Filtering by Category: Europe
We arrived to our Airbnb in London, by the tube, in enough time to head down to Picadilly Square. We bought an Oyster pass since we planned traveling along the Underground a lot, and this made it super easy to do so. In Picadilly Square we bought tickets to see Gypsy, and hopped on the hop-on hop-off to get our bearings of the city.
Our second day in the city we went to the National Museum where we saw some works of Monet and Piccaso. From there we went to the Tower of London and saw the Crown Jewels, then took the river cruise along the River Thames. We also made it to the iconic Abbey Road to reenact the Beatles cover, and to King's Cross station to Platform 9 3/4.
Our last full day began with a walking tour to Buckingham Palace where we saw the changing of the guards. This was cool to see, especially because it's a ceremony that takes place ever day. We continued on to Oxford Street to do some shopping before seeing the amazing musical Gypsy! After the show we rode the London Eye, walked through Harrods, and found Elizabeth James' house in Parent Trap.
Overall, London was one of my favorite cities so far. This could be partly due to the lack of a language barrier, or because I felt completely confident riding the Tube. Either way, I know I want to go back!
He wanted to pay
First stop in England- Bath.
Our first full day in Bath we took a train to Cardiff, Wales for the long awaited One Direction concert!! We headed to Cardiff early to look at the Cardiff Castle, and spend some time wandering around the Cardiff Market. The market was a very cool mix of a farmer's market and a supermarket. After we had wandered through the city enough we headed to the concert! As a big One Direction fan, it was cool to see them in a foreign country.We returned to Bath after the concert, where my mom happily greeted us at the airbnb!
The second day in Bath we did a mini-bus tour with the company Mad Max through the English countryside. We visited Stonehendge, Avebury, Lacock and Castle Combe. This was a great way to see picturesque English towns, as well as learn the historical significance of the region. After returning from the tour we did a hop-on hop-off bus ride around Bath. The natural hot springs contain 43 minerals that have a wide range of physical benefits, and originally drew in the wealthy to the town.
The third day we did the second hop-on hop-off route through the Bath countryside, and ate at Sally Lunns tea house before heading off to London!
Bubba Jr. Took his first day trip to the Colosseum yesterday.
Second stop in Italy- Florence! Our first full day here we went on a 12 hour tour through Tuscany. We left Florence and headed to Siena, where we did a walking tour of the city. Siena is an interesting city that is heavily based on tradition. It is also home to the banking system, and holds the oldest, fully functioning bank.
From Siena we went out into the countryside to enjoy a 4-course lunch and wine tasting at an organic farm. This was my first time having pasta since in Italy, and it was amazing. It was also interesting to learn the proper wine tasting technique, even if I didn't enjoy all of the wine. The tour continued on to San Gimignano, where we tasted award winning gelato, and took in more amazing views.
Our last stop on the tour was Pisa! We were able to explore not only the Pisa Cathedral, but also climb up The Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Our second full day in Florence was spent relaxing by the pool, doing some shopping and enjoying a nice dinner. Tomorrow we're off to Rome!
We began the Italy leg of our trip in Sorrento. We flew into Rome, took a train from the airport to a central Rome station, from there to Naples and then the local train from Naples to Sorrento. We had heard this train was a little sketchy, but it's the only way to get down there without paying an excessive amount. Our Bed and Breakfast, Casarufolo Paradise, picked us up from the train station and took us way up into the mountain where we would be staying.
We woke up to an amazing view overlooking Sorrento and Mt. Vesuvius across the water. We headed to Pompeii via the same local train line, the SFSM Circumvesuvia. We were planning on doing Vesuvius in the afternoon, depending on how long we stayed at Pompeii. It ended up raining early afternoon, which meant Vesuvius would be closed anyway, so we headed back early to Sorrento. Our Bed and Breakfast only picks up guests at 9 or 10 pm, so we decided to brave the hike up the mountain. We made it to the top ready for a shower, and thankful we hadn't hiked up Vesuvius too. For dinner we tried a restaurant the owner recommended, and were not disappointed.
Our second day we met up with friends to take the ferry over to the island of Capri. The ferry is a bit pricy, 39€ round trip (price varies depending on which ferry you take), but it was definitely worth it! Capri was beautiful. We had a great day going on a long hike to one of the highest points on the island (we think), and catching up with friends who were also traveling across Europe.
First stop is Salzburg.
We got into our 4 star hotel, which I'm still not sure how we got for so cheap, before heading to Fortress Hohensalzburg. The Fortress was used to intimidate others from attacking Salzburg. It was extremely large and can be seen throughout the city! We wanted to get a feel of the town before heading out for the....SOUND OF MUSIC tour!
