Showing posts with label European travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label European travel. Show all posts

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Broads abroad

I recently got back from a solo (sans Nick and Ferris) trip to London and Dublin. My cousin Chloe had an internship in London, so a few of us decided to keep her company during her last week. Prior to this trip I had only been away from Ferris two times - one night in a hotel to get some sleep, and one time finding our house in Minneapolis. Is it strange that a week of uninterrupted sleep was a huge draw for this trip?

I've never been a huge fan of London. I can't put my finger on why, but this about sums it up:
Taken in our hotel, the clusterF that is London.

But of course I had fun anyways!
London Eye, and taking comedic advantage of a broken table

We spent some time doing some touristy things like the London Eye and the nearby swings. But a lot of our time was spent just wandering around Tate Modern, finding Banksy's artwork, and falling madly in love with Liberty of London.

After a few days in London, Carrissa, Chloe and I took a cheap flight to Dublin. I absolutely loved it, and envisioned Ferris attending Trinity College someday. The people were kind, friendly, and quick-witted. It's the kind of place where you ask for sauce on the side and somebody replies, "the right or the left?"
 

First stop (urm, really, first thing we did!) was tour the Guinness brewery. Yada, yada, hops and water from the river Liffey, and a beer on the seventh floor with a panoramic view of Dublin.


While Carrissa stayed in Dublin to do her thang, Chloe and I took a day tour through Wicklow, the Irish countryside just south of Dublin. Our bus driver served us a shot of Jameson within the first hour. Hooray for getting drunk before noon! Maybe it's no coincidence that my favorite places have this in common?

Not to mention the incredible views.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Greece: Athens

We only spent 2 nights in Athens but had a great time. Our hotel was lovely, and right near the Temple of Zeus and the Athens city gate. The rooftop restaurant where we spent our breakfasts had a view of the Acropolis, and was so lovely we had dinner there too! We spent most of our day walking around the sites, and then at night, went to an open air theater called Cine Paris. Ok, now for the picture binge.

Us at the Temple of Zeus, with the annoying redhead

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Temple of Zeus, different angle with Acropolis in the background

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Temple of Zeus at night, from our table

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Those who say it's a dog eat dog world-- there are tons of strays in Athens, and the little guy was cleaning the ticks off the big guy. What a pal.

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Parliament, where people take pictures near the motionless soldiers. We just couldn't do it, but this guy could!

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Shoes

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Various pictures of the Acroplis and Ancient Agora

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View of Athens from the Acropolis

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There is a lot of restoration going on. It's amazing how much time and detail it takes to restore such massive structures.

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Ha.

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Watching Public Enemies near the Acropolis

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Picture of the Acropolis from our table.

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I felt very grateful taking this picture. We have been insanely lucky, I only hope our good fortune continues in New York City, where I'm posting from!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Greece: Milos

After Fira, we caught a ferry to Adamas, the port town of Milos island. While waiting for the ferry, we met another American couple, and spent a lot of our time in Milos with them. We took 2 ferries during our time in Greece, and they were surprisingly comfortable. They even had wireless internet in the middle of the sea! (In fact, I posted one of the prior entries from the ferry to Athens.) It was also interesting that there is some law regulating food and drink prices on the ferry so they can't rip you off! We only spent 2 nights in Milos. I was glad, because our hotel was awful and I was bombarded by mosquitos. The highlight was our day trip around the island. We got to stop a few times for swimming, and the views were incredible because the island has a lot of large natural formations.

The port of Adamas

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Nick jumping off the boat!

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A colorful town on Milos

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Hoorah for the ferry to Athens! It could hold a bus underneath!

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Greece: Santorini

What's the first thing we did as unemployed people? Went to Greece of course! We started in Santorini. We stayed 3 nights in Fira, which is the main/busy town on the island. We also spent some time doing watersports (parasailing for me, scuba diving for both of us) on different beaches around the island, and spent a sunset in Oia, which is the "romantic" and quiet part on the north side of the island. Our last day, we walked down to the port for a cruise to the caldera (volcano) and hot springs. It was amazing- we got to climb to the top of an active volcano and feel the heat coming out! They can predict activity in the short term, so it's safe. It took about a half hour to climb up, and similar to the Eagle's Nest visit, I undertook this climbing adventure in flipflops.

