If you are planning on heading to San Diego this summer and you are looking for family-friendly activities, look no further than the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. Although both the zoo and the safari park are operated by the nonprofit group, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, the two parks offer visitors a different and unique experience at each park. Let’s take a look at what makes these parks special as we compare the San Diego Zoo vs. Safari Park.

Elephant Odyssey at the San Diego Zoo

Elephant Odyssey at the San Diego Zoo

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San Diego Zoo vs. San Diego Safari Park #san-deigo #zoo #wild-animal-park #park #things-to-do-in

General Information About Each Park

To get a better understanding of what makes each of these parks unique, visitors should have a general understanding of what each of these two parks has to offer. Let’s take a look at what to expect when visiting one of these two California parks.

San Diego Zoo General Info

San Diego Zoo is a 100-acre wild animal zoo located in Balboa Park in San Diego, California. As one of the most visited zoos in the world, the San Diego Zoo is open to the public from 9 am to 9 pm every day of the year. The San Diego Zoo is a member of the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums as well as the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, with trained staff that uphold the highest standard of animal care in areas like nutrition, enrichment, and health.


San Diego Safari Park General Info

San Diego Safari Park is a 1,800-acre wild animal park in the San Pasqual Valley area of San Diego, California. With over 2 million annual visitors, the San Diego Safari Park is one of the largest tourist attractions in San Diego County. The park is open 365 days a year from 9 am to 5 pm and operates a state-of-the-art veterinary facility onsite.

The Safari Park does also operate a special “Roar & Snore” package where you can visit the park at night and stay overnight. This requires a special reservation but can be one of the fun things to do in San Diego at night.

San Diego Zoo vs. San Diego Safari Park

Although both of these parks house hundreds of animal varieties in two of the world’s best parks, there are quite a few differences between the zoo and the safari park. For visitors looking for the best experience for their family, let’s take a look at what makes each of these parks special.

Getting There

Although both of these parks are located in San Diego county, the zoo is the more easily accessible of the two as it is located in downtown San Diego. Zoo visitors can enjoy easy access to the park via car, bicycle, rideshare service, public transportation, or walking, depending on the starting location. On-site parking is available for visiting guests at no charge.

On the other hand, the San Diego Safari Park is located north of downtown San Diego in close proximity to an area known as Escondido. This location is about a 45-60 minute drive by car, but public transportation can take up to two hours. The cost for parking at the San Diego Safari Park is $15 a day per car or $20 a day for RV parking.

Animal Varieties

While both the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park offer visitors a chance to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most enthralling and exotic species, each park features different species of animals that make them unique.

At San Diego Zoo, visitors can find more than 650 different species of animals with over 12,000 animals that call the zoo home. Of the seven major exhibits, their Orangutan Trail and Elephant Odyssey are among the most popular, allowing visitors to get up close with powerful Orangutans and both African and Asian varieties of elephants.

On the other hand, the San Diego Safari Park is home to more than 3,000 animals and over 300 different varieties of animal species. This park is home to the largest collection of hoofed animals in the world, and visitors can get a behind-the-scenes look at many of the animal species that call this park home. Their most popular attraction for visiting guests is their Africa Tram, which shuttles guests around the park to observe animals such as antelope, giraffes, and more in an open, natural habitat. 

Ticket Cost and Opening Hours

Both the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are open 365 days a year for guests to enjoy this family-friendly tourist attraction. Opening hours for the Zoo are 9 am to 9 pm daily, while the Safari Park grants entrance to guests between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm.

Daily ticket prices for both the zoo and safari park start at $65 for adults or $55 for children, and both parks offer annual memberships, special value day pricing, and discounts for repeat visits as well as senior citizen and student discounts.

Africa Tram Exhibit at the San Diego Safari Park

Africa Tram Exhibit at the San Diego Safari Park

Additional Experiences

Both the zoo and safari park feature a variety of experiences that are included in the cost of a daily ticket, as well as other experiences that can be added to visits for an additional fee. For visitors looking for even more family-friendly fun, check out some of these unforgettable experiences that are perfect for creating family memories that will last a lifetime.

Experiences at the San Diego Zoo

      • 4D Theater – $7
      • Botanical garden tours – included
      • Play areas for children – included
      • Skyfari aerial tram – included
      • Wildlife presentations and specialist talks – included
      • Guided bus tours – included on a first come, first served basis

Experience at the San Diego Safari Park

      • Africa Tram – included
      • Conservation carousel – $6 unlimited rides
      • Balloon safari – prices vary
      • Play areas for children – included
      • Petting zoo – included
Live Animal Encounter at the San Diego Safari Park

Live Animal Encounter at the San Diego Safari Park

Overall Experience

Both the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park have something to offer visitors, and it pays to know what you’re looking for when visiting these two parks.

While both parks feature a chance for guests to get up close and personal with animal species from all over the world, guests looking to enjoy a larger number and variety of animals will be best suited at the zoo, while guests looking to catch a glimpse of animals from Africa and other arid environments would likely enjoy the safari park more. Both parks feature additional paid animal encounters like the zoo’s Early Morning Cheetah Experience or the safari park’s Behind-the-Scenes Safari or Ultimate Safari package.

Both parks offer a variety of additional activities for children and have plenty of options for onsite dining, experiences, and more. Guests looking for smaller crowds may prefer the safari park as this is generally the less crowded of the two parks, although it is farther away from other San Diego area attractions.

Both parks feature open-air concept enclosures that ensure the animals receive plenty of space, a clean living environment, high-quality food and medical care, enrichment, and more. Visitors can have peace of mind knowing that whichever park they choose to visit will be supporting reputable animal rescue and conservation efforts while offering memories that will last a lifetime.

View overlooking the San Diego Safari Park

View overlooking the San Diego Safari Park

Tips on Visiting the Parks

Whether you plan on spending the day exploring the exhibits at the San Diego Zoo or riding along on the Africa Tram at the safari park, visitors should follow these expert tips on how to have the most memorable experience at each of these California parks.

Keep it Comfy

Visiting either the zoo or safari park requires lots of walking, so wearing comfortable shoes and clothing is a must for park goers. Because of the southern California location of each of these parks, visitors can typically expect sunny, warm weather and should plan on wearing comfortable tennis shoes, shorts, and t-shirts made of thin, breathable material to stay cool.

Don’t Forget to Hydrate

Staying hydrated is one of the most important things visitors can do to ensure they have a fun and memorable experience at one of these two parks. Nowadays, reusable water bottles are one of the most noted travel essentials for women and men, and it is nearly impossible to go anywhere without one. Make sure to bring along your favorite Hydroflask to refill at any of the many water stations found throughout the park and help cut down on cost and waste by avoiding purchasing plastic water bottles.

San Diego Zoo 12

Apply Sunscreen

Spending an entire day out in the hot sun can definitely take a toll on our bodies. In addition to making us feel drained, no one wants to spend their vacation with a sunburn. Guests should plan on wearing sunscreen or taking other measures against sun protection during their visit like wearing a hat, sunglasses, or other sun protective clothing. Current FDA guidelines regarding sunscreen say that it should be reapplied at least every two hours, so make sure to bring extra sunscreen to reapply as needed.

Pack Light

While guests at both the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are permitted to bring a small backpack in for essentials like cellphones, wallets, water bottles, charging banks, and more. Guests are encouraged to pack light to avoid tiring themselves out by lugging around excess baggage all day. Many amenities like locker and stroller rentals are available onsite at the park, so guests with children can skip the heavy packing and rent supplies there.

Available Amenities at San Diego Zoo & Safari Park

      • ADA compliant facilities
      • Stroller rental – $16 single, $20 double
      • Wheelchair and ECV rentals – $16 wheelchair, $60 ECV
      • Locker rental – prices vary
      • Luggage storage – $5 small, $15 large
      • ATM access onsite
      • Onsite first aid services
      • Electric vehicle charging stations
      • Recycling services
      • Baby changing stations
      • Water fountains and water bottle refill stations

Note to nursing mothers: Although the San Diego Zoo & Safari Park do not have dedicated nursing stations for mothers and their children, guests can visit the First Aid station or the Health Services office for access to privacy curtains in a comfortable environment for nursing.

Cheetah Run at the San Diego Safari Park

Cheetah Run at the San Diego Safari Park

Plan Ahead

Knowledge is power when it comes to planning a trip to either the San Diego Zoo or San Diego Safari Park. Visitors heading out for the day are encouraged to plan ahead to make their visit unforgettable. Make sure to follow these simple tips to make your visit to the zoo or safari park unforgettable for all the right reasons.

Download the Parks’ Mobile Application

Both the San Diego Zoo & Safari Park offer downloadable mobile applications for visitors to access park maps, view animal encounter schedules, discover dining options, and more. Their GPS-enabled map makes it easy for park visitors to plan their park route to ensure they don’t miss a single thing on their list.

Check the Weather

Nothing is worse than getting caught in the rain, and the same goes for visitors heading to the park for the day. One of the best pro tips any traveler can get is to always check the weather before heading out for any activity. Although we can’t control the weather, we can be prepared. In the event of inclement weather, guests should ensure they pack any necessary rain gear to avoid a soggy start to their trip.

Pre Purchase Tickets and Arrive Early

Guests visiting either park can purchase advance tickets online to save time when arriving at the park. Online tickets are available through either of the parks’ websites, with convenient mobile downloads available immediately upon purchasing. For an added bonus, guests that purchase tickets online can save $2 per ticket for online orders.

When heading to the park, guests should plan on arriving early for cooler weather and to avoid large crowds. In addition to being one of the least crowded times of day, the animals that call the zoo home are typically more playful during this time, and guests can enjoy plenty of animal activity in the early morning hours.

