North America, Europe · 62 Days · 108 Moments · September 2017

Jill's European Adventure

15 November 2017

I’M FINALLY HOME AND MOM GOT ME REPUTATION AND IM SO EXCITED TO LISTEN TO IT AND EAT AMERICAN FOOD AND GO TO TARGET AND BUY TOILETRIES what a great night! It is so so so so good to be home in my own bed and I had the nicest welcome from Mom and the boys. They even made me posters!

14 November 2017

Beth and I had a great visit at the Powerscourt waterfall this morning. It’s been such lovely weather! I am having so much fun hanging out with Emer and the babies. Today, Emer, Beth and I are going into Dublin to go shopping and have lunch with Anna. It should be fantastic.

13 November 2017

Woke up early for spinning with Eileen today and caught this beautiful sunrise. The photos don’t do it justice!

12 November 2017

Very happy to be back in Ireland, and also excited to be home in a few days!

11 November 2017

10 November 2017

Stunning sunset tonight in Cadaqués. What a way to end my amazing visit to Spain!
Lunch and a view today! We visited Dali’s house and Cap de Creus and everywhere we went was more beautiful and windier than the last.

9 November 2017

I️ kind of wandered into the cathedral and I’m so happy that I️ found it. The entrance fee included an audio guide that was very extensive so I️ ended up being there for almost 2 hours. It was very interesting and beautiful so I️ enjoyed it!
Dali was one weird guy. I️ don’t understand any of this art in the slightest but it was really cool. The museum itself was awesome, the building is just as surrealist as the works inside it. I️ think my favorite was this massive wig with paintings for eyes and the nose and lips on the ground. I️ couldn’t even tell it was a face until I️ looked through the magnifying glass! It was really great.

8 November 2017

I sat on the beach today! I got to relax and read my book in the sun in November! I love this country. It was so perfect.
I went to this little museum in Sitges today and I loved it. It was the perfect size, it only took me an hour or so to go through it, and there was a great range of art without it being too overwhelming. It’s not a bad setting either! The ocean is incredible, I didn’t realize how much I missed it.

7 November 2017

Sam and I went on an adventure to see the aigua and the fish. I cannot say how many times he sad aigua but it was a lot... he was so mesmerized by the fish it was really cool to watch. He just started walking so he fell a lot which was kind of funny but also stressful because he would just collapse in front of people! He just laughs when he falls though and he gets right back up and starts teetering again.
This museum was really well done. It was huge so I didn’t get to see all of it but what I did see I really enjoyed. The exterior was almost as beautiful as the interior! The fountain was lovely and smelled like a pool which made me miss home a little bit.

6 November 2017

SAM IS JUST SO CUTE I am having so much fun with him! We play guitar and read books and try to learn new words, it’s so much fun.
Maritime museum was a success. I was thinking of Bob Poh the whole time because he loves boast so much. This museum was great because it was specifically about the Catalonian history of sailing so I got to learn more about the culture here.
Snuggle buddy ❤️

5 November 2017

Dani got Jenny and I into this special event showing Gaudí’s first house. It was beautiful but super weird. The tour was in Catalan but this nice girl caught us up in English afterward. I’m so excited that I got a chance to see this place.
Sam and I had a dance party on the terrace! It’s so great to have this little nugget to hang out with. Also loving this weather.

4 November 2017

Happy birthday Dani! We had such a nice day at a vineyard outside of Barcelona. We had a tour and learned about making wine and then had a great lunch. It was a long drive but some amazing scenery along the way! The samster is so so cute!!

3 November 2017

I think I’m a Gaudí expert after today! We saw La Sagrada Familia and it was amazing. It’s impossible to capture in a picture, but the way he uses sunlight to create color with the stained glass is remarkable. He also made the columns into trees. The whole thing was so stunning and even though it isn’t done yet it’s still probably one of my favorite hutches of the trip.
Casa Batlló was the second Gaudí stop of the day and it was so cool to walk through. They had very in depth audio guides with images of how it looked when people lived in it. The roof was my favorite part, it was covered in super colorful mosaics and we were so lucky with the weather.
First stop, Park Güell! We walked up a hill and ended up in the park and the views were fantastic. We didn’t pay to get in because we had to be at Casa Batlló by a certain time. We ended up just walking around the park and trying to sneak glances in the part that you have to pay for. We saw some really cute dogs and most of the salamander.

