Viking River Cruise on the Danube Day 3 Part 1: Regensburg, Germany

After the foodie fest we enjoyed on Day 2, we travelled overnight and it was smooth sailing all the way. We enjoyed peaceful sleep that even if there were locks along the way, we were not disturbed at all!

We woke up early that chilly, Tuesday morning at around 7 a.m.  As soon as I opened the curtains and stepped out on the veranda, I thought that we had gone back in time, literally. Our long ship, Viking Atla, had docked and it was finally time to disembark and explore our destination of the day on the itinerary: Regensburg, Germany.

map, Regensburg, Germany, Europe

Map credit: http://regensburg.us.com

Located in southeastern Bavaria, Regensburg is one of the best preserved medieval towns in the country and dates back to the 9th century.

Can you believe it survived the bombings during World War II? In fact, much of its Altstadt or Old Town has been so well-preserved and restored that it was included in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites in 2006.

Since there was a lot of ground to cover, we decided to get some much-needed fuel for the morning (a.k.a breakfast) then we set out to explore on our own.

Now it is important to mention that land excursions are included in all river cruise programs and you can join the groups that are led by experienced guides.

However, knowing that we are restless and adventurous spirits, we decided to go on our own but we went to the reception desk to grab a map (I’m still old school and carry a traditional map while Marian is tech savvy) and Olivia handed us a bus card, just in case we needed transportation back to the ship. It is a way of letting her know that we’d be out and about and would return in time :)

As we stepped off the ship, we saw the remains of a fortress wall.

Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, medieval wall, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, medieval wall, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, medieval wall, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

We learned that Romans had taken hold of the city, known as Ratisbon in those days. Emperor Marcus Aurelius had asked to have Castra Regina (Fortress by the River Regen) built in 179 AD which protected the city from invaders.

It was incredible that the land I was walking on had once been one of the centers chosen by the Holy Roman Empire. How fortunate we were to walk freely and only imagine what it must have been like back then!

We left the wall behind, simply walked forward and admire everything that was around us.

Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

As we turned a corner, I decided to take a look at the map and decide which direction to go, left or right.

All of the sudden I felt like someone was looking at us and immediately looked up and saw a blonde man with the clearest, bluest eyes I had ever seen (I promise I’m not making this up, ask Marian who was a witness).

He approached us and asked me in German if he could help us (obviously he knew we were lost tourists) and I replied to him that we were trying to go to the city center so that we could see the most popular sightseeing spots.

He actually replied back in excellent English and told us that his name was Mr. Schmidt. He once had an American guest who could not pronounce his surname, that’s why he made it simpler :)

Who knows if we took him away from his original destination but he was kind enough to take us to St Peter’s Cathedral but before we reached it, he mentioned that there was a place in particular he personally recommended and that was an unassuming church across Dom Platz. He said that we would be blown away by the interior of the building but at first sight it didn’t look like it but we kept it in mind.

We walked for about 10-15 minutes from where we started and before long we were standing before this stunning landmark.

St-Peter's Cathedral. Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

St-Peter's Cathedral. Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

St-Peter's Cathedral. Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

St-Peter's Cathedral. Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

St-Peter's Cathedral. Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

I thanked Mr. Schmidt who was happy to meet us but probably happy to leave since I was chewing his ears with my questions (yes, I am a writer and journalist at heart, can’t help but ask way too many questions. They say that curiosity is a sign of intelligence right? :) ) After we parted ways, we decided to enter this sacred temple that was completed in the 1634.

St-Peter's Cathedral. Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

After our tour, we followed the exit sign which lead us to a beautiful and peaceful yard right next to the cathedral. It’s as if we had entered a quiet residential area and it sure was. I could not stop taking photo after photo. This is the real essence of a quaint village within a city.

Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

That was an unexpected yet very pleasant discovery but we had to keep going as we had so much more to see and do.

We both agreed to go to where our “Angel” guide, Mr. Schmidt had cheerfully recommended and that’s where we went next.

