A year ago today, my husband and I were on a plane somewhere between Dubai and Istanbul. We were heading off on a six week trip around Europe. It was by far the most amazing experience I have ever had. Before we left I worried that I would get home sick, but I didn’t at all! We had so much fun, saw lots of famous sights and really just loved every second of travelling, eating and having siestas! There was no time to be thinking too much about home! To say this trip gave me the travel bug would be a massive understatement! If it wasn’t for the cost of travelling, I would do it all the time… even if it meant having clothes that only get washed in a bathroom sink for weeks and weeks on end!
So while I’m here wistfully remembering our holiday, I thought I’d share a few photos with you!
Istanbul was one of the most incredible places I have ever been to. I really didn’t know what to expect, but it was just this amazingly eclectic mix of new and old. I even faced one of my all time biggest fears and went on a helicopter ride. I was petrified and remember saying to my husband and the two other passengers that we had only just met… ‘am I the only one who has seen Black Hawk Down?’. Hehe ooops!!! Saying stupid things when I’m scared is not one of my best traits!
We were in Paris for our wedding anniversary… which was a total fluke and we only realised after we had booked it! Paris was absolutely one of my very favourite places we visited. It was everything I had hoped for, but times about 3 bazillion! And yes… for me it was largely about the food! Macarons, pastries, crepes, croissants and baguettes were just the beginning. Two highlights were the Moulin Rouge show and picnicking under the Eiffel Tower. I didn’t want to leave Paris, but my ass was more than ready to after all of the chocolate croissants I stuffed myself with!
Hmmm only one photo of London here. 6 words. Harrods. Prawn wontons. Food poisoning. Hospital…. Enough said!
And off to the gorgeously stunning Lucerne in Switzerland. We went all the way to the top of Mount Pilatus. So very, very high. Switzerland was such an organised country… I totally should have been born there (minus the cold weather of course!).
How excited was I to be at the Sound of Music Mirabell gardens in Salzburg, Austria! Doe, a deer, a female deer, ray, a pocketful of sun… hehe don’t even get me started singing the Sound of Music songs! Oh and yes I did eat a huge apple strudel just after this photo was taken… you cannot possibly visit Austria and not consume copious amounts of strudel (and weiner schnitzel!).
Venice was such a spectacular and surreal place! Even though I was obviously expecting a lot of water, it still took quite a while to get used to there being water everywhere! Venice was a great place to visit, but I really don’t think you would want to live there and have to put up with the water all the time. Half of the time we were there we had to walk around on raised boards (which takes a looong time when there are lots of other people on the boards too!). But it was fantastic and we had the yummiest pizza lunch while we were there.
Sooo much to see and do in Rome. We hot-footed it around the city over a couple of days. While it was great to see all of the famous sights, like the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and more, it was just a really nice city to walk around. We had beautiful weather while we were there and so we pretty much walked, stopped for gelati, walked, stopped for pizza, walked, stopped for wine, walked, stopped for gelati again. Fun times!
We were amazed at how cheap alcohol was in Italy (actually in most of Europe!). It was cheaper to have a glass of wine than a glass of soft drink!
Tuscany was beautiful. I loved the lifestyle, especially the fact that EVERYONE has a siesta in the afternoon. I couldn’t get over walking down the main street in the afternoon and there was nobody at all around and literally all of the shops were closed. Clearly they are onto something!
To be honest I was a little disappointed by Nice. It was a gorgeous, buzzing place, but I think because I had such high expectations of what I thought it would be like, it just didn’t quite live up to the hype! One of the most famous things about Nice is their beach… and yet it’s all stone! I think we are way too spoilt in Australia with all of our gorgeous beaches with endless soft, clean, white sand! We did however visit a little town called St Paul De Vence just out of Nice and it was by far one of the highlights of our trip. It was a little town made entirely of stone high up on a hill. The roads were absolutely tiny and windy, there were cute little shops and cafes all dotted around and it had the most incredible views. I’d love to go back there again.
We spent a night in Monte Carlo and hit up the casino (as you do). I think we only gambled about 10 euros because we spent pretty much the whole time walking around the amazing grand casino and checking out the ridiculously expensive cars parked out the front! Monte Carlo was such a clean and beautiful place… everything was impeccable but also crazy expensive!
Barcelona and Madrid in Spain were AMAZING! In fact, Spain was right up there as my favourite country (on par with France and Italy). Barcelona was the busiest, craziest place I have ever visited. We stayed on La Rambla which turned out to be party central! Barcelona literally never sleeps! At anytime of the night there were soccer fans celebrating on La Rambla, people out eating tapas and drinking sangria. Madrid was the total opposite of Barcelona. While Barcelona was beachy, fun, and totally insane, Madrid was classy, elegant and organised. We found the best little restaurant in a back lane and ended up going back each night… it was that good! Oh and you can’t visit Spain without having churros (spanish donuts dipped in melted chocolate). Mmmmm. Yes please!
I really loved the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. It was so different to ALL of the other museums we went to in Europe. By this stage in our trip we were pretty much over visiting museums and churches, so the Guggenheim was a welcome change for something a bit different!
You know the feeling when you visit a place and fall totally and absolutely in love with it and wish you could stay for a month! Well that was Biarritz for me. On the French coast, close to the Spanish border, Biarritz was this too cute little town on a really rugged coast. I was like a pig in mud eating fresh croissants and chocolates on the boardwalk. My dream would be to rent a little apartment here for a month and just kick back on the beach, eat good food and relax, relax, relax!
Heading back to Paris we visited Versailles. The last photo is of Mary Antoinette’s bed.. just a teensy weensy bit flash! It was soooo cold when we were here, but I would love to go back in summer and take a picnic to eat in those amazing gardens.
And of course, we had to put a padlock on the ‘Love Lock’ bridge in Paris. Hope it’s still there! What a good excuse to go back to Paris… to check that the lock is still there!
By this stage it was nearly coming into winter and was getting very cold. Time to kick back on a seat on the Paris sidewalk in a hundred layers of clothes!
A lot of stuff has happened in the past twelve months… the birth of this blog for one! But I am feeling very wistful remembering the amazing holiday we had, the lovely people we met, the beautiful sights we saw and the all of the fun we had along the way. I definitely know that I want to travel more, but I really need to start planning and saving if that’s going to become a reality anytime in the near future!