2 November 2017

After a long day dealing with the Rome airport we finally made it to Barcelona to see this nugget!! Very very happy tonight :)

1 November 2017

I actually saw the Bocca della Veritá! After an absurd line, this nice lady took my picture and then she was like make a scared face! So these are the results. It seems a bit worse for wear, in the picture of my Latin teacher with it 10 years ago it looks so much better. I was very excited to see it and it ended up being a good alternative to the Vatican.
St. Peter’s Basillica really surprised me. I figured it couldn’t be that much more impressive than all of the other churches I’ve seen on this trip but it was. It was massive and covered in gold and there was a service happening for All Saints Day so I got to see the procession which was cool. Unfortunately I forgot that it was all saints day and the museum was closed! So that was a real bummer, I’m leaving Rome without seeing the Sistine chapel.

31 October 2017

Go Roma! Keith got us tickets to the Chelsea @ Roma football game and we had so much fun. Rome swept it 3-0 and it was such a fun stadium to be in! We went all out with jerseys and attempted the Italian cheers. It was a great night although I’m exhausted! On to the Vatican tomorrow morning!
So the colosseum was pretty cool. I was actually a little underwhelmed by the inside of it, everything was blocked off and it wasn’t as pretty as the outside. The best part was the little museum area on the second level, I learned a lot about the history of it and how it has been used over the years. It was a beautiful day!
Claudia was our tour guide this morning and she was a piece of work. We were ten minutes late so we were sprinting from the train station to meet up with her and we told her we were from Chicago and she called us Chicago for the whole tour. We saw a lot of the city, she only stopped moving for 30 seconds at a time. She showed us all the cheapest places to eat and shop where the real Italians go. We saw the pantheon which was incredible. I could have spent hours in there watching the sun move around the dome but we only had about 10 minutes sadly. After the tour we got cannolis and walked over to the Vatican to get pasta that she recommended for lunch.

30 October 2017

I saw the column of Trajan in real life! It was so weird to not see it in the context of art history class, but the whole area was stunning. I also hit it right at sunset so it was beautiful. The whole area is excavated ruins that you are allowed to explore, so I wandered around for about an hour. I can’t believe I’m really here, I’ve wanted to see this for so long! It’s totally surreal. On my way back from the city, I got a gelato that was the best one I’ve had so far on this trip but there was an Oreo in it and I dropped it in a crosswalk and it got run over. It was a major casualty.
I saw this fountain and was immediately transported to middle school and the Lizzie Maguire movie. I frolicked through the square singing This is What Dreams are Made Of. Not really, but I was pretty close. I also went to this cathedral kind of by chance. It didn’t look like much from the outside but I walked in and was stunned. The entire interior was covered in paintings and gold. It was really beautiful. I lit a candle for Grandma Rita and Lauren’s Mom. It was such a nice time of reflection for me and I was glad that I stumbled upon it.

29 October 2017

Today was a whirlwind of deliciousness. We had a cooking class in Tuscany and learned how to make bruschetta, handmade pasta, Tuscan ragout, pizza, and tiramisu. It was so much fun, definitely something I’ll never forget. We had a great group of people and it couldn’t have been a more beautiful setting. They had these amazing plates with wine glass holders built in! It was all so much fun and super interesting.

28 October 2017

PIZZAAAAAA I need to stop eating pizza for every meal but it’s just so good! This pizza was enormous and I only ate one of the quarters before I was full. Good news is now I have dinner too!
Our tour ended up being great. We saw a ton of Florence that we hadn’t had a chance to see yet, and we ended by the fake David which was close to the river. We went down to the river and ate gelato and it was just stunning.
Had a nice and nutritious snack on my way to the tour. This was probably one of the best donuts of all time. Our tour guide is this old Italian man and I’m not really sure what he’s saying sometimes but he seems to know a lot about the city. We’ll see how it goes!
I had a delicious croissant for breakfast and then we went to see Michaelangelo’s David. We were the first people in line so we got to go in basically as soon as it opened which was awesome. The statue itself is unbelievable. I sat and looked at it for probably 45 minutes because it’s just that impressive. It’s way bigger than I thought and it has so much anatomical detail. There was an anesthesiologist standing behind us talking about how the even the veins are perfect! It’s incredible. The rest of the museum was really cool as well, I think it’s very under appreciated because everything is overshadowed by David. We got to wander around for a while before the tour and discovered the musical instruments section which was really cool.

