When Love Takes You Places – Sun Holiday Tours

Plan My Trip

  • Sri Lanka Trip
  • Nuremberg Tower, Germany
  • Lichtenstein Castle described as "Fairy Tale Castle of Württemberg", Germany
  • Nuremberg Canal, Germany
  • Tubingen, Germany
  • Konigssee Hiking Trail, Germany
  • Konigssee Natural Pool
  • Konigssee Hike, Germany
  • Ferry ride to Obersee, Germany
  • Obersee Lake House, Germany
  • Views on Lake Königssee, Germany
  • Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
  • Highline 179, Austria
  • Lake Eibsee, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • Riesserssee, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • Partnach Gorge, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • Partnach Gorge, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • Lago Di Braies, South Tyrol, Italy
  • Contemplating the views of Lago Di Braies, South Tyrol, Italy
  • Lago di Braies (Photo taken by a stranger)
  • Lago di Braies Boat Ride

When Love Takes You Places

It all started four years ago, when Haytham decided to take her on a trip of his own kind to Sri Lanka. He hadn’t booked any hotel or anything else, they just had their flight tickets in hand, and the rest was going to be, well, like they say, in God’s hands. Being used to typical family travels to big European cities, admiring architectural masterpieces, museums, hotels, streets and so on, she was excited for a new daring experience in Asia, yet slightly reluctant.

But this trip ended up being the turning point for Melissa. Although for the first few days there was a series of on-going fights about the logistics of this trip and despite the circumstances being hard – sleeping in a 10$ per night hostel and saying hello to some not so pleasant insects – her vision changed entirely. Hiking Adam’s peak at night, discovering the northern part of Sri Lanka which was hit by the tsunami many years back, meeting with the locals, renting scooters, relaxing on Trincomalee’s beach, Melissa finally discovered another beautiful perspective of travelling and a newborn love for adventure, nature, culture and most importantly, people. Stepping out of her comfort zone also led Melissa to discover her own self through this trip, what she really likes, what she loves to do, and as an architect, discovering non-touristic places and green natural landscapes is something she became fond of, and it became her drive for travelling.

Living like the locals was the couple’s motto, and taking one-of-a-kind pictures was their passion. And if you thought that taking these photographs was just a matter of ticking the white circle on your cellphone in front of a breath-taking view, you’re quite wrong. It’s the complete opposite. Capturing these unique pictures has so many requirements from waking up at dawn, to hiking sometimes very far away, being at the location before sunrise, setting the professional camera in the perfect angle, and then, patience. Patience for the perfect ray of light to shine, for the little cloud to pass by, for the changing of daylight colors, for the right movement, basically, for the perfect shot.

Ever since the Sri Lanka trip, Melissa and Haytham united on the search of undisclosed destinations, new adventures and memories. Their last road trip was this past June, when they decided to explore southern Germany and its surroundings. After four days in Rhodos, the Dodecanese Greek isle of the Aegian Sea, they flew to Nuremberg, north of Munich, where they stayed for two days at Melissa’s sister’s before they went on with their road trip. Again, just a car, google maps and no other reservations.

After researching a few spots that they wanted to explore, the couple landed first in Königssee, the deepest and cleanest lake of Germany, an emerald-green gem in the Berchtesgaden National Park on the borders of Austria. It was gloomy and rainy, an ideal day for photography. They hiked during the day, found a gorgeous natural pool in the middle of those mountains, and slept in a B&B near the lake. The next day, they took a ferry boat to Öbersee, also another gorgeous but smaller lake, and afterwards went onto Neuschwanstein Castle, a 19th century Romanesque Revival Palace which ended up being the inspiration for the castle in Disney’s storybook and movie The Sleeping Beauty. Looking at Haytham’s shots of the cliffside castle just says it all, dreamy and enchanted – no wonder it is one of the world’s most visited castle.

Next stop, Austria for a new adventure: Walking the Highline 179 pedestrian Bridge. Not only was the bridge 114 Mt high in altitude, 403 Mt long, and 1.20 Mt wide, but it was also very windy, and thus the structure was dancing in the air. This was definitely one scary adventure, but Haytham’s conviction – “It’s German, you don’t have to worry” – aided Melissa to finish the span, which is the longest in Europe. And of course, Haytham got his shot.

After this windy day in Austria, the couple headed back to Germany, and stopped for 3 days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen for another exploration. Lake Eibsee among many other lakes, the Partnach Gorge, the Zugspitze Mountains, there was a lot to see and do there. However, it was the people there that really made them wish they stayed more in Garmisch, a serene lifestyle, farm houses and the beauty of living simply.

Finally, there was one last destination that Haytham really wanted Melissa to see, but it was a six-hour drive to northeast Italy. He had been there two years ago, and he was so captivated by it that he kept talking about it over and over again; of how beautiful and mesmerizing this place was. He even developed one of his pictures of it and gave it to Melissa who placed it in her mountain house. Melissa’s expectations were so high that she was afraid she was going to be disappointed when she would see it, but then again, she really wanted to see it. So, they drove by six hours straight to South Tyrol and finally arrived to their destination. “And all the words and all the photos don’t give it justice; nothing beats seeing it with your own eyes – especially when you’re with your favorite person”, mentioned Melissa in her blog post.

Hiking the Dolomites, discovering the Tyrol region, a region with a complicated Italo-German history, and most of all exploring Lago Di Braies or Pragser Wildsee as the Germans would call it, meaning “Paradise”, was the highlight of Melissa’s trip with Haytham. Forty-eight hours of admiration were not enough for her, and she still can’t wait to visit it again.

Their journey ended there, and they headed back to Nuremberg, another six-hour straight drive, before they caught their flight back home to Beirut. We can’t but wonder where will the couple head next, what is their upcoming adventure and when will it be. Maybe the Far East this time?

Make sure to follow Melissa (@melissaelhachem) and Haytham (@highsamachkar) on Instagram to stay updated on their upcoming travels.

By Cybele Abou Nader