Travel Archives

I started blogging about all of our travels to share our adventures with family and friends, but also to document those memories so that we can always go back and remember.   Now that I've been blogging for awhile and have had the benefit of writing about so many great European adventures, those blog posts tend to get lost in the fray, so to speak.

"Travel Archives" is provided here so that my readers can easily find links to those blogs I wrote about each fantastic journey.  Planning these trips can take a crazy amount of time, so under each location, I have also included our hotel information, and how we traveled there - by train, plane, or automobile - so that others interested in traveling to the same locations might have one more resource to use for planning trips.  If you ever have any questions, don't hesitate to comment on the posts or the page. I would love to help in any way that I can to make sure your trips create incredible memories without too much hassle.     

I hope that this provides a fun source to plan your travels to Europe.  We have had a ball, and I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as we enjoyed living them.



Austria is one of our favorite countries in Europe.  Our first winter here, we found Alpbachtal, which sits just inside the Austria's border with Germany.   We loved our first winter excursion there so much, we returned again in July for a summer holiday. From Bamberg, where we were living, it was less than four hours by car.  Driving in Austria is easy, just remember to buy a Vignette if you are going to use the autobahn, and if you travel beyond Innsbruck, there is a hefty toll.
Our first trip ski trip to Austria and Alpbachtal was in February of 2012.  We stayed at Neubauhof in Reith im Alpbachtal, which is a very comfortable and affordable Gasthaus that sits walking distance to the center of town and the ski slope (where there was also night skiing) (and they allow pets - huge plus in our book!).  Here is little r on skis for the very first time!

We experienced Alpbachtal during the summer in July 2012.  We stayed for a week at the same Gasthaus in Reuth, and we had so much fun that I broke the trip into four parts:  swimming and hiking Alpbachtal, a day in Wildshoenau, adventures on a single chair lift (freaking crazy!!!), and Alpbach Dorfest.

We returned for more winter fun in February 2013. Our favorite Gasthaus was booked, so we stayed instead at Haus Luzia in Reith im Alpbachtal.  This Gasthaus was comfortable and in a great location on the other side of town. She also allowed pets, but the building was not non-smoking, so I would only recommend it if smoking doesn't bother you. 

All of the restaurants in Reith im Alpbachtal are amazing and well-priced.  You will want to make a reservation for each night of your stay in Reith, however, because they fill up quickly.  We usually do a quick walk through town and walk inside to make reservations for every night we are there.  (They all allow dogs inside as well!)


We went to Belgium for Memorial Day weekend in 2013 with my mom when Baby C was only two weeks old.  The drive to Belgium takes about seven hours from Bamberg.  We broke up the trip by stopping for lunch in Aachen, Germany.  Here is a link to my blog post about our trip to Belgium.

We were in Belgium for four days, spending two nights in Brugge, a day in Ghent, and our last night in Brussels.  After Brugge and Ghent, we were not as impressed with the big city feel in Brussels.  I agonized for awhile about how to organize this trip, and staying in Brugge for the first two nights was definitely the right choice for us.  

In Brugge, we stayed at Huis Sint Andries Cruyse, which is a sweet little B&B that sits right on the canal at the edge of Brugge.  The B&B offered parking (albeit limited), and two rooms large enough for a family sleeping 3 or 4. 

In Brussels, we stayed at a hotel that could accommodate our family including my mom for a cheap price without skimping on too many comforts.  It was in a decent location and public parking garages were close by for a fee.  Nothing special about the hotel except that it was convenient and worked for what we needed at this part of our trip.

Czech Republic


The Czech Republic is an easy and close destination by car from Eastern Bavaria.  From Bamberg it was about 4 to 5 hours.  To drive in the Czech Republic, you'll need to purchase a toll sticker when you cross the border.  They will take Euros, and depending on the exchange rate, it'll cost about 18-20 EUR.  We went to Prague for Easter in April 2012, and then I went again when my sister visited us on her honeymoon in June 2012.  For both trips we stayed at a B&B, Lida House, that I found recommended by Rick Steves'.  It sits just outside the city center, but it's a short walk to the tram and only a couple stops until you are downtown.   


