Wandering: Europe in the Spring
Our graphic designer, Leesa Mealing recently returned from 6 weeks traveling throughout Europe in the springtime. Six weeks might seem like a lot of time to travel but she managed to explore over 14 different cities...here's some of the highlights!
Spring time in London... felt a lot like Winter time in Australia to me! We arrived to blistering winds, snd somehow powered on through the chill that seeped to our bones. My serape was a life saver! I had barely bought enough warm clothes so I layered up and then nested up inside it.
Paris was also freezing (well, for Australian's anyway!) although on the days we had less rain and more sunshine, it was less noticeable. Paris was simply glorious, with incredible food and lovely people. Instead of heading up the Eiffel Tower, we climbed up Notre Dame and were treated to a spectacular view, complete with the Eiffel Tower!
Spain was beautiful, the weather was perfect if a little windy at times. We put away the coats and just dressed in light layers. Again, the food was just delicious and the night life was like nothing you would ever see in Australia. Dancing and music until all hours of the morning!
Rome was the next stop on our trip, and the weather was just perfect for our little Roman Holiday! In fact it was so warm, we were drinking about 4 or 5 bottles of the spring water that flows constantly throughout Rome. And we ate pasta. So much pasta! I pretty much lived in my elephant pants, they were so perfect for the Mediterranean climate.
After a few days wandering Rome, we then caught a plane to Malta, a little island in the Mediterranean Sea filled with history and like no where else in Europe. We visited Valetta, the Silent City, the island of Gozo, the Ħaġar Qim Temples and so much more. We stayed with a Maltese family that took amazing care of us and cooked yummy traditional Maltese dishes.
Next up was a whirlwind visit in Florence where it rained... a lot! It was a short stay and then we took a train ride to Innsbruck in the Austrian Alps for a night. Train travel in Europe is so comfortable and it's a great way to see a lot of the countryside in a short amount of time. We spotted about 6 or 7 castles along the way, tucked into mountain sides.
Innsbruck was like a fairytale, made even more magical by the gorgeous hotel we staying in that had a panoramic window so we could see when it was snowing when awoke the next morning!
The snow followed us to Munich! The days alternated between rain, sleet and snow and we bundled up to explore what we could with out freezing. Our wardrobe was definitely not up to the challenge so we focused on indoor activities like museums, galleries, palaces and of course...beer halls!
From Munich, we took a train to Prague in the Czech Republic. I didn't know that much about Prague so while I had a few places I knew we wanted to check out, I had no idea how much we would love Prague!
They have one of the best coffee cultures (sorry Italy) and we had some of the best meals of the trip there (sorry France) and even better, everything was incredible affordable. And the weather, while cool was a lot more like what we expected from Europe in the Spring!
Our next train trip took us to Berlin, where the weather was sunny and perfect for us to spend one of our days scootering through the streets! Berlin has a fairly hipster meets grunge vibe, like one big Newtown!
From Berlin, we took yet another train (yay! More train picnics!) to Amsterdam and were blown away by the sheer coolness of that place. It is somehow friendly, clean and hip despite it's somewhat of a questionable reputation. The sunshine brought everyone out onto the canals in variety of vessels, from house boats, barges to little row boats and some kind of flat floating board with chesterfield lounges and massive speakers. Just so cool!
Highlights in Amsterdam include this amazing stroop waffle! If you've never tried one, they are a must! Plus don't miss the floating flower markets for tulips, cacti and all manner of touristy knick knacks.
Next stop... Brussels! Waffles, chocolate and beer all 'round! The weather was now consistently sunny, cooling in the evenings, so we had some great adventures all over the city, wandering through markets, parks and the various neighbourhoods that make up Brussels.
Our final lep of the trip was spent in the Scottish Highlands, where we stayed in an old railway cottage that was restored to perfection, literally in the middle of nowhere. We visited a few old castles, the Loch Ness, Carrbridge and Glenfinnan Viaduct (Harry Potter fans will know this one!) and of course tasted whiskey in a few distilleries. Some days we just stayed home, baked some yummy bread and had a cozy evening or two by the fire. Our wooly neighbours also were nice and quiet!