Do you remember I once mentioned that I did learn my lesson very well and never judge a building by its exterior?

Alte Kapelle, Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

You cannot imagine what is inside Alte Kapelle (Old Chapel) after you go past these doors…

Alte Kapelle, Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Alte Kapelle, Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Well let me be completely honest with you. I have been and seen lots and lots of churches around the world but believe me when I tell you that this is by far one of the most incredible, ornate, opulent and spectacular religious buildings my eyes have ever seen! It’s true. I mean what other words can you utter when you stand before this?
Alte Kapelle, Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Alte Kapelle, Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Alte Kapelle, Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Alte Kapelle, Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Alte Kapelle, Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Alte Kapelle, Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

Alte Kapelle, Regensburg, Germany, Deutschland, altstadt, travel, photography, TS76

To give you an idea of how stunned and speechless I was, let me show you through this short video a 360 degree view of the ceiling. Then let me know what you think!

Breathtaking right? I am still in awe every time I see the photos and can’t believe how they built it and take great care of it until this day!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our tour of Regensburg which involves more walking and a visit to one of the best & oldest breweries in town :)

Now over to you!

We want to know…

 

Have you visited a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

If you have where was it and what did you like most about it?

 

 

Do share your stories with us!

Until next time, bis nächsten mal.

Deine,

Karla

Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award

A few days ago I received a lovely message on my Facebook Fan page inbox and I was surprised to learn that I had been nominated by Chasing Casey for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award!

Award, Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award, Blogger Award, travel, photography

What exactly does it mean?

This particular award was originally created for female bloggers to network and learn about one another within the blogging world.

As you know, as you start it is important for you to get to know your peers in the community and what better way than to engage in smart and meaningful conversations. That’s how you develop genuine relationships that may lead to real friendships in real life. I know, I’ve met some of the most incredible individuals in person and it all started with a Hello, my name is…. :)

Fast forward a few years later and we’re still in contact and so happy to see that we have all grown and learned so much from each other and we can now give advice to those who ask and provide valuable, educating and inspiring information to all!

Now in order to accept this award, one must follow these five rules:

  1. Mention the blogger that has nominated you
  2. Answer the 5 questions
  3. Make up 5 new questions
  4. Nominate five new bloggers
  5. Put the Sisterhood Award logo on your blog

Here are the answers to Casey’s questions:

Why did you become a blogger?

I was living and working in South Korea for the second time, thus I decided to document all my adventures and experiences for my family and friends back home in Canada and that’s how I created my blog.

Karla, Incheon, South Korea, travel, photography, TS76

At first it was like an online diary, where I wrote everything that was happening, my life as an expat but little by little I noticed that some people started to follow me. I remember the first person was Eira from England and then more people from different parts of the world!

I thought it was great that they found my writing funny, entertaining and it make them laugh a bit by learning what life is like in the land of the not so calm.

Then by the third month I had more subscribers, then I started to realize that it was an important and very useful platform to showcase my writing but particularly my photography.

I try to keep it light or short but if it was me I would write posts that are over 3000 words, trust me when I say that when my muse finds me, she does have lots to say!

I celebrated the 4th anniversary of the blog in March this year and couldn’t be more grateful. I say this again, I am humbled that people in over 150 countries are inspired and entertained by what I publish on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and they are the main reason why I keep going, EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Knowing that I reach many lives in all four corners of the world, through the written word, is just incredible but also a big responsibility!

I’ve yet to share more personal posts (like struggles, difficult moments or victories and happy moments) as well as hilarious stories but that will come in due time! For the moment I am very happy to share my stories of my travels around the planet, food photos, tech finds, books I read, albums I listen to, movies I loved and so much more. I hope you like what you read :)

It’s important to mention how incredibly grateful I am too that, because of the blog, I have had amazing opportunities come to me and it only takes one person to believe in you and give you a chance to prove that you’re a professional and can deliver more than expected! For that i bow in gratitude.

Out of all the places around the world you’ve been to, what’s your favorite?

