My 7-week trip through Europe Sept-Oct 2006
Landed in Munich, where I began my trip. Of course all my luggage was lost, and every flight was either delayed or cancelled, but I still made it. Great place to start the trip, great city with lots of food, pedestrian walkways and spirit.
Next I went to Salzburg, where I stayed right next to beautiful St. Sebastian Church. I still smile when I recall the volume of the church bells as they tolled every hour on hour -- how romantic some plans seems until you are there in bed at 4 o'clock in the morning listening to the church bells! Beautiful city, lots to photograph.
Hallstatt was wonderful, friendly, and very rainy. The town is very quaint, and my room was right on the lake. THe food was delicious, and the mike to the Salt Mine was unfortgetable. Please take the funicular to the top and walk down if you are at all like me, just a very casual hiker. The 2.5 hour climb to the top on a very rainy day had my praying, meditating, negotiating, weeping, and everything else. Don't ask me why I walked down, I guess then that was just about ego. Pretty churches too.
Only stayed 1 night, but the mountains up above everywhere were astonishing. I could have been in the Rockies. This city is very busy with conferences for much of the year, so booking ahead will avoid unsuccessful treks to many small inns, as was my experience.
Please, please, please: if nothing else, then do book in advance. This is the only way to give yourself a good start in this gorgeous but very revenue focused city. There is so much to see and do, it never ends. And it's great to get lost in winding streets, and make your way back to your accomodations. The food was a bit dodgy, so get recomendations to ensure that you experience the best the city has to offer.
Only stayed 1 night, but this city has a very active nightlife close to the city centre. There were loads of people out at the wine bars and cafes at night, and all made me feel a little shameful of my treking clothes... I guess one cannot have it all!
Alright, I didn't stay in Milan, only went there to catch a flight. Again, the train station area is extremely busy and I felt quite unsafe, as with the area around the train station. Hotels near the Milan Malpensa airport are expensive, especially if you are only staying a few hours, so this was the only time I spent the night in the aiport. A relatively pleasant experience, and I got great seats on my discount airline flight the next day.
You get what you pay for in Athens with respect to accomodations, so be aware. Just because it's on the 4th floor, does not mean that there will be an elevator. The food was great, the sights were wonderful, and it was a really enjoyable experience. I still feel that I should have picked up some Greek beforehand to better prepare me, but otherwise no problem.
Best place in the entire trip. Quiet island, with a great stay at Pension Sofia (Manolis and Sofia were so friendly). Beaches were gorgeous, food was great, lots to see, and a slow pace no matter where you go. You are going to be totally relaxed when you leave this place.
I had always wanted to go here because of my all time favourite movie: Shirley Valentine. But the island is super windy, and I'm not sure it is windy all the time, but I think so because somone told me that the primary goddess related to Mykonos is the Goddess of Wind (not sure if this is true, but it certainly was appropriate). If you're not staying in Mykonos Town, then good luck with your hiking legs as it is uphill all the way. Pedro the local oversized pelican certainly made for some great photos as he strolled the streets winding town streets in great self-confidence.
A very friendly a very untouristy island. Far too windy to be on the beach when I was there, but the town centre was great, with lots of wonderful shops and modern cafes. The food was delicious, and I met some very nice people. Very reasonable rates.
This was possibly the highlight of my entire trip. I had been drooling over a trip to Provence for years, to the utter annoyance of my husband who is neither a foodie nor does he have the travel bug. So I was a bit worried that Provence would not be able to meet my likely unrealistic expectations build over so many years of reading and dreaming of this place. It was different than I imagined, but even more magical. THe food was amazing, but I didn't go to fancy restaurants and expensive bistros. I ate where I saw locals eating, or at tiny hole in the wall places. I had goat's cheese and fresh baguette for lunch, and fresh fruit for snacks. Everything was so fresh and creamy, and bursting with flavour. I was determined to seek out some small villages without the expense of an automatic vehicle rental (I just don't feel comfortable driving a stick shift), and I did find them: Fontvieille, and Mausanne les Alpinnes. Just a quick bus ride from Arles. Arles in itself was beautiful, historic, very Roman, and I just could not take enough photos of the homes. The museums in town were great, and full of life and history, well laid out.
Visitted during my stay in Arles. I had the best Salad Lyonnaise at a cafe just outside the fortified walls of the old town centre. This was a great place to visit, lots of shops, pastry shops and bakeries with fantastic breads. Not to miss.
I was born in Lisboa and have visitted at least a half dozen times. Next to Toronto and Windsor there is no city in the rest of the world I know so well. From the cafes in the Baixa, to the museums, to the pasteis de nata, to the salgados, to the streets in Alfama to seeing my family, to everything. To me this is one of the most deeply romantic cities in Europe, filled with such stunning architecture and over the top savoury food. A really enjoyable stay -- whether you spent your time in Lisboa, go up north to enjoy the mountains of Tras-os-Montes, or relax on the beaches of the Algarve.
I ventured so far away from Lisboa to escape the incessant rains that covered most of Portugal and Spain. Alicante had escaped their clutches. What I found was a well laid out city on the Meditteranean, with a modern tram that whisked you away to all sorts of beaches, a castle looming overtope (St. Barbara's Castle), great tapas food, and a huge boardwalk that is teeming with locals beginning in the early afternoon. There was lots to do, and lots to see, and the friendly people of Alicante helped encourage me to stay for nearly 5 days before heading back home. I may not have made it to Granada, but I certainly left relaxed!