27 October 2017

Dinner with friendsfrom Vienna!! We had reverse dinner tonight, we got gelato first at Lindt and then spent 2 hours just hanging out and talking in the store. We got pizza for dinner which was delicious and said goodbye. It was sad to say goodbye again but great to see them!
And another cathedral! It was actually really amazing. Of course, it was under construction but the inside was just this huge space with beautiful floors and the ceiling of the dome was completely covered in paintings.

26 October 2017

Delicious dinner at a restaurant right behind our hostel. I’m not sure what a chocolate tortini is but I loved it.
Our ticket to the Duomo included the museum so after lunch we got to check out the museum. It was pretty impressive. We learned that there are over 3600 statues on the cathedral itself and there must have been a couple hundred more in the museum. We also got to see a crypt, the archeological section under the duomo and another chapel. I wish I had more time in Milan, there is so much more to see!
The Duomo let me in today! The stairs were not terrible and it was so beautiful at the top. We were on the roof in between flying buttresses and it was crazy. We also got to see the Madonnina copy because there was so much constructions we couldn’t see the actual one. It’s a 10 foot tall gold statue of St. Mary that is supposed to bring good luck to Milan.

25 October 2017

Retail therapy! We got turned away from the Duomo because I was wearing shorts and your legs have to be covered to go in so I bought myself a bag! I have wanted a longchamp tote for so long and it was almost $50 cheaper here than in the US so I seized the opportunity! We also went to a few other places and found Lush which was great. It’s the biggest one in the world and all of the people kept making us try things. I don’t think my hands have ever been more moisturized!
THIS PIZZA WAS 😍😍😍!!! I don’t even know how to describe it. Our tour guide was hilarious and brought us to some cool spots. It was a 4 hour tour so thankfully we got a lunch break! We learned about this chapel decorated with human bones. It was pretty morbid but super interesting because all of the bones were exhumed from the mass graves of hospitals.
We made it to the Duomo! I’ve been looking forward to this for ages and it didn’t disappoint. It’s completely awe inspiring. We had some time to explore before our tour so we went into the mall and we saw the original Prada!

24 October 2017

First Italian pizza and I was not disappointed! I’m so happy that I’m finally in Italy and I can’t wait to explore. The weather is fantastic and it’s just beautiful.
The train to Milan was so beautiful. These pictures don’t do it justice, southern Switzerland and northern Italy are incredible. I’m in awe.
Last Marriott breakfast, we are very sad to say goodbye! It’s been an amazing 4 days even though I’m sick. Off to Milan!

22 October 2017

I went to the zoo! I was probably the only person there who wasn’t a toddler or a parent to a toddler but it was actually really amazing. I’ve never seen an elephant or a camel in person so that was cool (the baby elephant was so cute) and I also loved the lions. There were some pretty awesome turtles and a lot of penguins! I entertained myself at the zoo for almost 4 hours and then I hiked back to the hotel. Ready for a nap 😴
What I thought was going to be a quick mile walk turned out to be a 3 mile hike to the zoo. It was quite exhausting but at least I got my workout in for the day! The view was also spectacular. Switzerland is not a bad place to live from what I can see!

21 October 2017

We are really loving hors d’oeuvres hour at the hotel. We sampled all of the desserts and have been really taking advantage of the hot chocolate machine. They also have bread and fruit and an assortment of other actual food which is a nice change from the diet of ice cream that we’ve been on recently.
Some more beautiful weather for our walking tour of Zurich! We had a great time and our guide gave us samples of champagne truffles that were INCREDIBLE. I was very sad that I didn’t have a million dollars to spend on all of the beautiful clothes that I saw. I can’t believe how expensive this place is. You can’t get a meal for less than $30, it’s absurd. I’m very happy about our free breakfast situation at the hotel, the food is amazing and I finally got my bacon egg and cheese!!

20 October 2017

Running with a view! The gym in this place is incredible and it feels so good to work out after all of the ice cream I ate in Vienna. We also had a delicious breakfast and got to check in early to our room. Not a bad place to be for the week!

