Europe 2016/17

Late last year, myself and my two girlfriends decided to take on an impromptu Europe trip, as you do. With just 2 months of planning we managed to get ourselves on a plane on the 27th of December 2016 and would not touch Aussie soil for the next 5 weeks. It was without a doubt one of the most crazy things I’ve ever endeavoured to do and the best times of my life. With an insane itinerary, stressful transport timetables and multiple check ins and check outs, we traversed 6 countries and 11 cities to explore the world and ultimately find ourselves (so cheesy but true- soz not soz) Here are some of the highlights…

Germany

I think one of the best things about going when we did was the fact that it was the winter holidays. It means everything was beautiful, lighted and decorated. Also we got to see this massive real Christmas tree in the middle of the Marienplatz in Munich….

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We were lucky enough to be able to visit the tallest snowy mountain in Germany, Zugspitze. Needless to say, we were not prepared for this winter wonderland and were on the brink of frostbite. However, the adrenalin filled bobsleds and a hearty German dinner afterwards sure did keep us warm!

We spent New Years in Berlin and it was a night I will never forget. The fireworks, the people, the friendship good times…..We were situated in the middle of a crossroads and so although we weren’t at the main fireworks display we didn’t care because there were literally fireworks going off all around us! (TBH not really safe practice.. umm quite dangerous actually..but good times nonetheless!)

We spent the next few days exploring the East Side Gallery and Checkpoint Charlie

Amsterdam

Amsterdam was without a doubt one of my favourite cities. So beautiful, so picturesque, like out of a children’s book 🙂

We rode along the canals at sunset…..

And visited ‘that famous sign’

Paris

Mmmmm Paris; cheese, wine and pastry…..

Oh and escargot. Yeah, I ate that and had no idea how to but was actually quite tasty!

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The view from Sacré-Cœur was so amazing that the photos didn’t do it justice so here’s a pic of me standing outside it…

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We also visited the Notre-Dame (and no we couldn’t find quasi-modo unfortunately)

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The day we visited the Eiffel Tower was actually a slow day (yay! no lines!)

We finished off our stay with a visit to the Arc de Triomph and a shopping day along the Champs-Élysées…

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Our last dinner in Paris was one of (if not the) best meals of my life EVER. NO JOKE. I CAN’T. EVEN. DEAL

It was ravioli with tomato and this creamy foam that just melted in your mouth…and paired with the perfect white wine

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Barcelona

Ok so bit of a deep and meaningful coming up (just FYI in case you want to opt out)

On the train trip to Barcelona my entire suitcase was stolen (sad times…. or was it?!?!….) Although it was a harsh lesson, it was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me on the trip. Looking back on it, there is something truly freeing about being little old me- literally just me- in the big world. At the end of the day, it’s just a whole lot of stuff. People, memories, experiences- these are the things which are irreplaceable and I wasn’t going to let a thief ruin my life journey. I mean, I was in freakin beautiful Barcelona gosh darn it!! My besties and I ate a lot of paella and sangria that night…

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Of course when you’re in Barcelona you HAVE to visit all of the beautiful Gaudi buildings 🙂

Sagrada Família

Casa Batlló

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And last but not least!

Park Güell

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Madrid

It’s always hard to follow Barcelona, but Madrid was still a lovely city.

We took a lazy stroll down Buen Retiro Park and ate more paella and sangria (duh)

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One night we watched a traditional flamenco performance with live musicians and got all dressed up fancy 🙂

London

We then flew across the water to London and after a treacherous train ride (like the human version of sardines), we arrived at our swanky apartment. The first night we had a chilled home cooked meal. Just look at who I got to eat with all the time! #babe

The next day we got all the sites ticked off our bucket list!

Of course we had to stop to make a few very important phone calls…

One of my fondest memories in London was being surprised by a bunch of very friendly squirrels. Some a bit too friendly as Lucy found out when one mistook her for a tree and decided to go for a run up her leg! haha They had a lot of swag…

We also got our nerd on at the Natural History Museum..

On one of the last days we had a very posh high tea (free flowing prosecco say what?!?)

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and then and there decided we HAD to go see a musical because why not. So we frantically booked Phantom of the Opera. And after a few cocktails at The Shard we left terrifyingly late to get to the theatre. But alas, we only missed the intro. Phantom of the Opera got us feeling all kinds of emotions!

Italy

Milan

Our first stop in Italy was Milan!

We stopped by the beautiful Milan Cathedral and gazed at all the super expensive fashions.

We spent a quiet afternoon walking around Leonardo’s Vineyard and learning all about the history of the house.

The inside of the house

Leonardo’s Vineyard 

Venice

One of (if not THE) best days of my life took place in Venice. Nothing in particular happened, it was simply a PERFECT day with my perfect date 🙂 (Lucy you know I love you girl!) From a romantic gondola ride

The best seafood (with the best view)

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And wondering around the canals to find hidden shops and cranky old dogs (Lucy learnt this lesson the hard way haha)

To finish off with a beautiful meal and numerous glasses of spritz

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One of the best things about Venice is you’re only one boat ride away from another island. Because of this we took a day trip to visit, Murano and Burano, islands known for amazing glass blowing. Needless to say we spent a lot of money here (no regrets- I mean look a them!)

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We also had the best most authentic pasta in this tiny restaurant. If there’s one thing you take away from reading this post it’s that ALWAYS go far away from the tourist spots and if it looks a little run down and unpopular, GO IN. That restaurant has probably been in the family for generations and they’ll feed you like family

Florence

I had been to Florence before and it was one of my favourite cities. The second time round; STILL ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVOURITE CITIES. 🙂

We were pleasantly surprised to find out that our air BnB had our very own private terrace which we made sure to make the most of. I mean just look at that view!

We visited my favourite building

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The Duomo

And also the wonderful Uffizi Gallery

And had the cheesiest gnocchi ever…

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Rome

Ahhhhh Rome   I mean our apartment was a 5 minute walk away from the Colosseum. I can’t really complain

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The Roman Forum

The Pantheon

Trevi Fountain

Spanish Steps

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The Vatican and Vatican Museums 

One of the highlights was getting to visit Pompeii for the second time and recreating this photo

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The Tiber River at night was also to die for….

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Coming home….

I was away 41 days and it’s fair to say that it was quite an adventure! From watching fireworks in Berlin on New Year’s Eve, seeing snow for the first time, bike riding in Amsterdam, gondola rides in Venice and visiting Pompeii for the second time as well as a few mishaps along the way; it was all a part of the tapestry of travel and life. All the while I had two of my best girlfriends by my side. Thank you Karla and Lucy for the DnMs, late night dinners, laughing till we couldn’t breathe and making the unbearable bearable. This trip has had many highs and lows and I couldn’t have done it without your friendship and humour (and photography skills) I love you ladies  My time in Europe was a roller coaster of emotions and I embraced it all in a way that brought out the best in me during the hardest times. I’ve seen sides of me and an inner strength that I didn’t know I had before. And for that I am truly grateful for the experience. But at the end of the day, I was so ready to come home to Sydney, Australia as Mary 2.0 

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