Cafe Zambezi: When You Want To Eat Caterpillars In Zambia

Livingstone, Zambia is a walkable town with a number of restaurants that seem tourist-friendly.  On our first night, we ended up walking just down the street from our hotel to Cafe Zambezi, an Africa/Caribbean restaurant located in a strip mall!  Odd mix!

While its in a strip mall, the restaurant is quite large.  The front is all enclosed like a normal pub, but the back opens up to include outdoor seating!  The crowd was a mix of locals and tourists, both international and African, and one could certainly meet fellow travelers here.  All of the staff spoke English and were quite accommodating!

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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 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.

The First Stop On EuroTrip2014 – A Weekend In Heidelberg, Germany

In September, Dan and I embarked on Eurotrip2014 – an eleven day trip to Hiedelberg, Germany, Munich, Germany (our biennial Oktoberfest trip!), Hallstatt, Austria and Salzburg, Austria with his brother, Craig, and our friend, Pryor.  We hosteled it up and traveled by train – just like college…kind of.  So much fun!!

Our first stop was Heidelberg, Germany for two days and two nights.  Heidelberg is a town on the River Neckar in South-West Germany, about an hour from Frankfurt and three hours from Munch.  It is in the Baden-Wurttemberg state, has a large university and is right in German wine country!  Because so many people have asked, I will go ahead and tell you that I choose to weekend in Heidelberg first due to its proximity to the Frankfurt airport and Munich, and then due to the castle and generally hearing that the town made for a nice stop.  The main focus of Eurotrip2014 was obviously Oktoberfest, but I wanted to see another town in Germany, as well, and Heidelberg fit the bill!  Mark Twain’s review didn’t hurt either!

After settling in and checking into our sweet hostel, Lotte – The Backpackers (it was seriously an awesome place to stay and so inexpensive), we went straight to Heidelberg Castle – the one must-see attraction in Heidelberg.  The Castle has gorgeous views of the city.  We took the guided English tour, which allowed us to see the Castle’s interior and gave us the history of the castle.

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After touring the interior and the outdoor grounds, we stopped for a wine tasting at the Great Tun, aka the largest wine vat in the world, which just happens to be in Heidelberg Castle.  Viewing the Great Tun is included with your castle ticket and a wine bar has been set up next to the Great Tun offering wine flights at a great price.  Three heavy pours of local wine for €7!

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After our wine, we made our way down from the Castle and walked across the Alt Brücke to the Philosopher’s Walk to try to catch the Castle at sunset.  As promised, the Philosopher’s Walk had some great views, although I am not sure the views are any better at sunset.

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For dinner on our first night, we dined at Dorfschänke, which was very close to the end of the Philosopher’s Walk (or beginning) in the New Town.  This was our first real meal of the trip, and it was so delicious!!  Their speciality is Flamkuchen, a local pizza-type dish in sweet and savory.  We tried both!  YUM!

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We got really lucky the next day – it was scheduled to rain, but it turned out to be a perfect day – sunny and in the seventies!  Heidelberg is such a gorgeous town.  Beautiful sceneray, beautiful flowers everywhere.  We took some great pictures while strolling through the town!

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We started the day at Cafe Gundel for coffee and breakfast (well, cake).

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After breakfast, we toured the the Church of the Holy Spirit, which, aside from the Castle is the centerpiece of the town.  There is a little market near the church on saturdays, but we slept through it… We went stright up the Church’s bell tower to take in the town views from the top.  The walk to the bell tower was steep and very narrow, but the views were lovely.  Totally worth the €3!  We also checked out the inside of the Church, which dates to the 1400s and is loaded with history and rotating art displays.

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After touring the Church of the Holy Spirit, we spent the rest of the day shopping in the Altstadt.  Some of our favorite finds were: Schneeballin (a round dessert from a few towns over), local beers at Brauhaus Vetter and Kulturbrauerei and the gummy bear stores!

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German Beers!

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Schneeballen!  I had the champagne one!

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Gummy window displays!  A cake, soccer  game and Oktoberfest-themed gummies!

We also visited the Heidelberg Monkey near the Alte Brücke.  Touching it is supposed to bring good luck or something like that…It just seemed like a dirty monkey to me.  We all took pictures, but its really just a tourist trap.

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We ended the day by making a withdrawal from the Schnitzelbank!  Haha- I had to say it!  The Schnitzelbank is not a bank at all, but a small restaurant/wine bar in old town.  It was delicious!

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And, finally, one last picture of the castle at night!  Until next time, Heidelberg!!  We had such a great time!

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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!

LOGISTICS

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.

Schnitzelbank

We dined at Schnitzelbank on our final night in Heidelberg.  Schnitzelbank is a small restaurant/wine bar in the Altstadt. It is tiny (but oh so charming), so make a reservation. We called the day of and got their final reservation. The specialty is obviously schnitzel! They have schnitzel in veal, pork, chicken and turkey. I ordered the pork in a mushroom sauce and it was very tasty. I also tried the turkey schnitzel in a dijon sauce, and that was tasty, as well (but also not fried – booooo). Dan ordered the schnitzel cordon bleu. That was fried and delicious; Dan won the dinner game!  All of the portions were big and came with some delicious sides.

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Schnitzelbank is a also a weinstube (a wine bar) with local wine von fass (on tap!)! Schnitzelbank had an extensive wine list and the waiter – who spoke great English – helped us choose some delicious, local wines! To my lovely surprise, reisling can be dry, and red (who would have known?!), and Germany makes some good, red wines that are not super sweet! If you are in the Heidelberg area, you should definitely check out a weinstube! Wine seemed more important to the people here than beer (a change from Bavaria!), and we were happy to participate in the tradition.

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LOGISTICS

Weinstube Schnitzelbank

Bauamtsgasse 7

69117 Heidelberg

+49 6221 21189

 

Cafe Gundel

Cafe Gundel is a lovely little bakery in Heidelberg, very close to the stairs/funicular to the castle.  The first thing you will notice its its dreamy window display!  So pretty!  I had to stop in!742 To order at Cafe Gundel, you simply walk in and order from the small bakery counter.  Everyone spoke perfect English.  Cafe Gundel serves breads, sandwiches, quiche, and all sorts of desserty goodness.  You can pay at the counter and take it to go, or you can sit in the adjoining, table-service dining room (inside only, outside is a different restaurant…don’t make that mistake).  If you decide to eat-in, the bakery counter will give you a small ticket that you take to a table of your choice.  A waitress will be around shortly to take your drink order, and she will bring your bakery goods with your drink. 735 733 For my visit, I ordered a cappuccino and a fabulous blueberry cake – for breakfast!  Oh, vacation!  Dan ordered the quiche, and I had to try a bite.  It was also very good (although much less exciting).

Craig ordered an interesting sweet for breakfast. He ordered a Heidelberg speciality – a chocolate square with layers of chocolate on the inside and an edible stencil of the castle on the top.  YUM! 734 736 What a great spot for a quick, inexpensive meal!

LOGISTICS

Cafe Gundel