Our plan was to make it through Arches National Park, the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon in one week. In order to do that we alternated drive days with one full day at each park. Each park was about 4 hours from the next so we’d have plenty of time, theoretically, to pack up in the morning and get to the next campground before dark.
As our plane descended, I noticed the skyline dotted with minarets from the mosques that adorned every neighborhoodâ€¦ And there are a lot of neighborhoods. Istanbul has a population of 13 million (and climbing, Brian adds). If it hadnâ€™t been for the towers and domes of the hundreds of mosques I would have assumed we were landing over Washington DC, from the size of the city. Luckily our hotel was located in the middle of most of the touristy places we wanted to go, so we didnâ€™t need to travel far. I was impressed with Turkish hospitality from the beginning of the plane ride when the steward handed us Turkish delights to start the flight.Â Even though it was only a two hour journey from Croatia we were given a full (delicious) Turkish style lunch, accompanied with free wine. Our hotel had arranged a shuttle service for us, so even though the airport was crowded and chaotic, we had no trouble finding a man holding a â€œBrian Loveâ€ sign. Continue reading
Fact: European weather channels are never correct. I don’t mean like “oh we actually got an extra inch or two of snow” I mean “oh, sorry, we said it would be a beautiful sunny day and instead it’s been a torrential downpour for the last 13 hours”. So, with this in mind, we check the weather, laugh, and head outside armed with hats, gloves, rain coats, umbrellas, sunglasses and many, many layers. While we pity those caught in the “polar vortex” of Upstate NY we greatly enjoy having winter only when we feel like it. Â If we want to go skiing we head to the Alps, if we want summer weather we head to the coast.Â Living out of a suitcase is much easier than we had worried ourselves into thinking. Continue reading
12 hours after we left home we finally arrived at our hotel room in Barcelona… We found a great deal online through RyanAir for $40/person roundtrip flights and so of course we bought them, little did we know. Â The airport that RyanAir flies out of is short 1.5 hours away via train or bus, which wasn’t so bad – we knew that was coming. Â We didn’t know that the French were going to be on strike and that our flight would be delayed 3 hours. Â We also didn’t anticipate the crew shuffling us onboard the plane just so we could sit – still attached to the terminal, for another 1.5 hours. Â The stewardesses had enough common sense to at least offer us a soft drink – although they didn’t discount anything and water cost 2 Euros! Â Brian and I bought an incredibly awesome souvenir; a deck of RyanAir playing cards so that we can always remember that trip. Â The flight itself was fine, although it started to snow as we taxied off. Â Once we landed in Girona (because RyanAir doesn’t fly to Barcelona) we boarded a bus and sped along for an hour. Â Once in Barcelona we made our way through 2 metro lines and walked, exhausted into our hotel.
The return trip only took us 9 hours – I’m assuming the French resolved their issues. I’m not sure the plane we were on will ever fly again after the horrible thudding noise it made as we crashed down for the roughest landing of my life. Â Will we fly RyanAir again? Maybe, but next time we’ll be bring something to drink – and of course, our playing cards.
Bonnie and I arrived yesterday in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, after some minor travel snafus.Â To start with, we took the S1 instead of the S8, which is the S-Bahn that we always previously took to get to the Munich Airport.Â Both actually go to the airport, but it turns out that the S1 takes a little longer, and you must be on the right part of the train.Â We were not.Â We had jumped on the train, not knowing this, and then when they made the announcement we could barely hear it.Â It turns out you have to be in the rear cars, otherwise the front part of the train disconnects and goes to a different stop.Â We were able to get a bus from the last stop on the train to the airport, but we were cutting it close. Continue reading
It’s the first day for us here in Vienna, and we love it so far. Â The city is very similar to Munich, but has a nostalgic feeling of old baroque architecture, churches, water fountains, and adornments on buildings. Â It’s certainly a classical city, with a east and western European feel.
Our trip to Vienna started off with first-class seats onboard a Railjet hurtling through the countryside and along the Alps at 200km/h (124 mph). Â We had planned to arrive in plenty of time before the train departed the central train station in Munich (the Hauptbanhauf), as we had cut it pretty close in the past. Â We arrived 45 minutes before our train was scheduled to depart, only to discover that the train was not there, and the train previous to ours, leaving from the same track, was running late (which was shocking to us, considering the timeliness of the German rail system). Â So, we grabbed some food and hung out in the train station until our train arrived.
Our first full day in Venice was awesome; we wandered around Lido, a nearby island, and went swimming on the public beach.Â Lots of man-thongs and speedos, but no one was naked.Â Brian and I have only swum in the Pacific and the Atlantic, adding the Adriatic to our list was very cool.
Arriving in Venice was overwhelming, both the crowds and the heat instantly exhausted us. Venice is confusing, but in a really magical way.Â It is IMPOSSIBLE to not get lost, but as long as you are not in a rush anywhere (and have plenty of water) just enjoy the experience.Â After somehow finding our hotel we were ecstatic to find that there was air conditioning, I could not imagine having stayed for 3 days in 90 degrees without it.
We thought the grocery store might provide a bit of difficulty for us, but so far it has been rather easy.Â Even without being able to read German a watermelon looks like a watermelon and olive oil looks like olive oil.Â There are a few key words that have been helpful (fett =fat, mit = with, ohne = without) but other than that we are going by what we see or taking a chance.Â We have only disliked cheese so far â€“ the lack of cheddar cheese is amazing.Â The grocery store is only a few minutes walk from us and has everything from McDonalds Ketchup, to frozen pizzas to corn on the cob.Â Just like home.