Tiergarten Nurnberg

Our most recent adventure took us and our little to Tiergarten Nurnberg. Did you know that the word tiergarten in German means zoo?

If you happen to be a zoo lover, I’d highly recommend making a visit to this zoo located in Nuremberg, Germany. Not only did they offer a wide variety of animals and exhibits they even had an aquarium with manatees, dolphins, and penguins.

The gift shop was filled with an array of reasonably priced trinkets and stuffed animals, which our little (of course) loved. The food offered was not only affordable but was worthy of going back for seconds. We shared a large “family sized” pretzel for only 3 euro and it was the softest most amazing pretzel I’ve ever had. I loved that pretzel so much that I plan on buying at least three of them the next time we’re in town.

We enjoyed all of the exhibits, with the butterfly garden, manatees, and owls being favorites. However, due to time, we missed out on seeing a couple of the others including one of our other favorites, the gorillas. We spent a little over a couple hours in this zoo and definitely have plans to go back.

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The Great Smoky Mountains

Last summer we went to visit some of my family who happen to live near The Great Smoky Mountains. One of our favorite family road trips involves hopping in the car and driving the scenic route to The Great Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Once we arrive, we usually stop and take in the sights and then eventually make our way over towards the trail that leads up to Clingmans Dome. The Dome is actually located in part of Tennessee and part of North Carolina and is considered the highest point in Tennessee. The hike up towards the observation tower is about a half mile but it’s mostly uphill so it’s literally quite breath-taking. However, the incredible views once you make it to the top make the strenuous hike well worth the efforts. Oh, and not only can you hike your way up towards the Dome but you can also wander off and hike part of The Appalachian Trail too.

If you ever plan a trip out to Clingmans Dome here are some helpful tips to help make your day run smoothly:

  • Wear comfortable shoes for an uphill climb
  • Pace yourself
  • Bring a small bottle of water or have bottled water ready for you in your car once you return
  • Remember, there are bears out there so be alert (we saw a bear cub once)
  • If you are bringing anyone with health conditions, be sure to check with a doctor and/or take it nice and slow (last time we were there an ambulance was called half way up the trail to bring down an elderly gentleman)
  • Be prepared for the air to be much cooler the closer you get to the top, bring a jacket or sweater.
  • Take lots of pictures and enjoy the views

I’d highly recommend taking a trip out to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The views are incredible and there is plenty to do for tourists of all ages, such as The Ripley’s Aquarium, a Titanic Museum, and so much more. You can even rent a log cabin to make your stay feel more at home in the mountains.

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A Day in Paris

Paris has been on my wish list for THE longest time and it was one of those things that I honestly never thought I’d see come to light. As it would have it, my daughter’s wish for her 16th birthday was to visit Paris and see the Eiffel Tower so I, of course, excitedly complied. Who knew that we would ever live close enough to Paris that we could just hop in the car and a mere four hours later just be there.

Being in Paris was absolutely magical…

..until we got the bill.

Just kidding! It was still incredibly magical, bill and all.

We took her to eat at Castel Cafe, a cafe located right next to the Eiffel Tower. Well location really is everything because it literally took “everything” right out of our wallets, and you know what, we wouldn’t have had it any other way. The food was mediocre at best, however, the experience was truly once in a lifetime. We took our time and sat outside and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the city passing us by. We just couldn’t believe that we were actually eating outside of a little cafe in Paris.

When it was time to leave, our daughter, who is studying French in high school, asked the waiter for our check completely in French. The huge smile on his face confirmed that he was absolutely delighted with her accuracy. We could not have been more proud. It was definitely one of the many highlights of the day.

Next time we go, we have hopes to see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. We’ve heard it’s pretty spectacular.

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Fun Fact: One of my favorite films released completely in French (with English subtitles) and set in Montmartre, a distric of Paris, is Amelie. It’s a cute and quirky film starring, Audrey Tautou, that I’ve always adored.

Saturdays at the Market

One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday morning is to wake up a little early and hit the local Farmer’s Market no matter what town I’m in. I’m not sure what it is but the atmosphere at a farmer’s market seems just as fresh and organic as all the produce being displayed. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or a little chilly out, the air always feels so wonderfully pure.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to walk a local farmer’s market, you should definitely make some time on your next free Saturday. The fruits and vegetables sold at the market taste incredibly sweet and refreshingly crisp, even fresher than what you can find in your local grocery store.

