November 3, 2014

Wachau Valley, Austria

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

On the third day of our cruise with Gate 1 Travel, we woke up in the Bavarian village of Durnstein, one of the prettiest villages on the Danube. After spending an enchanting morning exploring this storybook town, we took an afternoon cruise through the scenic Wachau Valley, with incredible views of vineyards, castles, hilltop ruins and monasteries. This was one of my favorite days on the cruise!

Here is a link to the exact cruise we took.

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

This is the picturesque village of Durnstein.

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

This tiny Austrian village has less than 1,000 residents.

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

This is the “ferry” to get to the other side of the river, lol!

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

Durnstein is in the heart of Austria’s wine country. There were garden vineyards all over the village!

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

Medieval cobblestone streets lead the way…

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

Loved this blue church. It was built between 1721-1725.

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna Photo via Stephanie

Such a charming village!

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

At the top of hill are the ruins of the 12th century Dürnstein Castle.

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned here in 1193.

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

There’s a well-traveled path to the top of the ruins with stunning views all across the valley.

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

It’s about a 20 minute walk, and it’s pretty steep, but there are several places to stop and take a break on the way up. I totally did not wear the right kind of shoes (just ballet flats) but I was totally fine taking this walk. If it’s a nice, clear day, it’s totally worth it for the views alone!! :)

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

One last look at Dürnstein Castle overlooking the village.

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

After a refreshing morning hiking and exploring Dürnstein, we were treated to a sunny afternoon cruise through the scenic Wachau Valley.

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

Wachau Valley is one of the most picturesque regions in all of Austria. We had incredible views of vineyards, castles, churches and hilltop ruins the entire way.

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

Our cruise director was extremely knowledgeable about the region, and told us all about the castles, legends, and sites we were seeing as we sunbathed on the sun deck.

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

Fairytale Bavarian villages lined the shores.

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna Photo via Stephanie

This is St. Michael’s Church in Spitz, Austria. Inside is an altar made of human bones!

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

Hinterhaus Castle, Spitz, Austria

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna Photo via Stephanie

I could not get over how gorgeous the weather was. Just look at those clouds!!

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

Our guide also told us the difference between a castle and a palace. Castles were built solely for protection of the city, and were cold, damp, and not very pleasant to live in. Palaces on the other hand were built solely for the comfort of the royal family, and were plush and extravagant.

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

This fortress high on a hill has one of the best preserved medieval kitchens in Austria.

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

Schloss Schönbühel

Why you should add a cruise through the Wachau Valley in Austria to your bucket list!! #travel #bucketlist #wanderlust #austria #vienna

I probably should’ve taken notes, but I was too busy gawking!! :)

See more posts from our cruise!

And be sure to check out Stephanie’s posts from our trip!! :)


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October 30, 2014

Vienna, Austria

On Day 2 of our cruise with Gate 1 Travel, we woke up in Vienna, Austria! I loved this gorgeous city! It was so colorful and lively, with so much old world charm. There was tons to do and see. Vienna was also a fabulous foodie city! We got to eat one of the Best Desserts Around the World according to Travel + Leisure.

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna!

Here is a link to the exact cruise we took.

Gate 1 provided us with a very informative tour by a local tour guide first thing in the morning. It was extremely helpful in getting us oriented with the city. Afterwards when we went exploring on our own, we recognized the landmarks and knew where we were in relation to the city. :)

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

Mozart Statue in the Burggarten Garden

I loved these fun pink flowers planted in the shape of a treble clef in front of the Mozart Statue in the Burggarten Garden. Too bad the statue was being renovated when we were there, this would have been an awesome picture! :)

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

Austrian Parliament Building

This gorgeous Greek-style house of parliament comes complete with fountains and a statue of Athena out front. Not only does this building have the expected committee rooms and libraries inside, but there are also dining rooms, bars and even gyms!

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

Town Hall

The circus was in town in Vienna!! They often have festivals and markets set up in front of Town Hall. There is always something fun going on! Around the holidays there is a huge Christmas market here.

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

St. Peter’s Church

How breathtaking is St. Peter’s Church in Vienna? It’s so quiet and not crowded at all here because everyone is over at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. :) But St. Peter’s is definitely worth seeing too, and it’s free!

