5 Reasons For A Ski Trip To Europe!

If you are a skier or snowboarder, there are at least 5 reasons for a ski trip to Europe. The glitz, glamour and après ski of the Alps are calling. And some of the great ski destinations of the world are calling – Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, and more.Olympiaregion SeefeldOlympiaregion Seefeld

A European Ski Vacation is as much about experiencing culture, history and alpine scenery as it is about skiing. The full European alpine experience is hard to beat – après ski thermal baths to soothe sore muscles; Italian cappuccino in Italy (after skiing in from Switzerland); drinking beer in Munich after a day of skiing on nearby mountains. A European ski vacation offers a unique experience on another continent with different cultures —and world class skiing!

Here’s 5 points to ponder if you are thinking it’s time for a ski trip to Europe:

  1. Why Europe?

Why not? If you haven’t been to Europe, you have to go (ski season or any season). Almost everything is different – language, cuisine, money, electrical outlets, time zone. And now add the ski specific differences in Europe – over 4,000 ski areas; huge terrain; great snow; incredible lift systems and super long top-to-bottom runs.

Skiing in St. Moritz, Switzerland

  1. When To Go?

Generally speaking, most mountains in Europe open at the end of November and close mid to late April, with a few exceptions.

January tends to hold the best deals for European ski resorts and is less busy than peak holiday times. Most resorts are quiet and more peaceful. Fewer skiers on the slopes means that there are of course shorter lift lines! Prices can be almost double at peak times such as Christmas and New Year, and during the school holidays of Christmas, Easter, and particularly February Reading Week.

If you are going on your skiing holiday during late March-April (with longer and sunnier days), you’ll greatly reduce the risk of poor skiing conditions by skiing at a resort with a higher altitude. Val Thorens, France; Zermatt, Switzerland; Livigno, Italy all fit the bill. As a glacier, Zugspitze is skiable from early autumn until late spring, the highest (2,100m) and most snow-sure mountain in Bavaria, and just 90km from Munich.

Skiing in Val D'Isere, France

  1. Where To Stay?

Choices for accommodation range from traditional Alpine chalets and guestrooms in charming historic hotels to fully equipped apartments. Deluxe and moderate accommodations are available at most ski resorts in Europe. Austria and Italy are known in particular for their great value. If you’re after luxury, there’s no shortage of first-class transportation, five-star boutique hotels and world-class experiences! A few top Europe luxury ski resorts include Courchevel, France; St. Moritz, Switzerland and Cortina, Italy.

Modern ski resorts, (purpose-built ski resorts) are of course perfect for skiers and boarders. Purpose-built ski resorts are situated at higher elevations and have consistent snow conditions. They offer ski in, ski out and true slope side lodging. Think Val D’isère, and Les Trois Vallées, France.

Historic Alpine villages provide both true alpine ambiance and the quintessential Europe experience with skiing. Walk cobblestone streets; eat traditional local cuisine and stay in centuries old chalets. The nearby slopes are typically a short shuttle, train or cable-car ride away. Think Zermatt, Switzerland; Chamonix, France; and St. Anton, Austria.

  1. What To Do? (When You Are Not Skiing)

Many European resorts offer spas, boutiques, bars, restaurants and other off-mountain activities. Resorts near major cities offer city shopping, dining and sightseeing—perfect for a day away from the slopes. For example, skiers in Seefeld, Austria can take a quick 20 minute train ride down the mountain to Innsbruck. Or do it in reverse- stay in the city and travel up to the slopes. Munich can be a perfect springboard to the nearby mountains of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Nearby Wallberg or Alpspitze are great options too. You can ride all day, and then enjoy Munich by night.

SkiEurope- munich2

  1. Ski Terrain, Passes and Guides

Europe is home to thousands of miles of groomed and off-piste terrain, and several resorts are interconnected by lifts and trails. A multi-resort ski pass like the Dolomiti Superski Pass offers 700 miles of Italian Alpine terrain spread over a dozen resorts. The world’s largest ski area, Les Trois Vallees in France, includes Meribel, Courchevel, Val Thorens and 5 more resorts. The Milky Way Ski Area straddles France and Italy and offers the opportunity to ski across actual country borders (and have a croissant in France or espresso in Italy).

A local ski guide is also worth your consideration. An experienced local can take you through little known ski terrain, keep you safe and will have the inside scoop on local lunch spots and après ski parties. A ski guide in Europe packs a ton of value and can go for as little as 250 euros per day.

And at the end of your European ski holiday, you can still have more Europe! Add on a trip extension to an iconic city like Paris, Berlin and Rome, rich in history and culture. Europe ski vacation anyone?

Best Museums in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Museums

Amsterdam is known for many things, but one thing you may not think of when dreaming of this Dutch city is Museums. Few people realize that Amsterdam is actually home to over 50 museums, many of which are very interesting and thought provoking. Some of them are strange. Here is a list of some of the interesting ones you might want to check out the next time (or first time) you travel to Amsterdam.


BEST MUSEUMS IN AMSTERDAM

Het Grachtenhuis Museum
This is a special museum located on one of the most beautiful and upmarket Herengracht canal. It explores the history of the canal district (a world heritage site) with 3D animation, models, projections and an interactive multimedia exhibition. A very modern look at Amsterdam’s history and a great way to start to your visit.

