and can be found at every single Disney amusement park.

Today, tourists flock to visit this magical castle, perched on a rocky cliff in the Alpine mountains which overlooks the small village of Schwangau. Upon arrival, many are amazed to find that just across the village is another castle. Schloss Hohenschwangau is easily over shadowed by the glory of Schloss Neuschwanstein and few make the time to visit both castles.

So why should you bother visiting this castle which hardly rivals the castle that fairy tales are made of?

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Cochem & the Reichsburg Castle, Germany - California Globetrotter


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Cochem & the Reichsburg Castle

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When you think of Germany, you undoubtedly imagine castles like Schloss Neuschwanstein or half-timbered towns like Rothenburg ob der Tauber. But what if I were to tell you, that there is more to Germany beyond the most touristy places of other romantic castles and historic towns offering a glimpse into the past? Would you believe me?

I hope so, because I’m about to introduce to you the small historic town of Cochem, located in Rhineland-Palantine, not far from Koblenz which sits along the left bank of the Mosel river.

Quite off the beaten track in Germany, but not completely unknown to tourists, this picturesque town with his cobbled-stoned allies and half-timbered houses is packed with quaint cafes and restaurants, surrounded by rolling hills of vineyards topped with the an Imperial Castle.

Have I wet your taste buds yet? Continue reading