Provence / Cote d'Azur

In October 2012, we found a cheap flight from Munich to Marseille, and spent four days in Provence and Cote d'azur. We rented a car from Sixt and braved the roads among the crazy French drivers.  Our flight got in first thing, so we had an entire day in Provence.  We started in Arles, drove up to Pont du Gard (a ancient Roman aqueduct that bridges the Gardon River), traversed the heart of Provence to have dinner in St. Remy-de-Provence (visiting a castle in Travason along the way), and stayed the night in L'isle sur la Sorge at Le Terrasses Du Bassin.

Our second day we headed to Cote d'Azur, visiting St. Tropez along the way, where we had a room reserved at a B&B right on the ocean in Cagnes sur Mer at La Locandiera.  While in Cote d'Azur we explored Antibes, Juan le Pin, Cagnes sur Mer, and had dinner in Villfranche-sur-Mer.  In this blog post I talk about our impressions of each of these very different parts of Cote d'Azur.  We didn't have time to explore Nice, but I wish we had.  On our way back to Marseille, we stopped in a mountain town called Gourdon, and did a quick visit to Aix-en-Provence.

Colmar / Strasbourg

In January 2013, Big R surprised me by flying my mom out to see us for a couple of weeks.  We made an impromptu trip into France to visit Colmar and Strasbourg.  Both are amazing cities, and their Christmas markets are still going strong through New Years.  We stayed in Colmar at Ibis Styles hotel downtown, and spent the next day in Strasbourg before driving home.



For Big R's birthday in October 2011, we took a trip to Berlin.  On our drive to Berlin, we took a detour through Dresden and stopped in Straupitz, which is where Big R's great grandfather was born. Once in Berlin, we stayed in a Rick Steve's recommended B&B called Pension Peters.  Berlin is a wonderful city full of history.

Berchtesgaden-Konigsee (and Salzburg)

In June 2013, we took a German-style adventure to Berchtesgadenerland with Big R's parents when Baby C was only four weeks old.  We stayed in Konigsee for three nights at Pension Berganemone, which was a 15 minute walk into town and a five minute drive from Lake Konigsee.  We explored Konigsee including the very popular boat ride, Berchtesgaden (if you like Thai food, Kurz a Curry is a must for dinner!), the Salt Mine, and Salzburg.

Füssen and Neuschwanstein Castle

We traveled to Neuschwanstein Castle in January 2012 with Big R's parents.  It's an easy drive from most points in Bavaria.  We stayed for a couple nights in Füssen at a great hotel downtown called Alstadt Hotel zum Hechten.  If you are visiting the fairytale castle, I highly recommended using Füssen as a home base.


Garmisch is a treat for military families because there is a post located there, and the Edelweiss hotel can bring you a touch of home.  Big R has had several trainings there, and I have joined him for one our first (2011) October in Germany and we visited for a week of skiing in March of 2014.

If you are staying in the Garmisch area for training or just with the family (because it's a beautiful area in Germany), I highly recommend breaking away from Garmisch and staying at the Edelweiss and instead venturing closer to the Austria border about 20 minutes away to a town called, Mittenwald.  It is absolutely incredible and a charming little German town with out all the tourists.  Here is a link to my blog about this trip. 

We stayed at Pension Karner, and although you have to share a bathroom, everything else about the pension was great.  The owners are Scottish but have lived in Germany for almost 30 years.  Their English is obviously perfect, and they are very happy and good-spirited people.  For 70 Eur for a triple room, it was worth every penny, and breakfast and parking was also included.  The pension is located at the end of a road at the foot of several hiking trails, but it is also only a 10 minute stroll into town.  I can't recommend it enough. 

Rhine Valley - Bacharach/St. Goar

I took a last minute trip to the Rhine Valley in August 2012 with a good friend and her 7 month old son.  We drove from Bamberg to Bacharach along the Rhine River, and showed up without any reservations (only the names of a few hotels).  We ended up staying for two nights at Pension im Wanderwinkel, and it ended up being a perfect hotel for us.  We explored Bacharach and took a boat tour up the Rhine River to St. Goar.  The weather was hot, so we spent most of the trip relaxing and enjoying the local food and wine.

Weinachsmarkt/Christmas Markets

One of the best things about being stationed in Germany is being able to enjoy all of the Christmas markets during the winter holidays.  Each year we are overly ambitious about all of the markets we want to visit, but we never end up seeing as many as we had hoped.  Our favorite, hands down, is Erfurt (but go on a week night or the crowds will overwhelm you).  Last year I wrote one blog post about all of the markets we visited. Here is a post about Bamberger Weinachtmarkt, Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, our Rothenberg o.d. Tauer adventure in the rain, and Erfurt and Munich.  


