I love discovering new areas around places I am familiar with. It always amazes me how it is possible to find hidden gems in our local surroundings we thought we knew every corner of. Last week when I was back in my hometown of Bradenton, Florida I found one of these great hidden spots (hidden to me at least!) and was totally surprised at what I found. An Artsy little village, filled with small galleries and cafes…Village of the Arts.
Scotland is a very special place for me. Despite it’s colder climate and often cloudy skies, this is one of my favorite countries to visit. There is something special about driving through the Scottish countryside. It’s vastness and misty (ever changing) weather make for somewhat of a magical place. You can feel the history here. It runs deep in the veins of the land and the people who live here.
While I have only been to Scotland twice, I thought I’d share some of my tips for visiting this amazing country. Whether you have been to Scotland many times, or are planning your first trip, I hope some of these travel tips will help you plan your journey!
Over the past few years I’ve found when traveling that I (and my family) are enjoying the experience of staying in a house rather than a hotel. Something about having your own little place while being on holiday is so much nicer to me. You can cook, relax, and spread out which in my opinion makes a holiday all that much more enjoyable. For this reason I’ve started using some of the great tools out there to find places to rent when we go on trips. Dwellable is one of those great tools and they just released a new version of their travel app which makes me like them even more!
The Nymphenburg Schloss (or Nymphenburg Palace) is a great stop if you are visiting Munich. The building itself is a typical tourist destination in this city, but the gardens behind it are an attraction all on their own. Even in the winter. And while there is an entry fee to visit the palace itself, the park behind the Schloss is free for everyone.
Every time I am back in my home state I find new little corners to visit. Places that I, quite frankly, never paid any attention to when I lived there. I think it’s one of the great positive aspects of moving to a place far far away…you appreciate your homeland in a way you may not have otherwise. Last time we were back we headed north from my parents house to Homosassa Springs, and it was like entering a totally different world. A beautiful, untouched, old Florida type world.
A few weeks ago, the husband and I decided to visit Giraffe Ranch while we were in Florida. First off, let me say this is not a theme park or a zoo…it’s a reserve. And it is amazing. The property is about 50 acres and almost all of the animals are able to roam freely among the land and interact with each other. (Except for the promiscuous donkey…I”ll get to that later though) Anyhow…they have zebras, ostriches, giraffes (naturally), rinos, cattle, camels, goats, lemurs, pigs, hippos, and quite a few other animals, all of which you get a very up close and personal experience with. In my opinion, this place is the coolest.
(*Click on photos to enlarge)
Even though I have lived at the foot of the Alps for about 4 years now, I have (embarrassingly) just discovered overnight Alpine hiking. Although I have been on many trips around Munich for day hikes…ie- here, here, and here… I had yet to experience the true joy of spending the night in the mountains. And let me tell you right now, it. is. amazing.
One of my favorite things about living in Bavaria is visiting the Alps and spending a day outdoors around one of the many lakes in the area. Some of my favorites such as the Walchensee, Tegernsee, and Staffelsee I have visited over and over…but recently a friend took me hiking at the Schliersee and it was equally as beautiful!
Lake Garda (Lago di Garda, or Gardasee) is located in the Northern part of Italy just a short 4-5 hour drive from Munich. Although this area can be filled with German tourists, it still should make it onto your checklist of places to travel. It. is. gorgeous. We went at the height of travel season and while Riva del Garda was absolutely packed, Limone sul Garda was only moderately full and really beautiful!
Bavaria is so picturesque, a person could literally go anywhere south of Munich and find magnificent places to visit. I know we frequently hop in the car and just drive south to see what we find and are never disappointed! This particular day though, some friends of mine took me for a bike ride and hike around the Staffelsee (Lake Staffel) and the Murnauer Moos (literally translated: Murnau swamp) and it was instantly one of my favorite places I’ve visited to date.