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2016: A Year in Review - California Globetrotter


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2016: A Year in Review

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2016 has been another wonderful year, unfortunately it flew by so fast I actually felt like I didn’t have time to take it all in, soak up every moment and enjoy every minute. I certainly tried as best as I could to enjoy every single day and to slow down the time, but that is something completely out of my hands.

This year was a big year for us that had PLENTY of happy, joyous moments, many new adventures and lots of opportunities for which we are incredibly lucky to have had. So I want to take the time to show my gratitude to this beautiful life we live that has given us the chance to travel Europe. And I especially want to show my gratitude to my new husband who has been the most wonderful travel partner I could have ever asked for!

With each passing year, I feel that our lives continuously improve and grow and while there is so much more to be done, I know that for now, we should only focus on the here and now, but I can’t help but feel excitement for 2017 that will be filled with many new adventures, laughter, happiness and growth.

While I shouldn’t look to far into the future, I don’t want to look to far back into the past either. There were plenty of ups and downs throughout the year, on and off the camera, but that is no reason to dwell in the past either.

But a recap of our amazing year certainly doesn’t hurt that left us with long lasting impressions that turned us into story tellers and left pieces of our hearts everywhere we went. 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

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

Schloss Lichtenstein - California Globetrotter


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Schloss Lichtenstein

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Chances are, unless you live in Germany or are addicted to Pinterest, you have probably never heard of Schloss Lichtenstein. Located in the Schwäbish Alb (the Swabian Jura mountains) not far from Ulm or Tübingen, making it a great day trip from either town.

Known informally as “The Little Brother” to Schloss Neuschwanstein, it can be easily overlooked, but it has just as many charms and romance as any other castle, just without the hordes of tourists!

Compared to many other castles in Germany, this castle is a relatively young castle. Technically, there has been a castle here since around 1200, however it was destroyed twice – once in 1311 and again in 1377. A new castle was built about 500m away but soon fell into disuse and ruins. It wasn’t until 1840 when the castle would be redesigned, renovated and built up further by Duke Wilhelm of Urach who was inspired by the novel Lichtenstein written by Wilhelm Hauff.

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Your 10 Day Guide to Bavaria! - California Globetrotter


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Your 10 Day Guide to Bavaria

IMG_4804Want to visit the beautiful Bavarian countryside, filled with fairy tale palaces and romantic roads dotted with idyllic towns? Start your trip with a day in Munich learning about WWII history before driving the Romantic Road to Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Würzburg before heading towards the fairy tale Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace. Then take a drive along the Bavarian Alps and visiting Germany’s highest peak – Zugspitze. Then head towards Berchtesgaden before crossing the border into Austria for a side trip to Salzburg. Before heading back to Munich, stop an enjoy one of many lakes, preferably Chiemsee.

If you LOVE fairy tale castles, medieval towns, beautiful scenery, WWII history or doing some outdoor activities either as a solo traveler, a couple or a family, then this is the perfect itinerary for your first visit to Bavaria!

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The Romantic Castles of King Ludwig II of Bavaria - California Globetrotter


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The Romantic Castles of King Ludwig II of Bavaria

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Visiting Germany is more than just drinking beer and eating schnitzel. Every year, Germany attracts thousands of visitors, 407.26 million to be exact, making it the seventh most visited country in the world!

Many tourists flock to some of the typical tourist hot spots, such as Heidelberg, Rothenberg ob der Tauber, Berlin and Munich. While these are certainly great places to visit and highly recommended, there are some more romantic places, thanks to Bavaria’s crazy King Ludwig II.

At 18 years old, Ludwig ascended the Bavarian throne in 1864. For twenty-two years, he would reign over one of the most prestigious and envied state in what would later become a part of Germany. During these twenty-two years, he would produce some of the most romantic fairy-tale castles in Bavaria using his own money…while simultaneously breaking the bank and borrowing heavily from the Bavarian government. Eventually, his extravagant spending would be turned against him as his ministers would try to declare him insane.

He was a highly secluded person who constantly day dreamed about turning his beloved composer, Richard Wagner’s stories into real life fairy-tale palaces. Continue reading

Top Places to Visit in Germany! - California Globetrotter


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Top Places to Visit in Germany!

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If you’re considering traveling to Europe, you should definitely add Germany to your Bucket List! Germany certainly has plenty of castles, fairy-tale villages and places of wonder that really need to be seen, drooled over & shared!

I receive a lot of people who always ask for some great suggestions of places to visit in Germany. So now, I share with you my favorite destinations in Germany, and even a few I hope to make it to!

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Schloss Linderhof, Bavaria - California Globetrotter


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King Ludwig II of Bavaria’s Schloss Linderhof

IMG_3760There are many stunning castles and palaces throughout Bavaria, with the most popular all built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. You might know his most romantic and popular castle, Schloss Neuschwanstein perched high up on a hill in Schwangau or the palace he built on Chiemsee which is dedicated to his idol, King Louis XV of France, a smaller replica of the Palace of Versailles called Schloss Herrenchiemsee. If you have visited either of these castles, you might have left feeling a bit unsatisfied as both castles were not completed by the time of King Ludwig II’s untimely death in 1886. But fear not!

Schloss Linderhof was the only palace that the King lived to see to be completed and had the chance to live in for eight years! Again, this palace was inspired by the Palace of Versailles in Paris and you can see the stunning artwork in honor of the French monarchy. While it might lack in size, as it is the smallest palace built by King Ludwig II, it packs a punch and it well worth the visit! Continue reading

What is the Difference Between a Burg and a Schloss? - California Globetrotter


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What is the Difference Between a Burg and a Schloss?

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As a little girl, I always dreamed of living the fairy tale life as a princess in a beautiful castle perched upon a hill, with my long locks of brown wavy hair flowing over the castle window waiting for my prince charming to come and sweep me off my feet. Oh wait…that’s Rapunzel. Things like that don’t actually happen in real life, but that’s what we grow up thinking about if you come from the US. We don’t really have castles in America. I say that as a general statement, as there are “castles” in America, which are more like big fancy schmancy mansions. Hearst Castle in California is a great example of a mansion house being called a “castle” built by a newspaper millionaire in the early 1900s and is nothing compared to European castles.

Ever since I first came to Europe in 1999 for the first time with my family at the young impressionable age of 14, I have seen an endless amount of different castles in many different countries. My father always used to tell me that I was living in a fairytale and I better come back to reality. But how could I when real life fairytale castles DO exist!? Now, I just imagine my tiny apartment as some tiny castle overlooking the road with tall double white doors that open to a gate as my “balcony” which I imagine opening and singing to all the fluttery birds to come to my window like a scene straight out of Cinderella.

But here in Germany? I’ve seen castles that have left my jaw dropped on the floor in awe and other castles that are simple and not nearly as romantic. But then I realized, none of the castles are actually called a “castle”. Here, they have different meanings and while wandering around the ruins of an old castle the other night near Regensburg, I asked my German boyfriend what the difference between a “Burg” and “Schloss” is and our conversation west like this: Continue reading