Monday, June 17, 2013

Our Top European Experiences

So as our time in Italy winds down and we embark on a new chapter in our lives we've been reminiscing about all of our experiences and travels over the past two years. We've done some amazing things and have been to places that we could only dream of going to. We really wanted to make the most out of our time here and we don't think we could have done it any better. We are definitely known as "the jet-setters" among friends and colleagues here in Italy, rushing off to a new city or country every weekend Jon wasn't on call, sometimes taking a plane two or three weekends a month just to make sure we didn't waste a single opportunity. And although at times, especially towards the end of our tour here, we became weary and tired of plane and train hopping to new cities, we were always inspired and thankful when we got there and appreciated what each place had to offer. Of course, every experience we had was the tops in our books, but these are the ones that stood out the most. So, in no particular order, we give you our top European experiences.

1) Staying overnight in an igloo in Zermatt, Switzerland: What an experience we had eating, drinking, and sleeping inside an igloo in the middle the Swiss Alps facing the Matterhorn. Not only did we meet people that we are still friendly with, but dinner was solely cheese fondue with bread. We also got to sled down to breakfast the next day. You can't beat that!

2) Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany: There's nothing like getting together with 10,000 of your "closest friends" in a tent (dressed in the traditional Bavarian gear) with one common goal of drinking liters of beer until you can't remember holding a rifle for a shooting game, dropping and breaking a camera, and getting back to the hotel... or was that just us?

3) Seeing a flamenco show in Seville, Spain: We were truly mesmerized by the singing, dancing, and guitar playing of this genre of Spanish music.

4) Husky sled and snowmobile driving in Saariselka, Finland: Everything about this trip was fun and different, from being in the Arctic Circle, to having three hours of sunlight a day, to staying in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere. But actually getting a chance to drive our own sleds with our own team of dogs and then driving our own snowmobiles at night through the Lapland wilderness was icing on the top of an amazing experience.

And speaking of Finland...

5) Seeing the Northern Lights in Saariselka, Finland: There are no words... just spectacular.

6) Fireworks on New Years Eve in Naples, Italy: For 30 minutes, watching every Neapolitan set off fireworks from their roofs, balconies, and inside their homes (yes, this happens) makes for a spectacular display for all of us who want to keep our extremities intact.

7) Wine tasting anywhere in Italy: Wine tasting here is completely different than in the U.S. You're not given little sips of wine to taste, but rather full glasses for you to enjoy. Not only that, but a lot of places will leave the bottle on the table for you to taste at your leisure. Some come with lunch and snacks, and the hospitality can't be beat! Touring the old cellars is pretty cool too.

8) Opera in Vienna, Austria: Even though we're not the biggest opera fans we're glad to have gone to our first (and last) opera show in Vienna. The beautiful Italian opera of Tosca sung in German was pretty interesting as well.

8) Seeing the concentration camps in Auschwitz, Poland: This isn't necessarily an experience that we enjoyed, but it was an experience nonetheless that gave us a deeper understanding of the atrocities that happened there... and we will never forget what we saw. We wanted to go, we saw it, and we don't have to return.

9) Kayaking in the Adriatic Sea in Dubrovnik, Croatia: We were able to see Dubrovnik from a different perspective while getting in a great arm and core workout!

10) Sex shows in Amsterdam, Netherlands: As if one show wasn't enough, we were offered a deal of two shows for the price of one with two free drinks at the second show. And we're not ones to pass up free drinks.

No pictures of the sex shows, but a lovely picture of all of us who went to see them.

11) Hiking in Cinque Terre: We've done our fair share of hikes in Italy, but this one was our favorite. The scenery, the towns, and the activity makes this a top area of Italy to visit.

12) Going to France - at any time: It's no accident that we went to France four times during our two years here. Whether we went to a big city like Paris, or the small town of Beaune in Burgundy, we enjoyed the food, the ambiance, and the vibe that France puts out.

So there you have it. Two years of incredible travel and experiences that we'll remember forever. 22 countries in as many months, with many repeat visits to some countries and cities kept us pretty busy. The ease and proximity of going to all of these places is something that we're going to miss greatly. People have been asking us if we got to see everything that we wanted to see while here. Yes we have... and so much more!

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading this blog! What an unbelievable opportunity for you and Jon over the last two years! To be able to travel all around Europe and visit so many wonderful and beautiful countries is absolutely amazing! Every time I read one of your blogs and saw all the pictures, I felt that I was actually there! I know that when I was just reading this blog, it reminded me of the blogs that you had previously written, so I can just imagine how many wonderful memories you and Jon have after having actually been to all those places! I would have to say for me one of the most exciting places that you wrote about was when you and Jon stayed in the igloo in Switzerland!! All I can say is WOW!! That's so COOL!! I wanna do that!! But then again, I think everyone of the places you and Jon have visited in Europe have been absolutely spectacular and breathtaking! Each one of these cities and towns had their own personality and that is what made it so exciting to read about! Thank you for sharing your amazing travel experiences over the last two years, but most importantly for me, I learned so much from your blogs. Thank you for teaching and sharing!
    And you should definitely consider putting all these blogs together and writing a book!