Munich

Tha last stop on our trip, and it was a good one. Our ultra-hip room at the Louis Hotel was perfectly situated right above the long-standing Viktualienmarkt, and just a short walk to a bustling Christmas market.

Nuremberg

The rain and cold made it a bit difficult to appreciate this city, parts of which have been rebuilt to pre-war conditions from the ruins of devastating carpet bombing that had destroyed 95% of the city by January, 1945. We visited the old castle in the rain and warmed our bones over an excellent lunch,…

Regensberg

(Everything you see in today’s featured image is made of chocolate.) Our busiest day was followed by a much-needed slow day. Kelly spent the morning trying to compensate for lost sleep pretty much every jetlagged day so far. In the afternoon, we visited one of the most charming Christmas markets so far at the Thurn…

Passau

We crossed the border between Austria and Germany and docked at one of our favorite towns along the Danube, picturesque Passau, which sits at the confluence of three rivers, the Inn, the Ilz and the Danube. This location is plagued by frequent major floods, the largest ever occurring in 2013, where flood levels reached over…

Linz

The cruise to Linz took place in the afternoon of our Dürstein day. Cruising days are fun and relaxing. Sightseeing through the Wachau Valley – even in winter – is one of my favorite ways to spend a day. While cruising, we decided to go to the top deck, but we didn’t last long in…

Dürnstein

This was our second visit to the postcard-perfect Dürnstein. On our last trip, there was no time to climb up the hill to the castle ruins, but this time we decided to give it a try. It was steep and a bit treacherous on the snowy steps, but at each corner, the ever-improving view demanded…

Vienna

Day one – a suite surprise Our 2018 trip to Christmas Markets of Austria and Germany began with a very long, but relatively comfortable flight on Turkish Airlines, where we enjoyed multiple courses of pretty darn good airline food and lay-flat seats. (More on this later.) But the story of our trip really begins with a…

Seattle

This was our first visit. We saw most of the obligatory sites – the Space Needle, Chihuly Gardens and the awesome MoPop. We rode the monorail. We enjoyed beautiful weather during most of our brief stay. It was a bit smoky from the numerous forest fires, but we did manage to see Mt. Rainier once…

Totality

Speechless. https://goo.gl/photos/4mmYCmRgfMyJuFzj6

Belize

Our first visit to Belize was a good one. We spent the first half at Blanacaneaux Lodge. (It was so wonderful, we’re already planning another visit.) For the second half, we chose a beach setting at another Coppola resort – Turtle Inn. Both were amazing in their own way, and provided excellent backdrops for the…

Santa Fe

We had absolutely no plans when we arrived in Santa Fe. Lots of food recommendations from friends, but as always, we wanted the flexibility to do our own thing. So, it was pure luck that drove us to the coolest place in Santa Fe – Canyon Road. We discovered this amazing cluster of galleries one…

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

We’ve all seen pictures of this amazing event, rumored to be the most photographed event in the world. While it is an amazing photo-op, pictures cannot capture the controlled chaos of the simultaneous launch of hundreds of whacky, colorful balloons. You can walk right up to the action. Balloon pilots and crew are happy to…

Galeries Lafayette

Luckily, Kelly was not the least bit interested in fighting massive crowds at the Louvre, so we blew that off, and instead went shopping.

Palais Garnier

Day Eight In my opinion, one of the most spectacular sites in Paris is the Opera House, better known to locals as Palais Garnier. I’d rank it higher than the crowded Palace of Versailles.

Latin Quarter and Champs Elysee

Day Seven We did a walking tour of the Latin Quarter, and later in the day we walked along the Champs Elysee, which had a huge Christmas market about a mile long, and is where I did much of my street photography. By now, we’ve become quite comfortable using the Paris Metro, which is convenient…

Paris Street Photography

According to Wikipedia, Street Photography – which is not always shot in the street, but which is nearly always black & white – has its roots in Paris. What better place then, to try to master the craft? Luckily, my new Fuji x100T may be the best camera available for the genre. It’s perfect because…

Christmas Day in Paris

Day Six It’s Christmas! The timing of the day’s activities was perfect, as we arrived at Notre Dame during a gorgeous Christmas mass. Aside from the mass, the day felt pretty much like any other. None of the usual Christmas misery. Just fun exploring new places. What a great day! In the afternoon, we strolled…

Auvers Sur Oise

Day Five We visited the last home of Vincent Van Gogh, and stood on the very spot where several of his paintings were made. We learned that he made more than 70 paintings in the last 70 days of his unhappy life. We also got our first glimpse of the sun today, which lasted about…

Les Andelys

Day Four Les Andelys is a town of 9000 people 60 miles from Paris, which makes it close enough to be considered a suburb. Much of the population commutes from here to Paris. Naturally the town has a large church named Notre Dame where we enjoyed a beautiful organ concert.

Rouen

Day Three Our third day finds us in the unpronounceable city of Rouen. Eighteen year old Joan of Arc was burned alive here. A chapel was erected in the 1970’s near the exact spot of her death. This prosperous city of 107,000 people and 70 church steeples is also home to many wooden and stone…

Palace of Versailles

Day Two After a tasty welcome dinner on board the River Baroness, we cruised a short distance up the River Seine to the 700 room Palace of Versailles and it’s jaw-dropping opulence. We inspected one of the enormous “apartments” used by royalty of the period, and toured room after room filled with gilded walls and…

Christmas in Paris

This year we decided to avoid the depressing spectacle that is Christmas in the US by traveling abroad for the holidays. This turned out to be an even better idea than we thought it could be. The usual guilt and stress of our most dreaded holiday melted away, and we pretty much forgot about the…

I Truly Hate Hiking

Unless of course it’s near Jackson, Wyoming. Hiking isn’t the only thing we did in Jackson Hole. We also shopped and ate way too much. And of course, we took a few pictures. (Some of the best shots from this trip were shot by the Kellster!) It’s hard to pick favorites. Here are just a…

Budapest

One of many surprises on the trip was the beauty of Budapest in the morning. Wish we’d had time to see the interior of the Gellert Spa. Finally time for a coffee and treats at Anna Café. More photos of beautiful Budapest here.

Bratislava

The capital of Slovakia was not supposed to be on our tour, but due to some loch work, we took a welcome detour to this interesting city. The rest of the images from Bratislava can be seen here.

Vienna

Vienna, with its 1.7 million inhabitants, is the largest city we visited. The city has a modern (and very expensive!) feel. Dozens of quaint cafés serve some of the best coffee and sweets we’ve ever tasted. We only wish we could’ve had a bite of this edible pony. St. Stephen’s Cathedral and another impressive organ….

Dürnstein

After a pleasant three hour cruise, the sun appeared just in time to see this picturesque village from the Danube. Later in the afternoon, we tasted the exquisite “biodynamic” wines at the Nickolai Winery. The rest of the pictures from this day are here.

Melk

The spectacular Melk Abbey provided plenty of eye-popping splendor on today’s tour. We found a delightful mix of the ultra-modern design and treasures from the past. The library was really stunning, but unfortunately, no photos were allowed. To give you some idea what it looked like, have a look at this amazing 3D shot of…

Salzburg

Scenery along the Danube is starting to become really lovely – especially when the sun (almost) makes an appearance. The Salzburg Cathedral. I’m not sure of the significance of the big gold ball or of the dude standing on top of it! View more pictures of our visit to Salzburg here.

Passau

Now on board the River Beatrice, our first stop is Passau. The site of the worst flooding in 5 centuries, Passau is small and charming. Our guide explains that the city was built at the confluence of three rivers – the Danube, the Inn and the Ilz. More Passau pics here.