Whether you’re heading out to the San Diego Safari Park, the San Diego Zoo, or both, one thing’s for certain… you’re sure to have a memorable time. Guests heading out to either one of these two San Diego area attractions can have tons of fun meeting plenty of animals, learning more about conservation, and creating once-in-a-lifetime memories with friends and family.

San Diego Zoo vs. San Diego Safari Park #san-deigo #zoo #wild-animal-park #park #things-to-do-in


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A Storm Area 51 sign located at the Alien Research Center near Alamo, Nevada

Every time I visit Las Vegas, I search for a new and unique day trip away from the city. So, when I saw an excursion that advertised a secret government base, extraterrestrials, and UFO hunters, I decided to take a closer look. I don’t think too much about UFOs in my daily life. I’m aware that there are people who are fanatical about searching for them, and I do remember that there were times when I was growing up when public interest in UFOs was very popular. I know some of the mythical lore regarding Area 51 in the United States, but I have never deeply investigated it.

This tour was scheduled to visit secret airplanes, two entrance gates to Area 51, a salt flat associated with UFOs, the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel, Nevada, a mysterious black mailbox, and an Alien Research Center. Even in Vegas, this got my attention!

Our small group of curiosity seekers began our journey with a visit to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Janet Airlines is the name given to a fleet of classified airplanes that regularly fly military and contract workers to Area 51 and other military bases in southern California. There is a degree of secrecy regarding this airline and the workers who regularly use it. We were hoping to get a glimpse of one of the mysterious airplanes. Amazingly, with the help of our tour guide, Art, we did spot a few parked on the tarmac at McCarran. We didn’t know where they were going or who was using them, but Art’s stories about the mysterious airline deepened our interest in visiting the Area 51 region. This was an exciting start to what would be a day of travel to unusual sites.

Nevada State Road 93 winds through the Great Basin of Nevada

The actual journey to Area 51 took us north of Las Vegas by way of Interstate 15 to Nevada State Road 93 and then more remote terrain. As we drove further away from the city, towns and homes were fewer and far between. Our drive led us to the Great Basin desert, which was so desolate that the only sign of civilization was the thin ribbon of highway before us. After a brief stop at a combination gas station, fast food restaurant, and grocery store in Alamo, Nevada, we headed further northwest to State Road 375, also known as the Extraterrestrial Highway.

We were warned that the drive to the Area 51 region would take a couple of hours, so we settled back, talked about ourselves, and shared some stories. I had the fortune to be sitting in the seat to the right of the driver, so I enjoyed the beautiful scenery unfolding before me. Since we continually rose in elevation, the starkness of the desert and rising mountains were amazingly beautiful. When we finally reached the area around Rachel, Nevada, we were ready to begin unraveling the mysteries of the region. Curiously, what we saw was a series of unusual sites that may or may not have been related to each other. Overall it was informative, interesting, somewhat puzzling, but genuinely fun.

Rachel, Nevada, is a small, isolated town of around 50 people that is mostly comprised of trailer homes, a small gas station, a general store, an RV park, and the Little A’Le’Inn bar/restaurant. There was not much else there. It obtained notoriety mostly from UFO hunters, aviation enthusiasts, and people interested in secret government military bases.

There are several unpaved roads near Rachel that lead to entrance gates for Area 51. When interest in unusual flying aircraft began to grow in the 1990s, people who were interested in the UFO phenomena began to visit Rachel since it was the closest public city to this area.

An Extraterrestrial Highway sign on Nevada State Road 375

The Nevada Commission on Tourism decided to take advantage of this newfound interest in paranormal activity and, in 1996 designated State Road 375 as The Extraterrestrial Highway. They hoped that the mystique of renaming the road would draw travelers to this remote region who were interested in old atomic bomb test sites, mysterious military air bases, and possible UFO activity. The tourism promotion didn’t catch on. Today, roughly about 200 vehicles pass through this area each day. As we neared Rachel, we made a stop to take photographs by the Extraterrestrial Highway sign. As expected, we saw little to no traffic.

Area 51 is a secret United States Air Force military installation located near the Groom Lake salt flat in southern Nevada. The installation’s claim to fame is that it has been associated with several conspiracy theories about extraterrestrial life. Officially, it’s known as a flight-testing facility. Through the 1990s, legends about Area 51, strange-looking aircraft, and possible alien activity began to emerge from the region around State Road 375.

An entrance to Area 51 near Rachel, Nevada


Area 51 covers a large territory and is not easy to view and access. There are some entrance gates, but they are along unmarked remote gravel-covered roads and appear to be used mainly for deliveries. Most workers arrive by airplane. We traveled to one of the Entrance Gates to Area 51 near the town of Rachel. I didn’t know what to expect and was surprised that the gate we visited did not look overly fortified for a top-secret government base. There were some intimidating signs, but overall the barriers were not that extensive.

A statue of an extraterrestrial near the entrance to the Little A’le’Inn in Rachel, Nevada

For lunch, we stopped at the Little A’Le’Inn in the town of Rachel. The combination restaurant/bar has been featured in various Area 51 documentaries and movies such as “Independence Day.” Since some of the scenes from the movie were filmed near the Inn, in 1996 the producers presented the town with a time capsule that is located near the front of the Inn.

A flying saucer parking sign at the Little A’le’Inn

There were all kinds of memorabilia inside the building, many photographs about various UFO sightings, and Area 51 souvenirs. Some locals were hanging out at the bar, and overall it was a lively, quirky place. The people who worked there joked with the visitors and added a lot of atmosphere to the experience. For lunch, I had their famous A’Le’Inn Burger. It tasted great, and I would recommend that if you pass by this area, do stop in for lunch. It is also worth noting that you won’t find anywhere else to eat for hours.

A sign at the Little A’le’Inn in Rachel, Nevada

After a relaxing lunch, we went to a nearby dry salt flat lakebed similar to Groom Lake at Area 51. Local stories in Rachel often associate UFO sightings with these nearby salt flats. I have heard about salt flats, but this was the first time I walked on one and saw it in person. Interestingly, when we drove out onto the salt flat, we had to place an orange road cone so that we would know where to return.

A salt flat near Rachel, Nevada

It was amazingly flat and had a solid, hard surface. In the middle of the dry lakebed, everything looked similar. It was very disorienting, and it would have been difficult to find our exit without the marker. I found all these new experiences much more interesting than I originally expected.

Barry Kramer standing next to the black mailbox

Not far from the town of Rachel on State Road 375, we visited a mysterious black mailbox. What makes this mailbox unusual is that there are no mailboxes for miles and miles along this stretch of the highway except for this one lone mailbox. The black mailbox, which most likely belongs to a nearby rancher, became famous as a meeting place for UFO enthusiasts. Even more mysterious is that the mailbox often disappears for days and then reappears.

It was there on the day we visited and was covered in stickers. The mailbox was not locked, so we looked inside and found notebooks and other documents. I paged through the notebooks, but nothing seemed to make much sense to me. It was a great photo stop.

Warning signs near the second entrance to Area 51

After a short drive, we visited a second entrance to Area 51. This location was made famous by the Storm Area 51 campaign. On September 19, 2019, a small group of UFO enthusiasts organized an attempt to storm both Area 51 gates near Rachel. The activists were seeking to find out what was going on inside Area 51, but no one was successful in entering the facility.

A guard watching the gate at Area 51

The result of this event was that the military constructed more barriers at the entrances. To me, this second entrance still did not appear to be overly defensive. There was a mysterious SUV parked on a nearby hill. The guards who occupy these vehicles are often referred to as the Men in Black. I’m sure we were being watched, but I doubt that we were deemed much of a threat. On our way in, we passed a truck carrying some machinery for delivery. The truck parked behind us, and we were told by our guide that the gate would not open for the delivery while we were there. This definitely added a little mystery to our expedition.

A Joshua Tree near the entrance of Area 51

On the way out, we stopped to view some desert vegetation and take photographs of Joshua Trees. An hour later, we stopped at the Alien Research Center near Alamo, Nevada, which advertised itself as a clearing house for everything Area 51, UFO, Paranormal, and Military. To me, it seemed more like a souvenir store for t-shirts and other UFO paraphernalia. It was housed in an old Quonset hut and had a large alien sculpture out front. One exciting event that occurred at the Alien Research Center was being buzzed by fighter jets flying in and around the valley. It was exciting trying to spot the jets as they zoomed down and flew overhead multiple times.

The Alien Research Center near Alamo, Nevada

The long ride back was a time to share stories and learn that most of the ideas and preconceptions we had about Area 51 were probably mythical. I imagined that an area as isolated as the one we visited might easily become a breeding ground for all kinds of mysterious stories. The addition of secret government military bases and immense open star-filled skies could provide much fodder for all kinds of imaginative experiences.

Warning signs at an entrance gate to Area 51 near Rachel, Nevada

Overall, I was very pleased with my daylong journey and would recommend it to anyone interested in learning factual information about Area 51 and this remote area of Nevada. Sadly, I did not see any extraterrestrials or UFOs, nor did I find out what was going on at Area 51. I didn’t expect that I would. Truthfully, my best memories were not of the supernatural but of the breathtaking scenery of the high Nevada desert. The images of endless desert, tall mountains, dry salt lakebeds, and wide-open skies are ones that I will always remember.

