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Europe

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands: Zaanse Schans-The Windmill Village

    The windmill village just outside Amsterdam, in the Zaan region, used to have over 500 windmills that ran at the same time. Presently there are 10 industrial windmills at Zaanse Schans that still ‘spin’ away at this location. Click on that link to get further information from its website about the different windmills, and what […]

    London, England: Food Coma

    It seems when we go on mystery trips, I never really know when the next meal is going to be, or if there is even going to be one! But, we lucked out with our hotel having breakfast. At least there was that. Then for dinner, when we returned from visiting the sites, we just […]

    Oxford, England: Christ Church, Harry Potter & Nursery Rhymes

      The particular college we visited was Christ Church  College at the University of Oxford. The university is comprised of 38 different colleges. So if you want to be that person, you can tuck that little tid-bit  away and educate your friends when you hang out next time ^_^. You’re welcome. It’s one of the […]

    Stratford, England: Shakespeare’s Home

    The memories of high school english classes of reading Shakespeare plays come swarming back at me as we hopped off the tour bus in Stratford. And here it is, in Stratford upon Avon, the birth home of Shakespeare. The home itself was a humble home of the time, small living quarters with a kitchen and […]

    Warwick, England: Warwick Castle

    We had the pleasure of visiting another castle during our stay in London. Day 2 of touring began at Warwick Castle. In the past this castle used to be “under the stewardship of the Earls of Warwick and later the Greville Family as a private home until 1978.” After that point, the Tussaud had ownership of […]

    Bath, England: Roman Baths

    The Romans did have its glory days in nearly conquering the world. Because in this small town, we have Roman Baths by Britain’s only hot spring and one of Europe’s best preserved ancient sites. While the baths aren’t in actual operation, as in, jumping in the water for some relaxation, the hot waters are still […]

    London, England: Stonehenge

    Check off another location on my bucket traveling list – Stonehenge! To paraphrase our guide’s words, “We will spend only 30 minutes at Stonehenge. You may not think this is much time, but you will soon realize you are standing in the middle of an open field staring at a bunch of stones.” Har har […]

    London, England: The Royal Residence

    With a 6 hour time difference jump forward, we had been awake and ready to go for our day tour. Our tour company picked us up and dropped us off at the Victoria Coach Station, and then that’s where we hopped on the actual tour bus with the guide for the day. As mentioned in the […]

    London, England: Red Phone Booths & Double Decker Buses

    It is pretty cool to come back and actually remember more of the sights. This was our Thanksgiving mystery trip. Dad had initially planned a different destination, but when the flight cancelled, the flights after that just became backed up. Oh, the joys of flying standby. Plan B was this trip: It had been 15 […]

    Brussels, Belgium: Treats and Sweets

    Belgian waffles, Belgian chocolate, Belgian beer, and Belgian food and snacks. You always have to try the “original” when you’re in the area! Belgian waffles: What makes a waffle a Belgian waffle? Truthfully, this type of waffle doesn’t actually exist (name-wise) in Belgium. What I ended up having is Brussels waffles. Strange thought, right? I had one for breakfast […]

    Bruges, Belgium: Venice of the North

    Brugge (or Bruge) was the next destination of our tour. We walked through the courtyard of these white buildings. Today it is a convent. Back in the day, the single girls in the town would live here under the care of nuns and become a nun themselves, but when they find a “nice guy” they’re able […]

    Ghent, Belgium: Food, Tour and Souvenirs

    Waffles is the sure way to start the day in Belgium. I really like how you’re able to order and eat it on the go. There are little tables available though for you to sit at and soak in your surroundings. Of course I had to go fancy and get strawberries and powdered sugar on […]

    Brussels, Belgium: Manneken Pis

    Before you get all offended, it’s not what you think. Behold – Manneken Pis (literally meaning “little man pee”). In my previous blog post, I wrote about a good luck charm statue and its location in the underpass. If you continue down that path, you will see this little fella. This little boy statue is quite […]

    Brussels, Belgium: World’s Fair and Royalty

    This is the continuation of the city tour of Brussels. We hopped onto this bus and made our way through the town. The reason why this picture was taken was because behind the gate lies “The Thinker” by Auguste Rodin. It’s the green statue. Belgians claim that this one is the original. There is this […]

