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Nürnberg (Nuremberg), Germany

Nick & I were lucky to have visited Nürnberg twice within a little more than a year. While we didn't perform in this town, we couldn't pass up the chance to see this beautiful historic city. The first time, we just spent a summer afternoon (July 2016) exploring. The second time, we stayed overnight and walked the city on a cool October evening (2017) .

OVERVIEW & LINKS: 

We stayed at Hotel Drei Raben - a beautiful boutique hotel in the center of the city (Drei Raben means Three Ravens)
We had dinner at …

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Hamburg & Egestorf: big city & rural beauty

Nick & I recently performed in Hamburg for the second time, but on this visit we decided to stay in a rural area. And what a treat: we got to experience the busy city and beautiful rural life all in one trip!

OVERVIEW & LINKS:

We performed in Kulturcafe Komm Du in Hamburg (great live music venue with outstanding food/desserts)
We stayed at Studtmanns Gasthof in Egestorf (beautiful rural hotel in Lower Saxony run by a family, our room overlooked a pasture with horses)
We had afternoon tea at Teestube Undeloh (a…

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Bad Salzuflen - a quiet German town in North Rhine-Westphalia (and not at all bad!)

While on tour, Nick & I were traveling from Bacharach to Hamburg, and had a free day in between concerts. We had seen many towns in that part of Germany, and decided to take a chance on Bad Salzuflen, a town about which almost no tourist book or article (in English) has been written.

Please don't be scared by the town's name: the word "bad" means "bath" in German, and the name Bad Salzuflen translates to "salt baths in the woods".

What we found was a lovely quiet small town/thermal spa resort full of…

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Landshut, Germany - a day in a beautiful Bavarian town

While on tour in Europe in October we (Nick & I, not the royal "we") ended up with a day off in South-Eastern Germany and decided to drive to Cesky Krumlov, one of our favorite Czech towns, which we visited and fell in love with a decade ago, on tour.

The plan was to drop off our suitcases in Landshut (strategically chosen, as it is perfectly located between Munich & Cesky Krumlov), drive to Cesky Krumlov, spend the day there and come back and crash at our Landshut hotel.

But as we were driving into the…

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Madison, Wisconsin

[This is Part 7 of our September 2017 BORN TO THE STARS USA TOUR blog]

We spent the whole day driving from Lincoln, NE, to Madison, WI. 480 miles, 8 hours, plus a couple of stops.

First, in old town Omaha, NE, for brunch at the famed Wheatfields:

and in Dubuque, Iowa, at the fabulous Brazen:
(no photos of us, we were way too tired and exhausted-looking, haha. We were the only ones sitting outside. It was quiet and relaxing)


Around 9pm we made it to our hotel in Madison, the lovely, one of a kind boutique…

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Lincoln, Nebraska

[This is Part 6 of our September 2017 BORN TO THE STARS USA TOUR blog]

Sept 20, 2017

It was extremely nice of our hotel to let us check in super early.  We were able to get a ton of work done, then work out and shower - all before 3pm! Thanks, Graduate Lincoln!!!

Graduate is a small chain of student/school-themed boutique hotels. Everything is retro Americana and brightly colored. This is the very happy front desk:
And this is the awesome green couch (and the silly lamp!) in our room.Can't help but be in a…

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Prairie Creek Inn (near Lincoln, Nebraska)

[This is Part 5 of our September 2017 BORN TO THE STARS USA TOUR blog]

September 19, 2017

Since we had a few days off in between shows, we decided to find the most relaxing and beautiful place possible to recharge. I wanted something rural yet not too far from Lincoln. Found just the place based on amazing reviews: Prairie Creek Inn. It was only a few miles outside of Lincoln but felt like a million miles away from civilization. In other words - perfect!

Our phones (thanks, T-Mobile!) didn't have any…

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Seward, Nebraska (La Ruche B&B)

[This is Part 4 of our September 2017 BORN TO THE STARS USA TOUR blog]

September 18, 2017

Woke up at 8:50am in Sterling, Colorado, and ran downstairs to bring the free hot breakfast to our room (5 mins before they stopped serving breakfast, hence the running). We rarely stay in chain hotels, but this Holiday Inn Express was the best place for miles and miles around. I always research and look for best reviews, and this place had excellent Google and Expedia customer ratings. Nick was on conference calls all…

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Boulder 4 photos

Boulder, Colorado (+ Fort Morgan, CO)

[This is Part 3 of our September 2017 BORN TO THE STARS USA TOUR blog]

Friday, September 15
9pm

After 480 mile drive from Tucson we finally arrived in Boulder. Even as a passenger (as Nick prefers to drive) I invariably get severely exhausted after long drives. Why, why is it so tiring? I just sit there, right? I don't even have to concentrate on driving. Nick & I try to stop every 2 hours to stretch/pee, but we still end up extremely stiff and beyond tired. 8-10 hours in the car is just too much. Maybe…

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Tucson, Arizona (and a bit of Santa Fe)

[This is Part 2 of our September 2017 BORN TO THE STARS USA TOUR blog]

September 13, 2017

We left the San Carlos Hotel in Phoenix at 1:30pm and drove 125 miles straight to Tucson. We stopped by our hotel to check in, to change clothes and to drop off our luggage (makes it so much easier to unload the music gear from our Prius without the suitcase and personal stuff in the way).

