Travelholics unite! Join me as I pursue my passion to travel the world, explore back alleys, visit quaint shops, and cruise in style—all the while imagining the stories I can write in each town I visit. Whether it’s people watching while sipping my coffee in Paris, taking a chocolate tour in Belgium, visiting Christmas Markets in Germany, or walking along the ruins of Pompeii... every trip I take is a dream come true. Growing up as a small town Canadian girl, there wasn’t much to do but ride your bike, hang out on the beach, and daydream. I discovered my passion for traveling as a teenager where I fell in love … more about me
One thing I love about traveling is it pushes me beyond my comfort zone. And trust me, I have a lot of comfort zones that I need pushed out of.
One such zone was driving in Europe.
I’d read countless blogs about driving in Germany before the trip and after picking up our rental car a few blocks away from the our hotel and seeing how people parked on the sidewalks, I’ll admit, my comfort zone was pushed. Renting a car was easy – I booked through expedia, bought insurance and requested automatic since I can’t drive manual.
BUT…the moment I turned on Google Maps and we started to drive through the city (which really, was like driving through Calgary and NOT like Paris (thank goodness for that), all my concerns eased and I made myself enjoy the drive.
Upon leaving Munich, we drove along the AutoBahn. It’s true, for the majority of the drive, there is no posted speed limit. I averaged around 135-150/km unless the posted limit was mentioned due to small towns or road work. I was surprised at the lack of accidents we found along the highway. Like for the whole week we might have seen 1 or 2…it was crazy. I stayed in the right lane, unless I found myself behind a truck or until I felt more comfortable and passed those that were going slower than me. (I have a bit of a heavy foot so really, driving the AutoBahn was a gift).
This is me driving…and my aunt taking a photo of my speed…yes, you see that right…190km!
We’re on our way to drive the Southern Bavaria Alps route…note: all photos were NOT taken by me – since I was driving and that would be a little ridiculous. My mom or my aunt took all the photos.
One of many little towns we drove by – every town, no matter the size – had a church.
Growing up with parents who are truck drivers, going on road trips is second nature to me. What I loved about renting a car and just driving is discovering small towns like this one and enjoying the sites! I also couldn’t get over all the blooming flowers despite it being mid October!
On our way to Oberammergau (where the Passion Play was first created and played every 10 years) we discovered a church in the middle of nowhere and on the hill beside the church were these sheep. Now…if you know me, you know I love black sheep. The one looking directly at me ‘talked’ to me for a little while…
Do you recognize this castle? Schloss Neuschwanstein.
I couldn’t get over all the blooms. I have hundreds of photos of flowers but this one makes me smile.
Looking back at my German trip this past October, if you were to ask me what my favorite memory was…it was exactly this…day trip to Southern Bavaria, through the Alps and seeing the countryside. My family is from the region and we also discovered Bailey’s Bavarian Chocolate liquor…
If you’re wondering about driving through Germany…don’t be. Their signs are really clear, the speed is fun and other than small lanes and parking up on sidewalks…you’ll be fine! I do recommend you be comfortable with parallel parking since you’re going to be doing it a lot and be prepared to never find any place to park on streets. But other than that…have fun!
Sleeping in haunted hotels in Paris and Germany was not something I had on my list of ‘experiences’. In fact, sleeping in haunted hotels, homes, barns or anywhere else has never really been on any of my ‘must-do’ lists at all.
Trust me when I say if I had known, I wouldn’t have booked the hotels. It’s not that I’m afraid of ghosts, or that I believe/don’t believe in them…it’s just that I’d prefer to sleep well and not be bothered…you know?
The first hotel in Paris wasn’t bad. There was a feeling of being watched…but I slept somewhat well (the bed was very hard). But hotel number 2…well, that was something completely different.
Let me begin by saying this…at no time while in Paris, did my mother, my aunt or myself mention our experiences with one another. It wasn’t until we were sharing a bottle of Bailey’s Bavarian Chocolate that we started to talk about our experiences that it all made sense (at least, I think it was over Bailey’s…).
