{Hannah} Europe Trip 2017: Berlin

The final stop on my European adventure was Berlin! A friend has been traveling the world for almost a year, and he made it known he’d be in Berlin for two months and would appreciate visitors. So I visited!

The first day, I tried flammkuchen, which is kind of like a pizza. Then we went to the DDR museum, and wandered around that area, passing by an old synagogue, eating at a great Chinese restaurant, and trying various beers at two of his favorite bars.

There were a lot of stolpersteins in Berlin–the little plaques in the ground that indicate a victim of the Holocaust had lived or worked there. These were the first two we happened upon while I was there.

Two relatives were deported on November 29, 1942, and murdered in Auschwitz

I had the mornings free to myself, so I spent the first morning wandering around the most famous sites. The first stop was the Brandenburger Tor and Pariser Platz.

I continued through past the Holocaust Memorial…

berlin germany holocaust memorial

…then onto Potsdamer Platz, the Topographie des Terrors…

Berlin Wall remnant

…and Check Point Charlie. We at lunch at a German restaurant, and I tried spaetzle, which is German macaroni and cheese. We went to the Judisches Museum, and then visited the Reischtag before heading to a blues dance class and a fondue dinner.

Plaque outlining where the Berlin Wall once stood

The next morning I went for a run through Grosser Tiergarten, Berlin’s largest park. It’s a beautiful park, with a lot of statues and history.

The Siegessaule (Victory Column) in the middle of the park

We spent the rest of the day wandering around town and eating a lot of food. We stopped at the old church Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtnis-Kirche before heading back to the apartment.

It was the Fourth of July, which isn’t a holiday in Berlin, but is a holiday for two Americans! To celebrate, we made dinner, baked cookies, and drank a homemade red, white, and blue drink.

I left the next morning for my flight, but ended up staying another night (more on that later). The “bonus night” in Berlin was spent going to a nice restaurant and returning to his favorite local bar to have a banana beer.

{Hannah} Europe Trip 2017: Venice

We actually spent two nights in Venice, though they weren’t contiguous. The first was the night before the cruise, which we spent on the island of Lido.

Sunset as seen from the boat to Lido

That morning we walked along the main road on Lido and spent some time chilling on the beach. The water was the perfect temperature! Of course, we had pizza for lunch.

The canals in Lido were so beautiful

We took a vaporetto (the public boats in Venice) up the Grand Canal to the cruise terminal. We got an awesome view of the Rialto Bridge as we approached and went under it.

rialto bridge venice italy

When we returned from the cruise, we stayed on the actual island of Venice. Venice has a biannual art show called the Biennale, where various countries have an artist represent them. It’s all modern art, but some exhibits were more interesting than others.

This art piece was like being in a tree fort

We spent the rest of the day wandering around the narrow streets, enjoying the canals…

…and taking in the sights like Piazza San Marco, the Doge’s Palace, and the shopping on the Rialto Bridge.

Because we were in Italy, we managed to eat pizza for both lunch and dinner, and have gelato three times!

It was a short amount of time in Venice, but we felt like it was enough to see the whole island (though there’s of course more we could have done). The next day my friend flew back to the States, and I was on my way to Berlin!

{Hannah} Europe Trip 2017: Cruise to Greece

Our cruise left from Venice in the evening (more on Venice later). We boarded the boat in the afternoon, and were pleasantly surprised to see we were upgraded to a room with a balcony! The first night on the boat was spent eating and exploring.

Our first stop was Trieste, Italy. We docked earlier than the shops and sights opened, so I explored the town before getting on a city bus to the Miramare castle. It was beautiful and had a wonderful garden to wander around.

View of Miramare castle from the boat

As we were leaving the port, it started to rain. But that was ok, because we were rewarded with a beautiful double rainbow!

We sailed until the following afternoon when we arrived in Corfu, Greece. It was a quaint old town. We tried to see the New Fort, but it was closed for the day. Instead we saw the Old Fortress, and then walked around the bay to an old church and some ancient ruins.

Corfu as seen from the boat

The next morning we arrived in Katakolon. It’s a small fishing town, but it’s the closest port to Olympia. I took a tour to the ruins and museum at Olympia. It was very interesting, but the tour I was on was rushed and we didn’t have much time to explore and really soak it in. We arrived back at the boat with almost two hours left in port, so I went for a run down the beach.

Katakolon and the cruise boat from down the beach

Then it was time for a full day in Mykonos! I walked through all the little streets and up the hills and stairs of the old town in the morning. Then we headed to the beach in the afternoon. The water was so clear and a perfect temperature for swimming.

