Featured Posts

What is SWAGS?

Popular Posts

Start with these posts to get to know Swags better!



March 15, 2018

Posts Coming Soon...

Quick update...

Been kind of a wild 3 weeks here, to say the least...

But the next blog posts to come soon will be:

~ My fun weekend in France!

~ Pro volleyball calendar/timeline advice!

~ Upcoming week in Budapest during Easter!

~ Long weekend in Dresden!

Long story short: I was in France for 5 days, when I returned during the coldest week of the year our heaters were broken, then my husband was in the hospital for 10 days with a stomach condition (he's fine now), and my laptop stopped working.

Easier to understand my silence now, right? ;)

See you on the blog soon!

Continue »

February 28, 2018

Paris, Plus a Dash of Auvergne

At the start of every volleyball season, I sit down with my calendar and start comparing the dates. The few open weekends of each year are like discovered treasure, and the possibilities for each of those weekends are endless when in Europe!

My previous free winter weekends have been spent in Italy, Austria, and Germany. This year it was time to return to my dear Paris, and toss in a quick trip down to Chamalières. It also happened to be the perfect weekend to hit four volleyball birds with one stone, as my former club, La Rochette, was playing against Gruissan, where one of my very close friends, Adeline, plays now. The very next day, Chamalières was scheduled to play against Béziers, and with one close friend (Kathleen) and three clients (Lauren, Paige, and Krystal) between those two teams, I could not have designed a more efficient weekend myself.

I am a big fan of mixing business with leisure, and leisure with business, so this was exactly my kind of long weekend. In between long walks down cobblestone lanes to lovely cafes in the Latin Quarter, I was busy networking, resurrecting my French, and reconnecting with old friends.

It was also a very different kind of trip to Paris for me, as I didn't not blast my arrival to everyone I've ever known there and was able to keep my visit focused on the volleyball community. This was a really important factor, as many of my visits to "home" places (USA, France, etc.) end up stretching me too thin and I am not able to be in the moment with the people who are present.

I did get to spend a lot of quality time with Wendy, my teammate (and now club president!!) from St. Maur who graciously hosted me; Monique, my hilarious best friend of a French teacher; Adeline, my volleyball angel teammate; Kathleen, my volleyball setter buddy who hung out with us in Barcelona; and to have the opportunity to make new friends and to say hello to so many old friends who just happened to be at the games was priceless.

Paris was a delight, as always for me, and what made it even cooler this time around was Wendy's very in-the-know tour of the Latin Quarter restaurants and street scenes. This was an entire section of Paris that I had been missing out on! I don't dare share these street names or details right now as I want to experience more of the area before really getting into what there is to enjoy. ;)

Getting down to the Auvergne was easy by train, and it was so nice to finally see Kathleen's home and why she loves living in Chamalières so much! It was also awesome to finally meet Lauren and Paige after spending so much time talking to each other via phone for the past six months.

My next move was to go from Chamalières/Clermont-Ferrand to the Lyon airport. That ended up being much more complicated than expected! Apparently the normal bus to the airport does not run Tuesday through Thursday. Of course. I ended up not sleeping Monday night and staying up to take the 4:15AM bus to the Lyon airport! Needless to say, I was not late for my 1:30PM flight.

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend of friendships, food, and volleyball and I am so thankful that everyone's schedules worked out to make it happen!

Continue »

February 13, 2018

German Swag 101: Wandering Northern Bavaria

One of the best things about living in one place for more than one year is the chance to really experience what the whole area has to offer. We have barely scratched the surface of huge Bavaria after two and a half years here, but we are enjoying pacing our discoveries and explorations.

It has also helped that we have the goal of remaining in Europe permanently...so, no rush, right?

In December, we accidentally discovered a fabulous boutique hotel on Booking.com outside of Bamberg. We checked our calendar for our next free weekend, and immediately booked it again for February.

What's so great about this hotel? Think hunting lodge meets IKEA. Then add heated floors, a fridge stocked full of drinks and snacks, and an included breakfast in the owners' dining room. It's so cool, we do not deserve to stay there.

(It's definitely too cool to take pictures of; all of these photos are from the surrounding areas and NOT of the hotel.)

For wanderings this round, we had lunch at a Schloss and we also happened upon some snow-covered hills. One was topped by a small cathedral and the other was crowned by a castle of sorts. Marc braved the winter driving and the summits were reached! These places were both ten minutes from the hotel location.

The hotel is called Boutique Hotel Chalet Weinberg, and you can find it by searching on Booking.com, where lately I've been finding much better prices and situations than even on AirBnB.

I've got a few adventures planned for the next couple of months (you can see in my sidebar: France & Hungary). My next Germany trip will be in early April when I go to Dresden for a few days after my last match of the season in Chemnitz.

Will we be seeing each other somewhere soon?!

Continue »

January 11, 2018

Birthday Czech: Český Krumlov

You know, that one time of year when you can wish for almost anything and it may even come true?

Ever since we moved to Bavaria, I've had my eye on the UNESCO heritage city of Český Krumlov in southern Czech Republic.

Marc asked me what I wanted to do for my 32nd birthday last week.

I pitched the road trip with promises of good meals and medieval wanderings.

His response: "It's less than three hours away? No problem!"

(There are so many places that I would have not been able to experience in the same way without Marc graciously offering to drive me around. I'm really lucky, and even luckier that he usually enjoys the places we road trip to!)

Marc and I have both shared with our local friends that we went to Český Krumlov for my birthday. The only person who had heard of it was the Czech player on Marc's basketball team.

It's crazy to me because I have personally been hearing about it for at least a few years because this little Czech town is definitely a hot spot for bloggers. I want to especially thank Cynthia over at Adventurings.com and Lorelei at CaliforniaGlobetrotter.com for their very accurate and inspiring posts that really showed me what a great idea Český Krumlov is!

We didn't take any pictures of the food. It was too delicious and we were too hungry to need to do that. I also think it's one of the things I would have done with Instagram, and I am avoiding that kind of social media vacuum now.

But you can know that we thoroughly enjoyed Papa's Living Restaurant for lunch, where we both devoured different kinds of seafood with delicious risotto. We stopped in a little cafe for a cappuccino and hot chocolate, and later at the super chic Apotheka Cafe Bar for winter tea and cider blends. We finished our "food tour" at Krčma v Šatlavské ulici (Tavern in Šatlavská Street), where we ate fish that had been grilled in front of us on the open fire inside the cavern restaurant. You won't regret trying the potato pancakes, either! Our only strikeout of the day was that Monna Lisa Gelateria was closed for the winter months.

All of these spots were recommended by other travelers and can easily be found by searching these names that I have carefully spelled correctly on Google Maps.

We didn't end up going into any of the museums, but that's better for next time. Especially with how great of weather we were having for January, we opted to walk more outside instead of inside. Someday, we'll return and go inside the sprawling castle on the mountain, the monastery, and I am also interested in the photo museum on the south side of the town.

Český Krumlov is actually the second most visited place in the Czech Republic after Prague. Of course, in order for someone to know about it, they really have to have already been to Prague and have a deeper interest in Bohemia. In our case, we have a little of both, plus actual proximity, and that brought us to this adorable city.

What have your experiences in the Czech Republic been like? 
Have you been able to road trip to smaller cities in the countryside?

Continue »