While most people like to hibernate in the winter with the temperatures dropping, I’m embracing it with all my might! We’ve had some cooler weather in Florida over this past month, and despite a couple days in the 80s this week, we’re getting another cold front. Hooray!
While I’ll admit I’ve been slacking on my exercising lately, these cooler temps (lows in the 40s, highs in the 60s) are primetime for us Floridians to get our workout on before summer strikes! The biggest thing to get me moving though, is music. So I’ve pulled together my perfect winter workout playlist! In usual fashion, it contains songs out on the radio now, with some old school jams weaved in.
What tunes are getting you moving this time of year?
As you all know, I love traveling. And I know many of you do too! You book your flights, plan you trip, and head excitedly to the airport. But as you drive into the garage, and see the sign, it hits you. On top of the flights, hotels, rental cars, food, excursions, etc. you’ve paid for, there’s also the dreaded airport parking fees. In bigger cities, it’s upwards of $40 per day just to park in long-term parking. So for a 5-day trip, that’s an added $200 at least! And in other cities, it’s typically at least $10 per day, which adds up fast!
Enter Global Airport Parking and their parking rates of as little as $4 per day (rates vary by city)! The company has partnered with several off-site hotels and parking lots within a few minutes of the airport in several locations, to give you the best bang for your buck when it comes to parking for trips. The only catch is that you have to build in a little extra time in planning to get to the airport, since the shuttles run from the parking site to the airport every half hour (:00 and :30).
I was given the opportunity to try the service out during my 10-day Europe trip and thought overall, it was great! I booked our reservation a couple months in advance (you can do it as far out or close to the trip as you want), and printed it out for the day-of. When we arrived at the hotel, we weren’t positive where we should be parking, so we asked the valet at the hotel entrance. We only had a few minutes to spare before the shuttle took off for the airport, so fortunately, the shuttle waited a few extra minutes for us to park around the building (same lot as the hotel guests) and make our way through the hotel to the shuttle. Phew!
Since the valet knew that we were parking guests via Global Airport Parking, he had our shuttle bus passes ready (this is how they ensure that you’re an actual guest and not just a random person hopping aboard) and handed them over in exchange for a glance at our parking reservation paper. Then, we were off to the airport, and were dropped directly at our airline’s ticket counter entrance in about 10 minutes! Tipping the shuttle drive is optional, but we really enjoyed chatting with ours and it was the Christmas season, so we left a nice little tip for him!
The process is a little different for airport pick-up once you land back at your home airport. Instead of running every half hours, these shuttles run on-demand, and they request that you give them a call once you’ve picked up any bags from baggage claim so they can head over. We traveled with carry on bags only, so I called as soon as we stepped off the shuttle from the gate to the baggage claim side of the airport. It took about 17 minutes for a shuttle to arrive after we called, but I think the slight delay might also have been due to the schedule of the bus already running to/from the airport. We were pretty exhausted after our travel day home (it was essentially 24 hours from the time we woke up in Prague to the time we landed back in Tampa), so the wait time was a little discouraging to us, but since the airport is extra busy around Christmas, it made sense that we might have to wait a little bit longer. But once we were dropped off back at the hotel, we went right to the car (once we remembered where we parked) and were able to head home – completely hassle-free!
Overall, we had a great experience using Global Airport Parking! Since the reservation payments and details are handled ahead of time, all you have to do when you’re going on a trip, is show up! The car was completely safe and exactly how we left it, even after sitting there for 10 days. Plus, for a lengthy trip in particular, what are you looking to pay? $4/day or $40?!
Have you tried an offsite parking service when traveling? How do you normally handle parking when you’re flying out for a trip?
This post is sponsored by Global Airport Parking. I received complimentary service for review purposes.
Prior to our trip to Salzburg, I didn’t know too much about the city, but I knew it was a place we needed to squeeze in, even if it were just for a day. We arrived via bus from Munich at the main train station and hopped in a cab to take us to our incredible home for the evening, Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron.
After checking in, our first stop was at Cafe Sacher (which sits in the Sacher Hotel) for lunch, and to try the famous Sacher Torte (a delicious and rich chocolate cake dessert)! I opted for a Chicken Caesar Salad and my mom went with the more traditional, Wiener Schnitzel. Both of us cleared our plates pretty quickly, but in usual fashion, saved some room for dessert.
What’s really cool about the famous Sacher Torte is that it was a unique dessert created in 1832 for Prince Wenzel von Metternich of Vienna and his guests, by a 16-year old apprentice, after the head chef had fallen ill. It was so well received that after finishing his chef training, the 16-year old, Franz Sacher later went on to open his own shop, and years later, his son carried out his legacy by opening Hotel Sacher in 1876. Fast forward to today, the recipe for the original Sacher Torte is under lock and key (kind of like the secret Coca-Cola recipe). With the exception of one or two people, nobody knows the recipe in its entirety, which makes it even more special!
Post-lunch we walked across the bridge into “Old Salzburg,” where many shops, restaurants, and Christmas market tents were set up. Here, we made a stop at the Visitor’s Center and picked up our Visit Salzburg cards, which provided free access to many of the city’s attractions, including bus lines!
We spent some time touring “Mozart’s Birthplace,” and his childhood home, which was really neat to see! His first piano was on display – from the 1750s! “Mozart’s Residence,” where he spent his time later in life is also open for tours in “New Town Salzburg,” but unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to stop there. If you didn’t guess, Mozart is HUGE in Salzburg. After all, how many places can tout such a prominent musician?!