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

Seriously dying over this organ and clock!

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Be still my heart! St. Stephen’s Cathedral is a gothic style Catholic church located right in the heart of Vienna. Its ornate spires can be seen from all over the city, and are a major sight and symbol of Vienna. Loved the horse drawn carriages out front!

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

There are definitely more people here than at St. Peter’s Church, but we got right in with no line (it’s also free, with an optional donation box), and we didn’t feel too crowded or pushed around inside. :)

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

Der Liebe Augustin

Loved this lush courtyard in Vienna.

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

So much charm here. The ivy, the flags.

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

And this narrow, secluded passageway, begging to be explored.

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

Hundertwasserhaus

How funky is this apartment building in Vienna?? Young, hip residents of Vienna apply to live here, and once accepted, are allowed to live here for a few months at a time.

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

Hundertwasserhaus Fountain

How fun would it be to live here?? There is not a straight line in the entire architecture inside or out! I wonder what the rooms look like??

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

Xocolat

Xocolat was voted one of the Best Desserts Around the World by Travel + Leisure for their chocolates, truffles, and pralines. Of course we had to try some! I loved their creamy hazelnut truffle! :)

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

Demel Eiscreme Shop

How cute is this cafe? This traditional European cafe is perfect for popping in for a snack. Be sure to get the hot chocolate with whipped cream!! :)

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace was the 1,441-room summer home to the Habsburg emperors of Austria. This wasn’t even their regular palace, ya’ll. This was just their summer place. It’s modeled after Versailles, and even has it’s own Hall of Mirrors. Marie Antoinette grew up here, before moving to Versailles.

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna Photo via Stephanie.

Like Versailles, Schönbrunn has large, beautifully sculptured gardens in the back.

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

The sun sets directly behind the fountain for the perfect summer evening view. The structure at the top of the hill is the Gloriette, which houses a cafe with panoramic views of the city.

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna Photo via Stephanie.

Neptune Fountain

Another notable fact about Schönbrunn: Napoleon used the palace as his headquarters in the early 1800s when he occupied Vienna. He also married a member of the Habsburg family.

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

The rooms and apartments inside are gorgeously decorated and are very similar to those at Versailles. It’s definitely worth seeing if you are ever in Vienna!

10 Things You Have to See in Vienna

Tree Tunnel, Schönbrunn Gardens

We definitely needed more time to explore Vienna. I want to go back!

The next day we woke up in the most breathtaking, postcard-picturesque, quiet little town on the Danube River, in the Wachau Valley. More to come soon!!

Have a great weekend, friends!! xoxo

See more posts from our cruise!

And be sure to check out Stephanie’s posts from our trip!! :)


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A review of the 9-Day "Sound of Music" Gate1Travel European Danube River Cruise from Budapest to Munich.

After an amazing (and delicious!) few days in Budapest, it was time to get on the cruise!! We took a 9-day cruise with Gate 1 Travel from Budapest, Hungary to Munich, Germany. We got to see 4 countries and 7 cities. I loved waking up in a new city every day! We explored fun cities like Vienna and Salzburg in Austria, and wandered through quiet, postcard-picturesque villages along the river.

Here is a link to the exact cruise we took.

A review of the 9-Day "Sound of Music" Gate1Travel European Danube River Cruise from Budapest to Munich.

Our ship was called the MS Sound of Music!

A review of the 9-Day "Sound of Music" Gate1Travel European Danube River Cruise from Budapest to Munich.
Let me show you around our ship. :) It felt very cozy and not too big. There were only about 120 passengers on the boat. This was the lounge, with panoramic windows all around.

A review of the 9-Day "Sound of Music" Gate1Travel European Danube River Cruise from Budapest to Munich.
And this was the dining room. The dining room was very fancy!

A review of the 9-Day "Sound of Music" Gate1Travel European Danube River Cruise from Budapest to Munich. There was even a spa!

A review of the 9-Day "Sound of Music" Gate1Travel European Danube River Cruise from Budapest to Munich.

Here was our room for the week. It was of course on the smaller side, but there was still plenty of room for the two of us, even with our two giant suitcases. :) We had an Outside Cabin with French Balcony on the Danube Deck. It was in a great location (on the main floor, near the restaurant) and I loved being able to relax in the comfort of our own room with an amazing view of the scenery as we cruised by!

