Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg is an Austrian city on the German border, with views of the Eastern Alps. It’s known as the birthplace of Mozart and setting for the film “The Sound of Music.” The Sound of Music was the reason I wanted to check Salzburg out. Although since we took the dogs with us, we decided to do our own version of the Sound of Music tour. Salzburg is a beautiful city. I think May was a good time to go, we still needed a light jacket, but the sun was out shinning.

Our day started around the Old town, walking around and just enjoying the sights. Some times we like to get lost in a city then find our way back.
 It wasn't until we found the Old Town Square that we figured out where we were going. Luckily there were enough people out that we knew what the important sights were.

We walked around the city center enjoying the sights, We even stumbled upon the Mozart statue. Salzburg is famous for Mozart, after all this is where he was born. They even have Mozart chocolate, I wasn't a fan..but maybe you would be?

From the city square, we headed up o the Hohensalzburg fortress. The fortress towers over Salzburg and it is /has been the setting for many movies, included the sound of music! It was built at the behest of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg with a length of 250 m and a width of 150 m, it is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Hohensalzburg Castle is situated at an altitude of 506 m. It is an absolutely beautiful castle.

We wanted to take the train up. I wasn't interested in climbing to the top of Salzburg. Unfortunately when we got to the trolley station, we were told that we couldn't take the pups up without muzzle, what really sucked was that we left their muzzles in the car!
I'm not sure how Drew did it, but somehow he convinced me to climb to the top. I was not a happy camper. I would've much rather pay to ride the trolley up, but the views climbing up were incredible!

After our adventure in the Hohensalzburg castle, we walked around the town. Drew pointing out all the Sound of Music places. It worked out in the end since we had the pups with us. If you want to do it on your own, Click Here for the map we used.

The next day, on our way back from Eisriesenwelt we stopped off at Hellbrun palace, where they filmed the song "I am 16 going on 17" from the SoM. Can you tell I'm a fan? This is the only place you would need to find transportation to since it isn't in the city center.

We didn't get to go inside the palace, there was a wedding going on. But we were able to see the Pavilion and that's what I really wanted to see.

Overall our trip to Salzburg was a busy one. It was filled with lots of hiking and outdoor activity. A perfect thing for Drew's birthday weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

So you're visiting Garmisch-Partenkirchen?

I've been getting a lot of questions asking about things to do while visiting Garmisch-Partenkirchen. As I've mentioned before, it is one of my favorite places in Germany! I've had the pleasure of visiting 6 times, and even then I haven't seen everything this adorable city has to offer.

Here's a list of must see's while visiting Southern Bavaria to make your trip memorable.

+ Partnach Gorge & Olympic Stadium

You get two for the price of one. The Olympic Stadium jump was built in 1923, to hosted the Winter Olympics in 1936. To get to the Partnach Gorge, you can literally walk through the Olympic Stadium and check things out for free!
From the Olympic Stadium, it is about a 20-25 minute walk to the Gorge. It cost 4€ to enter, this attraction is open all year round, unless there is ice making the pathways slippery. Perfect for kids and adults of all ages.

+ Lake Eibsee & Zugsptize

Want to see Germany's highest Point? Or be able to say you've been in the Alps? Or just a place where you can just take in the beautiful natural views? Lake Eibsee and the Zugsptize can do that for you. Before take a cable cart or train up to the Zugspitze. Spend some time around Lake Eibsee, let the kids blow off some steam running around, rent a paddle boat and go to the center of the lake.
From Lake Eibsee you can take a train (1hr) or cable cart (15mins) to the Zugspitze peak. The Zugspitze is open during the summer and winter months. During summer you can actually hike to the "highest point" from the base or during winter you can ski/sled up on the glacier.

*Alternative, the Alpspitz, a cheaper version, give you just as beautiful views for a cheaper price

+ Ski/Snowboard (Winter) | Hike (Summer)

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is perfect in the summer and winter months, if you're traveling during the winter and love winter spots, this is the place for you, take your pick at the different ski lifts open during the winter. Or during the summer months, paraglide through the Alps, take a bike ride through the mountains walk the different hiking trails that are scattered throughout the city--even take your chances by climbing up to the Zugspitze.

+ Neuschwanstein Castle & Hohenschwangau Castle

About an hour away is the most famous castle in the World, Neuschwanstein Castle. King Ludwig II built it and Walt Disney himself fell in love with it and designed Cinderella's castle after it. It is the most famous castle in the world for a reason.
Next to Neuschwanstein is the castle Ludwig II grew up in, Hohenschwangau. Both castles are worth a visit. Take your pick, but make sure you take a step back and realize you're literally in the middle of a fairytale.