We pulled up to our hotel and wow. THE LODGE ON THE DESERT looked like such a gorgeous place, a true oasis!

When I booked this…

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Phoenix, Arizona

[This is Part 1 of our September 2017 BORN TO THE STARS USA TOUR blog]

Monday, September 11, 2017

8am-2pm: PACKING

The morning of September 11th was strange. As we were finishing packing for our 3 week tour, we kept thinking about 9/11. Watered the garden, fed the compost worms with banana peels and other fruit/veggie leftovers, did the laundry, made last minute travel arrangements and got the house ready for our friend (who was staying at our place while we're gone), all the while thinking of 9/11. That day…

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My weekend in Big Bear Lake, CA - a rustic mountain resort

While Big Bear Lake is mostly known for skiing and other fun winter activities, it is beautiful and special all year around. Over the last few years Nick and I have performed, hiked and relaxed in this quaint mountain town (pop. 5,200) several times and witnessed its charm through all the seasons. This time, we were here in the very end of August to perform at The Cave - a cool concert venue with national acts coming through on a regular basis. We shared the stage with Super Diamond, a fab Neil Diamond…

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Escape to Cambria, California: A Charming Coastal Town

One of the things I absolutely love about California is the variety of places and climates at your fingertips: from the ocean to the mountains, deserts to forests, big cities to small communities, glamorous or rustic. Whatever you seek - just pick your destination, get in your car and go.

Cambria has become one of my favorite daytrips (or two-day getaways) over the last few years. Located in between Los Angeles and San Francisco (roughly a 4 hour drive from either), Cambria is a historic Central Coast town…

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White Wine In The Sun: Christmas in Australia with my mom

I spent Christmas 2016 in Australia with my mom. It was one of the most relaxing and longest vacations (14 days) I have ever had and the most time I spent with my mom since I was 15. It was incredible and also very special.

My mom has now been an Aussie for many years (worth noting her lovely Russian-Australian accent), and I have visited her a few times in the past. But this was my first Christmastime in OZ, and the warmest Christmas I have ever had! Australia lies in the Southern Hemisphere, hence our…Read more
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Layover in Honolulu: a perfect mini-vacation in Hawaii! 

I spent Christmas 2016 with my mom, who lives in Australia. I will probably write a separate blog about that trip, because Christmastime in Australia is beyond AMAZING!!! 

Anyway. While booking tickets to OZ I saw that the cheapest flight, by far, was with Hawaiian Airlines, with a several hour layover in Honolulu. I had never been to Oahu, and that's when I realized I could have two vacations for the price of one! :) 

On the way to Sydney from Los Angeles, my layover was 14 hours. Overnight.
I landed at…

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Hotel tub

Paso Robles Inn: A Historic California Hot Springs Romantic Getaway

Over the last few years my husband and I have visited Paso Robles, California, multiple times, relaxing and exploring the region's fabulous wineries (our favorite: Cypher Winery).  

Because we usually stay at our friends's beautiful countryside home, Rock'N Vine (I never forget how lucky we are!), we rarely have a need for a hotel. 

This time Rock'N Vine was rented out, and since it was our anniversary weekend we decided to get a hotel room. I have heard of Paso Robles Inn before and have walked by many…

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Le Bignele: wine tasting in Northern Italy (my very first time)! 

I have tasted wine at over 100 wineries in California over the last few years. But this was my very first trip to Italy and my very first time wine tasting there. Nick & I had just finished our European Summer Tour and tacked on 4 days in Italy as a post-tour mini-vacation. I have been dreaming to wine-taste in Italy for a long, long time. So I was excited. Beyond excited :)

With very little cell phone signal, while Nick was driving us from Venice, I googled (please don't laugh!) "best wine tasting near…

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Marina master chef

Simple & delicious traditional Russian Borsch (Борщ) Recipe: my favorite soup!

I was born and raised in Moscow, Russia.
I came to the US when I was 15 and have been missing Russian cuisine ever since.
So..... I learned how to cook to keep myself from going crazy! :)
It makes me very happy to share my recipes with you!

Borsch is one of the most traditional Russian/Ukranian soups.
It is low in fat, easy to make, and super flavorful.
The main ingredient is beetroot, which gives the soup its beautiful red color and lovely flavor.

When I was growing up, we had a shortage of meat, so we made…

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Marina V travel blog ❤ #SingerTravelista

As a touring musician, I am very lucky to be able to travel the world. I LOVE traveling!
Nick & I try to take advantage of every tour stop and explore as much as we can, which sometimes means choosing exploring over sleep or rest, but it is so worth it!

A couple of years ago I started reviewing hotels, restaurants and places I've visited and ended up a Top Contributor on TripAdvisor.com, a member of the Yelp Elite Squad and a Google Contributor.

I realized how much I love sharing my experiences and decided to start my own blog!! Yay! 

I hope you enjoy my travel stories, the photos and, occasionally, my favorite food recipes!



Marina V (a.k.a. #SingerTravelista)