How to Spend a Weekend in Northern Austria

How to Spend a Weekend in Northern Austria

At the beginning of this month I spent a weekend visiting a friend, that was an au pair here in Finland, in Austria. I flew into Munich since it was cheaper and just as close as other cities. If you want to see how I spent my night in Munich, click HERE.

Austria is seriously stunning. They have rolling hills and mountains everywhere you look. I’m so glad I fit this trip in before I left! Today I’m sharing how I spent my weekend in Northern Austria!

Spend a Day in Linz

How to Spend a Weekend in Northern Austria

Linz is located between Salzburg and Vienna, but not one you should miss! This city is filled with lots of museums and great architecture to look at. Linz sits on the Danube river and on a nice sunny day people are all sitting outside along it enjoying the weather.

Things to do in Linz:

  • Ars Electronica Center
  • New Cathedral
  • Lentos Art Museum
  • Old Cathedral

Go Hiking in Gmunden

How to Spend a Weekend in Northern Austria

This town sits on the lake Traunsee and is picturesque with the mountain views. Take a cable car (or hike) up the mountain and check out the views! On the top there is a playground area for children, a restaurant, a roller-coaster like ride which is so much fun, and areas for hiking. It started to rain while we were there so we didn’t get to explore as much, but I would definitely recommend checking it out. Especially the ride, so cool to do!

Burg Altperstein

How to Spend a Weekend in Northern Austria

This castle is literally built on the side of a hill! Make sure to check the hours they are open before going. It was closed when we went, but it was still cool to see from the outside!

Go to a Spring Party

How to Spend a Weekend in Northern Austria

One of the most fun things I have done since I have been in Europe! This is one thing I would have not experience without a local with me. Spring parties are really common and different groups put on these parties and sell their homemade apple wine. There is live music and food also, so all of my favorite things! If you get the chance to go to one, definitely check it out!

 

Out of all of the places I have been, Austria really surprised me! (I know I keep saying that, but really each place does). It is a beautiful country and I cannot wait to go back and visit again.

 

Have you been to Austria?

 

 

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How to Spend a Day in Munich

How to Spend a Day in Munich

At the beginning of this month I had the opportunity to Visit a friend in Austria. She mentioned that flights would probably be cheaper if I flew into Munich, which was only a 3 hour drive from where she lives. When I saw that they were cheaper I asked if there was a chance we could spend some time in the city since I had never been. She of course agreed and so I was able to spend a day in Munich (really a night)!

Today I’m sharing things you can do during a day in Munich if you don’t have that much time there or things are closed when you arrive!

Marienplatz

This is the city-center square! Here you will find St. Peter’s church, two town halls, and a tow museum. I think it’s good to see at least the city-center in any city I visit.

Hofbräuhaus am Platzl

A must visit! This is a three-story beer hall that dates back to the 16th century. The restaurant was so much fun and had a great vibe. They have live music, great food, and huge beers! I always heard people posting about beers as big as your head, and they were right!

How to Spend a Day in Munich

St Peter’s Church

Located in the city-center, this is the oldest church in Munich!

Frauenkirche

This church is seen as the symbol of the Bavarian capital city. The church was also bombed in 1945 and is known for its devil’s footprint. It is beautiful, so even if you don’t get to go inside the outside is worth seeing.

 

Munich has soooo much to do and see, including a castle that you’ve probably seen posted a million times, but if you are short on time then these are things you can do during that time! I know I will be going back to Munich again to really get to see the city better. And of course see the castle 😉

 

What is the shortest amount of time you’ve been in a city to visit?

 

 

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How to Avoid Getting Pickpocketed

How to Avoid Getting Pickpocketed

The idea for this post came from my trip to Lisbon. Seriously minutes after getting into the city I saw someone try to pickpocket a couple. After telling the story in the hostel, there were others that said they either saw, heard, or were pickpocketed. From the ones that I saw it was people doing things that can easily be changed so that a person can’t! I realize things happen and we forget, but there are ways to avoid getting pickpocketed.

Keep your purse in front of you

If you carry a purse, a great way to avoid getting pickpocketed is to have a purse that closes and keep it in front of you. Also have your hand over the zipper or over the closer. One woman I saw that was getting pickpocketed had her purse behind her and her phone was visible from the side pocket!

Put things in your front pocket instead of the back

This way you would notice if someone put their hand in your pocket.

Lock backpacks or keep them in front

Locking your backpack is a good option. By the time they are able to get the lock off (if they can) you would notice someone trying to get in it. If you don’t have a lock you can wear it on the front.

