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Julie - "Girl on the Move"

Fräulein Maria’s Sound of Music Bike Tour

As with most of my posts, some links may be affiliate links. This means at no additional cost to you, I may make a small commission on anything you buy through the links.

When I’m planning a trip I always ask friends and family for recommendations. So when I was planning my time in Salzburg, Austria I asked around with friends who had previously visited. A friend told me Fräulein Maria’s Sound of Music Bike Tour was a must-do, so I immediately booked a tour!

The Sound of Music Bike Tour

My friend was correct, this tour is a must-do! From the behind-the-scenes info shared, to the stunning Austrian countryside, to the entertaining and knowledgeable guides, I can not recommend this tour enough. As you bike along listening to the Sound of Music soundtrack, you can almost picture the Von Trapp children hanging from the trees and laughing. Here is some of the fun insider information I learned about the movie during tour and when you take the tour, you can learn more.

•For filming they used the back of one house (the first photo in this post) and the front of another house (see photo below) to make up the Von Trapp family house.

The Fräulein Maria's Sound of Music bike tour is a must-do attraction during a visit to Salzburg. You'll get to see many of the filming locations.

•If the family had truly left via the route they took at the end of the movie, they would have ended up right at Eagle’s Nest, a high-level Nazi building.

•They added a doorbell to the convent so the kids could ring the bell when they were looking for Maria. The convent kept the doorbell after filming, until too many tourists visited and used the doorbell. Then they took it down to regain some peace and quiet.

The Fräulein Maria's Sound of Music bike tour is a must-do attraction during a visit to Salzburg. You'll get to see many of the filming locations.

Know Before You Go

•Although you reserve your spot for the tour ahead of time (via the website) you don’t actually pay until after you’ve completed the tour. You should also note that cash is the preferred payment method.

•The tour lasts around 3.5 hours and you’ll bike about 8 miles over the course of the tour.

The Fräulein Maria's Sound of Music bike tour is a must-do attraction during a visit to Salzburg. You'll get to see many of the filming locations.

•You’ll cover more ground than a walking tour (because bikes travel faster!), and although you can’t cover as much ground as a bus tour, you are able to go to places that are more difficult to reach via bus.

•You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to join the tour. My tour had an 8-year-old and a 68-year-old, so the tour really is for everyone.

•Tours run from April to October and for a couple of months in the summer they run twice a day. But it can rain a lot in the summer so be ready for the rain.

Literary Connections

While neither of these books are fiction, both are related to The Sound of Music so they are great reads before or after the bike tour. Julie Andrew’s Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years covers her time filming Sound of Music. The Story of the Trapp Family Singers tells the story of the family who inspired the movie.

The Fräulein Maria's Sound of Music bike tour is a must-do attraction during a visit to Salzburg. You'll get to see many of the filming locations.

Interested in visiting other European destinations? Here’s a look at my recommendations of what to do, see, eat, and read on your next European adventure.

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Visiting Ravensbrück Concentration Camp

As with most of my posts, some links may be affiliate links. This means at no additional cost to you, I may make a small commission on anything you buy through the links.

My favorite kind of books are ones where the setting matters. When I get lost in the pages of those books, I am transported to another place and time. Books like these have allowed me to travel the world and I hope to visit as many of these settings as possible in person. Because once you’ve explored the setting, the book comes alive in a new way. After reading Lilac Girls, I knew I needed to visit Ravensbrück Concentration Camp to help me more deeply understand the book.

Visiting Ravensbrück

Admittedly, it took me quite a while to process what it was like visiting Ravensbrück. Fortunately my visit was the only item on my itinerary for the day. I’m not sure I could have mustered up the energy for another tourist attraction after the visit. You can read countless books about World War II and learn all about it in school, but there is something about visiting the scene where these horrors took place, that takes your understanding of the Holocaust to a whole other level.

Ravensbrück was a concentration camp in northern Germany exclusively for women. The story of Ravensbrück is often overshadowed by the stories of more well-known concentration camps, but the atrocities that took place there during WWII were absolutely horrific. There was medical testing performed on the inmates and an estimated 50,000 women died at Ravensbrück.

Today, many of the original buildings are no longer standing in their original form. However, you are still able to see the German accommodations, some of the remaining inmate facilities and the gas chamber.

