Culture aspects of the places visited

Germany’s Romantic Road

Germany’s Romantic Road between Wurzburg and Fussen is a destination in itself. There are several castles on this route to be explored. So take time and soak in the beautiful German towns and villages.

Rothenburg
Spend time in towns like Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Rothenburg is located in the Franconia region of Bavaria. Experience the German culture at its best.

Fussen
Most travellers will remember the Neuschwanstein Castle. Neuschwanstein Castle is known as Schloss Neuschwanstein in German. Neuschwanstein is best explored from Fussen, Bavaria. Fussen can be reached by train from Munich. This is a very beautiful part of Bavaria. Fussen borders Austria and is lush with the Alpine scenery.

Flying into Frankfurt am Main, Germany
If you are starting in the North from Wurzburg, best to fly into Frankfurt am Main International (FRA) Airport. Rent a car and you can make your own travel plans to get to Wurzburg.
You can also take a detour from the Romantic Road and drive down to the Romantic Mid Rhine area. The Mid Rhine area has a lot offer with beautiful castles between Mainz and Kobenlz. Best to explore the Rhine River by boat. Slow down and enjoy the views.

Flying into Munich, Bavaria, Germany
If you are starting in the South from Fussen, fly into Munich International (MUC) Airport. Munich is also known as Munchen in German. If you are travelling during Christmas, the Munich Airport hosts its own Christmas Markets.

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East meets West in Singapore

Travelling to Singapore by air:

Most overseas visitors will enter Singapore from the airport.  It’s a very nice airport and a friendly place.  The security guards checking our passports even gave our kids candy! There was a nice selection of restaurants and shopping while we waited at the airport. Changi airport  even has a wonderful kinetic rain display which is absolutely mesmerizing to watch.   See it in action on their YouTube post.

Business

Singapore is a very business-like place.  It is a financial capital in Asia, and a good place to meet to have international business meetings.

Cosmopolitan
Singapore
Singapore

You will encounter a variety of cultures in Singapore.  The majority of the population is Chinese, and there are also quite a few Malays (Singapore was originally part of Malaysia) and Indians.  In addition to that cross-section of Asia, I was surprised to find some of the best French pastries and also authentic Italian food that I have ever had the pleasure to try.  As a business hub for Asia, people come from all over the world.  I felt like the European influence when it came to restaurants was something totally unexpected.  It is truly a place where you can feel like the whole world is meeting up to do business.

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Salzburg and the beautiful Salzkammergut region of Austria

Salzburg is around 2 hours by train from Munich and less than 3 hours by train from Vienna. Most of us remember watching the Sound of Music filmed in beautiful Salzburg Austria. The beautiful Schloss Mirabell Gardens is where the Sound of Music “Do Re Mi” was filmed.

Mozart, the classical composer was also born in in Salzburg, Austria. You can visit Mozart birthplace and museum in Salzburg.

Salzburg Christkindlmarkt, Christmas Carols and Advent are beautiful traditions observed here during the Christmas season. The song “Silent Night” is Austrian after all.

Salzburg (salt fortress) became an important center due to the salt trade. The fortress Hohensalzburg overlooking Salzburg is majestic. Stroll around the old town center and soak in the beauty of this place.

But that is not all. The Salzkammergut region is beautiful with Alpine ranges and lakes. Enjoy the beauty of the Austrian countryside. Take a trip to Hallstatt, Austria. This is an amazing place of beauty with the beautiful Hallstatt village hugging the lake.


Christmas in Little Sweden USA

Lindsborg Kansas USA (also known as Little Sweden) is a cute little town to visit anytime of the year. You can find all things Swedish here from liggonberry jams to beautifully painted wooden Dala horses.
In Spring, you should get tickets for Handel’s Messiah Easter Performance at Bethany College. It is worth it.
If you come visit in the Summer, enjoy the MidSummer’s Festival. You will see real folks dressed in real Swedish national costumes performing beautiful dances.
The town offers several stores to purchase good gifts and souvenirs. Enjoy some good Swedish food at the Swedish Crown and pasteries while you are in Lindsborg. I love the Swedish Meatballs (Svensk Köttbullar) with the dill potatoes. Finish it off with some Swedish Almond Cake or some Ostkaka (creamy custard).
Christmas in Lindsborg is fun as you get to celebrate the European Swedish heritage right in Kansas. The traditions are kept alive in fun ways. You will see young girls dressed up in white carrying candles for the St. Lucia Festival. The are plenty of fun activities all day for the St. Lucia Festival.
I think Christmas time is extra special in Lindsborg as many festive events lead up to Christmas. Everything from Christmas (Jultide) Concerts to traditional Christmas Services (Julotta Christmas Morning Service and Annandag Jul Day After Christmas Service) at the Bethany Lutheran Church. Enjoy a little bit of Sweden right here in the USA!