Las Vegas to Area 51 - Searching For Extraterrestrials In The Nevada Desert #las-vegas #area-51 #aliens #extraterrestrials #nevada #desert #travel #vacation #trip #holiday

Las Vegas to Area 51 - Searching For Extraterrestrials In The Nevada Desert #las-vegas #area-51 #aliens #extraterrestrials #nevada #desert #travel #vacation #trip #holiday

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Austria Road Trip on the Empress Sisi Road (Podcast)

Hear about an Austria road trip as the Amateur Traveler talks to Michael January about driving Empress Sisi’s Road.

Michael says, “There are multiple Empress Sisi roads. Elizabeth, the Empress of Austria and queen of Hungary, is the princess Diana of the German-speaking world. She was a girl that loved the country. And at 16, she was introduced to the emperor of Austria. They married, and it was a storybook love story. She became a fashion idol. I guess she was beautiful. Halfway through her life, she got older, tragedy struck, and she was ultimately assassinated. There had been movies told about the romantic story of the emperor and the young emperor. There’s a new series coming out on Netflix in September and October [2022] shot in Germany about the romantic love story.”

“There are interesting places along some kind of route. There are some in Hungary, and there are some in Austria, and each one is called the Empress Sisi road. It’s basically sites that are part of the story of interesting places to visit. And you have to travel along a road to get there. So it’s not a street. It’s a collection of destinations.”

Michael starts us in Vienna, where we visit a number of the royal sites, including the cafe culture that used to entertain those waiting to meet with the emperor. We visit the Imperial Crypt, the Hofburg Palace (with its Sisi Museum and the Spanish Riding School), and the Schönbrunn Palace.

We visit Hotel Ambassador with its connection to Mark Twain and Hotel Sacher Vienna, which is famous for its Sachertorte.

As we head out of Vienna, we visit the Hermesvilla, which the emperor built for his bride. We also visit the Lainzer Tiergarten and the royal Laxenburg castles.

We make a stop at Mayerling, which is famous for the mysterious death of the son of Empress Sisi and his wife. We also visit the oldest continuously occupied Cistercian monastery in the world at the Heiligenkreuz Abbey.

If 19th-century princesses are not your thing, Michael also recommends a stop at the Audi driving experience and the Red Bull Ring Racetrack.

If you can afford it, stay at the Hotel Schloss Gabelhofen or later in the trip at the Stanglwirt Hotel. One is in a castle, and the other is a place where kids can ride a Lipizzaner foal.

At the Admont Abbey, you can see a Baroque library. Near Innsbruck, you can tour a salt mine, visit the unusual Swarovski Crystal World, or see the Hofburg palace.

If you loop back to Vienna from Innsbruck, you can stop at the Dürnstein Castle (where Richard the Lionheart was held for ransom) or the large Göttweig Abbey.

An interesting way to do a road trip is to pick a theme, as Michael does in this episode. But whether you are walking in the footsteps of a princess or just enjoying the beauty of the country, should an Austria Road Trip be in your future?

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Show Notes
Empress Sisi’s Road
Empress Elisabeth of Austria
Travel to Vienna, Austria – Episode 384
Cafe Mozart
Hotel Sacher Vienna
The Demel
Zum Schwarzen Kameel (The Black Camel restaurant)
Cafe Diglas
Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel
Vienna Ferris Wheel tickets
Mark Twain
Imperial Crypt
Hotel Ambassador, Vienna
Sisi Museum
Spanish Riding School
Schönbrunn Palace
Imperial Coach Museum Vienna at Schonbrunn Palace Park
Lainzer Tiergarten
Mayerling incident
Heiligenkreuz Abbey
The Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz
Mayerling (1968 film)
Laxenburg castles
Audi driving experience
Esterhazy Palace
Red Bull Ring
Hotel Schloss Gabelhofen at Fohnsdorf
Admont Abbey
Bad Ischl
House of Wittelsbach
Salt Mine Tours
Stanglwirt Hotel
Kufstein Fortress
Ambras Castle
Swarovski Kristallwelten Wattens
Hofburg, Innsbruck
Court Church
Dürnstein Castle
Göttweig Abbey
Innsbruck’s Smallest Shop


on Travel to London, England – Episode 813

Hello Chris

Really enjoyed the London show. I live in Southend, one of the gateway
airports mentioned a seaside resort which gets lots of day trippers
from London, we also have the longest pleasure pier in the world at
just over 1.3 miles.

My tip for London is the Skygarden in Fenchurch St, close to the Tower of
London and near to where I work. Fantastic views like the Shard but
with the bonus of its free, just need to book in advance, bar and
restaurant at the top.



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Amateur Traveler Trips

Austria Road Trip on the Empress Sisi Road (Podcast) #travel #vacation #trip #holiday #austria #vienna #road-trip

Austria Road Trip on the Empress Sisi Road (Podcast) #travel #vacation #trip #holiday #austria #vienna #road-trip

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Travel to the Jaén province of Andalucia, Spain (Podcast)

Hear about travel to the Jaén province of Andalucia Spain as the Amateur Traveler talks to Molly Sears-Piccavey who lives in Andalucia.

Molly says, “Jaén is a province in western Andalucia that is not really very known or associated with tourism. If we take southern Spain the western side of Andalucia which is Granada, Cordoba, Jaén, and Almería are not as touristic perhaps as the side of Andalucia which is where Malaga and Seville are. Cordoba and Granada are very well visited because of their Muslim architecture such as the mosque or their Alhambra Palace, but Jaén is inland and a little bit further away. And many people don’t manage to discover Jaén and I think Jaén has a lot to offer the visitor.”

“The thing that sticks out most in my head is the olive trees. It’s the place in Europe with most density of olive trees, and they produce obviously a lot of olive oil. When you travel to Jaén, Wherever you look, you’re just seeing olive trees and even on the road to Jaén as well as just olive trees as far as you can see. It’s also a place that has a massive amount of castles and fortresses. They claim to be the place with the most castles in Europe. Burgalimar which is in Baños de la Encina is the oldest castle in Europe and it’s so worth visiting.”

“They call Jaén the land of battles and castles but I think they’re missing the olive oil so it should be battles, castles, and olive oil.”

For over 200 years, Jaén was the border between Catholic Spain and Moorish Spain, hence the number of castles and the walled hilltop towns.

Molly starts us in the capital of Jaén province which is the city of Jaén. We start in the beautiful cathedral of Jaén which may look familiar as it was used as a model for many cathedrals in the new world. It is proposed as a UNESCO site because of this significance. 

We then climb the hill for a view of the city to the Castle of Santa Catalina and the Parador of Jaén (the national hotel chain) which sit side by side with a view of the city and of the 65 million olive trees in the distance. 

The other stop you should make in Jaén is the Arab Bathes which are the largest of the old hammams from the Moorish rule. They sit below the palace of an ex-Viceroy to Peru which houses an art museum and a history museum.

We move from Jaén across the valley to the twin towns of Úbeda and Baeza which are a joint UNESCO site for their buildings built in the Spanish Renaissance style. Úbeda has a number of old buildings around a large square (Vázquez de Molina Square) including an old palace which is now a Parador. There is also an ornate funerary chapel for one of the more distinguished families of Úbeda, and the Basílica de Santa María de los Reales Alcázares church.

Baeza is an old University town. The old university is now the high school but one of the old palaces has been turned into a new international university. Baeza has a quieter whitewashed Andalucian town feel with small streets and flower boxes. 

Molly also recommends visiting Baños de la Encina and the Burgalimar Castle as well as Alcalá la Real and its Fortaleza de La Mota. These cities were even closer to the border with Moorish Grenada so they had the more significant fortifications. 

Jaén also has 4 natural parks with a variety of activities including hiking, but Molly who leads food tours focuses us more on places we can get a great meal. 

Jaén is a beautiful region of Spain that deserves more tourism than it gets… but you might not want to visit in the heat of the summer as I did recently on a press trip.

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Show Notes
Spain Food Sherpas Tours
Undiscovered Spain – The Jaén Province of Andalucia
Province of Jaén (Spain)
Border of Granada
Jaén Cathedral
Parador de Jaén
Sierra Mágina
Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park
Restaurante La Alcuza (Pegalajar)
Castle of Santa Catalina (Jaén)
Arab Baths of Jaén
Museo Internacional Arte Naïf
Naïve art
Baga Restaurant
Vázquez de Molina Square
Parador of Ubeda
Basílica de Santa María de los Reales Alcázares
Hotel Palacio De Úbeda
Sinagoga del Agua
Palacio de Vela de los Cobos
Baeza, Spain
Baeza Cathedral
Plaza del Populo
University of Baeza
Palace of Jabalquinto
Alcalá la Real
Fortaleza de La Mota
Baños de la Encina
Burgalimar Castle
Cherry Festival in Castillo de Locubin
Vandalvide Restaurant, Baeza
Taberna El Pajaro, Baeza


Patron Jeff commented on Travel to the South of Iceland – Amateur Traveler Episode 802

The South Iceland episode brought back so many memories of Iceland. One of my memories was the homes to the “hidden people” (gnomes, elves etc.) which are rock piles where the roads are built around. One fun activity I enjoyed was dog sledding on Myrdalsjokull Glacier. Finally, a visit to the Westmann Islands is great but you might consider a sightseeing flight of Surtsey Island. This island emerged in a volcanic eruption in November 1963 from under the ocean. I don’t know if it still holds the designation of being the newest island on earth to be created. It’s a scientific reserve with access by permit only, so a sightseeing flight is the only way to see it. They are researching plant and animal life colonizing the island. An added bonus was also the views of Iceland’s countryside and coast from the air including the Westmann Islands.

