Great Companies that Give Back

I’m writing this article to bring attention to three amazing companies I am proud to be an affiliate for. All three companies give back in an amazing way while offering great, meaningful, and stylish products that everyone can enjoy. I would not support a company if I didn’t feel they didn’t deserve it. Without a doubt, these companies deserve recognition for the great work they do.

The Wander Club

Travel a lot but don’t want to clutter your house with souvenirs? Looking to find something meaningful to remember your trips by? Maybe a little bit of both? Then the Wander Club is the company for you. The Wander Club is known for its engraved tokens and Wanderchains(leather key chain with ring for tokens). They also now have necklaces if that’s more your style. Basically, you start by picking out a Wanderchain or a necklace. Then, you order a token for every new country or US state you visit. There are also continent tokens if you want to separate your tokens on your chain or necklace. But wait, I didn’t even mention the best part yet. With every order you are helping the Wander Club donate a meal to an orphan abroad. Who doesn’t want to be able to carry your trip memories wherever you go while also giving back? It is a win win! Here is an affiliate link to their website: http://thewanderclub.co?aff=38

Pura Vida

Most likely the most known company of the three, Pura Vida started off by selling bracelets to help support struggling artisans. The company was created when two recent college grads took a graduation trip to Costa Rica. They found two men selling bracelets and offered to take 400 back to the U.S. to sell so they could help the artisans and their families. With growing popularity, the company now has a huge community of over 650 artisans from Costa Rica, India, El Salvador and many other countries.

Not only does Pura Vida work with struggling artisans, they have teamed up with over 175 charitable organizations to raise money for Breast Cancer research, Suicide prevention, save the oceans, save the turtles, and many other amazing causes that deserve our attention and support. The company has now expanded to clutches, necklaces, rings, stickers, apparel, and much more. Why not support struggling artists and maybe even a charity while purchasing super cool products! Here is an affiliate link to their website: https://puravidabracelets.myshopify.com/discount/HALEYMACRAE20?rfsn=3002846.f87251

Code HaleyMacrae20 saves you 20% off your order!

Pawz

A small company created in 2015, Pawz hopes to end the euthanasia of animals worldwide by donating 10% of their net profits to shelters around the globe. This is a pressing issue near and dear to my heart. Each year, about 3.7 million animals are euthanized (American Humane Society) and 5 in 10 dogs and 7 in 10 cats are euthanized simply because someone hasn’t adopted them (ASPCA). Both of my dogs were rescued from facing the fate so many precious animals face every single day. I support rescue organizations and companies such as Pawz because they do incredible work!

In fact, as of 2018, Pawz has donated $350,000 and hopes to donate at least $300,000 in 2019! With the purchase of their stylish apparel and accessories for women, men, and furry friends, you can be helping save a precious life! Their products come in a variety of patterns and colors so there is something for everyone. I’ll attach an affiliate link to their website just in case you want to check them out!

Link: https://pawz.com/?rfsn=3156358.824aa0

My cute Pawz shirt 😊

Sights to See in Salzburg

I had the best time exploring Salzburg this past June. There are so many sights to see! Here are some of my favorites. Also, if you purchase the Salzburg card, you get free entrance to a long list of sights in the city.

Mozart’s Residence

Salzburg is mainly known for two things: Mozart and the Sound of Music. So naturally the first sight I had to see was Mozart’s Residence. Inside you can find documents, timelines and portraits of the Mozart family. You also get to see sheet music from Leopold Mozart, who unbeknownst to me, was a popular composer way before his son. It was a very cool experience to learn more about the family that many come to Salzburg to learn more about. My favorite part was the beautiful family portrait in the first room of the museum. I love a good painting.

Mozart’s Birthplace

Even more interesting than the Residence, was Mozart’s birthplace. The Residence’s main focus was Leopold while the birthplace focused more on Wolfgang Mozart and his sibling(s). It was very eye opening to see how families lived in those times. The house was pretty well preserved. Between the mustard yellow exterior and long line out the door, you won’t be able to miss this sight. In my opinion, if you have to choose between the Residence and the Birthplace, I say go to the birthplace. I found it more interesting and there is a cafe named after Mozart right down the street., where you can get some pretty delicious desserts.

