July 19th: We are leaving Florence today, however, our host was nice enough to let us keep our bags at his place since we weren't leaving until the evening. We went to the grocery store and got 2 croissants, turkey, cheese, and mustard to eat in the park. We wanted to go see the Statue of David today but the line was even LONGER! So we just looked around at the shops, grabbed a small bite to eat and went back to get our bags. Off to Rome where we are sleeping for the night in the airport :/ it's going to be a long day.
July 18th: Today Jake and I explored Florence. First, we went to lunch at Cipolla Rossa that Caroline suggested. It was soooo good and the wine was cheap. Then we went and saw the replica of Statue of David and got some pictures next to it. The line was very long to see the actual statue and we didn't want to stand in the heat.
July 17th: The girls are off to Amsterdam today and Jake and I are off to Florence. As we made our journey over to Florence we stopped in Pisa to get lunch and witness the iconic leaning tower of Pisa in order to get a touristy picture with it. The place was packed with people and we decided we would never go back. It wasn't as great as we thought it would be. However, we're glad we saw it! Our host for Florence was very kind and picked us up from the train station. After we got to his apartment we went and got some yummy pizza down the street.
July 16th: And a beach day it was!! After sleeping in a bit we made our egg and toast breakfast and headed to a public beach. It was very hot and the place was crowded! After a couple hours there we got food to make some sandwiches back at the apartment. The sun took a lot out of us so we all took a nap and got ready for dinner. Before eating we went out to the end of the pier and sat on the big rocks looking out at the water and islands. As the sun went down we enjoyed the view and the peaceful scenery. We also saw the blood that Stephanie left on one of the rocks from face planting the night prior. We all learned that those rocks are not a place for running. Luckily no nose was broken in the process :) Lerici is also known for Pizzerias! Literally every restaurant's title had Pizzeria in it. It was delish and so was the gelato afterwards!
July 15th continued: We drank vino on the way back on the ferry and enjoyed the mountains and ocean views. Once we got back we stopped by the local grocery store and bought everything we needed to make us some grub. We made chicken pesto and tomato tortellini with noodles called Trofie. Trofie noodles are their signature pasta in this area that are twisted noodles which are a bit chewy. After a full day of drinking lots of vino everyone became a bit cranky towards the end of the night from the long day. It was a very long day and tomorrow the beach was just what we all needed!
July 15th: We woke up earlier this morning and made our way down to the port to buy our ferry tickets to Cinque Terre. My friend from high school, Caroline Cimino, lives in Monterosso, which is one of the 5 towns. It was a beautiful view as we cruised along the shore line. After about an hour and 40 minutes we arrived! First we took some scenic pictures and did some shopping. At about 1:00pm we met up with Caroline at a restaurant called Restaurante Ciak (pronounced Chuck which is the nickname of Lorenzo's dad). This restaurant is owned by her hoyfriend's parents. We met Lorenzo and his parents and they are lovely people. They took good care of us and the food was by far the best! The seafood was again, amazing! After lunch she showed us to her favorite view of Cinque Terre, Ciak's lemon/olive/basil grove which had goats and chickens, and lastly to a beautiful wine vineyard. By that time we had to rush back down to catch the ferry back.
July 14th: This morning we all packed our bags and headed out of Venice. After 6 hours of train rides we arrived to the hidden gem, Lerici. It was a bit difficult to find since she didn't give us the building number. However, we found a restaurant to get wifi in order to get in contact with her. We decided to just eat dinner there while we waited to hear from her. She came and met Jake to show him the room while we ordered. The food was delicious and we found out Louisa's is known for their seafood. The seafood along the coast is too good to be true! After dinner we headed to our apartment then roamed the streets. Of course we found gelato on the way.
July 13th: Today is an early morning! We got up at 7 and made our eggs and toast then got ready to go! The day before I found a nice tour that was only 18 euros per person. It was a tour by a local who showed us around the main island and took us to all of the best places for sweets and coffee! We all loved the tour and it was absolutely worth the money! We drank some of be best cappuccinos and ate the best desserts we've ever had! After trying to get Jake to drink coffee for a long time, he finally fell for the cappuccino and has had one pretty much each day! She knew all of the good places and we ended with a chocolate cake that we will never forget. So delicious!! Afterward we walked around to some of the sites, took a gondola ride, and headed back to take a little siesta! Tonight Jake and I went off on our own and had dinner along the canal. It was a wonderful night with delicious food!
More pictures on the 13th!