Plitvice Falls

Plitvice Falls sits on the northern edge of Croatia between Zagreb and Split.  It is a wonder of wonders - a natural park made of a million waterfalls.  There are no words that describe this incredible place.  We drove as part of a roadtrip to Slovenia.  It is about 3-4 hours from Lake Bled and Ljubljana.  There is no need to make the drive though because it is easy to reach by bus from either Zagreb or Split, and you can see the highlights of the park easily in 5-7 hours.  We drove and stayed at a hotel near the park called Villa Lika.  There wasn't anything over the top about this hotel except that the host is incredibly helpful and friendly. We definitely felt like we were at home.  There is very little to do there except see the park though, so I would recommend getting there late in the day and starting first thing the next morning to try to beat the crowds.  We went during the off-season, but there were still quite a lot of tourists visiting once the buses started coming in from the nearby cities.  By staying at the park, we were able to enter the park right as it opened and enjoy some of it with very few others.



We traveled to Budapest for the holiday weekend in February.  Somehow we scored some cheap airline tickets on Luftansa direct out of Munich into Budapest.  We parked our car at the Urlaub parking lot in Munich and took the free parking shuttle to the airport.  The transfer from the Budapest Airport to the heart of the city was relatively simple and straightforward.  You catch the #200 bus just outside the terminal and get off at the terminus, which is at the end of the Blue line (or M3).  At that point, you can get just about anywhere you need to within the heart of Budapest.  They have an ATM machine right next to the baggage claim area.  I recommend getting money here because there is only one machine in the main part of the airport and we stood in line for a long time to get to the ATM.  We were lucky to find a tourist table that was selling transportation tickets.  If this isn't there, you'll need to find a way to get small change to get your tickets from the machine near the bus stop outside the terminal.  We did all our sightseeing in Budapest by foot or public transportation, and it was a very easy city to get around.  You can buy a 24 hour public transportation pass that will work for the metro, trams and all of the buses.  Or you can do what we did and buy a book of 10 tickets because we could share the tickets whereas we would each have to buy a 24 hour pass.  There are metro guards at pretty much all the metro stops checking that you have your ticket, so make sure not to forget this step.

We tried something different on this trip and used  We'd looked at using this resource before, but didn't have much luck.  To be honest, I kind of forgot about it and got comfortable with our B&Bs.  It was fun and super cheap this time around to stay at someone's place.  Made us feel like a resident in Budapest.  There are pros and cons to renting an apartment instead of staying at a hotel.  I think it just depends on your preferences.  I personally really like not having to worry about breakfast, and I find that it's a nice way to wake up in the city.  But we really did save a lot of money this time, and it was nice to have more space to spread out.


Florence / Rome

In March 2012 we took a family trip to Rome and Florence.  It was easily one of our favorite and most memorable trips.  We traveled to Rome from Munich on a night train after a wild adventure trying to find one of the train stations.  The night train was a great way to travel.  We reserved a private room on the railcar through Deutschebahn.  Because little r was only two years old, we were able to reserve a triple room yet we paid at the double price (kids ride for a reduce fair on night trains).   Once in Rome, we stayed near the Colleseum at Downtown Accommodation. It was nothing fancy, but it was a comfortable guesthouse in a great location for cheap compared to most hotels in Rome.  We took a train from Rome to Florence.  When planning a train ride in Italy, be sure to reserve the train ahead of time and get a reserved seat.  The trains are crowded and the reserved seat is a must.  Our night train left Florence close to midnight, so we spent the day enjoying the gem of Tuscany.

Trento - Lake Garda and Cinque Terra

Our first big adventure was a drive from Bavaria to Cinque Terra, Italy, for Labor Day in September 2011.  We broke up the drive by stopping in Trento, and then took a detour around Lake Garda on our way to Cinque Terra.  It was our 6th wedding anniversary, and Big R wanted to take me to a place that I had been dreaming about visiting for years!  We stayed in Campiglia at Locanda Tramonti. It was fabulous!


In March 2013, I took a trip with 7 of my closest girlfriends here in Germany to a wonderful villa in Tuscany called Villa Poggio de Gaville.  We spent a day in Florence and driving around Chianti.