There’s really no other way to describe the incredible flavors found at your local Farmer’s Market so you might just have to go and see for yourself. Below are some photos I snapped back in March from one of our visits to our local market.

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Rudesheim am Rhein

One of the most relaxing trips we’ve taken so far has got to be a little day trip we took out to Rudesheim am Rhein, Germany. The views were absolutely stunning. We walked along a nature trail and ate lunch at a local restaurant that served the best pizza and french fries I’ve ever had. My favorite part of the trip was definitely the chair lift over the vineyards which provided the most spectacular views of Rudesheim and the Rhine River.

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The Eiserner Steg

A couple months ago we took a day trip out to Frankfurt, Germany because we heard there was a FIVE GUYS. A Five Guys, guys! Good old American style hamburgers, french fries, and milkshakes! We were so excited because we were really feenin’ for a little something that reminded us of “home”. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Everything tasted exactly as we remembered. Thank you, Five Guys Frankfurt, for existing, for being opened, and for serving up delicious goodness.

When we were done eating we HAD to walk off our overly stuffed bellies so we headed out to walk the town before heading back to the car. Much to our surprise, we came across an old bridge with LOVE locks on it. We had seen these before in movies but we had never had the opportunity to see one up close and personal. This discovery was definitely the highlight of our trip (along with those insanely delicious milkshakes!). Walking across the bridge and seeing all the locks with personal inscriptions on them definitely felt like something out of a fairy tale.

The official name of this bridge is, “The Eiserner Steg” and if you ever want to look it up it’s located in Frankfurt, Germany. This bridge is also known as The Iron Footbridge or The Iron Bridge or the Love Lock Bridge.

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Welcome to Wiesbaden

Here I am, first day online. Now, where to start….

Let’s start with a major fact about my life at present time. I’m an American currently living in Germany. We moved here in August of 2017 so it’s not quite been a full year yet. We have yet to live here through the summer months, which is ever so quietly beginning to sneak up on us. I happen to be very concerned with how June and July are going to pan out here simply due to the fact that we have no air conditioning. I know some people in the U.S. can live quite fine with no air conditioning (I see you, Maine) but fact of the matter is, I didn’t move here from Maine. I moved here from, hot as hey, Florida and I relied on air conditioning every single second of the two years that I lived there.

Being an army brat, I’ve lived in a tooooooooonnnn of places. To give you an idea, I went to three different high schools in three different states. I can’t even count how many elementary schools I attended, all mostly in Texas but I did some “time” in North Carolina as well. My brother, who is two years younger than I am, was born in Heidelberg, Germany. I don’t even remember ever living there but I have photos from my childhood to prove it. I was born in Columbia, South Carolina and I have no recollection of ever living there, however, one day I’d love to go back for a tour.

Anyway, point is, I’ve lived in many different states and all these places provided me with the amazing luxury of air conditioning so I really don’t know how I’m going to survive the heat of Wiesbaden.

Now I know summers here won’t be as crazy as Florida is (year round) but regardless, it still gets pretty hot here. I’ve heard it can get well up into the 90’s sometimes. I’m really hoping it doesn’t get up into the 100’s because that’s what we dealt with in Florida (but we had a/c and hid inside the house most days). So yeah, no air conditioning. Apparently, in Germany, we don’t need it. I beg to differ. We’re already in May and we’ve had maybe two really warm days, and I have to say, I didn’t like it much. The weather is still cool enough in the evenings right now so we only have to slightly suffer for a few short hours during the afternoon.  Anyway, I guess we will see what happens within the next few weeks once summer starts creeping in.

So, what do I love about Germany? Everything else! We live pretty close to downtown so we are able to walk down into the city from our apartment. That fact alone has been pretty incredible. Not only does the city offer a variety of restaurants and shops to visit, but they also hold a few fests and Christmas markets as well.

I’m sure I’m going to write many posts that discuss my experiences here in Germany. I have a lot to say about shopping, driving, grocery stores, and even the amazing travel opportunities … but I’ll save those for another day.

For now, enjoy a little slideshow of some of the photos I’ve snapped since I’ve lived here.

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