Hello world, It has been a while since my last post. I have been doing way too much exploring and traveling and not enough writing to tell you about my travels. I recently just finished a 15 day, 5501-mile road trip across western America, Alberta, and British Columbia with my awesome and beautiful girlfriend Kelle (she started a new Instagram so go check her out and give her a follow) to commemorate our 1 year anniversary. Last year we road tripped up to Oregon for 6 days so we thought, why the hell not and go bigger this time. That we did indeed.
I recently made a trip down to Berchtesgaden National Park, Southern Germany and I was in complete awe while i was there. The beautiful photos i researched online before I went does not compare to seeing it with your own two eyeballs. If you are into nature, enjoy the beautiful sweeping mountains towering over beautiful lakes, or hiking then this is a must to add to your bucket list of places to travel to.
Neuschwanstein Castle is a Romanesque dramatic palace with lofty fairy tale towers. The palace served as a model for the Sleeping Beauty Castle of Disneyland. Without a doubt, one of the most visited tourist attractions in all of Germany. Over 1.4 million visitors a year flock to this lavish castle. You are thinking, just for a castle? Well, my friend, when you set eyes on this beauty then you will know why. It is absolutely stunning and once you go inside for a tour, the attention to detail and the paintings on the walls are as magnificent as the exterior of the castle.
Zion is an adventurer's paradise with tons of hiking, canyoneering, and sightseeing everywhere you go. Angels Landing was a hike we had to do along with a few others we had in mind. It is voted one of the most dangerous hikes in America. Danger you say? I like to live on the edge so why the hell not and defy death on this stunning yet dangerous hike?
I've been spending some time in Germany particularly the Rhineland-Palatinate state since late October and even though I am here for work, during my free time I try and explore the country as much as I can. I haven't written in awhile but since I have been able to venture out and explore I can share with you some of my experiences so far in Germany.
If you have not been to Germany, I would highly recommend it. Pretty much everyone speaks some sort of English if you are like me and can't speak a lick of any foreign language, this helps. If you like history and castles, holy shit there are a bazillion of them and I haven't even scratched the surface! I remember driving along the beautiful Mosel river and I shit you not, within an hour drive I saw roughly 10-15 castles. If there is an overlook of some sort then a coin flip chance there is a castle there.
This article is about a few spots I have been so far in the Rhineland (Rheinland) area which houses Ramstein Air Base. So there are plenty of Americans in the area as well.
Eltz Castle, unlike most castles along the Mosel river, is set a few kilometers away from the river basically in the middle of nowhere surrounded by beautiful trees and a stream that borders the Castle as well. The day I went it was closed during winter. I have learned that all the cool things to do and see are closed during the winter. Don't expect to hop on a gondola in a city. I encountered that 3 times already. Anyways, Eltz Castle has probably been my favorite castle I have seen so far. It may not have the best views, but aesthetically it appealed me the most. Just look at it!
Cochem Castle is pretty badass. It has that medieval look which I always loved and it was sitting on top of a big hill in the middle of the valley next to the river. Driving up to it you have to drive through the small town of Cochem and then it's literally next to a middle school. I mean, it would be pretty sweet going to school next a beautiful castle. The only way into the castle is a 6 Euro tour that takes you through a few rooms and outside. I was not impressed with the tour because there were so many rooms we didn't get to check out. I did, however, buy an Atlas Sculpture I've been dying to get my hands on in the gift shop they had there. It also is a cafe with bakery goods in case you are hungry.
Next up, Geierlay suspension Bridge is the longest pedestrian bridge in all of Germany and it recently just opened up in the beginning of October 2015. The bridge is in the middle of nowhere that connects Mosdorf and Sosberg. The Bridge is over 360 meters long and 300 feet high. I have a feeling some adrenaline junkies will be bungee jumping from this bridge in the near future. To get to this sweet little bridge, you have to park in town at the link above which makes no sense.
Once you pay for parking, there is a store/cafe you can go into but guess what? it was closed when I arrived. Who would've thunk? After you explore the store and whatnot you just follow the signs which turn out to be roughly a 3 and a half mile hike to and from the bridge. There is a map that shows you the route so you can extend it if you please. If you do go, go early or very late. I got there around 9 a.m. and spent an hour taking photos with my new camera (Sony Alpha 7) and once I was leaving a group of 10 plus showed up. Ok, time to leave.
Bremm Horseshoe Bend was another place I really enjoyed. This was my first stop before I checked out the bridge. The small town of Bremm is surrounded by vineyards in the valley of the Mosel river. I consider it the "Napa Valley" of Germany. Very steep valleys of vineyards line the river for miles and miles. I arrived at sunrise trying to find the photo-op I found online and let me tell you it was a fucking fiasco.
It's all about the journey to a place. This instance I went off roading, hiking in freezing weather and drove along the extremely steep narrow through the vineyards. One wrong move and I could have rolled down the hill in a fiery death. Ok, i had to be a little dramatic but it was pretty damn narrow and steep. Once you enter that road, there is no doing a 3-point turn. I had to back out about a half a mile after I got to my viewpoint "Calmont" I wanted which took over an hour driving through the mud and whatnot. Guess what? It's all worth it for that incredible view. That is what I am about and will conquer, the struggle for "that" view.