If I could narrow down my selections to a handful of places that have really won my heart then I definitely have to put Trastevere, Roma at the very top. I could go on and on about how I fell for that part of the eternal city the very first time I visited it but it’s where my heart is.

Karla, Roma, Italia, Italy, travel, photography, TS76

After visiting the Vatican, I headed over there and got lost on purpose. Even if I had never seen it before, I had that feeling of déjà vu and déjà vécu (already lived), I even stared at a house and kind of felt like I knew that place.

Leaving was so hard but I know I’ll return…soon!

For the remaining cities I love, I invite you to check out my Top 5 favorite cities

If you were to settle down, which country would it be in?

Read what I wrote above :)

I would also like to live in either one of these:

Australia (Anywhere in Queensland)

WhiteHaven Beach, Queensland, Australia, travel, photography, TS76

Canada (which is home but I would live again in Toronto where all the action is)

Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, travel, photography, architecture, DiscoverON, exploreCanada

Costa Rica (Central Valley)


Central Valley, Valle Central, Costa Rica, Centro America, Central America, travel, photography, TS76

Germany (Munich)

Hungary (Budapest, loved my first visit back in June this year and found my dream home on Andrassy Avenue).

Chain Bridge, Budapest, Hungary, Europe, travel, photography, TS76

Spain (Barcelona de mi vida!)

Plaza del Mar, Barcelona, Catalunya, España, Spain, Europe, travel, photography, TS76

South Korea (Seoul is one of my soul mates)

 Karla, Seoul, South Korea, travel, photography, TS76

What’s the best food you’ve tried on your travels?

I am without a doubt a certified foodie and LOVE trying local foods (even if it’s street food!)

I can’t really decide on just one specific meal or dish but I do love international dishes and here are 10 of them Yum!

Recommend a vacation spot?

To be completely honest with you, if I had to recommend places for your holidays or vacation, I’d just tell you to leave your comfort zone, go to where your heart calls (where it’s safe of course) and just immerse yourself in the local culture, talk to the locals and don’t let the language barrier stop you but do learn a few words in their language, like hello and thank you and you will see how they appreciate the effort.

Don’t be like all the tourists that go to the places they’d normally go to at home (fast food chains get the food they’d normally eat, drinks etc). Be a good guest no matter where you go, we’re all ambassadors of our countries. Leave with good memories!

What’s the best part of blogging for you?

Being able to write whatever I want, when I want and as much as I can. Also I need to have my readers in mind. Will it be helpful, entertaining, educating or informative? That is very important if you want to keep growing because that’s the main purpose or goal. There are millions of blogs out there, so give your readers great reasons to keep coming back for more and always thank them for their support. Ask them questions or offer your help. It will be greatly appreciated.

Where to next?

I’m currently in Montreal, where I am taking care of a few things before my next move abroad but I’ll be making a stop in New York City to see some Broadway Shows, go on a foodie, drink and coffee tour and make my way to Boston to see my great friend Marian.

I need to go back to Toronto (see a few good friends) before but the old continent and the Middle East are on the travel radar and Asia as well.

Where are you originally from?

I’m originally from San Salvador, El Salvador.

Playa El Majahual, La Libertad, El Salvador, Central America, Centro America, playa, beach, sunset, travel, photography, TS76

I moved to Canada when I was 7 years old and grew up learning 3 languages all at once!

Since graduating from the university, I have lived in 6 countries! I’m definitely a traveller and expat at heart and not afraid of exploring the globe :)

What is your biggest dream?

My biggest dream right now is to be able to work while traveling all over the world and also keep on writing, become a published author and I also want to have a family within the next few years!

Do you have any advice for not only females but anyone wanting to pursue travel blogging?

Have a clear goal or objective. Why do you want to blog and ask yourself if you are willing to sacrifice many things (like time with your friends, family, loved ones) and invest a LOT of time into blogging? This is not just a hobby; it’s a passion, a work of love and, possibly in the future, your source of employment.

