Saturday, October 22, 2011

Driving through Italy was such a beautiful sight. Vineyards lined the highway, and literally every direction there were rows and rows of grapes. We stopped at a small grocery store and couldn't resist buying a few bottles of wine and some chocolate, setting us back a whopping €1.50 per bottle. We already love Italy!!

Arriving in Venice was a delight however we were quickly greeted with high price tags and an underwhelming amount of hotels. We park our car in the only garage we can find and pay more for one night than we have paid for any hotel yet... Yikes! We load up our bags and head to find a hotel. Only after about 30 minutes we find the perfect location with perfect price... Thank you trip advisor (and the lady behind the desk.. She defiantly helped us out with the price) 

With a quick change of clothes we were out the door and exploring. Venice is such a beautiful and romantic city, we didn't know where to go first. Our short time in the city was spent wandering around the maze of bridges and sidewalks, going in and out of shops, and enjoying the great weather. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Venice here we come

Driving through Italy was such a beautiful sight. Vineyards lined the highway, and literally every direction there were rows and rows of grapes. We stopped at a small grocery store and couldn't resist buying a few bottles of wine and some chocolate, setting us back a whopping €1.50 per bottle. We already love Italy!!

A bit more

On a side note brandon and I have grown so interested in the history of these countries, that we have decided to make a deal. We will each take turns picking out a book that we will both read so we can become more educated. Now that we have seen so much history, it has sparked our interest in learning more. We will pick our first book tonight.

A bit more

On a side note brandon and I have grown so interested in the history of these countries, that we have decided to make a deal. We will each take turns picking out a book that we will both read so we can become more educated. Now that we have seen so much history, it has sparked our interest in learning more. We will pick our first book tonight.

Beer beer and BEER!


We hit the road and traveled 30 km to Munich. Bavaria's capital for beer. While here we learned just how important beer was for the foundation of Munich. As the monks started brewing beer in the early 1300s they came up with the idea because they would fast all day long and would be hungry. While they weren't allowed to eat, they could drink...Enter beer. The monks called it liquid bread because it was high in calories and different nutrients, and they could go all day without eating as long as they had their beer.

Beer today has a special part of Munich's history and many traditions are still holding strong. For example, back during king Leudwigs time there was a special celebration in honor of his marriage. The celebration went on for many days, and because they had so much fun during this celebration they decided to make it an every year event, which is now known worldwide as Oktoberfest. 

Munich is such an incredible city. There is so much to see, and so much to do, new foods to try and culture to soak in. We could spent a week here and we still wouldn't see everything. The history that is preserved here is amazing, and I have to say I can't complain about the abundance of beer around here. Where else would you drink beer for breakfast?!

Highlights: Free walking tour, this lasted about 3 hours, and we got loads of information! Our guide was excellent and made it entertaining, and light hearted.
The beer halls, hofbrauhaus, and Augestiner
The market, we had cheese and meats,a dn bread from the market every day we were in Munich. The cheese was delicious, and there were so many to try!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dachau concentration camp

A sombering day was ahead of us when we decided to see this first ever concentration camp.  When arriving to the site by car I needed no sign, as we passed a huge barb wire fence surrounded with watchtowers I knew where we were. It was the same sight we have seen in every childhood history book. 

We parked the car and decided to go on a tour of Dachau. We were here to learn and educate ourselves about the history of the world. We joined a English walking tour of the site which is almost all original buildings. These have only been preserved because of survivors of the concentration camp. After the war most germans didn't want to accept or remember what had happened at dachau. They wanted it to be destroyed. It was the survivors from almost all surrounding countries including Germany who protested to keep it as it was, as opposed to having just a small memorial. These people wanted the future generations to learn frthe what happened and to remember what had happened. "Never again" two words posted on one of the memorials. We walked through Dachau and learned of the day to day routines and punishing/torture that was bestowed upon the victims. As hard as it was to think of what happened, it is something that future generations should never forget. 

Monday, October 10, 2011


Tonight we are Relaxing with some German beer in our Hostel, and looking back on the day I feel like we have done so much. This morning feels like it was a week ago, but we don't want to miss anything! On Gunter's recommendation, we first head to an auto museum. This contained a mixture of old cars of famous people, and a lot of war machinery. There were two different museums to go into as well as an iMax. Its hard to describe but it was very interesting.

