Tag Archives: Travel Tuesday

Travel Tuesday: Our Favorite Fortress

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As Valerie gets ready to kick some USMLE/COMLEX ass in the next few days, I wanted to re-live our most relaxing evenings of the trip, spent in Kassel:  the fortress, the River Fulda, and our favorite waiter. These were my favorite nights of the trip because allwe did was sample local beers brought to us by a very handsome waiter while curled up in blankets overlooking the river on top of a tree-covered fortress. It was pure bliss. I try to take myself back there, mentally, when I’m the most stressed out – the kind of place where life was perfect and everything else just kind of faded away into the background…

The view from our table.

I still get excited when I find Bitburger in bars/stores!

Good luck, Va!


Travel Tuesday: Kassel’s Island of Flowers

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One of the things we loved about our trip to Germany so much was the fact that we went to lesser-known towns and cities without any real agenda.  We showed up at the train station and, in the case of Kassel, found a place to stay via the tourism office, and headed out.  There are so many things we loved about Kassel, but the flower island is definitely a favorite in my mind.

Located in Karlsaue Park, Siebenbergen Island is at the southernmost part of the park and accessible by a small bridge.  It was only 2 EU to get in, and totally worth it!

The Island from across the river

The gate and footbridge that takes you onto the island


What's this? A blocked-off path? We should investigate...

Where the path led us. Magnificent.

Like I said, this was just one of MANY things we adored about Kassel.  If you’re ever in the area and looking for something lesser-known to do, make sure you check out the flower island in Karlsaue Park!

Travel Tuesday: Antigua, Guatemala

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One of the things I really love about my profession is that it allows me ample opportunity to do the thing I love the most: travel!  I had the opportunity to visit Guatemala in August 2009 as part of a dental relief mission and I have to say, I’m totally sold on the experience.  Helping people?  Check.  Visiting remote parts of the globe? Check.  Enough time off to make a vacation out of it? Check.  It’s an all-around win!

On this trip, we spent 5 days in Chichicastenango, Guatemala, a city known for its outdoor market and difficult-to-reach-by-car location.  After those five days, we spent 3  more days relaxing and enjoying the city of Antigua.  Although I had never heard of Antigua before, it’s only an hour outside of Guatemala city and quite the destination both in Latin America and for European travelers.  The colonial influence is amazing, I was totally captivated by the beauty of this charming little town.

The arch in the middle of town; it used to connect the nunnery and the monastery, and supposedly the arch is full of the babies who came about as a result...

The fountain in Central Park

The Cathedral of San Jose, just off of Central Park

By far, the best part of being in Antigua was stumbling upon a cathedral in ruins.  We were simply wandering the streets of the city trying to take in as much as we could, and spotted some ruins behind a fence.  Once we turned a corner, we found that we could enter the ruins and look around (for a price, of course).  Let me tell you, it was SO worth it!  To this day, it’s one of my favorite travel experiences.

I can’t seem to find the name of it anywhere, but fortunately I took some pictures of signs posted and have dates:

Built 1545, destroyed by an earthquake in 1773 and in ruins ever since

This is by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever stepped into.  Despite the ruin and open ceiling, it still had the feeling of a church.

Looking towards the altar. Can you spot the mayan influence?

Amazing, right?

It was really difficult to capture the beauty and grandeur of this place, the pictures don’t even do it justice.  It was breathtaking.  We spent an hour or so exploring the ruins and taking photos before we had to leave and meet the group for dinner.  On our way to the restaurant, we were greeted with this beautiful sight:

The peak is obscured by the clouds, but this is one of the many volcanos overlooking the city of Antigua: Volcan de Agua.  Which reminds me…. volcano hiking is another popular activity in Antigua, but that story is just going to have to wait for another Tuesday!

Travel Tuesday-Early Morning Honolulu

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I spent some time vacationing in Hawaii last summer and absolutely loved it!!  Though Maui was my favorite, I still enjoyed Oahu.  My first morning there I was wide awake by 6am due to jet lag.  One friend was heading to work and the other hadn’t gotten in yet, so I explored Honolulu and Waikiki Beach by myself before crowds of tourists took over.  Everything was quiet and calm, definitely one of the more relaxing parts of my trip!

Ala Moana Park

View of the city from the far end of Ala Moana. It rained for a few minutes, then got sunny and beautiful again!