July 12th: Us kids must have been tired since we all slept in until 12:30pm! We took our time waking up, made some eggs and toast, and relaxed in the nice air conditioning. We decided to stay on our little island and explore. Before we headed out we made some cocktails and walked around. We found a nice spot along the big canal to dangle our feet in the cool water. For dinner we found a spot along the water and had some yummy pizza. After dinner was when it went downhill. The water looked so enticing we had the brilliant idea of jumping in. Little did we know it was forbidden and we got what we deserved. Many scrapes and cuts from the lovely barnacles along the bricks. Luckily Nurse Jacque was there to clean them all up! Jake got it the worst on his behind 😳
21 July 2016
July 11th: Next stop, Venice!! We got to the train station and took a 3.5 hour ride to reach Venice. Once we got there it was a struggle to find where we were staying. We stayed on the island across from the main island. Luckily a very nice women and her children helped us by calling our host and leading us to the correct place. We were very thankful for her and her English-speaking abilities. Once we got settled in we walked down to the local grocery shop and got some groceries to make dinner! Emily and Jake cooked us up some tastes pasta with red sauce and ground meat with a side of fresh Italian baguettes!
July 10th: We woke up at 2:15am to leave for the airport. Our taxi was suppose to come at 3:15 but never showed up. Luckily we gave ourselves enough time to call another one and we made it on time! We got to Rome and it was hot! We found the girls at the airport and made our way to our Airbnb. The room was very pretty and our host was kind. However, our air conditioning was almost nonexistent. Whether that was because it was broken or we just couldn't figure out how to work it. Luckily we only stayed there one night! Once we got there we all passed out and took a nice nap. At 3:30pm we left to go see everything on our list in only way day! Our stops included The Vatican, Trevi Fountain, the ancient ruins, a building we are unsure of the name and the Collesium. For dinner we ate pasta with an awesome view of the Collesium! On our way back we had a couple of beers as we rode the metro to our place. It was a good time and we only lost Jake and Emily getting off the train along the way.
More pictures from Rome
July 9th: Another day in Amsterdam just exploring the city and eating our days worth of calories on Nutella crépes and other goodies. We headed back early to pack up our stuff. We found a nice biking trail behind the house and went for a short bike ride before making dinner. Tomorrow is Rome to meet up with the girls!
July 20th: It was a rough morning but we made it on the plane! Once we arrived in Amsterdam we took a taxi to meet up with the girls. After a deserving shower we all went to town and got some food and chocolate ice cream. We spent the day in Vondelpark enjoying the weather, good company, and people watching. After that we got pizza for dinner then made our way back to the apartment to go to bed early. Tomorrow we leave for Belgium!
20 July 2016
July 8th: For breakfast we ate at a small restaurant in the little town of Landsmeer. After getting into town and walking around for a while, Jake and I grabbed some food at the grocery store and had a picnic in the park! We had Brie cheese with crackers and fig jam.
8 July 2016
July 7th: Made some eggs in the morning then headed into town. We jumped on the boat for a couple stops and started making our way over to Vondelpark. We had some crépes for a snack and finally found our way over to the park. Under some shade we laid there people watching and ended up falling asleep! By that time we got some dinner and made our way back to the buses.
More pictures of walking around Amsterdam and where we ate breakfast.
On the second stop we got off and toured Amsterdam's diamond factory. We got to learn a bit about diamonds and watched them be polished. Then, on the fourth stop we got tickets to go to the Ice Bar. It was quite cold!! Our drinks were even in a cup made of ice. We drank them as fast as we could and got out of there! It was a fun experience though. By that time the boats were closing down for the evening and we stopped at the supermarket and grabbed stuff to make spaghetti.
After we ate, we ventured over to one of the main canals where we bought a 24-hour Hop-On Hop-off Boat tour. Te boat takes you around to all of the major attractions Amsterdam is known for.
July 6th: Toke was kind enough to let us borrow two of her bikes. Thank goodness she did because it would have been quite a walk to get to the bus stop. From the bus stop it takes about 25 minutes to get to Central Station. Once we got into the city we found a spot for breakfast.
5 July 2016
July 5th: Made it to Amsterdam!!! We had a very good day of traveling, everything went smoothly and we figured out the correct train and bus to our next Airbnb. Our host, Toke, is picking us up from our bus stop to take us to her place.
That night we went to Temple Bar for a drink to celebrate the 4th of July!
July 4th: Today we went to the fishing town of Howth along the coast. We saw the old Abbey church that is now a cemetery and watched them move a huge ship out of the water onto the street. It was a windy day but we had fun exploring and taking in all the views. We stopped at Crabby Joe's for some seafood chowder and brown bread!
4 July 2016
After the castle we headed into the town of Malahide and had a delicious dinner at Sale é Pepe. We shared the best food we've ate so far, which was fried Brie with chili jam, bruschetta, shrimp penne pasta, and a brownie for dessert! The flavors were phenomenal and the restaurant sat on the second floor of the building.