Forgot to comment about the hot dogs.  Icelanders like their hot dogs (pylsa). You can get them

everywhere, bacon wrapped etc. The best dog in Reykjavik is at Baejarins Beztu a small 10×10 shack made famous by then President Clinton stopping by and having a hot dog.  It’s the “Pink’s” of Reykjavik.


Russetts via Apple Podcasts · Great Britain · 05/18/22

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Amateur Traveller is the best travel podcast! I spend most of my time traveling and that involves lots of research on the places I am visiting. I use Amateur Traveller’s excellent location-based podcasts as part of my trip planning and I find that they greatly enhance my itinerary. Chris…

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Amateur Traveler Trips

Travel to the Jaén province of Andalucia, Spain (Podcast) | Things to do in Jaén #spain #andalucia #jaen #baeza #ubeda #castles #olives #travel #vacation #trip #holiday

Travel to the Jaén province of Andalucia, Spain (Podcast) | Things to do in Jaén #spain #andalucia #jaen #baeza #ubeda #castles #olives #travel #vacation #trip #holiday Travel to the Jaén province of Andalucia, Spain (Podcast) | Things to do in Jaén #spain #andalucia #jaen #baeza #ubeda #castles #olives #travel #vacation #trip #holiday

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Travel to Silicon Valley, California (Podcast)

Hear about travel to the Silicon Valley (Santa Clara Valley) of California and San Jose as the Amateur Traveler talks about his hometown of 38 years.

The Amateur Traveler podcast has been in production for 17 years and I have never done a show on San Jose and the Silicon Valley, even though I have known it was a great place to live for some time. Many people, especially fans of high tech or those who work in high tech already are traveling to Silicon Valley. Here are some of my favorite things to do in and near Santa Clara Valley / The Valley of Hearts Delight / Silicon Valley.

We start in downtown San Jose which has some live theatre options, and two of the best museums in the area: the Tech Interactive Museum and the Children’s Discovery Museum. Other museums of note in the area are the Rosicrucian Museum of Egyptology and the Computer History Museum. 

We can’t talk about visiting San Jose without at least mentioning the quirky and spooky Winchester Mystery House. This house is what you get when you have a lot of superstitions and a lot of money. It has stairways that go nowhere and a sprawling floor plan as the owner was told that she would not die as long as there was the sound of hammers in her house. They lied. She died.

For nightlife, I recommend Santana Row which has a great indoor/outdoor bar and restaurant scene. Also, the smaller downtowns of Sunnyvale, Saratoga, Los Gatos, and Mountain View have good restaurant scenes. 

This area is known for its variety when it comes to food. It has large Hispanic, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Vietnamese populations. You could stay for a week and eat a different cuisine for every meal. There is also a growing brewery scene and numerous wineries close by.

The valley is surrounded by mountains and the San Francisco Bay and there are great hikes in every direction. I recommend hikes by the bay at Shoreline Park and Alviso Marina County Park. I also recommend some hikes with views like Fremont Older, Sierra Vista, and Windy Hill Open Space Preserves.

You can take in a football game with the 49ers in Santa Clara or a hockey game with the Sharks in San Jose, but I also recommend a minor league baseball game at the San Jose Giants for affordable family fun. While you are down by the Giant’s stadium you can take the kids to Happy Hollow theme park and zoo or the Japanese Friendship Garden. 

Take a tech tour to visit some of the sites or companies that make this area one of the world-recognized centers of high tech. 

I then lay out a day trip to Santa Cruz to see big redwood trees, beaches, or the Santa Cruz Boardwalk or to Livermore to do some more wine tasting.

With 300 sunny days a year, there is seldom a bad time to visit Silicon Valley.

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Show Notes

Silicon Valley
The Tech Interactive
Children’s Discovery Museum
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
Winchester Mystery House
San Jose Sharks
San Francisco 49ers
San Jose Giants
Nightlife in San Jose: Santana Row and the Hotel Valencia
San Pedero Square Market
Hapa’s Brewing Company
Uproar Brewing
Happy Hollow
Japanese Friendship Garden
Santa Clara Mission
Missions of California (with Map) – All 21 California Missions from South to North
Little Kabul Fremont
Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton
Things to do in Milpitas and North San Jose
Big Dog Vineyards
Great America
Raging Waters
Castro Street Mountain View
Saravanaa Bhavan Indian restaurant (Sunnyvale)
Shoreline at Mountain View
Alviso Marina County Park
Computer History Museum
Fremont Older Preserve
Cooper-Garrod Vineyards
Mountain Winery Concerts
8 San Jose Wineries – The Best Wineries in the South Bay
Things to do in Santa Cruz, CA – “Coney Island of the West”
Henry Cowell State Park
Roaring Camp
Windy Hill Open Space Preserve
Livermore Valley


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Randy on Travel to Death Valley National Park – Episode 803

Another great episode. A few years ago I spent a week in Death Valley in December which was a great time of year to be there. Pleasant temperatures and very few people. I particularly enjoyed the hike to Darwin Falls (which is actually outside the park).

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Amateur Traveler Trips

Winchester Mystery House photo by Egor Shitikov from Pixabay

Apple “Spaceship” Headquarters Photo by Carles Rabada on Unsplash

Travel to Silicon Valley, California (Podcast) | Things to do in Santa Clara Valley, San Jose #san-jose #santa-clara #valley #silicon-valley #nerds #california #usa #travel #vacation #trip #holiday

Travel to Silicon Valley, California (Podcast) | Things to do in Santa Clara Valley, San Jose #san-jose #santa-clara #valley #silicon-valley #nerds #california #usa #travel #vacation #trip #holiday Travel to Silicon Valley, California (Podcast) | Things to do in Santa Clara Valley, San Jose #san-jose #santa-clara #valley #silicon-valley #nerds #california #usa #travel #vacation #trip #holiday

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Atlantic City Beach

Right along the Atlantic Ocean, New Jersey has dozens of beaches for residents and visitors to enjoy. Many of these beaches require paid beach tags to visit starting Memorial Day weekend, and prices vary by county and visitor age. But if you want to take in the sand and waves without breaking the bank, you’re in luck. Several free beaches in the state offer beautiful ocean views and plenty of sand to relax on. With plenty of sunshine and sandy shores, these beaches are perfect for a budget-friendly daycation. So grab your sunhat and sunscreen and get ready to relax at the shore.

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Army Corps repairs and restores coastal storm risk management project in Keansburg, NJ

Keansburg Beach

Keansburg Beach is a popular spot for residents and visitors to New Jersey’s Monmouth County. The beach is located on Raritan Bay, offering stunning views of the New York City skyline. In addition to the beautiful scenery and boardwalk, Keansburg Beach also features a 2,000-foot-long fishing pier, though anglers will have to pay a small fee to use it. There are pole and net rentals available, along with places to buy tackle and bait.

For those who can’t get enough of the water, the Runaway Rapids Waterpark is located right next to the boardwalk. Visitors can spend $37 for a full three hours of fun. The waterpark is especially popular with families, as it offers numerous slides, a lazy river, and water features.

The Keansburg Amusement Park is also located nearby, offering a great day out for families and children of all ages. While it’s not free either, rides are only $1.25 with discounts for buying in bulk. It offers thrill rides like Pharoh’s Fury and the Sea Serpent Roller Coaster, boardwalk games like darts and basketball, rides for kids, and food and arcades. Don’t forget the go-karts.

Back at the beach, swimming is permitted until 7 p.m. or dusk, though there aren’t any lifeguards. Whether you’re looking to relax in the sun or enjoy some adrenaline-pumping fun, Keansburg Beach has something to offer everyone.

The beach in New Jersey, USA on the 4th of July

Wildwood Beaches

The Wildwood beaches are located in Wildwood Crest, Wildwood, and North Wildwood in the south portion of Cape May County. They add up to over five miles along the Atlantic Ocean and offer plenty of excitement despite being known for their cleanliness. You can often find beachgoers enjoying activities like kayaking, surfing, and sailing. Every year, the Wildwood beaches host several events, including a kite festival and various sports tournaments.

If the beaches and events weren’t enough, there are plenty of other activities thanks to the boardwalk that stretches for over a mile and a half. It offers visitors a chance to take in the sights and sounds of the beach while enjoying some of the best shopping, dining, and entertainment in the area. Taking visitors past a variety of shops, restaurants, and amusement parks, there’s always something fun to do along the boardwalk. How about even more water at one of the waterparks, or taking in the views from a 156-foot tall Ferris wheel?

Between the beaches themselves, boardwalk, and other entertainment, it’s hard to believe that the beaches have no admission fee. The amusement parks will need tickets, but thankfully there’s plenty to do for free if you don’t want to spend any money.



North of Wildwood, still along the Atlantic Ocean in Cape May County, are the beaches of Strathmere. Strathmere’s beaches are a great place to relax and enjoy the ocean. The beaches cover about a mile and a half, and there are many activities to enjoy. Surfing and fishing are allowed in specific spots, though lifeguards may open up protected parts of the beach in some situations. Surfing is permitted north of Sherman and south of Tecumseh, while fishing is allowed north of Seacliff and south of Prescott. Visitors are welcome to enjoy rafts and boogie boards on all parts of the beach, conditions permitting.

Most beaches in Strathmere have a lifeguard on duty during the day, though hours may vary depending on the beach. The beaches use a flag warning system to keep visitors posted on the conditions of the water. Even if you’re not in the mood for swimming that day, it’s easy to settle into the sand for a relaxing day—these beaches tend to be less crowded than others in the state. Have a great time at Strathmere’s beaches.

