As our South American adventure is coming to a close, it’s time to reveal what’s next for us! And more importantly, to ask all of you guys for help!
We are going to Europe from July 6 to September 24!! For an 80 day tour of Europe.
We jumped on plane tickets months back when Norwegian Air offered a promotional price flying from the US to London, on their new 787’s. We basically booked the earliest flight in and the latest flight out possible during their valid dates. Everything in the middle was one huge blank space. A huge space full of possibilities!
When it was time to start planning, and D asked me where I would like to go, my answer was always “I don’t care! ANYWHERE!”
You see, this is my first time setting foot in Europe, so I really didn’t care where to go. Anywhere would be new and exciting and provide adventures beyond my wildest dreams!
After what seems like hundreds of itinerary revisions, we finally narrowed it down to 16 cities. Because D is seriously obsessive-compulsive about planning and must have all accommodations and transportation booked farrrr in advance, the following plan is set in stone and our itinerary can/will not be changed.
On the other hand, I’m a horrible planner and he probably shouldn’t have left the to-do’s up to me. I prefer to just play things by ear, but a lot of the time after-the-fact, I’ll discover important sites we’ve missed because I didn’t plan.
So here’s where I need help from you guys – any suggestions for must see sights, must do activities, and of course, knowing us, must eats!! Trust me, no suggestion is too small or trivial!
We will be landing in London to begin our 80-day tour of Europe. As much as I’d like to spend more time in London, our dollars, unfortunately, does not stretch very far here. So we will be only staying for 3 nights. We will most likely spend our precious 2.5 days being super tourists and hit up all the must-see sights, including a ride on The London Eye (which my inner 12-yr-old is ridiculously excited for!). And of course, eat a ton of fish and chips (cliché, I know)!
What better way to get to Paris than riding the bullet train from London? We will be spending 5 nights in the Latin Quarter. Besides hitting up all the famous Parisian landmarks, we may take a couple of daytrips… Chartres? Versailles? or Loire Valley? I’m so excited for all the activities, but honestly, what I want to do most is to just BE in Paris… lounging in cafés, picnicking, and soak up the atmosphere of The City of Love…. Any suggestions on how to get the ultimate local experience in Paris?
Antwerp (with a day trip to Bruges):
We settled on 3 days in Antwerp instead of the more famous Brussels, well, mainly because the train to Amsterdam goes through Antwerp (remember, we’re lazy). But it looks so gorgeous in pictures that I hardly even care that we are not going to Brussels. We will also be taking a day trip to Bruges….. anyone’s been to Bruges and have any recommendations for a day there?
The Netherlands have always appealed to me for some reason, so I’m beyond excited to be spending 5 nights in Amsterdam. When in Amsterdam, I hope to do as the locals do and partake in their coffee shops. We’ll also be taking a trip to see the beautiful tulip fields.
Berlin is one of D’s favorite cities in the world. So even though he was there just a year ago, he wants to share the experience with me this time around. It also seems like that every single travel blogger absolutely loves it too (which makes me kinda not want to like it, but I’m sure there’s a reason why everyone loves it so much!). We will be spending 7 nights here to relax a little. Hopefully, we’ll even have time for some day trips out of Berlin to see other parts of Germany, like Potsdam.
From Berlin, we will fly to Budapest where we will spend a whopping 10 nights, on the Pest side. I’m really looking forward to an authentic Hungarian thermal bath experience. But the really exciting thing is that D’s cousin (who’s quite a traveler herself!) will be meeting us there! Since it’s just been D and I 24/7 together for the past few months, it’ll be really nice to have some other company.
Vienna (with day trip to Bratislava):
We will be staying in Vienna for 5 nights. And you know me, there’s NO WAY I’m going to be in this city and not visit the oldest zoo in history! We originally planned on staying in Bratislava for a few nights, but ultimately decided to nix that in order to spend more time in Budapest. Instead, we will be day tripping to Bratislava one of the days while in Vienna… So what are the must see sights there if we only have one day??
Brno will be only a quick 2 night stop. I’m not sure what to expect from it yet, except that it looks like a perfect Czech fairy tale city. Any suggestions very much appreciated!
Prague is another city that D has been to previously and loved (and another one that everyone else loves). He hit up all the big touristy things last time, so this time, I hope to discover some less well-known places and activities (Mind Maze, perhaps?). One thing for sure we’ll do is take a day trip to the bone cathedral because he didn’t get to do that last time.
Poland (Wroclaw, Krakow, Warsaw):
Visiting Poland holds a special importance to us because D’s dad’s side of the family is from Poland (as in, his grandfather was born there and is a concentration camp survivor). So we’ll be spending over 2 weeks exploring Poland through these 3 biggest cities. No real plans yet for what we’re going to do in Poland, but a visit to Auschwitz is a must. We will be staying with some of his relatives in Warsaw and I’m really looking forward to it (the only time our accommodation will be FREE)! I hope to eat lots of home cooked meals!
Originally, we had Riga, Tallinn, and Helsinki in our plans, but nixed ALL of them in order to spend a lot of time in Istanbul (2 full weeks, to be exact)!! I don’t know why, but Turkey fascinates me… Probably because of its fusion of European and Asian cultures, not to mention the amazing food!
We added Izmir kinda at the last second, because we wanted to see more of Turkey than just Istanbul! The main draw of visiting Izmir is to see the ancient ruins of Ephesus, and the Pamukkale thermal springs. I’ve seen so many gorgeous surreal pictures of them, and I can’t wait to see them in person!
Phew… that’s all. I’m exhausted just writing about it. We’re going to be moving pretty fast (our pace in South America is practically at a sloth level compared to how it will be in Europe. But in all seriousness, I’m pretty freaking excited!). But I also know that it’s important to slow down so you don’t burn out, so we won’t go too crazy with sightseeing. I’m looking for unique and authentic experiences, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, or links to blog posts that I should read for ideas (whether yours or someone else’s!).
On the other hand, I’m a little anxious about where blogging will take me in Europe, because what can I possibly have to add that’s new to the travel blogging community? And since we’re moving fast, I hope I will still continue to hit my weekly blogging goals!
In any case, I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my travel diaries. And I thank everyone for your support and help!
London, Paris, Berlin, & Prague photos taken by Daniel on his previous visits to Europe.
All other pictures pictures are from Wikipedia.org