19 October 2017

One last ice cream before we leave Vienna. Saying goodbye to our new friends was so sad, we sat in the bar for 90s music and played uno and planned our reunion in Chicago. Very bittersweet evening, but off to Zürich! I can’t believe how fast this trip is going.
So this happened.... it is ice cream wrapped in a waffle with Oreo and powdered sugar. I think I’ve gained 5 pounds in the past 3 days here.
Started off the morning with the best Dunkin’ experience of my life, I had the most amazing donut ever!! We made it to our walking tour with a minute to spare and we ended up with a really annoying group. Vienna is a super interesting city but we couldn’t even hear our guide at times because these people were so obnoxious. We learned about a lot of architecture in the city; a lot of it survived the war which is awesome. The Hapsburg’s palace was massive, it has over 2,600 rooms! Our tour guide told us the cake was disgusting at the Mozart cafe so I’m sad that we had to discover that for ourselves. It was really funny though, she said she sees tourists lining up every day to try the cake and she always wants to warn them that it’s horrible! I’m glad we weren’t the only ones who didn’t like it!

18 October 2017

We went to The Mozart Cafe which is famous for its chocolate cake. The most famous cake in the world, we were told. It was the worst cake I’ve ever had. Like really disgusting. 0/5 stars. It’s the Vienna experience though! We’re going to go get ice cream to make up for this horrible cake.
We climbed 343 stairs to the top of St. Stephen’s Cathedral! What a view of Vienna. It was exhausting and they charged us €5 to climb the stairs but it was pretty incredible.
We visited the butterfly garden with our new friends Grace, Amy, and Whitney! It was probably not worth the €5 we paid but it was pretty cool. I was kind of scared because butterflies were everywhere and it was also super hot. Glad I saw it and glad Lauren got some cool photos out of it.
Our favorite ice cream place delivered on breakfast as well. The crepes were ridiculously good, Austria knows how it’s done!

17 October 2017

Lauren and I went to the bar to see what was going on and it was trivia night! After a game of giant Jenga we joined in reluctantly but we won and they gave us a bottle of prosecco! It was so funny and the only reason we won was because Lauren knew so many video games and there was a whole section on identifying images from games. We shared our prosecco with all of the other people in the bar because it wasn’t that great and that’s how we made friends! One girl, Whitney from Michigan, was a singer and we did karaoke together of Alicia Keys “if I ain’t got you” and it was amazing.
BEST ICE CREAM OF THE TRIP wow it was so good, I like Vienna already!

16 October 2017

Visited the John Lennon wall this afternoon! It’s pretty stunning and everyone was singing along with this guy covering Beatles songs. We sang along for a while and explore the park around the wall. We had some more beautiful weather today!
The Prague Castle was totally worth seeing up close. I thought that our view from the tower was stunning and that we didn’t need to go see it but up close the detail is unbelievable. The mosaic on one side of the cathedral is made out of over a million pieces! I was exhausted by the time we made it to the castle but I’m glad I made the trek.
What an adventure. I did not head out this morning expecting a full on hike but that is what I got! It was so hard but definitely worth the effort. The views were amazing. We found a ton or gardens along the way and I even got to do a maze! Lauren climbed another tree and then we climbed all the stairs of the observation tower and the view of the city was actually breathtaking. By the time we made it back down the stairs my legs were shaking but we made it!

15 October 2017

Photo shoot! The light was so pretty at the end of our (4 hour) walking tour that we had to take pictures. Lauren even climbed a tree to get a better vantage point. The bridges and castle are incredible, we really enjoyed the sunset. After, we made dinner (more pasta and broccoli, yum 😋) and enjoyed our lovely hostel. I’m reading a great book about WWII called Beneath a Scarlet Sky and I’m really enjoying it.
Walking tour was a success! Brandon, our tour guide, was great and although a bunch of our group was kind of the worst and just rudely disappeared at different points in the tour. We learned a lot about the turbulent history of what is now the Czech Republic. During WWII, it was under Nazi occupation the entire time and then after the end of the war they were occupied by the soviets and forced into communism for 41 years. He told us the service in restaurants is terrible but that’s because communism made people sad and unmotivated to work. He said it’s getting better slowly, but it’s only been 24 years of stability in the Czech Republic so it seems like they are doing well!
After a delicious scrambled egg breakfast, I went for a run to explore the area a little more. The bridges and parks are awesome. I ended up doing a little bit of exploring and read some of my book in the park because the weather was so nice. It’s the perfect fall temperature in the morning and then gets up to 70 in the afternoons and I’m so happy to not be cold! The leaves are reminding me of home and I’m missing NH.