Here is a photo inside the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral in Fira.

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Gotta love wine on tap!

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Me parasailing over the Aegean

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Colorful buildings in Oia

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Japanese tourists and 2 brave dogs lounging on rooftops in Oia

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On the way up the volcano.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Roma!

Another late entry! About a week before our last day of work, Nick and I headed for a long weekend in Rome. His dad's family was in Rome as well, before going on a whirlwind tour of Northern Italy. We had the days to ourselves and met them for dinners. We visited Rome 6 years ago, but we left many stones unturned, so we had a lot of fun doing the touristy things - Roman forum, Colosseum, etc. It was a short trip, but all the same, pretty amazing to hop a flight for a weekend in Rome for only 20 euros.

Roman Forum with a temporary modern sculpture exhibit

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Italian parallel parking- perpendicular parking! (Colosseum in the background)

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Us at the Colosseum after waiting in line ZERO minutes as compared to the suckers who waited 45 minutes. Tip: buy your tickets at the Roman Forum instead of the Colosseum!

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Wall Study

Novice blogger Nick didn't post photos, so here are some interesting wall contrasts from our road trip:

1- Peace Wall in Prague

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2- Berlin Wall

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3- Bike storage wall (one of many) in Amsterdam

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Enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Amsterdam: The Finale

We left Berlin around 9 and started our 6 hour drive towards Amsterdam. This was a fun drive for me, as a big portion of it was on the Autobahn. I learned that our Prius tops out at 181 km/h. I was still getting lapped by the Porsches and BMWs.

We arrived to our hotel, on the western outskirts of the city. We checked in quickly and headed straight into the center of town, as a beer specialty store that Erik wanted to check out was soon closing. We made it with about 10 minutes to spare, and Erik quickly made friends with the store-owner(?). We spent way too much on beer, but came away with some very unique ones that we may never see again.

We headed to a restaurant called Gespot that Erica and I had tried before and really enjoyed. It had a little of something for everyone and good cocktails. We took a few pictures of Amsterdam and headed back out to the hotel. Erik and Lynnea were leaving tomorrow morning and needed to pack properly for the flight. Erica and I tagged along, and Erik and I quickly became distracted by a card tossing game. It started out as landslide victories for me, but Erik quickly became a challenge. Who knew I was so good at tossing cards?... I did!

We met up with the Sundman's for breakfast at the hotel and said our goodbyes! Erica and I headed back into Amsterdam to visit a couple of museums and say goodbye to the pretty city. Our first stop at a museum called FOAM. A photography museum. We learned that there was a New York Perspectives exhibit across the street and also visited that. It was New York photographers taking pictures around Amsterdam. We went downstairs at the place and stumbled upon the city archives. We saw old city planning maps, and a police report about Anne Frank's bike being stolen. Also 3-d pictures (although not Magic Eye).

The last legs of the trip... (better late than never)

Before leaving Prague, Erica and I headed back into the city to use the last of our metro passes. We were originally planning to go visit a glass museum, but decided against it and went to an area of the city known as Mala Stan. We just walked around and came across the John Lennon peace wall there.


We were to meet up with Lynnea and Erik at a pub that we were thwarted at trying to get into the night before.
Everyone had a couple beers (I had one, since I was driving) and some lunch. We used every last minute of our metro pass by heading back to the apartment. We packed up the car, and were on the road to Berlin.

3.5 hours later...

We pulled up alongside our apartment, checked-in, and headed to Oscar Wilde Pub, so that Erik could see the Champion's Cup Football (soccer) match. I stayed along with him, and the girls went back to the apartment, as it was standing room only. It was the first match I have ever completely watched, and I actually enjoyed it. I was glad that Barca one, but what do I know? We walked back to the apartment stopping for some Shwarma along the way.

