Each time I travel, I like to keep a little travel journal with me. The idea came up when I went on my first international mission trip to Southeast Asia, and a friend of mine suggested taking notes or keeping a diary that I could share with all of the people who made that trip possible. At first, I thought that I would remember everything. I figured I’d be able to seamlessly divulge all that I’d learned, seen, eaten, and smelled to anyone who asked once I got back. But after day 1 in Southeast Asia, I knew I was in over my head! Thankfully, my friend new better and gave me a journal to take, so I had one on hand! And it’s because of that experience that I’ve kept one ever since.
Reading through my travel journals, I feel like I’m stepping back in time. I’m once again in the streets of the slums, a brazen little boy reaching for my hand to help me cross a nasty bit of road. I can hear the slow thuds of the elephants moving past our jeep in Kenya, and I can taste ugali (or not taste it because it’s super bland!) with a touch of hot sauce for flavor. I would forget all of these details if it weren’t for my journals, and they’ve quickly become some of my favorite possessions!
With photography, my travel is now being documented in a new and improved way. My photographs are my keepsakes and souvenirs, but they’re also part of my journals. They tell the story of what I’ve seen, the details I noticed that may be overlooked by others, that capture the feel of the atmosphere.
Since I’ve started sharing Garrett and my love story here on the blog, I felt that you all had a vested interest in our honeymoon! At least the appropriate stuff 😉 So here’s a little peak into our adventure through southern Germany and France!
Why Germany & France?
Of all the places to go for our honeymoon, why did we pick these locations? Honestly, my first pick was Bali or Thailand (hello, elephants)! But after getting married in Hawaii, we both wanted a change of pace and new scenery. Tropical destinations are lovely, but the phrase “too much of a good thing” has truth to it! Garrett and I are happy to lay on a beach for a day or two, but we get bored easily if we’re in one place for too long. We need variety!
Germany and France are destinations that have been at the top of our travel lists for a while now. We both share a love for history, and with Garrett’s love for beer and my love for bread, the two countries seemed like a perfect fit!
Our trip started in Munich where we visited historic churches, walked through Marienplatz, ate pretzels, drank beer, biked through the English Gardens and ate more pretzels. Did I mention the pretzels? They were a genuine food group over there! Our flight landed just before 9am in Munich, and since our hotel wouldn’t let us check in until 2pm, we had a few hours to explore. We ditched our luggage at the hotel (thank you, Buddy Hotel, for having lockers!) and set off for Marienplatz!
Just a note: the photos of Munich are all iPhone photos, so sorry for the quality! Honestly, I was too tired in Munich to pull out my big camera. That’s a terrible excuse, but I’m going with it!
Marienplatz is a beautiful, historic street in Munich. It’s covered in biergartens, cafés, shops, churches, and markets. And it’s completely pedestrian! Our first goal (or more accurately, Garrett’s first goal) was to find beer and food. One of his favorite things to eat is bratwurst and sauerkraut, so we settled down at a little eatery called the Augustiner! Thankfully, our server was fluent in English. I know, so American of us! We’d studied German and French a little before the trip and downloaded the necessary translation apps, but after being up for 24 hours, it’s nice to not have to try so hard!
It wasn’t long before our hotel was ready for us, so we trekked back, laid down for a 20 minute nap…and woke up 3 hours later. Probably not the best idea, but Garrett was the only one who slept on the plane, and I needed that nap!
The next morning, the weather was a bit dreary in the city, so we took a train and bus out to Dachau. Visiting a concentration camp was something we both wanted to do because we’re both invested in history, and we wanted to understand better what the holocaust was like. Honestly, part of me was worried about visiting because it’s such a tough part of history to contemplate. And it was. But more than that, visiting Dachau gave me such an appreciation for all of the survivors and heroes of World War II and the Holocaust. And I don’t think I would ever have understood as much as I did in Dachau what the victims went through. I’m so glad that we went because I felt like the victims deserve to be remembered and honored. And I’m still processing this experience even after being back home for almost a week.
The rest of our stay in Munich was wonderful! It was the perfect first city for us on our trip because it gave us a good cushion to get better at the language, and it was so easy to navigate. We biked through the English Gardens on our third day in Munich, and the weather was perfect! Sweater weather is my main jam. Anytime I walk outside and need a light jacket, I swear it’s Christmas! Combine that with a light breeze, beer, pretzels and people-watching in a park? Gold.
The next stop in our honeymoon was the little Bavarian town of Garmisch! Talk about beautiful! Looking back, this may have been my favorite stop of our honeymoon, and not just because the views were incredible. There’s just a pace to smaller towns that fits my soul so well. I’m all for big cities, but I get tired of them really quickly. And this little Bavarian town was quiet while still being full of interaction and activities!
