Monday, November 30, 2015

E is for Travels in Europe

Back in the late 90s, Cristi and I lived in Europe for three years, so we took every opportunity to travel all over.  Unfortunately, I won't be sharing any travel planning advice for Europe in this post because it would take much more than a single post to do it justice.  Instead, below is a small sampling from a few of the places we visited to make you jealous enough to add a few things to your bucket list.

We took a whirlwind trip to Italy over the Holidays soon after we arrived in Germany in 1997.  Pisa was our first stop.  I thought the small town looked like something right out of The Godfather.  By the way, it's really hard to take a picture of the tower leaning!

Rome was by far my favorite European city and our third stop on the Italy tour.  There's so much to see, so much history.  And the Italian people are incredibly gracious.

The interior of the Roman Coliseum

The Roman Forum.  I loved strolling down the avenue realizing that the ancient Romans trod that same path 2000 years ago!

Venice was our fourth stop on our Italy tour.  Everyone talks about how beautiful and romantic Venice is, but we visited in January, so the entire city was unfortunately a brilliant shade of gray.  Nevertheless, Piazza San Marco was still very impressive.

St Mark's Cathedral

July 1998 saw one of the first adventures I planned for our family -- five countries in seven days.  It was very taxing, and I learned some valuable trip planning lessons (that Cristi reminded me of for years!), but we saw some amazing sites, including the most photographed church in Germany and Mad Ludwig's Neuschwanstein that inspired Disney's Cinderella Castle.

Ramsau Church:  The most photographed church in Germany.  I had a jigsaw puzzle of this church when I was a kid and was determined to see it in person.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Travel in Europe wouldn't be complete without a trip to Paris and the obligatory picture of the Eiffel Tower!

In this picture, I attempted to replicate an artsy picture I saw in a travel book.

And a Disney freak's trip to Paris wouldn't be complete without a picture of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, would it?

I also had the opportunity to tour one of the world's most famous beaches, albeit not for swimming or surfing.

Normandy Beach
American WWII Cemetery at Normandy Beach

My second favorite European city was Prague, and we visited there in June 1999.  Prague has an old-world charm that it preserved through the dark days of communism while holding the capitalistic drive for modernism at bay.

Old Town Square

Our last big European trip, in March of 1999, was to London and Ireland.

Big Ben
Blarney Castle.  Yes, I kissed the stone.

Blogging Through the Alphabet” style=


  1. WOW!! So what you're saying is, you are the originator of the Amazing Race idea, and Phil got his "No Opportunity Wasted" idea from you, right? ;) We almost made it to London & Paris when Luke was little, but some airline issues found us replanning our trip. I called AAA and said "I have a packed suitcase and a passport, find me a plane ticket on anything but **** Airline and hotel!" and she sent us to Rome. It was one of the most amazing trips of my life.

    1. As I mentioned, Rome was my absolute favorite. It was almost as magical as Disney! :-) The people were gracious, the food was delicious, and there was so much to see! I would go back to Rome in a heartbeat!

  2. Yep! I have more to add to my bucket list! What great travels.
    Blessings, Dawn

  3. Wow! Those photo moments are ahhhmazing!

  4. I'm glad you didn't forego the UK (very best place in the world, in my very humble opinion). I love your photos of Italy. Happy sigh. I would love, love, love to visit there one day :)

    1. We really wanted to go but had a hard time getting there. We finally shoe-horned it in in March. The entire time we were in London was cold and rainy, but we still really enjoyed the city. I was sad that we didn't get to see anything outside the city, especially Stonehenge, although I'm planning to go see Cargenge in Nebraska (yes, it's a scale replica with cars -- gotta love quirky roadside America!).

  5. I'm glad you didn't forego the UK (very best place in the world, in my very humble opinion). I love your photos of Italy. Happy sigh. I would love, love, love to visit there one day :)

  6. Well, you succeeded. I'm jealous enough to add more destinations to my wish list. ;)

    Beautiful photographs!

    1. Thank you! I hope you get the opportunity to go. Europe was awesome! My pictures just don't do it justice.