Tulip Museum
The tulip is often used as a symbol of the Netherlands, so this museum is quite popular with locals and tourists alike. If you love botany, history, or tulips in general, this is the museum for you.

Anne Frank House
The hiding place where Anne Frank wrote her famous diary during World War II is now a museum and is one of the biggest attractions in Amsterdam. See how hard it was and view the original diary on display while at this location. Book a rental car at Schiphol Airport and take the 20 minute drive to the historic museum. This is a must do but get there early because the lines can be long.

Amsterdam Museums - The Anne Frank House

NEMO Science Museum
A hands on museum, NEMO is very popular among children. Science and technology are the themes here, so it’s a must visit if you’re with kids on vacation. Get a Museumkaart or I Amsterdam City Card for free admission. Ask about discounted group rates!

Torture Museum
This place brings out the macabre in everyone. View a collection and learn about some of the oldest cruellest torture methods of the past. Thankfully most of these methods are no longer in use. The fact that most of what’s on display are actual artifacts is particularly disturbing.

Museum of Bags and Purses 
To me, being surrounded by this many handbags and purses seems like a scene from the previous museum!

National Maritime Museum
The museum is dedicated to maritime history and contains many artefacts associated with shipping and sailing. The collection contains, paintings, scale models, weapons and world maps. Moored directly outside the museum is a replica of the Amsterdam, an 18th-century ship which sailed between the Netherlands and the East Indies.

Van Gogh Museum
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam, explore the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh work. A must-see for any traveling virtuoso, see his work and learn about his life story. You won’t be disappointed!

The Rijksmuseum
This is the Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. It showcases national treasurers and artifacts from over 800 years of Dutch history. The museum is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum. Again, a must visit!

There are of course more museums, including the Museum of The Canals, the Costume Museum, the Heineken Experience, the Houseboat Museum and more. They make for an interesting day and a way to quickly immerse yourself in Dutch culture and history.

Can you think of any interesting or strange museums that are in Amsterdam?

Texas Finest – A Franklin Barbecue Review

Texas BBQ

There are just so many great places in the world where you can eat. But if you’re a true culinary fan, you know that it doesn’t do to go to Italy, for example, and try ramen, or eat fish in Germany. Each part of the world has a specific cuisine that you should try. If you’re a barbecue lover, then you probably know that the “best of the best” is located in the United States. With the size of the U.S., there are differences in barbecue styles by region. This time, though, we are reviewing Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas. According to many, this is the best barbecue joint in this part of America. So, is it worth checking out?

Franklin Barbecue – What do you need to know?

Before you head off to Austin to check out this great barbecue joint, you have to know certain things about Texas-style barbecue. As mentioned, there are different American barbecue styles by region, but the Texas-style comes with beef as their meat of choice and a spicy, tomato-based sauce with some sweetness.  Now, as you’re coming close to Franklin Barbecue, you will notice the tremendous line that’s always happening in front of the restaurant. Waiting for at least 2 hours (sometimes even longer) to get a taste of their dishes is a common thing, with many people waiting from early morning to be the first in line at 5 am. This is a BBQ joint that received two stars according to The New York Times and was featured in a TV show by the amazing Anthony Bourdain.

Texas BBQ

Why do they do this? Well, basically – once something is gone for the day, it means it’s gone, so it’s always best to come early and have a wide range of options to choose from. If you want the best case scenario, you should come during a weekday as the lines grow faster on weekends and during the South by Southwest festival in March.

Franklin Barbecue – What do you need to try?

Well, this is probably the most difficult question of them all, because no matter what you try at Franklin Barbecue – it’s worth it. Of course, everything depends on what will be left once you have your turn. Probably the most important things to try are the brisket and the pork ribs which are simply delicious. As far as the brisket goes, you have plenty of time to figure out just how much brisket you need. Don’t skip this, since it’s the foundation that Franklin Barbecue was built on. (The owner of the joint, even has a book called “Franklin Barbecue – A Meat-Smoking Manifesto” that you can read if you want to know something more about the history of this place and its brisket).

Texas BBQ

Their meat is wrapped midway through smoking so that it doesn’t dry out, and helps to give it that special taste that you will literally die for. Apart from that, you really want the pork candy, known as pork ribs, which are probably the best in Texas, and perhaps in the States. You can also try sausages and even smoked turkey – everything here is super tasty and good, but make sure to have your essentials first!

Texas BBQ

Franklin Barbecue – What to do afterwards?

After waiting for at least 2 hours to eat one of the world’s best barbecues, there’s no lingering – you should hit the road and let somebody else take your place and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience (if you’re not from the USA). Now that you’re probably full to the max, it would be a great idea to head a bit further down to the Zilker Brewing Company and enjoy a pint of their amazing beer. They work every day except Mondays, but you can check on their website for the exact working hours because they differ each day.

Texas BBQ

Hopefully, you will get the chance to spend at least one day in your life eating at Franklin Barbecue and to drink beer at Zilker’s afterwards. It is definitely something that you will  remember for the rest of your life.