Enjoy guest posts from IGE readers describing their best vacations ever while I’m away on mine! Check out my Italy travel page which I’ll be updating with links to videos, pictures & posts throughout my trip!
Name, Blog: Kelly Medkeff-Rose
Who, what, where, when and why: In the summer of 2008, my three friends and I went on a trip to Luxembourg, Innsbruck, Austria, Munich and Heidelberg, Germany, and Strasbourg, France. We were able to travel thanks to the German Club at Bethany College (go bison) and had an absolute blast.
My favorite part of the vacation was: Innsbruck, Austria. The town is quiet yet energetic, quaint yet spicy, and just an absolute dream to travel in. We got to climb to the top of the Alps and meet some of the sweetest people along the way.
My best travel tip for this location: PACK LIGHT! We each had huge packs that we lugged around for the two weeks. Looking back, I would have been just fine with one pair of sandals and one pair of sneakers.
The thing you MUST do at this location: Experience the night life in every city, eat crepes in Strasbourg, spend at least one day just wandering the streets and eating ice cream, picnic along the Neckarwiese in Heidelberg, and just stay outside as much as possible.
The thing I want to do next time I return: Spend more time in Austria!
Name, Blog: Sarah K., The Pajama Chef
Who, what, where, when and why: My husband and I were married on May 23, 2009 and on May 24, we embarked on a week-long honeymoon to Newport Beach, California. I’ve traveled a lot in my life, even to California twice before, but nothing can beat being in a beautiful place with the love of my life. Newport Beach is part of Orange County so we were thrilled to have the opportunity to live in luxury in such a gorgeous locale! There is plenty to do in the Orange County area such as fining dining, shopping, and the beach (swimming, sunbathing, whale-watching, etc.)… plus San Diego and L.A. are each about an hour away–perfect for a day trip!
My favorite part of the vacation was: My favorite part of our vacation was spending an evening at Balboa Island. Balboa Island has been featured in many movies and TV shows over the year and it is as idyllic as it seemed. We spent a romantic evening strolling around the residential areas, wondering what it would be like to live there year-round; window shopping in the cute shops; and eating. Oh, how we ate! Dinner was at an Italian place called Amelia’s. It had old world charm and brought the best of pasta and seafood together for our last night in California. We also helped ourselves to two desserts–one before dinner and one afterward. Before dinner we enjoyed a Balboa Bar, which is basically vanilla ice cream on a stick topped with your choice of chocolaty goodness, sprinkles, nuts, etc. After dinner, we enjoyed a frozen banana–another Balboa Island specialty that can be topped with chocolate, sprinkles, nuts, and more.
My best travel tip for this location: This is basically my best travel tip for any location, but if possible, stay in a condo (or hotel room) with kitchen access. We were given a week at a condo for our honeymoon, so we didn’t specifically choose to have a kitchen, but I have grown up vacationing with kitchen access and so now for me, it’s a must! Having a kitchen can be a huge time, money, and health saver on vacation, as well as allowing you to enjoy great local food without breaking the bank.
The thing you MUST do at this location: While visiting Newport Beach or the Orange County area, you MUST visit Crystal Cove State Park. This gorgeous beach and hiking area was about one mile from our condo and we spent an incredible afternoon hiking and exploring the park. This is a rocky beach so it’s not great for sunbathing, but it’s a fabulous area for photography and roaming to see the woodlands, sandy coves, and tide pools that are all over the park. There are also a few restaurants and shops in the area, and activities such as horseback riding and scuba diving are encouraged as well.
The thing I want to do next time I return: Next time I’m there, I’d love to look for a house to move there! Just kidding… kind of. On a more serious note, there are so many other restaurants and places to explore in the Orange County area. I would love to go to some Farmer’s Markets in the area for the fresh California produce. I would also enjoy spending a day on Catalina Island, which is accessible only by boat or helicopter. The possibilities are endless!