North America, Asia, Europe · 29 Days · 70 Moments · July 2018

The Darlings’ Summer 2018 in Europe


3 August 2018

We took the train from Paris to Barcelona after some delays due to rail strikes. It’s very very hot in Barcelona - breaking records. Our new apartment is really neat, but the AC isn’t very powerful. And we need to walk up 6 floors! Need lots of sangria to cool off :)

2 August 2018

A lunch of foie gras, and melon and prosciutto!
Paris’ Sainte-Chapelle has the most amazing stained glass I’ve ever seen. Loved it. But... the Europe heat wave is getting tiring. Our apartment doesn’t have AC and we are sweltering. Next we move on to Barcelona and a new apartment with AC!

1 August 2018

Took a nighttime boat tour of the river Seine. Beautiful to see Paris from a different perspective.
Met lots of new friends on a Paris walking food tour. Nathan doesn’t hate wine as much as he did last year. This year he wants to try everything.

31 July 2018

Crepes for dinner. Cider drunk from a little bowl. And flaming crepes for dessert. I love Paris.
We took a day trip out to Disneyland Paris, which is a whole lot like every other Disney park we’ve ever been to. Except there was better food and hard cider!

30 July 2018

A visit to beautiful Notre Dame.

29 July 2018

Some very French food - escargot and soupe a l'oignon (aka “French Onion Soup” when not in France). Nathan has still never tried a snail!
Nathan finally played his guitar that we’ve been hauling around Europe for three weeks!! :)
Our first baguette in Paris!

28 July 2018

Went out for dinner of crepes last night and ordered a bottle of French hard cider and they poured us three glasses. I guess when in France...?
Our AirBnB apartment on the Left Bank in Paris is really cool. Small and hip but full of art and instruments on the walls. Nathan wants to live here. We’ll be here for the rest of the week.
We chained Glen up in the castle’s dungeon, but somehow he escaped.
Since we were so close to Belgium (20 minutes!) we decided to add another country to our list and drive up to Bouillon to visit the castle there (some of it built as early as the 8th century!). They had a falconry show - don’t bring your little dog ;)
Our hotel in Sedan is a real castle! It is really very cool except for the fact that there is a terrible heat wave here this week and there’s no AC. Still pretty awesome.

27 July 2018

The reason for our trip to Sedan was to spend the day with Richard Tucker, a British expat and expert on the military history of this area and the Maginot Line in particular. This has always been of interest to Glen. This area is exactly where the Germans broke through in May 1940 to take France in WWII, and most probably know how they pushed the British down to Dunkirk. The Maginot Line defenses were meant to be impenetrable. After a long hot day of touring and history Nathan still said “it was the best tour we’ve been on the whole trip!”

26 July 2018

Our time in Munich went so quickly! Now we’re on a fast grain to Paris where we’ll pick up a rental car to drive up north to spend a couple days in Sedan, in the Ardennes. The beverage cart on the train had an espresso machine! And a little place we stopped for a coffee break during our drive had lots of board games you could play. So we played a game of Exploding Kittens, en Francais!

25 July 2018

Had a sober and thoughtful visit to the Dachau concentration camp memorial. The memorial is nicely organized from the perspective of the incoming prisoners, including audio memoirs from some of the survivors themselves.

24 July 2018

More beer, German food and a giant pretzel after a long day of touring castles!
We took a little side trip to drive through Austrian mountains and along Lake Plansee. Then back into Germany to visit Linderhof Place (castle #3) which was undergoing some construction, but still very fancy! The gardens were especially beautiful.
Hohenschwangau - castle #2 on our day trip.
Fairy tale Neuschwanstein Castle was gorgeous, as were the views of the Bavarian countryside. Had a long walk uphill to the castle - we are getting our exercise on this trip!
Rented a car for the day to tour Bavaria. Had a lovely breakfast in a tiny little town. Everything is very green and the Germans drive fast!

23 July 2018

As Munich was where Hitler rose to power we decided to take an educational Third Reich walking tour and learned a lot from our guide. Many of Hitler’s early speeches took place in the same beer halls we’re visiting today (though all the Nazi symbols have long since been removed).
More beer and german food for lunch at the historic Hofbräuhaus brewery. I had the huge roast pork knuckle (with crunchy crackling) and Nathan had a Bavarian roast chicken. It was pretty darn good!
Made it to Munich’s Marienplatz (central plaza) in time to have beer for breakfast and watch the glockenspiel’s show.

22 July 2018

I was pretty excited to take the night train from Rome to Munich. I’ve never slept on a train before, what fun. In reality it was a lot more fun in my imagination! The our triple bunk room was very “cozy” and didn’t nearly have enough air conditioning. Regardless, it was an adventure!

21 July 2018

Saying goodbye to Rome after two weeks here. We are all sad to leave. Next leg of the trip is Munich and none of us have ever been to Germany.

20 July 2018

These brass cobblestones are placed on the ground outside the homes of holocaust victims as a memorial. I just noticed these two down the street from our apartment. Poor Angelo Tagliacozzo died just 2 months and 9 days before the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp by US troops. So close. More of the story of these two young men and their families here: https://rememberme.ushmm.org/updates/franca-limentani-identified
Roman streets and a Roman lunch.

19 July 2018

Did an Olive Oil is tasting and it was amazing. They have an olive oil sommelier! We learned to warm the oil, then smell it before tasting it with a weird sucking noise. Some is pretty spicy and makes you cough! Such a wide variety of flavors from different olives from different regions of Italy. We paired oil with bread, with fish, with cheeses and on pasta. The most surprising was the bittersweet chocolate dipped in a strong oil! But Nathan preferred the balsamic vinegar, to be honest. He could drink the stuff! But he must have charmed our sommelier since she gave him a bottle to take home.

