It’s okay to abandon your family for the holidays.

I was in Europe for the Holidays – took a road trip that started in Munich to St Gallen to Zurich to Vienna and ending in Budapest. I love love love love my family (in the Philippines), but Christmas in Europe is quite amazing. It’s cold, shops are all decorated for the holidays, the Christmas Markets are amazing, all tourist spots are empty and best of all- it is cheap. Flights to Europe (and hotels) cost half of a trip to the Philippines. A ticket to Europe from LA is only $800, and it’s $1700 to fly to Manila. Think about it!

Instead, I visit my family during low season. My family understands. (Or do they? LOL)

 

Sound of Music Tour: One of my favorite things

250A1732Sound of Music is our family’s favorite movie. We love it so much that during my first trip to Salzburg, Austria a few years ago, I researched all the important addresses used in the movie and drove to a few of them. The trip took a scary turn when I ended up in the wrong part of town and my car got stuck in a small, deserted, muddy road and it started getting dark and cold.

So when my family and I visited Salzburg for the holidays recently, they suggested we take the official Sound of Music City tours run by the Salzburg City Tours (http://www.salzburgcitytours.com). The tour, which has been Salzburg’s most popular tour for over 35 years, lasted about 4 hours at only 40 euros per person. It was worth every penny! We all had an amazing time, and we learned a lot of facts about the movie that were not available online. The guides were very funny, helpful, enthusiastic and knowledgeable (and we even sang songs from the movie on the drive to the different locations.)

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Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof is German for “LUXURY”

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have stayed at several hotels in Germany and so far, Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof is the best hotel I’ve ever stayed at in the country. My room was very spacious, nicely fitted and luxurious. The bed was so big and comfortable, I was tempted to stay there all day. The bathroom had very beautiful fixtures, Egyptian towels, marble flooring, robes and a great choice of toiletries.

It is located in the heart of the city within walking distance to the shopping district, financial district and the old town. Everything is within walking distance including the train station and the scenic river two blocks away. If you choose to hire a limo or a cab, the airport is only within 12-15 minute drive. If you’re a foodie, you don’t need to go far. They have a Michelin-starred restaurant right in the hotel.

When I made the reservation, I requested for a room on the lower floor. Upon arrival, I was assigned a room on the 2nd floor. I was very impressed. This sounds like a simple request, but you have no idea how many times a hotel doesn’t read their notes.

The following afternoon, the front desk offered to take my shopping bags up to my room when they found out that I was running late to my next appointment.

The turndown service came on time every single night and replaced all our used towels and straightened our bed. The staff at the spa were also so accommodating and friendly. If you have time, make sure you try their tea service at the lobby – IT IS DECADENT (and surprisingly inexpensive).

All 261 rooms and 42 suites, enjoy an ambiance of luxury and first-class service. If you’re looking for an amazing (and luxurious) place to stay at – Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof is THE place.

 

PHOTOS BY: Edwin Santiago

PHOTOS BY: Edwin Santiago

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EISERNER STEG: LOVERS’ LANE IN FRANKFURT

I was walking across a bridge in Frankfurt so I can photograph the financial district of the city when I started noticing that the tourists were taking photos of the bridge railing instead of the city skyline.

There were thousands of padlocks all along the bridge from people all over the world telling their story of why they were there; to announce an engagement, profess their love, celebrate an anniversary, announce the birth of a child, or to remember a loved one. Eiserner Steg have become a symbol of ever lasting love for romantic couples.

The bridge also offers amazing views of the city’s skyscrapers on one side and historic buildings on other side.

Someday I will profess my love to my future husband on this bridge … after all, fairy tales do come true (And it can happen to me!).

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First Rate Experience at this Croatian Gem

I spent 5 nights and 6 days on the island of Hvar in Croatia. I was booked at the Adriana Hvar Spa Hotel  for 3 nights and another hotel for 2 nights. I was so spoiled and pampered at the Adriana that I came running back to them after a night at the other hotel. (It was like I was at Neiman Marcus and went down to Walmart). Nothing quite compares to the luxurious offerings of the Adriana. Nothing.

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Located in the center of the historical area of Hvar, the Adriana offers an impressive full service spa, a rooftop terrace with a covered salt water swimming pool and a sky bar that serves Mediterranean specialties with panoramic views of the Cathedral, the Piazza and the bay.

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