Mirabell Palace and Gardens

“Do-re-mi, do-re-mi
The first three notes just happen to be
Do-re-mi, do-re-mi”

How would you like to visit the sight of this famous tune from the famed Sound of Music? Well you can! Mirabell Gardens is where the children and Maria were filmed hopping up and down the steps, running around stone gnomes, and walking around the edge of the fountain during their performance of this song. It is a beautiful garden and gives you a great view Fortress Hohensalzburg.

Fortress Hohensalzburg

I’m a sucker for a European Castle and this one was no exception. It is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe! The views from the top are unmatched (as you can see below). However, if you’re into more than just spectacular views of the city, there is a museum as well as a few restaurants within the walls of the Fortress.

How do you get up a castle that’s high above the city on a hill? You can walk the steep hill, which is said to take about 15 minutes, or you can choose the fun way..the vernacular. The ride takes only a few minutes and gives you pretty great views on the way up and down.

If you’re looking to trust yourself, when you come back down the Fortress, you exit through a beautiful jewelry store. There is also a caved archway claiming that if you kiss under it, your love will be eternal. Very cute!

Sound of Music Museum

If visiting Mirabell Gardens wasn’t enough Sound of Music for you, there is a museum all about the real-life Von Trapp family around the corner from Mozart’s Birthplace. Even though I’m huge fan of the movie, I had no idea the movie was based off a real family. It was interesting to learn about the family’s history. There was even an old tour sheet from the Von Trapp Singer’s Tour! I definitely wouldn’t miss this museum if you love all things Sound of Music and are curious to learn the fictional spins included in the movie versus what really happened to the family.

Sound of Music Tour

This is a MUST do if you visit Salzburg. This tour takes you to a ton of places used for scenes in the movie including the Gazebo, Saint Michael’s Cathedral in Mondsee (the church whereMaria and Captain Von Trapp were married), and Mirabell Gardens. You may even get to pass the famous hill that’s alive with the sound of music! I don’t want to spoil it all , so I’ll let you go on the tour and discover the other sights yourself. But just know, it is such a great experience. You get to learn more about the making of the Sound of Music by seeing the sights for yourself, while also exploring more of the beautiful country. Oh and if you decide to do the tour, don’t forget your singing voices at home;)

Castles of Germany Tour Review

Ever dreamed of being in a castle? Your dream can become a reality with the Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace Day Tour from Munich. Just look at how gorgeous they are!

Schloss Neuschwanstein
Linderhof Palace

When planning my trip to Germany I knew I needed to see the castle that was rumored to be the inspiration for Cinderella’s Castle: Schloss Neuschwanstein. I went online and researched tours that would take me from Munich to the castle. I found one on trip advisor with great reviews and booked it. Overall, I’d say it was a pretty great tour. You see two castles, get to explore the quaint and beautiful town of Oberammergau, and explore the town below Schloss Neuschwanstein all while being transported by an air-conditioned bus. The views on the bus are also pretty spectacular. The Bavarian Alps definitely showed off for us!

Let’s get the cons of the tour out of the way:

  1. Short amount of time at the town of Oberammergau and Linderhof Palace. We had the most time at Schloss Neuschwanstein, but I still would have liked more time to explore the town below it as well as the surrounded wooded area to find different view points.
  2. Cannot take pictures inside of the Castles
  3. Tour Guide was not entertaining and talked the entire trip back to Munich ( Would definitely depend on the day, but this was just my experience with he tour guide I had)
  4. Extra Costs for food (usually how tours are) but also on top of the ticket for the tour, you have to pay for the entrance tickets for the castle. They may have been discounted because it was a group, but I really am unsure.
  5. The description says you get to skip the line, but you have to wait for your time for the tour, it doesn’t mean you get to go in whenever you get there. Granted, you don’t have to wait in line to buy the tickets since the tour guide uses the money they collected on the bus and gets the tickets for you.