We woke up the next morning and headed to the big T.V. tower for the Fat Tire Bike Tour. I volunteered for the Ass-man position this time, and was in charge of making sure everyone stayed in front of me.
Places visited on the tour:
German version of the White House
The Dom
The book burning site
The Gardens
The Berlin Wall
Checkpoint Charlie
Old Nazi Headquarter
Bunker where Hitler killed himself
Holocaust Memorial

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It was a good way to see many things. Afterward, Erica and I headed to a longer stretch of the Berlin wall, in East Berlin. We also did some shopping at a local store, and went to a Photography Museum near the zoo.
We headed back to our apartment and found a japanese noodle restaurant for dinner. The food was good here, and Erica had a beer with Fanta added to it (they also have a beer that the mix with lemonade).

Friday morning started with some pastries and window-shopping. Erica found a very persuasive salesman at a store she had been eyeing. A beautiful red trench coat was now on her brain. We walked around to a few more stores, and also to a bakery where Erica had tried some deserts from previously. It was now time for lunch at an all-you-can eat buffet. Erica received some good news, and bought lunch for everyone! She also went back and bought the red trench coat, but the salesman wasn't there. She had to deal with a slightly less fun saleswoman. We headed to the zoo next! A bit anti-climatic, but we enjoyed the monkey house, polar bears, and the petting zoo. We decided to eat more kebabs for dinner and have a night in with games and wine/beer, after all we had to leave pretty early the next morning to head towards A-dam.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Roadtrip Recap - Prague

After Salzburg, we headed to our next stop- Praha! But first, we stopped at the Eagle's Nest, which was a 50th birthday present from the 3rd Reich to Hitler. It is basically a house (now, a restaurant) on top of a mountain. With mountains come mountain climbing, driving in twists and turns, ears popping, etc. No joke- 1800 meters above sea level, views up to 200km (we saw Salzburg!) Erik was a good sport despite his fear of heights and I climbed through snow and up a mountain peak in flip flops. There were plenty of places where natural selection was allowed to run its course, and we couldn't help but comment, "In America, there would probably be a huge fence so you couldn't climb around this stuff and hurt yourself!" (Luckily, climbing around in flip flops left me on the alive side of natural selection!)

Lynnea and Erik in front of the house

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The four of us at the restaurant, taken by our very kind waiter.

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Erik, Nick and I climbed to the peak! (Look for Nick's red shirt on the left!)

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From the Eagle's Nest, we thought Prague would be only 3 hrs by car. But no, our TomTom said 5 hours! We later found out that we could've taken a slightly faster main route. But instead, we took the scenic route. Scenery included mountains, hills, young hookers, and Casino America. We spent a few days in Prague- most of it was spent on foot so we were generally pretty exhausted from sightseeing. On our first day we took a paddle boat around the river, which was great. This boat ride also served as the long anticipated "anniversary cruise" - when Erik and Lynnea got married in Costa Rica last year, we all talked about going on a cruise for their first anniversary. A paddle boat is similar to a cruise.

Here is a picture of the Frank Gehry Dancing Building from the boat.

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There is a nice restaurant on top of the Dancing Building, so we had a great dinner to celebrate the Sundman's first anniversary. Prague castle is in the background.

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We also had an afternoon drink/dessert in a bell tower (we only needed one expensive dinner!)

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And finally, me in the subway, I just like this picture. I don't know why I open my mouth in every picture, but this is documented back to my kindergarten talking during the fireman's presentation days. 

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Roadtrip Recap - Salzburg

After a day on the Romantic Road, we drove from Augsburg to Dachau concentration camp and spent a few hours looking around the prison, gas chamber, ovens, exhibits. It's a bit surreal to see a place like that, and quite the contrast to step into the parking lot and see a big McDonald's sign.

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Then we drove to Salzburg, Austria. Despite the fact that we were hit by hardcore hail, the mountain scenery was stunning. We spent 3 days there, mainly hitting up Sound of Music tourist spots. Nick and I went to a puppet show- it was our first one, puppets are awesome! I really enjoyed looking at the marionettes on display and wish we could've had an up close tour to see how things work behind the scenes.

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View of Salzburg:

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Near the Leopoldskron Castle, which served as the "Von Trapp house"

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The SoM gazebo (You are sixteen, going on seventeen....)

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The hills are alive!

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