We buzzed through the museum and went on our way to Rothenburg. With not a single modern building in sight this medieval town is very charming, and historical. It is encircled by its original 14th century walls and has been preserved very well. Some of the town highlights include the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas store, a tower where we climbed 200 stairs to get to the top, that overlooks the entire city with amazing vistas, and the kriminalmuseum, which provided a gruesome glimpse of the past, housing all manners of torture devices that were used during the medieval times - shame masks, devices to pull limbs off the accused, and crush different body parts, and cages where the accused would be put on display in the center of the village so they would be shamed. 
Arriving in Frankfurt
Our first overseas travel involved us talking our first exploratory trip to Europe. This involved a plane flight from moline Illinois, to Chicago and from Chicago, to Frankfurt Germany... Better known as Dauchland. Arriving in Frankfurt we found our rental car and began our venture to Mannheim where we were to meet my fathers friend Sven. We arrived in the afternoon after a adventurous trip down the autobahn. Wow do cars drive fast. You can pull into the fast lane only to be overtaken by a Mercedes m5 in a matter of seconds going 285km an hour or translated 185mph... think about that. One second you are trying to overtake a car with your rental and the next sec you are being tailed by a car having to slam on the brakes... Ours maxed out at 105 mph.

We arrived at Mannheim and checked in to the Steingenberger hotel. At first thought I wanted to just collapse on the bed... Next thought, I was in a new place/country/ world and wanted to explore. We went to the nearest Starbucks and got wi fi.

What next? Exploring! We head in to the city and try cheeses, and neueva wine, and bread.. We window shop and check out the latest european styles and look at all the German specialities. 

By this time we are too meet up for dinner with Sven.

We arrive and dinner is being prepared, cutting the onion, baking the bread, and cooking the meat. I loved that it gave us time to chat and get to know one another. Maybe an hour and a half passed as we chatted about our travels and dinner was finally ready! It looked amazing...tomato sauce with onions peppers, and zucchini, Pork medallions, and cheeses...and it was! Sven and his wife were so hospitable they chatted with us until 10:30 or so about our plans. We had a nice time and after the night we were ready to head to bed and get a good nights sleep. Jet lag was setting in.

The next morning we got up and headed to see another friend, Gunter. We arrive at his home and we are greeted with warm welcomes and delicious food. 

After lunch we headed into the town of Speyer. We saw an amazing cathedral, which the Germans call "the dome", it's 950 years old and still standing strong. Gunter was such a great guide, he showed us the history of the town as well as some German specialities. We had a crepe, (nutella, banana, and grand marnei), he showed us what neueva wine is, and got us Italian ice (my new favorite) I had pistachio, and Brandon had orange. That night we headed to the brewery for dinner- a German traditional restaurant. Not sure what to order because the menu was in German, I followed Gunter's recommendation on a traditional German plate, and Brandon went with another recommendation. Surprisingly, I liked what I got... A Liver meatball, a bratwarst, and something  I still can pronounce, but still delicious, and what other than sourkatut to go with it. Brandon enjoyed spatzel and mushrooms with pork medallions. And we both enjoyed some good German beer.

Third day in Europe 

Today we wake up... "it's 9:30" Brandon says. How did we sleep so late?! We won't admit it but we are still jet lagged. On our third day we have so much  planned. We're not exactly sure what we are doing but we know for sure Gunter won't do us wrong.

We head up stairs for breakfast and are treated with fresh brewed kaffee. and asked to sit at the table. We proceed to eat nutella, a delectable breakfast spread, popular among Germans, and cold meats with toast. Completely satisfied already, we are then served eggs with bacon. Delicious. Heika, Gunter's wife (who says she is not a cook) has already cooked us two wonderful meals, what a treat. 

We leave for heidleburg and head to the castle. What a Magnificent sight. Gunter, took very "gut"care of us. We went up into the castle and took a tour, learned about the history, and saw some amazing architecture. 

After the tour, we head to wine country. To Germans, this means business... A half liter is the norm, however Gunter bought us a glass for 15 euros which meant we could essentially taste 70 different wines.... And a taste in Germany is more like an entire glass... (see picture) what a great tradition! And even better Gunter had us try a speciality dish from each winery.. (pictures coming soon)  some of the best foods I have tried. They were nothing I have ever seen in the states, but DELICIOUS!!!

