Monthly Archives: June 2014

Munich, Germany


Before the trip, I was so jazzed about Dublin and Salzburg, I didn’t have many expectations for Munich. It wasn’t a city “on my list,” but Kevin wanted to check it out, so I went with the flow. When Munich turned out to be totally awesome, it was a pleasant surprise! We were only in town for two days, so I would go back in a heartbeat to visit again. If you are a beer drinker, this city is for you!

We stayed at the Mercure Hotel Muenchen City Center across the street and down a block from the train station. It was great! It was walking distance from the train, clean, affordable and it had a free mini-bar with drinks and snacks! Plus the staff was SUPER friendly.

Our first stop? The Hofbrauhaus. The beer was delicious, the ambiance was great (the more polka, the better), and the sausage/sauerkraut was awesome!

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After our stop at the Hofbrauhaus, we stopped at the Glockenspiel Clock in the Marienplatz. Since our time in Munich was so short and we had many things we wanted to see, we didn’t have the luxury to be at the clock when it moved. Even without the movement, the Glockenspiel was a really cool stop.

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The next day, we decided to buy another set of Hop On/Hop Off bus passes since we liked them in Dublin so much. We took a guided tour of the city from the top of the double decker and stopped at Nymphenburg Palace and the Olympic Park from the 1972 Games. Without the bus pass, we probably wouldn’t have seen either of these places. Neither location was a “show-stopper” for me, but they were enjoyable. We also spent some time at BMW Welt – again we didn’t have time for a guided tour, but it was fun to sit in some of BMW’s nicest cars and “ride” on some of their motorcycles!

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Our dinner that night was recommended to us by our friend Ryan from Dublin. He said get the Kaese Spaetzle. This dish is basically loaded mac and cheese. With an ice cold German beer, it was the most delicious mac and cheese I’ve ever had! If you like lots of cheese and onion, this dish is a must-try!


Two days was not nearly enough in Munich. I would have liked to stayed for four or five days and done some more touring inside and outside of the city.I cannot wait to explore more of Germany someday – the region of Bavaria will remain on my “favorite places” list.


The Hills are Alive!


Since I was out of the womb, The Sound of Music has been my favorite movie. Salzburg (because of its iconic Sound of Music Tour) had been #1 on my Bucket List for as long as I can remember. We flew Aer Lingus from Dublin to Munich and then took a train to Salzburg right away. The train ride from Munich to Salzburg was about two hours. The German signs at the train station were pretty difficult to read, especially since neither Kevin or I had any experience with the German language. Luckily, in Munich a lot of folks spoke English, and we could ask. We found less English-speakers in Salzburg.

Upon our arrival in the afternoon, we walked around the Old Town, and I wish we had a hotel located there instead of on the outskirts of the city. We decided to stay outside of Old Town to save a couple of bucks but looking back, it would have been nice to spend the money on staying closer to the historic city center. The little shops and cafes were so much fun to experience at a leisurely pace. One of our favorite parts of our trip to Austria was the outdoor polka festival we stumbled upon downtown that first night! Yummy beer, pretzels the size of your head, and beautiful city scenery…what better?!

One thing to note: everything in the city shuts down by 8PM. What a delight! Kevin and I prefer to get up early and go to bed early anyway, so the Salzburg lifestyle worked just fine for us!

Our second day was the Sound of Music tour.  I am aware that I am a tad over-dramatic and highly emotional, so needless to say tears of joy streamed down my face on the tour. Everything was so just so lovely and wonderful, I will let the pictures speak for themselves. The hills truly are alive.

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One thing to note, is that there are a lot of parts of the movie that were filmed in a studio (such as the inside of the VonTrapp House), so the stops on the tour were the ones filmed on location such as Mirabelle Gardens for the Do Re Mi song. The absolute best part of the tour was going up into the mountains to the town of Fuschl – the views were out of this world.

Kevin and I absolutely loved Salzburg, and we cannot wait to go back.