Now that the cons are over with, let’s talk about the great parts of this tour. For starters, the castles and surrounding towns were absolutely breathtaking. I would love to explore more of the Bavarian Alps and small towns of Germany in the future.

  1. You get to experience and explore small towns in Germany and see the beautiful house paintings like the ones on this house:

2. You get to go on Mary’s Bridge and get a good viewpoint of Schloss Neuschwanstein. The bridge is very narrow but the view is so worth it!

3. You get to tour the inside of both castles

4. You experience views like this:

6. All the stress of renting a car and figuring out how to get to these places are taken care of!

7. Available all year round!

Overall, I did really enjoy this tour. Both castles were beautiful and I enjoyed getting a change of scenery from the hustle and bustle of Munich to the quiet quaint towns we got the opportunity to explore. Oberammergau’s house paintings were so ornate and intricate. I’ve never seen anything like it and had no idea until the tour that people did that to their houses. I also enjoyed having everything taken care of for me so I could focus on enjoying the sights. However, I feel that the tour company should just have included the admission tickets in the original price. They did inform you of the extra cost but I think it can be an inconvenience to make sure you have enough of the local currency when you could have paid online with your credit card. In addition, I get there is a time table, but I really wish I had more time to explore other viewpoints other than Mary’s Bridge for Schloss Neuschwanstein. Although, I really did enjoy that view and wouldn’t miss it if I were you!

My final opinion is if you want to have more time to explore and don’t mind having to work out transportation for yourself, I say do it on your own! However, if you prefer to have a stress free planning experience, I would go with the tour. Like I said, I still very much enjoyed myself! I truly feel that I would have missed out on seeing Oberammergau (since I didn’t even know it existed) and the scenery I got to enjoy along the way as a passenger. If I drove myself I would have been more focused on driving on the opposite side of the road than I’m used to rather than taking in the sights along the way. If you want to book the tour I went on, here is the link! https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g187309-d11447924-Neuschwanstein_Castle_and_Linderhof_Palace_Day_Tour_from_Munich-Munich_Upper_Bavar.html

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps!

Munch in Munich: Restaurant Suggestions

Though I was only in Munich for three days, I still had enough time to try a few restaurants in the city. Here are my four recommendations!

Ratskeller

Two words: Potato Soup! The best potato soup I’ve ever had. It was so delicious I wanted the bowl to be as bottomless as Mary Poppins’ purse! Besides the soup, I ordered a Munich side salad which had a variety of fresh vegetables accompanied by potato salad and a Black Forrest cake because it’s important to always leave room for dessert! Though I didn’t order an official entree, I tried my mom’s Iceland Sea Bass Filet and it was very good, like everything else! Neither of us were disappointed!

I was greatly impressed by the variety of options and overall atmosphere of the restaurant. The cozy and earth toned decor and warmly dimmed lighting paired with the fact it is beneath New Town Hall, gave off a cool, underground secret spot vibe. The kitchen was quick but not too quick that you wondered if your food was fresh. The waitstaff was very welcoming and spoke both German and English! It was very nice to be able to still have a personalized experience even though we didn’t speak the local language. The menu had vegetarian and vegan options and was available in many different languages! I thought it was really nice that the restaurant made sure every guest would feel comfortable and included while searching for a dish to enjoy. The restaurant also had smaller portion sizes of dessert so you could taste test and not have regrets from being too full and wasting food!

Would definitely not miss eating at Ratskeller while you’re in Munich!

Address: Marienplatz 8, 80331 München, Germany

Donisl

With an outdoor beer garden with a front and center view of Marienplatz and New Town Hall, this restaurant is a must visit. There are seats inside and behind the restaurant as well. My mom and I sat in the back outdoor seating area and although it didn’t have the center city view, it was a pretty alleyway that allowed us to see people walking by and gave us a quiet, relaxing environment after spending the whole day on the Castles of Germany tour.

