We only explored the French countryside for one evening with little excuse other than we didn’t know what we were doing. We booked an Airbnb in a small town on our way through. We walked the quiet streets and ogled at the idea of winter gardens and bright green rows of vegetables so late in the fall. While driving the next day we realized how close to Bastogne we would be. We may not have given the stop the appropriate amount of forethought, but we are glad we explored the Battle of Bastogne war museum and Mardasson Memorial. That night our GPS stranded us in an empty Belgian field before rerouting to our Airbnb farmhouse. The stay would be one of the trip highlights. We used google translate to have a three-hour conversation with our host that night. We talked about everything we could until the day’s drive caught up to us. The next morning we woke to the most spectacular breakfast spread. Barbara had made us the most delicious pancakes, offered fruits and pastries, a variety of jams and honey. I honestly wished I would have taken a photo of the table, not an inch was spared. After engorging ourselves, she took us on a tour of her small farm where she had at least one of everything. I swear at any minute a wide-eyed Disney princess could have appeared, serenading us and all of the animals.This. This is my dream house. My dream farm. We spent the next few days in the Netherlands, roaming the cities of Maastricht, Breda, Dordrecht, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.Belgian waffles just on the border of Belgium.The fluffies and not-so-fluffies from our Airbnb near Maastricht. We were hosted by the sweetest couple who had the friendliest crew of animals. In our opinion, Airbnb is a must anywhere you visit. How else are you going to attend an in-house bluegrass band performance on your front step?Mark, our host in Dordrecht is a brilliant musician and master entertainer. We listened to Stringcaster live, drank Belgian beer and stayed up into the early morning hours. Sunset over Westeinderplassen in Aalsmeer.The same scenes in digital and leaky 35mm.Of course I had to do something different while in Amsterdam, so I had a stranger put a hole in my face.We would take an overnight bus to London that night, closing in on our last few weeks of the trip.
Cinque Terre consists of five villages along the Italian Riviera coastline. As per usual, we didn’t go with a plan but with the option to hike or take the train between the wonderfully saturated towns, the days flew by. Enjoy only a fraction of the photos we took, I could not resist every angle of every home.
We traveled by train from Florence to La Spezia onto Corniglia. We stayed in an Airbnb in Corniglia and hiked to Vernazza then Monterrosso al Mare the first day. As the sun was setting we took the train back to Corniglia.
We suggest purchasing a Cinque Terre card, it covers the train and bus fare and entry for hiking fees. The train stops at all five towns frequently however the buses only stay local to each town and do not travel in between. The trails open and close intermittently, so be sure to check if the routes you want are clear. The following photos are in no particular order and taken from any of five villages or in between. Costello DoriaCorniglia at sunset.AND LOOK WHO WE FOUND!!? Chris and Shauna met up with us for our last day on the coast. We hiked and ate gelato and caught the sunset together, traveling with friends really is the best way to do it.
I’ll attempt to make this short and sweet, naming the places we visited but not in detail. My best friend Sara has been involved in the wine industry since college so Italy was the perfect place to integrate her passion with their trip. We were just lucky enough to be there. In south Tyrol/northern Italy we toured two vineyards. J. Hofstätter being the first.
Abbazia Di Novacella was our second stop.A few cuties we found in Italy. Venice wasn’t even on our radar but Sara and Dustin had plans to visit so again, we tagged along. I would love to tell you where any of the next series of photos took place…but we were constantly lost and I truthfully have no idea.Unfortunately, we were only in Venice for one night but I am so glad we added it to the trip. The memories made there were some of our favorites. We left the next morning and sadly parted ways from the Soekers, Florence being the first place we would explore just the two of us. Florence CathedralMercato CentraleGustapizza will forever hold our hearts…and our bellies.Sunset view from Piazzale MichelangeloPonte VecchioPiazza della Signoria at night.I developed an obsession with lemon Fanta…but I can’t seem to find it in the States.Uffizi GalleryBoboli GardernsAs if Italy couldn’t get any better, we took Maile and Jesse’s advice and hopped a train to the coast. Check out our next entry if you want to be inundated with pixels.
I don’t know the best way of doing this. I don’t even know a good way of doing it. So, I am just going to wing it and see what happens. Ha, that’s funny, this is exactly how our trip to Europe worked out.