One of my favorite pictures I have ever taken!

The first of many rainbows I saw

Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial-A WWI Memorial

Diamond Head Crater

So if you are looking to avoid the crowds at Waikiki Beach you don’t have to go far-you just have to wake up early!

Travel Tuesday-San Francisco

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Not feeling very inspired today due to lots of studying and the whole responsible adult thing.  So here’s a few pictures from my recent trip to San Francisco. I have a million more to edit, so these are just a few from my phone edited in Instagram.  I know I’m probably the last Iphone user in the country to discover this app, but I’m obsessed!

View of San Francisco from Alacatraz

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge in the fog

Travel Tuesday-Tierpark Adventure

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It looks like we will be going on vacation again in June and I am so excited!!  Just the thought of travel makes me so happy, I can’t even put it into words!  In an effort to placate my travel bug until my next trip, I am determined to start writing down and sharing some of my better travel stories.  Hoping to make this a weekly thing!

Last May, Danae and I spent some time in Germany.  We both LOVED it and I’m hoping to eventually commemorate all (well most) of our adventures on the blog.  We spent a night in Sababurg at the Dornröschenschloss Sababurg-the castle that the Grimm Brothers wrote the original Sleeping Beauty story about!

When we decided to stay at the castle, we just thought about how awesome staying at a castle would be, not that it was out in the middle of the country.  So after arriving mid-day and checking in, we found ourselves with nothing to do.  Dinner wasn’t for a few hours and there was no town to explore, which had been our daily activity.  The front desk recommended we visit the zoo next door.  Around since 1571, the Tierpark Sababurg is the oldest preserved zoo in Germany.

I’m not really an animal person but considering our lack of options, we decided to hit the Tierpark.  There was a path through the countryside (and possibly a few people’s backyards) that included statues of the Grimm Brother’s fairy tales, just in case we forgot we were staying at the Sleeping Beauty  Castle.

Mother Goose

Princess and the Frog

As had become our daily ritual, we had a snack of beer and cake at the biergarten in the zoo.  There’s no open container law, so in Germany they sell booze pretty much everywhere.  And the smallest beer size is usually 0.5L.  It was pretty amazing.

Since we knew about 3 words in German, we took a picture of the sign and set off excited to see what kind of animals they have in a German zoo.  For whatever reason we were expecting something cool and foreign.  We were a bit disappointed.

Bunnies in the petting zoo (kontaktbereich) area that ran away when we walked toward them

Penguins in the filthiest pool I have ever seen (according to the website there is a new penguin area as of September...return trip?)

Wildschweine! Wild boars (or extremely obese pigs)

Malnourished looking sheep

Two-toned sheep


A molting chicken

And a turkey

At this point we were bored since we had basically only seen barnyard animals.  The turkey gobbled and we found this hilarious.  So we started rattling its cage to make it gobble more.  The more it got mad and gobbled, the more we laughed.  I’m sorry if this offends any animal lovers out there, but here is a video:

While the turkey provided us with a few minutes of entertainment, we decided to leave the pathetic excuse for a zoo and head back.  Cutting across the donkey petting zoo area was the fastest way.  It was really more of a giant field where the donkeys roamed free instead of a petting area.  We were about halfway across when we saw a baby donkey running towards us.  We kept walking, assuming it will slow down or stop.  It was doing nothing but picking up speed and we started freaking out a little bit.  About a foot in front of us it suddenly stopped, then runs to me and starts biting my bag and hip checking me.  It might have been a baby, but that sucker was strong and it nearly knocked me over a few times.  I was yelling and trying to keep it from eating my bag, while Danae was laughing and taking pictures.  After a minute of me slowly trying to back away, it loses interest and runs off again.  We left the kontactbereich area as fast as we could, and took the long way back to the exit!

It may look like I am happily petting an animal, but that is actually a look of pure terror!

The little devil hiding behind a tree stump

Stay out of the kontactbereich!

Confused as to why they have kept this place open since 1571

We decided to take a different route back to the castle and realized we about a quarter mile later that we were walking along the autobahn.  Probably not our smartest decision ever, but we had some good scenery!!

Pretty view of the countryside from the autobahn

The autobahn and Sababurg Castle

A zoo full of barnyard animals, getting attacked by a baby donkey, and walking along the autobahn all in one afternoon…it is random experiences like these that make for the best stories and make me love travel!!