The menu had a variety of traditional Bavarian dishes as well as modern foods that all sounded very delicious. I liked the balance of tradition and modern eating to ensure all guests had something they would enjoy. I went the traditional route and had the Four Munich Pork Rostbratwuerstl
with sauerkraut and my mom went the modern route with the Salmon Burger and fries.

There was also an extensive beverage list with non-alcoholic beverages as well as many types of wine and beer. There were even beer tasting packages available incase you couldn’t decide on just one! We didn’t do the beer tasting, but if I make my way back to Munich, I’ll definitely be game to try a few more beers. I don’t remember which one I ordered but I do remember how refreshing and crisp it was!

Now dessert. You didn’t think I would forget about that did you? Even though I was full, I made sure to squeeze in room for some milk-cream apple strudel with bourbon vanilla sauce! It was pretty good! I would say the one I had at Hofbrauhaus was better, but I would still recommend giving it a taste if you have yet to try apple strudel in Munich!

Address: Weinstraße 1, 80333 München, Germany

Hofbrauhaus

My favorite sight and restaurant in all of Munich! You not only get the Bavarian experience but also the best taste of Bavaria. I’m sure there are other great places throughout Bavaria that I didn’t get to experience, so please leave recommendations below and maybe I’ll get a chance to visit them in the future! But for now, this was the best of the best for me!

Picture this, you’re surrounded by wooden tables and medieval light fixtures with a cold beer and pretzel in hand with an oompah band playing in the background. You’re looking at the menu with so many delicious options. You decide to go for the traditional bratwurst and sauerkraut. While you wait, you look out into the outdoor beer garden with flowers and sunlight hitting the doorways just right. This is the german experience. And Hofbrauhaus is where you can experience it all: the history, the beer, the tastes, the sounds; Bavaria.

Definitely eat here whether it be for lunch or dinner. You will not be disappointed!

Address: Platzl 9, 80331 München, Germany

Viktualienmarkt

What started as a small farmers market in the center of Marienplatz has since grown to a large market that is now a few streets away from the center of the city. With a beautiful outdoor beer garden shaded by trees and a variety of food stands and restaurants galore, you will not go hungry.

Some of the stands include a coffee shop, quiche and baked good store, bratwurst, fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh squeezed juice, meats and cheeses, several handiwork and souvenir stands as well as surrounding restaurants. Even if you aren’t hungry, walking or sitting around the market is a great way to emerge yourself in the culture of Munich!

Address: Viktualienmarkt 3, 80331 München, GermanyAddress:

Sights to See in Munich

Are you heading to Munich and have no idea where to start and what to see? Well you’ve come to the right place. There are so many great sights to see in this beautiful, Bavarian city so let’s get started!

Marienplatz

The central square of the city is home to many restaurants, shops, churches, and Munich’s two town halls! It is a great area to walk around to get the feel of the city and take in the gorgeous architecture. In the summer months you can even expect to see festivals and live music in the square.

Old Town Hall

The original city hall is a beautifully crafted building on the east side of Marienplatz, now home to a toy museum. The museum displays the history of toys traced from way back in the nineteenth century to modern day. I only admired the outside though because I’m not a fan of creepy dolls (Come on, it can’t just be me). If you are with me, the outside is so beautiful you won’t feel you’re missing out by not going inside. But if you’re interested in the history of toys, go venture inside and let the outsiders know what it’s like.

New Town Hall

Just as beautifully crafted as Old Town Hall, New Town Hall is now home to the city government. If the ornate gothic architecture isn’t enough to take your breath away, the Glockenspiel sure may. The world famous Glockenspiel was added to New Town Hall the year it was completed (1907). It is two levels and acts out scenes from Munich’s history such as a royal wedding, jousting tournament and ritualistic dance. These scenes play daily at 11am and 5pm (March through October). The show lasts about 15 minutes. While the scenes are playing, different tunes are played on the Glockenspiel’s 43 bells. It’s a sight you surely don’t want to miss! I’d suggest getting there at least 15 minutes before to make sure you get a good spot!