14 October 2017

We are staying in a hostel apartment and it’s the greatest thing ever! We have our own space and a kitchen!! We had a great time exploring the area and we went to the grocery store and cooked our own dinner which is also a great change. Prague is more stunning than I imagined and the architecture (from the little I’ve seen) is incredible.

13 October 2017

Made it to the Berlin Wall! It was amazing. I was so happy to see it because the messages in the art were all so great. This one quote especially made the wall symbolic of unity rather than its intended purpose of division and it’s a really beautiful idea.
MALL OF BERLIN! quite a different mood than the concentration camp this morning but I wanted to check it out on the way back to the hostel and it HAS A SLIDE it was amazing.
I went to sachsenhausen concentration camp today and I was so moved by the experience. Our tour guide gave us a lot of the history but 4 hours was nowhere near enough time to absorb all of the information and come to terms with all of the suffering and death that took place here. Although it wasn’t a death camp, over 35,000 people were killed. I didn’t take many pictures because it felt a bit disrespectful but this bathroom area was meant to accommodate over 500 men and I was so shocked at how horrible this must have been. It was really horrifying but I do feel like it was very important and that everyone should have an experience like that at some point. It makes me extremely grateful for all of the opportunities I have.

12 October 2017

Today we got to do our walking tour and Steve was fantastic. My opinion of Berlin improved exponentially, it’s such a cool city. Steve did a great job of giving us the history of Germany along the way. I came to this realization that it’s so great to learn when you actually want to learn things. Some of the architecture is super impressive but a lot of it was unfortunately destroyed in the war. The monuments about the war are really well done, we went to the book burning memorial and the Jew memorial and both were really interesting. It makes you reflect on the enormity of the holocaust and realize all of the consequences on a different level than just reading about it in a textbook.

11 October 2017

Today was a total disaster. After an amazing breakfast, we got a 9 am train to Berlin. Someone committed suicide by jumping in front of our train so we had to be evacuated and no one told us what was happening. That part was actually really scary because we didn’t know what was happening and there were so many people and cops on the platform. They put us on another train and then a bus and then 3 more trains before we made it to Berlin, 4 hours late and missing the check in time for our hostel. We then booked a new hostel and got dinner that was totally mediocre. Hopefully Berlin brings us better luck tomorrow!

10 October 2017

Loved the Heineken experience! Their history is so interesting and the whole thing was really well done. Since they don’t use the original brewery anymore, the tour went right through all the brewing rooms which is cool. I got to try the wort which is just barley and water, it’s super sweet and very strange tasting. I also took a picture by myself so I look like a dweeb but doing it for the memories! I got a great hat too which I’m excited about even though I don’t have room for it....
I had to take a selfie with the I Amsterdam sign just because I’m in Amsterdam! The place was crawling with children, not sure why but even the Van Gogh Museum was full of first graders. I also went to the flower market on my way back to the hostel which was kind of not as exciting as I expected. The markets aren’t really on boats they are just houses that are on docks kind of so that was disappointing and they also only had tulip bulbs and wooden tulips, there weren’t any actual flowers except for one stall.
Got to see some of my favorite works of art today. The Van Gogh museum was way way bigger than I expected and it took me 3+ hours to get through it. I really enjoyed it and I learned a lot about his life as well as his art which I really liked. I wasn’t allowed to take any photos because the art is super sensitive to light, but I did get a guidebook so I can mark my favorites in that!

9 October 2017

We went to this really cool bookstore that was 4 floors of all these old used books. It just happened to be in English too so we could actually understand what they were! Some of them were like a trip down memory lane, it was so funny.
After an amazing walking tour with our guide Kendra we stopped in to Pancakes Amsterdam to try Dutch pancakes. I ordered water and they brought me Heineken which is going to be very strange with pancakes but I’m very excited for the pancakes! They are beautiful and remind me of 49ers at the pancake house in wilmette. YUM.

