As soon as I set foot on European soil, be it Eastern or Western, my mind immediately shoots to all the places I could go. Everything is so close! So accessible! So many cities for me to conquer! Coastlines to explore! SO MUCH TO SEE!
But the worst part? There are so many places in Europe where I’ve already left my heart, and way, WAY too places I want to re-visit again and again and again. I’m currently making my way up unchartered Eastern European territory en route to the wino. I’m exploring new cobblestoned streets and falling in love with new people everyday… but all I can think is, “oh my guuhhh, it would be so easy to completely abandon ship and book a holiday in Greece right now.”
That is not healthy behavior. That is the sign of an addiction.
And I don’t even care.
Sigh. Someday I’ll be back, Greece.
This made us feel very in-the-know, so we thought we’d share the knowledge wealth. New York’s 15 Most Anticipated Fall Openings
We’re pretty sure we’re extroverts with extroversion to spare. How about you? The Introverts Guide to Travel
Ok, but we’d recommend you don’t drink all different types of alcohol in one day. We learned that one pretty quickly. Three Boozy Beverages Beyond Beer at Munich’s Oktoberfest 2012
We’re on a Grecian kick this week, apparently. The Best Beaches in Skiathos, Greece
The inclusion of Ireland on this list is officially Lazy Travelers-approved. World’s Top Ten Most Incredible Girlfriend Getaways
This was how the wino spent her day:
the romantic & the wino
As a special end-of-the-week treat, we are officially submitting our entry for TravelSupermarket.com‘s Capture the Colour contest. Why? Well, number one is that we were tagged by the ever so lovely Erin of The World Wanderer after her own impressive entry, and number two is that prizes include an iPad 3 (maybe to replace our
lost STOLEN iPad 1?) OR £2,000 to spend on our travels.
There was no question: count us in.
The hubs was lucky enough to study abroad in Nice when we were in college, and because I was never able to visit and am the jealous type, we made it a priority to go back together as soon as humanly possible. Important sidenote: I double dog dare every single one of you to attempt a long distance relationship when one of you is in the south of France and the other is at college on Staten Island. I mean, honestly.
Anyway, from the moment we booked our flights, the hubs was insistent that we visit Eze during our short time on the Riviera. I fell in love with every town along the coast, but Eze takes the cake–I swear the sky is more blue there than anywhere else in the world.
Paying a visit to the Jardin exotique d’Èze
I joke with the hubs that we hardly ever stay anywhere with a killer view. Somehow, even in our most amazing of hotel stays, we end up in the room that faces the least appealing part of the property. It’s just never a priority when we book, but always a little bit of a letdown when we check in. Though it’s rarely a treat to open up your hotel curtains to find yourself staring straight into the neighboring building’s windows, I didn’t mind so much in Venice. Also, say hello to the birthplace of my obsession with shutters:
View from our room at the Westin Europa & Regina, Venice
When the hubs and I were in Greece, we met a cute British couple on their honeymoon, spending a full 10 days in Athens. Though I enjoyed Athens more than most, I think anyone who has been there will also find a 10-day honeymoon in the Grecian capital… surprising. Naturally, we asked for their #1 recommendation in the, um, city of love, and they gave a stellar review of Brettos in Plaka. They even went so far as to invite us to meet them there later that night, and who are we to turn down a double date out on the town with complete strangers? Fast forward a few hours to the hubs and I walking into the little Grecian bar to meet our new friends… who had had so much of the famous housemade Ouzo that they were completely blacked out.
But Brettos! Brettos was absolutely adorable:
The scene behind the bar at Brettos in Plaka, Athens
The Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
This photo gets thrown around here every once in awhile, but it’s one of my favorites from Ireland. The wino and I stayed in the most adorable B&B to ever exist, complete with gracious hosts, delicious breakfasts, and the most adorable NEIGHbor there ever was (see what I did there?). Of course he had the white picket fence and the perfect yard.
Our neighbor at the Milestone House B&B
I will be the first to admit that when I caught my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, I cried. We were in a cab from the Roissybus to our hotel, and it just happened! It was awkward for everyone. Later that night, we walked over to get a better view and it was even more perfect than my first glance. Though I had seen little sneak peeks during our walk, every glimmer above the buildings was of white lights. Then, when we finally arrived, I was completely surprised to see that the entire bottom half was bright red:
Le Tour Eiffel
I just googled why, exactly, the Eiffel Tower was red and white on October 8, 2009–it never really crossed my mind while we were there, and I hadn’t thought much about it until this post. Apparently, the Turkish president had just arrived in France to campaign for Turkey’s inclusion in the EU. The tower returned to traditional colors for the rest of our time in Paris. The more you know!
