The Greatest Beerfest In All Of The World – My Take On Oktoberfest

Just in time for Dan and my third Oktoberfest, here is my take on the greatest beerfest in all of the world!  We will be there the second week and are also attending the Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart!  Prost!

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Paloquemao Market in Bogota, Colombia

As a lot of people say, one of the best ways to see a culture is through visiting a local market and trying the foods that the locals eat on a regular basis.  But that can be very difficult.  Especially in countries without an advanced tourism markets and/or those where you don’t speak the language, like me in Bogota, Colombia.

Bogota’s biggest and most important market is Paloquemao Market, located right in the center of Bogota in the Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao.  The market is large and from afar and looks more like a big factory than a market.  It is also extremely busy, with very few tourists.

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Yes, We Went to Stockholm in January and Loved It!

Finally, a post about my favorite continent, Europe!

Dan and I wanted to get away for a long weekend in January.  Somewhere new, somewhere not too expensive (this one didn’t exactly pan out) and somewhere that we felt we could experience over a long weekend.  I did some online research and, surprise, Stockholm, Sweden came out as our destination!  Crazy you probably think!  Actually, Stockholm made for a great long weekend and I plan to do something similar next year!

Here are some pictures of the old town, Gamla Stan!  So cute, and very Old Europe!

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Mendoza Part 1: An Introduction

Dan and I visited Mendoza in November on our trip to Argentina! I liked everything about Mendoza, and recommended it as a short getaway to anyone in northern or western Argentina or northern Chile.

Mendoza is in Western Argentina in the Cuyo desert region, and it is the capital of the Mendoza province.  The city is a popular spot for wine production and tourism. While best known for wine, Mendoza has a number of adventures for the outdoorsy. Its near the Andes mountain range, including Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside Asia. There are opportunities to hike, fly fish, partake in extreme sports, etc.  But, we didn’t come to Mendoza to be extreme, we came to drink wine, and drink wine we did! Continue reading

A yummy, independent find in Daytona Beach – Chucherias Hondureñas

Chucherias Hondureñas is an adorable little restaurant in the Holly Hill section of Daytona Beach, Florida, and an excellent find, as many of the restaurants in the area of national chains…

Chucherias Hondureñas is extremely small.  We called and made a reservation the day before and got a table for four at 7:00 with no problem.  While the restaurant is small, it has a lot of charm and feels a world away from Daytona Beach.  The setting is intimate.  The waitstaff was attentive.  A guitarist played during our dinner.  Verrrry charming!  Not the chain restaurants!

The menu is small and heavily seafood based, but there were meat and vegetarian options, as well.  There was a lengthy special-of-the-day menu.

In addition, the restaurant has a fancy cocktail list, which we started with.  Loving the straw-wrapped detail!

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Dan and I started by splitting the curry conch soup, and it was so delicious!  The “serving size” is plenty to split between two people.  They will even put it in two separate bowls.  The soup-base was very flavorful and there was plenty of conch.

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Next, we ordered the ham croquettes.  Also excellent!  The croquettes came with a yummy spicy mustard sauce.  Call me plain, but these were my favorite!

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For mains, I ordered El Cubano – or the cuban sandwich, which I had read about online.  The reviews were correct – it was so, so, so good!  The cuban is made with seasoned roast pork, sliced ham, swiss cheese and an amazing garlic sauce.  It was also huge, and I ate almost the entire sandwich!  It came with a side salad and a few fried plantains.  Plenty of food.  While it was not the most exciting thing on the menu, I would absolutely order this again!

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Dan ordered a shrimp dish, but for the life of me, I cannot remember its name.  He really enjoyed it and it was made with coconut milk.  Dan’s plate was also large and he loved it!

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We finished with the Crema Catalana.  A delicious creme brûlée-type dish made with spanish custard, caramelized sugar and fresh fruit.  This was similar to creme brûlée, but decidedly different.  Much smoother and not as heavy.  Dan’s aunt and I loved it!

