Category Archives: Europe

Castles and Caves: Exploring the Loire Valley

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I have learned a lot from my visits to France. Some of it being how much I so enjoy the countryside. Granted, I haven’t really gotten to see too many coastal towns, but the countryside, the smaller cities, and vineyards are my absolute favorite destinations.

It’s a combination of things; the slower pace, the friendlier, more patience faces, and the natural beauty. I think everyone should go to Paris if they have never been, but then I think travelers should take the time and see everything else outside of it to really fall in love with France.

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Living It Up in Leipzig, Germany

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Leipzig is located in the heart of Central Germany, about an hour South by train from Berlin. Before WWII it was known as a cultural hub, but this died off once the influence of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) took over. But like most cultural hubs, many remained independent minded, even if secretly so, and lived as courageous thinkers who ignited the revolution against communism in East Germany. It was in Leipzig where this movement really took hold, with protests and meetings being organized from a small church called Saint Nicholas.

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A Day in Angers, Loire Valley, France

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There’s something about the light in Angers that captivated me. The capital city of the province of Anjou, in the Loire Valley of France is about 2 hours with Rail Europe from Paris. The station is Angers Saint Laud, where one finds all the amenities – from cafes to car rental services – of a major city terminal.

I arrived to Angers a bit tired from my travels. I had only earlier landed into Paris from NYC, taken a taxi from the airport to the Montparnasse train station for my train into the Loire Valley. I was happy to discover that my hotel was a short 10 minute walk from the station, but the hot afternoon quickly took a toll on me as I made my way there.

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Taking in Prague, Czech Republic

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Though I visited Prague for the first time a few weeks now while on a luxury tour with Insight Vacations, it has taken me a bit to really wrap my head around how I was left feeling about it.

Prague is a beautiful city, old and historic, artistic and cultural. It is largest city of the Czech Republic as well as its capital and that of Bohemia. On a Spring day, walking through Prague is a great experience. But just as the city is beautiful, its history is heavy, forcing you to take pause from all that has happened here and the lessons humanity can walk away with after touring the many museums and memorials.

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Storybook Destination: Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

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In the late 13th century, a small town was developed to accommodate the trading market that was growing along the Vitavia River. The area was built up between 1680 and 1682 under the reign of Prince Johann Christian I von Eggenberg. Because of its ability to retain much of its historic landscape and architecture,  Old Český Krumlov is today a UNESCO Heritage Site.

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Falling in Love with Dublin, Ireland

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My excitement over my recent visit to Ireland seemed to have overflowed while going through immigration at the airport. Not really a place someone would enjoy, except that two things happened.

I was standing in line waiting for passport check when a foreign couple approached the line confused and apologetic to have gone through the wrong queue beforehand.

“Oh, no need to be sorry! You’re alright here now. Take a deep breath, no need to stress yourself out, not here. Not with us,” said the immigration representative directing everyone where they belonged.

I couldn’t help but think of how  differently that would have gone at my home based airport in NYC.

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Getting to Know Bordeaux, France

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I’ve shared so much already about my visit to Bordeaux and some of the neighboring wine regions. I even shared the beauty of Bordeaux at night, a magical moment during my travels there.

I spent a lot of time in Bordeaux walking around by myself, an intimidating notion at first which is exactly why, when given the option by my hosts, I chose to walk around on my own as often as possible. Turns out that it’s not very difficult to navigate this city of a little over 200,000 people. It very much felt and functioned like a central city would, but it was also friendlier, cleaner, and more laid back than a lot of major cities in Europe, certainly more so than Paris.

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The Storybook Experience that is Bergerac, France

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One of the stops that I made during my whirlwind adventure to the Bordeaux wine region was in Bergerac, in the Dordogne of France. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Up to that moment every one of my experiences had been pretty spectacular, enough so that I’ve really been inspired to freshen up my French skills, kiss this life au revoir, and venture into the countryside of France for a new one.

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Riding High in Barcelona, Spain

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Lack of sleep is an incredible thing. Go too long and it can be quite dangerous, but hang on to it for those beginning side effects and the world is a pretty interesting place. My teen and I arrived to Barcelona a day before our cruise with the Carnival Sunshine was scheduled to depart.

I wanted to arrive a day early because I had never been to this great Spanish city, and my son had never been to Europe. I never sleep on planes, I try to but just can’t, so I knew that it would be an interesting day for me.

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Exploring Scotland: Where to stay. What to do. What to see.

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“Let’s pick a rock, any rock, and sit for a moment in complete silence and take in our surroundings.”

I was a few feet away from the summit of Cairngorm Mountains, which stands over 4,000 feet tall and is the highest mountain massif in the British Isles.

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