Situated on Lake Schwedt, I was struck by the tranquility of the lake in contrast to the horrors of the camp. I was also struck at how different the German accommodations were compared to the facilities of the inmates. As I walked through the camp thinking about the lives cut short by these horrors I was reminded of how important it is that we live our lives as full as we can in memory of those who aren’t able to do the same. It is so difficult to articulate the feelings associated with the horrific events of the Holocaust. So I wanted to share a few pictures in lieu of the words I could only attempt to articulate well.

A short train journey from Berlin, here is a guide on visiting Ravensbrück Concentration Camp including how to get there and a preview of the visit.
A short train journey from Berlin, here is a guide on visiting Ravensbrück Concentration Camp including how to get there and a preview of the visit.
A short train journey from Berlin, here is a guide on visiting Ravensbrück Concentration Camp including how to get there and a preview of the visit.

Visiting Ravensbrück: How to Get There

I recommend staying in Berlin if you are planning on visiting Ravensbrück, as there are not really accommodations in Ravensbrück. I boarded the RE5 train from Berlin Gesundbrunnen, heading north towards Stralsund. The route sign might also mention Löwenberg, Fürstenberg, and/or Neustrelitz. You’ll then disembark at Fürstenberg (Havel) on Track 2. On the return trip you’ll board the train on Track 3 for Berlin.

Right next to the train station is a little cafe serving light fare if you’re looking for a snack. The cafe also rents bikes which you can use to get to the Memorial. I walked from the train station to Ravensbrück, but a bike would be much quicker! I found it helpful to download a Google map of the area to my phone before my trip as there were limited signs marking the way. Then I simply followed the roads from the train station to the Memorial.

Literary Connections

Whether you’ve already visited Ravensbrück, are planning a trip, or just want to learn more about this particular concentration camp, I highly recommend Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. This is one of my top five favorite historical fictions book and the author is absolutely lovely.

A short train journey from Berlin, here is a guide on visiting Ravensbrück Concentration Camp including how to get there and a preview of the visit.

Interested in visiting other European destinations? Here’s a look at my recommendations of what to do, see, eat, and read on your next European adventure.

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Visiting Schilthorn in the Bernese Alps

As with most of my posts, some links may be affiliate links. This means at no additional cost to you, I may make a small commission on anything you buy through the links.

I’m not sure a trip to Switzerland would be complete without a visit to the Alps. I grew up less than two hours away from the mountains and I have vacationed several times in the Rocky Mountains, but those mountains have nothing on the Alps! I’m not sure if there are enough adjectives to describe the beauty of the Alps. If you ever have the opportunity to take a trip to Switzerland, I’d highly recommend visiting Schilthorn.

Everything you need to know about visiting Schilthorn, in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. A look at how to plan, what to expect and summit pictures.

Visiting Schilthorn: What to Expect

Weather

I visited Schilthorn in the summer, and I was not prepared for the change in weather from the base of the mountain to the top. When we boarded the cable cars at the base of the mountain temps were in the mid 70’s F. By the time we disembarked at the summit, temperatures were in the mid 30’s F. I would highly recommend taking a jacket with you.

Everything you need to know about visiting Schilthorn, in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. A look at how to plan, what to expect and summit pictures.

Photographs

Be patient, very patient. There are a lot of people at the top of the mountain, so if you want pictures sans other tourists, be prepared to have some patience. You will also need patience for the cloud/fog that rolls in fierce and fast. These clouds/fog will also roll out just as fierce and fast, so be willing to wait for the sky to clear for your photo opportunity.

Bond, James Bond

This mountain peak also served as a James Bond filming location. In this scene from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, you can see sweeping views of the summit. While visiting Schilthorn you can explore the small James Bond museum complete with a couple of interactive exhibits.

Everything you need to know about visiting Schilthorn, in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. A look at how to plan, what to expect and summit pictures.

Gorgeous Views

Words do not do the views from Schilthorn justice, so enjoy the photos in this post. And plan a trip to visit.

Visiting Schilthorn: How to Get There

Visiting Schilthorn gives you the opportunity to use a number of different modes of transportation. The Schilthorn summit can only be reached by cable car, which departs from the town of Mürren.

•Regardless of where you begin your journey in Switzerland, you’ll want to first make your way to Interlaken. The rail journey will quite certainly provide beautiful views and you’ll want to take a window seat to take in the scenery.

•From there, you’ll change trains and head to Lauterbrunnen. In Lauterbrunnen you can board the bus to ‘Stechelberg Schilthornbahn.’ My recommendation on the bus, as it can be quite crowded in the summer, is to head for the rear of the bus and board there. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious you can hike all, or part, of the bus journey.