As the sun was starting to set, we trekked over toward the Salzburg Cathedral, where the Christmas markets were in full swing, and made our way to Fortress Hohensalzburg, full of history, and you’ll get (hands down) the BEST view of Salzburg. Construction on the fortress began in 1077 and over the years, more and more was added to the land atop the hill atop Salzburg.
We received admission with our Visit Salzburg cards, and also were able to get to the head of the line for the funicular, which zipped us up to the top of the hill to start exploring!
When we stepped out to see the view from above, we found it was nothing short of breathtaking! Salzburg isn’t a big city by any means, but there’s no doubt that it’s a beautiful one. From above the city, we could pinpoint locations we’d run around to earlier in the day, admire the gorgeous mountain views surrounding us, and see the glimmering Christmas lights at the markets below us. In my opinion, sunset is the time of day you want to be here. Not only will you be able to take in the view in the daylight, but once the sun sets, you can see the city lights below!
After taking a million photos, we joined one of the audio tours being given at the Fortress. It was a little tough seeing some of the things being spoken about at times since everyone would shuffle over at the same time in each of the rooms we were in, but it was very educational, and crazy to think that people stood where we were standing so long ago!
As the Fortress started closing up, we made our way back to ground-level to scope out the Christmas markets and shops scattered throughout “Old Town.” I loved finding something new at every turn, and finding a few hidden gems tucked away down side alleys!
The activity I was most excited about during our day in Salzburg was the Krampus Run. I learned about the legend of Krampus a few months before our trip and then found out a movie was being made in the U.S. about it! Basically Krampus is St. Nicholas (Santa’s) counterpart, who “takes care of” the bad kids, while Santa rewards the good. Let’s just say I’m sure there were ZERO bad kids growing up in the regions where this guy existed, because HOLY CREEPINESS.
So, the Krampus Run. Salzburg has a few of them during the Christmas season and the square is completely packed with people excited to observe. Basically, it’s a play where St. Nicholas and Krampus come together to determine whether or not you’ve been good or bad and then give gifts accordingly. The entire play was in German so we only understood a few words here and there, but it was totally worth freezing for, because post-play, the Krampus’ came out.
It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, hearing “run,” but what we gathered from watching was that there were several Krampus clubs in and around Salzburg, and each one had their own look for Krampus. They all come out dragging whips and chains (in true Krampus form) and actually hit you with them if they’ve determined you’ve been bad. Some were midly creepy (like the one that kept coming after my mom and I), and others were downright terrifying!
I’ll admit, reading what I just wrote sounds incredibly odd, but it was probably a top three moment of our entire 10-day Europe trip. SO many deep belly laughs came out of this event, and no matter how strange, I think everyone needs to experience this!
The Krampus run seemed to end pretty abruptly, which we were sad about, but at the same time, we couldn’t wait to defrost. Fortunately, our last stop of the day wasn’t far at all, St. Peter Stiftskeller, the oldest restaurant in Europe! It was seriously the most magical restaurant I’ve ever been to. You can read all about our experience here.
The next morning, we woke up to the most incredible view and explored the grounds of our hotel a bit (highlighted in this post), and then headed off to the station, where we were hopping a train to our next destination, Vienna!
Of course I was excited to visit all of the cities and countries on our itinerary, but Salzburg really exceeded my expectations in every way! This is one city I can’t wait to get back to!
I received a Visit Salzburg card for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Happy Groundhog Day! It’s so hard to believe it’s already February! Didn’t New Years just happen? I know I/we all say it a lot, but really, where is the time going?! Before we get into my February goals, lets take a quick look back and see how I did on January’s:
Read a book (in its entirety). Believe it or not, but I actually read not one, but TWO books this month! Attachments and Why Not Me? – both of which I loved!
Drop off items to donate. Done! I dropped off a bag of toys at the Humane Society AND a few bags of old clothes and kitchenware to Goodwill.
Declutter. So far, so good on this one. It’s a work-in-progress but I cleaned out my desk and nightstand drawers and threw out an embarrassing amount of papers and other junk that’s been collecting dust for far too long!
Take down the Christmas decorations. Sadly, this is done. But I did leave up one little decoration, as I do every year (never on purpose though)!
Conduct a reader survey. Check! This was my first reader survey for STCL so I was a little nervous how the feedback would be, but it was all very positive and informative to see!
Looking ahead at this month, here’s what on my list to achieve.
Post on Instagram at least once a week. I love scrolling through Instagram, but sometimes I’ll forget to snap “Insta-worthy” photos, or have crazy/busy/stressful weeks where I don’t even think about it. This month, I want to up my Instagram game.
Finish recapping December’s Europe trip on the blog. I returned from my Europe trip in mid-December but with the whirlwind of Christmas and getting back into the swing of things post-holidays, there’s still SO much I have to share with you guys! I’ll be wrapping up Salzburg this week and the rest of the month look out for posts on Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, and Prague. They’ll be coming in full force!
Have one TV-free night per week. I’m so guilty of being sucked into TV and getting nothing productive after getting home from work at night. I want to have one TV-free night a week to catch up on reading, blog things, and my class group project.
Hit 1k followers on Bloglovin. I’ve seen a consistent rising in my social media followers over the past couple months and am hoping to cross the 1k line on Bloglovin. It seems like a bit of a stretch since I still have a little over 100 to go, but you have to start somewhere!
Book my next trip. I’m itching to plan another trip and this month, my goal is to have something booked!