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trav8517

Munich, Germany – Europe Part II

Our arrival to Germany coincided with the 179th Oktoberfest  in Munich. Saturday morning began with a fantastic German breakfast at the ACHAT Hotel in Schwetzingen, Germany. Immediately after, we all piled into our tiny rental to make the three-hour journey to Munich to enjoy some of the best beer in the world! After arriving in Munich, we parked at the local ACHAT Hotel and took a trolley to the fairgrounds to start exploring the beer.

Our first stop was at the Weinzelt tent. Although this tent is known for its wine and champagne, it also has some very tasty Paulaner Weissbier!

Eliza, Lauri, Jennifer, Jake and Paulaner beer

Oktoberfest was like nothing I had ever seen. There were so many people packed into one space! Since our trip to Europe was planned last-minute, we didn’t have the chance to make reservations for a tent. Normally, reservations are made a year in advance to get seats in the larger spaces. Rain started to come down and we knew it was necessary to get into a tent. Eliza, being a go-getter, simply walked up and sweet talked the guard to let us all in! It wasn’t just any ole’ tent – it was the Schottenhamel Tent. The Schottenhamel Tent is where opening day is held for all of Oktoberfest. The mayor of Munich taps the keg to signal the opening of Oktoberfest.

Remember when I said it was packed? On a full day, the tent holds up to 10,000 people!

Schottenhamel Tent

Schottenhamel Tent

Finding a seat in this monster would prove to be just as easy as getting in. Once again, Eliza walked right up to a table of young German gentleman and simply asked if we could join them. The rest is history!

Munich - Oktoberfest

Munich – Oktoberfest

Heidelberg, Germany – Europe Part I

I was blessed to have parents who served a combined total of 37 years in the US Army (Dad-30 Mom-7). My entire life was spent living as a ‘military brat’. My love for traveling came about while living in Germany for 10 years, and I have been dying to get back since leaving in 2003. An earlier post from this summer explained my eight year push to make it to London for the 2012 Olympics. When the hubs got wind he would have the opportunity to take 10 days off from work (getting time off at ANYTIME is not an easy thing to do for him) we JUMPED at the opportunity!

After settling in to our hotel in Schwetzingen, I took Jake downtown to see the streets I often shopped as a teenager.

Hauptstrasse

Hauptstrasse

While we were exploring downtown, I couldn’t wait to make it to the castle. The world renown Heidelberg Castle (Heidelberger Schloss) is a beautiful backdrop to the city. Our high school prom was held at the castle every year. How many people can say their high school prom was held inside a European castle?

The castle courtyard

Inside the castle’s wine cellar, you will find the world’s largest wine barrel! The Heidelberg Tun would be a great addition to any wine cellar. It holds 58,000 gallons of wine!

Heidelberg Tun

Heidelberg Tun

My old school, Heidelberg High School, is closing its doors after educating Department of Defense students since 1946. I couldn’t resist  walking the halls one last time and visiting the gymnasium where I spent the majority of my high school years. Walking the halls for one last time was a great ending to my stay in Heidelberg.

Heidelberg High School

Heidelberg High School

Mount Rainier National Park – America the Beautiful

Fact: Seattle, Washington averages 58 sunny days per year.

When a sunny day appears around these parts you MUST take the opportunity to go out and see what the beautiful Pacific Northwest has to offer. A short drive from home placed us at Mount Rainier National Park – Skyline Trail. The wildflowers were in full bloom and cute furry animals posed for the camera.

Marmot

Marmot

Panorama Point

 On clear days, you can see Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens from Panorama Point. Be mindful of the slippery conditions and find a place to take advantage of having a snowball fight in the middle of the summer.

Golden Gate Trail

On our way down the mountain we saw some amazing greenery and even a waterfall.

Myrtle Falls

Myrtle Falls

 

U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Eugene, Ore.

Tower Bridge

Timeline

2004 – I was graduating from high school and learned the city of London would be the host for the 2012 Olympic Games. I knew at that moment,  it would take a STRONG force to keep me from attending in 2012.

2011 – I was able to get tickets for an Olympic event through the CoSport lottery system. I believed the hard part was over, so I continued prepping for an EPIC adventure in one of my favorite cities!

2012 – I received the bad news from my husband that he would not be able to go due to his work commitments.

I couldn’t see the rationale in spending money we saved together without him, so I made him promise we could go to London whenever he had time off from work. Knowing I needed to still get my Olympic ‘fix’, I decided to hop in the car and drive five hours to the historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Olympic Tickets

Olympic Tickets

The trials were an amazing experience. It felt good to be around other Track and Field enthusiasts, and I even saw my former track and field coaches from my college days.

Nike Billboard

Nike Billboard

The best event to watch during a competition is the men and women’s 400m run. I didn’t know it then (well I could have assumed it), but I was watching the Olympic Champion in the women’s 400m, Sanya Richards-Ross.

(Lane 5) Sanya Richards-Ross

(Lane 5) Sanya Richards-Ross

If you are ever on Interstate 5 and pass through Portland, Oregon, be sure to stop by the famous Voodoo Doughnuts. Whatever your doughnut palette desires can be found in this world-famous Portland establishment. My favorite cereal is Froot Loops, so this doughnut choice was an easy decision for me!

Voodoo Doughnut

Voodoo Doughnut

 

 

NCAA Final Four – New Orleans, LA

I was lucky to get my hands on a pair of tickets to the 2012 NCAA Final Four in New Orleans, Louisiana. I felt like I died and gone to heaven when I received the phone call asking if I was interested. Well, yeah… of course I am interested! Jake, the hubs, was on deployment at the time and my fingers were crossed he would make it back it in time and  lucky for us –  he did!

I bet you asked yourself  “how can this amazing situation be made better?” Well, I will tell you! I have been a Kentucky Wildcats fan since I was a child, so watching my favorite college basketball team win a national championship was one the most thrilling sport experiences I have ever witnessed.

National Champions

New Orleans is a beautiful French inspired city with a vibrant culture and tasty southern food. A must-have while in New Orleans are fried beignets covered in powdered sugar. Cafe Du Monde has the best beignets in town and they are available 24 hours a day.

Beignets

An episode of Swamp People can prepare your tummy for an afternoon snack. Be sure to stop by the Old French Market and grab some alligator meat.

Gator on a Stick

Getting Started

My husband, an engineer, is a huge critic of bloggers/blogging. He doesn’t understand why someone would want to put their thoughts on the Internet for the world to see, and most importantly – who would want to read it? The hardest aspect I have grappled with over the years when it comes to blogging is, “What am I going to blog about?” I know I L-O-V-E to travel, so why not combine traveling with a few of my favorite things – sports, music and food!  My love of traveling developed after living abroad for almost 10 years. What inspires me to travel besides seeing the beautiful wonders of the world –  the thrill of unforgettable sporting events, food, music and love.