German traditions_girlgonetravel

Exploring Germany Off the beaten Path

I was fortunate to have my introduction to Germany in Berlin. It’s a beautiful city, where I met people who were warm and welcoming, and where language wasn’t a huge challenge because, it seemed, everyone spoke English.

But one of the things I have learned from my travels through Europe is that the larger cities, though glorious in their own way, leave a lot to be desired when truly seeking a full cultural immersion experience. For this, one must travel deeper inland away from the huge crowds, the comforts of what is familiar, and beyond what is expected.

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Celebrating Carnival in Germany in Photos

February kicks off the German carnival, or karneval, season. The carnival traditions are not exclusive to Germany, of course. Austria and Switzerland share many of the cultural roots as well, but I was fortunate enough to have had my very first Fasching experience in Bavaria.

The larger, most touristy celebrations that people know about are held in major cities such as Munich, Cologne, and Düsseldorf, but the traditions of each vary from region to region. Fasching is southern Germany’s (as well as Bavaria and Austria) Mardi Gras. Unlike the more traditional carnivals, the fasching celebrations take place before lent and what I quickly learned and had fun experiencing was that this occasion was all about letting go and partying up.

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Girlfriends Getaway to Lake Placid

There are a lot of promises we make to ourselves about how we want the new year to evolve. What can we add, take away, improve on.

For some of us, one of these promises is to be a better friend. It’s something I always strive for too and like to compliment with either nights out for dinner together or, even better, with little retreats somewhere fun.

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Romantic Aruba Escape

Around this time of year, after my husband and I have spent months planning and organizing family get-together and outings, I start to long for a little escape for just us two. My husband’s preference for warmer climate tends to draw us to the beach and few are as accessible and as quick to get to as the beautiful island of Aruba.

Because Aruba is such a small island, it’s easy for us to map out our trip, rent a car, and cover favorite spots that include romantic little retreats.

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2015 in Photos

2015 was a happy year for me in many ways. Not without its challenges, not without its losses, I feel I came out of it a more grounded, more confident, person with a clearer vision for what I want for my future. I shared a lot of the exciting things that happened in my post, The Best Travel Stories, so here, I thought I would limit the words and share my journey through photography.

Brod Kitchen

Bröd Kitchen: A hint of Nordic flavors in the Village

I enjoy the hip, creative vibe of the Village in New York City. Not only is NYU located there, but this is the home to tons of artist and performance venues that I have enjoyed over the years, such as the Village Vanguard, the Village Underground, and the Blue Note Jazz Club, as well as galleries and varies pop-up exhibits that happen throughout the year. I love the independent films shown at the IFC Center and the Angelika Theatre. It is home to historic The Jane Hotel, a true gem of New York City history.

There are many places to eat and drink, worthy of continual exploration as it is an ever-changing landscape.

My newest discovery was more than I expected, a pleasant surprise that extends beyond a nice cup of organic coffee and pastries.

Girl Gone Travel Carol Cain

Surviving Holiday Travel

I am not a fan of traveling during the holidays, especially during the winter holidays. No one can ever really predict what the weather will be like, though during the winter getting snowed in or iced down is a greater possibility for those of us coming from colder areas.

Expedia.com has already reported that holiday travel for the 2015 season is looking busier it was last year, with hotel demands to Europe (where I would want to go if I did go anywhere this holiday season) is high – which increases prices.

And though I prefer my cozy couch, by my warm fireplace, crowded only by my family, there are moments when I long for a trip to Germany’s holiday markets, or to experience Scotland’s Hogmanay.

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Cali-Style Mexican Food with A New York Flavor

I don’t consider myself a foodie. I can’t pinpoint specific ingredients or flavors and my taste isn’t too adventurous. Not to mention that I am no stranger to the occasional bowl of cereal for dinner. But when it comes to Mexican food I’m all in. Quesadillas, burritos, tacos… those are essential food groups in my book. So when I stumbled upon La Gringa Taqueria in New York’s West Village neighborhood I knew I was home.

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The road to Seville in photos

I kicked off my road to Seville from the beautiful city of Lisbon and from where my journey through rich culture, colors, and food would continue.

On the day I headed out it was raining and it would rain throughout most of my Iberian road trip with Insight Vacations, but the chilly air, foggy mornings, and rainy days didn’t damper the beauty of all that I saw an experienced. Here is that journey in photo.

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Taking a moment, while being grateful

This morning I woke up with every intention of publishing some work here that I’ve wanted to share for a bit on a few trips I’ve taken.

It’s been a bit since I’ve been able to do it for so many reasons, but mainly because in the travel break I have given myself this winter, I have also committed to being present for my family in more ways than I am able to when I am juggling travel, projects, and deadlines.

I have been on a vacation of sorts, enjoying the simple things that I am often either too busy or not here to enjoy. Sometimes that means not doing anything more than some light social media.

This morning I was going to get back into it but instead spent it waiting for my son as he tried to identify the criminals who assaulted him last week.