After many wines and good traditions we head back to Gunter's house for a glass of wine and to plan the next weeks. He has been so hospitable we couldn't ask for more. We are just about to head to bed and we are enjoying the wonderful accommodations (and German beer). DANKA GUNTER!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hilo and Volcanos National Park

The next day we drove to the other side of the island with a goal of getting to Volcanos National Park. We packed our lunches and took off. Looking again at our guide book we decided on what we wanted to do that day. Driving along we saw a beautiful pull off along the shore and saw some boogie boarders hit some big waves. Further on we stopped at Hilo, a small college town, and very old, to get flashlights so we could explore the lava tubes. (a lava tube is when lava is flowing but the outside of it begins to cool down and harden while the inside is still very hot and continues to flow. The out side eventually creates a solid and the inner flows out creating a tube.) the tube we explored went on for ten miles, however we only went about a half mile in. Walking into complete darkness with only a flashlight can be a little spooky, especially when there are many parts that require crawling.

Driving further on we finally made it to the Park. We stopped at the visitor center to look around, get advice from the rangers, and grab a map. We decided on a scenic drive first to get an idea of what the park was like. There was an active volcano erupting while we were there, however we couldn't see anything because that area of the park was closed due to hazards. Next on the agenda was a hike. We chose a 4 mile loop that was so diverse and interesting. Kilauea Iki Trail starts in the rain forest on the crater's rim. The trail descends 400 feet through the rain forest, with native birds in the canopy, to the crater floor. We crossed the still-steaming crater floor, past the gaping throat of the vent that built Pu'u Pua'i cinder cone, and returned to our starting point via the crater's rim.
(pictures to come) and more on Hawaii

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Honeymoon getaway

Hawaii. What an exciting place to be going on our honeymoon. After a long day of travel and three different connections we finally make it to Hawaii, otherwise known as the "Big Island". We are so excited we hop off the plane to perfect weather, beautiful palm trees and friendly people everywhere. We stop to pick up our rental after waiting for our luggage, and Brandon drives around the corner in our car for the week... A Jeep Wrangler! I couldn't wait to out the top down. We load up our luggage and find our hotel, it was almost as if we were in a huge hurry... We wanted to get to our hotel so bad we just couldn't wait. Our honeymoon was finally here! We check into the hotel and were upgraded to a beautiful cabana right on the ocean. Tonight the was to relax by ocean watch the sun go down and have a nice dinner in. We did just that. We stopped at the local grocery store, and picked up some of the essentials; bread, lunch meat and cheese, some snacks, (a $10 gallon of milk..YIKES) and of course, stuff to make some tropical drinks. We also picked up some ahi poke which we were told is very popular among Hawaiians... This ended up being a staple during our time in Hawaii.

The first full day we woke up bright and early, actually before the sun came up, and we headed in to Kona coffee country. We stopped at some coffee farms and learned all about how coffee beans were roasted and harvested, and the whole process. It was very interesting. We even got to try fresh figs, fresh coca, and fresh bananas that we picked. I have to admit Kona coffee is the best coffee I have ever had. Delicious!

After our coffee tours we peeked in our guided book to find something for lunch and we found a sushi place where you make your own custom roll. It was great I got ahi avocado and fish eggs, and brandon got their famous spicy ahi with avocado and crispy salmon. One roll could have fed us both, they were HUGE, and only $5 a roll. Completely satisfied and a little overly full, we decided to walk around town- Kailua Kona. A cute touristy town with a lot of fun shops, and the beautiful ocean to walk by. Ready for a snack we stopped in a small shop for some shave ice. Our first shave ice of the trip, and definitely not our last. We decided to share a medium, and boy was that enough! The shave ice was the size of a bowling ball! It was delicious and a work of art.

