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.
We arrived in Munich around 8pm, were scooped up by our beloved friends/landlords and swept off into 24 hours of pure hospitality. We were hosted by friends of friends for two nights and we could never express how grateful we are of our introduction to Germany. We were in the Meadows of Therese, amongst the towering tents by 10am the next morning and our first Oktoberfest experience was underway.
Oktoberfest has a dizzying way of filling your day. We were in constant whirl of “look at that” “taste this!” and “let’s go here!” We ate and drank beyond our limits, toured the tents and struggled to keep up with the energy surrounding us. And just like that, we were off the next morning to meet Chris and Shauna as if we didn’t just drink a barrel of bier! The Simonses are our good friends from Hawaii, they were also backpacking through Europe at the time and had a formative influence on how we traveled for the next few weeks. Tim and I had never been to Europe, never stayed in an Airbnb, or even taken a train or subway, Chris and Shauna eased us into the trip and we are very appreciative of that.We rented a car and drove south into Bavaria. In Schwangau we found Neushwanstein Castle. It may look familiar, being the inspiration of the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
A short drive brought us to Füssen, a quaint municipality with charm and shops to spare.The next day we made it to Garnisch-Partenkirchen to hike Partnachklamm, a beautiful gorge formed by the ice-blue Partnach River. Sunrise brought fresh goodies from the bakery. Every morning in Bavaria and Tyrol, Tim and Chris (thank you, gentlemen) would walk to the nearest bakery and bring us fresh pastries. In Scharnitz we hiked and enjoyed the crisp autumn weather. Tyrol, the northern part of Austria, gave us the opportunity to sleep at the base of the Alps. We stayed in airbnbs most nights and were never disappointed with the experience. Kössen is an adorable Austrian town surrounded by green rolling hills and swarming with bees!! We hiked and biked all we could for the two days that we had.The border of Germany and Austria splits Taubensee lake in half. There was a small marker with a capital T and B on each side. We were (I was) giddy with the coincidence. Tyrol and Bavaria, Tim and B. Get it?! Taubenseehutte, a small inn and restaurant at the top of the hike, allowed us a place to rest our legs, take in the view and enjoy a refreshing beverage.The next morning we rented bikes and meandered to Walchsee, stopping for ice cream, photos and more BEES!! Tim deserves an award for this day, I don’t know if it should be for acting or pure strength but he woke up with food poisoning and powered through our seemingly gleeful activities, pedaling over ten miles to keep us on schedule. The next day we drove back to Munich where we parted ways with the Simonses (but don’t worry, that’s not the last you’ll see of our little backpackers!!)Recognize the mugs?! Yep, we hit Oktoberfest for round two! This time, with our Soekers. Unfortunately, Tim was still feeling the effects of food poisoning :(. I still can’t believe he persevered with such tolerance. Dustin’s Opa is originally from Germany and now lives in the US. Opa travels to Germany every few years to visit family. Sara and Dustin joined him last year and we could not have had a happier coincidence. Sara and I ran around like five year olds, riding rides and laughing ourselves silly. Haufbrau House tent from the BalconyTim, Dustin and Opa lead us to new games and rides, humoring our excitement. We ended the night at the real Haufbrauhaus and hope to be back so Tim can enjoy the experience too. Thank you for showing us the ropes, dear Opa!
The next morning, we were off to Italy!
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!