The Glockenspiel on the front of New Town Hall

Viktualienmarkt

A thriving farmers market a few streets away from Marienplatz that stretches for over 22,000 square meters. Home to numerous food stalls, tiny souvenir stands with items such as homemade wood items and post cards, and picnic tables a plenty. The food stalls offer anything from fresh squeezed fruit juices to coffee to fresh meats. The area was so cute, I could have spent all day walking around and trying foods. The fresh squeezed fruit juice was definitely the highlight for me. The maypole shown below stands in the center of the market. It is decorated with traditionally dressed figures who represent some of the trades that were common in that area of Munich.

English Gardens

Covering an area of 910 acres, this park takes the title as largest city park in Munich. Besides that honor, it is special for another reason. It is home to the most unusual activity for being located in a city; surfing. Yep, you read that right. There are surfers in the middle of a huge city! By the entrance near the Art museum there is a small bridge where water blasts out to create waves. I had to see it to believe it! The park is also home to a Beer garden, a lake where you can rent paddle boats, a Chinese Tower and a mini waterfall. There are a lot of options for shade to escape the summer heat or if you’re in the mood to soak up the sun there are also areas without tree coverage!

Hofbräuhaus

I saved the best for last! This famous beer garden is a MUST when in Munich. It has three floors and dates back to the 16th century! Talk about a place that knows their beer! I’m not a big beer drinker, but the beer tasted so good! There are so many options so don’t worry about finding one that you’ll like!

The beer wasn’t the only great part. The food and overall atmosphere brought the whole experience together. The menu consisted of a variety of famous german dishes including many types of bratwurst and the popular dessert, apple strudel. My meal was super delicious! And if you didn’t order enough food, there were ladies in traditional german dress walking around selling gingerbread hearts and pretzels bigger than my head! Lastly, to top off the ultimate german experience, there was an oompah band playing on the ground floor where everyone eats.

If you have time for one thing to do in Munich, it definitely should be this! It was a great meal and a great way to get in touch with german cuisine and culture.

Thank you for reading! Hope this helped you plan your trip or inspired you to take a trip to Munich!

Ways to Save $$ when Booking your Trip

Package Your Trip

One major way to save if you’re arriving and departing from the same airport and staying in the same hotel the whole trip, is to package your trip! By doing so you can save a ton! Some websites even give you your hotel stay for free when you book your roundtrip airfare and hotel together. Who doesn’t want that?! For my upcoming trip to Ireland, I packaged roundtrip airfare and my hotel stay for my sister and I, with trip protection, all for about $1800, all while earning Orbucks to use on future hotel stays! I saved a ton of money that I put towards booking tours from Dublin to popular sights such as the Cliffs of Moher and Blarney Castle. I mainly use https://www.orbitz.com (like I did for my trip to Ireland) but there are other options such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Kayak.

Stay at a Hostel, not a Hotel

I personally have never stayed at a Hostel, but I know many people who have! They all said it is a great way to save money that you could use to extend your stay or continue your travels elsewhere, while also giving you the opportunity to meet new people. Because you stay in a common room instead of a private space like in a Hotel, it is way easier to become friends with fellow travelers. Some have even said they went exploring with their new friends and wouldn’t have it any other way! Based on these stories, I would definitely be curious to swap out a Hotel for a Hostel on a future trip! I’ve attached a link to a website that is helpful in finding quality Hostels around the world: https://www.hostelworld.com

Visit a Less Traveled Destination

Note: Not always less expensive but could be!

I know it sounds crazy to ditch the highly talked about destinations such as Rome, Dublin, London and Reykjavik. However, with hype comes a bigger price tag. The hot ticket destinations know tourists will come no matter the cost so they bump up their prices, especially in the high season. Traveling to an under the radar destination can give you those “oh wow” moments without giving your wallet the “oh no” moments. However, it is important to research first because the reason they may be less traveled is because of high costs. Before booking, just make sure your budget can take it!