Big R and I returned to Tuscany for Labor Day in September 2013 to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary.  We flew RyanAir out of Leipzig into Pisa and rented a car.  The flight was incredibly cheap and we got a special deal on a rental car.  We paid the extra 20 EUR to check the child seats because renting them through the car rental agencies can be incredibly expensive. We stayed at a beautiful villa in San Gimignamo call Il Casale del Cotone.  If you stay there, definitely chose to have dinner there at least one of the nights.  The food was incredible and truly romantic.  The villa is also very family friendly as the owner has two young children. Our last night we stayed in Pisa because our flight left super early.  I reserved a room at the B&B Hotel Pisa. It was an easy drive to the airport, had parking, and was comfortable and super cheap.  

Verona / Venice / Vicenza

The U.S. Army has a military post in Vicenza, Italy.  In May 2012, Big R had a trial in Vicenza, and he asked me to accompany him ("pinch me", right?).  Unfortunately, I saw very little of Big R on that trip because he was stuck in court, but little r and I visited Vicenza and Verona on our own.  He finally finished the trial, and we were able to visit Venice together before heading back to Germany.  I love Italy :)



I went to Amsterdam in April 2012 with a good friend of mine.  We tried something different and took a BOSS (Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers) tour.  It's a cheap way to travel for a weekend.  I think it's a great deal for single soldiers, I can guarantee though, I'll probably pass on the opportunity next time.  Big R treated me to a weekend away because I certainly needed it.  (For fun, here is the blog he wrote about being a single dad for a weekend.) The bus left Bamberg at 1:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and we were back just before midnight on Sunday. From Germany, it's an easy drive or a painless (and probably rather enjoyable) train ride to Amsterdam.  It was a whirlwind of a tour, so I honestly remember very little about details except that I loved my time there enough to go back!


Krakow / Wroclaw

Not enough can be said about how incredible Poland is, especially Krakow and Wroclaw.  We visited Poland in July 2013.  It's an easy drive from eastern Bavaria, even with two small kids in tow.  To break up the drive, we stayed for a night at Hotel Duet in Wroclaw, which is more of a university town rich with culture.  From Wroclaw to Krakow is under two hours (without traffic).  I found Hotel Amber, an affordable and modern hotel just a five minute walk from the central square.  Both Hotel Duet and Hotel Amber had good parking options and they were family friendly.

The food in Poland is amazing!  If you want to try your hand at some authentic and incredibly delicious Polish food, I recommend Chlopskie Jadto in Krakow.  And for the best desert around, you can't pass up the Cupcake Corner.



We took a trip to Lisbon in January 2013 with a couple of good friends that were stationed in Italy.  We got a great deal on a flight out of Frankfurt.  You could do easily see more of Portugal, but Lisbon has a lot to offer for a 4-day trip, so we decided to stay there for the entire stay.  Our hotel, Residencial Flourescente, was affordable and comfortable, and located right downtown.  We had some great meals while we were in Lisbon.  For a some fabulous wine and cheese, head to the Olde Pharmacy Wine Bar. We enjoyed Tapas and yet more wonderful wine at Wine Lovers Restaurant.   


Our trip to Scandanavia was in July 2012.  We spent an evening in Copenhagen and then headed to Gothenburg to visit Big R's family in Sweden.  Scandanavia is an amazing part of Europe (yet expensive) - we loved it!

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is incredible.  We flew to Copenhagen from Frankfurt on SAS.  It was an easy flight - they didn't even check our passports or ID! We stayed in Hotel Bethel in Nyhvavn right along the water. It was beautiful and cozy, but not cheap...  We were there for barely 26 hours.  We managed to see most of the city, yet we could have easily stayed for a week.

Gothenburg, Sweden

From Copenhagen to Gothenburg, Sweden, is a quick and simple train ride.  We stayed with family in Gothenburg, so we can't share much about hotels or restaurants.  It was such a wonderful visit with family.


Slovenia is an amazing country a fairly easy drive from northern Bavaria.  Just a couple of notes about
the drive.  Austria requires a Vignette (~9 EUR for 10 days) to drive on the autobahn and motorways. There are also a couple of hefty tolls along the autobahn, so be prepared to pay those.  Slovenia also requires a Vignette (15 EUR for 7 days), but the Vignette also serves as a toll payment, so in that sense it's much simpler and cheaper than Austria.  Most petrol stations along the autobahn near both borders will sell a vignette; just look for the signs for them.

