Prior to moving to Germany, I was never excited to see castles, it just wasn't something that was on the top of my list when thinking about traveling in Germany. All I was focused on doing was traveling outside of the country and taking advantage of cheap flights. Once I arrived to this awesome country, I realized my thoughts about living in Germany were super ignorant. I learned that Germany had and still has so much to offer that checking out castles turned out to be one of my favorite things to do when traveling around the country.
Going to the Black Forest seemed to be buzzing and for years I would make the presumption that going to the Black Forest would be a waste of time and that I could see other places in Germany instead. Boy, was I wrong! I finally decided to make a trip to Triberg for a short weekend trip and I'm so glad I did!
You don't have to be a "city" person to understand how to take the train around Germany. Actually, I would say anywhere in Germany would be the best place to learn how to utilize public transportation because the Deutsche Bahn (DB) is efficient, reliable, and punctual. Some countries don't have it nearly as good as the Germans have it when it comes to public transportation.
Although I have lived in cities most of my life, it wasn't until I moved to Germany that I learned how to take the train, the bus, and other means of public transportation. I'm here to explain and to guide you through your next planned trip by train in Germany.
You may notice that I enjoy traveling mostly alone while my husband is away for work, but it wasn't always that way. My first solo trip was not all that I expected it to be. While it was overall a great and rewarding experience, I was not entirely comfortable traveling alone in countries far away from home (Denmark, Sweden, and partly Norway).
Most of the 5 day trip, I was nervous, anxious to get it over with, and couldn't think clearly. My mind felt fuzzy and unsure. One morning in a hostel in Denmark, I almost didn't get out of the bed because I didn't want to push myself to leave that day. Nothing outside of my own mind was influencing me to feel that way. It was me the entire time causing a ruckus in my own head.
Let's be honest, being alone without any familiar resources, can be quite scary. But after some reevaluations and having the urge to travel alone again, I broke through the intimidating phase and now, for most trips, I don't hesitate to plan it solo. Although sometimes it still does seem a bit scary to travel alone, I never regret it in the end.
Currently in Germany, temperatures are unreasonably high so all I could think of doing this weekend was to cool down at Lake Constance (Bodensee). As confusing as it may sound, it seems to me that Lake Constance either doesn't belong to any country or it belongs to Switzerland, Austria and Germany all at the same time. No country can agree on what parts of the water define the international border lines between the 3 countries! What's neat is that you can start your morning with coffee and cake in Germany, cycle or hike over to Austria for lunch in Bregenz then end the evening watching the sunset while enjoying some local wine in Switzerland. Although just a day trip, Lake Constance was a great way to beat the heat this weekend. Here's a look at what I did while I was there:
Wandering through the beautiful lakefront villa gardens, accidentally missing the last ferry ride back to the train station, and enjoying some delicious seafood from Lake Como, I couldn't have imagined a better way to spend my short weekend trip at the exquisite Italian lake of Lago di Como. Here we are with another weekend adventure - short but sweet!
Illuminating blue waters in the Blue Lagoon, freshly caught seafood, and some of the best spots to try snorkeling or scuba diving - I call this the perfect weekend getaway, others call it Malta.
I'll be 1,000% honest with you when I say that before moving to Europe, the only Malta I knew was the drink! I had no clue there was an island (multiple islands), nonetheless a country, in the Mediterranean just in between Sicily and Northern Africa. I feel as if most Europeans know about Malta and keep it hidden, tucked away for their own good without sharing its goodness with everyone else - selfish, ha!
Once again, the husband and I went on another weekend adventure this past weekend! Now that the weather is warming up and summer activities are in full operation, I really wanted to see what all the craze was with "glamping". If you haven't heard of glamping yet, you just might be living under a rock! I would always see posts on Facebook about glamping, mostly in Slovenia and decided I would try it out on a long weekend one day.
So what is glamping you ask? If you haven't figured it out by now, glamping is a form of camping... but with luxury! Instead of pitching a tent and using basic necessities, you'll likely be able to sleep on a comfortable bed and receive services that you might receive if you were in a hotel or resort. It's not how I would always plan my trips but it was definitely something worth trying out and we enjoyed our time at Gostilna Bizjak near Preddvor, Slovenia.
I want to first off express to you all how much I deeply regret planning this trip because I planned it so wrong! I am so bothered that I didn't plan a LONGER trip for Andalucía! I'm trying to save up leave at work for a big trip the husband and I are planning for later this year so our trips now are kept to a maximum of 4 days and it's just not enough!
Even though I felt as if I didn't have nearly as much time as I needed, I am still very thankful to have shortly touched on this region of Spain. Spain is definitely one of our favorite countries to visit so we will have to plan a longer trip to Andalucía in the future. For now, I would like I share my 4 day weekend itinerary with things to do, accommodation and places to eat!
Too often I hear customers or even my friends say "I wish I knew ____ before moving here to Germany". Had they knew whatever it was that they were hoping to know, they probably could've planned or coped better with a situation. For some, maybe it'll deter them from coming here I suppose. I can completely understand that there are many differences in the lifestyle and culture from the US and living here in Germany.
The very first time I heard that I was moving to Germany almost 5 years ago, I had known 9 months in advance so I had plenty of time to research most of the things that I am about to list. But it is very common in the Military that you may not get an assignment or have orders in hand that early and might be rushing last minute leaving little to no time to prepare for your move.
Now, I am trying to be as unbiased as possible (I really am trying)! Having only lived in Ansbach and Grafenwoehr, I can only share from my experience being located in Bavaria but I can imagine this could be similar and helpful for anyone stationed around Germany (I would hope so). I also do not have children or have pets (sadly) so finding information about child age schools or veterinarians won't be available here. I would advise joining a Facebook group in the area you are PCSing to for more experience related topics there. This is not an official page, only information based on experiences.
As PCS season approaches, here's 100 (yes, one hundred) things you might want to know before you PCS to Germany:
I'll be the first to say that I've planned some trips that definitely went outside of my budget and I'll also say that I don't regret it one bit! I frikin live in Europe! Soon, I may never get this opportunity again- shoot, I may not even see tomorrow so I would be lying if I said every single one of my trips were "cheap".
For the most part, I do my best to plan cheap trips by snagging those under 50€ RT tickets from RyanAir, staying at cheap home rentals, or if I'm traveling alone I'll stay in a hostel, I'll go on free walking tours, cook my own food, etc.
But if you're traveling with other people aside from yourself, especially if you have a larger family, traveling can get expensive! If you're trying to travel cheapER, I may be able to tell you why you're probably not getting those cheap trips: