• Bad Ischl
    Austria,  Budějovice,  Christmas,  TravelTips,  Winter

    An Austrian Alpine Holiday

    As it’s the last weekend of the holiday season, so a perfect opportunity to share a little bit about 2019’s holiday season and our Christmas spent in the Salzkammergut. Before we left, we had a nice relaxing weekend wrapping up the work year and taking in some tunes and last punches in our beautiful square. On our way home from doing some Saturday morning errands, I noticed a tree in the park near our house full of fruits and things tied on with a sign. (Below, with the message “Christmas tree for homeless people – Have a beautiful Christmas”) I love when whimsy and kindness intersect and to see this…

  • Austria,  Christmas,  czech culture,  Life Abroad,  Thoughts,  Winter

    This Festive Season

    Sometimes people ask me if I’m going back to the States for Christmas and the answer always seems to be… no. Don’t get me wrong, I deeply enjoy being back in my hometown for the holidays, away from the big city bustle. Every year when we would get on that on-ramp away from Seattle, there was something incredibly peaceful about driving north on I-5 and watching the sprawl slip away. Driving around the island on Christmas Day, Sufjan Stevens‘ album always playing on the car stereo. The white skies, tall evergreens, the sea. Again, I have to use the word peaceful, but a certain, specific peace only this kind of…

  • Summer

    february city hangs | prague & linz

    it’s been such a great month so far! i thought january was good, but february seems even better and the fact that we just had our semester break and i enjoyed most of a week off work was just the thing. i was thinking i’d head to prague on sunday, the second day of the month, until  there was a “severe snow advisory” (??!) warning and decided not to mess with that. (besides, a friend of mine had to spend the night on a train last autumn when she insisted on traveling in heavy winds! trains + inclement weather = not going there) instead we went on monday when there was…

  • Summer

    a czech heart

    sometimes i feel especially touched by certain stories i am privileged to hear from locals who share them with me. this is one of them, one woman’s account of what living in prague in the mid-70’s was like. this is another.i can’t tell it interview style because i don’t remember the back-and-forth quite as well, as it was a bit longer, but i’ll tell you what i remember and what i know. last week, i shared with J a story about the tragic separation of my landlord’s family from a part of their family who emigrated to the united states after the second world war, which was important because it…

  • Summer

    a winter wunderland

    the day after christmas, i (and much of central europe) woke up to a magical blanket of snow.  i hadn’t at all expected that it would snow during christmas… last year it was around 10c! this here was the stuff of miracles. after breakfast, we took a snowy winter walk around the lake and some residential areas before hopping on a boat for a lake cruise to st. wolfgang– the biggest village on wolfgangsee (which still isn’t really that big at all). it is also the most heavily toured spot on the lake. all the other merry tourists seemed to have the same idea as it was the first day…

  • Summer

    atop the zwölferhorn

    the zwölferhorn, which means something like “the twelfth peak” in german, is a mountain of 1,522m in height that looms over tiny st. gilgen. the village is, in fact, where you go to take the cable car to the top. when i was first researching the area a few months ago i was thinking no way, no how am i ever getting on that cable car! for some reason, i’ve developed a crippling dislike of heights in the last three years or so (good thing i got some swiss travels out of the way before then….) and was thinking i would have to forgo this trip.and then, right before we left,…

  • Summer

    christmas in st. gilgen, austria

    why did i choose to spend christmas time at austria’s wolfgangsee? well, by the beginning of autumn, we hadn’t heard any talk of visitors so i thought it would be a great idea to experience an alpine christmas somewhere. austria, with its close proximity to southern czech republic fit the bill perfectly, especially the salzkammergut area (lake and alpine region near salzburg), which is closer to us than tirol or the other famous alpine regions of the country. we booked a sweet family-owned hotel and christmas was planned! it only took two and a half hours to get to st. gilgen from budějovice (mostly because our driver flew like a…

  • Summer

    a year of travels: 2014

    you know those facebook “year in review” things where it shows you your year as if it knows you? (and how well can a social media website know you, anyway?) when i clicked on mine, a photo from 2013 popped up as the centerpiece and then a load of random photos: reggie watts (?!), a landscape shot of hel, poland, a still from big brother 16. just pathetic, facebook.sometimes, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. in that spirit, here’s my travel year in review of only my favorite travel memories… and it’s been a heck of a year and i’m feeling really thankful about…

  • Summer

    returning from a trip: pros & cons

    hope everyone has had a very merry holiday! we have returned from our snowy austrian alpine christmas and i know i’ll have a lot to share with you. but for today, a smattering of inevitable thoughts i’m always thinking after returning home from a trip. why you’re so excited to come home from a trip… > get to sleep in your own bed! can i get a “woooo hoooo!”> full 24/7 access to a tea kettle and assortment of teas (just basically chugged a hot mug of herbal tea because i was so happy)> hooray, bath tub! i wanted to take a bath but the hotel only had a shower.> cooking!…

  • Summer

    spring im schaugarten

    i am definitely procrastinating my german homework right now, but i figure if it’s talking about my time at the lovely kittenberger erlebnisgarten (botanical garden) in the wachau valley of austria, then that’s kind of german language related! going to the kittenberger gardens was to be the main point, the highlight of the day trip… and besides the dazzling danube scenery, it was my favorite part of the day. i had been tantalized with talk that kittenberger has a fabulous bio restaurant, called the glas.haus, where they make all of their entrees fresh using herbs and plants from the garden. YES! I’M HUNGRY! while the three other ladies we came…