St James Albany in Paris is a beautiful hotel. It’s located directed across from the Jardin des Tuileries and on Rue de Rivoli. What’s important to remember however is it’s close proximity to Angelina’s – once I found that out, I actually squealed (it’s very true). It’s a 4 star hotel and known to be ‘upscale’ and I was able to snag one of their apartments at a discount (they have their prices listed at the hotel and I had a moment of sticker shock when I realized how much one normally pays for the two bedroom apartment we had…I love scoring a deal with hotels!). I’ll post a review shortly with video etc…
So…it’s a beautiful hotel. We had a really nice and spacious apartment. My mom and aunt slept in one room and I slept in another. Our rooms weren’t close, in fact, my room was located down one of the halls with the kitchen, toilette and closet area separating us.
My aunt felt she was being watched from the doorway all night.
My mom would often stop breathing in the middle of the night. My aunt was a little worried and my mom later said she felt like someone was sitting on her chest.
Myself? Well…every morning I would wake up with a girl of maybe 10 years watching me. Once I was awake, she would giggle and then run down hallway towards a closed door. I remember her giggle and the sound of her footsteps fading…nothing scary, just made me miss my kids.
Then there was Germany. Rothenburg to be exact. Hotel BurgGartenpalais. Again, a beautiful hotel, once a palace, right close to the historic gates (and more on the hotel, review etc later).
We only stayed for one night. Again, we were all in separate rooms. Earlier in the evening my mom had come into my room asking for one of my extra pillows. Because I love my mom (of course) and because I had lots of pillows, I was more than happy to share.
But then, all throughout the night, I kept getting woken up by a hand squeeing my toes. It happened three or four times. The hand would squeeze my toes and at first I thought it was my mom asking for my pillow. I love her, but I wasn’t about to give up my last pillow to her so I pulled my foot away and said no. This happened over and over and by the last time, when my foot was again squeezed, I kicked my foot out and said ‘just let me sleep’.
I asked my mom the following morning why she kept coming in for my pillow…except, she didn’t. But I swear, a hand squeezed my foot multiple times throughout the night. I wish I could blame it on bad dreams or that I’d drank a lot that night…but I can’t.
At least I didn’t wake up screaming in terror – like what you’d see on Supernatural or something, right?
By the way…talking about Supernatural…have you seen this yet? (it makes me smile)
What about you? Have you ever slept in a hotel hotel? I know there are many such places in the US where you can book rooms and experience a night of terror.
When it comes to my trips, I like to be organized. Hotel reservations, car rental info, train tickets, travel routes…when it’s all laid out and organized, I find I can travel with a little more ease. In case you’re like me, let me share with you the itinerary I use for all my trips. More
With my next trip less than a month away, I thought I’d share my 5 favorite pieces of gear I take on all my trips. More
With my next trip less than a month away, I’m starting to think about what I’m taking with me. My itinerary is almost complete (I’ll share this next week with you), tours are booked and all that is left is to print off everything and pack. More
Travel like a local. See the places you’ve always dreamed of…but from a local’s perspective. Seriously…is it any better than that?
I’m thrilled to announce another awesome travel gift from ToursbyLocals.com … another $250 gift card! Enter below!
PS..the winner from August’s travel contest has been contacted…check your email to see if it was you! More
This will be short and sweet. So you are headed to Paris for a vacation and you’re wondering if you should tip…right? More
Visiting Pompeii was something on my bucket list for years. It was the number one thing I wanted to do visiting Rome and I couldn’t wait to see it. I read every website I could about its history, watched documentaries and movies and read blog posts…I wouldn’t say obsessed but I wanted to be…prepared (that’s a better word, don’t you agree?). More
Tours by Locals has offered another $250 gift card to a fellow #travelholic! Awesome, right!!
Which means…I’m extending the contest! If you entered during July, you’re still able to win this new gift card 🙂
Let’s all say “thank you, Tours by Locals!”.