The Full Spectrum
When you picture Santorini, there’s no question that blue and white should be at the forefront of your mind. But when the hubs and I were there a few years ago, I loved seeing so many colors pop against the white buildings and the blue doors that it almost became a game for me to find new colors hidden around the island. Then, when we walked down to Ammoudi Bay, I snapped one of my favorite photos–and probably the least-Santorini…y photos of the entire trip:
Whaddup blue, green, yellow, white, AND red?
And now! I tag our next round of contestants:
It shouldn’t come as a surprise when we say that we have serious beach fever around here. The romantic & hubs are hitting up Cape Cod this weekend, and the wino just returned from an unprecedented two full weeks at the Jersey Shore. Also, not sure if you’ve heard, but New York and DC have been SWELTERING. Basically, we’re constantly dreaming about the sea and the sand.
Naturally, we’re at the beginning of the “you can’t have too much of a good thing” phase of wanderlust, and we cannot stop drooling over the slew of amazing beaches around the world where we’d like to frolic in the waves.
Guernsey, United Kingdom
Both of us devoured “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” last year (highly recommended travel-related read), and we haven’t been able to get the quaint little island out of our heads since. It’s not your typical tropical beach getaway, but thats fine by us. Bring on the Channel Island charm and handsome Englishmen (sorry, hubs).
Getting there: Though Guernsey now services two airports, we recommend taking a boat or ferry, which is more scenic (and economical). The ferry makes stops to other Channel Islands, as well as France and the British mainland.
Additional info: The island is tiny (6 miles long and 3 miles wide) so don’t worry about transportation once you’re there. If you’re not up for the walk, rent a bike! (Sound familiar?)
Kangaroo Island, Australia
We first added Kangaroo Island to our must-see list because of two of our Jetsetters: the Mr. & Mrs. behind 2travelaholics. After reading about their experiences and seeing Mrs. T’s favorite travel photo, we were sold. Then, once we started reading more about the beaches, it was hard not to book a direct flight.
Getting there: The 45 minute Sealink ferry from Cape Jervis is your best bet, which prices out at $48/person round trip. It’s $140 round trip if you want to bring a car, which, from what we’ve read, is recommended.
Additional info: Most sites say that you will definitely need more than one day to explore. You don’t have to tell us twice.
Though the Greek Islands all bring a very specific image to mind, Corfu breaks the mold in the best way possible. Though we love our beach getaways, we prefer to mix it up with a few nights out on the town and days spent cafe-hopping, and Corfu seems to have it all (plus: olive trees abound!).
Getting there: Unlike the more popular Greek islands of Santorini and Mykonos, Athens isn’t your only gateway to Corfu. Instead, consider starting and ending your Grecian holiday with a few shopping days in London, and book your flights to Corfu out of the UK.
Additional info: If you want to explore the mainland before you arrive in Corfu, you can still avoid Athens and take the ferry from the coasts Greece or Italy.
We’re somewhat ashamed to admit this, but the two-part Kardashian family vacation special was what piqued our interest in Bora Bora. Tiki huts LITERALLY built out over the crystal clear Pacific? Count us in.
Credit: Bora Bora
Getting there: Unfortunately, getting to and staying in Bora Bora is…pricey, to say it kindly. You should start saving for your direct flight, like, yesterday.
Additional info: For those who love activities in the water, the tropical waters surrounding bora bora can reach 86 degrees F. Pack your snorkeling gear (or you know, just a cute bikini) and jump in.