Luck of the Irish


Since buying our first house was the #1 priority for the year we got married (2012), we postponed our “European Honeymoon” and went as a two-year anniversary gift to ourselves! We chose three locations for our European Extravaganza: Dublin, Salzburg, and Munich.

Geographically speaking, Salzburg and Munich are only a quick train ride away from one another, so grouping them together made sense, but why Dublin you ask? Well aside from hearing great things about the city, it was WAY cheaper to fly to Dublin than to Germany or Austria. Living in Atlanta flights are usually pretty affordable and convenient due to the large airport, but we always check nearby airports just to see if we can get a better deal. It just so happened that flying out of Chattanooga, Tennessee would save us around $700, so we made the two hour drive to the Chattanooga Airport. For that kind of savings we thought that was a GREAT bargain! (It felt a little silly having a layover in our home city of Atlanta, but more to spend on our trip, right?!)

Because Kevin travels for work, he is used to staying at hotels. I decided to change it up a bit and research some Bed & Breakfasts! He was a little bit nervous about the whole idea at first, but he was a good sport and tried it all the same. We actually had a great experience at the B&B we stayed at. Tinode House  on Drumcondra Road was less than 2 miles from city center. We purchased the Leap Card for the bus system which basically stopped right in front of Tinode House. We used the city buses a lot – they were clean and had free WiFi! I would definitely recommend purchasing the Leap Card. Not only did we have great hosts (thanks Maureen and PJ!), but we also had a private bathroom and a full Irish breakfast each morning!

For our first full day on the Emerald Isle, we decided to purchase the Hop On/Hop Off Bus Tour. Another fantastic idea! Since we were wanting to see the tourist-y things, it was perfect and stopped everywhere we wanted to go and then some! It costed about 20 Euro for the day. It was different than the Leap Card because it only stopped at about 30 tourist destinations whereas the Leap Card we purchased was for the city buses.

Above: Tinode House (left), Hop On/Hop Off Bus (right)

We arrived in Dublin in the late afternoon, so we decided to venture out for dinner. One of our neighbors in Atlanta has a twin brother, Ryan, who lives in Dublin, and we gave him a call and he took us out! Ryan brought us to a local pub called The Black Sheep with craft brews, whiskey, and board games. Later on, we made a stop at the iconic Temple Bar, but Kevin and I certainly preferred the local experience. If you are ever in Dublin, check out The Black Sheep – what a blast! Looking back, it was one of our favorite parts of the trip.

Above: The Black Sheep (left), Temple Bar (right)

Guinness was our first stop on day 2! While they don’t let you inside the REAL brewery, they provide a museum-like experience with interactive activities including learning how to pour a Guinness properly, a tasting room, and some neat displays on the brewing process. We spent about three hours there.

After a nice little buzz, we went on to some other attractions in the city such as Trinity College and Christ Church Cathedral. The Trinity Library was hands-down my favorite site in Dublin. The rain was kind of a bummer, but expect that in Ireland and bring an umbrella – we were certainly glad we had ours! Our last stop of the day was an unplanned excursion: Kilmainham Gaol (a former prison). I had never heard about this place until the guide on the bus tour mentioned it, so Kevin and I decided to “hop off” and check it out. We spent about two hours on a guided tour of the jail learning about the history of the 1916 Easter Rising. This attraction was another trip highlight and recommended for those who enjoy history. We went to the Chilli Banana near our B & B for dinner and had a delightful Thai meal. I had already done fish and chips twice, so I needed something different!

For our final day in Ireland, we decided to use our Leap Cards to go outside of the city to the town of Howth. It was a 40 minute bus ride, so technically Howth is considered a suburb of Dublin. Our B&B owner recommended this town to us, so we decided to try it out. What a lovely day by the sea! When I imagined Ireland before our trip, Howth was what I pictured in my head. It was a quaint village with some restaurants and beautiful views! It could be a half day trip, so plan some time in your schedule to visit!

Above: Howth, Ireland

All in all, I think three days was plenty to see Dublin. We did not get the opportunity to see some other cities in Ireland like Cork or Galway, but maybe someday!