Be aware of your surroundings

They people I saw that were getting pickpocketed were completely unaware of their surroundings. Either looking at maps and at their phones. Standing in the middle of sidewalks are other places making it easy for them to be targeted. A lot of times pickpockets are dressed as tourists. I saw one with a backpack and a map, but I noticed he kept following a couple as they were walking. When he tried to get in her backpack it was locked. But the couple had no idea the man was following them very closely. Just be aware! I think this is the number one way to avoid getting pickpocketed.

 

As always, don’t let the fear of pickpockets scare you out of traveling. They are really physically harmless and it’s sad that it is the way they live.

 

What do you do to avoid pickpocketing?

 

 

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Food and Drinks You Should Try in Lisbon

Food and Drinks You Should Try in Lisbon

One of my favorite things to do when traveling is trying all the local food and drinks! Lisbon did not disappoint in that area at all. Situated right on the ocean, you can get fresh seafood and enjoy a beautiful view. The Portuguese also really love to eat meat, so you will see a lot of meat dishes on the menu. I’m starting to get hungry thinking about it so let’s get right into the food and drinks you should try in Lisbon!

Pastel de Nata

These are custard filled tarts that are sooo good! I didn’t really think I would like them as much as I did. There are rumors about what place has the best ones, but to be honest I didn’t have one I didn’t like. So get them everywhere!

Green Wine

Or Vinho Verde. This wine is not literally green, but it just means it is young wine. It is usually sweeter also. I was also not disappointed at all at my glasses of green wine 😉

Any Seafood

There is A LOT of seafood dishes in Portugal. They have so many that are their “specialty” too so it’s hard not to just put all of them on this list. At a restaurant you are at ask them what their specialty is or what is Portuguese and they will help you out.

Cheese

Each restaurant will have a choice to get some local cheeses. I would definitely recommend trying some. You can even get a meat and cheese board if you would like.

Sangria

You can get a liter of sangria for around 12-14 euros and it is very refreshing. Eating some cheese and drinking sangria while sitting on a patio is my happy place!

 

 There are so many different foods to try in Lisbon! I don’t think you will be disappointed with any of it. I will say I was surprised that it was not as cheap as what people advertised. On average we spent 20 euros on a meal (it did include wine or a drink of some sort). This may be because Lisbon is getting more popular so prices are rising.

If you want to read about what I did while I was in Lisbon click HERE. If you are interested in taking day trips click HERE.

What was your favorite thing to eat in Portugal?

 

 

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Day Trips to Take from Lisbon

Day Trips to Take from Lisbon

Not only is Lisbon a great city, but yo can also take day trips to two other cities nearby that are only 30-40 minutes away! On my trip we went to Sintra and Cascais, both completely different. Sintra is the location of the Pena Palace, Moorish Castle, and many other things. Cascais is a beach town with colorful streets and good gelato. Today I’m sharing how to get to each and what to do in each city!

Sintra

If you take any day trips, make it Sintra! Not only is it a cute town, but it is also the location of the Pena Palace (pictured above) and the Moorish Castle (below). Both a seriously beautiful! Most people suggest getting tickets before, I didn’t and went in a back entrance easily. I also did not go in the palace, but just got the ticket for the outside and the gardens.

Day Trips to Take from Lisbon

Make sure to have on good walking shoes when you visit the Moorish Castle! It is really a hike! This castle is said to be built in 1160 or before. Not only is this really great to see, but also has amazing views!

How to Get There

From Rossio station you can take a train straight to Sintra! The train runs fairly often and only costs 5 euros for round-trip. We spent the whole day there so plan accordingly.

Cascais

Day Trips to Take From Lisbon

Cascais is a cute beach town only 40 minutes from Lisbon. Really the whole train ride to this town is beach towns so you can pick any! We spent our day here laying by the beach, drinking wine, and eating fresh seafood. Portugal is known for their seafood, so you know it will be good since it’s coming straight from the ocean you’ve been laying by all day. If you have time I would definitely make a trip to this cute town.

How to Get There

You have to get on the train at Cais do Sodré. I thought you could get on at Rossio and you can’t. So learn from my mistake 😉 If you are like me and stayed by Rossio station, get on the metro and go to Cars do Sodré and then get on the train.

 

Both of these day trips were so easy and so different! I’m glad I did both of them and got to experience Portugal more.

What cities do you love in Portugal?

 

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5 Things You Should Do in Lisbon

5 Things You Should Do in Lisbon

I really had no expectations going to Lisbon. There have been a lot of positive reviews of the city in the travel groups I am apart of so I thought it would be fun to visit. I am so glad I did! This city blew me away with culture and beauty. From cobble stoned alleys to tiled walls, you will fall in love with this city!

Just to warn you, there are a lot of pickpockets in the city. Within 5 minutes of being there we saw two men try to take something out of a woman’s purse. Luckily people around started yelling at them. They are obviously not very sneaky and not violent, just be aware. I saw a lot acting like tourists to try to trick people so just be aware of your things.