Don’t chase numbers at first. Yes we’re all after big follower count but trust me it takes time to earn them, unless you pay people to follow you or visit your site (I know a lot of big bloggers who buy traffic to their site and massive amount of followers on their social media accounts but that is a big no no. NEVER buy followers or traffic, earn it honestly). There is an audience out there that wants exactly what you have to offer. Just focus on producing high quality content right from the get go. Try different styles of writing, proofread it before publishing, put some humor into your posts, people will love you and remember you for it :)

 

Time to pass it forward!

I nominate the following colleagues and friends:

Marian: @travelshopgirl

Savannah Grace: @sihpromatum

Lucia: @turinepi

Cristina: @travelchronicle

Theresa: @cruisewriter

 

Here are my 5 questions:

  • Tell us a bit about your blog and when did you start it?
  • Tell us an unforgettable moment that happened while you were traveling. Include photo if you can
  • What are the most incredible places you’ve visited on earth? (Yes it might be hard but pick 5 :)
  • What connections have you made thanks to social media?
  • What advice would you give to fellow female bloggers regardless of their niche or specialty?

I’m looking forward to reading your answers and please pass on the torch to other women!

Until next time!

Tashi Delek, All the best.

Karla :)

Viking River Cruise on the Danube: Day 2

After getting peaceful, restful and much-needed sleep (trust me I would have slept much longer if I had the chance) to recover from the previous day, we were woken up that Monday morning by the sound of fellow passengers who getting ready to go on the first land excursion: a tour of the walled city of Nürnberg.

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, embarkation, disembarkation, river cruise

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, Logo, river cruise

It happens that we had sailed away from Erlangen earlier and the Longship had docked near Nuremberg. Believe me I did not hear the hybrid engines or anything, which means that I slept like a baby :)

Since we had already spent some awesome time there, Marian and I just decided to stay on board take it easy that morning.

Thus we went to the restaurant to have breakfast and we found it empty. Everyone was gone but us and a few others! Instead we headed over to the Aquavit Lounge where food was still available.

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, Aquavit Logo, Aquavit lounge, river cruise

They say that breakfast is fuel for the day and I couldn’t agree more! Every morning from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. you can recharge with a buffet of nutritious food and baked goodness served.

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, breakfast, buffet, river cruise

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, breakfast, buffet, river cruise

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, breakfast, buffet, river cruise

SAMSUNG

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, breakfast, buffet, river cruise

Here is what I selected:

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, breakfast, river cruise

Not only it looked great but it sure did bring me back to life!

After finishing, we went and explored the long ship, starting with the

Aquavit Terrace

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, Aquavit Terrace, river cruise 

The Bar

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, bar, viking lounge, river cruise

Then back indoors in the spacey lobby/atrium

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, atrium, stairs, river cruise

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, conciege desk, river cruise

Concierge desk and up to date weather report displayed on-screen

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, lobby, seats, river cruise

Comfy seats

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, Atla, art, river cruise

Atla, Goddess in Norse Mythology

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, computer stations, river cruise

Computer stations

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, seats, river cruise

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, lounge seats, couch, sofa, river cruise

Meeting points

After resting for a few hours, it was time to have lunch. We had sailed towards the city of Roth were the rest of the passengers joined us again after their tour.

By now you know that I am a certified foodie and was excited and looking forward to it (not only to capture it on camera but also eat it of course).

Now the great thing about being on a river cruise is that all the meals are prepared by a chef specially trained in Switzerland. During our 8 day journey, it was Chef Mihail who was going to surprise us with his culinary creations and our Maître D’, the one and only Ivelin, who was responsible for overseeing the smooth running of operations, the (fab) service in the restaurant and made sure to take our orders at the beginning of the day even on his Smartphone! Now who does that these days? He went the extra mile and it showed!

Now you may or may not know this but sadly I have been suffering from severe food allergies for some years now. Thus I made sure to communicate this to our Customized Travel Coordinator, the awesome Catherine Alvarez, in the Passenger Information Form (PIF) where you can let them know about your food preferences before the journey. That way the chef and crew are aware and do their best to accommodate your requests.

