Santorini Food and Wine Tour

Rebecca, a friend that owns http://www.santorinilocaladventures.com invited me to a complimentary tour while I was on Santorini. It began in front of the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos, located between the villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli.

We strolled along Firostefani’s pathways, tasted local yummy food and spirits, and admired breathtaking views. Here was our group.

We tasted a variety of wines

The tour ended in Fira. It was a fun evening!

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Santorini: Catamaran Cruise with Lunch & Open Bar

My catamaran cruise was amazing!  I booked the “Santorini: Catamaran Cruise with Lunch & Open Bar” cruise through Get Your Guide, but it was run by a local company, www.vistayachting.com.  After being picked up at 2:15pm it took about an hour to pick up a number of other people scattered on the island, so I had a little tour of the island.  My phone froze up and wouldn’t work or turn off before I left on the cruise, and I was worried that if it couldn’t be fixed, that my data might not be able to be transferred to a new phone.  I decided not to worry about it and have fun on my cruise.  I took my camera so I could have photos from the trip. 

The “Captain”

We saw Red Beach from the boat, got up close to the volcano, and snorkeled near Mesa Pigadia beach.  I made friends with a young couple from Denmark and did a mini photo shoot for them and another couple at sunset.  I started a conversation with a couple from India, who live in London, and I asked him to take a look at my phone.  He’s an engineer and he fixed it!  I was so relieved I gave him a hug, after asking his wife if that was okay.

Mesa Pigadia Beach

There were snacks and drinks, dinner was delicious, and the scenery was stunning

It was a wonderful outing and the sunset was special!

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Three nights on Santorini Island, Greece

I took a two hour ferry from Mykonos (€80) to Santorini. Getting on and off the ferry is quite an experience, there are so many people. I had arranged transport through Get Your Guide for the 20 minute ride to my hotel, which was only a 10 minute walk into town. I went exploring the next day before going on a catamaran cruise (tomorrow’s post).

Santorini is dramatic and stunning! The cobalt blue sea is amazing! It’s a photographer’s playground.

I walked through Thera (Fira), almost to the 3 Bells of Fira. I kept wondering where are the pretty houses. I passed by lots of donkey dung. I had done so much research (months) for my 11 week trip especially concerning trains and 21 accommodations/18 day trips and everything else that I just assumed the pretty houses were here.

I finally asked a girl where they were and she said Oia. I saw a bus stop but it was faded and hard to read and she said to go back to Fira, to the bus station. I walked 2 miles total before taking the 8:30am bus, arriving at 8:55. The full size bus was packed.

I made good use of my time, taking paths up and down and back up again.

Here’s my hotel room. I had a patio with a view of the sea.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Elia Beach and my date on Mykonos Island

There are lots of beaches to choose from on Mykonos and I chose Elia beach because it’s the longest stretch of Beach and there’s a bus (€4.6 r/t ) that leaves from the Old Port, which was a 15 min. walk from my hotel and takes about 25 minutes to get there.  It actually stops in front of my hotel, but I wanted to see the Old Port anyway.  After researching I knew there would be umbrellas and sun beds available for a fee (€25 per person). One side of the beach is gay-friendly and clothing optional.  The water was cold but refreshing! I would have gone for a walk on the beach but after walking 300 miles according to my Fitbit since April 2nd, I thought I would just relax.

That morning I made reservations for dinner at Karavaki, located less than a 5 minutes walk from my hotel. I made the reservation for two because I thought they might not fit me in if I said one.  While I was waiting for the bus at Elia Beach, I began talking with a man that was also waiting. His name was Olli. He’s from Finland, but splits his time between Belgium, where he works and a city south of Amsterdam where his children and other home is located. Anyway I mentioned my dinner reservation to him and said if he wanted to join me he could just show up. He asked for my phone number, which I gave to him. I told him if he decided to come he needed to be on time because I was going to tell them that my partner didn’t feel well. He arrived to the restaurant a few minutes before I arrived.

We had an enjoyable dinner and the view from the patio was amazing. I made it clear on the bus that I would be paying for my dinner but he insisted on taking care of the bill. That was his last day on the island for his vacation. He walked me back to my hotel and I showed him the steps he needed to go down to get to the Old Port area where his hotel was located (a 15 min. walk) He was afraid of getting lost and doesn’t use Google Maps so I had my hotel call him a taxi.

The view from our table

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Four nights on Mykonos Island, Greece

It was the end of May of this year when I took four trains from Fussen and 3 ½ hours later I was at the Munich Airport for my flight to Mykonos. Side note about taking trains in Germany. Occasionally trains will split, meaning the front goes one way and the back would disengage at some point on the ride and go somewhere different. Since the scrolling messages on the platforms are in German, it’s wise to ask someone. It happened on one of the trains on my journey to the airport and numerous other rides I took during my almost two week stay.