3 July 2016
After settling in we headed over to the Malahide Castle and walked around. There was a beautiful, wide open park in front of the castles. In the back Jake and I had fun walking through the gardens, taking fun pictures, and running around on the bright green lawns.
July 3rd: Feeling refreshed and rejuvenated! This morning we ate our money's worth of breakfast buffet to make up for spending more for a hotel. Thanks to me we found a cute Airbnb in the town of Donaghmede. Our hosts Raj and Aedin are very welcoming and nice. They even have a golden retriever named Kara (Kara means friend)!! We lucked out on this one.
Worst experience so far:
Jake and I grabbed our luggage and got some food at the first restaurant we could find. We were very hungry and tired which made the difficulties of figuring out our bus ride to the Airbnb. Looking at the maps we discovered the bus options were very limited at the time we were trying to leave the city. Our host forgot to mention this important piece of information but we attempted to get there anyway since there were a couple options left. Long story short, we walked around for 2 hours trying to find the correct bus or bus stop. It was already 8:30pm and we had a 1 hour and 40 min ride to the house. We made the decision to let it go and see if we can cancel the reservation. Then we walked around for another hour trying to find a place to stay for the night. We had no clue where we were at that point. Surprisingly though, Jake and I didn't let our frustration get the best of us. We worked together finally found a hotel that some Irishmen directed us to!
Off to the Guinness Storehouse! Took many pictures by anything with Guinness on it. Had fun walking around the tour and tasting the beer up in the Gravity Bar. You get one free pint with your ticket, however, we stood by the right people apparently because two different couples gave us their extra tickets. Along with our receipt ticket we ended up getting 7 free pints!
We couldn't check into our next Airbnb until 7:30pm so we had to find accommodations for our luggage. We ended up leaving them at a small convenient store for 5 euros and hoped they would be there when we returned.
July 2nd: Found my dream breakfast cafe down the street from our Drumcondra bnb called Lovely Food. Loved the atmosphere, decor, coffee, and the food!
1 July 2016
Cliffs of Moher! These cliffs are shear drop offs that stand 700 feet above the water and run 8 kilometers wide. We were brave enough to stick our heads over the edge while laying down with our arms out like superman. Being that high up, the wind was pretty strong as well. I felt like I was flying! Looking over the edge and seeing the ocean waves hitting the jagged limestone rock right under my nose was definitely an adrenaline rush!! It was an amazing feeling that takes your breath away. 😌
Another short stop was at the "Mini Cliffs" for a photo opportunity. It started raining and the wind picked up creating an unpleasant experience. However, it was an awesome view against the Atlantic Ocean!
Stopped for lunch at Fitzpatrick's Bar in Doolin. We shared a dish called steak and onions with some seafood chowder and a pint of Guinness. It warned us up and hit the spot!
On our way up to Cliffs of Moher we stopped in an adorable fishing town called Kinvara. The buildings were surprisingly modern but still had an authentic design to them. Very cute!
July 1st: After a long night of figuring our way back to Drumcondra by bus, we are back on the Paddywagon! Many yawns are being treated with coffee and pastries as we head off to the Cliffs of Moher! This time we sat in the very front seat. Getting out of the city is amazing to watch these buses navigate the narrow roads.
Our last stop on the tour was in Belfast, Ireland. It was once one of the top 5 most dangerous cities and to this day the people are still divided. Flags are posted on each street declaring their ownership. Jake and I are standing in front of their capital building. Once we got back to Dublin we got some dinner and walked around the city.
30 June 2016
More pictures from the rope bridge!
Stopped by Dunluce Castle. This was also used in Game of Thrones.
Giant's Causeway was amazing to see! It has been such a great day with awesome views! It's crazy how the stones have been naturally formed into tall cylinders in the same shape! We had to be careful not to get too close to the edge!!
Next stop was at a breathtaking shore line with a view of an island and Scottland! At the end of the hike we got to cross over to another island by a rope bridge! Jake is pointing at spot we hiked to. All day we have lucked out on having beautiful weather.
Excited to see the Dark Hedges! Such an awesome road to walk down. The show Game of Thrones was filmed here and can be seen in season 2 episode 1!
June 30th: We got some snacks for the long day of our first Paddywagon tour bus! We are learning a lot about Ireland's history.
29 June 2016
Tea party at Fagan's!!!
Finally made it to the cute town of Drumcondra!
Got on the wrong bus so had to cure the hangriness with some bagel sandwhiches 😋
June 29th: Finally made it to Dublin! Now the journey begins to figure out how to get to our first AirBNB
28 June 2016
Quick bite to eat in Toronto! Both Jacob and I's first time to Canada!
June 28th: Finally got our tickets and made it onto the plan 3 minutes in time! Take off 6:45am with layovers in Minneapolis and Toronto. Final destination, Dublin!