8 October 2017

Anne Frank House was so moving. It was incredibly well done and totally worth the hour and a half wait. I had chills the entire time.
Just arrived in Amsterdam to the most incredible hostel. There is a teepee! Looking forward to 3 nights here!

7 October 2017

The frites are legit. I love the Belgians! I ate them with ketchup which is apparently a cardinal sin but I’m not a mayonnaise girl. I got some hot chocolate to balance out my super healthy dinner and then I got to FaceTime with my munchkin in the square! He’s the best thing in the world, I miss him. Speaking of the square, it’s incredible at night. Even though it was freezing and raining, I stayed until after sunset so that I could see it all lit up and I wasn’t disappointed. There was a group of guys singing in the middle of the square and that was very entertaining as well. They sang Hey Jude which was already the song of our trip after Oktoberfest! I thought it was pretty funny. They were quite a group!
I went to the Ghent belfry museum and I didn’t know what to expect but of course I got more spiral stairs! The views were incredible from the top and there was a lot of history regarding the bell. It was damaged several times and now there are multiple bells that ring on the hour. Apparently they used to be for warning the people of fires or attacks but now the bell is just for telling time.
What a castle! I think there were more stairs than the Eiffel Tower, it was crazy. The top was stunning, you could see the whole city even thought it’s so cloudy. I felt like I was in the middle of a tornado at times, though, it got cold! There were little museums scattered through the castle and there were a few suits of armor and a whole section on torture devices. It was all very interesting, and it was thankfully all translated into English!
This brought an entirely new meaning to French toast... It was heavenly and then I had Belgian hot chocolate and it was also heavenly and my egg was also heavenly and overall I’m very happy with Ghent so far! Off to Gravensteen castle!

6 October 2017

I went on a tour of the ruins of Coudenberg today and it was incredible. The entire palace was demolished/filled with rubble to build new things on top of it. Now it’s all be excavated underground so you can go through the excavation site through tunnels underground! You literally had to crawl at some parts but it was awesome. I also got to see the church of Belgium which was pretty impressive. I tried to go to the fine arts museum but it was closed and so I ended up wandering around and looking at palaces and parks around Brussels. I ended the day with some incredible raspberry sorbet. I went home to get cash for Belgian frites and I headed back into town. I must have opened my pocket to get my phone and dropped my €5 because I got there and had no cash so I admitted defeat and had a banana and toast for dinner.
Every cathedral seems to be better than the last! This one is called Notre Dame au Sablon Church and it was quite amazing, even more quiet and serene than St Michael and St Gudula. There was a group looking at a painting and I think they were authenticating it or restoring it I’m not sure but they were the only people in the whole church. I tried to ask them about what they were doing but they didn’t speak very good English so it didn’t go very well.
I visited St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral first thing this morning. It was so quiet and peaceful inside so I was able to sit and reflect in silence which I haven’t had a lot of time to do on this trip. I lit a candle for Grandma and thought a lot about all the Durkin’s. I’m definitely missing the fam today! Although I’m a little bit homesick I am looking forward to seeing more of Brussels today.

5 October 2017

Brussels is so great I love it here. We did this amazing walking tour as soon as we arrived and it was so great to see the highlights of the city right away. She showed us the best spots for €1 waffles which we took advantage of right away and we also saw some of Belgium’s very interesting architecture. It’s all super mixed up from other countries invading, burning down and rebuilding so you have modern next to gothic next to medieval.