I was picked up by my hotel’s shuttle and transported 10 minutes to my lodging. I’d only been to Greece once in 2010 for part of a day in Corfu while on a Mediterranean cruise. After checking in, I ordered a daiquiri from the pool bar (photos below) and walked 15 minutes round-trip to a grocery. Mykonos is lovely!

The Kato Mili, constructed in the 16th Century by the Venetians, are beautiful!

Little Venice Quarter

It was only a five minute walk downhill from my hotel to the center of town. My room was very nice.

The pool was so refreshing after a morning of exploring. The weather was perfect in the high 70’s.

My front patio and view.

That 13 euro daiquiri I mentioned.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Best View of Neuschwanstein Castle

It was late May of this year when I took a short bus ride from the train station in Fussen at 8:05am to Neuschwanstein Castle. Actually the buses only go to the parking lot and then you can take a shuttle, horse drawn carriage, or walk up. I walked up and made my way to a hidden spot to take a few photos of Neuschwanstein. I discovered it through this blog. The Marienbrücke bridge is temporarily shut down so it came in handy. I tried to take a selfie but the lighting wasn’t good. It’s a little scary because you’re on the side of a cliff. After visiting Versailles and all of those Chateaus in Tours, France… I had no desire to go inside. I had also read that so much of it is closed off to the public that it’s kind of a let down.

If you walk to it, it’s uphill.

On the walk you pass this gorgeous view! You can see Hohenschwangau Castle on the right.

I rewarded myself later with these delicious German pastries.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Two nights in Fussen, Germany

After spending one night each in five German towns along the Romantic Road or Romantische Straße, I boarded a train that took almost two hours to reach Fussen. Upon arrival I walked 5 minutes to my lodging for two nights, which was situated in the center of town, stored my luggage and began exploring. I was anxious to see the Neuschwanstein Castle, but wanted a fresh start the next day for that.

I walked a couple of miles which included going to Lechfall (shown below). It was raining and chilly.

A few of these photos are from the following day when it wasn’t rainy.

My lodging was in this building.

It was cute inside and even had Netflix. I hadn’t watched television in seven weeks, so I took advantage of it.

I slept here.

This was the view from my little apartment.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

One night in Augsburg, Germany

I took two trains the morning I left Nordlingen for Augsburg, Germany. My room was ready early so I checked in and went exploring. It rained off and on as I explored one of Germany’s oldest cities, dating back to 15 BC when it was founded by the Romans. It seemed very progressive.

My first stop was the Fuggerei, the world’s oldest social settlement. In 1521 Jacob Függer the Rich founded this social settlement for Augsburgers in need. The yearly rent nowadays is still the equivalent of a Rhenish Guilder that is € 0,88. The tenants must be Catholic, have lived in Augsburg at least for two years, and be poor without being in debt, and must pray three times a day for the founders family.

Watch out for the trams if you visit…there are lots of them.

My last stop in Germany was Fussen, where the Neuschwanstein Castle is located (coming up tomorrow). I had spent one night in five towns, known as the Romantic Road or Romantische Straße.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

One night in Nordlingen, Germany

The morning I left Dinkelsbuhl for the bus stop it was raining. I boarded a full size bus and was the only person on it. 50 minutes later I arrived in Nordlingen for my one night’s stay. I walked five minutes to my hotel, stored my luggage and began exploring. I wandered around town for a while. A car with four nuns stopped next to me and asked something in German and I said “English” and they started giggling and drove off. Nordlingen is definitely not on most tourists radar…I saw regular people working in their yards and shopping. It had a slow paced feel.

I went up on the wall (built in the 14th century) that encircles the town and started thinking about perspective. Our perspectives of a place can be altered by many factors including weather, how you’re feeling, the people we meet, etc. Photography teaches you that moving just a few inches or looking in the other direction can change everything. Even perspectives about the places we choose to visit. I’ve had people say aren’t you scared to go there…usually based off of something they saw on the news, a movie they watched, or one person’s bad experience. They haven’t traveled much and don’t realize that there can be danger anywhere, especially in the United States.

More half-timbered architecture.

I stopped for a late lunch and it was delicious, especially the Spätzle. I had one more town to spend one night in before reaching Fussen, where the Neuschwanstein Castle is located. It’s known as the Romantic Road or Romantische Straße.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

One night in Dinkelsbuhl, Germany

I had a hearty breakfast at my hotel in Rothenburg (where I spent one night) before walking 5 minutes to the bus stop where I took an 8:30 am bus to Dinkelsbuhl (since there’s no train station).

My friendly bus driver was from Chania, Greece. I arrived 20 minutes early and he was there with the bus, so we talked about travel. I switched buses once and the next driver was exceptionally mean. At one of the stops there was a passenger obviously distressed because she realized she had gotten on the wrong bus and was asking him in German where to go and he was shouting at her and wouldn’t help. Then when we arrived to what I was pretty certain was my stop I was trying to show him on my Google Maps but he started shouting at me and started to leave, then I said, no no no, I have to get my luggage. Luckily he opened the door for me.

Dinkelsbuhl was another cute town.