Another perk to traveling to a less traveled destination is that it will not be as crowded as the highly vacationed areas. Imagine this: vacation pictures of you without strangers eating, sneezing, or staring in the background! Woo!

I have done some research about traveling to less traveled destinations since I’m also guilty of traveling to and building my bucket list around the most talked about destinations. In my search, and with the help of one of my favorite travel couple vloggers, Stephen and Jess of Flying the Nest, I discovered the company called AnyWhr. The purpose of Anywhr is to create customized trips to less traveled destinations. When booking with AnyWhr you start with customizing your trip by selecting a continent and duration, theme, flight preference, type of accommodation, and select any upgrades you would want. This way you can ensure you will get a trip in the area you are curious about and that the trip is within your budget. Next, AnyWhr asks you some questions to get to know you. Finally, you press book and AnyWhr does the rest! You can give them a list of places you’ve already been and places you wouldn’t want to go, but the destination stays a secret until you get to the Airport. There you can open you envelope that contains your tickets, your Travelog, and any other transportation and accommodation information for the rest of your trip. I’ve linked the Flying the nest video here: https://youtu.be/BeuPa63JFn0 and the link to their Website’s how it works page here: https://www.anywhr.co/how-it-works.

Don’t Visit in the High Season

This tip is a little harder to follow because almost every country’s high season is in the summer, AKA the most convenient time to vacation. However, depending on the type of location it is, the high season can vary. No matter when the high season is for a country though, that is when it will be the most crowded and most likely, the most expensive. Traveling to a country in the shoulder or low season is a good way to ensure you aren’t suffocated by the number of fellow travelers or by the price of your flights and accommodations.

Take Ireland for example. The High Season is late June to September, while shoulder season is April to early June and low season is November to March. I am traveling in March this coming year because that is when spring break for my graduate school and spring break for my sister’s college falls. While I may experience some chilly weather (though Ireland experiences unexpected changes in weather all year round), my trip was quite affordable compared to what it might be if I booked it during high season. Shoulder season in many countries would give you the better prices while still getting most of the good weather perks experienced during High Season. However, any time you get to explore a dream destination, in my opinion, is the high season! It doesn’t hurt to save some money and some of your sanity from less crowds while getting to enjoy a destination on your bucket list.

Sign up for FareDrop!

I have a whole blog post dedicated to FareDrop but I felt it needed to be included in this post because it is a great way to save money! Basically all you do is sign up for the free trial, set your home Aiprort (options from U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia), pick continents you want deals from, set your budget, pick the months you want to receive deals for, and wait for the savings to roll in! If you are satisfied with the deals you are receiving, don’t cancel your membership and you will be charged the membership fee for the year! If you are not, just cancel your membership before your free trial ends and you won’t be charged. However, I guarantee you won’t want to walk away from those savings! I included the link to Kara and Nate’s YouTube video describing the entire process and company!(https://youtu.be/o-e6uQHfOHs).

If you do decide to give it a try, I would greatly appreciate you using my affiliate link, which you can find in menu options, in the post dedicated to FareDrop, or right here: https://faredrop.com/?deal=haley99!

Thank you for reading! See you next time!

FareDrop

Would you like to travel more? Now you can!! One of my favorite travel blogging couples Kara and Nate started a website called fare drop. This website notifies you whenever there is an error flight deal from your preferred airport, to your preferred destinations, and at your set budget! You can even receive text alerts.

I have recently become an affiliate for their company and I just wanted to share this great find! I know too well how expensive flights can be one of the top reasons travel gets put on hold! But with these deals, it won’t have to!

There is a free trial to test it out before being charged the affordable fee for a yearly membership! Think of all the money you could save and put towards more trips! If you choose to check it out, I would greatly appreciate you using my affiliate link!

http://faredrop.com?deal=haley99

Here are examples of some of the great deals that come into my inbox! This service is great at feeding my wanderlust but I think my bank account is in trouble! Can’t wait to book with one of these deals when my soon to be hectic graduate school schedule allows it!