•In Stechelberg you’ll board the first of four cable cars and begin your ascent to Schilthorn. In just 30 minutes you can ascend the 2108 meters (or 6916.01 feet) and be treated to stunning views along the way. You also have the option of hiking these segments, although some require serious preparations. On my next visit I plan to hike the second segment. When you switch from one cable car to another you can also get off and explore at that particular station, just be mindful of the cable car timetable.

Everything you need to know about visiting Schilthorn, in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. A look at how to plan, what to expect and summit pictures.

Literary Connections

While not specifically set on Schilthorn, Beneath a Scarlet Sky takes readers on a journey through the Alps. Visiting Schiltorn gives you an idea of how perilous the journey was during WWII.

You can also read On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and picture Schilthorn while you read.

Everything you need to know about visiting Schilthorn, in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. A look at how to plan, what to expect and summit pictures.

Interested in visiting other European destinations? Here’s a look at my recommendations of what to do, see, eat, and read on your next European adventure.

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48 Hours in Bruges, Belgium

As with most of my posts, some links may be affiliate links. This means at no additional cost to you, I may make a small commission on anything you buy through the links.

For most people traveling to Belgium, Brussels, Ghent and Antwerp usually top the itinerary. But someone recommended visiting Bruges, so I booked an Airbnb, boarded the Eurostar in London and set off for the “Venice of the North.” The city, known for its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings, was an absolute delight.

Market Day

Every Wednesday there is a food market in Market Square from 8a-1:30p. If you’re able to time your visit to be in town on a Wednesday, I would highly recommend a stroll through the market for some delicious, locally sourced food.

With only 48 hours in Bruges, here's how to plan your day: Climb the belfry, visit the Frietmuseum and Choco-Story, eat a waffle and more.

Walking Tour

I had an absolutely amazing experience with Legends Tours. Our guide was entertaining, incredibly informative, and I appreciated his tips on where to take the best photos in Bruges. If you only have 48 hours in Bruges I can’t recommend taking this tour enough. You’ll be able to see all the highlights, learn the history of the city, and get an idea of which places you want to go back and visit later in the day. Without my guide, I might not have found the Rozenhoedkaai quite so quickly. The Rozenhoedkaai is arguably the most picturesque spot for photos in Bruges.

Belgian Waffles

Even if you only have 48 hours in Bruges, I recommend eating Belgian waffles more than once. Because it doesn’t get more authentic than Belgian waffles in Belgium! My first stop was in Burg Square for waffles from the little waffle truck, Arlecchino By John. This might be the best waffle I’ve ever had in my entire life. But one waffle is not enough when you’re in Belgium, so I also stopped by Lizzie’s Wafels. These waffles are known for being extra-large and they come with delicious toppings…like caramel and white chocolate shavings!

Frietmuseum

An entire museum devoted to french fries? Count me in! You might assume french fries were invented in France based on the name, but they were actually invented in Belgium. So a made a visit to the Frietmuseum, complete with a batch of hot, fresh french fries. This is the first and only museum in the world dedicated to potato fries and it was a fascinating look at the history of fries…including the fact that they weren’t actually invented in France!

With only 48 hours in Bruges, here's how to plan your day: Climb the belfry, visit the Frietmuseum and Choco-Story, eat a waffle and more.

That’s Toast

Oh. My. Word. This avocado toast was a culinary delight that I’ve been dreaming of ever since. Breakfast is served all day and this is the perfect way to start a day in Bruges.

Belfry of Bruges

I always recommend climbing to the highest point possible in a city to take in the birds eye view of the city. The Belfry of Bruges houses 47 bells and the 366 steps lead you to the top of the 272 ft tower. The Belfry was built in the Market Square in the 1200’s, which is absolutely mind blowing for this California girl who grew up around buildings that were less than 50 years old.

With only 48 hours in Bruges, here's how to plan your day: Climb the belfry, visit the Frietmuseum and Choco-Story, eat a waffle and more.

Choco-Story

I’m not sure a trip to Europe would be complete without visiting at least one chocolate museum. And when you visit Frietmuseum, you get discounted tickets if you also buy tickets to the Choco-Story. There were chocolate tastings, demonstrations, and a look at the history of chocolate.

