ALL THE THINGS
HIRSH AND SARAH'S ADVENTURES THROUGH "GREATER EUROPE"
WHERE WE HOPE TO EAT, SEE, AND DO
ALL THE THINGS THIS BEAUTIFUL LIFE HAS TO OFFER
After touching down at New York's JFK airport at 7:30 last night, and then spending the night in an Airbnb room near the airport, it was a quick hop, skip and jump back to Raleigh this morning. We're finally home!
We caught an Uber back to Sarah's parents' house where we were reunited with this sweet face...
...and this box, last seen in Munich. We knew we could count on you, Germany!
Everyone wants to know what our very favorite place was, and we spent a lot of time thinking about it along the way. It's impossible to choose just one, so we gave up on that idea. We would reassess every few days, but in the end, we agreed that certain places and experiences left an indelible mark on our hearts.
Geirangerfjord, Norway (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3)
Its unparalleled natural beauty left us speechless. This fjord is harder to get to than many of the others, so it feels less overrun with tourists. The drive to the fjord is spectacular in itself, with waterfalls surrounding you in every direction as you wind through the majestic mountains. Our hotel in Geirangerfjord, Hotel Utsikten, really made the experience for us. Most visitors stay down near the water in the modern newer hotels, but we were perched high up on the mountain in a charming hotel with tons of character and an unbelievable view.
The opera in the Arena di Verona (Post)
Throughout the entire four hour performance of Aida, we sat on the stone steps and repeatedly said to each other, "This will be one of the best experiences of our lifetime." The ancient open-air arena is huge and feels so special, and the opera itself was probably the most impressive spectacle we'll ever witness.
Dubrovnik, Croatia (Post 1, Post 2)
Perhaps we fell so deeply in love with this city because we had no idea what to expect. We knew it had become a popular tourist destination in recent years, so we decided to check it out en route to Plitvice Lakes National Park (our main destination in Croatia). With its gorgeous natural setting on the sunny Adriatic coast and its ancient stone walls, it will charm anyone by day. By night, when the compact city's white walls and gleaming streets are perfectly illuminated, this place is pure magic.
Rounding out the top 10:
Vienna, Austria (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3)
Catamaran cruise around Santorini with evening fireworks (Post)
Renting a boat and island hopping off the coast of Hvar, Croatia (Post)
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia (Post)
Montepulciano, Italy and Tuscan food and wine (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4)
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany (Post 1, Post 2)
Baden-Baden, Germany (Post 1, Post 2)
The Next 10:
The dining and cultural treasures of Florence, Italy (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4)
Varenna, Lake Como, Italy (Post 1, Post 2)
Wine and an orchestra at night at Cafe Florian on St. Mark's Square, Venice, Italy (Post)
Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre, Italy (Post 1, Post 2)
The main street of Heidelberg, Germany (Post)
Tiny Alsatian towns like Ribeauville, Eguisheim, and Riquewihr, France (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3)
Hallstatt, Austria (Post)
The beaches, wharf, and old town of Essaouira, Morocco (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3)
The town, beaches, and vibe of Mykonos, Greece (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4, Post 5)
The Cotswolds, England (Post 1, Post 2)
Ostia Antica, Rome, Italy (Post)
Praiano, Amalfi Coast, Italy (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3)
Like Home Hotel, Bergamo, Italy (Post)
Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany (Post)
Sommerrodelbahn and Open Air Museum in the Black Forest, Germany (Post)
House of Terror Museum, Budapest, Hungary (Post)
Škocjan Caves, Slovenia (Post)
Hotel Akrotiri, Paros and driving an ATV around the entire island circumference, Greece (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3)
We flew out of Raleigh at 10:30am. Coincidence of all coincidences, I sat beside one of my old colleagues from High Point at the gate. He was heading to Boston for a conference, and we were heading to Boston for a 9 hour layover. Woohoo! Anyway, here's a pic of us with our massive backpacks.
Because we're procrastinators, we spent a good two hours in the Boston airport ripping off the free WiFi and attending to some last minute business. One agenda item was to call the City of Durham to have our water turned off for three months. The city worker I spoke to either didn't hear me or wasn't paying attention and I got a call two hours later from the maintenance worker to confirm that I wanted water disconnected from Voyager Academy in Durham. No. No, that is not what I wanted. If the poor kids at that school didn't have water today, my sincere apologies. 😉 Off to a strong start.
We then headed into the city to pass the time by walking around Boston's "Little Italy." Hirsh saw one of his old business school classmates, too! What a small world!!