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Castles in Germany

Castles & Palaces in Germany - California Globetrotter (2)

Germany certainly has no shortage of castles perched upon hills overlooking many scenic rivers and valleys.Castle spotting is definitely a favorite past time while driving through the country on a road trip. Some castles are as romantic as any homeless romantic could possibly imagine and even inspired Walt Disney, some are unique and no less impressive while others lie in ruins but still hold a special charm.

Some are called a ‘Burg’ and others are called a ‘Schloss’. So, what’s the difference, you might ask?

A Burg:

is usually a fortress that was built for protection during the Middle Ages by the nobility. During this time, things were unsteady and turbulent, so the nobility needed protection from unwanted visitors. In the beginning, these Burgen (plural) started out as just a watch tower where people took refuge and gradually, over time expanded the towers into a strong, steady and fortified “castle” accommodating those seeking shelter within.

A Schloss:

is much more elegant and romantic than a Burg as these were generally built after the Middle Ages and usually were built as a residence for the nobility. They were not constructed to be a fortress for protection against outsiders. This was because the turbulent times from the Middle Ages had relaxed a bit and the nobility no longer felt the need for massive fortresses for protection. Instead, the nobility built these palaces for to impress, as is seen immediately upon entering the Grand Hall of many palaces. Continue reading


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200th Post: A Celebration of CG’s Posts

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While recently reading a favorite blogger of mine, Travelsewhere, it dawned on me, I was just a few posts away from writing my 200th post on California Globetrotter!!

I definitely can’t believe I’ve written so many posts and shared so much of my life with strangers who have become loyal readers and cyber-friends! What started out as a simple journal on Facebook (I know, who does that anymore!?) turned into an unhealthy obsession.

So I’d like to take the time to say thank you to my readers, my family and friends (Hi Mom! Stephanie? Pam? Cheri? Are you out there?) who keep me motivated to share our travels, tips and secrets to some of the best places in Europe which I’d like to share my FAVORITES with you again in celebration! Continue reading

Sights to See in Augsburg, Germany - California Globetrotter


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Main Sights to See in Augsburg

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Situated at the confluence of the Lech and Wertach rivers and is Northern Swabia’s principal city, Augsburg is the third largest town in Bavaria, as well as one of the oldest. As early as 15 BC, this was the site of a Roman camp. It grew to be one of the richest towns until the Thirty Years’ War ended their prosperity. It’s also one of many towns found along the Romantic Road (stay tuned) that runs from Würzburg to Füssen. During the Second World War, Augsburg was heavily destroyed on February 24th & 25th, 1944 and almost everything has been meticulously reconstructed to its former glory.

Augsburg is definitely one of the lesser known towns and in my opinion, doesn’t get swarmed by non-native tourists as it sits between Nuremberg and Munich with post people opting to visit both of these. We found even for an early spring day (in February!), there were lots of people walking around the town for shopping, enjoying the sunshine and drinking coffee outside, but as for tourists, they seemed far and in between, granted we visited during off season.

So, if it’s not overly popular with tourists why should you consider going? Well, let me introduce you to 10 of the most interesting sights to see in Augsburg which will tickle your interest! Continue reading


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Ultimate List of Day Trips from Munich

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Whether you live in or around Munich, or are visiting somewhere near Munich, there are PLENTY of places to go if you’re looking to take advantage of a beautiful day!

If you don’t mind getting up and leaving your house around 6am, driving no more than 3-3 1/2 hours (one way), you CAN manage a FULL day in any of the following locations. I know, because I’m crazy enough to have managed many of these in a single hit and run, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am kinda day trip! Especially during the summer months when the weather is great and the nights are long.

Quite personally, I find that many Germans don’t actually travel much around their home country, let alone leave their hometown that often. Ok so I travel a bit obsessively, but why wouldn’t you want to get outta your 20 mile radius and explore more!?! And ok…many of these could be extended into a long weekend trip, but when you’re itching to get out, 3 hours is nothing!

People always think I’m crazy for driving somewhere 3+ hours and now make it a weekend trip, but for me I grew up in California where driving 3 hours and you’re still in the same town because you’re sitting in traffic! Driving 3 hours in Europe and you’re in another state or another country!

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3 Bavarian Towns Surrounded by Medieval Walls

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Germany certainly has no shortage of historic towns, practically unchanged since the Medieval times. And let’s admit it right now, many of us when traveling to Europe look for that authentic, historic feeling that will transport us back to a time that is long since gone. Many of us want to take a walk through a storybook town, that is beyond anything we have ever known.

But of all the picturesque, fairy tale towns in Germany, there are only three towns left still completely encircled by their Medieval walls all found in Bavaria. Luckily, all three are on the trail through Bavaria known as the “Romantischestrasse” (Romantic Road) which stretches from Würzburg to Füssen.

All relatively close together, they could easily be combined into a long weekend road trip if you’re as obsessed with half-timbered towns as I am.

The question now remains, which one should you visit if you’re short on time? Or which which one is less touristy but offers the same authentic feeling? Continue reading

A Beginners Guide to Oktoberfest, Munich Germany - California Globetrotter


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A Beginners Guide to Oktoberfest

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It’s a new year with lots of new adventures that lay ahead! Maybe people are getting out their Bucket Lists and checking which things to tick off this year! I’m sure most of you have always dreamed of going to the world’s largest street fair with all the beer imaginable!

Between late Spring and early Autumn, it usually implies that somewhere in Bavaria, a beer festival can be found. ‘Gemütlichkeit‘ is in full swing from Regensburg’s Dult to the world’s most famous beer festival: Munich’s Oktoberfest and beyond!

What is normally a simple oval meadow is turned into the world’s largest, boisterous beer drinking festival with stalls, marquees, funfair, loud music and tons of people. For two weeks every year this folks fest takes place at the feet of the Bavaria statue, the patron saint of Bavaria, or as the locals call it, the “Weisn”. 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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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

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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