*When planning your trip make sure you book tickets in advance if you want an inside tour

+ Linderhof Castle

Not as famous as it's sister castle, Neuschwanstein or the "Disney Castle", Linderhof Castle is about 30 minutes away and also built by King Ludwig II. I've been told it was his favorite palace and spent most of his time here. Of the 3 castles he build, Linderhof is the only completed one. Take a stroll through the grounds, and realize why Lugwig II was also called the Swan King.

+ Highline 179 & Ehrenberg Ruins

Halfway between Garmisch and Neuschwanstein the a little town of Reutte, in Austria. The Highline 179 is a pedestrian - suspension bridge over the Fernpassstra├če B 179 south of Reutte, Austria. It extends at an altitude of 114 meters above the castle Ehrenberg and combines the ruins of Ehrenberg with the Fort Claudia. Conquer your fear of heights (like I kind of did) by crossing the "longest pedestrian bridge in tibet style" and finish your day by exploring the ruins of Ehrenberg and enjoying the view that comes along with it.

Other things to do:
+ Ettal Abbey
+ Visit Munich (1hr away)
+ Brewery Tours
+ Alpine Coaster
+ Explore downtown areas

The view from Edelweiss Lodge & Resort

Is there something I've missed? What has been your favorite thing to see while visiting?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Happy 1st Birthday

Today, Sidles' Adventures is 1 year old!

In my first year of blogging:

+ I've been featured and shared through many different social media outlets.
+ I had my first guest post.
+ I've hosted my first giveaway.
+ I've guest posted & collaborated.
+ I've visited my 30th European country.
+ I've been published and paid for my posts.
+ I've moved from blogspot.com to .com
+ I've written 100+ posts.
+ I have 800+ followers on Facebook
It's been a great first year. I love blogging and everything that comes with it! Thanks for reading and following along with me on my adventure!

St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, Florida

Before getting to our hotel, our next stop was to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. The Lighthouse is St. Augustine's oldest surviving brick structure, and today the site is restored to colors and materials used the year 1888.

The St. Augustine Lighthouse rises 165 feet above sea level and contains 219 steps that are climbed by visitors. At the top, the original, first order Fresnel lens still serves the beacon, but today is lit by a 1000 watt bulb, and maintained by the museum and volunteers. The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the past and keeping alive the story of the nation's oldest port.

The cost is $13 per adult to visit, *Fun little fact, St. Augustine is very military friendly! Drew was able to get a discounted admission for being an active duty servicemen (perk of being back in the states!) For those who aren't military related, you can get 15% off tickets if you order online, or there are free coupon books at every major attraction, with the book you are able to get discounts from $1-$5 or 10-15% off! When travelling every little bit helps!

Drew really wanted to climb up to the top of the lighthouse, I was skeptical...219 stairs, I had flashbacks back to Kotor and climbing up to the Fortress! This wasn't as bad. I think almost 1400 steps vs 219 steps is cake walk. This time it was only 8 landings and on every landing, there was something fun to play with! The view from the top was worth the climb. If you've ever been to Florida, you know that everything is flat, it was an amazing view from the top, it made me remember why I love Florida.

After climbing down the stairs, we decided to check out the Inn Keepers home where the museum is located. I'm not a museum person, but it was still nice to check out. We walked around the area for a bit before heading out. 

It's been so nice to be able to continue travelling like we did in Germany! I can't wait to share our St. Augustine Adventure!

Cost: $13 Adults Seniors & Children (Over 12): $11 | 15% off tickets if purchased online
Military Discount
Hours: 9a-6p
Parking Free
Not Stroller or Pet Friendly

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Fort Matanzas National Monument

Our first trip since being back in the states was to St. Augustine, Florida. On our way up to St. Augustine we decided to stop off at Fort Matanzas National Monument, it is about 15 minutes outside of St. Augustine.

The monument consists of a 1740 Spanish fort called Fort Matanzas, and about 100 acres of salt marsh and barrier islands along the Matanzas River on the northern Atlantic coast of Florida. Fort Matanzas was built by the Spanish in 1742 to guard Matanzas Inlet, the southern mouth of the Matanzas River. The only way to get to the Fort is to take a ferry across. To visit the Fort and to ride the ferry is absolutely free! Unfortunately it isn't stroller or pet-friendly.