4 October 2017

So we were tired and grumpy from sleeping on Lauren’s friend’s floor so Keith booked us this hotel and it was amazing but SO weird. They have a super cool ice bar that apparently is super famous but it closed at 11 and we didn’t make it in time. The bartender was so nice and he didn’t have Cointreau but he made us faux margaritas with just tequila lime and agave. They were actually delicious and came with big sphere ice cubes. I then watched him teaching the other bartender about ice carving until we decided to head to bed, it was fascinating. After I paid, he decided that we needed a “nightcap” and did (free) Patron shots with us. The whole thing was such an experience I loved it so much. AND NOT TO MENTION I HAVENT SLEPT IN A REAL BED IN OVER 10 DAYS and this bed is heaven!!
Incredible experience at Notre Dame! Such a beautiful cathedral and the gardens around it are just as stunning. Today the area was crawling with cops. I even saw some green berets oddly walking around with huge guns. On my walk back to the train I passed Pont Neuf with all of the locks on the fence and I was so excited because I thought that they’d taken it down! So glad to spend another beautiful day in Paris
Lunch was an experience. Thanks to Mom’s advice, I got French Onion Soup and it was delicious! It was cheese and onions and the soup itself was full of bread! I was in heaven. My waiter was super friendly and he thankfully spoke a lot of English. I’m so full I don’t think I’ll be able to eat for days! On my way to lunch I passed by Tour Saint-Jacques and Fontaine des Innocents, both of which were beautiful. I can’t believe the amount of stunning architecture in this city. I’m so grateful for the beautiful weather because it’s such a great opportunity to just explore and see things I wouldn’t have sought out otherwise.
Came across St. Eustache cathedral today and was so happy that I did. It was much more peaceful than Notre Dame and I was able to sit for a while and enjoy the incredible artwork and architecture. One of my favorite spots I’ve discovered in Paris so far!
I finally made it to Museé de l’Orangerie! Monet’s water lillies are on display in theses huge oval rooms and it was such a cool space to experience his work in. It was surprisingly crowded but the rooms are large enough to accommodate a big crowd. I got to watch a man copying one of Derain’s works and watching his process was great. The way the museum was set up made it much more interesting for me because it was divided by artist. They had plaques about the artist followed by several aid their works, generally depicting their artistic development. It was super interesting so I’m glad I ended up being able to see it. I also walked by d’Orsay and sadly didn’t have time to go in, but I remember how amazing it was the last time I was in Paris. Hopefully I’ll be able to go back one day!
My breakfast this morning was the best croissant I’ve ever had in my life, the layers of pastry were so thin, it was incredible. I took the train into the city and walked a few miles just because the weather was so amazing again! I arrived at l’orangerie to a huge line, but I’ve heard amazing things so I think it will be worth the wait.

3 October 2017

So happy to have found this little bakery on my way home! My baguette dinner was a perfect end to the day and I’m super grateful for these gummy bears that my parents got for me in Ireland, very glad I saved them.
I think I’m in love with Nutella banana crepes! I had two today, oops 😬 and both were spectacular. I did some exploring and intended to see musee l’orangerie but it is closed on Tuesdays and someone stole my Patagonia on the way there! So that was really upsetting and that’s when I bought my second crepe. I had to go shopping to get a new sweatshirt and then I ended up walking back along the river to the Eiffel Tower and heading home. I miss my Patagonia already!
PARIS IS BEAUTIFUL we got so lucky with weather. We did the Eiffel Tower first thing this morning and it couldn’t have been nicer. I walked up 730 stairs to get to the halfway point but they wouldn’t let us walk any further and the line to the elevator was SO long. It didn’t even matter that we didn’t make it to the top, it was so cool just to be there.

2 October 2017

And we’re off to Paris! I’m looking forward to some rest and catching up on my journal. Thankfully we have 7 hours to accomplish both things! I’m sad to leave Munich behind.

1 October 2017

The rest of the night was just as great as the beginning. I had the most popular beer, which I actually didn’t like as much as the first, and I also made some friends with other travelers from Spain, China, and even some from the US! I loved the dirndl, it has quickly become my favorite outfit in my wardrobe but I think I’ll have to mail it home because I don’t have space for it in my bag. It is the traditional Bavarian dress and it was so cool to be a part of their culture. We had Bavarian donuts which were pretty magical and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience although some guy was super annoying asking to use our phones even though we explained to him we didn’t have service. After leaving the festival we went back to the hostel bar and played a few rounds of pool. We made friends and it turns out that today is Alex’s 25th birthday! We wished him well and then went to sleep because we have an early train to catch tomorrow. On to Paris (sadly) but I know that so much is to come
Oktoberfest is AMAZING I love it and never want to leave!!! We had some trouble with transportation from the airport but we made it and it was so worth the wait. The beers are humongous and I don’t know who could possibly drink these on a regular basis but the one I had was awesome! It was quite a day.

