Rathskeller Schnitzel House

You can savour a taste of Bavaria right here on Vancouver Island. The family friendly tavern is located downtown Victoria, on Quadra and View.

Lively music met us at the door when we entered. Small etchings from around Germany lined the walls. Shelves were stacked with beer steins and other local crafts from around the country. Every sight and sound in the German tavern reminded me of our amazing trip to Deutschland

Our server, dressed in a brightly colored dirndl, guided us to our cozy booth. The time worn oak tables reflected the restaurant’s popularity amongst the locals and tourists. Little has changed since the restaurant opened for business 40 years ago.

My mouth was already watering for the potato pancakes that I enjoyed in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a ski resort town an hour out of Munich.

After much deliberation, I ordered a Jägerschnitzel, topped with onions, bacon, mushrooms sautéed in a red wine sauce. With each mouthful, delightful memories from our exciting journey around Germany trickled back.

My husband and I spent a lovely hour planning our next trip to Bavaria over a tasty meal. The potato pancakes, that I spent a week anticipating, were as good as the reviews suggested. The visit to Rathskeller was my birthday celebration, and our perfect meal ended with a free schnapps.

Our next visit will be on a Friday or a Saturday night when the accordion entertainer plays traditional folk music. I can’t wait for the next family celebration

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Idyllic Ischia’s Oasis of Wellness

The thermal waters on the Isle of Ischia have been an attraction since the Romans ruled the world. This volcanic origins of this island, located on the Bay of Naples, have left behind the richest hot springs in Europe.

We heard that the neighbouring Isle of Capri was crowded, and selected a laid back day tour to the Isle of Ischia. The tour included a four hour visit to Parco Thermal Tropical located in the small village of Sant’Angelo d’Ischia

Our hydrofoil left Sorrento at 9:30am and we enjoyed a view of the magnificent Castello Aragonese as we pulled into Porto Ischia. Our coach followed the coastal road into the small fishing village of Sant’ Angelo.

Parco Thermal Tropical spa park is spread out over 30,000 square feet. A number of brightly colored tropical flowers, palm trees, and shades trees, create a peaceful environment that invite guests to linger all day. The complex includes change rooms, a restaurant, and a spa.

We paid our half-day entrance fee $18 Euros which allowed me the use of ten thermal pools, a whirlpool, Kneipp Pool, Sauna, Roman Grotto, Sunbeds and Sunshades. For a fee, guests would enjoy a variety of health treatments: mud baths, Ayurvedic Massages, hot lava stone massage and so much more.

We wandered from pool section to pool section, savouring the scenery. The ever-silent roman statues that guarded each entrance filled me with a sense of royalty. Shrouded in my white towel, I felt like a roman ruler, pampered, entitled, and fully relaxed.

Tranquility in Tenerife

The seaside town of Garachico, on Tenerife’s northwest tip of the island, is my favourite place to chill out when we visit Tenerife. The tranquil atmosphere of this small harbour town is a friendly change from the busy streets of the sun soaked Playa de las Americas on the south side of this tropical island.

As we wandered the ancient streets in the warm afternoon sun, all the way down to the lava pools by the harbour, we felt transported back in time. The once premiere port town, was devastated by a sudden volcanic eruption back in 1706. In an instant, the wealthy town was completely covered in ash.

Years later, this enterprising isolated city turned their worst nightmare into a unique place to relax in the island sun. All year long, locals lay by the unique rock formations and watch the fish swim by in the crystal clear harbour waters.

As I turned here and there, between the rocky pools, I noticed that some formations have been worn down by the wind and rain into inviting stool sized chairs. Tucked into a private corner, I noticed a man lost in the pages of a book. The dark stoned harbour escape, hilly in places, allowed plenty of personal space and people stopped to gaze out at the ocean to watch small boats drift by.

The fresh sea air was blessedly silent as I stood in the sun and watched the seagulls circling above, dash down to snap up food tossed into the harbour. It was the perfect place to refuel my energy after several full day excursions on the other side of the island

On the half empty streets, visitors mingled easily with friendly locals, smiles light up their faces. Pace was slow, everyone was on island time. This authentic northern gem, an hours drive from the Playa de las Americas, is often overlooked by coach tours headed for the more famous Puerto de la Cruz.

If you’re looking for a peaceful escape, head straight to Garachico for an authentic Canary Island meal.