We are just returned from our 18 day trip to Munich, Prague and several cities in Austria.
Travel (both domestic and international) is a shared fondness within my family and so we are always planning our next trip. We love exploring new places, learning the history of the place, and how one city’s history figures into the history of the world.
I also enjoy observing different lifestyles and bringing back snippets of those lifestyles to incorporate into our home.
This trip had been in the works for well over a year and it didn’t disappoint. Just as a quick overview, we flew to Munich, Germany and spent 2 days there where the highlights were the Viktualienmarkt and touring Dachau Concentration Camp. From Munich, we took a train to Salzburg, Austria where we were met by a charming couple from Headwater Tours who took us to Bad Ischl, Austria from where my family began our hiking trip through the Austrian Lakes.
In a nutshell, the four of us hiked an average of 12 miles a day through the mountains and around the lakes in the Salzkammergut region of Austria, spending our nights in Bad Ischl, Strobl, St. Gilgen, Fuschl, and Mondsee. It’s my idea of hiking as our suitcases were transported from one picture-perfect inn to the next picture-perfect inn by Headwater Tours. Headwater provided us with a map and directions from inn to inn, but after that, we were on our own. From the pictures, you can see that the hiking terrain and trails were varied, as were the sights and experiences, even within each day.
The hiking portion of our trip lasted 6 days, after which we spent a few days in Salzburg (and toured the Obersalzberg which is home to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, WWII German bunkers and other WWII German military sites) and Vienna, Austria; Prague, The Czech Republic and then back to Munich. It was wonderful, it was fantastic, but it was also good to get home. (If you are planning a trip and would like more information, I have detailed where we stayed and what we did with our thoughts about each here)
Our almost 3 weeks in Europe gave me all sorts of ideas that I’m anxious to incorporate into our world at home.
6 lifestyle ideas I brought home from Europe:
- Water Carafes on the Table I think this is a whole European thing as I remember it from Italy and France as well. While in many of the cities you need to buy a bottle of either still or sparkling water, we were very satisfied to have a carafe of water placed on our table at each meal. Not only does it help you increase your water intake each day, but I find it lovely touch. Within days of returning home from our trip, I purchased this carafe and it has been on our dinner table every night since.
- Fresh Vegetables at Breakfast Every breakfast in every city included fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers at breakfast, in addition to eggs, cold cuts, cheese, yogurt, muesli and an assortment of bread with jam. I’m accustomed to eating fruit for breakfast and vegetables for maybe lunch and for sure dinner, but I was happy to start my veggie consumption earlier to get them all in! As we were there in the summer, we obviously had summer vegetables, but I have it from a good authority that tomatoes and mushrooms are what you’ll see in the fall and winter.
- Walk More One of the things I loved about spending my college years in State College, PA was that it was a small town and you could walk wherever you needed. I was reminded of this in Europe this summer. It’s harder to do in our suburbs with everything so spread out, but we are determined to find more opportunities to get out and walk. In fact, on our hikes we noticed many families with young children traipsing along the trails on little day outings.
- Additions to our Traditional Tossed Salad Most tossed salads we were served included pumpkin seeds, corn kernels and krautsalat (a simple, vinegary coleslaw). Kate and I really enjoyed these additions and have already incorporated them at home.
- Flowers EVERYWHERE! It was hard not to notice the abundance of window boxes, planters, and beds overflowing with flowers, predominantly petunias, and geraniums. While I have areas of flowers in my yard, masses of these relatively inexpensive plantings make a powerful impact.
- Pumpkin Seed Oil We started noticing that pumpkin seeds were added to every salad once we were in the Salzkammergut region of Austria, which is just southeast of Salzburg. Doing a little research, we found that the Styrian area of Austria, south of where we were, is well know for its pumpkin seeds and seed oil. The particular Styrian pumpkin grown is used solely for its seeds, the pulp being composted back to the soil. The seeds are eaten and pressed into oil, the repute of which for its health properties dates back to a proclamation made in 1773 by Austrian Empress Maria Theresa. Styrian Pumpkin Seed Oil enjoys the same PGI (protected geographical indication of the EU) that Champagne, Parmigiano-Regiano and Cognac share. I purchased some oil in a grocery store in Vienna and am anxious to use it on our salads and in other dishes. Its rich, nutty notes will add a significant flavor to any dish and here are some recipes that have caught my eye:
Pumpkin seed oil does not tolerate heat well and goes rancid quickly, so I’m keeping mine in the fridge until I need it. Don’t tell Terry, but the pumpkin seed oil he schlepped across Europe could have been purchased on Amazon…who knew? The La Tourangelle BrandLa Tourangelle Brand and the appropriately named Styrian Pumpkinseed Oil hail from the Styrian area of Austria.
Either from domestic or international travel, it’s fun to incorporate some of your travels into your daily life. What are some of the additions to your daily life that you found through your travel? I’d love to hear.
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Until next time,