Back to the food now (I know you love to see the pics :)

What was on the lunch menu that day?

Well, first was the entrée:

Hearty broccoli soup with almonds

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, lunch, food, soup, broccoli soup, foodie, river cruise

Rich and velvety with a bit of crunch.

Followed by the Main course:

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, food, lunch, chicken penne pasta, river cruise

Chicken penne pasta

Freshly cooked and rich cream

And last, but not least, dessert:

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, lunch, dessert, banana split, foodie, river cruise

Banana split

Yes it was as good as it looks here. Remember that I go bananas for chocolate and ice cream. That was made of WIN!

To finish things off, as if it wasn’t enough, we had rich, hot and bold coffee. As you know I am a caffeine addict and I couldn’t say no :) it sure gave us energy to last until dinner!

It was like a warm hug on that grey, rainy afternoon. Frankly it was a relief from the intense heat and it was just right!

We returned to the stateroom to rest some more and enjoyed the views along the Main-Danube-Canal from the veranda.

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, Main-Danube Canal, Germany, travel

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, Main-Danube Canal, Germany, travel

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, Main-Danube Canal, Germany, travel

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, Main-Danube Canal, Germany, travel, work station, veranda

This was my work station with a view.

Then the landscape started to change before our eyes

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, Main-Danube Canal, Germany, travel

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, Main-Danube Canal, Germany, travel

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, Main-Danube Canal, Germany, travel

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, Main-Danube Canal, Germany, travel

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, Main-Danube Canal, Germany, travel

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, Main-Danube Canal, Germany, travel

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, Main-Danube Canal, Germany, travel

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, Main-Danube Canal, Germany, travel

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, Main-Danube Canal, Germany, travel

Later, at around 6 p.m. we were invited to the Viking Lounge for a special welcome Toast by Captain Ferenc and Hotel Manager Robert. It was a great way to start our week long cruise together and meet the other important members of the crew as well as fellow passengers.

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, welcome toast

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, welcome toast, sparkling wine

Cin cin, salud, prost, cheers!

Shortly after, we went downstairs to the restaurant for our welcome dinner.

The entrée was:

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, welcome dinner, salad, foodie, photography

Mozzarella cheese balls with arugula, tomatoes and diced onions

For the main course I opted for:

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, welcome dinner, mushroom risotto, foodie, photography

Mushroom risotto and melted parmesan cheese

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, river cruise, welcome dinner, wine, white wine, foodie, photography

And to accompany the meal, I chose a local German white wine: Horst Sauer Silvaner 2013.

After that fabulous feast, everyone retired for the evening and went to their respective staterooms to recharge batteries and get ready for our next destination.

It was still early, thus Marian and I went over to the lounge bar to relax and recap all the events of the past few days (which was quite a lot) and also continue catching up (remember we had not seen each other in over 3 years) before getting some rest!

Stay tuned for Day 3 of our River Cruise as we head towards Regensburg, Germany!

 

Have you been on a cruise before? If so where?

What was your experience on board like?

Did you have memorable experiences, especially during meal times?

 

Please do share your stories…better yet show us!

I would love to read from you.

 

Bis nächsten mal, until next time!

Auf wiedersehen, see you soon

Deine,

Karla :)

 

 

I was a guest of Viking River and was not influenced in any way or matter by wine, Riesling or Pinot Noir, or strong coffee (that makes me want to dance away) or delicious, nutritious & healthy food.

 As always, you will get an honest review and opinions, especially the latter because I’m not afraid of giving you my two cents :)

 

 

 

5 steps to a new you

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change”

Jim Rohn

 

We all know that it’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut. Being in our comfort zone is where we feel safe; it’s our little haven away from the world. However there comes a time when we find ourselves struggling to squeeze into your jeans, had enough of our usual hair do, or we’re suffering from a lack of sleep.

All these elements of our lives combined might drag us down until one day we wake up and realize that the time has come to make some changes, radical ones sometimes.

