The Insel Mainau: The Flowering Island

Along the beautiful Lake Constance you will find a beautiful little island. Complete with a castle (still owned) and incredibly beautiful gardens that take you to another place. It actually didn’t even feel like Germany. The water around the island is a really crystal blue and with the palm trees and vibrant colored flowers it almost makes you feel like you’re in another world!

Luckily it was a little adventure we got to take with Toblerone’s parents also. The castle is occupied at the moment so it’s not something that is opened to the public for tours with the exception of a small area they set up for a gift shop and a restaurant attached to the orchid greenhouse.

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It was a bit too early in spring for all the flowers but regardless, it was just a beautiful day. It started off with a bit of rain but as we arrived on the island we put our umbrellas down and walked the grounds guided by sunshine.

My absolute FAVORITE part of the entire island is the butterfly house. There are thousands of butterflies in this man-made jungle house. It was just incredible to see so many different types of butterflies happily flying around and a few different vegetarian birds to add to the atmosphere.

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Walking around the grounds we saw these massively large trees called Mammouth trees (also found in the states) which were planted in the late 1800’s and have grown to the giant masses they are today! Channeling my inner hippie I gave those big guys a squeeze.

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We walked around the castle, went inside the church which was decorated in beautiful floral arrangements,  and made our way around to a little farm..where of course I had to pet all the animals. These furry guys are used to all the people I think so they just made their way right over to me and waited for bite to eat!

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We ended the day with a little train watching which I thought was just adorable with all the German homes stacked around. Very cute! There are also great playgrounds  which would make for a fantastic place to bring the kids to run out a bit of energy.

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It was a really beautiful place and thankfully the weather held out for us! It was a perfect start to our vacation. More to come!

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

 

A Secret Castle In The Hills

We all know that one of the greatest perks about living in Europe is the plethora of castles at every turn. For me, I see one at least every few days. They are just everywhere and not to mention, most are preserved quite well. Thankfully, I’m not yet desensitized to seeing these massive architectural masterpieces. The magic is still very much alive!

Recently, Toblerone told me he had a surprise to show me and I always get pretty excited for these! We parked in the middle of the woods, and we walked quite a distance until appeared, from behind the thick trees, ruins of a castle built long ago.
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There was something really eerie and heart breaking about it. And although it was ruins, you could still imagine the people living here long ago.
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The history of the castle is stated on a small sign that also shows you what each room was used for.
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It Reads:
Michelstein was built in 1100
Imperial City of Rottweil destroyed it in 1377
Acquired by the Lords of Ifflinger-Granegg in 1535
Later abandoned and in 1831 it was bought back
Bequeathed by the last Baron of the Catholic Church in Rottweil
Transferred from the Swabian Hiking and Preservation Club.
In 1931 ownership granted to the club to keep the castle from further decay.

The Residential Tower

The Residential Tower

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Nestled high up on a mountaintop, far away from anything else, this castle had the perfect view of the small village below.
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It’s still so amazing to me how much history is here in Germany. How lucky I am to be surrounded by it all. Reading about this in school holds no candle to actually experiencing it in real life. FIELD TRIP!!!!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxo

A Piece Of Italy Down The Road

Toblerone and I found this great new Italian place. Those are easy to come by around here. Lots of Italians are over here making their way through Germany selling the greatest pizzas and pastas. So, when you find one that stands out above the rest, you just HAVE to be repeat visitors!

The thing that makes it so great is the owner. He’s this really cool, down to earth Italian guy who cracks jokes and welcomes you with a warm heart and a handshake every time you arrive. He tells you about the wine and why you should drink only the stuff from Italy and when he talks about the food on the menu, it’s as if he’s telling you about his child’s first steps. Really sweet and true to form!

Truffel filled ravioli

Truffel filled ravioli

We went last night for dinner but the time before that the owner brought out his guitar and serenaded us with a bunch of love songs. The world literally stopped and I honestly felt as if we were in Italy (not that I’ve experienced that yet) or more how I would imagine it to be. He let me record him a bit and so I share with you a love song and then a song about being an American. lol.

After that wonderful performance we went to the local castle which they turned into an outside bar basically and had a few drinks with friends. Not too shabby of an evening if I do say so myself!

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Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxo

Vacation In The Alps: Day Four – Chill Out

If you haven’t already, be sure to read Vacation day one, two, and three! Be sure to “like” the new facebook page on the right hand side of this blog or by going to this link. It’s easy and makes me happy. So do it. RIGHT NOW! Thanks for everyone’s support!! 

