Europe #5: Austria, the Best Country for Looking Ridiculous

The trip really is continuing! I may have spoiled everyone with four straight days of posts. Well, I moved to a new city and things got kind of thrown into disarray for a few days, but now! on! to! Austria!

We left Munich early the next morning and Giovanni drove us into Austria. I hadn’t spent a lot of time studying this portion of our itinerary so I really didn’t know what to expect in Austria. I knew there would be some kind of resort, and maybe hiking. We started our morning visiting the Salzburg salt mines in Berchtesgarden. No one seemed to have any idea what this tour was supposed to be and no one seemed particularly excited to learn about salt mining, but we arrived and everyone was handed black jumpsuits to put on. We looked mostly ridiculous, but looking ridiculous is kind of fun, so it was starting off well. Continue reading

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Europe #4: Deutschland, the Land of Very Big Beers

Welcome to Europe post number four! After leaving Amsterdam, Giovanni took us across the border into Germany. The autobahn! I had thought that the autobahn was a special highway where everyone drove sports cars at 150 miles per hour. Turns out the autobahn is just Germany’s highway system – the whole thing. Most of the time it’s just like a regular highway in America. Our beloved tour bus, loaded up with all of us and all of our precious luggage clocked in at a max of about 60 miles per hour – really screaming down the road, ya know? Much of the time we were in moderate traffic so we didn’t see too many fast cars flying by in the passing lane, but occasionally one would shoot by. Not as dramatic as I’d hoped though.

We were in Germany for four days, but we weren’t in any single place in Germany for very long. Lots and lots of bus time. Our first stop was Cologne, where we stopped to see the Cologne Cathedral in the center of town and have lunch. Like many of our stops, we were only in the city for about two hours. I opted to spend my time photographing the cathedral instead of sitting down for lunch. The cathedral was grand and intricate from the outside and a lot of fun to photograph. The inside was dark, like most cathedrals, but also dramatic and nice for a few photos. Inside I lit a candle for my grandma who passed away this year. I’ve never lit a candle in a cathedral before, but I knew my grandma would love it.

Cologne Cathedral exterior, left, and interior, right.

Cologne Cathedral exterior, left, and interior, right. Construction took 600 years!

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Europe #3: Explosions of Sweetness and Joy

Ok…here we are at post number three and I’m only on my second day in Paris…*looks around nervously*…gonna get this trip written up in three more posts…yup!

Alright, so after my night at the Eiffel Tower, I had an incredibly fabulous day by myself touring Paris. Thankfully it can be summed up pretty quickly since I did things most of you have probably heard of. I went alone because I knew exactly what I wanted to do and I knew I’d be going at a really fast pace and that doesn’t usually work well with a group.

I had purchased a two-day Metro pass the night before, so I got up and made my way up to the Pigalle neighborhood to visit Buvette, a precious little restaurant that had been recommended to me by a friend of the family. It did not disappoint. The staff was delightful, spoke great English and the brunch I ordered was among the best meals I ate during my trip. I got their Croque-Madame, which is basically a melty toasted ham and cheese sandwich with an egg on top. Not only was it delicious, but it was beautiful.

Croque-Madame from Buvette. I could not have been happier eating this.

Croque-Madame from Buvette. I could not have been happier eating this.

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