Day 2
Our second full day was amazing. We headed straight for a snorkel spot that we heard was supposed to be great snorkeling, Two Step. Amazed by the beauty around us during the drive we took numerous stops on the way there to take pictures. Right before Two Step there was a National refuage that the guide book said was worth our time. It was a short walk around the area where the extensive grounds included a palace, a temple, and a Great Wall, among other important artifacts. After that we snorkeled for the rest of the afternoon, with all sorts of tropical fish and colorful coral. I have to say If you have never snorkeled before, it is something that everyone needs to try. It is so invigorating and unworldly and the life that is down there is constantly changing. You never know what you may stumble upon. Which brings me to our next active for the day. We were on our way to another snorkel spot when some locals stopped us and were trying to convince us to rent a kayak for the day. "Only $25 a person for the whole day" he said... Well it was already 3pm and we just wanted to snorkel... I thought it was rip off. He kept at us and Brandon finally said we only have $20 but we'd only take it for a few hours. He finally convinced us because he said there were dolphins out there and I thought it's be fun to maybe see one in the distance (even though I thought he was feeding us a bunch of you know what). We gave it a shot, for $20 it would at least be fun to paddle around in the ocean. We got to the snorkel spot and jumped into the 3rd best snorkel spot in the world and were amazed again by the life we saw. We swam around for about 30 minutes and were getting tired so we hopped back in our kayak and started back. "LeAnn look!" Brandon said to me. There was a dolphin jumping in the distance! There were A LOT of dolphins jumping in the distance! We paddled as fast as we could and got as close as we could and I jumped in the water... This was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. There had to be 20 or 30 dolphins swimming around down there. Un based by me in the water they swam and jumped and kept playing. A mama with her baby swam by and they all got so close to me I couldn't believe it. Brandon finally jumped in to and couldn't believe his eyes. It really was an indescribable experience, and one that I will never forget. We swam with wild dolphins, and they were exactly what I imagined they would be like, playful, happy, and not one bit afraid of me. I was in awe.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Just got back from our honeymoon in Hawaii! We spent two weeks there, one on the big island and one week on Kauai. What a great trip! We did a ton of snorkeling and hiking. Of course many other things in between! Here is a new website with photos from the trip! enjoy

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Palisade, CO

Brandon and I are off for another excursion. First stop is Palisade, Colorado - wine country! We left the dog at home and will have the next few days to ourselves. On the agenda as far as I know is wine tours, and probably a lot of fishing. We have been in the car for nearly 5 hours and I am ready to set up camp and hit the hay. Our first road trip in our new car and it is great! Only a half hour from our first destination I thought I would write an update on what is to come, I can't wait! We love the palisades and our wine. Hopefully we have a nice sunny day tomorrow. I think we'll get up bright and early and get our lines wet before the wineries open, and then hit the countryside! That's all for tonight.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Madison River

Fishing, fishing, and more fishing! I can't tell you how much fishing we did on the Madison River. We fished all day long and into the night and I tell ya, I improved so much last weekend. I ended up growing a bigger appreciation for fishing than I ever had before. I caught less than 5 fish and I still had the time of my life. Fishing was hard because the river was so fast, but when I did catch a fish it was awesome. More to come!

Hynach lake

Our latest endeavor was a backpacking trip to Haynach Lake. We went with two of our good friends Connor and Becky. Starting from green mtn trail head we headed off at 5 am and slowly made our way up stopping for pictures, snacks and moose! Our first moose we have seen on a trail and we were up close and personal! It was a mama with her two babies... Incredible! Continuing on not to disrupt them we pass by many beautiful streams. Brandon dying to throw his rod in, but we keep going until we reach the lake. The destination was gorgeous! We were surrounded by huge mountains, on a beautiful blue bird day. The weather couldn't have been better. We unpacked and headed to the lake; pulling in fish one by one we were all catching tons of fish! Huge cutthroat trout were stacked in the lake and it was so fun to watch the gulp down our fly and catch them. We fished all day long and finally decided that it was time to set up camp and cook dinner.

Dinner consisted of a scrumptious meal of pasta with cheese and summer sausage, and of course coffee. We enjoyed the views while getting eaten alive by Mosquitos. I felt like I was back in my childhood again by the amount of bug bites I ended up with.. Brandon stopped counting at 50 because he got bored. I have bites all over my legs, and arms, and even worse nearly 10 on my forehead! (we even had bug spray)

After dinner we went back to the lake and caught some more fish.. I caught my biggest cutthroat yet! It was great. We enjoyed the sunset and the cool mountain air, watched the stars for a bit and headed to bed.

We woke up the next morning and snapped some great pictures and threw our lines back in the water. Six fish later I decided to go find Brandon. He had just as much luck, and all big fish! The four of us filtered some water and headed up to summit Nakai. It was a beautiful summit and only took us a couple hours because we were right at the base.

