Iberian Road Trip – Segovia and Valencia

We made some ground through Spain on our last few days.  We traveled to Segovia, yet another UNESCO World Heritage site, which has a towering Roman aqueduct.  After a quick stop in Madrid to drop off the rental car, we took the train to our last stop, Valencia, home to Santiago Calatrava’s City of Art and Sciences complex.  Oh, and there was some paella in the mix, some really good paella.

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Reykjavic Adventures – Whale Watching & The Blue Lagoon

More jumping

We’ve officially made it to Iceland, our 30th country since this Olmsted Scholar experience began (almost) two years ago.  It’s been quite an incredible journey.  After leaving our car in Oslo, we booked a late flight into Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.  Our first day, we took a tour with Elding Whale Watching, the oldest company of its kind in the city.  We changed our 10.00 reservation to 14.00 after suffering an unexpectedly acute case of jet lag and the weather was nearly perfect. We had clear skies and although it was a bit (a lot!) brisk, the whale guide commented it was the most active the dolphins and whales had been in some time.  We lucked out!  Unfortunately, our second day in Iceland turned out to be pretty crappy weather-wise.  In order to make up for this, we took the bus (which Bobby was amazed was equipped with wifi) to the Blue Lagoon, where the water is warm, no matter the temperature outside.

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Denmark – Venturing into Scandinavia

Castle and sculpted hedges

This may sound incredibly inane, but the two things that I took away from Denmark were 1) Danish people are really blond (blonder than Swedes!) and 2) every person in Copenhagen must own a bike (I think there were more bikes than Amsterdam!)  On this leg of our trip, we continued on our journey from Germany to Denmark, stopping in Odense and then Copenhagen.  This was our first time in Scandinavia, and we were really excited to see the area, since we’d heard such high praises from multiple sources.  Luckily, Denmark didn’t let us down (….well, other than everything being really expensive, but that’s a given in the Nordic countries)!  :)… [Read More]

A Weekend in Berlin

Old Eastern Bloc car breaking through the wall

Berlin has been on my “top places to visit” list ever since we moved to Europe.  We had the opportunity to spend a weekend in Berlin with our friends the Senkowskis (OSC ’12) and it exceeded all our expectations.  At first glance, we were impressed by its size, its large public transportation network, and the accessibility to international food. (Chinese, Middle Eastern, Indian food anyone?)  Although it is a very trendy city with its modern art and architecture and hipster-clad 30-somethings, it is also deeply rooted in history.  There may well be a WWII museum on every corner.  I found the juxtaposition between new and old refreshing; it seemed as though the city embraced its past, but aimed to make a splash in the future.

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The West Coast is the Best Coast

Pastoral land

Bobby always says that the “west coast is the best coast” and in Ireland (okay, and in the US) I can agree!  After tackling the whole driving on the left side of the road thing, the four of us – Bobby, me, and my parents – piled into our rental van (yes, we rented a Euro minivan) and we set off for the Irish countryside. It was about a 4 1/2 hour from Belfast to Kylemore Abbey near the west coast of Ireland and we have never seen so many sheep in our lives!  We were not disappointed with the rolling green hills, little while houses dotting the landscape, or the hospitable nature of the Irish people.  From the abbey, we drove south to the famed Ring of Kerry, where we saw more beautiful (and surprisingly very diversified) landscapes.  … [Read More]

Toytown: A Day in Munich

Canopy

Next stop: Munich!  I read that Munich’s nickname was Toytown, which I immediately associated with cars (I’m not sure why, other than the fact that we visited the BMW museum).  Apparently, ex-pats gave Munich the name because of the large number of children in the city.  I can’t say I saw an exorbitant number of kids running around, but I’ll take their word for it. We didn’t have much time in this beautiful city, but we did get to see lots of cars (Bobby is somewhat of a car-nut), visit the 1972 Olympic Park, and take the short trip to Dachau to tour the Nazi concentration camp (this will be in my next blog).  Munich did prove to be beautiful, even though we didn’t see a lot of the actual city center.  We were very thankful for the first sunny weather of the entire Christmas trip!… [Read More]