Like I said before, I didn’t really have any expectations so I didn’t really plan anything to do. That being said I’m listing things I did do and things I know to do next time I visit! There is also so much more to do in Lisbon than listed here!

Check Out Rossio Square

5 Things You Should Do in Lisbon

I love European squares! There is so much energy and life. I love relaxing and people watching.

Get a View of Lisbon

5 Things You Should Do in Lisbon

There are lookouts all over the city! There are also usually restaurants near them with a great view from the patio. Grab some sangria or a glass of wine and enjoy the view.

Visit Praça do Comércio

5 Things You Should Do in Lisbon

This is another square in Lisbon with shops and restaurants. It also leads to the ocean with a small beach area. Another great place to hangout and people watch or grab some sangria.

Go Tile Hunting Around the City

5 Things You Should Do in Lisbon

Tile covered buildings are all around the city! They add so much character and are fun to get pictures in front of!

Check Out Different Neighborhoods

Lisbon has different neighborhoods and each can give a different vibe. Alfama is considered “old town” and has great lookout views and also a great place to get on tram 28. The Barrio Alto neighborhood is good for nightlife and to listen to traditional Fado. The streets of Barrio Alto are filled during the night with people hanging out and drinking. A really fun atmosphere!

5 Things You Should Do in Lisbon

Lisbon is a beautiful city that I can’t wait to visit again!

Have you been to Lisbon?

 

 

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How to Spend a 12 Hour Layover in Amsterdam

How to Spend a 12 Hour Layover in Amsterdam

A few months ago when I was searching for flights to Portugal from Helsinki, I noticed that for one the prices were pretty high and that the lowest ones had long layovers. The cheapest price I saw, for around $200 roundtrip, had a 12 hour layover in Amsterdam. I have been to Amsterdam once and loved it, so to have the chance to go again was something that interested me! I quickly asked my friend if this would be okay for her and she said yes since she has never been before.

Amsterdam is an amazing city and if you have a chance to stay for longer, do, but if not then it’s still a great place to have a layover. Here is how we spent out 12 hour layover in Amsterdam!

Where to Stay

How to Spend a 12 hour Layover in Amsterdam

MEININGER Hotel Amsterdam City West

This hostel is a little outside of the city, but Amsterdam is so well connected that it’s a great location. And cheaper. This hostel is also right next to a train stop that goes to and from the airport and downtown. You can get to both within 15 minutes.

What to Do

How to Spend a 12 Hour Layover in Amsterdam

Depending on when you get in Amsterdam, this will affect what you can do. We got to our hostel around 8pm so by that time a lot of the museums were closed. I do know the Anne Frank House is open later and you need to reserve tickets in advance. Here is what we did during our night in Amsterdam:

  • Walk the canal district
  • See the Anne Frank statue
  • Eat pancakes, french fries, and stroopwaffles
  • Check out the nightlife/coffee shops

If you are going to be in Amsterdam for longer or during the day, check out my post HERE on things to do in Amsterdam.

Spending a 12 hour layover in Amsterdam was fun and better than in an airport!

 

What city have you spent a longer layover in?

 

 

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My “Must-Haves” for Spring

This post may contain affiliate links. All thoughts are my own. 

My Must-Haves for Spring

Spring is my favorite season! The Earth is coming alive again and I think people are just overall happier. I have been getting into skincare/health a lot this year. Even though I am in no way old, I am not getting younger and that means I need to take care of my skin and my body. Today I’m sharing some of my recent finds that are now my “must-haves” for this spring!

Sheet Masks

My Must-Haves for Spring

I love face masks in general, but sheet masks are so convenient! I love to take them on a plane with me to wear so my skin doesn’t get dehydrated. I have been using the Garnier ones, since that is what is available in Finland, but there are so many good ones out there! Let me know your favorite ones so I can try them 🙂

Sunscreen

My Must-Haves for Spring

If you don’t wear sunscreen or your makeup doesn’t have an SPF, then you need to get some now! I use this ACO Sun Face Fluid. I am not sure if it is available in the States, but I got this at a local drug store. I really like this kind because it is not oily or heavy on my oily skin.

Glass Water Bottle

My Must-Haves for Spring

I love glass water bottles because they don’t have toxins like plastic ones do and you are helping the environment! You are also helping your body stay healthy by drinking water more often since you have it with you!

Whole Fruit, Vegetable, and Berry Supplements

My Must-Haves for Spring

I have a pretty healthy diet, but even I struggle with getting all the servings of fruits and vegetables per day! These are great to bridge that gap so that you get all the necessary nutrients you need. You can find these HERE.