My special day had arrived, it was officially “Princess Day” announced by me of course! I was so excited that I woke up at 7:45 (idiot me!) and went to have breakfast. Upon arrival I saw a sign in front of a food warmer that read “Bacon.” Literally..in English…the word I have been waiting for since March. As soon as it registered in my brain what I was actually seeing I yelled out, “BACONNNN…..MOVE!” and with that pushed Toblerone aside and went hog wild towards the breakfast table!

Massage at 9:00am proved that I need more spa days. The knots the elbow lady worked on in Day two were still there and refusing to leave my shoulders! Anyone want to donate to the “stress-free-Spice-fund?” After the lady gave up and set me free I was off to prepare for the big day. So why is it a Princess day? Every Princess belongs in a castle…right? Today we were off to see the most photographed castle in the world – Neuschwanstein Castle!!!! I made sure all my jewels were on…who says I’m too old to play pretty pretty princess?

Off we went! Normally we live about 3 hours from this castle but we were only 1 hour from the hotel so it seemed like a good idea. It was so warm outside I felt as if I would melt if I moved out of the A/C in the car. And so I did. We were in traffic for much too long and there were people EVERYWHERE. It was an absolute madhouse with people walking in the streets we could barely move an inch. Finally parked and approaching the ticket center was about a 5 hour wait. That’s not an exaggeration. We quickly learned that the only way to see the actually inside of the castle was to have a ticket and a tour scheduled. They apparently ask that you reserve your ticket a day in advance. So, my happy Princess bubble I was in all morning immediately burst and I turned into Godzilla.

Without a ticket we’re allowed to walk around the outside of the castle and take pictures and this was the ONLY option I would allow at this point. I was ready to just go home but Toblerone tried hard to remedy the situation. We found a shuttle that would take us up the hill to the castle. A lovely, HOT shuttle with no windows open, sweaty people who forgot their deodorant…What is it with people here and their lack of deodorant?

Up on the mountain we have a plan to just get in, take our pics, and get the hell out! There were the typical types taking 8,000 pictures of the same thing over and over again. You know what I mean. This was the first time I was actually annoyed that there weren’t many Germans around. I heard all sorts of different languages and it really took away from the whole magic of the castle, I thought. I was not impressed and was ready to leave and we did just that. As we were leaving it was also a madhouse trying to get on a bus. People crowded all over the place and an older group of fat Italians literally almost trampled and squished me into the bus. I had to turn around and tell them to “Calm the F*** down! We’re all going to the same place. JESUS!” They sort of backed off but probably weren’t sure what I said, only noticed that my eyebrows were angry.

My recommendation to those coming to check out this beautiful castle: Make a reservation the day before for a tour, wear comfy shoes because you do a lot of walking just to get to the castle even after the bus drops you off, and do NOT go during peak season – the summer is off-limits. I bet fall is beautiful though. AND there is another nice castle a few miles down from it so that is something to see as well.

We drove back to the hotel and I was in rare form. I did NOT want to ever look at a castle again or have a day just for me. Clearly, this never works out. There’s always something that goes wrong. Any of you have that same problem? We decided to stop for a beer because that was seriously needed. A little restaurant had maybe two other people there which was great except we had to wait 20 minutes for a beer. Spice = SUPER ANNOYED! So we stole the beer glasses after we paid and went on our way. Yes, we stole them. It’s Justice, people…don’t judge.

Princess day wasn’t over yet so I decided to start over and make the best of it. I swam for a bit in the hotel, watched sex and the city (in English of course) and then went off to dinner. I had another fun thing to look forward to so I wasn’t going to let that stupid castle ruin my day!

Appetizer: Pesto bread with ham and mustard. Balsamic vinegar and watermelon with feta cheese. 

Soup: Decided against this and got a smoothie instead -yogurt and johannisbeeren. Berries we don’t have in the US to my knowledge. 

Dinner: Colorful rainbow trout with wildflower garnish, veggies, and rice of some sort!

Dessert: Ice cream with chocolate, strawberry, and apricot sauce, fruit, and sweet popcorn in pistachios. 

We rushed into town for……..DA DUMMMMMM….. Musicals on Ice! Let me explain…no…I can’t. When I was little I loved to see the Ice capades and this particular show happened to be in town while we were there so Toblerone got me tickets for my Princess day.


It was really great and most of the skaters are top competitors so it was nice to see this and hear all my favorite musical songs. Was really missing my mom and sister in that moment since we’re the musical queens! Anywho, intermission was also really nice. They had another rink with small tables on the ice and in the middle a place to get all sorts of snacks and drinks from Sangria to chocolate covered bananas. Toblerone managed through it all since the girls had on such interestingly small and tight outfits. 🙂

Back at the hotel we had a drink at the bar and then to bed. Our last night there wasn’t so bad. The day however was a nightmare! No more castles for me during summer. Never again!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

A Lake, A Castle, And A Church Walked Into A Bar

As I had mentioned to you in my last post, my buddy RyRy  came to visit me here at my new home! We had a great time but the most important thing was to see a familiar face in a very unfamiliar place. RyRy has come to visit me when I lived in South Beach – Miami, Maine, Maryland, and now Germany. He’s always been that friend that when he says he’s coming to visit, he means it. Other people throw around the idea and then never end up coming so it’s good that I have him!