I walked to a park.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

One night in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

After my one night in Wurzburg, I took a 70 minute train to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It’s as quaint as everyone had said. I heard people speaking English since this is a well known tourist stop.

This area is known as Plönlein, featuring old, half-timbered houses, a small fountain, cobbled streets & shops.

I usually look for green spaces and water on Google Maps and walked downhill to the Doppelbrücke and found a path to the water. For the climb back up it looked like I was going through someone’s property but there is a path and I passed one backpacker.

I made my way to the Panaramaweg path, where you’ll find a gorgeous view of vineyards and green!

The gelato was good, but I think Italian gelato is a bit better.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

One night in Wurzburg, Germany

I was going to treat myself to a taxi from my Airbnb in Freiburg to the train station the morning I left for Wurzburg, but there wasn’t one available, so I walked the 10 minutes. I had a great conversation with a German guy with a bicycle on one of the trains. I offered to help him put his bike on the crowded rack and then we talked about all sorts of topics, including politics. The trains were packed with loud guys drinking beer (you’re allowed to take food and drinks on trains throughout much of Europe). Upon arrival in Wurzburg, I stopped for lunch since I had 40 minutes to kill before my check in time of 2:00pm. Once there I dropped my bags and went exploring. It was a cute town. I had four more towns to spend one night in each before reaching Fussen, where the Neuschwanstein Castle is located. It’s known as the Romantic Road or Romantische Straße.

Hi

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Day trip by train from Freiburg, Germany thru the Black Forest

While researching where I could visit as a day trip by train during my five days in Freiburg, I came across an article about scenic trains in Germany, in particular one that went to Donaueschingen, Schluchsee, and Titisee, Germany (the Black Forest). I wasn’t in the mood for walking or biking (my tush hurt from my previous bike rides) and my favorite activity is to spend time in nature, so I took an early train and arrived in Donaueschingen at 9:09am (90 minute train ride). The scenery from the train was beautiful. I walked to the “Source of the Danube” and to a beautiful park called Schlosspark. Next, I took a 50 minute train ride to Titisee, situated on a beautiful lake and had lunch at a restaurant on the lake’s shore. The next train ride was only 20 minutes to Schluchsee which is also next to a beautiful lake, but I stayed only a short time and took the train back to Freiburg. It was a great way to spend the day!

Titisee Lake

Titisee Lake

Source of the Danube in Donaueschingen

Schlosspark

Donaueschingen

Donaueschingen

Schluchsee

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Five nights in Freiburg, Germany

I arrived in Freiburg, Germany after taking two trains (90 minutes total) from Colmar, France. I only had five minutes to change trains and had to take an escalator and an elevator to get to the correct platform and the doors literally shut less than 10 seconds after I pulled my luggage on board. I wasn’t able to store my luggage at the Airbnb I was staying at until check-in time (they were on vacation), so I paid 5 euros and stored it at the train station. I lived in Germany in the late 70’s for a few years while in the military and had visited Munich in 2014, so I was looking forward to being back.

I thought this was a cool building and unusual outdoor seating. It didn’t look comfortable though.

The McDonald’s sign looks out of place with the 13th Century architecture of Martin’s Gate.

While the Airbnb owners were on vacation they gave me permission to borrow their bicycle. I rode 13 km, exploring Seepark (photo below)

and Japanischer Garten

and a cycling path called F1.

Almost one-third of Freiburg has dedicated cycling lanes.

I stopped in the Cathedral in Freiburg

Researching online I found a Mineral Spa facility called Keidel Therme, located 40 minutes away via bicycle, so I left early one morning. The ride there had designated cycling lanes, but cyclists were whizzing by me on steroids and they weren’t saying “on your left” when passing.

What a wonderful place! I was going to take photos but an employee told me I wasn’t allowed to, but that I could take them from their website. It’s huge with indoor and outdoor facilities and lots of different pools, some that are hot and some lukewarm, cascading water that pounds on your shoulders, jets for your back, legs and feet. They have infrared lights that you can lay under. There’s also a sauna, but I didn’t pay for that. They offer massages and water therapies. Use of the pools is only 16.5 euros for all day.

I stayed in for an hour, swimming from area to area becoming a prune.

Then I purchased a pastry for breakfast and soaked up a little sun, before returning to the pools.

I decided to have lunch there and it was delicious! The experience reminded me of when a girlfriend and I went to a schwimmbad in Frankfurt. We were 19 years old and when we walked into the changing facility we were shocked because there were men and women walking around naked, sprawled out in the sauna. We kept our bathing suits on.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Day trip from Colmar, France to Strasbourg

It was mid-May and a beautiful day when I was in Colmar for a week stay, so I decided last minute to take the train to Strasbourg (I had never visited). It was only a 30 minute ride and I had a 3 month Eurail pass.

I explored some before heading to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg. I paid €8 to climb 332 steps to the top for amazing views!

Back down on the ground

More friendly shop keepers

The train station in Strasbourg is very unique. At night it’s transparent, although I have only seen pictures of it at night.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.