Omega

My Must-Haves for Spring

Omega can befit your body and brain! It is great for cardiovascular health, skin health, cholesterol, and many other things. I love these omegas because they are Non-GMO and plant-based, so there is no fishy taste. They also have omega 3,5,6,7, and 9 all in one pill! So you don’t have to take multiple. You can find them HERE.

 

What are your favorite spring finds?

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20 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

20 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day is an April 22 this year! This years theme is to End Plastic Pollution. I am personally really excited for this theme and that it will educate a lot of people on the plastic pollution in the world. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start to help the Earth. Celebrating Earth Day can be a great way to start making positive changes that will positively impact the Earth. So celebrate with me with one or more of the 20 ways this year!

Stop Using Disposable Plastic

Of course this is the first one on the list since it the theme of the year. Stop using plastic bags at the grocery store and invest in cloth ones. Refuse straws and invest in reusable bottles.

Join a Community Clean Up

Research a community clean up in your area and join it! Seeing a clean community makes you feel better about where you live too!

Use Cloth Towels Instead of Paper

This is a win-win since you will save money buying paper towels and you will help the Earth!

Plant or Donate a Tree

You can donate one HERE.

Change Your Paper Bills to Online

A simple change that can help the Earth!

Buy Local Food

Find your local Farmer’s market and buy what you can from them!

Buy Organic Food

This keeps harmful pesticides out of the environment.

Or Start Your Own Garden

If you like to garden, this would be a great way to help the Earth and save money on groceries.

Use Non-toxic Cleaning Products

Keeping toxins out of the Earth is so important!

Donate Old Clothes Instead of Throwing Away

The clothing market is one cause of pollution I did not even realize was a problem!

Use 100% Recycled Paper

This way new trees won’t be used!

Make Sure to Recycle

Look up how you can recycle in your community.

Reduce Your Meat Consumption

You can read about some of my favorite vegan recipes HERE.

Compost Kitchen Scraps

Here in Finland they actually have a biodegradable trash service, which is so cool! But since we don’t have that yet in America we can compost in the meantime.

Wash Your Clothes Only When Needed

And use cold water.

Turn Off Lights

Always when they are not needed!

Take the Stairs

Saving energy and getting exercise!

Read Online Instead of Printing

Saving paper!

Join Earth Day Network’s Campaign

You can join HERE.

Carpool

Reducing traffic and pollution!

 

I hope you will be celebrating Earth Day in some way with me this year!

How are you celebrating this year?

 

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4 of My Favorite Vegan Recipes

4 of My Favorite Vegan Recipes

So, I’m not vegan. Since I am living in someone else’s home and they buy my food and I cook dinner, I’m not going to put my diet on them. I do plan on going back to vegan when I return home though. As I said before I do cook dinner for the family and I do cook vegan recipes for them a lot, but sometimes I will have meat or something on the side for the kids to add in. The kids have tried so many new things since I have been cooking for them and I’m excited they have been open to them. Here are some of my favorite vegan recipes that I cook quite often!

Chickpea Curry by HurryTheFoodUp

4 of My Favorite Vegan Recipes

Not only is this recipe delicious, but it is also soooo easy! It only takes about 25 minutes to make. If I make it just for myself, I like to take the leftovers for lunch and also freeze it for quick meals in the future. Here in Finland I will make Shrimp for the kids on the side to put in theirs so they will be enticed to try it 😉 You can find the recipe HERE.

Vegan Pasta Salad by The Awesome Green

4 of My Favorite Vegan Recipes

So we are really into lemon pasta here. The pasta absorbs the lemon so well and you don’t need to add any cream, so it’s pretty healthy. I really like this recipe because you also have zucchini and chickpeas. I will say that I did not like the chickpeas roasted in this pasta, maybe in a salad. But the crunchy didn’t go well in my opinion and I think it would be better if they were just cooked. You can find the recipe HERE. 

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili by Alida’s Kitchen

4 of My Favorite Vegan Recipes

I love love love chili! It’s the perfect fall and winter meal. I do like to eat it anytime though really. This recipe includes sweet potatoes, which is another favorite of mine. You can find the recipe HERE.

Energy Bites

4 of My Favorite Vegan Recipes

I couldn’t leave a vegan desert off of my list! These energy bites are the best. I eat them for a quick pick-me-up or when I have a chocolate craving. They give you that sugar taste without the sugar! You can make them any way that you want, you just need something to make them “stick” together like almond butter. The energy bites pictured are called almond joy bites. You just need 1/2 cup of almond butter, 1 cup of dates, 1-2 scoops of chocolate protein (you can get my favorite kind HERE), and 1/2 cup shredded coconut. Add all of the ingredients into a food processor, roll into bite sized balls and then roll into coconut, and enjoy!

 

What are your favorite vegan recipes?

 

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