Belgian Chocolate

On our walking tour our guide pointed out these little signs indicating which chocolate shops are part of the Bruges Chocolatiers Guild. If a shop doesn’t have this little placard by the door then the chocolate could be imported from anywhere. A resident recommended a stop at Olivier’s for a chocolate tasting and it did not disappoint.

With only 48 hours in Bruges, here's how to plan your day: Climb the belfry, visit the Frietmuseum and Choco-Story, eat a waffle and more.

Travel Tips

If you’re planning to travel internationally without data on your phone, I highly recommend downloading Google Maps before you head to a new destination. The maps will work even when you’re off wi-fi! Downloaded maps helped me navigate

Ask the locals for recommendations. I popped into a shop to buy stamps and asked the clerk for his recommendations of the best things to do with 48 hours in Bruges. He recommended exploring the windmills and this helped me discover parts of the city I didn’t even have on my itinerary.

Literary Connections

Admittedly, there are not many books set in Bruges. However, if you want to read one, Bruges-la-Morte, although a bit dark, is probably your best option.

Interested in visiting other destinations in Europe? Be sure to head over here to see where else I’ve traveled.

What is your favorite European destination? What is at the top of your European bucket list?

With only 48 hours in Bruges, here's how to plan your day: Climb the belfry, visit the Frietmuseum and Choco-Story, eat a waffle and more.
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24 Hours in Bath, England

As with most of my posts, some links may be affiliate links. This means at no additional cost to you, I may make a small commission on anything you buy through the links.

The first stop of my Europe 2019 trip was in Bath, England. With only about 24 hours in Bath, I knew I needed to make the most of my time! Fortunately I didn’t really have any jet lag so I could pack in the sights, sounds, and tastes for a memorable 24 hours in Bath, England.

When I arrived I took a quick walk around town to get a little fresh air after two flights and a bus ride from LA to London. I grabbed a quick dinner at Franco Manca, courtesy of a suggestion from an England based blogger. (Travel Tip: Try to follow some local bloggers while you’re planning your trip for suggestions beyond the typical tourist spots.)

Beechen Cliff

I have learned while traveling that there are quite a few advantages to being an early bird, and gorgeous views without crowds is pretty high on the list. I started my morning with a hike to Alexandra Park and the views from Beechen Cliff. Being able to see the whole city from above, really allowed me to really see the distinctive coloring of the city. This coloring is one of the reasons Bath is a World Heritage City, not just one site being labeled a World Heritage Site, but the whole city collectively labeled a World Heritage City.

Roman Baths

When I think of the Roman Empire I think of the Mediterranean, but I forget that the Romans expanded all the way into the south of England. The Roman Baths are probably the most well-known attraction in Bath, so if you only have 24 hours in Bath, I would highly recommend a visit. Built by 76 AD, the Roman Baths are remarkable when you think about just how long they have been there. And no visit would be complete without tasting the spa water…I can’t say I liked the taste, but I can at least say I’ve tasted the water! One of my favorite views at the Roman Baths was from the corner where you could also see Bath Abbey.

Sally Lunn’s Eating House

I’m not sure a trip to Bath would be complete without eating a world famous Bath Bunn. There are countless blog posts arguing the merits of several different options in town, but I decided to go with Sally Lunn’s Eating House. As one of the oldest houses in Bath I figured this would be a good look at the history of Bath, and I was not disappointed. There are both Sweet and Savoury bunns and I went savoury because my brother would be so disappointed with me if I passed up a chance to have bacon.

Mayor of Bath’s Free Walking Tours

There are two things I like to do whenever I visit a new city, preferably early in my stay…(1) Take a walking tour and (2) climb to the highest point in the city. This plan helps me get the lay of the land, learn history I wouldn’t learn by just walking around on my own, and then seeing the landmarks from a bird’s eye view. Bath is unique in that there is truly a free walking tour available. The Mayor of Bath’s Free Walking Tours depart every day from The Roman Baths and the incredibly knowledgable volunteer guides are a wealth of information. Every tour is just a bit different so I will definitely do this again on future visits but I enjoyed visiting the Royal Crescent, Royal Victoria Park,

Bath Abbey

Climb the 212 steps to the top of the tower of Bath Abbey for an unrivaled view of the city. Throughout the climb we stopped to learn about the history of the tower, sit behind the clock’s face, and learn about the 10 bells in the tower. One of my favorite views at Bath Abbey was the reverse of my favorite view from the Roman Baths. Once you climb the Abbey you can see a great bird’s eye view of the Roman Baths.