SO, what are you top dream beaches? Tell us!
the romantic & the wino
GUYS. We found another travel counterpart! We learned via Twitter that @jenna_harrison also missed a top site in Rome in exchange for
culture alcohol. And then she sent us this, and we love: When in Rome, look up! (A different way to tour the Eternal City)
We love that this couple is just up and moving to Scandinavia. Much like when the wino moved to Ireland, they’ve never actually been to Norway! Our Next Move
“If you are a hardcore trekking/ camping/ outdoorsy person (or German), you will probably love it.” Soooo… not us. But perhaps our jetsetter from a few weeks ago? Katie, you in on this? Journey to the End of the World (aka That Time I Thought I Might Die in the Wilderness)
Someday we’ll make it to the Pacific Northwest. World’s Coolest Cities: Seattle
the romantic & the wino
We can always get behind food-focused trips. Eating My Way Through the Barbeque Capital of America: Kansas City
Whaaaat? None of these are in New York?? Color me shocked. The 15 Most Beautiful Subway Stops In The World
These pictures are so bright and colorful and happy! Southern Colombia in Photos
We really are excited for the holidays and snow and all those lovely things, but this photo makes it hard not to wish we were here instead:
the romantic & the wino
Today’s Jetsetter has an alter ego: though her real name is Lauren, her sassier side goes by Lola. A contributor to HuffPo Travel and TravelDudes.org (two of our favorite sources for No Travel Required), we also recommend checking out Lauren’s personal travel blog for more travel tips and quips: where in the world is lola? And with her list of upcoming trips, we’ll try to put our jealousy aside and keep up. Let us know next time you’re in NYC, Lola!
Favorite Place: St. Bart’s, French West Indies – it is tres chic just like Lola.
More importantly, favorite meal: A multiple course meal at the Chateau de la Chevre d’Or in Eze Village, French Riviera – it’s a Relais & Chateaux. Could you imagine anything more posh than a French meal in a medieval village overlooking the Mediterranean, c’mon?
The moment you caught the travel bug: Probably when I moved from Texas to New York City with a one-way ticket, no place to live and no firm job. It was one big adventure that made me confident I could go anywhere, do anything and enjoy it and succeed.
First experience traveling alone: In 8th grade I went on a class trip to Washington, DC. I wouldn’t say it was stellar by any stretch but I knew I could go off without family or close friends and would make new friends and learn a lot from the experience.
Ever been (or thought you’ve been) in imminent danger while traveling?: Some train travel overnight a couple of times seemed a bit suspect. Some random man picked a fight with my friend and me. We had to get the train conductor involved. That’s it. I can spot a gypsy anywhere. Maybe we have some aligned personality traits. Wanderer & opportunistic! People are far more kind than bad in my experience!
Worst hotel/hostel experience: I went traveling around Europe for a couple of months when I was 26. I definitely stayed in a few dodgy places. In particular, Venice and Cologne come to mind. Not a dangerous situation but just not to Lola’s standards. Can’t take the priss out of the pot!
Best hotel/hostel experience: To this day, my best hotel experience is Villa Gallici in Aix en Provence – another Relais & Chateaux. I am a huge fan of this brand – exquisite properties & exceptional staff. Villa Gallici is the reason I continue to stay with R&C. They made me feel like part of the family.
Favorite family vacation: Driving from Texas to Sante Fe/Taos, New Mexico, Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, Grand Canyon, Arizona & Four Corners. It was so much fun and so beautiful. The American West is incredible!
Must-have packing item: iphone – I need not explain, I am sure! Next to that would be lip balm or gloss. Hello…it IS me we are talking about!
Most unbelievable travel experience: It would have to be St. Bart’s. It is one OMG after another. Let’s just say it is beyond luxe and the beaches are stunning. Luxe+Beach=LOVE for Lola!
Favorite “I can’t believe I’m doing this” moment: Going to see the band ‘Live’ in Paris because I met one of the band member’s girlfriends on the English-speaking tour of the Louvre. They invited us backstage and to an after party – drinking champagne all the while. Things like this tend to happen to Lola.
Place you can’t wait to return to: Too many to pick one: Curacao, St. Bart’s, Capri, Greek Islands (notice a theme??? ISLANDS!!)
Place you can’t be paid to return to: I love to travel and if you paid me, I would be willing to go anywhere. What does that say about me? Maybe I’m a cheap date after all!
Any exciting trips coming up?: Vegas, Austin, Monaco & France, Hawaii, Miami twice at least, Caribbean (undetermined destinations at the moment), Los Angeles, New York City several times and I hope to attend some blogging conferences in 2012. I am up for other unplanned trips to meet up with twitter/blogger friends. (let me know if you’re cooking up some plans!). I’d put money on more Europe at some point too.