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City

Aptly named for its location on the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic City is in the southern Jersey shore. Atlantic City’s beach is a great place to enjoy the outdoors. Anglers can try their luck at fishing, while kayakers can explore the coastline. Windsurfers can enjoy the waves, and sunbathers can relax on the sand. Lifeguards are usually present during the daytime, and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby to grab a bite.

For a unique view of the beach, visitors can take a helicopter tour out of Steel Pier, starting at just over $68. The tour provides stunning coastline views, making it a great way to experience the beauty of Atlantic City‘s beach.

Atlantic City’s boardwalk is one of the city’s most iconic features. It was built in 1870, and today offers a variety of stores and restaurants. In addition, it provides visitors with a great view of the water and takes them past several amenities like a casino and the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, a multi-purpose arena. Plus, there’s the shopping experience at The Playground and the fun at the Central Pier Arcade and Steel Pier. As such, the boardwalk is an essential part of Atlantic City’s history and its identity—and offers plenty of fun to go along with it.

Fort Wadsworth, Gateway National Recreation Area (Photo Provided by Andrea Spahn, Rutgers)

Gateway National Recreation Area

Located in Highlands and Sandy Hook, the Gateway National Recreation Area features tourist attractions from the Sandy Hook lighthouse to numerous beaches. There is a fee for parking during the beach season (funds used by the National Park Service to improve and maintain the facilities), but the area doesn’t have an admission fee. Sandy Hook itself is a spit of land that extends six miles into the water.

There are seven named beaches on the Atlantic Ocean side of the spit, including North Beach, Gunnison Beach, and the Southern Beaches (named A through E). Each beach has its own unique character and offers a variety of activities. North Beach is the least crowded of the beaches, so it’s great if you want some quiet time on the sand. The beach is expansive, meaning there’s plenty of space to spread out, though it’s a bit of a walk to get to the shore. It also has picnic tables and an observation deck. Gunnison Beach is similar to North Beach in that it’s a long walk from the parking lot to the shore, but its main difference is that it’s a clothing-optional beach.

Like the beaches up north, the Southern Beaches do require a walk to the shore. The Southern Beaches generally offer amenities like the occasional food truck, bathhouses, picnic tables, and more. This series of beaches is also a popular place for stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking. The Southern Beaches in particular are popular with fishers and birdwatchers.

On the west side, Sandy Hook also has several miles of trails that wind through the dunes and provide sweeping ocean views. This area is especially popular for activities like kite surfing.

William Morrow Beach

Also known as Somers Point Beach, William Morrow Beach may be small, but it still packs plenty to do. Visitors can enjoy viewing and wading or swimming in the waters of Great Egg Harbor Bay along with spreading out on the sand. The beach features lifeguards, a fishing pier, and a playground, making it a perfect place to spend a day with family or friends.

The beach also hosts several concerts a week during the season, making it an excellent spot for a night out. Music ranges from Grammy-nominated artists to tribute bands and original groups. The shows are always free and start at around 7 p.m., so visitors enjoy the last minutes of the sun while appreciating some great music. The beach is known for its beautiful sunsets, so be sure not to get so caught up in the concert that you miss the view.

Ocean City NJ

Corson’s Inlet State Park

While there are fees for aspects like boat launching and boat storage, admission to the 341-acre Corson’s Inlet State Park is free. It was established in 1969 to preserve the land from development. The park is located in Ocean City, against the Atlantic Ocean. People enjoy hiking, sunbathing, crabbing, and fishing for species like striped bass and bluefish; however, no swimming is allowed. The beaches tend not to have too many people, so the park is a great destination for anyone who wants to enjoy the beach with a bit less noise.

The park features a boat ramp, guided tours of the area, and numerous hiking and biking trails, making it a great place to get outdoors and explore the natural beauty of the area. Plus, there are plenty of spots throughout the park where visitors can view wildlife—especially birds, as the park has protected nesting sites in the dunes—in their natural habitat. When you’re ready for a relaxing day in nature or on the sand, Coron’s Inlet State Park has something to offer everyone.

Old Bridge Waterfront Park

Old Bridge Waterfront Park is a popular destination for both residents and visitors. It’s located in Old Bridge Township, right along Raritan Bay, and has three main beaches: Paul’s Beach, Laurence Harbor, and Pirate’s Cove at Cliffwood Beach. Each beach has its own unique features, making it a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, fishing, or simply relaxing. Paul’s Beach and Laurence Harbor are connected by a 1.3-mile boardwalk, which is a great way to exercise while enjoying the scenery. Pirate’s Cove also has its own boardwalk, but it is shorter and is mainly used for wildlife viewing.

In addition to the beaches, the park also has two playgrounds, two gazebos, easy access to stores and restaurants, and canoe and kayaking opportunities. It plays host to Old Bridge’s Salt Water Day, an event that features kid-friendly activities, vendors, music, and food—even a hot air balloon. Whether you’re looking for a day of fun in the sun or a place to relax and unwind, Old Bridge Waterfront Park is definitely worth a visit.

Sunset at the Beach - New Jersey

Free Beach Days

In addition to the beaches that are free year-round, several of the beaches that require beach tags have days where they’re free. For example, Sea Isle City Beach allows free visits on Wednesdays.

It’s also important to note that while many beaches charge for visits between Memorial Day and Labor Day, visitors generally don’t have to pay to visit in the off-season. This means free opportunities to fish, play in the sand, or just walk along the shoreline. The off-season is free, however, because there likely won’t be any lifeguards during this time, so swimming would be risky.

All of these schedules and fees are subject to change, so check the city’s website before heading out. Just because a beach is free one year doesn’t mean it’ll be the next—and vice versa.

Enjoy New Jersey’s Beaches for Free

If you’re looking for a beach to spend your day, New Jersey has plenty of great options, including ones that don’t require a beach tag. From Keansburg to Cape May, there are beaches that offer something for everyone. Many also provide easy access to larger, non-free amenities if you want to do something a little extra. Visitors can find everyday activities like swimming and sunbathing, but there are plenty of boardwalks, fishing piers, arcades, events, and more. And the best part is, the beaches in this article are free to visit. Get out and enjoy the sand and sun at one of New Jersey’s beautiful beaches today.

Bio: With an economics and finance degree from Rutgers University, Robert Dekanski leads the The Robert Dekanski Team, the Wall Street Journal-named #1 real estate team in New Jersey.

 Free Beaches in New Jersey | Things to do near the beach in New Jersey #travel #vacation #trip #holiday #newjersey #usa #beach

Atlantic City photos by 1778011 and Bruce Emmerling from Pixabay


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A year ago, I was looking up “what are the best wineries proposal” on my browser and Temecula popped up on my screen with a list of the best Temecula dog-friendly wineries. I was beyond excited because I wanted my four-legged friend to be part of  one of the most important days of my life. A few clicks later, I had a full itinerary to visit the best wineries in Temecula and I’m glad to say, it was worth the trip!

Temecula is well known for being one of the top-rated wine countries in Southern California. If you’re a wine lover, you’ve probably already heard laurels about Napa and Sonoma, but if you’re looking for an excellent alternative to take your pet with you on an adventure, Temecula is the way to go.

This is a paradise wine country for wine and dog lovers alike because you can have a wonderful time sipping on some of the most exclusive wines while also having a jolly time with your furry friends.

In this article, I will be listing some of the pet-friendly wineries in Temecula I have visited. If you are on the lookout for fun California things to do with kids or you like visiting places that are dog friendly, these 7 best wineries in Temecula, CA, are your go-to, according to my experience.

One of the most fun things to do in Temecula is going on a wine-tasting tour. And what could make this experience better than having your furry friend tag along?

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Top 7 Dog-Friendly Wineries In Temecula, California #wine #california #temecula #san-diego #winery #dog #travel #vacation #trip #holiday

Below are 7 of the best pet-friendly wineries in Temecula, CA:

Carter Estate Winery

Location: 34450 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA

Cost: You will have to pay $25 for 5 different wines to taste.

If you look up hotels in Temecula winery, the Carter Estate Resort is a sure result as one of the most luxurious hotels in the country; the Carter Estate winery is a must-visit for those looking for a great experience.

They are an award-winning winery run by the Carter family since 1995. From the moment you enter the estate, you’ll be blown away by the beauty of all the bungalows and premier suites with private balconies and swimming pools. It comes as no shock that this is a one of the popular wedding venues in Temecula.

You might even run into some photoshoots for fall or spring if you plan to visit during this time of year. The best part about this winery is that they allow pets on the property, and all their rooms overlook the beautiful vineyards that adorn the entire estate.

This way, you and your pet can enjoy breathtaking views no matter what room you pick in the resort for your stay. They have private wine tasting rooms so you can enjoy your pick of wines in comfort. The wines are hand-selected to give all customers the best experience they can ask for.

The unique selling point of this winery is that they make their sparkling wine despite popular opinion that it can only be produced in France. The only sparkling wine in the valley is produced in the Méthode Champenoise at the Carter Estate.

Once you check into the resort, you’ll be convinced that the staff and the experience are something you and your furry friends can enjoy. They make sure that your every need and accommodation are met.

Baily Winery

Location: 3344, La Serena Way, Temecula, CA

Cost: 6 different 1 Oz wines of your choice at only $20

“We stopped by with our dog to enjoy a tasting on a Saturday. No reservation is needed for the tasting room but arrive before 4 pm. There’s plenty of free parking….Well-behaved, on-leash dogs are allowed to accompany you. There’s a nice little grassy area with tables to hang out in.” (Jackie)

With a fantastic staff and an even more spectacular wine selection, Baily Vineyards & Winery is the best regarding value for money. Since they are a pet-friendly vineyard, you’ll see they have a lot of room for outdoor sitting with a fantastic view of the entire estate.