A few updates since last time I wrote is that I am here till April and recently upgraded cameras. I still have my GoPro as my right-hand man but also invested in the Sony Alpha 7 Mirrorless camera for more close up photos. I had the Sony a6000 for a few months but wanted a full frame and wow a huge difference. If you are looking for an excellent camera but can't afford the expensive ones I would go with the a6000. The ratings are through the roof and mirrorless cameras are the future of DSLR. Sorry Nikon and canon, take a back seat. If you have any questions about them feel free to get in contact with me. Until next time, Murica!
I have been on a mission to conquer the best swimming holes northern California has to offer. This adventure is about Seven falls not to be mistaken for the seven falls in Colorado Springs which is awesome by the way or seven falls in Santa Barbara. This swimming hole consisted of 7 plus waterfalls that plunge into their own swimming hole. Stunning emerald-green water, cliff jumping, and the roaring sounds of the waterfall was an incredible peaceful experience.
When do you ever get the chance to hike a tunnel? A tunnel that speaks volume of history and that allowed emigrants into California from the East. Yes, Donner Pass is named after the Donner Party. If you don't know anything about the Donner Party, click the link for a quick history lesson. I found out about this hike the night before, and immediately knew this was a must do hike! I did some research and the next morning I packed up Joose (my dog) and off we go, day trip with the pup
One of the best parts about living close to the bay area is the influx of outdoor activities whether it's a leisurely stroll through the presidio or grueling uphill hikes throughout the bay. Each with incredible views at the top or along the way. The bay area has it all. Hundreds if not thousands of trails with dozens of waterfalls throughout the vicinity. I compiled a short list of my favorite day hikes in the bay area. All within an hour drive from San Francisco. If it has a view, I'm there or it's on my list. Enjoy.
If you ever get the opportunity to visit Sedona, Arizona then jump on it. The scenery around town is to die for. Stunning red rock formations everywhere. The town is full of local art galleries, craft stores, world-class resorts, I swear every commercial building blended in with the rust-red like landscape, and beautiful southwest style homes line the streets throughout the town.
Despite route 1 being extremely crowded, it is by far one of the best scenic drives in America. The drive is absolutely stunning. From Monterey down to Big Sur, the drive offers multiple vista points and beaches to snap a picture, stare at the gorgeous ocean that looks like a thousanddiamonds strewn across a blue blanket, or if you are like me, people watch. In this case, tourist watch. My favorite spot had to be Bixby Bridge. It may be just a bridge but it had aesthetics with the beach and the turquoise blue waters, it was a stunning view.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park was a disappointment to be honest.This was the first stop and the website said they allowed dogs but half the trails in the park did not allow dogs. Our plan was to hike Pfeiffer Falls but with signs everywhere and other places to see before sunset, we didn't take the risk. We walked around for a total of ten minutes along the creek so Joose my dog could get some exercise in. What a waste of $10. No worthy pictures here. Next stop!
Pfeiffer beach was next with a decent crowd. It was so windy it felt like I was in a sandstorm. There was a few natural arch rocks that offered great views which apparently is one of the most photographed spots in Big Sur. How about them apples? In the water along the rocks there were clams and these neon green sea orchids so that was a must to take a picture of. We had to wait in line to park because parking was full but it worth the narrow road you have to take to get there. Make sure you don't miss the turn on Sycamore Canyon road because it is unmarked so you have to pay attention. If you are heading south on route 1 it's after Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park but before the post office on the right hand side. Oh! Make you have that Alexander Hamilton bill because they only accept cash.
Mcway falls was absolutely stunning. Watching an 80 foot waterfall cash into the ocean is something out of this world. This trail was about a half mile roughly stroll on a well kept trail that was crowded out and back. You can not miss this place due to the flock of cars and the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park sign across the road. I wanted to stay here and enjoyed this view for hours upon hours. My goal is to hang my hammock up and sleep overlooking the falls. I found a spot and I'm not telling til I do so:)
A few things to keep in mind while traveling to Big Sur;
- Plan ahead - We barely had any cell phone service (we have Verizon and AT&T) so bring maps, write down phone numbers, etc. (Write down numbers you say? I know we have to go old school here, suck it up you will be fine without Facebook)
- Big Sur = Tourist trap - The shops and gas station will light a fire in your pocket so be sure to bring extra cash for the $6 peanut butter, $3 for that soda you have been craving, $11 for that puny sandwich, or the $50 meals that will make you hungry in an hour.
- Staying overnight? - Don't stay in Big Sur unless you don't mind paying $300-1000 for a double. They do offer campsites but like I said earlier, plan ahead because they book fast.
- Have fun - Stay for a few days and enjoy the trails they offer, the stunning ocean views, and get off the beaten path to enjoy the region from a different perspective.