And now some examples with even bigger savings! Can’t believe these fares are round trip!!

Dishes to Try in Greece

Moussaka

An eggplant or potato-based dish with meat (lamb or beef). Other ingredients include oregano, cinnamon, black pepper, tomato paste, onions, and cheese. Since I do not like eggplant despite trying it a few times, I was hesitant to try Moussaka; however, when traveling it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and experience the culture and dishes of the country you are visiting. The second to last night of my trip, I took my own advice and embraced trying Greek dishes and ordered Moussaka at Greek Stories Restaurant. I almost ordered something else but when I saw it listed at the top of the Entree list, I knew I had to give it a shot and I’m so glad I did! If you’re in Athens and want some amazing Moussaka, check out Greek Stories!

Souvlaki

Considered a “fast-food” dish in Greek cuisine, Souvlaki is made with pieces of meat on a skewer with some vegetables and tzatziki sauce. It can be made with many types of meat but the few times I ordered it, I had chicken. The first time I had Chicken Souvlaki, I ordered it at God’s Restaurant in Athens. It came with french fries and pita bread. It was sooo good! The chicken was cooked perfectly, the tzatziki was amazing, the pita bread was warm, and the vegetables were so fresh. The second time I ordered Chicken Souvlaki was when I spent a night in Mykonos. We ate at Maria’s and my dish came with rice and no pita bread. It was just as amazing! If you want to try Greek cuisine but you aren’t a fan of being risky, I would recommend giving this dish a try!

Greek Salad

Fun Fact: Greek Salad is still called Greek Salad in Greece, who would of thought? Moving on, Greek Salad has the usual ingredients we are used to such as feta, olives, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. However, in Greece they do not put lettuce in the salad. Instead, there are a lot more tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers to make the base of the salad. I ordered a few Greek Salads over the week and all of the vegetables were so fresh and the olives and feta were the best I’ve ever had. The first morning we couldn’t shake our jet lag so our first meal was more of a lunch. I ordered Greek Salad because I couldn’t wait to try the feta and olives; I was not disappointed. We ate at a restaurant called Yard and their food was great and their service was fast and pleasant. The Greek Salad pictured below is not from there since it wasn’t on my plate long, but both the salad pictured and the one at Yard were very delicious!

Gyro

A Gyro is anther Greek dish considered to be “fast-food” because it can easily be taken to eat on the go. However, don’t let that stop you from sitting down to eat it! It can be made from many types of meat such as pork, chicken, beef and lamb. The meat is cooked on a vertical rotisserie and shaved off when ordered. I had a pork Gyro which came wrapped in warm pita bread with tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, french fries, and onions. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant since it was a quick dinner the night before we left for the airport, but it was a few blocks away from the Hera Hotel in Athens! I do not have a picture but I would 10/10 recommend trying this dish while in Greece!

Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

You may be wondering why I put fresh squeezed orange juice in this blog post because that is available in the United States and almost anywhere else. However, this was the best orange juice I have ever had. The oranges were so flavorful and tasted very fresh. I am normally not an orange juice drinker but it looked so good when brought to other tables, that I had to give it a try. It was so good that it made me think I would become a regular orange juice drinker. The morning after I got home I poured myself a glass and NOPE! Orange juice in Greece only please and thank you! So if you are like me and do not like orange juice or if you are an avid orange juice consumer, try fresh squeezed orange juice in Greece. I promise you won’t regret it. Enjoy the picture of the one of many orange juices consumed on my trip.

Greek Yogurt

Now onto some Sweet Dishes!! Fun Fact: Just like the salad, Greek Yogurt is also still called Greek Yogurt in Greece! There are different thicknesses available as well as many types of sauces the the yogurt attendant can mix in for you such as Nutella or honey and different toppings such as fresh fruit! There are many places to get Greek Yogurt in Athens. I happened to stop at Fresko and loved it! The Yogurt was the perfect consistency and so delicious! I mixed in Nutella and Strawberries. 10/10 would recommend that combo!