It’s one of the best photo locations for a birthday photoshoot, engagement photos, or even a bachelorette party. You can let your pet run around in the courtyard while you sit and sip on different specialty wines.

If you’re uncomfortable with sitting outside, you can also take a seat inside their stone buildings, which are much more relaxed and have a rustic feel. They have a straightforward and convenient method for their wine tasting session, making it even more appealing for first-time visitors to recommend the place to others.

You get 6 different tokens or chips for the 6 wines you can taste for $20. You can cash in one of your chips for every wine taste, so you don’t have to sit inside and drink all at once. You can walk around and explore the estate and go back to the bar for another drink when you feel like it.

churon winery

Address:  33233 Rancho California Rd, Temecula, CA

Cost:  You can taste four different wines that come in 2 oz. There are different rates for each type: You will pay $22 for Sweet or White Flight and $25 for Red Flight.

“Girls day in Temecula wine country was great. This was the second stop for us but it was a top-notch experience. We had a Groupon and it was 100% worth it. The wine was really great and so was the service. The bar area was roomy so not terribly crowded. There was a sitting area which was nice and plenty of staff to provide service. LOVED their Mango Sparkling Wine that was out of this world! Can’t wait to go back.” (Moni G)

As a vineyard winery, the Churon Winery is also one of the go-to places for many wine lovers. It was established in 2001, extended over 12 acres, and is owned by Judy and Ron Thomas.

If I have to choose a downside, you don’t have a wide selection of wines to taste even though you get more ounces to drink. Unlike other wineries I have visited, Churon Winery only had three wine flight options which were red, white, and sweet.

Apart from this, this is your go-to if you are searching for romantic things to do in the area. They follow very rustic chateaux-style aesthetics, making it even more luxurious, especially considering the price you pay. Many people come here for engagement photos and summer or winter photoshoots, so you can also throw on a dress and take your pictures with a beautiful background to match.

And the best part? This place is super pet-friendly, so don’t worry about your pet being lonely while you’re out exploring the top wineries in Temecula. For an experience worth your money, Churon Winery is one of the best Temecula wineries to visit.

Address: 37750 De Portola Road, Temecula, CA

Cost: You get to taste six different wines at $22. However, not counting the tax. The taste flights for these 6 wines can vary depending on the time of year, but there is always a selection of white and red flights.

This location is not too far from the city of San Diego, so you don’t have to worry about where to stay in Temecula if you’re visiting this winery. Make a Day trip Downtown and head to the hotel’s restaurants for lunch with wine tasting following this session.

It’s also an excellent place for your four-legged friend to run around and mingle with people and other pets. The best feature of the Gershon Bachus Vintners, in my opinion, was that the staff makes sure that the wine tasting rooms are always closely monitored with experts who will talk you through every experience.

They place a very high priority on the experience and enjoyment of the customers; hence, you’ll find that their staff is amiable and knowledgeable. The best part is that the place overlooks the ocean, so you’ll always feel a light and calming breeze running through your hair while you sip on quality wines.

They have both indoor and outdoor seating, so if you’re with your furry friend, you can choose to sit outside while keeping an eye on your pet. You can also sit in the Barrel Room, commonly used for such tasting occasions.


Address:  36522 Vía Verde, Temecula, CA

Cost: It costs $20 to taste 6 different wines, each 1 oz. You can pick your own choice of wines to taste.

The Oak Mountain winery is a fun place to visit. It is a kid-friendly space with an old town valley feel where pets are allowed, so you can sit wherever you prefer with your four-legged pooch. The unique aspect of the Oak Mountain winery is its cave which is open to visitors for tours.

However, for safety reasons, dogs are not allowed inside the cave. Like with the Baily winery, you get a slip for all your wine tastings, so you can take your time and roam around the place with your pet and come back to the bar for a drink when you want to. This freedom is one of the best parts of Oak Mountain Winery.

This place is famous, so if you visit during the weekends, it might be cramped with many visitors. However, if you’re lucky, this is a great open space for you and your dog to chill in. You can even decide to sit inside with your dog if it’s too hot to sit outside.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery, Temecula

Address:  32720 Rancho California Rd, Temecula, CA

Cost: $20 for tasting 6 different 1 oz wines

“Callaway has breathtaking grounds that are suitable for great photo ops. The vibe and crowd are more on the high end and the wines were better in quality relative to the other stops we’ve been to….” (Sweet&Salty)

With more than 50 years in the industry, you can be sure that your search for the best wineries in Temecula is incomplete without visiting Callaway vineyard and winery. They have an extensive range of wines to taste, so you can pick which ones you would like to taste.

A significant downer of this place is that even though it is pet friendly, they don’t allow dogs to enter the wine tasting rooms. They are only allowed on the vineyard grounds. So if it’s a scorching day and you’ve visited the place with your dog, you might want to bring some extra sun protection because you won’t be able to enter the room with your dog.

This place is a literal paradise for dogs and their humans because of the scenic view and setup of the buildings and the vineyards. Despite being a little restrictive on where pets are allowed, it is truly a breathtaking place where your dog can also enjoy the view of the most beautiful scenery.

Address: 37338 De Portola Rd, Temecula, CA

Cost: The Somerset Winery and Vineyard have different costs for different weekdays. If you visit the place during the weekdays till Thursday, you pay $20 for the tasting, whereas you have to pay $25 if you visit on Fridays through Sundays.

Out of all the wineries I visited in Temecula, this was one of the most fun experiences because of their fantastic staff, who made the stay as eventful as possible. They also allow pets to go on the wine tours, which was a first; plus, they show their whole wine-making process, which was a total behind-the-scenes learning experience.

They have a wide range of wines to taste, so you can head to the bar anytime you want and ask for a glass to be poured while you listen to the story behind the making of the wine from one of their experienced pourers.

The best part about this place is that they have a gift shop where you can buy fun souvenirs for yourself or your friends.


It’s not surprising that the best travel destinations with beautiful spots to see are the top-rated wineries in the world. If you have the time, you can even go for a hot air balloon ride in Temecula and fly across these beautiful wineries for the most prolific panoramic views you can imagine.

Please leave a comment below if this article was helpful for your solo traveling or wine-tasting ventures.

 Top 7 Dog-Friendly Wineries In Temecula, California #wine #california #temecula #san-diego #winery #dog #travel #vacation #trip #holiday

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Travel to London, England (Podcast)

Hear about travel to London, England, as the Amateur Traveler talks to Julie from about her adopted hometown.

In answer to the question “why should someone go to London?”, Julie says: “There’s so many good reasons. I love London for the history. It goes back thousands of years, all the way to Roman times. I love London for its world-class everything you get world-class music coming through London, world-class culture, art exhibits, and theater performances. Anything you can imagine, there’s pretty much world-class that in London. So it’s great in terms of culture. I love London for its diversity. You meet people from all over the world. You can find food from all over the world. You never feel really foreign in London because there are so many people from so many places.”

“And then there’s also so many niche topics and interests that you can fulfill in London. London is a huge city, and no matter what you’re interested in, no matter what you’re passionate about, you can find something that will fit the bill in London. And I think those are just the beginnings of what I would say are reasons to go to London.”

Julie takes us on a tour of sites that are well known and sites that are obscure. She starts us near Parlement and the London Eye. We explore the South Thames, including the Royal Festival Hall, Tate Modern, Globe Theatre, Borough Market, HMS Belfast, and Tower Bridge. We can tour Westminster Abbey, see a show, buy lunch at the market and end with the house that William the Conquer built, the White Tower of the Tower of London.

We talk about the great neighborhoods of London like the West End with Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden with its shops and street performers, Soho with its nightlife, Camden with its market and canal, South Kensington with its museums, Notting Hill with its famous antiques market and colorful houses. We also venture out of Zone 1 to beautiful neighborhoods like Hampstead, which may be Julie’s favorite.

We talk about the best nightclubs, pubs, and afternoon tea. Julie gives us updated tips on getting to and from the airports and how to get around on the London Underground.

We visit famous museums like the British Museum and the V&A. We visit tiny museums like the cabinet war rooms and less well-known museums like Sir John Soane’s Museum.

London is constantly changing. We talk about the changing food scene. It is much easier to get a great meal in London than it was even a decade ago.

London can easily occupy your time for a week, a month, or a lifetime. Learn more about this vibrant city in this episode of the Amateur Traveler.

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Show Notes

A Lady in London
Tours – UK Parliament
Westminster Abbey
London Eye
Royal Festival Hall
Tate Modern
Globe Theatre
Borough Market
HMS Belfast
Tower Bridge
Tower of London Tour
West End of London
Covent Garden
London Underground
Airports of London
Ronnie Scot’s Jazz Club
South Kensington
V&A Museum
Science Museum
Boating on the Serpentine – Hyde Park
Notting Hill
Portobello Road
The Oak W2
Camden Market
Regent’s Canal
British Museum
Lamb’s Conduit Street
Charlotte Street
Piccadilly Circus
Changing of the Guard
The Clove Club
The Holly Bush in Hampstead
Sir John Soane’s Museum
Maltby Street Market
Afternoon Tea Fortnum and Mason
Churchill War Rooms
St Paul’s
The Goring Hotel
Shangri-La The Shard
Lady’s Ultimate London Travel Guide


Jeff Olhfs wrote about the Driving the Natchez Trace Parkway – Episode 810

A few additional comments on Natchez Trace episode. The mention of the actual historic Natchez Trace as a National Scenic Trail was missed. The trail itself is a separate unit of the National Park System. The parkway parallels the original Native American trace. Meriwether Lewis of Lewis & Clark fame is buried along the parkway at mp 385.9. The Parkway also has a restored plantation at Mount Locust at mp 15.5. A couple of other units of the National Park System not mentioned are the Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site (the only unit in the National Park System with a “National Battlefield Site” designation) and Tupelo National Battlefield. Both preserve Civil War battlefields on or near the Parkway. Finally, Natchez National Historic Park preserves the legacy of the town in three locations, the Melrose Mansion, William Johnson House (“The Barber of Natchez”), and Fort Rosalie (closed to the public).

