Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

I was in Budapest for a family wedding... a scenic backdrop for such an event! Fantastic food all around and so lovely at night...

For my recommendations on restaurants: check out my Trip Advisor reviews

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria

Chocolate cake, massive museums complexs, the ringstrasse, colorful church top, fancy coffee served on a silver platter, the games and rides of the Prater, a pfiff in answer to the liters in Munich... 

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

I write this marking my third trip to Venice (with the hope of many more returns). It was the very first city I visited on my very first visit to Europe when I was 16 and despite being a total tourist trap once can't help but quote Indiana Jones, "Ahh Venice". 

It has also been rather rich for me artistically. 


Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne, Switzerland

I have now visited Lucerne twice and can say it is an exceptionally lovely place to visit. It was a wonderfully outdoorsy side trip when I was staying in Zurich and a laid back start to our Grand Tour of Europe this year. 

Reasons to love Switzerland:

  • Snowcap peaks
  •  pretzel sandwiches
  • Fondue
  • clean, clean water
  •  explosives in bridges just in case they get invaded
  • chocolate
  • great public transportation (though kinda pricy)

Reason to not love Switzerland:

  • No AC

Photos from the Train between Switzerland and Italy

Philadelphia, PA, USA

Philadelphia, PA, USA

I have always wanted to go to Philly - and its so close by train I can't believe it took me so long! This is definitely a city that goes out of its way to make people feel welcome. I ran up the Rocky steps, visited the gorgeous Barnes Collection, the liberty bell, Ben Franklins museum & grave, fun outdoor beer gardens, mini golf in the shape of the city, a delicious Amish breakfast at the Reading Terminal Market, cheese steaks and a taste of famous philly food trucks. Plus a side trip to Atlantic City - all in less then 48 hours. 

Plus a side trip to AC!

Plus a side trip to AC!

Stirling, Scotland

Stirling, Scotland

I spent my last night in Scotland in Stirling and visited Stirling Castle as my last stop on the way to the airport. Between this castle and Edinburgh Castle I feel like we saw a lot of the life of the Kings and Queens of Scotland. I saw this famous unicorn tapestry pop up a few weeks earlier in Hogwarts castle at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. 

view from stirling castle

Highlands, Scotland

Highlands, Scotland

I am using "the Highlands" to describe our trip north on the train from Edinburgh to Inverness. I rented a car in Inverness and we went east on the malt whiskey trail and then south to Loch Ness and Glencoe. 


Loch Ness from shores in Dores

Loch Ness 

I've always wanted to go here! We had a tremendous dinner at the Dores Inn and had a drive around the Loch looking for Nessie. Does that photo above show something popping out of the water??


Glen Grant gardens
gardens of Scotland Glen Grant whiskey distillery

Malt Whiskey Trail

We headed east and visited the distilleries of Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, and Glen Grant. The images above were from the Glen Grant - which was 1) the only distillery that let us take photos 2) Also has the absolute gorgeous garden 3) is the lightest scotch (best selling in Italy) and my favorite one that I sampled. 


Glen Coe

Glen Coe

Drop dead gorgeous views, mountains, moors, streams, waterfalls... every curve of the road more beautiful, hard to concentrate on my staying on the left. 


Fort William 

As we passed through the area - we stopped in Fort William for lunch on Loch Linnhe and also to go up in the gondola to see Ben Nevis, Britain's largest mountain. It was June and it was snow covered as you can see here. 

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

We did experience all the seasons in about 20 minutes in Edinburgh.... on our way out of the Jolly Judge Pub it was clear and sunny... about one block down the royal mile it was pouring on us... one block later it was the largest hail storm I've ever found myself in (ping pong ball size), ten more minutes by the time we made it to the Scottish National Gallery it was sunny again! In addition to the Royal Mile and the great works of art in the gallery we also visited the Edinburgh Castle which was the highlight of the day. Also great meals at  Spanish and French restaurant and a posh hotel experience at the Royal Scots Club.

York, England

York, England

I arrived by train to York - which was a great choice considering one of the greatest sites in York is the National Railway Museum which was surprisingly awesome. The city was very walkable - one of the best ways to see it was along it's ancient city walls - miles of which still stand strong (it's the city with the most in England). I also took in York Minster, a gorgeous gothic cathedral that also has exhibits about the thousands of years of York history (the Romans made it a capital and the Vikings later invaded, they called it Jorvik). Great Yorkshire hospitality and food!

Hogwarts & Diagon Alley

Hogwarts & Diagon Alley

After many years of being an obsessed Harry Potter fan I finally visited Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. I rode the Hogwarts Express. I bought a wand at Ollivanders and did magic. I drank butter beer and talked to a goblin. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. 

Hogwarts a history

I also stopped by Springfield...