Lake Bled

We visited Lake Bled in the Fall of 2013.  Without traffic it took us less than six hours.  Being the off-season, it wasn't quite as obvious where to park the car or how to access boats across the lake.  If you drive there for a visit, park inside the actual town of Lake Bled and walk down to the lake.  The folks at the Tourist Information center were incredibly helpful.  Our hotel was in a town about 5 km away in a town called Radovljica.  Pension Lectar sits inside the small medieval town and it is a fantastic accommodation under 100 EUR a night. We have two other friends that have also stayed there and they both had great experiences as well. The restaurant in the hotel serves authentic Slovak meals.  I also have to mention that if you are a wine lover like I am, you'll definitely want to take a stroll to the corner wine shop and pick up a bottle or two of the local wine from Slovenia.


Ljubljana is truly a hidden gem.  We were there for less than 16 hours, and I wish we had stayed for several days.  We stayed at a "hostel" just around the corner from the center of the old town.  The hotel was Viva Rooms, and it was simple and dirt cheap. You also can't beat the location.  There isn't any parking in the building, so we parked in the main parking garage under the city square.



We went to Mallorca over Labor Day weekend in September 2012 with some good friends.  After much agonizing over how to plan the perfect trip for our family and friends on this beautiful island, we decided to stay in Port de Soller at Hotel Soller Garden. The hotel was nothing to write home about, but it was cheap and an easy walk to the beach in town. It was a great town for us to stay in because our beach vacation was met with nothing but rain.  Ended up being a wonderful trip despite being rained out.  

Malaga, Granada, and Seville

We flew to Malaga on Ryanair out of Memmingon airport, which sits just south of Munich.  The airport is small and easy, just wish it were a tad bit closer to where we live.  We rented a little Fiat 500 from Hertz and spent our first night in Malaga at the Holiday Inn Express hotel close to the airport.  I literally can't recommend the place except that it is super close to the airport, so we stayed there our first night because we arrived close to midnight, and again our last night because we had to leave on a 6am flight. Aside from being convenient, I have to warn you that it is IMPOSSIBLE to get to. The road network near the airport is really confusing, and the hotel sits in a place that is only accessible coming from one direction (and we went around in circles so many times, I can't even remember how to tell you which direction!).  As long as you prepare yourself for that minor headache, it was a good place to stay if you have an early flight because we were only a couple minutes away from the airport.

Our trip was only for four days and three nights, so we had a lot to see in a very short amount of time.  I think we easily could have spent a week in this part of the world because there were so many places we wanted to visit.  This trip focused on Granada, Seville, and Malaga.  Each of the towns were different and totally were the stop.  Driving in southern Spain is an adventure.  It was actually pure craziness. So, if you rent a car, brace yourself for the madness and buy some serious patience.  

In Granada we stayed in a sweet B&B just outside the gate to the Alhambra.  It was called Hotel Landazuri.  The hotel was nice and comfortable. It has three single beds, so we all slept separate. It worked out better for all because baby c is a restless sleeper.  Breakfast was not included, but there was a great cafe adjacent to the hotel that served delicious food for cheap.  There is a parking option at this hotel as well.  The hotel is difficult to drive to because of where it is located, so you have to know what you are doing and drive into areas that are otherwise restricted (it felt like we did that the entire time we were in Spain!).  So, we parked in a city parking lot and walked to find the hotel.  Once we got checked in, we moved the car to the secure parking area provided by the hotel.

Our next day we drove to Seville.  It was an easy drive that took about 2.5 hours.  Once in Seville we stayed at Hostal El Cairo.  It was fine, and definitely affordable, but I'm not sure it's worth any special recommendation.  There was a fair amount of street noise, and you could hear people in the other rooms.  This normally wouldn't be a big deal except that Seville is awake all night long!  Again, it was pure craziness driving to the hotel, but I think that's just par for the course in Spain.  The tapas in Seville was amazing.  There are so many good restaurants that you don't need a recommendation, just a good nose. While we are there we also splurged a tad and enjoyed an Arabic bath experience at Aria.  There are so many things to do in Seville, but we decided relaxing at an affordable price was worth it.  We also spent the money for a horse carriage ride.  Knowing that we were only there for less than 24 hours, it was a great way to see all the sites in about 45 minutes.  