European Christmas Markets

The European cities come alive in Winter for Christmas. The Christmas Markets spring up everywhere especially around the Old Town centers or squares. There is even a Christmas market at the Munich International Airport.

GERMANY
The backdrop of beautiful Gothic churches like in Cologne (Germany) and Christkindlesmarkt Nuremberg (Germany) will take you back in time. German towns become festive with Christmas markets. With Christmas delicacies and lovely Christmas Music, you will become a child again for Christmas. You got to try some Nuremberg Lebkuchen (German Gingerbread) and Feuerzangenbowle (red wine and rum punch).

Czech Republic
The Christmas markets in Staroměstské náměstí Prague (Old Town Square) and Wenceslas Square (5 minute walking distance from each market) in Czechia (Czech Republic) are a real treat. Stroll along the beautiful wooden huts with all sorts of Christmas ornaments and gifts. Eat some trdelník (grilled rolled dough cake) while you shop.

Hungary
If you wish to try all sorts of delicious food, you should check out the Budapest Christmas Markets at the St. Stephen’s Basilica ( St Istvan Bazilika) and the Christmas Market at the Vorosmarty Square in Budapest, Hungary. You won’t be in hungry in Hungary, as this market offers you tasty regional food and not just Christmas cookies. Try the Kürtőskalács (Chimney cake) and Goulash Soup (Gulyásleves).

Austria
How do you beat the beauty of the Christkindlmarkt at the Rathausplatz (Town Hall Square) in Vienna, Austria? Ice skate around the “tree of hearts” in the nearby park and enjoy some Viennese Gluhwein (mulled wine).

France
Strasbourg Christmas market (Capital of Christmas) is a fusion of both the German and French cultures in the Alsace Region of France. Christkindlsmärik first took place in 1570. Try the Christmas bredele (small cakes) made in this Alsace region. It comes in different flavors. Strasbourg Christmas Market is one of the oldest and the most beautiful Christmas market that blends both the French and German cultures into a wonderful Christmas experience.


The Romantic Rhine

You can cruise the Rhine from Amsterdam, Netherlands via the German Heartland to Basel, Switzerland. Rhine starts its journey from Lake Toma, in the Swiss Canton of Graubünden and winds its way to Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The Rhine actually passes through Switzerland, Liechtenstein , Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands. There is so much history along the Rhine. It used to be the boundary between civilized Europe and untamed lands beyond. There is so much to see along the Rhine.

Rhine Falls, Switzerland
Rhine Falls or Rheinfall in German is Europe’s largest waterfall. In some ways resembles the Niagara Falls between United States and Canada. Rhine Falls is located near Schaffhausen , in Switzerland just across from the German border.

Lake Bodensee
Lake Constance (Bodensee in German) is one of the lakes on the Rhine. Bodensee borders Austria, Germany and Switzerland. You can basically visit all 3 countries by boat. Principality of Liechtenstein is around 30 minutes by car from the Bodensee (Lake Constance).

Basel, Switzerland
Basel, Switzerland on the Rhine is a good transportation hub to pretty much get anywhere in Europe, especially to your Alpine destinations. A good place to rest and sight see in the lower elevation before going up into higher altitudes of the Alps.

Mainz to Kobenlz, Mid Rhine, Germany
The mid Rhine is probably the most romantic part of the Rhine. German towns from Mainz to Kobenlz, Germany will take you back in time. Take the Rhine ferries to slow down and soak in the beauty.

The Moselle River to Luxembourg
The Moselle River meets the Rhine River at Kobenlz. Moselle can take you all the way to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Luxembourg actually means Little Castle). Towns along the Moselle such as Zell and Cochem are simply breathtaking.