Collin on Hiking the Alta Via 1 in the Dolomites in Italy – Episode 811

loved the Alta Via 1 episode. Did a week of via ferrata there a while back, was like being on another planet.

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Travel to London, England (Podcast) | Things to do in London #london #uk #england #united-kingdom #travel #vacation #trip #holiday

Travel to London, England (Podcast) | Things to do in London #london #uk #england #united-kingdom #travel #vacation #trip #holiday Travel to London, England (Podcast) | Things to do in London #london #uk #england #united-kingdom #travel #vacation #trip #holiday

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Smack-dab in the middle of Texas, vibrant, fun-loving Austin shatters most stereotypes about the Lone Star State. With world-renowned music festivals, massive art conventions, and hip galleries, creativity pulses through the capital city and extends to its food scene.

Whimsical, casual eateries abound in Austin; no need to pull out fancy button-downs or make advanced reservations. Instead, the city’s best bites are likely to be served from a food truck or inside a bowling alley.

Keeping with the creative themes, Austin’s cuisine draws influence from all over the globe. Of course, there’s a hefty sprinkling of Southern comfort food, BBQ, and Tex-Mex — this is Texas, after all — but you’ll also notice plenty of Asian and Mediterranean flavors, upscale steakhouses, sweet shops, and, well, a little of everything else, too.

Although it’s technically not a type of food, brunch could easily be listed under “foods Austin is well-known for.” Brunch in Austin is practically a lifestyle, with the question not being if but where you’re eating this weekend. This list of ATX brunch hotspots fittingly includes a little something for everyone, spanning every corner of the city.

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14 Best Brunch Spots in Austin, Texas #austin #texas #travel #vacation #trip #holiday #brunch #restaurant

Best Brunch Spots in Austin

Austin - Bakery Lorraine

Bakery Lorraine

Located in buzzy, open-air Domain Northside, Bakery Lorraine serves a dazzling variety of classic breakfast dishes, pastries, and coffee drinks — all made from scratch. The bakery’s bread makes for incredible renditions of breakfast classics such as French and avocado toast.

The vibes are North Austin casual: a large, open, bright industrial space with counter service and a smattering of tables. Don’t leave without trying a macaron (tasty and Instagram-worthy) or fruit tart, baked to perfection using classic French techniques.

Austin - Gloria's Latin Cuisine

Gloria’s Latin Cuisine

Gloria’s, a Salvadoran mini-chain with several locations throughout Texas beyond the one at The Domain, serves up a distinct Latin flair. Expect a festive, upbeat atmosphere that includes after-hours weekend dancing. It’s a great place to let loose, and the brunch happy hour certainly helps: $5 mimosas in three flavors are the perfect boozy accompaniment.

The restaurant’s brunch menu focuses on Tex-Mex classics with a pronounced Latin touch. Think breakfast tacos, brisket huevos rancheros, and tres leches waffles (an absolute must!).

Better Half

Voted Eater Austin’s 2018 Restaurant of the Year, Better Half is a casual all-day spot that cooks up a killer brunch. The restaurant serves up innovative stunners like waffle-iron hash browns with coffee & cream gravy or pumpkin French toast with apple cider caramel. Better Half’s food is daydream-worthy, but that’s only where the delights begin.

The coffee here is near-perfect, the cocktails delicious, and the famed cauliflower tater tots alone are worth stopping for. The decor is clean and bright, and the space also has a dog-friendly patio. Just west of downtown near Ladybird Lake, Better Half is the perfect weekend brunch spot after a lakeside stroll with your pup.

Magnolia’s Cafe

Want a delicious brunch any day of the week, any time of day? Magnolia’s is your spot. Open since 1979, the usual brunch fare suspects are all here: large omelets, breakfast tacos, and to-die-for pancakes. On top of that, there are plenty of crowd-pleasers, including queso (an underrated brunch food), benedicts on the weekends, and mimosas.

Such a comprehensive approach to brunch comes at a great price; most dishes aren’t much more than $10, and portions are generous. With an expansive patio on buzzy South Congress, Magnolia’s truly accommodates any brunch craving, anytime.

The Peached Tortilla

The Peached Tortilla followed a quintessentially Austin trajectory: it started as a food truck and relatively quickly expanded to multiple brick-and-mortars. Its main location is in central ATX, but there are several others, including one in the airport. Thankfully, nothing about the Asian-spun dishes coming out of Eric Silverstein’s kitchen got lost in translation during the expansion.

Dishes here are inventive, tasty, and unlike any other brunch fare in Austin. They’re creative yet comforting, as seen in the crab cake benedict made with kimchi and a red curry hollandaise or the chicken katsu sandwich with fermented honey. The setting perfectly matches the bites — vibrant and vivacious, a perfect foodie-focused brunch spot. Outside of brunch, don’t miss Fried Chicken & Whiskey night every Wednesday.


An elegant brunch set in even more elevated surroundings, Mattie’s offers a picture-perfect meal worth the splurge. Located in a 19th-century colonial-style mansion in lively Zilker, the setting here will transport you right out of the city. About 20 peacocks roam the grounds, there’s an expansive garden to stroll through, and old-growth oaks provide the perfect backdrop for photo ops.

The food at Mattie’s is Southern-inspired with a distinct Texan twang. Standouts include biscuits with chorizo cream gravy and chipotle pork chilaquiles. When you go, make a quick detour to one of the city’s iconic “Greetings from Austin” murals, just a few blocks away.

Austin - Punch Bowl Social

Punchbowl Social

A self-described ‘mothership of awesome,’ Punchbowl Social has bowling alleys, karaoke rooms (yep, entire rooms), a full bar, video arcades, and, best of all, delicious brunch.

Punchbowl Social’s secret culinary weapon is James Beard award-winning chef Hugh Acheson, whose mission is to serve more Texas-centric food. Sample chicken and biscuits with red chile honey or bread pudding French toast with candied pecans and bacon. The large hybrid restaurant entertainment venue has locations downtown, and in the Domain, so it’s easy to get your brunch fix from anywhere in the city.

Foreign & Domestic

Foreign & Domestic

This wildly popular food-driven eatery still feels like a neighborhood gem. Made-in-house popovers and biscuits, plus superbly-cooked meats and unique accompaniments, attract regulars, and it’s not hard to see why. There’s a large patio out back, a great family-friendly environment. And for any wine and beer lovers, once you see the drinks menu, it’ll be hard to pass on ordering.

F&D is located in the Northloop area, and its reputation has garnered numerous appearances on shows including Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, as well as Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods. This is a fairly rare exception to the no-reservations-needed rule; unsurprisingly, Foreign & Domestic gets busy.


The Laundrette

In this retro-chic eatery nestled into East Austin’s Holly neighborhood, it’s all about the aesthetic. The food is absolutely delicious, but it’s gram-worthy, too. Snap pics of your modern Americana fare, like the Rainbow Bowl with beet hummus and a bounty of colorful veggies or delightfully fluffy pancakes with crème fraîche.

The Launderette also has a special cocktail brunch menu and an extensive wine list. Prices here are a bit higher than other Austin brunch restaurants, but for the sleek environment and won’t-find-anywhere-else dishes, it’s worth the splurge. You may want to make a reservation, as it can be hard to get in.

Austin - Culinary Dropout patio

Culinary Dropout

With yard games, comfortable seating throughout, and several TVs tuned to sports, Culinary Dropout is the ideal hangout spot for casual meetups at Domain Northside. The wildly popular restaurant and bar serves Texan-accented Southern classics during weekend brunch, like Fried Chicken and Biscuits, Southwest breakfast bowls, and a unique pork BBQ Hash.

Prices at Culinary Dropout won’t break the bank, and there’s a solid list of locally-focused draft beers, cocktails, and spirits. They’re fun to order, too: “We’ll have a ‘Two Birds, One Stone(d)’ and a ‘Safety Meeting,’ please.”

Banger's Beer Garden

Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden

Want to develop meat sweats, listen to live music, and drink a beer during brunch, all in a world-famous setting on Rainey Street? Banger’s is the Austin brunch joint for you. A real local institution, Banger’s has well over 50 delicious beers on tap, with a heavy focus on Texas brews.

On the special brunch menu, served only on Sundays, Banger’s is truly a celebration of meat. You can order a sausage sampler, bacon beignets (try ‘em, trust me), or a house-cured bacon flight. Don’t worry if you’re not much of a carnivore; there are a few options for vegetarians, too. The mushroom toast on thick-cut sourdough is a standout.

And for the grand finale at Banger’s, order a ‘MANmosa,’ the ultimate Instagram-worthy brunch beverage. Coined “the official beverage of professional brunch enthusiasts,” a MANmosa is an entire bottle of champagne in a massive mug, topped off with a splash of OJ. It’s so large and potent that Banger’s limits customers to one MANmosa per day and requires it to be ordered with food.

Jade Restaurant

Looking to shake up the usual weekend brunch options? Head to Jade Restaurant for delicious and super affordable dim sum. Served in the traditional Chinese-American style featuring tableside cart service, load up on fried wontons, various dumplings, and steamed buns. Your table will be full of delectable-smelling baskets before you know it, and your group will be satisfied.