With only 24 hours in Bath, here's how to plan your day: Bath Abbey, free walking tour, Roman Bath's, Sally Lunn's Bath Bunn, Royal Crescent and more.

The White Hart Inn

Dinner at The White Hart Inn came at the recommendation of my Airbnb host. I love getting recommendations from locals to help venture outside the tourist part of town. I feel like this gave me a chance to eat with locals instead of other tourists. My goat’s cheese, cheddar and chive souffle with rocket & parmesan salad was absolutely delicious. This salad marked the beginning of my summer-long love affair with rocket & parmesan salad. I also learned that it is easy to find a table without reservations if you are dining solo and willing to eat at 6p. Since I prefer to be up early, instead of out late, eating dinner at 6p works for me! Also, please note the iconic telephone booth…my British loving heart was happy!

With only 24 hours in Bath, here's how to plan your day: Bath Abbey, free walking tour, Roman Bath's, Sally Lunn's Bath Bunn, Royal Crescent and more.

Literary Connections

Frankenstein was written in Bath in 1816-1817 by Mary Shelley.

For fans of Jane Austen, Bath is a must-visit. The Jane Austen Centre is a small museum where you can learn all about the life of Jane Austen. For the full English experience, you can also stop for tea in the Regency Tea Room.

To see more of my European adventures head HERE and I’d love to hear…have you been to Bath? If you’ve never been, what looks most interesting to you? Have you visited a city similar to Bath that you’d recommend?

With only 24 hours in Bath, here's how to plan your day: Bath Abbey, free walking tour, Roman Bath's, Sally Lunn's Bath Bunn, Royal Crescent and more.
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What To Do in Solvang: 24-Hour Travel Guide

Planning a trip to Southern California can be overwhelming because there are endless options. Amidst all the hustle and bustle of Southern California I’d recommend hitting the pause button and venturing out to Solvang. You’ll be able to experience Danish culture and because everything is centralized in downtown Solvang you won’t need to use your car once you arrive. Here’s a look at what to do in Solvang when you visit to fully experience the Danish culture offered.

Little Mermaid Statue

The Little Mermaid Statue is located at the corner of Mission Drive & Alisal Road. The statue is a ½ bronze replica of the one that has been a fixture in Copenhagen Harbor since 1913. The Solvang version of the statue is the only one the heirs of sculptor Edvard Eriksen, who created the original, have authorized.

If you’re planning a trip to Southern California I recommend spending 24 hours in Solvang CA. Here’s your guide for what to do in Solvang!

Elverhøj Museum

You’ll only need to walk a couple blocks off the main downtown area of Solvang to experience the Elverhøj Museum. Their mission is to “ collect, preserve and exhibit the history and Danish culture of Solvang and to promote the arts.” The staff and volunteers do an outstanding job of accomplishing their mission! The Elverhøj Museum is located in the former residence of one of Solvang’s most artistic families so you feel as though you are walking through a home from the past. When I visited I was fortunate enough to not only observe a lace bobbin demonstration, but give it a try myself!

If you’re planning a trip to Southern California I recommend spending 24 hours in Solvang CA. Here’s your guide for what to do in Solvang!

The Book Loft with Hans Christian Andersen Museum

Be prepared to extend your trip beyond 24 hours with the next stop! It is quite easy to get lost browsing in The Book Loft. But trust me, it’s worth the stop! Downstairs in The Book Loft you’re able to browse and purchase new books. Then you can venture upstairs to browse their used book selection. And then you can take a walk around the Hans Christian Andersen Museum. Known as the, “Father of the Fairytale,” Andersen is a Danish author known for classics such as The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen (better known today as Disney’s Frozen), The Ugly Duckling, and The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Pastries and Windmills

Within a five block radius there are four large wooden windmills and five authentic Danish bakeries! So lace up your walking shoes and head out to explore and enjoy a pastry or two along the way.

If you’re planning a trip to Southern California I recommend spending 24 hours in Solvang CA. Here’s your guide for what to do in Solvang!

Old Mission Santa Ines

Established as the 19th of 21 missions along the El Camino Real, Old Mission Santa Ines offers stunning panoramic views. The mission is not a part of the Danish culture, but it is a part of California’s history and so well worth a visit.

Bonus Tip

If you have a little bit of extra time on your trip, make a quick stop at Ostrichland USA. Located just five minutes out of town, the ostriches are a unique stop. You can feed the ostriches and there are fresh ostrich eggs available all year-round!

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