Fishing a bit more once we got back to the lake it was nearly 4pm and we needed to start heading down. Exhausted and again being eaten alive by bugs we were almost running down the trail to get home. To finish off a great trip we headed for Mexican and a margarita.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Back from Trip

We are now back from the road trip to the north east coast. What a great time it was. If anyone wants to get some ideas from us please ask we would like to give you some information if you're planning a trip out there. We are not spending time at home before we head back to Estes Park for the summer! I cant wait to get the fly rod back out, and take some backpacking trips. Will keep you posted on the wedding and our adventures this coming summer so stay tuned and look for more posts.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Oh Canada...

Yesterday was an interesting day, we decided to head up through Canada to make our journey back to Minnesota. We stopped for a quick cup of joe in Ottawa, and of course got lost because our phones didn't work, the iPad wouldn't connect, and the gps didn't recognize anything! With that said we drove the whole way through only stopping for gas until we made it back to America again.

Oh how I love Vermont

Today we are exploring Vermont. Only 11:00 and we've already toured the cabot cheese factory, and many maple sugar houses. If you have never tried pure maple, you are missing out. I will now be eating it on everything I make... Oatmeal, ice cream, veggies, ham...yummm I can't wait! Next stop we are heading to the Ben and jerry's ice cream factory. 

We love our seafood

Boston 5/8
This was a completely spur of the moment stop. Brandon and I were craving some chower and decided to check out the city. We gobble our chowder and don't get far when we see a brewery. Harpoon brewery, the 10th largest craft brewery in the country (and not available in Colorado). Tours were running all day so we of course went on a tour and stayed extra long for the tasting. We continued on our way and soaked up the atmosphere of Boston hopping from pub to pub. I guess since we really don't have a schedule, we can stay in Boston tonight..

A little r&r

Cape Cod was the most relaxing part of our trip. We arrived mid morning and headed straight to the beach. We enjoyed a picnic lunch and spent the whole afternoon walking along the beach and sipping some Rhode Island wine we had. That evening we met a couple who had a beach vehicle permit and they drove us to the national lighthouse that is only accessible by car, via the beach. It was such an experience driving on sand right next to the ocean. We parked the car by the ocean and watched the beautiful vistas while we enjoyed mohitos. What a great day!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Let's run this town..

On tip for visitors to dc: THE MOST FUN thing we did while here was renting bikes. Our second day in dc we wanted to see all the out side attractions. We swiped our card in a self serve bike station and we were on our way. In less than three hours we saw the WWII monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Arlington National Cemetary, Iwo Jima, and Vietnam Memorial. We were all over DC. Stopping in Chinatown for a quick lunch and meeting with with my parents we were off again touring. That afternoon we saw the museum of National History, and Natural History, needless to say we were worn out and ready for a nice relaxing dinner. 

And we're off!

Our first stop on our adventure was DC. Arriving in the afternoon, we had time to check into our hotel and hit the town to tour. With a stroke of luck we were given a pass to get into the Holocaust museum and by pass the line... Yes! The exhibit was great, like nothing someone can explain on paper. We spent three hours taking everything in, and I tell you what, it was powerful. We were ready to move on and had 30 minutes before exhibits were closing so we thought we would try to get into the national monument before the last tour. We walk up to the monument only to be told tickets have been sold out since 9 that morning... Well with another bit of luck the people that were standing right next to us had two extra tickets! They handed them over to us and just like that we got the go up in the monument on the very last tour.

To make a great day even better, we were trying to find a place to grab some dinner and stumbled upon a brewery. We sat down at the bar and were greeted with a delicious plate of soft pretzels and cheese. After devouring the pretzels we shared a hamburger and enjoyed some local brews.

About ready to leave I get back from the bathroom and there is a brownie Sunday with a birthday candle on top...huh? Brandon leans over and says if anyone asks it's your birthday..oh great, well the bartender comes over and continues to sing me a happy birthday while Brandon just smirks. It turns out brandon had nothing to do with this, the bartender bought us a wonderful dessert and two more beers, and we headed on our way. 

That night we soaked up the city and walked around enjoying the beautiful night. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

On the road again

Well Brandon and I are back on the road again. We've been trying to decide where exactly we wanted to go... But it turns out we want to go everywhere. We finally made a decision, we are headed out East. We are so excited because neither of us has been far east before. The plan: make a loop from Iowa to DC, along the shore to Cape Cod and New York, up to Canada, and all the way back to northern Minnesota to hit the boundary waters.. Can we do it in 2 1/2 weeks? We'll see! Wish us luck and if you have any suggestions, let us know.. There is no set plan!