Roadtripping Through Austria & Germany!


Hello world! It’s certainly been a long time! I have been busy with a promotion at work (#bosslady), traveling, and life! But I wanted to take the time to share some adventures I’ve had since I last posted.  I have had some truly incredible journeys!

In this post, I’ll be highlighting my experience road tripping through Austria and Germany.  It was such an amazing time! So let’s begin with some context and details.

I decided to do a whirlwind self-guided tour of Switzerland, Austria, and Germany in a week’s time.  To maximize my ability to travel freely and flexibly, I rented a car in Switzerland and drove it through Austria and Germany and then back – BEST IDEA EVER!  Renting a car gave me the real freedom to explore tiny mountain towns, abandoned castle ruins, and the alps on my own.  I obtained an International Driving Permit here in the United States first to ensure that I would be legally able to drive in all of the countries I wanted to on my trip (it was inexpensive to do so and easy to get one through AAA!). After landing in Zürich, Switzerland (remember when I did one of my “Wanderlust Wednesday” posts about Zürich?? It came true!) and spending a day and night there, I then rented a car from the airport.  I had booked it in advance so it was ready and waiting for me!

Getting into the car to begin driving toward Austria was a semi-terrifying moment.  Will I be able to read the road signs? Will I know what the signs mean? Will people drive differently here? Will I be able to navigate okay? I had indeed brought along roadmaps with me and made sure to study up on the road signage and driving laws in Europe first, but this was the moment of truth.  The biggest lifesaver EVER was the wonderful app that I was able to use offline (I did not use my cellphone unless there was wifi somewhere).  I was easily able to follow along with the map on the screen. So off the Austria I headed!

Driving in Austria requires having a vignette or “driving sticker” in your car windshield.  Tourists get nailed by the police all the time for not having them, so I made sure to stop and get one at a gas station right before crossing over the Austrian border from Switzerland.

I spent three days driving through Austria and Germany, stopping for two nights around Füssen, Germany and then heading back to Switzerland.  The sightseeing was absolutely incredible and the freedom to just stop and explore or check something out was great! Much of the scenery looked like it was straight out of “The Sound of Music” (I may or may not have pulled the car over on occasion to get out and run up the side of a hill while singing, lol).  It was so breathtakingly beautiful.  Below are some the photos I took while sitting passenger seat in the car and at some the places I stopped!

This was the first morning I had the car! I enjoyed a fresh poppyseed roll for breakfast, “fangirled” over seeing a sign for the Grand Tour (always wanted to drive it myself and am also in love with the show!), and snagged a picture of the border crossing heading into Austria!

Austria was absolutely gorgeous.  I spent most of the time admiring the scenery before quickly realizing I was already approaching the border of Germany! On a tiny, rural backroad, I entered into Germany as noted by a small sign and then stumbled across these old castle ruins.  One reason why I love using is because it lets you know if you’re coming upon something historical and notable, so I was able to quickly pull off the find these ruins!


No road trip is complete without snacks! I discovered the delicious wonders of Mezzo Mix (why is this not a thing in the States?) and stocked up on Kinder eggs and goodies!!

After spending a couple days in Germany, I started the drive back to Switzerland.  I had always seen pictures of the super-blue creeks and rivers there, but OH MAN was it even prettier than I had imagined! In Austria, I stopped at a park to admire this river and take in the towering Alps ahead – mountains that I would soon be driving into!


This may be something weird to ogle over, but I was most impressed with the road designs through the Austrian Alps.  This is an example of how they build “semi-tunnels” through some of the mountainsides, which serve two purposes – it’s easier to drive through a mountain than to drive over one and it helps keep snow and water off the roads.  Notice the overhang on the side – when the snow melts, it goes right over the edge of the road instead of melting onto the road and getting it wet, where it might freeze over and become slippery for cars.  As someone who grew up in the snowy mountains of the northeast US, I can greatly appreciate this engineering ingenuity.

The last few pictures I’d like to share are of driving through and atop the actual Alps themselves. This was an experience unlike any other, and I am so thankful that my little rental car was able to handle it (although the elevation did mess with the tire pressure).  Rather than take a highway back to Switzerland, I decided that a road through the Alps would be more fun.  And IT WAS!! It was SO picturesque and scenic – words cannot describe it.  The roads were thin and winding through the mountains and a large part of the drive through the Alps was rather harrowing, but it was incredible.  At one point, I was so high up that the road was still closed from the winter snow so I had to stop the car and turn back around – but not without getting some pictures first! I was at about 14,000 feet up in elevation.  I really admired the buses full of skiers that were able to easily drive up and down the mountainsides all day!

All in all, driving on the Autobahn, through the Austrian Alps, and past gorgeous scenery and little mountain towns was unlike anything I had ever experienced before.  In a way, it breathed new life into me.  Of course, I have other photos and stories of the actual places I went to on this road trip, but I wanted to first share the experience of driving around.  If you ever get the opportunity to do so, rent a car and explore!

More posts to come soon!  Happy travels!



A Beachside Holiday

This holiday season, I left the cold mountains of the northeast for the sunny shores of Florida.  After a long roadtrip down south, it was nice to head to the beach and enjoy the season with the sand, shells, and seagulls!




It’s a little bit of a tradition to head down to the beach and play with those giant bubble wands on Christmas (my family gets them every year in our stockings!).  It’s so much fun!




