Christmas in July! Frankfurt Edition

There are so many positive things I can say about Frankfurt, Germany, but every other travel blogger in the universe has probably already said them much more eloquently than myself.

One of the most memorable things I have had the pleasure of doing in Frankfurt is going to the Christmas Market at the Römerberg and the Paulsplatz.

Frankfurt2

It’s the best Christmas present you could ever give yourself and fellow travelers. If the lights, decorations, setting, carousel, and Nativity displays don’t get you into the Christmas spirit then you obviously hate Christmas.

Frankfurt7

If you’re desert born like me or just chill easily warm yourself up with the most delicious holiday beverage you will ever have: gluhwein. It’s a mulled wine infused with liquor of your choice (I recommend rum or brandy) and holiday spices served piping hot in a souvenir mug.

FrankfurtGluhwein

Once you’re toasty and in a gluhwein induced haze grab a bite to eat from one of the vendors. They have wiener schnitzel (nothing to do with the hot dog chain) and the biggest pretzels you will ever see. Some of them are even dipped in chocolate!

FrankfurtPretzels

However, your Christmastime experience will not be fully complete unless you’re spending it with family and friends.

Frankfurt13

Check out the video below to get a look at the amazing market in all its splendor.

Hopefully I can return soon and check out some of the other Christmas Markets around Germany. I hear Munich has an awesome Christmas Market.

Frankfurt12

What is your favorite city during the winter holidays? What event or city gets you into the holiday spirit?

Stay tuned for more Frankfurt posts on what this great city has to offer.

Life’s a Beach in Oceanside

What’s my favorite kind of traveling? Last minute adventures with one of my best friends, Christina. On this particular last-minute adventure she invited me to join her in Oceanside, CA. I was in dire need of beach time and BFF time so of course I hopped on a plane the next day and was off!

I landed in San Diego and we immediate headed for some ice cold brews at the Coronado Brewing Company. The beer was exactly what I needed to kick off my beach vacation. The burgers were nothing to write home about but the pretzel and mustard we loaded up on danced a jig with the beer in my belly.

IMG_0103

On our way to the condo we made an obligatory stop at the Carlsbad Outlets. It was so refreshing to go to a premium outlet with real outlet prices! While shopping for shoes we said something like, “These are so cute!” at the same time. We were looking at different shoes.

IMG_0104 IMG_0106

Which one fits your style? Can you guess who goes with what shoe?

We relaxed a little at the condo then headed out to my new, second favorite place (the beach always wins first place) in Oceanside, The Stone Company Store and tasting room!

IMG_0108

This place has it all! The space is open and cool with a wonderful fiery centerpiece to enjoy your beer at. They have every Stone shirt, hat, glass, towel, hot sauce, book you could ever want. Best of all, they had every Stone brew on tap. I sampled the RuinTen IPA and Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard, a great oaky version of the classic Arrogant Bastard.

IMG_0111

Once we had our fill of Stone’s magnificent beers we headed to Harney Sushi for some grub and well-crafted cocktails. The best sushi roll we had was definitely the Chuck Norris. It round-house kicked our tastebuds.

IMG_0112

The next day we hit the morning market, we bought a ridiculous hat fit for a royal wedding and knickknacks then spent some time sunning on the beautiful Oceanside beach. Once we had soaked in enough of the sun’s rays we cleaned up and headed to the Thursday evening market for some dinner (see video below) and the next day it was time to say goodbye to the beach.

IMG_0114

But oh the adventure wasn’t over there! Not when you’re on an adventure with Christina and Taylor! On our drive back, somewhere past Yuma, insanity ensued for about 15 minutes. In this span we came across the biggest tarantula I have ever seen (oddly, I’ve seen more than a few), almost hit a coyote, saw a semi dragging a chain that was sparking really badly, and a train with locked up brakes, sparks showering from all sides and creating a plume of smoke. This is what happens when we travel together. None of this would have happened otherwise.

Great ideas also come out of our travels, like a new travel blog hosted by none other than myself and Christina! It’s a start and it is going to rock. Check out our take on a few of our favorite parts of the journey:

Coming soon: One Night Stands with Christina and Taylor (a travel vlog).IMG_0113

 

Also, if you want a great place to stay in Oceanside check out these awesome condos we stayed at: North Coast ViIlage

Stepping Out in Seattle

First off, I have to praise the many wonders of the site Airbnb. After hours of searching for a hotel with a decent location and price last minute for the first week of summer vacation I came up empty-handed but one of my travel buddies suggested Airbnb and we found a beautiful apartment in the young, hipster area of Capitol Hill. Walking distance to everything we could possibly want and a doable walk from the light rail station downtown. The best part is that we had a whole apartment to ourselves, complete with fridge, dishes, and a washer/dryer and it was cheaper than a hotel. If you haven’t checked out Airbnb then do it now. Don’t even finish this post. Just go check it out.

Like all great journeys getting to Seattle was a bit of a hassle. I won’t bore you with details but we finally got on a flight to Seattle and we hit the ground running.

While wondering around in search of food we happened across Von Trapp’s, a German chateau styled bar. Inside it was dimly-lit and completely wood interior with everything you could want to entertain yourself: shuffleboard, arcade games, bocce and various bar-style games. The real prizes of the place were their beer brats, pretzels (oh and that mustard!) and extensive list of German and Belgian beers.

Von Trapp's

For the life of me I can’t remember which German-style beer I ordered but the second I tasted it I was transported to a cabin in the springtime with a fire roasting nuts in a little hearth. It was magical and love at first taste.

The next morning was tourist time! We walked around downtown and hit the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. These are musts if you’re going to be in Seattle and Pike’s offers a lovely array of trinkets and souvenirs to bring home.

Downtown Seattle

We grabbed lunch at Piroshky Piroshky which is the best piroshky I’ve had outside of Russia (that adventure coming soon).

Pike Market

We topped our lunches off with a few wonderful glasses of wine at The Tasting Room hidden in one of Seattle’s alleyways. If you’re like me and can’t ever pick just one thing you’re in luck because they have themed sample arrangements for whatever kinds of wines you’re in to.

Tasting Room

Finally, we hit the gem of the journey. We met up with the Youtube vlogger for Asians Unite and Rant at Bathtub Gin Co.

Bathtub Gin

This is my favorite little speakeasy in the world thus far. The atmosphere is cozy and classy with a wide selection of liquors I’ve never heard of. Our experience was so magical that, by the end of our trip, we were all convinced our spectacular bartended, Matt James, was a figment of our imaginations and the Bathtub Gin Co. was simply a beautiful dream.


Weekly Vlog #3 with Fernet!

If you decide to go to the Bathtub Gin Co you will have to look very hard as it’s in a back alley with only a tiny placard on the back door to signify it’s existence (I still don’t believe it exists). Don’t give up, whatever you do, don’t give up in your quest to find it. You will be greatly rewarded when you do.

Seattle 'Murica!

Check out my travel buddy @YousefH