Of course he loaded up his bag with peanut butter and fun things from my family! So excited to see everything and hold onto the things I know just hours before my family was holding. I’m starting to miss them more each day. Thankfully I’m heading home in August for a few weeks! YES!!!!!

The first day RyRy arrived Toblerone picked him up from the airport and threw him into a car full of 4 other guys and cold beers. Off they went to a soccer game and then to Frühlingsfest (a Spring festival similar to Oktoberfest but on a much smaller scale.) I went out with the girls and prepared for RyRy to arrive at the house the following day. As soon as I saw the car pull up I was SO excited to see him and was prepared to pack in as much adventure as possible! Let’s not forget that I don’t venture out on my own normally. I usually have someone taking me places, etc. So this was also a good time for me to pull my act together and start exploring!

Due to the fact that we took so many pictures, I have to throw them into a slideshow! First, a run down of what we did so you can see this in the pictures.

Day One – RyRy and Toblerone to a soccer game and Spring festival
The girls dress in their drindls and the boys in their lederhosen but it’s not as expected of you as it is during the Oktoberfest. There’s lots of terrible songs like “Take Me Home, Country Road” by John Denver and the “YMCA.” As described by RyRy though – he has never seen so many people completely uninhabited in one place. I’m saving my christening for the Oktoberfest. 

Day Two – Old Church and a walk around the grounds, Geo-caching, Lake Constance, Amazing dinner, and buildings older than we can understand! 

         This church is beautiful and on a great sunny and clear day the view is spectacular! Of course, my favorite are all the paths mowed specifically for the avid walkers, trekkers, or hikers. Great place for mountain biking too! We walked up there with a few beers and walked around for a bit, cursing ourselves for talking about high school and really loving the sites around. You can’t find a place like this in the US. There is nothing like it. Sorry folks! All you get is pictures until you come and visit!!  Then the Geo-caching was a good time! For those of you that don’t know what it is: People hide things from trinkets to the rights to a brand new car. You’re given exact coordinates and then have a small clue to go and find it. RyRy is big into this so we’ll be doing more of this when he gets back. We ended up finding one that wasn’t anything special but you log your name and the date you were there. Very fun! 

      After this we went to Lake Constance again for more excitement! We walked the streets just checking out the sites and down to the lake. Making our way to a great restaurant right on the River Rhine. Perfect weather and cocktails to go made this trip incredible. Not to mention the mix of modern architecture with the old world houses/buildings. We were literally standing up against buildings that were from the 1300 and 1400’s. I can’t even begin to picture that in my mind what it looked like back then. Some of the old look of it was still there. We’re talking about peasants, medieval times, disease, non-existent sanitation, women in long dresses, medicine was based on superstition more than anything. I mean, crazy crazy times. Talking about it in school or watching movies doesn’t give you a real sense of this until you see the villages with your own eyes. You can almost hear the sounds from that Era. Eerie to say the least. 


Day Three – Hohohenzollern Castle (where the single 35yr old (HOT!!!) prince still lives), tour of the castle and checking out a family tree and heirlooms that dates back to year 1027 of the royal family. Old as dirt!

The castle is one I went to during the winter months for the famous Christmas markets here. This time, I brought Ryan and the sun was shining and we would take a tour! For 10 Euro we could do all of that. Since there’s some hot prince dude still living there most of the castle is off-limits but we got to see quite a bit I would say. This one isn’t huge like some other ones I’ve seen in England but it’s obviously much bigger than anything I’ve ever lived in so I’ll shut up now about that. The first room you walk into though is incredible. Every wall is covered with the family tree dating all the way back to the year 1027. Reading some of the names you can see the Frederich family was a big part in this and is not the current residents of the castle. Although this castle has been restored it was fun to see the old clothes of the Queen and tobacco boxes of the princes that once lived here – oh and of course the crowns. ( I knew I put them somewhere!!) 

So for now enjoy the slideshow! It was too hard to post that many photos one by one so the slide show is the best option. Also known as me being too lazy.

As I’m writing this our bathroom is being installed!!! YIPPEEE!!!! If you remember back from the previous post about our choice of sink and etc…well folks…it has been built and arrived!! I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally have drawers for all my make-up!! More on that tomorrow!

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