My love for Garmisch also stems from the amazing bed & breakfast that we stayed in called the Hotel Edelweiss! Their staff and their breakfast was the most magical thing we encountered! Each morning, we’d wake up to fresh bread (y’all), charcuterie, salmon, eggs, sausage, jams…you name it! And their coffee was so good. It reignited my love for coffee.
The town of Garmisch was celebrating a small Bavarian festival the week we arrived! The staff at Hotel Edelweiss called it their “mini Oktoberfest,” so you know we were going to check that out! Everyone wore traditional Bavarian garb to the point where we totally looked like tourists. But after a couple beers and songs by their live Bavarian band, we were totally fine with it. Garrett even won me a little wooden doll which I named Frederick! He went with us on the rest of our adventures!
Garmisch acted as our home base while we traveled to all of the many castles in southern Germany! The most famous one is King Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein Castle (you’ll know it when you see it)! Of the three castles, we only toured the inside of one, Linderof Palace, because the wait times for the other castles were outrageous. Lesson learned, plan out these activities months in advance!
I had to casually snap a photo of a biergarten! They are literally everywhere in Bavaria, and it was such a treat to end our days at one of these, beer in one hand and pretzel in the other!
By far the best view at Linderof 😉
After visiting some of the castles in the mornings during our stay, we’d venture off to one of the other cute little Bavarian towns! Mittenwald, Füssen, Oberammergau to name a few! Each town had it’s own unique charm while carrying all the lovely details of Bavaria. Bright baskets of flowers hanging from windows, painted buildings and cobblestone streets enchanted us every step of the way!
Germany was such a treat, but after a week full of pretzels and beer, we were excited to move on to cheese and wine (but still bread)! Like in Munich, we first arrived in Paris, and I just wanted to take it all in! I didn’t want to be consumed by my camera, or bogged down by my heavy camera bag, so I opted to travel lightly and take photos with my phone!
Our first night in Paris was a little difficult. We didn’t know this, but we were traveling on a holiday so the KeyCafé that held our Airbnb key was closed until 7am the next morning. Not good! Thankfully, we found another café that was open, had Wi-Fi and we were able to contact our host to get it resolved! We got into our Airbnb a little later than expected so we opted for a quick meal and walk to the Eiffel Tower at sunset. I mean, what’s not to love about that? And after countless trips through the Paris airport, I finally saw the Eiffel Tower! It really does twinkle at night, you guys! It’s lovely!
One of my bucket list locations has always been the Palace of Versailles! However, you know how people say that you should never meet your favorite celebrities? Because they might let you down? That’s kind of what visiting Versailles felt like to me. Versailles wasn’t a bad experience, but it definitely doesn’t have the magical glow that I thought it would! For one, it’s literally right on the side of the street. I though it would be more like the Biltmore with an entrance to the grounds before you see the Palace. But it is in plane view from the sidewalk! And there were so many people! The line to get into Versailles was over four and a half hours long! We stayed in line for about 45 minutes and hadn’t made it a quarter of the way before giving up. It put a damper on our mood!
However, once we made the decision to just walk through the gardens, our mood instantly improved! We walked down the steps, rented some bikes, and were on our way for a beautiful afternoon! We visited Marie Antoinette’s home and the Chateau de Trianon. This was my favorite part of Versailles because it was more quiet, country-like, and so charming!
After a few days wandering Paris, we rented a car and drove to Bayeux, a little French town in the heart of Normandy. Once again, the little towns outside the big city were my favorite!! We wanted to visit Normandy because of the charm, but also because of the history. The D-Day beaches are just 20 minutes north of Bayeux, and the area is filled with World War II history. On our first full day in Normandy, we visited the Arromanches-les-Bains, Omaha Beach, Utah Beach and Pointe du Hoc.
We also walked through the American and German Cemeteries. And if that wasn’t a healthy amount of history, we also, visited the World War II Memorial in Caen the next day, and that alone took four hours! There is so much to learn in this region in France, and we loved soaking in the history.
The sand at Omaha Beach!
After our visit to the Caen Memorial, we drove over to another bucket list destination of mine, Mont Saint Michel! We planned to arrive later in the afternoon, after 5pm, because we were told the crowds are insane during the main part of the day. And that advice was correct! As we arrived, hundreds of tourists were leaving, and the Abbey was beginning to settle down and get quiet. We loved walking up to the Abbey at the top of Mont Saint Michel! Since the tide was low, we were also able to walk out on the sand surrounding the Abbey. This was my favorite part!
On our final day in Bayeux, we traveled to Honfleur for lunch! This little marina town is so picturesque, begging to be photographed! I love how close the buildings are with all of the boats in front! And the food was so tasty!
But our little home base of Bayeux was my favorite place to come back to. After exploring Normandy each day, we’d come back to Bayeux, sit in a café and watch people go by. It was the perfect place to end our honeymoon!
If you’ve made it to the end, then you are something special! Thank you for scrolling through all of these photos! If you’re planning your own trip through Germany or France, or both, let me know and I’ll happily share our detailed itinerary with you!