Tip: If you have multiple electronics you want to charge at night (phones, camera, laptop, iPad, Kindle, etc) be sure to bring a power strip with multiple outlets. There were only 2 outlets in the room, both on the desk. If you like to have your phone on your nightstand when you sleep, you may want to bring an extension cord as well. Make sure they are just plain, cheap power strips and not surge protectors. Surge protectors could short out because of the voltage difference when traveling internationally. (This happened to me before, and I never tried it again!)

A review of the 9-Day "Sound of Music" Gate1Travel European Danube River Cruise from Budapest to Munich.

And here’s a peek at the bathroom! It had surprisingly good lighting, water pressure, and counter space, and it came with all the amenities, like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, bar soap, liquid hand soap, sewing kit, vanity kit, hair dryer, etc.

A review of the 9-Day "Sound of Music" Gate1Travel European Danube River Cruise from Budapest to Munich.

All the food on the cruise was GORGEOUS!!! Just look at some of the beautiful, locally inspired dishes we were served! Lamb, prime rib, crepes, fried mashed potatoes, and some of the most beautiful desserts I’ve ever seen.

Hungarian Parliament Building at night, Budapest, Hungary

We began the cruise with incredible nighttime views of Budapest as we sailed out of the city.

Hungarian Parliament Building at night, Budapest, Hungary

How stunning does the House of Parliament look??!

Day 1: Bratislava

Bratislava Castle, Slovakia

We left Hungary’s capital of Budapest, and the next morning we woke up in Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia (formerly Czechoslovakia). This was our view of the beautiful Bratislava Castle high on a hill as we left the ship. We couldn’t wait to start exploring.

The Blue Church in Slovakia. You HAVE to see the inside of this church!! I want to get married here!!

Oh my gosh you guys. How GORGEOUS is this stunning blue church in Bratislava??! Just wait until you see the inside…

The Blue Church in Slovakia. You HAVE to see what it looks like on the outside!! I want to get married here!!

This is the Church of St. Elisabeth, commonly known as the Blue Church. It’s the perfect shade of blue inside and out!

The Blue Church in Slovakia. You HAVE to see what it looks like on the outside!! I want to get married here!!

Dying!! I want to get married here!!

Exploring Bratislava, Slovakia. I never knew how much hidden beauty this town held!

We spent a sunny afternoon strolling through Old Town, Bratislava.

A Pink Palace in Bratislava, Slovakia

We passed the pink and gold Primatial Palace.

Exploring Bratislava, Slovakia

In the square in front of Primatial Palace was a fountain with the emblem of Bratislava.

Exploring Bratislava, Slovakia

It was even on the manhole covers in Old Town!! Too fun!

The Roland Fountain in Bratislava, Slovakia

The Roland Fountain is in the heart of Old Town.

A quiet street near St. Michael's Gate, Bratislava, Slovakia

Next we walked down a gorgeous pedestrian street, toward St. Michael’s Gate.

A quiet street near St. Michael's Gate, Bratislava, Slovakia

We passed this quiet, cobblestone alley near St. Michael’s Gate.

A quiet street near St. Michael's Gate, Bratislava, Slovakia Photo via Stephanie.

Love.

Grassalkovich Palace, where the President lives, in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Finally, we went to see the President’s House, Grassalkovich Palace. It was kind of a mix between the White House and Buckingham Palace!

Grassalkovich Palace, where the President lives, in Bratislava, Slovakia. Photo via Stephanie

The gates were golden and gorgeous.

Grassalkovich Palace, where the President lives, in Bratislava, Slovakia. Photo via Stephanie

There were even two guards out front who never moved! :)

Pink Wedding Cake House in Bratislava, Slovakia

On our way back to the boat we passed this fun pink wedding cake house.

Stay tuned for Day 2 from our cruise!! We head to Vienna, Salzburg, Munich and more! :)

Here’s a map of everything we saw in Bratislava, in case you want to find them on your own! :) Everything is within walking distance and you can see everything in 1-2 hours.

Click here to see a larger view of this map, with a list of all the places we went.

See more posts from our cruise!

And be sure to check out Stephanie’s posts from our trip!! :)


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