Austria Tag

Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein: How I Caught the Travel Bug (a.k.a the AwayBug)

Ms. Walker's last lecture

Ms. Walker’s last lecture

I just found out that my all time favorite teacher is retiring. Ms. Kelley Walker was my high school Advanced Placement European History teacher my senior year and she truly inspired me and shaped my future in ways she probably doesn’t even realize. If you’ve read my “About Us” section then you already know this. She was so incredibly passionate about European History that she took a subject that I previous considered boring and made it fascinating. I even (briefly) considered majoring in history after I took her class but decided on a much more useful degree…Theater. To this day my favorite genre of novels to read are historical fictions. On a side note if you haven’t read Katherine by Anya Seton go out and buy it now! A recommendation of Ms. Walker’s that is still my all time favorite book.

 

Ms. Walker with her students in Germany (I am in the back row 2nd from the left)

Ms. Walker with her students in Germany (I am in the back row 2nd from the left and Ms. Walker is the 4th from the right)

Every year in June Ms. Walker took her AP European History students to Europe. When I was a senior the trip was to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. This would be my first time ever leaving the United States and I really didn’t know what to expect. We flew into Frankfurt and visited Heidelberg, Wuerzburg, Rothenburg, Nuremberg, Salzburg, Munich (and Dachau), Neuschwanstein, Liechtenstein, Lucerne, Freiburg, & Worms. Whew, that was a lot in 10 days! It was on this trip that I was officially bitten by the travel bug. One thing that Ms. Walker said to our class that always stuck with me was that her biggest regret of college was that she didn’t study abroad. She encouraged all of us to study abroad and I really took this advice to heart. I ended up spending a semester in London my junior year and if it weren’t for Ms. Walker I don’t think I would have had the courage to do this. At the time it was a really hard thing to do. When you are 19 it is difficult to leave all of your friends, your activities, your apartment, your family…you feel like you are going to miss out on something but I always had Ms. Walker’s voice in the back of my head pushing me to take that leap of faith. Studying abroad in London was hands down the most profound experience of my college career and gave me the confidence I needed to go volunteer in South Africa and all of the other travel I did after college. And without all of these experiences AwayBug Travel would not have been born! So you see she really did shape my future and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. Have you had someone in your life that encouraged you to take a leap of faith? Who was your most inspiring teacher?

 

Me at Nymphenburg Palace

Me at Nymphenburg Palace (I think I’m wearing a fanny pack – Ha!)

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle (This looks like a postcard but I actually took this photo!)

Ms. Walker with Liz and Mike on the Rhine River in Germany

Ms. Walker with Liz and Mike on the Rhine River in Germany

 

 

A Destination Wedding in Prague, Czech Republic

This weekend while at the birthday party of my best friend’s daughter I got to hang out with some old clients of mine. Matt & Carrie were some of my first clients when I started planning trips professionally and I will always remember planning their destination wedding in Prague with fond memories. They are two of the sweetest people and now have two beautiful little girls. It was such an honor to plan such a special trip for them! Matt told me a great story about the night they were having dinner at the rooftop restaurant of their 5-star hotel overlooking Prague. They were just married and Matt was taking pictures of Carrie at their table so they could always remember the moment. There was a large table of men and women in suits seated just behind them and one of the women came over and said, “I’m sorry but I’m going to need to take your camera and all the pictures you just took.” They were of course confused and shocked and said no way! She asked them if they knew who the man sitting at the table behind them was and they said no. She went on to tell them that it was David Cameron and that he was probably going to be the next Prime Minster of the United Kingdom. Sure enough he was elected about a month later! They were allowed to keep their photos and the cool memory that they were dining right next to David Cameron on their honeymoon.

Prague

Planning a destination wedding is a complicated but fun process because not only do you have all of the travel aspects to arrange, you have all of the details of the actual wedding to figure out as well. Since I couldn’t physically visit the sites I relied on a local wedding agency in Prague that had a very good reputation for planning amazing weddings. They were fantastic to work with and together along with Matt & Carrie’s input we decided on Vrtbovska Zahrada for the ceremony, which is a beautiful Baroque Garden in the middle of Lesser Town. Carrie was an absolutely stunning bride and their wedding pictures might be the most beautiful I’ve ever seen! Finding the perfect photographer was a huge part of this wedding’s success. After a lot of research I found Kurt Vinion and I knew right away he had to be their photographer. I shared a sampling of his work with Matt & Carrie and they agreed. We picked the wedding day based on his availability and Matt & Carrie instantly felt at ease with him. After the ceremony he took them around Prague on a whirlwind photo shoot to some of Prague’s most iconic sites. They even ended up having a few drinks together after the shoot. See Matt’s testimonial at the end of my “happy clients” page for the full story.

Also, check out Kurt’s blog about Matt & Carrie’s photo shoot where you can see more stunning photos and hear Kurt’s take on the day – http://www.kurtvinion.com/blog/carrie-matts-destination-wedding-at-pragues-vrtbovska-zahrada-mala-strana/

Prague

PraguePrague

Prague  

After their wedding they joined up with a small group tour to visit Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic – Vienna, Austria – & Budapest, Hungary. After four days on their own in Prague they were excited to join up with some other travelers and have a guide to show them all the must see sites in each place. Both Matt & Carrie love art and history so these three destinations were perfect for their honeymoon!

Cesky Krumlov, Czech RepublicVienna, AustriaBudapest, HungaryBudapest, Hungary