3 days in Capetown and Durban

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South Africa is an incredible destination.  Sitting at the tip of the African continent, this country has it all in terms of terrain and landscapes.  Miles and miles of beautiful coast rivaled by the mountains and rock formations of its hinterlands.  There’s the savanna to the serengeti, plans to grassy lowlands.  There’s also, of course, a very complicated, but rich history.

From the coastal beauty of Cape Town to the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg, there is so much to see in this gorgeous country.  I’d be remiss not to mention the shanty towns that provides a stark reminder of the impoverished conditions for many people there.

Having hosted the World Cup several years ago, South Africa has been on the world stage before and hopefully will thrive from the attention, in the form of economic and touristic opportunity.   In my opinion. South Africa should be visited via tour, as there is so much to see in a finite amount of time, that you’ll want to be organized and have people who know where they’re going, as it is still a developing nation.

Out of Africa…

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24 hours in Prague

Prague is probably the most popular destination in Central Europe.  It’s a great city filled with spectacular vistas and bridges and churches.  It’s the city of a hundred spires, packed to the brim with Medieval churches, a castle, cobblestone paths.  It’s very walkable, and the beer is cheaper than water (it basically is water?) .   It’s a european city, so there’s also a thriving red light district and sex museums–fun for everyone, question mark.  What do you expect, it was the capital of Bohemia at one point.

Praha is a classic destination, with art, culture and architecture abound.  I spent a much too short 24 hours here, and while there are other cities I prefer, this is certain a must see for anyone traipsing around Europe looking for a good time.

The devil wears praha

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day trip to Heidelberg

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Heidelberg is one of Germany’s classic cities and is it’s original college town.  Home to Heidelberg University, Germany’s oldest institute of higher learning, this postcard of a city sits on the banks of the Neckar River.  About a quarter of its residents are students, so it’s a young, lively place, with several areas in the city to meet up and hang out with friends.

The city is 50 miles south of Frankfurt, so I traveled by train from the airport.  You don’t realize how large of a country Germany is until you travel through its countryside.  Vast would be an understatement.

I was in town for my German cousin’s wedding.  Having met his wife while in school, Heidelberg was the perfect location to celebrate their union.  The best thing about having European family is getting to travel in their countries.  For real.

The old town of Heidelberg lies on the south bank of the river.  The Kornmarkt plaza is the central meeting area, where there’s souvenir shops and farmer’s markets.  It is a part of the Main Street, a mile long pedestrian drag lined with boutiques and every type of ethnic cuisine possible.

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The castle on a hill (shout out Ed Sheeran) is the main event in this city.  The Heidelberg Castle ruins sit up above the river, it’s Renaissance style facade having been damaged by fires and lightning over the centuries.  It’s still quite formidable and impressive.

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If you see one thing in this city, you have to see these ruins.  If not for the historical relevance, but for the gorgeous view from its grounds.  Take the Bergbahnen funicular directly from Kornmarkt to the Schloss (Castle).

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This is just breathtaking.  Old world charm.  I couldn’t even imagine going to college in a place like this, with cobblestone roads and castles just down the street.

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The German countryside literally looks like the aerial view of Charlie Bucket’s hometown in the Gene Wilder classic, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  With its brick buildings and the Old Bridge spanning the Necktar, it’s straight out of a painting.

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Heidelberg was a prominent location for the German Romantic movement in the 1800s.  And authors like Victor Hugo and Mark Twain wrote about these hallowed ruins as well.  I mean, with a view like this, how could you not be inspired?

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The 14th century constructed (started anyway) castle is made up of a courtyard with several surrounding buildings.  There’s Gothic and Renaissance styles of architecture, which have also persisted through the French pillaging it in 1600s.

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This Schloss also boasts the world’s largest wine barrel, the Heidelberg Tun.  You can climb up to a platform on top and dance on its dance floor.  I mean, wine not?

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The apothecary museum showcases pharmacology from the Renaissance period, and is incredibly well preserved.

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just say nein

When you’re in town for events, sometimes there’s not too much time to sightsee, but try to pick at least one destination to hit.  This one was worth it for sure, just remarkable.

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