30 September 2017

Another lovely run this morning! It turned into more of a walk at some points because it was so pretty and I had to stop to take pictures 😊 I also found a wooden cow which I took a selfie with! Getting ready to leave today and head to Oktoberfest for about 12 hours. All my stuff is a total mess so I have to pull myself together before tonight and then we leave at 3am!

29 September 2017

Lauren hooked us up with a free concert! Her friend is the drummer of this band called Airways and he gave her a plus two so I went with her other friend Jacob and she took photos. It was actually great but I paid £5 for a vodka soda which is unfortunate. We thankfully get to go home early from the show so I can get some rest for our last day in London tomorrow! Pictured in second photo Lauren and drummer friend Brian, third photo Lauren and friend Jacob from school in Sweden!
So I have decided to take 7 consecutive gap years and attend Hogwarts! I wish.... I almost cried seeing this, it was amazing and the shop was so great. I got my own ticket and everything, I had a blast. 10/10 experience! My only regret is not getting a T-shirt but I really have no room in my backpack.

28 September 2017

Today I ventured to the Victoria and Albert museum and I was so pleasantly surprised! It was free entry and although it’s overwhelmingly big, I saw a few amazing things. First off, I walked in and saw the Ardabil Carpet which I spent a week learning about last year in school. It was amazing in person and I was so happy that I discovered it. It’s so fragile that they only open it for 10 minutes every hour on the hour so I was lucky to see it. I then saw some of Raphael’s “cartoons” from the Sistine chapel which are so impressive. I also stumbled upon an exhibit on the history of fashion sponsored by Balenciaga and that was really well done and interesting. I wandered through some of the museum but it was so big that I didn’t really take in a lot of it.
I finally made it back to Harrod’s! It was so great, I’m obsessed with it. It has chocolate and food side by side with designer bags and makeup. I was in my glory. I got a baguette for lunch because I didn’t want to spend £14 on strawberries but it really didn’t disappoint at all! I explored for a while but it actually made me sad because I couldn’t afford anything that I wanted and even if I could I had no way to get it home! I had fun though and it was all worth it for the bread 😋

27 September 2017

Today we had several amazing London experiences! First, we happened to come across the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace on our way to the Winston Churchill War Rooms. We stuck around for a while and actually got to see the whole ceremony up close! I wish I had known more going into it because it would definitely be more meaningful if I’d known what was going on but it was still cool! Next we went to the War Rooms which were incredible. It ended up taking me about 4.5 hours to get through it and I still feel like I needed more time because there was so much information. We then got some gummy bears at the train station and headed to the show! Wicked was even better than I remember it and it turned out to be the 11th anniversary in London so there were balloons and everyone was super happy and excited! The cast was incredible. Even though we were basically in the back row, we had an amazing experience.

26 September 2017

Today was a resting day. I caught up on my journaling and did laundry which ended up being an experience! They don’t have dryers here so we hung our clothes up outside to dry. I then went on a really nice run to explore the area and after lunch I went on a walk to explore a park that I’d seen in my run. It was a really well done park and I had a great afternoon sitting by the fountain and reading my new book. I just started The Girl on the Train and it’s so good.

22 September 2017

Tonight was hilarious. I honestly have never had more fun or been more embarrassed in my life. First of all, dinner was delicious and I became friends with the band. Then during the Irish dance show, I got pulled on stage to dance and that was spectacular and also so bad... after dinner I had unbuttoned my jeans because I ate so much and I forgot so I danced in front of 100 people with my pants unbuttoned! I then laughed for 10 minutes straight and got called up to sing! Of course. So I did but I didn’t know the words to their version of The Parting Glass so it was a big mess and overall kind of rough. Everyone clapped and it was great, I got to enjoy the rest of the night in peace. Being with the whole family was great and I just had a fantastic time. This was a night I’ll never forget.

16 September 2017

Had lunch at Goat restaurant after picking up Lauren from UCD! So so so good to see her. I had my first Heineken (with ice for some reason?) and a great lunch with the fam. Happy to be back in Ireland, one of my favorite places. Magoo’s driving is a little bit stressful because the car is stick shift on the wrong side of the road but I think we will make it to Bill’s (hopefully)!
And I’m off! I can’t believe this is really happening already wow 😮