Baklava

A sweet, dessert pastry filled with nuts and sweetened and held together by syrup or honey. You can also find chocolate baklava. I had the opportunity to try both and I thought I would like the chocolate one better since I’m a chocoholic, but the original Baklava took the cake, I mean pastry:) They were both delicious so I say go for both if you can’t decide! The first picture is original Baklava and the second is the Chocolate version. I had gotten minis to be able to try both and they were the perfect size.

Chocolate Cake

You may be questioning me like you did when you read “Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice” but give me a chance to explain. There is this amazing place known for desserts called Chocolat Royal in Athens and it has so many options for dessert that I almost couldn’t choose. Don’t be fooled by the name, they also have many dessert options without chocolate if its not your thing. They also have a great breakfast, and yes incase you’re wondering, they have fresh squeezed orange juice:) By the name of the header, you can probably guess which dessert I got (and didn’t regret for one second BTW). The chocolate cake was spongey and perfect, the icing was super chocolatey and heavenly, and the ice cream was the best vanilla I’ve had in a while! If the picture of the cake doesn’t make you starving, I included the picture of the breakfast I had at Chocolat Royal as well! Enjoy eating with your eyes!

Well if you made it this far, thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this blog post on what to try while you’re in Greece! There are obviously many other options but I included the ones I could give my own opinion on! Keep your eyes peeled for the next blog post!

The Country That Gave Me The Travel Bug

I have always had a long, ever growing list of countries I’ve wanted to visit. However, I never really did anything about it until I booked my Spring Break trip to Greece, Senior year of College, this past March. While on this trip I was bit by the travel bug and gained the motivation and desire to get out there and see the countries I’ve always wanted to see. But before I get into that, let me explain why Greece gave me the travel bug.

I only had one week in Greece, but it was enough to confirm I needed to come back for more at a later date. I spent most of the week in Athens, with two planned nights in Mykonos. However, since I went in March, the off-season, my fellow traveler and I decided to only stay one night since all of the restaurant, shop, and hotel owners were painting and preparing for the height-season, which begins after Orthodox Easter. Even though Mykonos was a ghost town besides a handful of tourists and the people who live there all year round, it was still a great day/night! The cobblestone streets, all white buildings, and clear blue waters were gorgeous.

As for Athens, I’m normally not a city girl (a day or short weekend trip once in a while to my nearest cities Philly and NYC are enough for me), but this city captured my heart. So many amazing restaurants! So many delicious Greek dishes to try! The feta in Greece was life changing! I even went out of my comfort zone and ate Moussaka when I don’t even like eggplant! (spoiler: it was delicious). Besides the food being super delicious and every foodie’s dream, the history and ruins of Athens are another reason to visit. It is amazing how preserved these ruins are after all of this time. Acropolis surpassed my expectations. Ancient Agora has beautiful ruins and a museum with artifacts. The Acropolis Museum was informative and was home to many beautiful statutes. And I can’t forget Panathenaic Stadium, the first Olympic Stadium! What a great experience that was, and no I did not run on the track because my body rejects running.

Besides the ruins and museums, the Athens Flea Market is another place worth checking out. There are so many vendors and restaurants to walk around and explore. My souvenir to myself was a handmade pair of leather sandals from the Flea Market. Every time I put them on I think of Athens and what a great time I had.

Thank you for checking out my first blog post! Be on the look out for my next post. Hint: it may be about different Greek dishes to try!

Who is ablondeandhersuitcase?

Ablondeandhersuitcase is me! A 22 year old recent college graduate and soon to be Forensic and Legal Psychology Master’s student who caught the travel bug. I’ve only been to a few countries but I already have two upcoming trips and a long list of countries I plan to visit in the future! I love food, dogs, crime shows, F.R.I.E.N.D.S., and watching travel youtube vlogs to get ideas and of course to pretend I’m on vacation with the vloggers to keep my travel bug at bay until my next adventure.