The environment at Jade Restaurant is simple yet cozy, and if there’s a wait, it usually isn’t long. Located in Davenport Ranch, it’s a bit out of the city core, but that means less of a crowd to contend with. Plus, it’s only minutes away from scenic Pennybacker Bridge.

Bird Bird Biscuit

Sometimes, you just want the most budget-friendly yet still delicious option. For those occasions, there’s Bird Bird, with its fresh, fluffy biscuits artfully crafted into massive sandwiches.

Fried chicken sammies are the restaurant’s mainstays, but another local favorite is the Bird Bird Bacon, which has a bacon-infused chipotle mayo in addition to bacon, egg, and cheese. A simple order of a biscuit with homemade blueberry jam is also very easy on the wallet but incredibly satisfying.

Bird Bird has two locations, one in the Chestnut neighborhood in East Austin and one in Brentwood. Notably, both locations use an order-ahead model, where customers order online or from a kiosk onsite, then head to the pickup window.

Tamale House East

Sampling Mexican food in Austin is an absolute must, including at brunch. Tamale House East is an Austin institution, open on East 6th Street since 1958. While the tamales live up to their moniker, that’s only the start.

Sample Migas, an Austin specialty based on a tortilla chip and egg scramble. There are also excellent chilaquiles and huevos rancheros, both of which are wallet-friendly at just $10. The restaurant aesthetic is both charming and rustic, and the vibe is welcoming and casual. It’s easy to see why this Austin classic continues to be perennially popular.

Downtown From Boardwalk, Austin, Texas

How to get to Austin


Getting to Austin is a breeze. Bergstrom International Airport (locally referred to as BIA) has an ample selection of daily flights. If there are no great flight options in terms of time or expense, you can also fly into Dallas-Fort Worth International, one of the largest airports in the US. The drive time between BIA and DFW is just over three hours.

Flying + Bus

If you’re flying into DFW but prefer not to rent a car, you can also take a bus from Dallas to Austin. Buses depart from Dallas regularly, and the one-way route typically takes around 3.5 hours.

Driving to Austin

As is often the case in Texas, driving may be the best method of transportation to Austin with regard to both cost and flexibility. With its central location in the state, Austin is within an easy drive of several major cities.

      • Houston: 2.5 hours
      • Dallas: 3 hours
      • Oklahoma City: 5.5 hours

“Greetings From Austin” Mural, Austin, Texas

Other Top Activities in Austin


For panoramic vistas of the city, Colorado River, and the outskirts of Texas Hill Country, climb the steps to the top of Mt.Bonnell. While it does get crowded, it’s easy to find a quiet corner to yourself.

Live Music

You’ll soon see why Austin is called the live music capital of the world. At any given time, you’ll find (literally) hundreds of local venues showcasing artists. Stroll around the Red River District, East Austin, and South Congress to catch a performance spontaneously, or book a trip during Austin City Limits or SXSW to catch world-renowned festival headliners.

South Congress

For a taste of authentic Austin flair, stroll down South Congress browsing the shops and eateries. Try on some Old West cowboy garb at Allen’s, rifle through racks at the quirky boutiques, and grab a frozen treat at the famous Amy’s Ice Cream.

Blanton Museum of Art

University of Texas’ impressive collection of modern art spans various periods and continents while also featuring the work of talented alumni. Make sure to stop by Ellsworth Kelly’s, a unique light sculpture, for an Insta-worthy photo op.

Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge - Austin, Texas

Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge

Strolling the trails near this pedestrian bridge makes for a pleasant afternoon. An attractive riverside green space, there are numerous photo ops with the Austin skyline as the backdrop. This park provides a breath of fresh air right in the city center, as well as a perfect viewpoint for watching Austin’s famous Mexican free-tailed bats, the largest urban bat population anywhere. From mid-March to early fall, watch for the thousands of bats to fly out from underneath the Congress Bridge at dusk.

Barton Springs

Soak up the sun or swim at America’s largest urban swimming pool. Fed by four natural springs, the water temperature in Barton Springs consistently stays around 70 degrees year-round. The clear spring pool in Zilker Park is the perfect retreat on sizzling Texan afternoons.

one more round


With its amazing foodie culture, it should come as no surprise that Austin has a fantastic beer scene. Not only are the beers delicious, but most breweries also have family-friendly environments perfect for lazy afternoons. Drive to Jester King, just outside city limits, for beautiful Hill Country views, goats, and a vineyard-like environment — but with hops. In the city proper, Blue Owl is known for its delicious sours and buzzy atmosphere. And last but not least, swing by Batch for the peaceful patio, house brews, and fresh kolaches.

Despite having a population of over one million, Austin still retains a vibrant, fun-loving college-town vibe. The city is significantly less spread out than others in Texas and, therefore, easier to navigate. Cluster your time around happening neighborhoods like East Austin, Rainey Street, or South Congress, where you’ll be able to enjoy several of the city’s hottest restaurants.

And remember: many of Austin’s best bites are served from food trucks and holes-in-the-wall, so never dismiss a place based on appearance alone. There’s always an exciting new gem to discover in Austin; this lively cultural hub is full of surprises!

 14 Best Brunch Spots in Austin, Texas #austin #texas #travel #vacation #trip #holiday #brunch #restaurant

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Travel to South Tyrol, Italy (Podcast)

Hear about travel to South Tyrol, Italy as the Amateur Traveler talks to Lynne Nieman about this beautiful region in northern Italy. 

Lynne says, “what I would say is probably gonna be geared more towards people who do want to be in the outdoors, or at least, you don’t have to be some sort of hardcore, hiker or ski or something like that. But even somebody that just appreciates the great outdoors appreciates beautiful mountains.”

“The Dolomite peaks are there. And, of course, the Dolomites are also a UNESCO world heritage site. There are nine total Dolomite parks. And I. Six of them are in the greater Trentino Alto Adige region, maybe three or four of those that are specifically in South Tyrol. So it’s a great place to appreciate the landscape or get out into the landscape, get out into the mountains.”

“There’s beautiful, charming villages. There’s lots of castles. If you’re a big city person, this is not your place, but if you like the small charming towns, some historical sites, and a beautiful natural landscape, then South Tyrol is for you.”

Lynne starts us in Castelrotto, which we use as a base for visiting the alpine meadow area of Alpe di Siusi. This is a beautiful, low-impact hiking experience. It is not like hiking the Alta Via 1, which we talked about recently.

She recommends a visit to the Prösels Castle, which sits below the Schlern mountain, or the castle near the town of Campo Tures by the Austrian border. 

You can take a day hike up to some of the mountain huts or hütte in the area, like Pederü Mountain Hut, Sennes Hütte, or Fanes Mountain Hut. You can stay overnight if you book in advance or just do a day trip.

Make a stop at the beautiful Lago di Braies (Lake Braies) with its beautiful green waters, or stop at the Augustinian abbey of Novacella where the monks have been making wine for almost 900 years. Visit the small village of Santa Maddalena in the beautiful Val di Funes. If you enjoy driving winding mountain roads, Lynne also suggests the drive over Passo Gardena.

If you love the outdoors, then make a visit to South Tyrol in Italy.


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Show Notes

Wander Your Way
South Tyrol
Why Castelrotto is the Best Town in the Dolomites Italy
A Guide to Hiking in the Beautiful Alpe di Siusi Italy
Prösels Castle
Santa Maddalena, Italy
San Vigilio di Marebbe, Italy
Pederü Mountain Hut
Sennes Hütte
Fanes Mountain Hut
Lake Braies in Italy – Lago di Braies / Pragser Wildsee
Novacella Abbey
The best wines of South Tyrol
Passo Gardena: One of the Most Beautiful Drives in Italy
7 Reasons Why You Should Travel To the Amazing Campo Tures Italy
Travel to South Tyrol, Italy – Episode 425
Travel to Northern Italy (Mantua, Verona, Padua) – Episode 552
Verona Arena


Andreas on Travel to Adelaide, Australia – Episode 770

Thanks for taking me back to Adelaide, where I spent 3 months on student exchange in 1992. Shout-out to Concordia College!

But I do have to weigh in on the Captain Hahn controversy, because I was surprised when you, Chris, said that he was Danish, not German. Because the name is clearly German.

What happened is that he was born on the island of Sylt, which had semi-autonomy within the Danish Kingdom and became part of Prussia in 1866 (after Hahn’s death).
So, it may well have been that he was a Danish citizen, but ethnically and linguistically, he was most probably German (or Prussian). He also sailed on a German ship and took German settlers to South Australia.

Before the time of nation states, I always find it a bit tricky to say that someone was of this or that citizenship. Especially so when it comes to multi-ethnic empires or, like in the case of Germany, to countries that simply didn’t exist at the time. (Germany as a nation state was only established in 1871, after Hahn’s death. However, that doesn’t mean that people didn’t have a notion of being German before, at least since the [failed] revolution of 1848.)
And even more so in that fraught region, which gave us the famous Schleswig-Holstein question.

Until today, there is a German minority in Denmark and a Danish minority in Germany, both protected by laws and treaties.
I touch on this in my report about a very long train ride from Germany to Sweden, to close on a travel-related note:

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Amateur Traveler Trips

Travel to South Tyrol, Italy (Podcast) | Things to do in the Dolomites #italy #southtyrol #dolomites #europe #hike #wine #castle #places

Travel to South Tyrol, Italy (Podcast) | Things to do in the Dolomites #italy #southtyrol #dolomites #europe #hike #wine #castle #places

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