Nashville

Nashville, TN is known for two major things: music and food. During my short time there, I got my fill of both!

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My mom and I having our first beers in Nashville, 2016. c. Leah Putz

If you’ve got music in your soul- especially country music- you’ve got to make your way to Tennessee’s biggest city. When strolling along Broadway whether it be day or night you’ll hear live music blasting from nearly every bar. There’s also a lot of talented musicians playing on the sidewalks, so you can enjoy the music as you walk!

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Tootsies, 2016. c. Leah Putz

On Broadway sits Tootsies World Famous Orchid Lounge. As the most well-known honkey tonk bar in Nashville, Tootsies has hosted a variety of famous acts on its three stages. The likes of Taylor Swift, Willie Nelson, and Patsy Cline have all performed here. Though the drinks are a bit expensive, it’s worth stopping by Tootsies to appreciate it’s hall of fame if nothing else.

History and/or art buffs should head to the Parthenon- a full scale reconstruction of the ancient temple in Athens, Greece. The building, located in the center of Centennial Park, functions as art museum. For those of us who may not get to go to Greece, it’s exciting to be able to see a complete replica of one of the world’s most iconic structure.

Parthenon in Centennial Park, 2016. c. Leah Putz

When in the south you can’t miss an opportunity to enjoy the amazing food. A big southern breakfast is a special treat, and there are many diners in Nashville that have menus stock full of delicious southern options such as chicken and waffles and, my personal favorite, biscuits and gravy. We went to 417 Union, a diner whose main floor pay homage to the WWII era and whose upper deck is styled in the Civil War era. As soon as we entered the diner it felt like we had stepped back in time!

 

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Summer in Winnipeg

A few summers ago, my friend Joe and I visited Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba, and came to the conclusion that Canada is like the hybrid child between America and Europe. When driving into Canada, we didn’t notice a change geographically, but suddenly there was French on all the signs and British flags everywhere. There were differences culturally as well. Everyone we met was incredibly helpful and friendly- giving us loads of advice of what to see and do in Winnipeg as soon as they heard we were Americans on our first trip to Canada.

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Me with Canadian money right after arriving in Winnipeg, 2013. c. Leah Putz

One of our Winnipeg favorites was the Manitoba museum, which is part historical museum and part science museum. Within the historical museum is the opportunity to walk alongside time and see how Manitoba has changed throughout the years, taking the viewer from Jurassic times right up to today. Alongside the exhibits are numerous plaques and videos to help you understand the gravity of what you’re looking at. The science portion of the museum is full of countless interactive activities for all ages. Although this area is geared more towards children, we also had a great time experimenting with the different activities as adults.

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Joe and a giant sloth skeleton at the Manitoba Museum, 2013. c. Leah Putz

If you cross the Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge from downtown, you will find yourself in the French Quarter, which is a very interesting part of Winnipeg. Foodies should definitely make a stop here. We had some amazing crepes and, of course, the Canadian delicacy poutine. This combination of cheese curds, gravy, and french fries is one of the greatest, most artery-clogging dishes created by mankind.

 

Me before the Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge, 2013. c. Leah Putz

Poutine in the French Quarter, 2013. c. Leah Putz

The French Quarter is also home to Fort Gibraltar, Winnipeg’s reconstructed fur trade fort, which gives people a chance to step back in time to a key location for the Canadian fur trade in the 18th century. The fort is full of people wearing authentic clothing from the time the fort was active as well as completing authentic tasks so visitors can get a true sense of what life was like for fur traders. For instance, we got to see a woman making a mug out of leather and a blacksmith making tools. The experience in the fort was very interactive; the employees engaged us in conversation and had answers for every question we could come up with.

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Fort Gibraltar, 2013. c. Leah Putz

Consider Winnipeg as a vacation destination this summer. We certainly had a blast taking in the history and the culture, and we loved how many friendly people we met.

 

6 Reasons a Fairy-Tale Fan Should Visit Germany

As a lover of the Grimm Fairy Tales, my time spent in Germany was wrapped up in imagining I was inside one of their stories. Marburg and Kassel are to this day some of my favorite cities I have visited, and I look forward to going back to Germany one day to explore more of the places I’ve compiled on this list. Without further ado, here I present 6 reasons that a Grimm Fairy Tale fan must travel to Germany!

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Marburg, 2013. c. Leah Putz

 

  1. Neuschwanstein Castle

If Neuschwanstein Castle looks familiar to you it’s not surprising, as Disney used the castle for inspiration when building Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle. The castle’s opulence, as well as its high position overlooking the beautiful countryside, make it easy to imagine you’re inside a fairy-tale! If you don’t have a chance to visit Neuschwanstein specifically, it’s okay. West Germany is covered in castles, and any one of them is a magical experience to tour.

  1. Marburg

Nestled in West-Central Germany sits Marburg, the city where the Grimm brothers collected many of their stories. Both Marburg and the brothers left a lasting impression on one another. Jacob and Wilhelm studied at Marburg University, where their appetite for literature and culture was awakened.

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Me in Marburg, 2013. c. Leah Putz

 

  1. Rapunzel’s Tower

Jouney to Trendelburg to stay at Hotel Burg and see Rapunzel’s Tower! Rumor is that Rapunzel was locked away in the very tower that stands connected to Trendelburg Castle today, and you can climb to the top and catch a far-reaching view of the German countryside. The castle doubles as a hotel as well, complete with a restaraunt and spa, making it a complete package of all you could ever want!

 

  1. “Talking Mirror” in Lohr am Main

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Any fairy tale fan would recognize this signature line from ‘Snow White.’ According to legend, the story of ‘Snow White’ stems from the real-life relationship between Maria Sophia Margaretha Catherina von und zu Erthal and her strained relationship with her ‘wicked’ step-mother, Claudia Elizabeth con Reichenstein. Claudia owned an ornate mirror from Lohr, who’s mirror’s have the reputation of always speaking the truth. The mirror worked it’s way into ‘Snow White’ as the magic mirror on the wall. This mirror, known as the “Talking Mirror,” is available to be seen at the Spessart Museum in Lohr am Main.

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Kassel, 2013. c. Leah Putz

 

  1. Kassel

Kassel is the epicenter of all things Grimm. The brothers lived there and worked at the Hessen State Library for many years. Today, there are many reminders in Kassel marking the city as the Grimm hometown, including a Brothers Grimm Monument, guided Grimm and fairy-tale tours, and the Bruder Grimm Museum, which houses an original copy of the Fairy-Tales, which is annotated by Jacob and Wilhelm.
1.Fairy-Tale Road Trip

Rent a car and hop onto the road to follow a 370 mile route running from Hanau, Germany to Bremen, Germany, covering a large chunk of Western Germany. The route is dappled with historic sites from the lives of Jacob and Wilhem Grimm, as well as sites that may have served as inspiration for their collection of Fairy-Tales. If you coast along this path, you’ll be able to see not only the fairytale gems on this list and many more, but the beauty of the German countryside as well!

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Kassel, 2013. c. Leah Putz