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In sum, I absolutely loved this restaurant!  The food was high quality and it was nice to find a non-chain restaurant in Daytona Beach.  Recommended!

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Chucherias Hondureñas

The Market, 101 2nd Street, Holly Hill, FL 32117

Note – While the address states “Holly Hill,” this is right in Daytona Beach.

A Weekend in Salzburg, Austria – September 2014

The last stop of Eurotrip2014 was Salzburg, Austria! Salzburg has long been on my travel wish list, and I was very happy to travel here!

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We rented an apartment in Apartment City, which was a great location just off the Getreidegasse, between the Altstadt and the University area.  Gorgeous views from the apartment!  In addition to the views, there was a beautiful old church that turned into what appeared to be a drug-fuled, underage rave on Friday…luckily it stopped at midnight, and went right back to a church on Sunday morning!  #clubchurch

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We arrived on a Friday night, and our first stop was Augustiner Bräu Mülln – also long on my wish list!  Augustiner Bräu is a brewery and beer hall, serving delicious, delicious beer and housing a variety of stalls selling food.

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On our first full day, we toured all of Salzburg’s best sites, including the Mirabell Palace Gardens, Mozart Square and residences, the Salzburg Cathedral and the Festung Hohensalzburg.

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We also stopped for coffee, breakfast and the famous Sacher Torte at Cafe Sacher.  The cake was decadent!  Bucketlist  – check!

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After hitting the “must see” list, it was finally time for shopping on the Getreidegasse!  The Getreidegasse is a pedestrian-only shopping street abounding with international chain stores, restaurants and tourist shops selling Mozart balls and countless other Mozart paraphernalia. In addition, to shopping, Getreidegasses is quite picturesque, as all of the stores, including the McDonalds, have metal signs displaying a picture of their wares, harking back to the time when the masses were illerate.  The street was so picturesque, I returned early Sunday morning to take pictures without the crowds.

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My favorite shop on Getreidegasse was a small shop called Spirtuosen Sporer.  Sporer is a family-owned liquer store, selling countless varieties of flavored brandy and schnapps – from pine to edelweiss to blackberry – since 1903.  We tried a variety of samples and all bought bottles to take home.  Plan accordingly, Sporer is closed on Sunday and closes at 5 on Saturday.

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Later that evening, we dined at a delicious restaurant – Bärenwirt.  his may have been the best schnitzel I had on the trip (close with my Hallstatt schnitzel), and this was certainly our best meal in Salzburg.  Our waitress spoke perfect English and was extremely friendly.  The mean ended with a complementary bowl of gummy bears!

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Our final day (SAD), began with a stroll down an empty Getreidegasse for pictures and then a visit to the famous Cafe Tomaselli for some truly delicious coffee!

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After, we set out for what was one of the most fun events of the trip!  We walked about 30 minutes to the Stiegl-Brauwelt, or the Stiegl brewery, for a brewery tour!  This is truly a great brewery tour and it is one of the best I have ever taken.  The brewery also has a restaurant, beer garden and a fabulous giftshop!

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We ended the trip on a touristy note by a Mozart dinner concert at the Restaurant St. Peter Stiftskeller.  The performance was very good and the location was gorgeous.  A good way to end the trip!

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I was very sad to leave, but we had a great time in Salzburg!

Cafe Sacher

We stopped for coffee, breakfast and dessert at the famous Cafe Sacher after visiting the Mirabell Palace Gardens. The cafe is very close to the Gardens and Mozart’s birthplace and makes for a great break before or after.

We walked right in and took a seat. Despite its fancy exterior, you can wear whatever you want to the cafe. Plenty of tourists stroll in wearing something terrible. To my surprise, Cafe Sacher has a full menu (breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktails).