We went with the Panorama tour company, who actually drove the cast of the Sound of Music around during filming, so we knew they would have some good facts. It was awesome to see all the places used in the film, as we are both big Sound of Music fans.
After the tour we took the 2.5 hour train ride over to Vienna (we've now logged over 24 hours on the train!). We went to an awesome restaurant for dinner where Abbi tried the Wienerschnitzel, and loved it. Sunday night we just hung out at the hostel. So far we've been very happy with our hostel experience as they've all had nice atmospheres, good music, and clean facilities.
Today we woke up to no rain and slightly warmer temperatures! We toured the Belvedere, where we saw more amazing art. We noticed we've spent most of our time in beautiful palaces looking at famous paintings, which is just fine! From there we headed to the "old town" and looked at more amazing buildings, but didn't do any more tours.
Tomorrow we fly out to Italy, where our first stop is Sorrento!
We arrived in Munich about 7 hours later than expected due to rail workers striking. Our night train was cancelled, we were put in a hotel, and took the day train instead. We quickly dropped off our bags at the Wombat Hostel in downtown Munich, and headed toward Nymphenburg Palace. This was used as the summer residence for the Bavarian royalty.
Our second day we took a tour that left right from our hostel to the Neuschwanstein Castle. It was a two hour train ride each way, but definitely worth it. King Ludwig II grew up in the Hohenschwangau Castle in the Bavarian Alps and built the castle Neuschwanstein Castle nearby to have a place of his own. It was cloudy and cold (as in actually cold, I have on a T-shirt, running jacket, down vest, rain coat and we bought scarves) but the landscape was beautiful.
Tomorrow we will hopefully make it to Olympic Park in the morning before heading off to Salzburg!
After settling in to our first hostel, the Flying Pig in downtown Amsterdam, we headed out to tour the Anne Frank house. This was one of those things i've always wanted to do, and so glad I finally had the opportunity. After this we took a canal tour. We opted to buy a combination 24 hour hop-on hop-off canal boat pass with a museum pass.
On day 2 we did another canal tour (well really two more...we had time to spare), ending up at the Rijcksmuseum. We saw lots of amazing art, including Van Gough and Rembrandt. After the museum we wandered and grabbed some food. I learned a ton about Amsterdam through the combined canal tour and museum, I would definitely recommend both.
Now we're taking a night train to Munich!
We arrived in Paris mid-day, picked up a museum pass for €50 at the train station, made it to our Airbnb and were able to make it to the Louvre by 2. The museum pass allowed us to skip the whole line and get right to taking a selfie with the Mona Lisa. After seeing amazing artwork (we enjoyed the sculptures the most), we had plenty of time to take a leisurely stroll down the Allée Centrale.
Our second day in Paris we woke up bright and early to head to the Eiffel Tower. It took an hour to walk along the river, but was a nice way to start the day. After waiting in lines and being rejected by security because of our State flag, we ended up not climbing up. Instead we were able to head to the Arc de Triomphe and walk down The Avenue des Champs-Élysées (where we so gracefully ate our packed Nutella and jelly sandwiches). We then toured the Notre Dame, and enjoyed some more fresh bread at a local bread festival. We ended the night doing an illuminated Paris night bus tour, this was amazing. Unfortunately, we were not in an open top bus so the pictures didn't turn out too well. Nonetheless, the Eiffel Tower lit up is amazing, as well as the Arc de Triomphe (one of my favorites).
The third and final day we had planned on going to Versailles....until we remembered it was closed on Monday! This was disappointing, but we regrouped and headed back to climb the Eiffel Tower. We spent the rest of the day enjoying the beautiful architecture, visited the Conciergerie, ate lunch in a cute cafe, and enjoyed a crepe (Nutella, of course) for dessert.
All in all, we loved Paris! We were able to see a LOT because we walked everywhere, and actually felt comfortable without looking at a map! Our biggest takeaway is to always make sure wherever you're going is ACTUALLY open. A lot of museums are closed on Mondays!!
Off to Amsterdam!
Disclaimer: it's a lot harder to post from my iPad than I originally planned, so my photos may not have the best formatting.
First stop: Brussels!
After a restless night (around 3 hours of sleep) on the plane we hit the ground running to see the city center in Brussels, before catching an afternoon train to Brugge. We enjoyed a Belgian waffle in the city before hopping on the hour train to Brugge.
The first day we enjoyed wandering along the picturesque streets of Brugge, found a nice place to eat, and crashed. We stayed in an Airbnb here that worked out perfectly. On the second day we toured the Bell Tower in the city center, saw the only Michelangelo statue outside of Italy (Madonna and Child), tried Belgian chocolate and wandered the city for hours. We're off to Paris in the morning!