    Brussels, Belgium: Karl Marx and a Good Luck Charm

    It was nice that the Ibis Hotel had this little pamphlet to remind visitors about the good things to note while out and about. Some of my favorite notes/reminders were not putting your purse on the back of your chair or on the ground and dividing your belongings into different pockets. The pamphlet is very […]

    Brussels, Belgium: Chocolate and Sweets Galore

    Belgian chocolate anyone? Yes, it wasn’t too difficult to find a chocolate shop in a placed that’s renowned for its chocolate (among other delectable goodies). There were as plentiful as McDonalds and Starbucks, with one practically around the corner from each other. I’ve got to sample my fair share during my quick visit here back […]

    Berlin, Germany: Memorials and Monuments

    There’s an eerie feeling in the air when we visited the Holocaust Memorial of the murdered Jews in Europe. The memorial resembles a cemetery and the different sizes are supposed to represent the chaos and order on each side of the ordeal. Pictures do say a thousand words. Along that same note, our guide pointed […]

    Berlin, Germany: “Tear Down This Wall”

    One of the first things you think of when you think of Berlin is likely the Berlin Wall; an iconic symbol of division during the Cold War. While most of the wall now has been torn down. There are areas of Berlin where a small portion of the wall still stands. For the most part […]

    Berlin, Germany: History Fun Facts

    One of the first things I noticed in Berlin is most of the taxi cabs are Mercedes. To us from the states, this is pretty sweet. But, when I saw a garbage truck and its emblem was Mercedes, it’s just the standard here. After resting up for a few hours, we were off and ready […]

    Venice, Italy: Comforts at the Coffee Shop

    It really is all about the experience when it comes to traveling. While this instance by no means is the extreme, such as shelling out $5000 to eat a hamburger (check out what I’m talking about HERE), the experience of this place I believe is priceless. I got to relish in the history and coffee shop […]

    Venice, Italy: Cruising on the Grand Canal

    To get the full experience, it was appropriate to take a boat tour on the Grand Canal around and through Venice. Why should you take water transportation? You are in Venice afterall. The views are pretty from the water. Plus, winding through the streets and crossing bridges without a local can definitely be confusing. We used […]

    Venice, Italy: Masquerade!

    One of the highlights for this trip had to be this mask and costume shop. These are masks and costumes worn during Carnival, an annual festival in Venice. The walls and tables were adorned with masks, full of fantasy, intrigue and sparkles! You can find these different masks in the pictures: full-face (bauta), half-mask (columbina), […]

    Venice, Italy: Perks of Piazza San Marco

    Being the main square in Venice, you can really do no wrong starting off your adventures here. If you go up in Campanile di San Marco, aka St. Mark’s Bell Tower, you can give yourself a 360 degree view of the square and Venice for that matter. It’ll cost you 8EUR, but you can hang out up […]

    Venice, Italy: Gondolas and Waterways of Venice

    With a city that’s compiled of about 118 little islands, water transportation is definitely a way to get around. Once we walked out of the airport, we headed towards the dock to wait for our water bus (public transportation system). That would explain all the bridges, alleys and walkways around these routes. You can think of […]

    Celebrity Equinox: The Last of Shenanigans at Sea

    If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, we have come to an end of the honeymoon cruise. Mister and I had an AMAZING time. While the trip was to celebrate our newly wed status, that didn’t turn us away from being social and meeting cool people. Granted almost everyone that we have taken pictures with […]

    Naples, Italy: The Preservation of Pompeii

    I still can’t believe I was able to visit Pompeii. I first read about their story in school of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and though the ash destroyed the city, it kept everything intact. Slightly ironic. Our group tour with our guide Leonardo began with a cameo demonstration. It takes 3-5 days depending on […]

    Mykonos, Greece: Navigating the Maze

    The next beautiful destination of the cruise. We didn’t take a tour since this island is small enough for us to figure out. With map in hand we walked over from where the bus dropped us off to the town. It’s a leisure 10 minute walk from there. We passed by 2 ATV rentals, but […]

    Celebrity Equinox: More Shenanigans at Sea

    Each morning of our cruise, we were given an itinerary of the events that were going on that day on the ship ranging from wine tastings, show performances in the theater, games, and ballroom dancing classes (that’s just a few possibilities during the day). I highlight the dance classes simply because mister and I always […]