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We opted for breakfast, coffee and dessert!  Dan definitely ordered best!  He choose eggs with truffled ham.  SO DELICIOUS!!!!  I opted for the vegetarian baguette, which was just mediocre.  I guess that is what I get for ordering vegetarian.  The coffee was great – I had the cappuccino with a side of their liqueur.  After, we all had the famous Sacher Torte!  The cake was so decadent, rich chocolate with an apricot jam in the middle, topped with whipped cream and a Sacher chocolate!

The cake was quite big for the price and was easily split between two people.

LOGISTICS

Cafe Sacher

Hotel Sacher Salzburg

Schwarzstraße 5-7

A-5020 Salzburg

Tel.: +43 (0) 662 889 770

Bärenwirt Salzburg

In Salzburg, we dined at a delicious restaurant a short walk from our apartment – Bärenwirt.  This restaurant is just up the hill from the Altstadt on the way to Augustiner Bräu.  We walked by this restaurant earlier in our trip, and we were so glad that we returned!  Dan and I dined on pumpkin soup, a meat platter, schweinschnitzel and German chocolate cake. YUM!! This may have been the best schnitzel I had on the trip (close with my Hallstatt schnitzel), and this was certainly our best meal in Salzburg.  Our waitress spoke perfect English and was extremely friendly. The meal ended with a complementary bowl of gummy bears – so cute!  When the waitress saw that we were excited about the gummy bears, she gave us some extras in a to go bag!

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Bärenwirt also claims to have “the best friend chicken.” Craig tried it, and he seemed to like it.  Growing up in Virginia, it was hard for me to get on board with this.  However, it seemed like a valiant attempt.

LOGISTICS

Bärenwirt Salzburg

Müllner Hauptstraße 8

5020 Salzburg

Tel +43 (0)662 422 404

We didn’t make a reservation and were able to walk-in around 8 on a Saturday.

Munich During Oktoberfest – Eurotrip 2014

The second stop on Eurotrip2014 was Munich, Germany (or München, in German) for Oktoberfest, and just because we love Munich!  Munich is the capital and largest city in the State of Bavaria in the South of Germany.  Munich (and the whole of Bavaria) has a very specific culture, and is very proud of that culture. Think beer, leiderhosen, pretzels – that’s Bavarian!  This was my third trip to Munich, and I was very excited to hit a few places that have long been on my wish list, but that I had not previously had time to visit.

Visiting Munich during Oktoberfest is a beast in itself.  Munich is extremely crowded and much of the city is focused on Oktoberfest – meaning some attractions will be closed all together, such as tours of the major Munich breweries, or on certain, unspecified days (to allow its employees to enjoy Oktoberfest with family & friends).  Weekends are the most crowded.  When we visited, we got stuck walking to our hotel for about an hour while the Costume and Rifleman’s Parade passed.  It was cool to see, but very unexpected.  Most attractions, aside from the brewery tours, will be open for most of Oktoberfest, so if you keep a flexible attitude you will be fine.  Also, hotels book up extremely early (AT LEAST 6 months in advance).  We booked our hotel in February.  Be guided accordingly.  You DO NOT want to be stuck at Oktoberfest without a place to stay!  I also recommend confirming the opening hours of all must see attractions, tours, etc. before leaving home and buying transportation before arriving in Munich.  Trains, planes and buses book up, too!

Enough warning, Munich is a great city anytime, and especially during Oktoberfest!  Per usual, our first stop was the Hofbräuhaus for lunch and beer!  Hofbräu is one of the large six breweries in Munich (along with Löwenbräu, Augustinerbräu, Paulaner, Hacker-Paschor and Spaten), and certainly the most famous in the US.  Dan is a big fan of the Hofbräuhaus because they have a lot of pork dishes that are not very expensive.  Actually, none of the food at Hofbräu is very expensive – its a solid budget option.

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We had planned to go shopping after lunch, but all of the shops were closed on Sunday (take note – all shops in Munich are closed on Sunday).  Instead, we checked out another famous beer hall, Augusinerbräu, which is also one of the big six Munich breweries.  This was my first visit to Augustiner and I really enjoyed it.  Augustiner had an atmosphere similar to Hofbräu, but was decidely less touristy.  We drank beers, listened to the band and made some new friends.  After Augustiner, we went to bed to prepare for Oktoberfest!