Heidelberg, Germany
Take another detour along the River Neckar (Neckar meets the Rhine at Mannheim) to Heidelberg, Germany. Heidelberg is both romantic and picturesque. It is definitely worth the detour.

Netherlands
Keep following the River Rhine and you will end up in Rotterdam, Netherlands which is Europe’s largest port with plenty of good places to eat and shop. For the romantic side visit Amsterdam.


Georges French Bistro Wichita Kansas USA

You can get some of the tastiest French food right here in the heartland.

Georges French Cuisine Wichita Kansas USA
Georges French Cuisine Wichita Kansas USA

The ambience of the restaurant can bring back memories of your trip to Paris, France without leaving home.

Georges French Cuisine Wichita Kansas USA
Georges French Cuisine Wichita Kansas USA

You cannot leave the restaurant without trying out their fabulous desserts.

Georges French Bistro Wichita Kansas
Georges French Bistro Wichita Kansas
Georges French Bistro Wichita Kansas
Georges French Bistro Wichita Kansas

Christmas in Kansas City

Fountains at Crown Center Christmas in Kansas City
Fountains Crown Center Kansas City

Kansas City comes alive with Christmas Lights after dark. Whether you visit the Plaza or Union Station or Crown Center, Christmas lights and trees make the city a festive place to visit! Take some time and hang out in the Crown Center.

Christmas Crown Center Kansas City USA
Christmas Crown Center Kansas City USA
Kansas City Crown Center Christmas Tree
Kansas City Crown Center

Have some hot cocoa while soaking in the lights of the season. The Ice Skating ring (Crown Center Ice Terrace) is a fun place to see all the skaters having fun on the ice.

Crown Center Ice Terrace Kansas City Missouri USA
Crown Center Ice Terrace Kansas City Missouri USA

A short walk or drive will take you to the Union Station.

Union Station Kansas City USA
Union Station Kansas City USA

The Kansas City Union Station will take you back in time. The old glorious Union Train Station all decked up with Christmas decorations and lights.

Beautiful Christmas Tree Kansas City Union Station Missouri USA
Christmas Union Station Kansas City USA

Not to mention young couples getting married under the beautiful Christmas Decor.

Christmas Wedding at Kansas City Union Station
Wedding at the Union Station Kansas City

Schiphol International Airport Amsterdam Netherlands

Schiphol Train Hub Amsterdam

Schiphol Train Hub Amsterdam

An amazing airport where you can shop, dine, sleep, shower, check into a hotel and it is all integrated with a sophisticated transportation hub. It is also beautifully designed to make you feel like you have room to rest and relax! You can pretty much fly from anywhere to every where. They have places where you can securely lock your luggage and leave the airport for a trip into Amsterdam or connect to major European cities by train. The airport is clean and green (eco friendly). Most locals speak good English, friendly and helpful to travelers. The security screening process is also efficient and fast given the number of passengers that are routed from this airport.

Schiphol International Airport Netherlands

Schiphol International Airport Netherlands

Schiphol is the hub for the KLM (Royal Dutch) Airlines. Many other Premium and Low Cost Carriers fly via Schiphol Amsterdam. There is no need to drive or take a train to get to your low cost airlines if that is your choice.  This makes the airport a great hub to start your journey into Europe or other continents.

Schiphol International Airport Netherlands

 


Keukenhof Gardens in Netherlands

 

Keukenhof Flower Gardens is the most beautiful flower garden I have ever visited. During a long layover between flights during Spring at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (a fantastic transportation hub integrated with bus/train depots) , I took a bus to Keukenhof Gardens.  People are friendly and helpful in Amsterdam and they speak good English. The bus driver was a joy. Once you get to the gardens which is open only in Spring, you will see millions of bulbs of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and more.  Not to mention about all the flower displays at the pavilions and fun Spring events. You can even take a boat ride in the Garden Canals from the Dutch Wind Mill. You can also grab a bite to eat and enjoy free WiFi at the same time! Pictures cannot describe the beauty of this place. You just have to get out and walk around and enjoy the beautiful scenery and breathe the clean Spring air. It helped break my jetlag and made a tired layover into a memorable fun trip.