Venice had been on my bucket list ever since I had a bucket list. A city with water ways instead of streets and boats instead of cars? I’m in. I think that Venice was the best way we could have ended our adventure, because we literally had nothing on our agenda but to get lost wandering. Gelato and the most beautiful pastries are for sale at every street corner. String quartets fill Saint Mark’s Square with music. Laundry hangs out of windows. White haired couples stroll hand in hand. Artists find inspiration at every turn. Fog rolls off the water by lunch everyday. Venice is idyllic.
After exploring Cinque Terre, we rented a car and spent a day driving through the rolling hills of Tuscany.
Forget Disney, Cinque Terre might just be the most magical place on earth. Stretching along Italy’s north-western coast, these five towns contained inside a national park, absolutely lived up to their hype. The inclines are steep if you’re hiking, but if you reward yourself with some fresh lemon slush or gelato, it’s so worth it. Colorful houses dot the cliffs and the salty Mediterranean is just a jump away. Hands down, this was my favorite part of our trip.
The water was so clear and blue and warm!
We watched the sun set over Manarola, perhaps the most famous of the five cities. Painters and photographers crowded the path as the sun sank into the sea.
“Italy. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see western civilization. It is such a happy place. Violinists and accordion players fill the streets with there beautiful songs. History practically smacks you in the face. You can barely walk 100 yards without running into something ancient. Laundry hangs from windows, golden light is around every corner, old men with white hair sit on park benches reading the morning news. Oh Rome, you are a dream.”
Our first night in Italy, we watched the sun set from the top of the Spanish steps, and ate pizza and gelato for dinner
We took a guided tour of the Coliseum – so incredible! There were 28 trap doors built under the floor, so the gladiators would never know where something would come from next.
Trevi Fountain and Manertime Prison, where Paul was imprisoned
Where chariots raced at the Circus Maximus
After our London layover, we had an overnight in the Venice airport and then on to Barcelona. Our cousins were in Europe at the same time we were, mainly to tour Scotland and Ireland, but we decided to meet up in Barcelona for a day!
We were there during Catalonia’s referendum to succeed from Spain, so there was a pretty heavy police presence, some demonstrations, and lots of people out voting.
Dan and I rented a car and drove from Barcelona to Espot to do some hiking at Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. The drive there was beautiful.
We stayed at a hostel in the town run by an elderly Spanish couple.
The park was gorgeous. We spent the whole day hiking.
Because of the revolution going on, almost all of the roads going back into Barcelona were closed, so we had to keep taking detours. It wasn’t all bad though…
We spent our last night in Spain in Sitges, a costal town right outside of Barcelona. We could see the ocean from our room, and we ate dinner at a restaurant overlooking the coast.
I *love* London. I think it’s the fact that there’s history at every turn and I can understand the language. Or maybe it’s the bright Union Jack flying everywhere, the double decker busses, and the bright red telephone booths on every corner. Or because I grew up loving Sherlock Holmes and C.S. Lewis. Whatever the reason, I was so excited that when Dan and I booked flights to Europe for last fall, our itineraries had us meeting up in London with a seven hour layover. My flight was delayed (story of my life last year), so it ended up being more like a five hour layover, but we packed some of our favorite London sights in.
Two years ago today I was walking around Paris taking in all the sites the city would offer (and eating a pastry at every corner). My brother Dan and I had talked about going to Europe for years, and we finally decided to just do it. It was a good choice. The other day, I was doing some cleaning, and I came across a stack of postcards I had bought during our trip. I saw this great idea on Pinterest, to buy a postcard for everyday, and then write what you did that day on the back of it. I actually did it for most of the trip, and I’m so glad to have those memories to look back on! Enjoy a quick little recap of our trip across the pond!
We arrived in London late in the evening, and early the next morning, we took a train to Bath for a few days.
London was everything I imagined it would be. Everything is so old, the architecture is amazing, and there is so much color everywhere!
I’m so glad that we brought this photo of my grandparents with us and recreated it.
We took a quick day trip to Windsor and Oxford to see the castle and Tolkien’s home, respectively. We also ate dinner at the Eagle and the Child, which is where Tolkien and C.S. Lewis met to write.
221 B. Baker Street. I’m pretty sure it was all the Sherlock Holmes that we watched growing up that created the desire to go to London.
After England, we took the train to France for a whirlwind day and a half in Paris, and then to the Normandy Coast to see Omaha Beach.
Bayeux, France was one of my favorite stops on the trip. The allies liberated this little town after D-Day, and they have never forgotten.
After France, it was on to Iceland to finish out the trip. There is a harsh, rugged beauty about this country that is captivating.