Fort Matanzas National Monument is open to the public from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM every day of the year except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Boarding Passes are required to ride the ferry. They are issued for free in the visitor center. The ferry leaves 30 past the hour. The ferry to the fort carries 35 people on a first come, first served basis and leaves the Visitor Center.

 When we arrived at Fort Matanzas, we just missed the ferry and had to wait about 40 minutes for the next one. The rangers showed us an 8-minute video about the history of the Fort, then we wandered around the park for a bit until the ferry boat arrived. 

Once across another park ranger gave us a guided tour of the Fort (~10 minutes), then gave us some free time to explore. The Fort itself is pretty small. If you're with a large group it might take you a little bit longer to maneuver through the crowds. There is a little ladder that will take you to the top of the Fort. It was a tight fit, I was scared that the ladder was gonna break when I climbed it. But the views from top were beautiful.

From the time you get on the ship, to when you're expected back on the ship is about 40 minutes. Both Drew and I really enjoyed the fort and hearing about the History and the importance of this place! It's a nice place to spend a couple hours on a beautiful day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

How to Move with your Pet

Moving is stressful. Moving to another country, with your fur baby is even more stressful! At least it was for me when we moved over to Germany. Moving to Germany without my fur babies wasn't even an option. My dogs are my family. They're my fur children. I'm sure you've seen them travelling with us!

I've heard horror stories about people leaving their pets behind because they can't "afford" to bring them back with them. Which is fine, everyone has their ups and downs, but bringing a pet into your family is a 10-15 year commitment! I've read things about someone actually waiting til the last minute (day before) to rehome their pets and just leaving them in their old house, or even some people taking their pets to the airport and just leaving them there! I swear, there are some horrible people in the world.

Moving from Germany back to the USA with Rylie was stressful...for me. She handled the trip like a champ. I was the one who was the worry wort and now looking back the process was even easier than I thought.

I wanted to share my experience with you, for those who are like me and worried about travelling back stateside with your pet.

Before you start:
- Contact your airline provider: Some airlines will not ship your pet under the cabin, make sure your airline is pet-approved. 
- Confirm your pet spot. Recheck and check again. Airlines tend to forget.
- Ensure you have sufficient funds: some countries require a fee upon arrival. Not including the fee you have to pay to fly your pet with you.

What you'll Need:
- Health Certificate: local veterinarians know what this is. It's a piece of paper stating that your pet is healthy enough to travel.
- Updated Shot Records: Rabies Vaccine must be older than 21 days before your flight.
(If you're traveling from the U.S. you need to go to USDA authorized vet to get the paperwork)
- Pet approved crate: Your pet must be able to stand up, turn around and sit without touching the top of the crate.
- Food and Water Bowls : Although it's suggested you don't feed your pet 8 hours before your flight, some airlines require you to have removable food and water bowls.
- International Microchip: 15 digit microchip is the must for pets travelling internationally.

At the Airport: 
This is the easiest part of your journey (unless you're a worrier like me).
- Your luggage and pet will be checked in at the same time.
- Your pet's crate will be inspected to make sure it meets all the requirements
- Let the gate attendants know that you have a pet; confirm that they have made it on board, before boarding the plane.

Upon Arrival:
- Find your pet first: Your pet might come out after you, but at least you'll know where they are. And after a long flight, I'm sure your pet would love to see you.
- Don't be afraid to ask someone for help. People are willing to help you out, you just have to ask!
- Research where the "pet-relief" areas are located.

I know it seems like a lot of work, and a big inconvenience, but if you have a pet that is like family, it's worth it. Especially if you've got this adorable face waiting for you!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Belgium & Luxembourg Itinerary

I've been asked a lot about our trip to Belgium and Luxembourg, so figured I'd catch up some itinerary posts! Belgium was another country I was dying to see. Waffles, chocolate, and fries, how can you NOT love this country? 
In October 2015, we headed to Belgium, with a stop off in Luxembourg! Here's my itinerary for a weekend hitting up 2 countries! We ended up spending the 2 nights in Ramestein and using it as a base.

Day One: Luxembourg City 
Luxembourg City (1hr from RAF)
Drive to Brussels (2 hrs)
Night in Brussels | Explore Brussels

Day  Two: Bruges | Ghent
Drive to Brugges (1 hr from Brussels)
Day in Brugges
Drive to Ghent (30 mins)
Explore Ghent
Night in Brussels

Day Three: Brussels
Explore Brussels
Night in RAF

Day Four:
Drive back to Grafenwoehr- 4 Hours