Mykonos is famous for their windmills

After so many exciting stops, we had a relaxing day at sea, where we slept in, ate a lot, and hung out on our balcony.

cruise costa luminosa ocean deck

Our final stop was in Dubrovnik, Croatia. It was another cute little town. We walked around the city walls, and then took the cable car up Mount Srd. There was heavy fog at the top, so we didn’t get the beautiful views of the old town that people talk about.

Dubrovnik from the city wall

We had one last afternoon and night on the boat before returning to Venice. It was so much fun to explore so many new places in such a short amount of time! But the trip wasn’t over quite yet…

{Hannah} Europe Trip 2017: Paris

I arrived in Paris late Tuesday night and went straight to the hostel. Wednesday morning I was up bright and early, and took a walk down Avenue des Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Troiumphe.

I walked up all the steps and had a wonderful view of the city. Afterwards I walked through the Trocadéro and over the river to see the Eiffel Tour up close.

Eiffel tower paris france

I took the stairs up to the first two observation decks, and got to see Paris from another angle. It was time for a snack, so I walked to Rue Cler and got a Nutella crepe from a vendor on the quiet market street.

I continued on to the military museum in the Hotel des Invalides, and managed to spend over four hours there!  It was getting late, so I walked back across the Seine via the Pont Alexandre bridge, and onto Avenue Montaigne and Rue du Faubourg St Honore–both of which are filled with high end fashion stores. I picked up my first Parisian macroons from Laduree, and enjoyed them in the Palais Royal gardens.

The next morning I went to Ile de Cite. I saw the magnificent Sainte-Chapelle church, to which these beautiful stained glass windows belong.

I visted the Conciergerie (an old building that was once a jail where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned), the Palais de Justice, and the Cour du Mai. I visited the Crypte Archeologique and saw ancient ruins that are buried beneath Paris. Then I went into the Notre-Dame, and waited an hour to climb up into the towers.

The last stop of the day was the Panthéon, where I made a friend in the crypt. We split a large sandwich from a small shop and enjoyed it at the fountain in Jardin du Luxembourg.

We tried to see the Catacombs and the views of Paris from Montparnasse, but the timing wasn’t on our side. I finished the night with a walk through Isle Sainte-Louis and a stop for ice cream.

For my last day in Paris, I started with a run up to the Sacré-Coeur to get one last view of the city.

Then it was onto the Louvre!

Even though I had almost five hours to spend in the museum, it wasn’t enough time! But I had to leave to catch my flight to Venice.

{Hannah} Europe Trip 2017: London

My Europe trip began in London, with my flight landing around 7 am on Sunday.  It took some time to get through customs and make my way to my hostel (SoHostel, which was great) via the Tube.

Once I dropped off my bag and changed, I headed to Tower of London to take in the old fortress, and see the crown jewels.  They had free tours, so I joined one to get a little more history of the place.

After a few hours exploring the Tower of London, I made my way across the Tower Bridge.  I walked along the River Thames, passing Borough Market, Shakespeare’s Globe, and Tate Modern along the way.

I stopped at the Anchor at Bankside for my very first fish and chips!  I’m a vegetarian, so I was very excited to see that they had a vegetarian “fish” made out of cheese.

I continued down the river, where I went for a spin on the London Eye.

After the ride, I walked back across the river and past the Parliament Building and Big Ben.

london england uk united kingdom britain big ben parliment london eye

Monday morning I took the Tube to Westminster Abbey, and enjoyed the audio tour they provided.  I made it to Buckingham Palace in time to see the end of the Changing of the Guard.  I stopped into the Queens Gallery where they were exhibiting paintings on Venice–a later stop on my trip!  I toured the Royal Mews, before going on the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk.  It’s seven miles through some of the most famous parks in London, marked by these medallions.

I took a detour off the path to get lunch at Paxton’s Head (which is actually part of the same pub group as the Anchor) and to see Harrods department store.

I finished the walk just in time to make it to a pub crawl.  It ended up being more of a bar crawl, but I made a friend, and we ended up hanging out in Trafalgar Square late into the night.

My last day in London was Tuesday, and I took the opportunity to go for a run up Primrose Hill in Regent’s Park and take in the views of London.

Afterwards, I packed up and headed to the British Museum.  I spent a few hours at the museum, and I’m sure I could’ve spent more time there.  For lunch, I went to the only vegetarian and vegan pub in London!  It’s called Norman’s Coach and Horses, and I loved the Shepard’s pie, though their whole menu looked good.

With an extra hour, I wandered through the National Portrait Gallery before heading to the train station to catch the EuroStar train to Paris!