Austria Family Vacation Part 2 | Bad Gastein & Halstatt

After our brief but exciting evening in Salzburg we began our driving out of Austria on to Venice. On the way, we drove through the incredibly scenic Hallstatt.


The town of Hallstatt is a pretty popular tourist spot in Austria, based on the large amounts of buses and people snapping photos. And it's easy to see why! The village is full of lovely Bavarian architecture and it's nestled into majestic mountains (which we barely caught a glimpse of because of the clouds.


Sitting on the beautiful Hallstätter See, the calm crystal clear water reflects the majestic mountains. Like most bodies of water I've seen in Austria, this water is absolutely clear. You can see every little fish and rock perfectly. I imagine if not for the depth, you could see straight down to the bottom of the lake! 


We spent a couple of hours just walking around and enjoying the beauty, before jumping back in the car and driving to Bad Gastein, where Tommy’s uncle lives.


We weren’t quite sure what to expect of Bad Gastein, so we were pretty shocked to find such an amazing little town here and see the biggest mountains I’ve ever seen!


It was lovely to see so much beauty in this little town and to visit with Uncle Jim, who lives on top of a mountain with some pretty incredible views. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay long, because we had to drive to Venice that evening! Fortunately, a little ways from Bad Gastein, there is a car train that takes you right through the mountains and saves quiet a bit of time. We made it there right before dark to travel on to Italy. 


Next week I'll be sharing the final leg of our trip - VENICE!  If you'd like to see the full gallery of trip photos, sign up here and I'll be releasing it on the last day of my blog post! 

Photos shot on: 

Pentax 645n, Nikon FE, and Canon 5d markii (and GoPro & iphone pics) 

Austria Family Vacation - Part 1 | Austrian Travel Photographer

Finally, FINALLY! It’s here! My Austria/Venice trip blog post!!! Yay! I hope you are all as excited to hear about it as I am to share it!  So, a little back story in case you don’t already know this…my husband grew up in a small town in Austria - Gaming.


He moved there (from San Antonio) when he was a little 8 year old and learned German and made Austrian and American friends, until he was 17 and returned to the US for college (which is where we meet). I had the amazing opportunity to have a study abroad semester in the same town he grew up in and I totally fell in love. In love with Gaming and it’s beautiful nature and charming houses, and with Austria and its culture, food, and people. We always assumed annual trips to Gaming would be part of our lives, but his parents unexpectedly moved back to America 15 years ago and we never returned, despite the fact that Austria is more home to him than America is.


Fast forward to present life, finally, we decided to go for it. After years of not being able to afford such a trip and then having a baby who become a toddler, we just could never commit to the trip. It’s not an easy one for a kiddo - 12+hours on a plane, not to mention the driving once you arrive in Austria. But in November we finally committed and bought tickets! There was definitely some concern on my part about how Louis would do on the flight and with the time change, along with moving to different hotels every few nights, but there was no need for worry at all! If you are even considering bringing your little kiddo on a big trip - do it! The experience wouldn’t have been have as fun without Louis’s excitement and wonder at everything we did. And yes - things did start to get more difficult as the trip wore on, but after 10 days of traveling, what can you expect?


We chose December, because we knew that Louis would absolutely love the snow and we also knew that Austria does Christmas and Advent so well that it would be fun to be there during this season. We started off with 2 days in Gaming. We hiked the Kirchstein, which is 1 mile hike up a hill overlooking Gaming. Louis hiked the entire thing by himself in the snow without a complaint (which is more than I can say for myself). 


The Carthusian monastery where I lived during my semester in Gaming was having their annual Christkindlmärkte, so we enjoyed gluhwein by the fire and watched the krampus invade the courtyard. Gaming isn’t much different than it was 15 years ago when I was last there and we were able to walk around and see what had changed and what was just like it was when we left. Louis for his part, loved nutella for breakfast and sausage or schnitzel, and he was very, very brave when the krampus came around. There was more snow than he'd ever seen and so much freedom to run through fields of snow. Watching him have so much freedom to be a child in nature, running free, brought me so much joy! 