It certainly wasn’t the warmest day ever for the beach (the water was too cold for swimming), but it certainly was nice to walk along the sand, play with some bubbles, chat with family, and truly enjoy the scenery and the day.  It was a lovely beachside holiday!




Winter Woodland Walks

There’s nothing quite like going for a woodland stroll in the woods.  It feels and looks so magical! Last weekend, I visited a wonderful, small, western New Jersey town that gets all decorated for Christmas.  There’s an adorable main street lined with small shops and cafes and lots of nearby farms perfect for visiting for some homemade apple cider and live Christmas decor (pine wreaths, anyone!?). After spending the day wandering the cute little shops and sipping coffee and cider, I decided it was time to see what walking paths and parks were nearby.  Lo and behold, the Cooper Mill was just down the road.

The Cooper Mill was built in 1826 and is on the National Historic Register.  During the warmer months, there are tours and events at the mill.  On this particular day, it was snowing, the water in the mil had begun to freeze over, and it was extremely picturesque.







Corn Mazes and Apple Cider!


Autumn is the perfect time for some outdoor adventuring. The temperature isn’t too cold, the air is brisk and refreshing, the trees turn magnificent colors – it’s wonderful! I have always enjoyed fall hikes through the mountains, corn mazes, and apple picking and this year has been no different!

I daytripped out to gorgeous small town with cute cafes, antiques stores, and a farm that was perfect for some fall festivities!  After a wonderful organic lunch of fig, apple, and brie cheese and a hot panini at The Robin’s Nest, it was on to Stony Hill Farm Market.



Stony Hill Farm is home to a number of fun autumn activities to partake in.  There are hay rides, corn mazes, rope mazes, gemstone mining (for the kids!), apple picking (at their second location), photo spots, and yummy donuts and delicious cider to enjoy.  I grabbed a hot cup of apple cider and a yummy apple cider donut before heading into the giant corn maze!

The corn maze has a number of activities to complete while inside the maze itself. I focused primarily on finding my way and enjoying the sights from the bridges that place you above the maze itself while crossing, offer great views of the maze and surrounding trees.

With the clocks having rolled back an extra hour recently, the sun began to set incredibly early, casting a glowing, golden light over the corn field.  Looking around, it was impossible not to feel warm and happy 🙂


Flying in a 1930 Biplane

Since dating the son of a pilot, my life has become much more steeped in aircraft, planes, and general aviation.  I have always liked planes – they’re pretty cool, after all, and a huge part of my travels! This past weekend, I had an incredible aviation experience unlike any other.  I was invited to come along on a photo shoot that focused on military veterans after their service.  The veterans participating in the shoot fly vintage biplanes from the 1930’s and 1940’s at the Bayport Aerodrome on Long Island, New York.  Needless to say, it was like aviation heaven!


The shots for the photo shoot required being in the air, naturally, and I was fortunate enough to score an open seat with one of the pilots going up.  I have never before been in a biplane and wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was positively one of the best experiences ever!  I enjoy “regular” commercial planes quite a bit but this biplane experience took my enjoyment and appreciation of airplanes to new heights (pun intended).

The photographers for the shoot and the pilots discussed formations and directions for what to do in the air – many of the planes do not have radios to communicate to each other, so knowing what to do ahead of time was crucial. Afterward, it was time to jump into the planes!  A wonderful gentleman offered to take me up in his beautiful green biplane from 1930 during the airborne photo shoot – I was very excited!  I sat in the front seat and he piloted from the rear seat. I donned a flying cap with headphones and a mic, and off we went toward the runway!

The runway itself was a grass strip.  The planes all lined up for takeoff and, before I knew it, it was my turn to head down the runway! The propeller spun furiously and we quickly gained speed before finally lifting off the ground.  It was such a bizarre yet incredible sensation! For a few minutes, I had that feeling you get while free falling on a roller coaster – I kept waiting for gravity to kick in and to feel some sort of steadiness or balance (like you do on a large commercial plane), but it never came.  Instead, I quickly adjusted to the bouncing of the small craft and the wonderful experience of truly feeling like I was flying (compared to a larger, commercial plane where you know you are flying but you don’t necessarily feel it). The whole time while in the air, I couldn’t stop smiling.

We flew out over Long Island and then over the water toward Fire Island.  The planes circled the lighthouse on the island a couple times for the photos and then my pilot flew me out over the beach, did some quick turns, and was able to really show me what the plane could do!  It was pretty windy up there, especially since the cockpits are open-topped, and a little cold, too, but nowhere near as cold as I had imagined it being.  After some time flying around up in the air, we turned and headed back toward the airfield.


Landing the plane went much more smoothly than I had envisioned it in my mind.  I had anticipated a bumpy and rocky landing, but my pilot put the plane down gently and with ease back onto the grass runway – a sign of great skill and experience!  My only complaint was that I had to exit the plane when we were finished.  I wanted to keep flying!

After the flight, I perused the old planes in the hangars.  One was especially stunning – a black and blue WACO biplane.  The man who owned it asked if I’d like to sit in it, so I did! My cousin captured a great shot:


Photo by B. A. Van Sise

I am so grateful to have been able to experience such a fantastic flight. Flying in a vintage biplane has only strengthened my love for flying and appreciation for aviation!