Our last day we drove to Malaga after having lunch in Seville.  It was just over an hour to drive, and we headed downtown to go see the water.  We didn't do a very good job looking at the map of Malaga first, so we ended up parking kind of far away.  There were many parking options all throughout town though.  I personally liked Malaga the best.  I'm not sure what it was about this city, but something sold me. I think it was the architecture and feel of the old downtown.  There is a more modern touristy area along the water with the beaches and hotels.  Much more fancy and expensive, but it was a nice stroll.  The downtown area is bustling with restaurants and stores and lots of Spanish character. We happened to be there on the night where the city turned on all the lights - it was pretty amazing.  After dinner and a stroll through downtown, we headed back to the hotel near the airport.  


We traveled to Switzerland by car after Big R had a training in Garmisch for the week.  We stayed in Mittenwald (see Garmsich above), and then head southwest for Switzerland.  To drive in Switzerland, you will need to buy a vignette for 40 Swiss Francs.  We were able to buy our vignette at the border of Germany and Austria at the same time we bought our 10-day vignette to drive in Austria. Other than that, there are no tolls and no other special rules.  We didn't need to show our passports at any border crossings, but we made sure to have them with us the entire time we traveled.  

Our whirlwind visit to Switzerland included a stop in Lucerne where we stayed for the first night, an afternoon in Zurich the following day, and then a visit to Lake Constance for our second night.  We concluded our plans with a visit to the Rhinefall, which was absolutely amazing!  It was only 20 minutes from where we stayed on Lake Constance and maybe only 40 minutes or so from Zurich.  You can see it in just over an hour, like we did, or make a day of it hiking around the falls and doing the different boat trips.  

Lucerne / Zurich

We made our plans at the last minute, so it's possible we might have found better deals if we'd planned the trip with a little more notice.  That said, we still found an incredible hotel that sits about 30 minutes away from Lucerne on the lake in Seelisberg.  The town is most popular during the ski season, so it was a bit sleepy while we were there. We stayed at Hotel and Naturhaus Belevue.  For the equivalent of about $200, we got a HUGE one-bedroom apartment with an extra bed (and we brought along a pac-n-play for baby c).  The reason to stay here is definitely for the views.  We had perfect weather, so it was amazing.

Lucerne is an amazing city.  We were only there for an afternoon, and it definitely deserves more time.  We had perfect weather and spent the day visiting Mt. Pilatus doing the "golden tour".  It's expensive but highly recommended and worth it if the weather cooperates.  Zurich is less than an hour by car from Lucerne, and it is definitely worth a quick stop as well. Both of these cities would make great overnight destinations, but we were limited on time.

Lake Constance

A friend told me that Konstanz was a pretty little town on Lake Constance and not too far away, so we decided it would be a great stop for our second night.  Konstanz was completely booked up, and the prices were getting expensive, so we stayed about 20 minutes away in Berlingen at Adler Berlingen.  In hindsight, I think i would have preferred to stay in Steckborn (the neighboring town), but it was still nice to stay along the lake.  If you need a place to stay on the cheaper end, breakfast was included, and the owner was really nice.  I wouldn't really recommend it though.  There are much nicer places to stay.  When I was trying to find a good hotel, I was focusing on the lake towns.  You really don't need to do that.  The towns up in the hills are just as fantastic and getting to the lake is really easy by car and even by train.  Speaking of, if you go into Konstanz, definitely opt to take the train so you don't sit in really long traffic lines to go across the border from Germany into Switzerland.     



We went to Turkey for Turkey Day over Thanksgiving in 2012.  Istanbul quickly became one of our  favorite cities.  We flew from Nuremberg directly to Istanbul - quick and easy.  Our hotel was in the heart of the old town, Sultanahmet, at Marmara Guesthouse. It was a great hotel and fairly family friendly. We paid in advance for the car service from the airport because it was incredibly affordable and we decided it was worth it to save the time and adventure with the family.  There is a bus/tram ride for very cheap from the airport into downtown, but the trains are inevitably packed full, so be prepared. The food in Istanbul is incredible.  Many of the restaurants in the heart of the tourist area are good and affordable.  These restaurants also have heaters on the patios, so even in November we were able to eat outside, which was really nice. 


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