Dream vacation: This is a tough one to answer (so many great options!) but two things come to mind and they are both similar. Cruising around the Caribbean or the Greek Islands on a fancy boat and hopping off and enjoying the beaches and nightlife then scooting on to see the next one. This would be an extended vacation, of course. I’d like to be an expert in both regions – what can I say, I’m an island girl.
Favorite tourist attraction: Roman Forum has always been a favorite. I love Roman history and it is incredible to tread the same path the famous emperors of the past walked. The history feels very alive. There is always more to learn each time I visit.
Favorite “I’m trying not to look like a tourist” attraction: Loafing on a beach like a local in any beach destination I go. I love me some beach time. It’s Lola’s true love.
Favorite travel photo: Lola in Santorini, Greece this September.
the romantic & the wino
Ohhh just another day riding my camel through Mongolia. Plains of Inner Mongolia
Amen, sister. On Travel and Body Image
Ummm we’ve heard of red velvet, but red wine cake? Could definitely jump on this bandwagon. Red Wine Chocolate Cake
We’d kill for a reservation at Rao’s. Until then, we’re fans of buying their sauce at Fairway. Hard-to-Score Restaurant Reservations Across the US
Soooo Grindelwald is a real place and NOT just a wizard in Harry Potter? A Day Out in the Swiss Alps
Travel Photo of the Day
I hate to drive. Well, that’s a lie. I don’t HATE to drive, but I don’t love it the way some people do, and I certainly would never consider doing it while on a nice, relaxing vacation. I even feel stifled in the passenger seat of a car, and usually fall asleep within about five minutes anyway. I’ve never been the girl who “just needs to go for a drive” and when we’re visiting family in PA, I’m all about letting hubs drive around–who, generally, lies a little further on the “yes” side of the “do you like driving?” line.
Because of this, we never really considered renting a car while on vacation–especially in Europe. Why deal with the stress of driving when you can sit back and relax and take a train? Plus, bonus points for taking a train across Europe sounding WAY more romantic. This is why it was completely by accident that we discovered the benefits of having a rental car at least one day of exploring a new place.
When we went to Santorini, the concierge at our hotel assured us that the only way to really see the island was to rent a car, drive around, and get lost. We were a little weary–mostly because all of the signage was in Greek–but we decided to give it a shot and hope for the best.
Ignore the fact that it was a ridiculous looking car and came up to my waist. Second to the day that hubs proposed, this ended up being my favorite day of the trip. We drove from town to town, parking along tiny little streets and exploring every village–from Thira to Oia and everything in between. We took a wrong turn up a mountain and even though I’m pretty sure we were near death on a road no wider than our car and lacking any guardrails, I had never seen a view of the ocean so expansive. We drove past wild horses and donkeys with saddlebags carrying men yelling “OPA!” and little old women with baskets of fresh vegetables. We turned down what we thought was a tiny road and ended up in the driveway of a farm, and had to wait for a chicken to literally cross the road before we could turn around. And at the end of the day when we looked at our map, we drove clear across the island to get to Oia in time to see the sunset.
Ever since that trip, we’ve made it a priority to rent a car for a day wherever possible. On our honeymoon, we drove a convertible from Florence to our cooking class in Tuscany, once again exploring all the little towns and stopping wherever we pleased. In Vieques, we rented a jeep and went off-roading in search of the perfect beach (don’t worry, we found it). In Hilton Head, we were upgraded to hubs’s 5th grade dream car: a cobalt blue mustang. And of course, the Wino infamously drove us across Ireland from Dublin to Dingle, and then around the Dingle Peninsula Loop. Outside the confines of a bus tour, we were able to stop at a pottery shop along the way, drive down to the beach for a better view of the Sleeping GIant, and stop at least 100 times to debate whether or not we should actually pet a sheep. On the way back to Dublin, we made the impromptu decision to stop in Killarney for lunch, shopping, and a tour of the grounds surrounding the Muckross House.
Though renting a car doesn’t make sense for every trip, it has opened my eyes to a new way of sightseeing and getting to places off the beaten track. It’s significantly cheaper than you’d think to rent a car for the day in Europe, and in most places, can be booked the day-of without too much forethought and planning.
And while I may not miss driving on a daily basis, I definitely miss driving through the hills of Tuscany with no destination, only stopping for the perfect photo opp.
- all photos are my own