The next few entries will be focused on a trip to Europe we took in the fall of 2016. We wanted one last hoorah before we left Hawaii to travel in our van. We were planning on a trip to New Zealand and realized a trip to Europe would bring a lot of opportunities to travel with and visit friends. Our landlords from Hawaii would be in Germany, the Simonses would be backpacking Europe, the Soekers would be visiting Germany and Italy, our friends from college had just moved to Cambridge, my cousin Jake was living in Manchester and the Myerses were living in Sweden for the year. We couldn’t NOT go to Europe. We did very little planning because of all of these opportunities. We knew when and where our friends would be and decided to wing the rest. For that reason this is NOT a “How to travel Europe on a budget post” or a “48 things to do and see in Europe” this is more of a “Here are a million photos of our trip to Europe so we don’t forget what we did and saw” post.
Our photos are a combination of iPhone SE, Canon AE-1 35mm, Canon 5d mkiii, using only the 24-70mm lens and luckily a few taken by our friend Chris Simons. We will happily answer any questions and fill in as many blanks as we can but overall these posts are just for fun and making me feel like I have purpose right now.
As I post each country or region, I’ll hyperlink them in this post.
First up, Germany and Austria!
I started this blog almost two years ago. Now that I officially know no one visits it, I can start posting. If you know me, this makes total sense. No pressures, no expectations, nowhere to go but forward. I started to write this specific post before we moved from Oahu (a year and a half ago), and I will publish it from Nebraska far removed from the daunting feelings of leaving the island life. So, for all intents and purposes, this is a retroactive blog (technically all are) that I hope catches up to present time. I love writing, I love sharing stories and photos, but my mind and heart don’t like to sync up with that type of openness. This blog is meant to be cathartic, to get all of the feels out on proverbial paper. A journal if you will, a journal with photos and a public url. So, here we go!
By the time we left our paradise, we had officially lived there for four years. The second longest amount of time we lived in any state. We found a place to call home.Over the four years we kayaked coasts, jumped rocks, swam with dolphins and let the pacific lazily lap at our feet. We also built relationships, started companies, flourished in our careers and joined a community. We weren’t ready to leave, but the journey we’d been planning with Savannah was already set in motion.
We left for Europe in September 2016 and returned for ten days in November to soak in as much as we could before we said our goodbyes. First thing we did was drop our bags and hit the beach.Oahu was home because of the people. We owe much of our experience and love for the islands to our landlords. Our landlords who have become family. How cliché, but we planted our tree there (literally), we lived our best lives in that valley. Our landlords had a helicopter visitor that serendipitously dropped in the last few days we were on island. Seeing the North Shore from above capitalized the beauty we’d been living amongst. I’d like to think we didn’t take our time on island for granted, that we appreciated every sunset, every blooming street, every family dinner. It all feels so far away now.
The valley we called home, in the stretching depths of Pupukea was known as Valhalla. Our landlords were examples of hospitality and spared no spark of ingenuity or creativity. We hosted outdoor movie nights, sang Christmas carols amongst the palms and often gathered in that space. Our ceremonious send off, the creation and burning of our viking ships is just a small illustration of the depths of their zeal.We went to our favorite spots, indulged in our favorite foods and spent time with some of our favorite people. If you’re ever on the North Shore of Oahu, Haleiwa Bowls was my favorite açai bowl spot.Elephant Thai (now the Elephant Shack) for our last date night.And our afternoon with our loves at the beach. It hurts my heart that I won’t know every story of these littles’ lives. Auntie Bumblebee is so much of my identity and I can’t share that love in person every day with these boys. (+two baby girls since this photo was taken)We drove past this fence full of bougainvillea every single day. I finally took a film photo before we left. Whenever we get a home, heck a wall, this will be printed and displayed so we can again pass it daily.Maile drove us to the airport. She played local music, handed us Hawaii brewed beverages and sent us off with leis around our necks and tears streaming down our cheeks. This is the last photo we took while being able to claim Hawaii as home and I’m still overwhelmed thinking about it. Maile, one of the biggest regrets we will ever have about leaving Hawaii is not discovering your love sooner. We are so lucky to know you and your wonderful family.
Someday I want to write about everything we did in Hawaii. About all of the people we love and how they helped us grow. For today, I did a thing. The thing was small and not entirely all-encompassing, completely self-indulgent but I needed to start somewhere.