Our third day we drove about 30 mins outside of Gaming to… for a day of snowboarding. Tommy grew up snowboarding almost everyday of the season, but I’ve only been one other time, so I’m no expert, and this was Louis’s first time. Since it was a Monday and the conditions were pretty snowy we had the whole baby slope to ourselves and Louis picked it up right away. While I have no good photos from this trip, I do have a few phone snaps and a great video!


After our time in Gaming, we drove out to Salzburg. We had a little time before dark to roam the city and we enjoyed a little Christmas shopping and some beautiful music at the Christkindlmarkt.


It was Krampus day when we arrived, so we knew that things might be a little scary for Louis, so we’d planned on avoiding any high traffic areas. If you don’t know what krampus are… they are demons that come to make you serve your penance before you are visited by the generous St. Nicholas. If you are a kid you get scared, if you are an adult you get beaten with wooden sticks. So yeah - a little weird and definitely terrifying. Most Austrians are even a little scared of the krampus as adults.   


Despite our planning, we ran into the parade of them in the city and it was quite something to see. Louis was very brave, though they really are scary. He even shook the hand of a little one (who was actually a 10 year old little girl) at the Augustiner brewery.


If you enjoyed this blog post, don't worry - there are two more coming full of pictures and info on our trip! If you'd like to see the full gallery of trip photos, sign up here and I'll be releasing it on the last day of my blog post! 


Photos shot on: 

Pentax 645n, Nikon FE, and Canon 5d markii (and GoPro & iphone pics) 

June Southern California Trip | Travel Film Photographer

Since I’m doing some blogging catching up, I wanted to share a few of my favorites from our June trip to California. This seems like a lifetime ago and A LOT has happened since then, but it’s so good to look back at these pictures and remember this trip.

So many firsts on this trip! This was the longest/furthest away I’ve ever been from Louis and we couldn’t have done it without my mom and dad watching Louis. Louis does not take life slow, so chasing this kiddo around and keeping him busy for 4 days was no easy task. I feel so blessed to have so much family around helping us. We couldn’t do this or even go out for date nights without all this help. It’s transformed our marriage and made it so much stronger to have these times to focus on just our relationship.

That was the plan behind the California trip a little adventure to get away, see some new things and focus on time together! For me, this was my first time further west than west Texas, so I’ve officially made it to the West Coast, and I can definitely see why people love with California. If I could take Southern culture and food and move that to the scenery of California, I’d have my paradise!  

We started our trip off in LA doing a little driving and sightseeing. The weather was gloomier and cooler than we anticipated, but we set out for a hike to Griffith Observatory and when we arrived up on top, we found the skies clear and the sun warm and hot. I love the architecture of the Observatory and the iconic LA views!  

Tommy found an awesome car rental app - Turo - so we rented a manual convertible Porsche (which may have broken down on the side of the road at one point - but it was good while it lasted)! We had so much fun driving the winding hill roads and the convertible was perfect when the sun was out. Thanks to AirBnB we scored a mountain Malibu hideaway with stunning hill and ocean views. The owner was, an artist and her land was complete with chickens, fig trees, and brightly colored art. This cozy remote location was the perfect spot to retire to retire to for evening relaxing!

With the weather cooler than expected we decided to do a little more adventuring. It was a quick drive up to Santa Barbara, where we found the sun shining and some seriously picturesque views from the belltower of their city hall. We indulged in a little California Mexican food (just for comparison purposes) in town and spent the afternoon walking and just soaking up the views.

Fortunately we did get a glorious sunny day in Malibu which we spent exploring the beaches and watching the sunset on the beautiful El Matador beach. On our last day in town we had brunch at the AMAZING Nobu while soaking in morning views of the Pacific, spent a couple hours walking around Venice beach, and visited San Juan Capistrano.

It was the perfect mini-getaway for both of us and on this cold winter day in Dallas, I’m missing that brisk salty ocean air and those lush green hills! These pictures are taking me back, now if I could just pick a few to print and frame for our home…