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Our other non-Oktoberfest day in Munich  was dedicated to the city and its history.  First up was one of my favorite places in Munich, the Viktualienmarkt.  The Viktualienmarkt is a huge, open-air market in the center of Munich.  Its open everyday and contains stalls selling crafts, food, wine, beer, candy, you name it.  We shopped around for a bit and lunched on traditional Bavarian food & fancy focaccia sandwiches.  The Viktualienmarkt is free to visit and it makes for great souvenir shopping and eating!

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After lunch, we had a busy afternoon, two tours and the Residenz…ready, set, go!  First up was Sandemans Free Walking Tour, which is a free, three hour tour of Munich that hits all the highlights, including Frauenkirche (inside & outside below, including the Devil’s footprint!), and gives a very decent historical overview. I  did this tour on one other occasion and it was good both times.  You can make reservations online.  Also, you should tip your guides!!  We tipped €10/person, but thats up to your discretion.

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We left the tour after about an hour and a half to tour the Residenz Museum.  The Residenz museum is the former palace of the wealthy Wittelsbach family, who ruled Munich for many, many years (huge influence!).  There are many rooms and gardens to visit, and you could really spend hours here!  We walked through the palace rooms, but regrettably did not see the Cuvilliés Theater or the Treasury.  I guess that will have to wait to 2016!  My favorite rooms were the Ancestral Gallery and the Antiquarium (below).  I also enjoyed the outdoor gardens, which are free!

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After rushing through the Residenz, we had a second tour at 5:00 with Mike’s Bike Tours (adjourned from Sunday due to rain…).  The tour started at 5:00, lasted about 2.5 hours and visited a few places that I had been wanting to see, namely the Munich surfers and the English Garden.  I had heard a lot about this tour, and was really excited to take it, but it was not that great and I do not think I would recommend it or take it again.  The surfers were really cool, though!

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Dan hates bike tours…191

Pryor loves bike tour guides…

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We ended the evening at the Residenz Weinstube, as recommended by our Mike’s Bike Tour Guide.  A good choice for inexpensive Bavarian fare!

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Here are some final, favorite pictures of Munich.  See you in 2016!

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Note – this post only pertains to Munich during Oktoberfest – not the actual Oktoberfest.  Stay tuned for my Oktoberfest post!

Have you been to Munich?  What were your favorite things to do and eat?  Any great day trips?

Dorfschänke

Dorfschänke was our first real meal of the Eurotrip2014, and it was so delicious!!  It remains a strong contender for best meal of the trip!

The restaurant is located in the new part of town, only a few blocks from where the Philosopher’s Walk ends (or begins…depending on where you start…we started the Philosopher’s Walk at the bridge end and ended just in time for dinner near Dorfschänke).

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We did not have a reservation, and we were immediately seated outside at our request.  Our waiver spoke perfect English and was very helpful in explaining the menu to us and their specialities.  Dorfschänke’s main speciality is Flammkuchen, which is a pizza-type meal that comes in savory and sweet flavors.  Yum!

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We started with local beers that came from a town about 15 kilometers away.  For dinner, Pryor and I split the savory flammkuchen, which was topped with tomatoes, bacon, veggies and cheese – and probably a few other delicious things.  It was AMAZING!  We also split a local pasta stuffed with cheese.  Unfortunately, we did not get a picture.  But, believe me, it was also amazing!  Dan and Craig ordered the cordon bleu schnitzel and they seemed happy.  For dessert, we split the sweet flammkuchen (pictured above).

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All in all, this restaurant was so delicious  I would recommend it to anyone in Heidelberg!

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Dorfschänke

Lutherstr. 14

69120 Heidelberg-Neuenheim

0 62 21 – 41 90 41

Notes – When we visited, the crowd seemed to be mostly locals.  I would recommend calling ahead for a reservation in busy season.