As many of you know, Sean and I just LOVE to travel! I haven’t been to nearly as many places as he has, but I’m finally starting to feel like I’ve crossed enough oceans that if I never get to go anywhere else in my life, I won’t have any regrets about not seeing the world.

We just got back from our most recent trip yesterday, during which we managed to hit five different countries in seven days. The key to making many of our trips possible is simple; we love the road! For our trip to Italy we drove from Rome to Tuscanny, then Pisa, then Florence, then Venice (well boated to Venice, haha), for Australia/New Zealand and the Cook Islands we drove the whole New Zealand countryside in just three days, and for this trip we flew into Germany, then drove to Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and back to Germany again to catch our flight to Ireland. Needless to say our trips aren’t the most relaxing vacations you can imagine, but they are also nothing short of the amazing adventures I had always dreamed of someday having!

As I have been telling clients about my upcoming trip (so no one panics when they can’t reach me!) the first thing that has come out of EVERYONE’S mouth is “OMG, I can’t wait to see the pictures!” Well, no one has to wait any longer, including me, because I too am extremely excited to share!

After a six-and-a-half-hour flight to Ireland and a two-and-a-half-hour flight to Germany, we hopped into our outrageously priced POS rental car and drove three hours to the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, only managing to catch about two hours of sleep a piece in the car or on the plane. The way our trip was planned, anything we didn’t get to on schedule, we wouldn’t have time to see at all! The Neuschwanstein Castle is famous for having inspired the Disney World Castle in Florida and the one used for the movie, Sleeping Beauty.

We arrived just before dark, and they were no longer selling tickets for the last 4 p.m. tour of the castle interior due to the 30-minute one-mile uphill walk to the castle. I used my charm, cough:: begging :: cough to get the guy to kindly sell us the tickets anyway. We outran a horse-and-buggy carriage to arrive in time for the 3:45 p.m. tour, time to spare! I honestly think I get superpowers/stamina when photos are at stake, haha.

The inside of this castle was one of the most amazing things I have been privileged to see in my life. King Ludwig II of Bavaria was absolutely off his rocker, and eventually deemed too insane to rule, but boy do those types of guys build the best castles! This place was so eccentric and lavish, everything from a bed frame that it took 14 wood carvers four years to carve, to a floor composed of billions of the tiniest mosaic tiles you’ve ever seen, an indoor artificial cave, and a two-ton chandelier. But then, my worst nightmare! NO PICTURES ALLOWED! I snuck about three shots anyway before I was chastised by the tour guide and would have kept going, but the place was so unique I REALLY didn’t want to get kicked out and miss the rest!

On the hike down from the castle, Sean also snagged a really beautiful night image of the original even-more-difficult-to-spell Hohenschwangau castle, where Ludwig’s parents lived.

We then got back in the car and drove straight to Switzerland, where we spent the night. The next morning we headed into Lucerne to see the Lion of Lucerne monument. It is a sad and mournful monument to commemorate the approximated 800 Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution while defending an ambush on King Louis XVI, who had — without their knowledge — already been escorted to safety before the fighting even began.

Afterwards, we drove through the Swiss countryside to reach Liechtenstein before dark. The countryside and Swiss Alps were so beautiful; it was exactly how I had pictured Switzerland! I made poor Sean go off the beaten path and pull over for my first photo, but after we nearly slid down an icy mountain to get that one, I settled for taking shots out the car window at 140 Kilometers per hour!

We visited the Hofkellerei Wine Cellars, settled just below the prince of Liechtenstein’s castle, and did a wine tasting of the two whole wines they had left in stock. The place is so popular, they were completely cleaned out!

That was as much touring as super-short winter daylight hours would allow us, so we then headed off to Salzburg, Austria for the night. I have to admit, I was skeptical about what there could possibly be to see in Austria, but this quaint little town at Christmas time really warmed my heart, while my first introduction to Glüwein (hot spiced German wine) warmed my freezing fingers!

The next stop on our list was Munich, Germany, where for the first time all trip, I couldn’t resist getting out on the town as soon as I arrived in spite of the late hour. We passed by this happening marketplace on our way in and — mesmerized by the colors – I had to see what was inside! The next morning, we visited another Christmas market at the Marienplatz, where thank goodness, there was plenty more Glüwein to be had! We ended our time in Munich with lunch at the Hofbrauhaus brewery, where I had German “meatloaf” aka giant slab of spam, served with WARM potato salad. Thank Gosh for the giant soft pretzels they were serving or I think I would have starved!

Our last stop on the trip was Dublin, Ireland, which we flew into after Germany. Unfortunately, after being raped by Hertz in Germany, another rental car was out of the question, so we didn’t get to see the Irish countryside. However, we did manage enough time to see a few attractions in Dublin, including the Guiness Brewery, which is so big in Ireland, it even has it’s own church – actually it has two and is the only place in Ireland where a Catholic Church and Protestant church stand side by side!

Afterwards, we took my first horse-and-buggy ride over to the Dublin Castle, which dates back to the early 13th century. I have to say, while the castle was rich in history, the indoor décor paled in comparison to Neuschwanstein, but I enjoyed seeing it nonetheless!

If you’re still actually reading, and not just scrolling through photos because I bored you half to death, I hope you enjoyed the recap and the photos. It’s been real folks, only now I think I need a vacation from my vacation!