Here are 5 steps to a new you that have been proven time and time again but worth repeating because we benefit the most by putting them to work immediately.

1) Fill up on more fruit and vegetables

market, fresh, fruit, vegetables, food, healthy food, photographyPhoto credit: Jarmoluk

If you’ve got a bad habit of filling up on unhealthy snacks and convenience foods, now’s the time to make a change. On most days, you should be aiming to swallow at least five portions of fruit and veg. To help with this, try ditching your morning coffee in favour of a fruit-filled smoothie, or swapping your mid-morning biscuit for an apple or tangerine.

2) Get moving

exercise, walking, road, sunset, city walks, travel, photographyPhoto credit: Splitshire

Did you know that as well as lowering your risk of major illnesses like stroke, diabetes and heart disease by up to 50%, getting enough exercise can help to boost your self-esteem and mood, and it can also lower your risk of stress and depression? You don’t have to be in the gym night and day to up your activity levels either. Simple steps, like getting off the bus a stop earlier than usual, or taking the stairs rather than the lift, can help you to burn more calories.

3) Stop smoking

stop smoking, kick the smoking habit, eliminate smoking, photographyPhoto credit: PDP

If you smoke, now’s the time to stop. As well the major health benefits that we all know about, quitting the habit could improve your skin and delay the appearance of wrinkles. It could also mean whiter teeth and it might even boost your fertility. One option is to make the switch from traditional cigarettes to e-cigs.

4) Catch up on sleep

clock, sleep, sleep pattern, get more sleep, photography

Photo credit: PDP

Many of us struggle to get a good night’s kip from time to time, but regular sleeplessness could be putting you at an increased risk of obesity, heart problems, diabetes and depression. It may also be taking its toll on your immune system. To up your levels of shuteye, make sure you have a comfy bed and a relaxing night-time routine. You might also benefit from cutting your levels of caffeine, and make sure you steer clear of big meals before you hit the hay.

5) Have a style makeover

Last but not least, if you’re tired of how you look, arrange a style makeover. Perhaps a new hair cut would make a welcome change, and maybe your wardrobe could do with a revamp. Take your friends on a shopping trip to get their input, and don’t shy away from trying new looks.

Taking steps like these could help you discover a happier, healthier you.

 

How often do you make changes to your life?

What drives you to do them?

Or perhaps you content the way it actually is?

Share your stories with us!

 

Until next time!

Tashi Delek, All the best.

Karla :)

 

Viking River Cruise on the Danube: Day 1

Arriving in Nuremberg, Germany a day prior to our very first Viking River Cruise on the Danube to explore the city, taste regional delicacies and drink like the locals was such a great idea! For that I need to thank my great friend and fellow travel companion Marian also known as @travelshopgirl who suggested it as she has lots of experience (she’s been on over 30 cruises!)

Not only it is rich in history and culture, it is also thriving, dynamic and a fun German city to visit right in the heart of Europe!

Quite frankly, 36 hours were simply not enough for us to see everything it has to offer but believe me that a return visit is already in the travel radar before the year ends.

After having a great lunch at Heilig Geist Spital restaurant, we came back to Hotel Drei Raben to pick up our luggage and made our way to Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station), purchased a ticket to Erlangen which is only 20 minutes away.

Germany, Nuremberg, Hauptbahnhof, Deutsche Bahn, train

If you’ve been to Germany, you know that their national transportation system is very efficient and on the dot as we would say!

Germany, Nuremberg, Hauptbahnhof, Schedule

We boarded the train and we left Nürnberg behind. We were admiring the countryside and were taking all the beauty in. I was very happy that Marian is bold and adventurous enough to have come along and didn’t mind taking public transport, it sure meant a lot to me to be able to share this adventure with her!

Two stops later, we arrived at our destination.

Erlangen, Germany, hauptbanhof, main train station

Erlangen, Germany, hauptbanhof, main train station

We then looked for the taxi stand and gave the directions to the driver.

He brought us to Am Hafen 17 where our Long Ship, Viking Atla, was docked and waiting for us. It would be our home away from home for the next 8 days!