17 July 2018

So many St. Francises in Assisi!
Not a bad view for our lunch in Assisi?!
SO picturesque looking up across the fields at Assisi.
We took a day trip to Assisi - mostly because Saint Francis is the patron saint of Nathan’s new high school! The drive through the Umbria countryside was gorgeous and we visited many churches, and visited the tombs of both St. Francis and St. Clare.

16 July 2018

We’ve been working had on our goal to find the best carciofi alla giudìa (deep fried artichokes) in Rome. We must have eaten a dozen of them by now :) Nathan is making a face because it is really darn hot to hold for the photo!

15 July 2018

Walked through some narrow streets in Naples to find a restaurant for lunch. Since Naples is the birthplace of pizza we had to have it. Glen had an enormous puffy deep fried pizza. Nathan’s had salami, olives and sweet peppers. So good.
The Naples National Archaeological Museum is also famous for its collection of artifacts from Pompeii (which we visited in 2016) - which is now pretty devoid of artifacts itself. This is one of the many lovely mosaics they have in the collection. Still looks brand new. Amazing to think all these artifacts were buried by the eruption of Vesuvius for nearly 2000 years.
In Naples we visited the National Archaeological Museum which contains many of the colossal statues that were originally in the ancient Roman baths of Caracalla (AD 212) that we visited last year in Rome. After the baths fell to ruin, in the 16th century the statues were moved to the Farnese’s garden in Rome’s Piazza Farnese (now the French embassy) that we visited this year. Then the statues finally made their way to this museum in Naples where we visited them in 2018. Such a long trip for these pieces of marble.
Took a day trip to Naples, 226km from Rome, on the fast train. It takes just over an hour going as fast as 300km/hr. They have great espresso on the train!

14 July 2018

We love our apartment here in Rome. Two weeks is going by way too fast! Here is Glen looking out from the bedroom and kitchen windows onto two different piazzas.
Took a trip out to the Park of the Aqueducts which is a huge park where Romans picnic, lay in the shade, walk, and jog. It contains remains of several Roman aqueducts that carried water into the city.
After three trips to Rome we’ve finally been on the Metro (subway). It was pretty much like every other big city subway. Lots of graffiti on the trains though.
Ate lunch in a restaurant dug into a cave inside Monte Testaccio, which is an artificial mound in Rome composed of fragments of broken ancient Roman pottery — somewhere around 53 million broken olive oil amphorae! Maybe dating back to 1 BC. Nice and cool in the restaurant. Pasta and sweet grilled peppers were delicious.

13 July 2018

Roman evening walk.
Friday evening happy hour at the Vatican Museums.
The best ice cream in Rome. The sign said so.

12 July 2018

Gorgeous night so we walked across the river to Trastevere for dinner at “Don Vera Pizza Fritta Napoletana” which was highly recommend by my friend Dhruv. They make deep fried pizza and it was delizioso!

11 July 2018

We had an amazing market food tour today and got to tour the Palazzo Farnese palace (which is the current French Embassy in Rome). To prove Nathan isn’t a perfect child, he was totally bored and annoyed looking at all the architecture and art, while Glen and I LOVED it :)

10 July 2018

So many people out at 10pm enjoying a beautiful evening in the piazza. Also, the football game playing on some TVs.
Breakfast of champions. Warm from the forno (bakery) and the largest sweetest cherries from the market.
Good morning Piazza de Biscione. The teeny truck is a delivery vehicle for the butcher shop down there.
Good morning Campo de Fiori. They start setting up the market before 5am. Still nice and cool, but will heat up fast today.

9 July 2018

Bedroom looks out over Campo de Fiori which has a big open air market each day and lots of night life each evening.
Kitchen and living room look out over Piazza de Biscione (and the apartment we stayed in last summer is directly across from us over there). Shops, restaurant and buskers to entertain us all day.
And some carciofi alla giudia (deep fried artichokes - yum!) and Nathan’s favorite pasta cacio e pepe (basically pasta with lots of pecorino cheese and black pepper - also yummy).
Next our first Aperol Spritz.
We made it to Rome and came to say hi to Giordano Bruno’s statue in Campo do Fiori, right outside our apartment.
Visited Istanbul’s famous “Spice Market” this morning, but it’s really an everything-in-the-whole-world market... so colorful and huge. It feels HOT here, but it’s going big to be even hotter in Rome.

8 July 2018

Jet-lagged but we had a nice dinner in the old center of Istanbul. Also walked the crowded streets a bit and got some sweet treats: Turkish Delight, figs and dates.
For some reason these Istanbul airport has these giant IKEA-looking chairs all over. Someday I’m going to figure out why.

7 July 2018

Turkish Airlines dinner service is really nice! Tiny olive oil and tiny (pretend) candle. And the tiny minaret-shaped salt & peppers are magnetic. So cute.
See you later America!
First prosecco toast - at the new Polaris lounge at SFO. Very nice! In Rome the prosecco seems to be as cheap as water :)
All packed and now on our way to SFO - excited for our trip to start!

6 July 2018

Ok - bags are tagged with Canadian flags and we’re ready to pack and get outta here. Five weeks and 5+ countries here we come. San Jose -> Istanbul-> Rome -> Munich -> Sedan -> Paris -> Barcelona -> San Jose!