    Santorini, Greece: Sunshine and Scenery

    Beautiful weather served as the accompaniment of the day as we made our way to the top of the island to get a 360-degree view of the postcard picturesque Santorini! It really is just like the postcards with the white buildings and blue domes. It’s almost surreal. Mister made a joke that at their local […]

    Rhodes, Greece: Why Do We Build Castles In The Sky

    Next stop on our cruise: Rhodes! As for an explanation of the title, I tip my floppy hat to Ian Van Dahl’s song “Castle in the Sky”. Granted, it’s a castle in the middle of the sea, but it’s what I thought of when I saw this island. Walking out on our balcony and seeing the castle […]

    Ephesus, Turkey: More Turkish Delights

    Our tour continued to a small town where we had free time to walk around and check out some of the shops. There were lots of fruit wines (there were wine tastings available), anything olive oil (lotion, soaps, etc.), and belly dancing outfits. After the down time, we met up to have some lunch at […]

    Ephesus, Turkey: Turkish Delight… of sorts

    “Today’s temperature will be 38ºC and with the heat index, that is about 115ºF.” – Besim, our guide in Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey. We were in for a long day of touring especially when we got to the site and he said there really wasn’t any shade. I thought I was smart for having my floppy […]

    Athens, Greece: The Allure of Athens, Part II

    Athens has a rule that all other structures that intend on being built are less than 10 stories high to ensure the Acropolis remains the highest point. Therefore, the cruise ship was taller than it by 5 stories. The tour continued by seeing the city and passing by these buildings: New Acropolis Museum, Greek Parliament, […]

    Athens, Greece: Alluring Athens, Part 1

    On this morning, I sat on the balcony and just took in the view of Athens. It was amazing. We were given these headsets, which were given on all the tours we went on so the guide doesn’t have to yell out the information to the entire group. They could talk normally into their headset […]

    Celebrity Equinox: Shenanigans at Sea

    We watched a glass show demonstration where Everett and Gabe made this pretty cool pitcher in red, white and blue since July 4th was coming up. How patriotic – being one of the few American crew on board and all. Ryan, the other glass blower was explaining the procedures and all things about them and […]

    Messina, Italy: “Never go against a Sicilian…”

    Oh The Princess Bride… this is one of my favorite movies. Is it one of your favorites too? The quote for the title of my post comes from this scene, which Vizzini says near the end of the video, but the banter in its entirety is great: Though it has really no relation to what […]

    Celebrity Equinox: Ready to Cruise

    Time for new scenery while exploring the Mediterranean! We decided for our honeymoon to be a massive check offs on both of our bucket lists when we booked a 10-day cruise with Celebrity Cruises. This is why: Day 1 – Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy Day 2 – Sicily (Messina), Italy Day 3 – At Sea Day […]

    Rome, Italy: When in Rome, do as the Romans do

    While my last 2 posts showcased the sites, I’d like to share more of the everyday sites that easily get passed over when we’re oohing and aahing over marvelous sites. Entertainment. While waiting for everyone to board the coach bus for our first tour, this guy would bounce the soccer ball on top of his […]

    Rome, Italy: There’s No Place Like Rome

    After giving up our efforts of trying to go back to sleep with the 7 hour time change, we prepped for the day by making our way down to the lobby for some breakfast. Standard European breakfast with breads (croissants!) and cold cuts and then a cappuccino to keep me awake for the rest of […]

    Rome, Italy: All Roads Lead to Rome

    This phrase has to be true if I’m coming back right? (FYI, I came to Rome with my family 2 years ago.) Well, mister and I arrived in Rome in the early afternoon (per usual with direct flights to Europe). This is the starting point of our honeymoon extravaganza. There are options to get to […]

    Stockholm, Sweden: Taking A Stroll

    Fall weather – my favorite. My minor complaint about that was the tourist information center location was a little ways away from our hotel. Regardless of the location, they were very helpful and organized in assisting us as well as the other tourists. When you entered, you picked up a number and were called to […]

    Stockholm, Sweden: Savory Goodness

    I went on my last mystery destination in the middle of May. Mystery trips were created by my dad the year I graduated from college. He would tell us how many days to pack for and the rough estimate of the temperature. We wouldn’t know where we were going until we got to the airport. […]