Viking-Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, Erlangen, Germany, dock

Viking-Cruises, Viking Atla, Longship, Erlangen, Germany, dock

Viking Cruises, Viking-Atla, Longship, Logo, river cruise

Now let me tell you, nothing prepared me for what I was about to experience. Moreover, can I be completely honest with you? I was a bit scared. I probably drove Marian and another great travel blogger and friend (@JeffTitelius on Twitter) nuts with my 101 questions during the days and weeks leading to our departure.

Not only they reassured me that this was going to be less intimidating than ocean cruises but they suggested of simply going with the flow and enjoy myself. After all, how often do you get to go to Europe and visit charming historical cities and towns right by the Donau?

What I feared most was suffering from motion sickness or being in a confined space for too long (remember that I can’t stay still for too long). Last time I was on a ship or vessel was in the 1000 islands near Gananoque in Ontario and I spent a fair amount laying on the floor with a brown bag next to me, not exactly the best memory but it happened. (Little did I know my entire experience would changed my view, 360 degrees that is)

As soon as we arrived, there were two attendants who welcomed us and asked us which stateroom number we were going to be in. We gave them the information and they took our luggage on board.

Then we embarked and went directly to check in at the front desk in the lobby. A friendly and smiling

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, Olivia, reception desk,

Olivia welcomed us and gave us our room cards.

She gave us instructions on how to find our way and off we went. As we walked along the hallway, we noticed that other passengers’ luggage was waiting right outside their door and once we approached our stateroom, our attendant Marius was standing in front to show us around.

The Stateroom

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla-Stateroom, stateroom 321, configuration, travel, river cruise

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla-Stateroom, stateroom 321, configuration, travel, river cruise

The State Room’s size is 205 sq. ft. in total.

Its Hotel-style beds can be configured to a queen size bed or two twin beds which was what we opted for.

The floor to ceiling sliding glass doors open to a full-size veranda with two chairs and a small table.

The Bathroom

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla-Stateroom, stateroom 321, bathroom, configuration, travel, river cruise

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla-Stateroom, stateroom 321, bathroom, configuration, travel, river cruise

The bathroom comes equipped with a shower and L’Occitane products which are replenished daily and the cotton-combed, fluffy towels are replaced as necessary.

TV / Phone / Power outlets

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla-Stateroom, stateroom 321, configuration, travel, river cruise

A Sony 40-inch flat-panel TV with premium channels is found as well as a telephone, small refrigerator, safe, hair dryer and complimentary bottled water (you can ask for extra bottles every day) are available for your convenience.

There is no need to worry about recharging your electrical devices if you don’t have a converter. There are 220 and 110 Volt outlets (as in North America) over your night table, and on the wall near the TV and next to the hair dryer. There are also USB ports and reading lights on the headrests. All you need to recharge batteries and get ready for your land excursions!

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla-Stateroom, stateroom 321, welcome card, fruits, sparkling wine, travel, river cruise

Fresh fruit is also provided everyday and it is a lovely touch.

Viking Cruises, Viking Atla, welcome card

Our welcome note made me smile and we knew we would have a fabulous time right from the very start.

Storage Space

The stateroom has space under each bed to store your suitcases that is in addition to the wardrobe and many drawers.

What I really liked is the fact that it is almost like a floating 4 star hotel and all you need to do upon arriving is to pick your favorite side, unpack and not worry about anything else for the next week! Everything else is taken care of. The only thing you need to give some serious thought is mealtimes and keep yourself busy or entertained while sailing away :)

Speaking of food, one of the most fun parts of the journey is Dinner Time.

Since it was our first evening on board, we were invited to the restaurant and get to know fellow passengers.

Now what’s great about it is that you can choose any table you want, no RSVP or reservations required. This way you can sit at a different table every night and meet different persons from all walks of life and different parts of the world!

Stay tuned for Day 2!

I was a guest of Viking River and was not influenced in any way or matter and as always, you will get an honest review and opinions.